Respecting other beliefs.

Respect: esteem for or a sense of the worth or excellence of a person, a personal quality or ability, or something considered as a manifestation of a personal quality or ability.

In the past few decades we as a people have become very concerned with the proper respect for other people’s beliefs. I hear young Christians now (I mean age wise, not how long they’ve believed) applaud themselves for having atheist friends whom they talk about their beliefs with calmly, and their atheist friends know where they stand, but they don’t try to convince them that their point of view is wrong.

This seems like a good thing, right? But isn’t there kind of a bad side effect. If you never tell anyone they are wrong, then what would prompt them to ever question their beliefs. If all we’re ever told is to go with what we feel is right, then we’ll never question our feelings themselves.

Let me differentiate between the feelings of conscience and the feelings of preference. Conscience is an entirely different feeling, when we feel like we “should” do something, it’s not at all like when we feel we “want” to do something.

A lot of morality now is based on what we want to do being what feels right. Right=pleasurable and comfortable.

And this has crept into the Christian culture. I would call it quasi-Christian culture, because what our perception tells us and what the Bible actually says are often very different. And the Bible is true Christianity, our twisting of it is not.

That being said What does the Bible say about respecting other people’s beliefs?

You won’t find that phrase or idea anywhere in the Bible except as regards to the differences between Christians and what they feel is edifying to God and their bodies.

In fact the Bible might have some strong words for anyone who sees someone living in sin and does not warn them about it.

Sure, people don’t want to hear it. And chances are most of them already know it’s wrong. So I am not advocating just preaching to everyone that they should stop sinning.

But sin is not really the point. Christ is the point. I wonder how exactly Christians can respect other people’s beliefs.

“If you don’t accept Jesus Christ as Lord and repent for your sinful ways, you will go to hell…And I totally respect that.”

Yeah, I respect that you’re going to willingly choose to burn forever without God and get mad at me for warning you about it…

And if you’re not a Christian and this is getting up in your grill, then remember, I am not saying this to your face, I am only saying point blank what Christians claim to believe. And how little it would make sense for us to respect anyone else’s beliefs.

It’s like trying to respect the belief that the moon is made of cheese, nobody would respect that belief. Anyone who tried to eat moon rocks would be laughed at. No one is going to defend their right to be honored for that belief.

Now, you can’t arrest someone for believe that, or demand that they change their mind. Just like you can’t as a Christian force anyone to change their mind. Though there are regrettable instances in our history when we have tried that.

No one should be arrested for their religion…of what they do because of it, yes.

Your belief trumps the law, but you still have to suffer the consequences of breaking the law. Jesus never said any different. And I doubt very much the sincerity of any religious leader that did.

If I ever get persecuted for what I believe so be it. But that won’t change a thing about whether I’m right or not.

No matter how much our media promotes being gay, that will never change whether being gay is morally right or morally wrong. All the applause and approval of the world will never change that, because the world can’t tell you what’s right and what’s wrong.

I think Christians are uncertain about how to witness to people now that they have to respect their beliefs. But the truth is, you don’t. In fact, if you do, you might want to check your heart. (And reread the definition of respect at the top of this post.) Because if the words “well if that’s what they feel is right” have come out of your mouth, that’s a reason for concern.

If I am making a major life choice, I better be darn well sure it’s more than feeling guiding me.

I had better make it clear that I am not advocating disrespecting people.

Uh uh. We respect people. Not beliefs. People’s own right to act on what they believe. But we do not have to respect those beliefs themselves.

And some of us leaders really need to hear this. It’s okay to oppose people who want to propagate their beliefs if you don’t agree with them. You are not keeping the person out. You are keeping their beliefs out.

What’s not okay is to make it anything more than personal preference. To make laws against certain beliefs and make rules. You can be as exclusive as you want, or your school can, or your business, or whatever, but you can’t make that a rule for everyone else. That’s where we run into problems.

We can’t make that call for the rest of the world. But we don’t have to approve what they do. If we approve what God detests, how are we any better than the world?

In fact, we need to hate sin. Not feel tolerant of it.

The more you can hate sin, but not feel an animosity toward people, the closer you are to Christlikeness.

Until next time–Natasha.

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