I want to try to answer the question which I think vexes some people who know me or others like me: How can a relatively intelligent, traveled, thoughtful person be a Deplorable, clinging to my guns and my Bible?
Or put another way, how can someone with a postgraduate education and nearly fifty years of business experience believe in the power of a relationship with his personal savior, and also be opposed to:
- Most ideas in the Democratic playbook,
- Sex outside marriage,
- Gay marriage,
- Abortion, and
- The War on Drugs? For starters.
I will try to explain my beliefs as clearly and succinctly as I can.
First, I believe that the universe and everything in it are the work of an intelligent creator, and not of random chance or a mystical force field. And I think many scientists acknowledge this fact, even if they haven’t focused on the possible consequences. We should. The evidence for intelligent design in the stars and in our DNA cellular code is simply too overwhelming. It isn’t even a close call. I’ve studied the work of scientists much smarter than me and summarized their findings in a few earlier posts. Please read Faith Is Reasonable, Belief in God Would Be So Much Easier and Much More Logical, and The Origin of Life and Evolution, plus The Discovery Institute website, if you have any doubt that some creator made us.
And each of has a sense that we are teleological beings–that there is more to us than what we see.
Now if a creator made us, I believe that He, She or It must have some purpose for us, plus some preferences for how we behave and how we should relate to that creator and to each other. Perhaps not, but it seems like a lot of trouble to go to if there is no purpose underlying all that work.
I grant you that this creator may not be the God of the Judeo-Christian Bible, but I’ve studied this area as well for decades, and I don’t think it really takes much faith to believe that He is the Creator, and here are my reasons:
- The Bible is a miraculous work spanning millennia, languages and authors, and yet it all hangs together as one story of redemption. Jesus Christ really walked on the Earth and was resurrected from death as proof that He holds power over our eternities. Eyewitnesses recounted those facts, and the earliest gospels and epistles date from their lifetimes, unlike what you have probably heard. See The Case for Christ and The Historical Reliability of the Gospels.
- Only Christianity is based on the revolutionary concept of grace. Grace must be divine—we would never think of it ourselves. We’re hard wired to want to settle accounts, not to forgive. The very concept of grace had to come directly from the Creator, as His essence, not ours.
- His salvation is available to everyone of high and low estate, the educated and the uneducated, the rich and the poor. Every other religion is based on a system of human works to earn salvation, so you have to learn, or invest, or keep rules. Jesus says you can’t possibly do it, but you don’t have to. God has already done it. Salvation is a free gift for all who believe.
- One of the worst things you can be in your 30’s or 40’s is an acknowledged Type A success in one or more areas, because you tend to credit that success to your own intelligence, education, connections, etc., thereby leaving an ever-larger wake of mess and hurt behind you. When I finally surrendered and believed 35 years ago, the relationship with my savior started a process, continuing today, of transforming me, just as He said He would. This transformation is real—ask anyone who knew me before He entered my life.
So I deduce that everything in the universe was made by a Creator who is outside of space and time, that it is highly likely that this Creator is the God who has revealed Himself and His purposes in the Old and New Testaments, and that the birth, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ are the most important events in history, allowing me to have a relationship with God himself, and to be adopted as an heir to His Kingdom.
It’s incredible. It’s real. And it makes sense. It’s rational. If you don’t think so, I challenge you to honestly study it for three months. Don’t just brush it off because you think you’re too smart, or faith is for dummies. Remember, we all live by faith in something. Why not consider a faith that actually counts, both now and for eternity, as in the Creator of everything? I suspect you’ll be surprised. See The Reason For God: Belief in an Age of Skepticism by Timothy Keller, The Gospel of John, and one of many Ken Boa Teachings.
The result is that, as Paul Tripp writes, “The earth and everything in it is an expression of his design and his purpose. Because he is the Creator of all things, all things belong to him. God created you. That means you belong to him. You and I were carefully designed for his purpose…We are the direct product of God’s creative power and will. ..This means that you and I will never be at the center of life, because God is. It will never be about us, because it is about him.” New Morning Mercies, A Daily Gospel Devotional, February 27th.
Now if the God of the Bible made us, and that book is His handbook on how He wants us to live for our own best outcomes, then I think we should seriously consider following it. Wouldn’t you download the Tesla instructions to understand how to get the best results out of your new car? Why not do the same for the new person He makes you?
There are obviously a lot of areas one could discuss from the perspective of His revealed Truth, but I want to focus here on one which suffers a lot of misunderstanding today.
From first to last the Bible is a strong supporter and defender of families. Before there were governments, churches or tribes, there were families. The family is the basic building block of every society. Every one. God created us male and female, both equal in His image, for a purpose. The servant leader husband-wife relationship is likened to the relationship between Christ and his church. The potential for real transformation, through the unique, intimate relationship and sharing of marriage between a man and a woman is compared to Jesus and his bride. And in Malachi God explicitly states that He hates divorce because the family is responsible for raising the next generation of Godly children. Not the government or the church. The family.
Anything that weakens or destroys the institution of the family is clearly counter to God’s purpose for us.
So when I then say that I am opposed to affairs, pre-marital sex, or homosexual sex, I am also opposed to anger, gossip, and drunkenness, because God admonishes us in His handbook that these actions, and others, separate us from Him and His best life for us. They diminish or destroy, among other things, the family, which is the focus here, and He tells us not to do so.
It’s really pretty simple: as a believer in the Creator, and saved only by belief in His son, I do my imperfect best, failing often, to follow His rules and recommendations for how to live. I find that when I do, I thrive (though not without occasional pain—another important subject), and when I don’t, I and those around me suffer. Maybe not immediately. But I have found that when we violate His instructions, bad consequences ultimately arise. And that they are mostly avoidable.
That is my approach to behavior as a follower of Jesus. As an American, and a Christian, I also believe that each of us has free will to make decisions and to reap the consequences of those decisions, for good or for ill.
So it’s also important to note that I do not want to criminalize behavior which God abhors (with one exception, later), nor do I condemn or think ill of those who choose to follow other paths. As I have often said, I am the chief of sinners. You can’t get worse than me—you may just choose other means.
But that does not make those choices right. If we are behaving against the clear will of God in any way, then we are violating His instructions for us, and I imagine that there will be unpleasant consequences, even for eternity. Not my consequences—His.
So, for example, my opposition to adultery or to homosexual behavior or to Gay Marriage is not because I hate adulterers or gay people, or wish them ill—just the opposite. It’s because God wants more and better for us, and because these actions diminish and weaken the institution of the family. By the way, if you want civil protections, then call two people of the same gender a civil union. I get it. Please just don’t call it marriage, which has been defined for millennia by God, and which it can never be.
If you pursue those behaviors, I don’t want you demeaned, locked up or hounded. I want you to change, like I did, by hearing the truth and accepting His grace. And that I can’t force down your throat—you have to come to it yourself. God will not force it on you, and neither will I. In the meantime, I respect you as an individual created by Him and wish the best for you—that’s the whole point!
As an American, what I ask in return is that you not try to cram your beliefs down my throat, either. We must all be able to express and share our ideas in the public square without being silenced or denigrated as deplorables or bigots. If you’ve read this far, then hopefully you realize that I come by my faith and my beliefs through a very rational process—you of course may not agree with them, but I ask you to recognize their logic and legitimacy, as I do for you.
And therefore do not push behavior or beliefs contrary to God’s Truths on my family just because they are your truths. If you want to participate in them, knock yourself out. That’s your choice as a consenting adult. As a Christian believer and an American I believe that you have the right to that choice without persecution or recrimination. My role, as a believer, is to tell you why I think you are wrong and to call you to Him. But the choice is yours, and I freely give it to you. Just let me do the same. Argue logic with me all you want, but don’t shut me out, shut me up, or demean me. Because that process actually demeans you.
I mentioned that there is one exception for me to the live-and-let-choose approach which I believe is the essence of both my Christian faith and our unique nation. Everything I’ve written above about choice is assumed to involve one or more freely choosing adults. Not anyone being compelled, coerced or abused in any way. And not involving children. There is no greater child abuse than abortion, and it is murder. So it is my one exception to our free choice, because the baby in her mother’s womb has no voice, no choice, and then no life. She must be protected from death in all but the most extreme cases of the mother’s genuine physical danger. See Progressives: What Does Abortion Have To Do With Economic Policy?.
So, hopefully you better understand why I am clinging to my Bible. Again, you may not agree with me, but I hope if you don’t, that you will at least try a three month examination. During that time, try praying to God to show you the truth. If He’s a myth, then no harm/no foul. If you only have 42 minutes and don’t mind being intellectually challenged, listen to this free message by Tim Keller from 1994: Who Is this Jesus?
And, for all of us, I hope that we can recognize our different beliefs as being genuine and, as always, if we want to strive to change minds, that we do so with rational arguments, and not through coercion, denigration, or state interference.
If you identify with some or all of my beliefs and find yourself misunderstood by family or acquaintances, please forward the link to this post to them, adding your own qualifiers or caveats. We must talk with each other, not shout, accuse, or throw bricks.