A while back my good friend Ty posted a series of questions addressed to me on his blog. Don’t know if they were rhetorical, but I suppose not. Here are his questions and my answers (in italics). Thanks Ty!
Is war evil? I think most people would recognize some level of evil in war. The questions, I suppose, are (a) whether it is a “necessary” evil, and (b) whether it is categorically evil.
What do we do if Christ really wasn’t raised from the dead? Something else. I’m with Paul on this one; if Jesus wasn’t raised from the dead, then Dawkins, Hitchens, and Onfray are right – we are pitiable idiots.
What if it were actually proven that He didn’t? Therein lies the problem: it can’t be. To put it in technical terms, the resurrection is nonfalsifiable. There is simply no way for it to be disproven. On the flip side, there is thus no way for it to be proven either.
Is the church – or to what degree is the church – merely a form a societal mind control? Yes and no. Yes in that it influences what people think (in sociological terms, it is or offers a “plausibility structure,” a lens through which people see and thus interpret everything). No in the sense that our minds are not determined or controlled by any one thing. We have free will, or at least we think in the context of competing societal mind controlling agencies. As for degree, to the same that anything else is, including capitalism, marxism, democracy, entertainment, atheism, etc, etc.
Or to phrase the question differently, to what degree does the church exist to uphold existing social structures? Ooh, that’s a better question, and a scarier one too. There is two questions here. To what degree does it, and to what degree should it. And a third, in what way should it. Honestly, it depends on the structures. The church often has and arguably does, but at least in the past it has always gotten itself into trouble in doing so.
How can we, as Christians, if we are interested in truth, as we say we are, turn a blind eye to scientific truths that we don’t agree with? [cf. evolution] I don’t think we can. I do think we can speak prophetically to the arrogance implicit in how “scientific truths” operate on a popular level, but that doesn’t mean we don’t accept them as truths (albeit one kind among many).
Is belief in God merely a form of magical thinking? Not if God really died on a cross. As Moltmann put it, “That ‘God’, the ‘supreme being’ and the ‘supreme good’, should be revealed and present in the abandonment of Jesus by God on the cross, is something that it is difficult to desire.” But in practice, yes it often is. The Bible calls this idolatry.
Why do Christians feel it’s OK to hate gay people? Particularly if Christ’s message was about love? What does that say about God? No clue. I guess it says God takes risks, like the one in which he entrusted his witness in this world to a bunch of naturally hateful sinbags (like me and you). Still inexcusable, of course.
What is the place of a gay person in the church? Or gay people in the church? In principle, the same as any other person. They are called to serve Christ in sacrificial obedience by hope-fully trusting in God and loving everyone in their midst (and even those who have been excluded from their midst). I know that’s not really what you’re asking, but we’ll have to talk out the rest over lunch!
Love you brother. Thanks for your probing questions!