So these two brothers who apparently go around to various campuses to tell gay people they are going to hell were back today. The crowd was much smaller this time, for obvious reasons as few people would have any reason to pay attention to what they are saying. So I decided to engage one of the brothers for awhile. He is loud and doesn’t let you interrupt him. But as I was discussing with a good friend recently I think it’s important to engage people with different points of view to try and understand why they believe what they do.
The first observation I made was that he knew very little bit about science, scientific knowledge, or how the scientific method works. He was using some fairly old arguments to support his claims against evolution. One is questioning carbon dating, when carbon dating is only useful for dating things on the order of 10’s of thousands of year. Also he claimed the missing link was never found. Which is actually untrue as well.
Oddly enough we did find common ground in regards to us believing there are absolute truths. Of course he felt that he is found that in the bible, I say that humans strive towards it, but we never really know whether we have reached it. We entered into this conversation however on the grounds of the topic of logic. Both us also believe that logic holds certain truths that cannot be broken, however I argue that our understanding and ability to apply logic correctly may be flawed so we can’t know for sure whether a logical contradiction itself has occurred. Our understanding of what is logical also evolves. He claimed that logic has a standard and therefore must have a standard giver. I asked him how he reached that conclusion. Why does a standard have to have a standard giver? He has no answer other than belief. He says logic cannot be changed by man. I said there are many things that can’t be changed by man, or can’t be changed yet, so why does that imply God’s existence? Again no answer other than a response that is full of beliefs.
I think the most interesting part of the exchanged happened when one of my Christian students came in to defend me and accused him of judging me and that I’m as God made me and that it’s not up to him to decide. The student said “I pray to God, I do not pray to you”. I thought it was a wonderful argument myself but his response was more telling “I think it’s perfectly okay to judge. Who said it’s wrong to judge? I judge what shows are good or not good for my children to watch.” I thought this was extremely telling. He believes that he understands God, so much so that he has the right to judge others on his behalf. His comparing us to his children, to me, indicates that he thinks he is much wiser than any of us. Even when other students who claim to be Christians and believe in God. What happened to being humble before God?
So on the drive back home I was thinking of all the things I should have said, but ultimately I knew I wasn’t going to change his mind. I simply want to understand how people can believe in anything so fervently knowing how unlikely they would be believing that if they happened to be born in a different country, and in a different community.
He gave met he standard “If I’m wrong then nothing will happen, I’ll just die. But if you’re wrong you’ll spend eternity in ever-burning flame”.
So I responded “That’s true. But if you’re wrong and I’m right than you’ve made a lot of people in this world feel bad about themselves and caused them fear about something that’s not even real. You’ve made this world a worse place in the only existence that we can really know about.”
He responded “So what’s worse, offending a few people, or the fires of hell”. I agreed that if hell were somehow provable as being real then hell would be worse and that I understand wanting to save people from that eventuality but that he was using a tactless way of convincing people to his point of view.
And here’s the one thing I regret not saying to him, “The problem is, maybe it’s not you, but people like you not only offend people when you speak your hateful words. In many cases you make homosexual people feel so bad about themselves that they take their own life. Or you inspire so much hate in others that they attack people who are different than they are with violence. So if I’m right than you’ve more than just offended people, you’ve helped end the only existence they had; their only chance to experience joy and happiness.”
I would say in terms of crimes his becomes way worse. Because there are other ways I can come to know God if there is one than being told I’m an abomination, but there is no coming back if this is our only existence.