Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Open Letter To Christians 100 Years From Now

Dear Christians of 2114,

In the 1860's American Christians claimed that slavery was the natural order of things and used passages from the Bible to justify the horror of owning other human beings. They also justified their cruelty by claiming "these savages need us to give them Jesus and the only way we can do that is by owning them and teaching them."  This onus to save the savages from themselves is a social idea once referred to as "The White Man's Burden." One hundred years later, when slavery was roundly rejected by the secular morality of the world, American Christians claimed it was them who led the fight for liberation of slaves, most notably Reformed Calvinist, John Brown.

In the 1960's American Christians bitterly opposed interracial marriage. If you're not sure what that is (because in 2114 this may not actually be a concept you're familiar with), that means that God staunchly opposed, a white person and a black person marrying. They called this an abomination in God's sight. They used passages from the Bible to justify this attitude and actively protested in front of courthouses to keep interracial marriage illegal.

In the early 2000's American Christians staunchly opposed same-sex marriage. I realize in the world you live in, same-sex marriage is only illegal in the most backwards countries, but believe it or not American Christians fought bitterly to keep same-sex marriage illegal in America. I'm sure this is difficult to believe because I am certain Christians in 2114 proudly proclaim that it was Christians who fought for the equality of same-sex oriented people.  This is not true.

Another difficult to believe proposition to accept is that as of 2014, American Christians staunchly opposed evolution being taught in schools and demonized Charles Darwin. Again, I get that this is difficult to believe because our understanding of evolution has enabled us to save millions of lives through vaccinations, developing species of wheat that is resistant to heat and disease, and staying ahead of rapidly evolving bacterium and viruses. Again, I realize in the world you live in only the most backwards of countries, if any, reject evolution. And I am sure that Christians uplift Charles Darwin as a hero, a Christian who discovered the most profound discovery in all of natural science. But in the day and age I live in, Christians think he's a monster and they use the Bible to justify this belief.

I say all of this not to demonize the Christians of 2014. I honestly believe they are good people who genuinely think what they are doing is the correct course of action. It's difficult for anyone to live outside the scope of their time and culture. Christians in 2014 simply did not understand that believers 50, or 100 years prior to them were capable of such ignorance. Just as I am sure you, in 2114 are having trouble believing that Christians in 2014 opposed same-sex marriage and evolution.

We are all susceptible to biases, groupthink, herd mentality, and tribalism. Please understand this is not an attacking letter. It's a cautionary letter.  All of us are capable of doing horrible things based on a continuum of compromise. If we accept one incorrect proposition, it could lead us to accepting another slightly worse incorrect proposition, so on and so forth until the dominoes topple over. The best way we can avoid this is to gaze into history and see the mistakes our group has made in the past and more importantly take ownership of them, and learn from them.  I urge you to please take a strong look at 2014 and see the mistakes your fellow Christians made then. Then ask yourself, "is there anything my church is vehemently opposing in 2114 that we use the bible to justify, claiming this is an abomination in God's sight?" If so, please consider whether or not it is actually an abomination through the lens of historical precedent.

No comments:

Post a Comment