Tuesday, November 07, 2006

what, not who, we are

Greg at Crowhill puts it about as good as it can be said.

A lot of people will hear that story and it will confirm their prejudice that religious people are hypocrites, that we can’t really conquer sin, and we’d be better off if we just got over our hang-ups so we could “be who we really are.”

That’s actually not a very good idea. Yes, Rev. Haggart is a hypocrite. He preached one thing and did another.

So do I.

Greg's point is that we all are sinners.  We all fail to achieve the goal, but that isn't "who" we are.  As Pope John Paul II put it, we are not the sum of the mistakes we have made.  Sinners is what we are.  So WHO are we?  Children of God, made in his image and likeness.
And Greg makes a great point regarding the "be true to who you are" argument

There’s another important issue here. Everybody can agree that we should suppress angry words and laziness, and that we should teach our children to be kind and hard workers. That’s because we all agree that angry words and laziness are Bad Things. So when a person is a hypocrite on this issue, or is “suppressing who he really is,” we say “hurrah for suppressing hypocrites.”

IOW, it’s not that we mind when people suppress their bad traits. In fact, civil society requires it. If everybody did what they wanted, society would be impossible.

The world surely would be a horrible place if a bunch of sinners ran around pretending that their sin was okay.  In fact it is a horrible place because some 40-45 million babies have died because people are thinking their sin is okay.  Are they being "true" to themselves?

We modern folk have inherited a basically just and functional society and so we don’t worry or think too much about what makes one, so we’re liable to unwittingly tear the thing apart. We’re more concerned about individual rights. Things seem stable and functional, so it’s not unreasonable to think, “Quit your worrying, the world won’t end if Sam marries Harry.”

Do we really know that? Do we actually understand the implications of a change in sexual ethics?

This may be why stable societies fall apart. They forget what made them stable in the first place and, fat and happy in their affluent lives, they take a “live and let live” approach that doesn’t really work.

Ted Haggart’s religious beliefs told him to suppress his same-sex attraction. Christianity, like every other religion, believes that a just society is built on heterosexual marriage, which means (in part) channeling sexuality, and especially male sexuality, toward procreation and the nurture of offspring.

He brings out something here that isn't mentioned much.  I have railed on it a few times and have read some good articles on why a government has the need to protect and promote healthy families.  Not by over-involvement, but by certain benefits and structures.  The family is the basic block of civilization and the health of the civilization is reflective of the health of the basic family unit. 
Just as having a bunch of un-attached, war-mongering, single men running around would not be good for society, neither is destroying the family where healthy citizens are raised and formed.
Regarding Mr. Haggart, I get the general feeling of sympathy.  We are all soldiers in the spiritual war.  He wasn't my general, but he put himself out front in the battle.  He made himself a bigger target and sadly was shot down in a dramatic fashion.  It can be demoralizing for the troops, but someone will pick up the banner and lead the way.  That battle may have been lost because their leader didn't have the proper armor, but the war rages on. 

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