dinsdag 13 maart 2018

Christianity Is Not About Being Nice

I believe C. Lewis wrote about it in his book Mere Christianity, saying that Christianity isn't about becoming "nice people" but rather "new men".

Have you ever heard an old saying: "It's better to be kind than to be right" ? It sounds plausible enough, but is it really? Or rather, can something which is not right, be kind? Is it a kind thing really to assist an addict in his addiction, for instance? Is it a kind thing to refuse to confront a sinner in his sin?

Imagine if the society as a whole acted on this principle. We wouldn't be able to punish criminals because sending someone to prison isn't a kind thing to do. Police wouldn't be able to stop a terrorist because shooting someone is not nice. 

Being a Christian is not about feeling a certain way, it's about doing the right thing, whatever the cost. Sometimes it can even mean disturbing the peace ( Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword.) Sometimes it means saying unpleasant things to those you love, to prevent them from making mistakes. Sometimes it means that people won't perceive you as "nice". I doubt Jesus thought about being "nice" when he kicked the moneychangers out of the Temple. John the Baptist wasn't being nice, either, when he confronted Herod about his sexual escapades. 

May be I'm just being spergy, but I don't understand how people can call themselves Christians and then turn around and in live in the same manner as unbelievers and even worse. The only sin left is "hurting someone's feelings." I think this comedy sketch I posted illustrates this approach perfectly. You couldn't run a kindergarten in this manner, let alone a country. May be, that's why our society is such a mess?

20 opmerkingen:

  1. Very good. Christianity has "laws"...... God's laws. The gospel has "a way".... God's way. nothing more, nothing less.

  2. Liberalism makes people serve strange gods. A god of "niceness and inclusiveness" is not the God of the Scriptures, that's for sure. "Those who love Me keep My commandments."

  3. Such timely words! I was just reading comments on a post on Facebook about the post wasn't very kind or nice. It was a post about there being only two sexes, male and female. The commenters, as far as I could tell, were all believers, but some were offended by the post! They said it wasn't kind. Truth often isn't kind, it cuts sinners to the core.

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts!

  4. Actually, it's unkind to flatter and affirm people in their sin, rather than warning them to repent and escape the wrath to come. Sadly, many churches think failing to warn and rebuke is "nice."

    Another good post, Sanne.

  5. You are welcome! It all started with the acceptance of no-fault divorce in Christian circles. The Bible calls frivolous (i.e. I got bored/fell in love with another) divorce adultery and even my heathen Germanic ancestors believed that adulterers would be eternally tormented in Hell. After the church folks accepted adultery, everything else was bound to follow.

  6. Also, the general feminisation of society added to the problem. Unfortunately, we women often just want to appear cool and to get along with everybody. I believe it's called pathological altruism, like feeding candy to an obese kid. Some people get a kick out of this behaviour.

  7. We are not called to be nice, but we are called to speak the truth with kindness and gentleness, and even manly men can be kind and gentle. What isn't appropriate or called for is joking about and seeming to enjoy the thought all the rapes someone is going to experience when they go to prison for a crime, and things along those lines. This is just an example, not accusing you of it, Sanne. I see this sort of behavior all the time on the internet in comment threads and on FB. What is also not called for is insults -- either open or thinly veiled. It is also not called for to kick others when they are down. There is a lot of truth to the saying that you can catch more flies with honey than vinegar.

  8. Amen.

    But being not nice actually takes a great deal of moral courage. And that is what people lack nowadays.

    Since I have Asperger's I always say the truth (as I see it) and do the right thing (what I think it right), no matter what other people feel or what it costs me. And believe me, the cost can sometimes be big.

    I don't mean to say that I have more moral courage than others: I ment that doing those things takes lots of moral courage if you are normal human being. In make case, I am compelled to behave that way, so it takes no moral courage from me, it is the only way I can operate.

    I am not that good with the kindness and gentleness Jenny mentioned. :)

  9. You have an excuse, Outdoors, and quite a valid one. The ones who don't are those who say things " 'cause they just tell it like it is." Such crassness is one thing coming from a man, but quite another coming from a lady. Those "normal" human beings simply exhibit a lack of self-control and moderation when it is an ordinary situation. I can understand speaking sharply at certain times, but certainly not in general.

    It takes a lot of moral courage to control one's outrage and speak calmly and truthfully and kindly.

  10. I guess it depends on what we are talking about or who we address. There are small transgressions which sometimes, it's better not to notice. Yet, there are also serious things which people have every right to be angry about. In fact, if they don't, for instance, get angry about a pedophile raping a child, there is something wrong with them.

    Further on, there is a distinction between social interaction with your family/friends vs the way you behave towards strangers. My Granny, e.g. always told me exact truth about some of my friends and their way of life, which I hated at that time, but learned to appreciate as I grew older. She wouldn't say the same to the neighbour's granddaughter.

    Men raped in prison is vile because well, you know. However, the idea that political/religious discourse should always be "nice", is another example of feminisation imo. Didn't Jesus call the pharisees a brood of vipers somewhere in the Matthew 12?

  11. Sanne, I just want to let you and any other readers know that I agree with what everyone has said. I suppose I'm throwing in my opinion on something related or the opposite of the nice problem, and that is meanness. Even righteous indignation can be expressed with civility and kindness. My Granny did the same, and she always noted what problems there were in a family and how sometimes people don't know any better or different and that sometimes there are extenuating circumstances and that we should show/tell others a better way to live, and to not do that in a way that is insulting.

    And yes, we should be angry about pedophilia, gay marriage, trans stuff, etc., but we should also remember that there might have been things in the past that shaped individuals or a real lack of proper formation of conscience. It seems like many people nowadays just hurl insults so quickly, especially with the internet.

    Remember the description of God in Psalm 145, which happens to be the Psalm from today's mass, "The LORD is gracious and merciful, slow to anger and abounding in love. The LORD is good to all, compassionate to every creature." We should also, in the words of St. Teresa of Calcutta, strive to "see Jesus in others".

    In my opinion, civil -- which political and religious discourse should always be -- is very different in meaning than nice. One can honorably disagree and point out things that are wrong and ways to fix things, but being insulting and demeaning are what I find problematic and very common.

    But yes, I do agree, Sanne, that the niceness epidemic is a real problem (and a result of the feminization of society), and it is also inauthentic Christianity.

  12. People throw insults on the internet because they tend to think (falsely) that it's anonymous, so they are willing to go further than in real life, where there could be consequences for doing so.

    Our society prides itself on being tolerant yet is it, really? Relatives often can hardly stand each other and people break off friendships for a minor difference in opinion. The only thing which really gets tolerated is degeneracy.

    BTW, I don't at all mean to say that a person should walk around attacking anyone who they perceive not to be in line with their own values. Sometimes, for the sake of social cohesion it's better to shut up, be civil and just try to get along.

    But having people with degenerate lifestyles as close friends? Bad company corrupts good morals.

    As for politics, it depends. Politics is war by another means. Isn't all fair in love and war? Generally it will depend on a)what is at stake and b) whether the other side is treating you civilly. You answer in kind. When the enemy army are at your gates you generally don't meet them with flowers and kind words. On the other hand, ripping each other in debate on taxes is probably taking it to the extreme.

  13. I should add that there is a reason my posts are often so general in nature. I don't like to gossip or to point fingers. Different approaches work for different people and when speaking out, one should always keep in my mind that some people truly don't know any better.

    There is, however, the difference between people in the world and those who call themselves Christians:

    "I wrote unto you in an epistle not to company with fornicators:
    Yet not altogether with the fornicators of this world, or with the covetous, or extortioners, or with idolaters; for then must ye needs go out of the world.
    But now I have written unto you not to keep company, if any man that is called a brother be a fornicator, or covetous, or an idolater, or a railer, or a drunkard, or an extortioner; with such an one no not to eat."


  14. In the Catholic Church, of which I am a member but certainly no expert, if you are in mortal sin (which includes any sin of a sexual nature -- contraception, adultery, fornication, masturbation, etc.) one is told not to receive the Eucharist until a good confession can be made. There is also the practice of excommunication. Even when excommunicated, though, one is still obligated to attend mass. There is no shunning.

    I am not a Scripture scholar and cannot go back and forth with rebuttals, but I adhere to the Church's teaching and the way it handles serious sin.

  15. There is a difference between church attendance and being close friends with someone who lives a degenerate life. Would you let a convicted pedophile to babysit your 5 year old? Would you hang out with a drug dealer? Is there some behaviour which would prevent you from seeking a company of someone?

    It's not about doctrine, it's about common sense.

  16. I'm not talking only about "sin" since, for instance, many churches don't view anti-conception as sin. I'm specifically talking about antisocial behaviour. We are obliged to tolerate certain things accepted in our society, we don't have an obligation to be friends with those whose way of life is destructive.

  17. I didn't realize you were speaking so specifically, Sanne. Sorry for the confusion and the lengthy post on Catholicism. Regarding being close personal friends with someone who lives a degenerate life. No, I wouldn't be a "close, personal friend" to that person, nor would I allow a pedophile to watch my child. I also would not hang out with a drug dealer; however, and this is what I was speaking to all along: I would be kind to them if I encountered them in a safe setting or if they walked through the doors of my church. I'm sorry if I seemed to be implying that to be a good Christian means hanging out with criminals and those living degenerate lifestyles. That was not my intention in the least. I am only trying to say that they deserve to be treated with dignity since they are human beings made in the image of God. Even Jesus did that. I assumed with your quoting of 1st Corinthians Chapter 5 you were referring to sinners of all sorts, not just those living degenerate lifestyles. Sorry for the confusion.

  18. You don't have to be sorry. I think it's nice having a discussion. There are obviously several aspects of this issue. First would be the reluctance of the church to condemn certain lifestyles as sinful and take measures against those practicing them. Some churches still do, as you have pointed out.

    Then the personal aspect comes along, and again, there is a difference between behaving decently in a social setting, getting friendly with someone or having to deal with certain issues in one's family. Etc etc. It's just difficult to deal with all these things in one short post.

  19. Thank you for your kindness, Sanne! I enjoy a discussion, too, but all too often I veer from course. Best wishes!

  20. You are welcome and best wishes to you, too!
    God bless


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