Is it still safe to defend marriage using your real name?

A Facebook friend is in hot water from his left-leaning classmates for a short essay that he wrote defending marriage. It was published in his college newspaper. In it, he makes a case that society has an interest in promoting marriage because the state has an interest in the development of children.

He writes (in part):

Marriage is a comprehensive union with a special link to children. It is a private union with a public purpose.

Private in that comprehensive union exemplifies the love of the spouses. Public in that their comprehensive union is intrinsically directed toward a purpose beyond the love of the spouses: children.

The state regulates marriage because it has an interest in children. Marriage produces and cultivates the development of future citizens within a family unit held together by norms of fidelity, monogamy, exclusivity, and permanence. The state incentivizes marriage both because it recognizes child-rearing to be a difficult task and because it wants to encourage men and women to form family units. Not all marriages have children; some are infertile. Nevertheless, all marriages between men and women are still capable of engaging in the kind of unitive act that is intrinsically directed toward children.

The essay is a 500-word version of a longer essay that he posted before.

Scary comments

I wanted to bring this up because if you read some of the comments on his post, you will find that most of them seem to be unable to even understand the case that he was trying to make in his small, short 500-word version of the longer essay. Yet, even though these people could not understand what he was saying, they nevertheless went ahead and insulted him personally, over and over and over again.

Take a look at some of these comments, and ask yourself – are they trying to engage with his arguments? Are they bringing new research to bear on the problem? Or are they just offering personal attacks and emotional outbursts?

Look:

The argument in the letter has been debunked time and time again. Ultimately, it implies gay couples aren’t human. At the very least, it implies that gay people aren’t already parents, which is false. I’m absolutely disgusted at your discretion in publishing this trash. You have stooped to an unbelievable low this time. As a side note, I’m embarrassed for [the academic department you belong to].

If it’s been debunked so many times, then we can’t he explain what’s wrong with it instead of becoming insulting?

Here’s another from that same person, right after the first one:

You don’t like gay people. How original. As a side note, I did offer arguments against the ridiculous fallacies in logic that you presented. But it’s not like you’re here to have a discussion. I’m sure you’ve made up your mind re: profile pictures and such.

Um, he never did post any arguments. He just posted about his feelings “disgusted” “embarassed”. That’s not an argument.

And here’s the same person again:

Your article is an insult to anyone who’s LGBT– yes, even your “friends.” It’s an affront to humanity. See Perry v. Schwarzenegger for an obliteration of your argument. I can’t even bother when the facts are all there in Supreme Court records for your easy consumption.

And the funny thing is – people keep clicking like on his comments. Why is that? Why do they think that he has said anything of value?

My advice

And here is the point I want to make about this. I do not recommend to people, and especially to students, that you write about social issues under your real name. I also recommend that even if you use an alias, that you do not make it widely known what your real name is to people who you meet casually online. You do not want to be in a situation where someone can just do a web search for your name before a job interview or a school admission. People who are on the left on these issues are not exposed to other points of view, so they do not tolerate other points of view. Often, they are coming from a position where they already have made lifestyle choices (I mean straight people, too) where they cannot allow themselves to consider the possibility that they would have to regulate their sexuality for the good of children or society.

71 thoughts on “Is it still safe to defend marriage using your real name?”

  1. I read that this morning. Crazy but not surprising. The article and the larger blog were well written and well argued. The trouble is I’m willing to bet the person making the comments never read the entire article or blog. As such they quite literally have no idea what the arguments even are.

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  2. Increasingly not safe. I’ve been called nasty things and I’ve seen theft and vandalism by the opposition. An alias will only work so far. Ultimately one will have to decide either to speak regardless of the consequences or to remain silent. The goal of course is to drive you into silence.

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    1. An alias will only work so far

      Why?

      The goal of course is to drive you into silence.

      Anonymous comments != silence

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  3. I have two online identities. I argue as persuasively as possible on both, over a range of social issues. But there are certain social issues, and even certain arguments regarding certain social issues, that I only argue with this identity.

    I do think there is a bit of a danger in completely retreating into the comfort of anonymity. One of the reasons gay culture has become so accepted is because “everyone” knows someone who is gay now. That wasn’t the case a long time ago. If we retreat entirely behind masks, our liberal/secular friends also won’t know any who belong to the minority (in certain age groups, or regions) that hold conservative/Christian political beliefs.

    Unfamiliarity breeds contempt. The same way it’s become difficult for even some stalwart conservatives to oppose homosexuality (“well, I know John and Bill.. who am I to say they can’t express their love physically”), it will remain at least a little more difficult for seculars to completely abuse and mock Christians and conservatives when they personally know (decent!) conservatives and Christians.

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  4. Disagree with your advice. You will see on my FB page that I am completely honest and direct in my opinions. I believe that if our trust and hope is in the Christ of God, and we are presenting Christian truths in the public arena, then hiding behind anonymity displays an actual lack of faith. My opinion, anyway. Truly no offense meant. Perhaps I am comfortable because I was a newspaper columnist for many years and understand how liberals and progressives always shift the ground because their positions inevitably become indefensible. It’s never more hostile than on the gay issue. But abortion is a close second. You can get a taste of this if you look at a debate I had on abortion yesterday with a local attorney in town who gets lots of awards from his “community service” from liberal organizations. https://www.facebook.com/rod.thomson.33?ref=tn_tnmn

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  5. The commenter wrote: “But it’s not like you’re here to have a discussion. I’m sure you’ve made up your mind re: profile pictures and such.” Curious: Did this individual respond in order “to have a discussion”? Has not the mind of this individual already been “made up”? The double standards are glaring and embarrassing.

    You know what the problem is? Too many in our culture cannot even think properly, to say nothing of argue well (or even half-way objectively, minus emotion and rhetoric). I’m assuming our culture has moved beyond the postmodern motif of “conversation” to post-postmodern dogmatics. The conversation is over.

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  6. I’m trying to picture Paul or Peter or Jesus doing this. “Umm, yeah, I have an opinion about what is right and wrong in the eyes of God. I’m just not telling you who I am so I can avoid any suffering.” Fits with a “safety and security” mentality, but not with a Hebrews 10:32-34 point of view.

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    1. I think it’s more of a question of wisdom. Jesus thinks that wisdom is a good idea, and I think that wisdom requires that people get into the position of power they want before they break their cover. In my case, if I lost my job, a whole lot of causes would be immediately defunded. Therefore, I say the things I want to say, and with impunity. That is a better balance than trying to charge a machine gun emplacement without the aid of indirect fire, either smoke or suppression or both. It’s not going to get the job done, and my goal is to get the job done.

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    2. Stan,

      I think you raise a good point: “As they left the council, they rejoiced that they were considered worthy to suffer dishonor for the sake of the name” (Acts 5:41 NRSV).

      On the other hand, Jesus said, “See, I am sending you out like sheep into the midst of wolves; so be wise as serpents and innocent as doves” (Matt. 10:16 NRSV).

      On-line anonymity can be very wise in certain circumstances.

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        1. Interestingly, in the case of the FRC, an unarmed building manager took out the assailant with only a gun wound and no one else was hurt. Would you not work at the FRC or someplace else because it might be unsafe, BECAUSE of their Christian positions? I think in the student column that started this conversation, several people were referencing his closed mindedness because it was obvious He is a Christian. I’ve had death threats as a columnist on the gay issue, (and I had 8 children in the house) but only when I referenced the Bible. It is our Christianity that really trips the gay violence wire. For that, I would commend to you Acts, James, etc. I would also contend that our impact is diminished when we hide behind anonymity. The death threats and worst responses I received were always from people who would not identify themselves. Yes, there is wisdom. And then there is the courage of our convictions. Food to meditation, brothers.

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  7. It’s articles like this that make me grateful that I struggle with a same sex attraction. Which is a bit weird, but it reminds me of the story about Amy Carmichael’s unfulfilled prayers for blue eyes. Because when people find out that I have personal experience it seems to afford me a certain level of diplomatic immunity when I speak about this issue. At least with the people I’ve talked with so far.

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  8. I’ve read your advice on this long before I started commenting on your site, and have gone back and forth. It doesn’t help that I purchased a domain name with my exact name, but I do have other identities I haven’t used in a long time I could turn to.

    I’m torn between prudence and boldness. Prudence tells me to shut my mouth unless I’m with people I know personally, while boldness says to shout from the mountaintops and to consider anything bad that comes from it a blessing.

    In fact, I’ve had people on my Facebook profile do similar things to what I read in your post. I’ve been called names by people that in high school were just as “Christian” as I was, and today only praise Christians who support everything the world does and seek not to cause any waves. They even congratulate those sorts of people, while they either ignore or insult me. It isn’t pleasant, and I’m sure I can come across unpleasant as well, but I’m glad it strikes a nerve.

    I’m still torn, and still thinking about it, but I will once more consider your position, having another story about it. Thank you for the story.

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      1. That’s a good point. Heh, part of it is I’ve always been one to speak my mind and not care what people think. That’s not always been a good thing, and I’m thankful for my wife who has tempered me a bit. But I can definitely see the value, and appreciate your argument a lot. I guess I’ve got some thinking to do.

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    1. I have my own domain name as well. And one question you have to consider is who your audience is with what you’re posting to that domain. I use mine as an author website since I write fiction on the side. So discussions of sexual ethics don’t belong on that site, although depictions of my thoughts on that topic will probably eventually find their way into my fiction.

      As a result I primarily engage people on this subject on Facebook now, and leave Twitter and my website devoted to my public writer persona. And because of other lessons learned, I’ve decided it’s a lot easier to engage in personal discussions instead of posting with abandon on Facebook. That’s the equivalent of street preaching, and it takes real skill not to become annoying enough that people filter you out. If you say the same thing enough times, people will filter you either perceptually or through Facebook’s settings. I decided I didn’t want to be a Jeremiah and rather decided to try to mentor individuals and speak thematically through my art, since I think the absence of that has led to this simplified and constructed view of marriage.

      Not to mention, right now everything’s a little crazy. After Roe vs. Wade everyone thought pro-lifers were these hateful nasty people due to a few extreme examples shown on TV. Now they’re not so sure anymore… Once the propaganda machine dies down and stagnates (and it will), it’ll be easier to get a hearing, especially among your friends who can see that you’re a decent person in every area of your life. They’ll see the cognitive dissonance between the propaganda and their eyes and start to question. But the cultural sea change has to finish first before the emotional fervor will die down enough for people to think about what will have just happened.

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  9. I use my real name, but then I don’t work outside the home currently. Still, sometimes my views on a multitude of issues get me into a fair amount of trouble. I have considered using an alias should I ever decide to blog about any of a number of things I am passionate about, and/or if our family support situation changes such that it might affect our family’s livelihood if I say the “wrong” things according to any particular person’s perception.

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  10. On the whole, very good advice. While considering whether or not to blog on this highly controversial issue, a conservative social media type advised me to be as anonymous as possible and provided other wise counsel as well. There is a balance here. We can pray to the Lord (ask for His guidance and protection as we stand for HIs truth) and we can post a guard (be prudent in our areas of responsibility when it comes to safety).

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  11. I do both. On my facebook page, I use my real name and I do have debates with some people – it’s pretty clear to most where I stand, but very few are willing to actually have a rational discussion. I’ve had a few people unfriend me because they could not handle my challenging their position, and one who has a gay son and simply will not accept anything other than wholesale agreement with her position re: SSM (we have mutual friends, though, so it still comes up between us – the last conversation ended rather abruptly when one of my daughters got tired of them making snide comments about how lucky I am my kids are straight, so she got on and, as an aside, mentioned that she isn’t straight. Personally, I think it’s rediculous to label people by their sexual desires, but based on the definitions used, but she and I would both be labelled non-sexual. So, technically, I’m not straight either. :-P).

    I have a couple of blogs where I post under my real name, and I keep these very seperate from controversial issues, as they are highly topical and one is business related. I also have a couple of anonymous blogs (one of which is linked in my user name). When I first started my Moving On blog, it was just a personal blog that I kept anonymous for the sake of privacy. Then I started posting about climate change and was glad of it, as my children were quite young and the idea of some of the crazies that came out of the woodwork tracking me down did not appeal to me. I don’t get a lot of people commenting, but even so I had to switch to moderated comments because of some of the unfortunate commentors that would sometimes show up. I’ve only ever had to block one person, though, and that was just a creepy dude that was obsessed with female ninjas. :-/

    Every now and then, I consider “coming out” on my blog and ending the anonyminity, but then something else happens and I realize that it would just not be a very good idea. There are a very few people who know who I am on my anonymous blogs. They don’t read them anyhow, so it doesn’t matter.

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  12. An English philosopher once said ‘i do not agree with what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.’ It’s about time some people remembered this is most free countries around the world.

    As you say, if you don’t agree say why and have a debate (written or verbal) on the subject, not from ignorance, but from knowledge or experience.

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      1. Purely an FYI, the sources I found indicate that it is incorrectly attributed to Voltaire. No one seems to know who actually said it.

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  13. I’m conflicted on this issue. Though I write under an alias, a quick check of my profile reveals my actual name (at least it does on blogger—while I’m transitioning to wordpress, I’m not sure if that’s the case). Obviously, there are some for whom exposure would cause unnecessary troubles in their personal lives. One could make the case that this fact only adds to the reasons why boldness is required, that some initial suffering will result in true tolerance for opposing views. But that’s easy to say when one is not risking much in being open.

    Strangely, ironically, it isn’t lost on me that today, one is considered courageous to “come out” despite the fact that “tolerance” for homosexuality is at an all time high. Why, then, would we not experience the same by “coming out” regarding our opposition to the homosexual agenda?

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  14. I use my real name. Bring it on.

    Why should it be any different for us than it was for early Christians? Let the blessings pile up! Every insult and vile comment thrown in my direction increases my heavenly reward all the more!

    It’s only just going to get worse you know. Eventually an alias will do you no good, and you will be forced to cower in silence or boldly speak the truth.

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  15. The question to ask is whether it is Christian “boldness” if it is anonymous. Mobs are bold because they are faceless. That’s not really boldness. Nor as effective. Would Paul’s message have been compelling if it was written under a pseudonym from a distant city and people did not see his willingness to suffer for what he believed? I personally put little weight in opinions of anonymous people, particularly those who disagree with me. But this is an excellent discussion because, frankly, I had no idea so many Christians were fearful about being identified with controversial positions that have Biblical backing. Perhaps I am the one that is off here, but I think that having the courage of our convictions means being identified with those convictions. Think of the founding fathers who signed the Declaration of Independence. They put their names to their own death warrants if they had lost, but they believed in what they were doing. Ought we to be any different?

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    1. With all due respect, Rod. I don’t think that you understand what is being said here by the pro-alias people. Let me boil it down for you.

      Effectiveness if identified by real name = x
      Effectiveness if not identified by real name = y
      We are claiming that y > x

      The issue isn’t boasting about who has bigger balls, it’s about doing what works. You can’t be as effective if you are paying thousands in legal fees and cooped up in kangaroo courts. You can’t be as effective if you are unemployed or in jail. You can’t be as effective if you are upset by death threats. You can’t be effective if you spend all your time cleaning spray paint off of your house and replacing slashed tires on your car. Etc.

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      1. One issue I see with the church in general is a false dialectic between self-preservation and martyrdom.

        It seems like instead of viewing our service to the Lord like a battle, where we do our best to achieve the objective, and handle the suffering along the way, we instead simply assume that whatever causes the most suffering and persecution must be the most ‘Christian’ approach. Instead of being willing to suffer *if need be*, we seem to simply seek it out.

        Think of it this way. In a war, say there is an enemy machine gun nest. Would the smarter way be to sneak around behind it and lob a grenade, or would the smarter way be to simply charge it head on, getting killed and probably not even being as effective at stopping it? WK is arguing for approach 1, and Rod and Wgbuttler arguing for approach 2.

        It seems like we assume that the approach that gets us killed, or persecuted, must be, *by virtue of the suffering alone* the best approach. I see it as we serve God and complete His Will for our lives as best we can, come what may, but that, in being wise as serpents as well as innocent as doves (plus Matthew 10:23 above), we should avoid persecution wherever *it does not compromise mission effectiveness* in the same way that the solider who takes out the machine gun nest and lives to fight another day can be the more effective soldier. He is willing to die, and indeed some missions may call for this, but where he can, without compromising the mission, living to fight another day generally works out better for everyone.

        It is one thing to be willing to endure persecutions for the Gospel and related issues, as we are all called to such courage. It is quite another to simply seek persecution and actively disregard self-preservation when not sacrificing effectiveness. Charging the machine gun nest is not always the best approach. Christians in the early church didn’t go handing out Gospel tracts to Roman soldiers on the streets and inviting them into their underground churches…to have done so would have destroyed the church in its’ infancy. The way some people are talking here they should have held services in the town square, flipping the bird to the roman soldiers. Paul himself fled persecution until confronting such was part and parcel of his mission – he could not have accomplished it otherwise.

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          1. YW.

            Our minds, bodies, sanity, time, wealth etc are God’s creations and gifts to us – He has every right to ask for them in His service should He wish to.

            Throwing them out unnecessarily would be sinful, IMHO. Real Martyrdom is glorious, suicide is not.

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          2. PC, WK: I feel like we are talking past each other. If so, then I’m just as much at fault and should communicate better. If your contention is that there are times when anonymity could serve the strategic good, then yes, I could agree with that. My personal sense is those would be rare and extreme times, but in the end, that would have to be between each believer and God.

            Maybe this phrasing helps: My default position is to be public with who I am and what I believe. I do that pretty much always and have had real fruit over the years. But could I conceive of times when I would use anonymity strategically? Sure. Primarily in the physical protection of my children. But I have not. Nor have I needed to. And I worked in liberal, anti-Christian newsrooms for 25 years.

            I was accused of boasting. That was not only a little unkind from a brother, but an inference of my motives, which could not be known by you. I think a worthy question for you to answer yourself, you need not publicly: Would you have been so quick to do that without the shield of anonymity? Perhaps you could admit that one danger to guard against in anonymity is the ease with which one can get personal and even nasty without fear of repercussions. Identifying oneself does have the benefit of putting a bit of a controller on the tongue because it maintains that personal responsibility.

            One last comment before we exhaust this. I confess it feels kind of weird discussing this serious topic with two brothers in the Lord when I don’t even know your names, where you live, family status, work, etc. I’m only assuming you are males and therefore brothers. It’s just feels odd, particularly since most everyone one here seems to be Christian.

            Thank you for the patient interaction. You have given me pause for thought. And while my mind is unchanged, I can understand your positions better.

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  16. I certainly don’t mean to be boasting. I battle with fears like any other honest man. But I am disagreeing that y > x. I believe it to be reversed for reasons I pointed out above. There is more weight behind a position of a person, than an unidentified source. Aren’t you suspicious of news stories that are all “Unnamed sources”? I sure am, because so much crapola can be thrown from hiding behind anonymity. But when a person comes out and says it, the controversial statement carries more weight BECAUSE of the danger of being identified. “He must really believe that!” No, I believe I do understand. But I disagree with your equation’s conclusion. Thanks for letting me continue the discussion. This is valuable.

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    1. I see where WK is coming from and respect his point of view, but I tend to agree with Rod.

      When I hear stories about people who are persecuted for their beliefs I find that to be very moving and inspirational. Some time ago WK posted a video of some Canadian students being arrested for refusing to pull down a pro-life display at a University in Canada. Every time I think about that video shivers run down my spine. Such courage. Such bravery. It shames me that I don’t do more than I do.

      I guess for the time being there is room for both approaches. But the day is coming when aliases won’t work anymore. The government and/or secular activisits/organizations will simply uncover the real identities of and shut down sites run under anonymous pseudonyms. It will be just as dangerous then to use a psudonym as it will be to use your real name. Those days aren’t here yet, but they are coming.

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      1. When I hear stories about people who are persecuted for their beliefs I find that to be very moving and inspirational.

        Every time I think about that video shivers run down my spine. Such courage. Such bravery. It shames me that I don’t do more than I do.

        The entirety of your case rests on your own personal feelings and emotions. You are assuming that others will feel the same way that you do. In some cases they may, but I suspect that in this culture they probably won’t.

        The important thing is the facts, not how it makes you feel.

        And consider as an example, Ghandi’s movement in India, and the civil rights movement here, succeeded because the people in power had at least some Christian conviction, and could be shamed and guilted into stopping their sinful behavior. If you tried Ghandi or MLK’s tactics with the Nazi’s, how well do you think that would have worked out?

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        1. “The entirety of your case rests on your own personal feelings and emotions. You are assuming that others will feel the same way that you do. In some cases they may, but I suspect that in this culture they probably won’t.

          The important thing is the facts, not how it makes you feel.”

          Ok, but, maintaining the battle metaphor, morale (read: emotional states) are very important.

          If he is motivated to further intense action when he sees others *willing* to suffer for their beliefs, then it is reasonable for him to assume that others might be impacted in that way. More, we (or at least most of us) *know* it impacts others in that way, since we (most of us) know others who have said as much.

          You’re right that one must consider who it is they are trying to inspire: other Christians, etc. But I don’t think it’s right to say that his entire case is built upon emotion; rather, it’s built upon what he behavior he believes to be motivated when (some) humans witness brave self-sacrifice.

          Note too what I said above:

          “Unfamiliarity breeds contempt. The same way it’s become difficult for even some stalwart conservatives to oppose homosexuality (“well, I know John and Bill.. who am I to say they can’t express their love physically”), it will remain at least a little more difficult for seculars to completely abuse and mock Christians and conservatives when they personally know (decent!) conservatives and Christians.”

          If all of the (conservative) Christians someone knows are hiding behind false identities whenever they make some political claim, it becomes very, very easy for the average person to consider them “crazy” or a “flat-earther”, etc.

          I don’t agree with Rod that we necessarily have a moral *obligation* to always use our real names, but I also think we shouldn’t always stay behind our masks.

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          1. That’s a good point, too. Morale does matter, and it can be inspirational. Like I said, people around me who don’t agree with me know my views. Because I tell them individually after vetting them first.

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          2. As I mention in my response to Rod below, sometimes your mission may well be carried out most effectively in that way, other times you are just creating another victim. There are many ways to inspire people – your example is just one of them. The wisdom lies in choosing the right path at the time rime. There is a time for everything under the sun, after all.

            Also, there are different levels of anonymity. I don’t hide my views at all from family and friends (and boy does that cause some friction) but at work I keep my mouth shut for the most part, since getting fired will just make me dependent on others for support, all in the middle of the 2nd Great Depression – it will hurt others and accomplish absolutely nothing. A few times I even expressed my views (cautiously) after (as per WK’s example above) vetting them, but very carefully, as per above. So people in my life do know a ‘decent Christian or two’ – your two examples are comparing apples and oranges. Your personal relationships and your public image to the rest of the world are very different things.

            In addition, people can know they are not alone in their views even if people aren’t expressing their views in a public forum – see just about any closed society like the former USSR, for example.

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  17. PC Geek: I’d like to see the data or even myriad examples on our contention for Christians seeking out suffering for the sake of suffering. Outside of monastic orders, I’m just not coming up with them. It seems to me the opposite. We will do about anything to avoid suffering. Not meaning to go all psychobabble, but is it possible that when a pastor or teacher is teaching on the suffering that often comes in the Christian life, you are hearing that they WANT suffering? I doubt that is the case for them. And I do not think it is on topic with whether we are exercising the courage of our convictions if, as I contend, more weight is given a position when the person taking the stand is identified with it and not hiding behind anonymity. I refer you again to Paul and all of the apostles and hundreds, thousands, of missionaries. Did they seek suffering? Or did they merely not shrink back from it when taking their stand for Christ. Again, consider Paul writing anonymous letters from a distant, unknown city. That would indeed have been self-preservation. But would he have carried the power he did by not running from the stones, whippings and general persecution? That is my point. He did not seek it. But by being willing to accept it, his stance carried far more power.

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  18. Paul and other missionaries in the church, by the nature of their work, could not be anonymous. Building a church cannot be done in that manner, although naturally much of the early church did in fact build their churches/conduct their services in ways that were hidden from the authorities. There are different levels of anonymity with respect to different targets. Early Christians were as anonymous as possible to those who would kill them, but not to each other and to those to whom they ministered. Recall that I stated some missions/roles would lead unavoidably to certain sufferings that they must be the faced – in the case of Paul and others such missionaries a very public face came with that territory…but that is not everybody, not every mission.

    In the end, you still did not address or refute my points. I stated above the sometimes the mission does call for risk or suffering, and in such cases, that must be faced. My argument is when *you do not compromise effectiveness* one should stay clear of incoming fire.

    As for your effectiveness-only-via-a-public-stand argument – taking a stance publicly would generally only yield an effect if the person was well known/respected – if some random dude named Rod comes up and says how much he disagrees with gay marriage, all that is going to happen is Rod gets fired, has to live off the largesse of others, Rod’s family suffers tremendously (including failing his Biblical responsibility to provide for his family), Rod gets attacked (maybe even physically), and beyond that, no one cares and it effects absolutely nothing. As per my earlier example, Rod is just running in front of the machine gun, to no effect. Likewise, if some random dude in the Soviet Union just stood up and yelled Anti-Stalin propaganda, what effect do you think that really had, other than get them killed? Such work was far more effective done in secret. Likewise, running up to random Roman soldiers during the time of the early church would just provide another victim to the state and would have accomplished nothing. Such tactics only work on people amenable to reason and open discussion – in the Soviet Union and most of the societies in history (and increasingly our own) people are not open to reason and debate, and in public forum they will easily shout you down, shut you up, and put a stop to whatever good you were trying to accomplish. You have to think not only of yourself but others – even when you can fall on your sword, how does that effect other people in your life and those around you? Does it prevent you from doing further good in the future?

    Nothing WK is writing gains an ounce more power by his real names being known – powerful, anonymous writing has a long, proud historical tradition. In today’s times, that tradition has arisen again.

    As for Christians avoiding suffering…well Churchians of the modern west who compromise with the world are such folks, but you know as well as I do that that is not what I am talking about. Abortion protestors, people who write public op-eds against liberal beliefs (or on facebook) and then get fired, and such are good examples in our modern society. As for monastic orders, they were indicative of a larger trend within Christianity – they sought suffering for the sake of suffering since that was what seemed to be the Christian consensus as to what was holy. People viewed monastics as more holy than them for exactly that reason, and would sometimes practice (lighter) versions of their same asceticism.

    There is a time to confront openly and a time to fight from the shadows. The point is know which is appropriate for the moment.

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    1. Yeah, I think I find this view much more convincing than the other views because it sounds more thought out and strategic. Being effective has to be the main, overriding objective, but within the rules. If I have to draw a line in the sand, then I will do it. My goal is to get a lot done before it comes to that.

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      1. Interesting discussion! Although I would take issue with the assertion that my views are all based on emotion and not on logic.

        It is true that the examples of courage and inspiration I observe in others play a big part in motivating me to take unpopular stands. I think this is human nature. That is why we celebrate heroic acts of valor on the battlefield by awarding medals, etc.

        It is not true, however, that I think suffering is great for its own sake or that I desire to be unpopular, publicly castigated, viewed as a weirdo, attacked physically, fired from my job or dragged into a kangaroo court. And I don’t like offending my friends or relatives either. In fact I absolutely hate it. Believe me when I tell you that I would much rather be the smart hip guy that everyone likes.

        I’m not even sure I’d disagree with anyone here. If the issue is “what is the most effective way to get the message out” then I agree that the most effective way should be used, whether that involves open martyrdom or secret anonymity.

        On the other hand, if the issue is “I don’t want to suffer any negative consequences for my Christian beliefs and so I’m not going to do what God is calling me to do” then I take serious issue with that. (And for the record, I do not think that this issue applies to anyone in this discussion.)

        I guess my only beef would be with the people that Jesus was talking about in Luke 9:26:

        “Whoever is ashamed of me and my words, the Son of Man will be ashamed of them when he comes in his glory and in the glory of the Father and of the holy angels.”

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        1. Well, I am thinking of the passage that WGB quoted (Luke 9:26) and I would add Luke 12:8 / Matt 10:32 and the parable of the lamp shining before men. I think if someone presses you at the personal level to explain your real view, then you can tell them, if you think that they are genuinely interested and not just trying to get you into trouble. What I usually do at work is to tell people both sides of issues, and then give them a debate to watch. IF and ONLY IF they watch the debate, then I will take them out to lunch and explain my real views on things. What I will not do is cast pearls before swine.

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          1. Just to continue on with some thoughts I have on the issue. I think the idea that God is first and foremost concerned with our well-being and continued physical existence here on Earth is a flawed premise. God is not concerned with those things. The Bible is replete with one story after another where God calls people to take unpopular stands which cause them to be ridiculed, beaten, and put to death.

            We didn’t see the prophet Daniel say to himself when the King passed a law saying that everyone could only pray to the King, “Hey, I better lay low for awhile. When I pray to God I’m going to draw my curtains and pray in the closet so no suspects what I’m doing. That’s what God would want me to do right? It would be more effective in the long run for me to keep on living than to die for publicly disobeying some silly law…”

            Would it? Part of our limitations is that we don’t think 4-dimensionally. Perhaps it WOULD have been more effective in the short term for Daniel to hide his prayers to Yahweh so he wouldn’t be tossed in the lion’s den. But would it have been more effective in the long term?

            The last thing I want to say is that if we retreat and go into hiding on the issue of gay marriage, so to speak, then we are ceding that the battle is lost, and that opposition to gay marriage is only from a few religious nuts too frigtened to speak out in public about it. That will empower politicians who are sitting on the fence to go ahead and throw their support behind it since they will be less afraid of the consequences. Finally, others who are opposed to this but are afraid to speak out will keep their opinions to themselves because they won’t want to be the first ones to stick their neck out.

            I greatly admire the way Chuck Swindoll, Ben Carson and Eric Metaxas have taken public stands on this issue. Their public example inspires and encourages me to do the same.

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  19. @wgbutler777

    Thanks for your reply, but you didn’t really address any of my arguments. The few ones you did attempt to address you really missed the point.

    1.) Just to continue on with some thoughts I have on the issue. I think the idea that God is first and foremost concerned with our well-being and continued physical existence here on Earth is a flawed premise.

    First off, Please carefully re-read my earlier statements – I mentioned that one’s safety is useful and important – not that it is the most important thing in the universe. I stressed *many times* that it is important, but the mission more so, and that *while important, it is not more important than the mission*. Recall the “machine gun metaphor” above. Your criticism above is, to be frank, totally dishonest. You are refuting something I never said and in fact carefully dealt with multiple times in my comments above. I made my position totally clear, and yet you return to rebut a straw man.

    God is not concerned with those things.

    The same God who says that “I have given you authority to trample on snakes and scorpions and to overcome all the power of the enemy; nothing will harm you.” (Luke 10:19) and in innumerable places protects His own in reward for obedience to them. He told the disciples to be careful and wary, to be ” Therefore be as shrewd as snakes and as innocent as doves” (Matt 10:16) – this is not someone unconcerned with our welfare, even in this life. He promised protection to His own many times and intervened miraculous lyon their behalf. However, in His Wisdom there have been times when His servant’s missions have cost them their lives, and He did not protect them – why He did not, we don’t know for sure. Sometimes He protects us, other times He does not (in this world, anyway). Either way, the bottom line remains – we do His Will, and accept the difficulties that *must* follow – there is no sin nor crime in avoiding those that need not, and in fact, this appears to be commanded. No soldier is being the best solider he can be when he gets himself * unnecessarily* killed. The necessary-unnecessary distinction is absolutely vital, and seems to be the point that you are missing.

    The Bible is replete with one story after another where God calls people to take unpopular stands which cause them to be ridiculed, beaten, and put to death.

    It has several, yes – but again you miss the point. The mission that God had them on required this – all this tells is that the mission is *more important* than one’s survival, not that is useless. Also, that same Bible has folks fleeing persecution when *it does not effect their mission*. (See Matt 10:23 referenced above). 99% of people alluded to in the Bible (most of the people of Israel, most of the early Church, etc) did not suffer such a fate – the most public, most visible, (and thus most reported on in the Biblical narrative) were those most likely to face such issues – they had the most difficult and dangerous missions – kind of a spiritual special forces, if you will, and thus suffered the highest casualties. And even then, plenty of them, like David and Solomon, for example, did not face any of those issues, and in fact their earthly selves were protected as a result of their allegiance to God. So if you kept a running count, it would be a significant number, but no majority even of primary Biblical characters. And when you factor in all the others referenced obliquely, the percentage falls.

    I greatly admire the way Chuck Swindoll, Ben Carson and Eric Metaxas have taken public stands on this issue. Their public example inspires and encourages me to do the same.

    Recall that I said “As for your effectiveness-only-via-a-public-stand argument – taking a stance publicly would generally only yield an effect if the person was well known/respected”

    Yet again you knock down a strawman, and mix in your own subjectivity to boot. I *explicitly stated* that influential folks are a different matter (especially since most of them have ways to support themselves that the Left can’t easily shut down – they are not working at normal jobs). You tried to counter my argument by providing examples of …well known/respected people. So you did not address my argument at all – it still stands.

    Also – the fact that you admire them (again with the subjectivity and emotionalism) does not mean that other people will do the same or that it will make any difference. Even if did, could the same difference perhaps be made some other way? Tell me, what good have all those abortion protesters done towards getting Roe v Wade outlawed, or even reducing the availability of abortion – jack all. How many babies have been aborted since Roe v Wade? Public activism sometimes works, other times fails totally and completely. But it sure did ruin tons of lives. Again – one must have the wisdom to choose wisely. Your life is a gift from God, and naturally must be surrendered upon His request – it is insult to throw it away unnecessarily. It can be offered back to Him who gave it, but not simply thrown away. Big difference.

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      1. I fail to see where I was not civil…calling someone out on misrepesenting my argument is not being uncivil.

        In any event I am stating the facts of the matter regardless if anyone agrees with me or not.

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      2. I am more concerned with being good as opposed to nice – Paul was often fairly harsh in his letters (at one point telling his opponents to go ahead and castrate themselves, and did not Christ refer to the pharisees as vipers?

        These guys weren’t exactly Mr. Rogers to those against whom they were arguing.

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  20. The last thing I want to say is that if we retreat and go into hiding on the issue of gay marriage, so to speak, then we are ceding that the battle is lost, and that opposition to gay marriage is only from a few religious nuts too frigtened to speak out in public about it. That will empower politicians who are sitting on the fence to go ahead and throw their support behind it since they will be less afraid of the consequences. Finally, others who are opposed to this but are afraid to speak out will keep their opinions to themselves because they won’t want to be the first ones to stick their neck out.

    As I also mentioned above (and you did not address) is that historically this approach only works in societies where some semblence of free speech is permitted – in increasingly closed societies, this type of action, absent influence on behalf of the person who spoke out, results in them getting stomped on and destroyed with nary a peep.

    Again – try saying how much you hate communism in the middle of the USSR or contemporary China and see how long you live.

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  21. PC Geek,

    1)
    My last comment was directed at you specifically, it was a general comment made on the discussion in general directed to anyone and everyone. So all of the accusations of not addressing your specific arguments, setting up strawmen, being dishonest, etc. were unwarranted.

    (You really should be more careful about playing fast and loose with accusations of dishonesty in particular. That is a rather serious charge to make against another Christian and should not be done lightly.)

    2)
    You seem to have a tendency to keep bringing up “emotion” as though it is somehow of less value or unworthy of being a motivating force. I agree that our perception of reality should be based on truth and the facts, and not on subjective emotions. However, to extrapolate from that and imply that emotions are just irrational impulses with little or not value is unwarranted.

    God created us with emotions and commands us to experience them:

    Numbers 25 – “The Lord said to Moses, 11“Phinehas son of Eleazar, the son of Aaron, the priest, has turned my anger away from the Israelites. Since he was as zealous for my honor among them as I am, I did not put an end to them in my zeal. 12Therefore tell him I am making my covenant of peace with him. 13He and his descendants will have a covenant of a lasting priesthood, because he was zealous for the honor of his God and made atonement for the Israelites.”
    Mark 3:5 – “And he looked around at them with anger, grieved at their hardness of heart, and said to the man, “Stretch out your hand.” He stretched it out, and his hand was restored.”
    Acts 28:31 – “He proclaimed the kingdom of God and taught about the Lord Jesus Christ–with all boldness and without hindrance!”
    Philippians 4:4 – “Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!”

    I plead guilty to being motivated by righteous anger when I see Christians being persecuted, unborn children being slaughtered, and the truth being distorted and suppressed. I also please guilty to be being filled with inspiration when I see people take courageous stands for what is right. So please give the whole “you’re being emotional” thing a rest. Your negative view of human emotion is not biblical.

    3) Jesus said in John 12:25 that “Anyone who loves their life will lose it, while anyone who hates their life in this world will keep it for eternal life.”

    Paul said in Acts 20:24 that “However, I consider my life worth nothing to me; my only aim is to finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me—the task of testifying to the good news of God’s grace.” Jesus said

    I stand by my previous assertion that God is not first and foremost concerned with our comfort, well-being, financial prosperity, or physical life here on Earth. He calls us to righteousness.

    And please not that I am not advocating that Christians should be reckless with their safety. I have never said that nor advocated for that. That is a REAL EXAMPLE of setting up a strawman.

    4)
    Regarding your statement that abortion protesting has been mostly useless. Try telling that to the babies that have been saved by this guy:

    http://www.lifesitenews.com/news/i-dreaded-going-to-the-abortion-clinic-to-protest-but-what-happened-next-wa/

    5)
    Finally, the crux of this discussion has been about the issue of resisting the legalization of gay marriage in the United States. Do you realize that Eric Metaxas and Chuck Swindoll have called on citizens to sigh the Manhattan Declaration? You realize that this means putting your real name and identity on a document that can be traced back to you, I hope?

    http://manhattandeclaration.org/#0

    You comparisons to North Korea is invalid (another strawman?) No one is being put to death in the United States for disagreeing with gay marriage. The reason we are fighting it tooth and nail right now is so things never get to that point. Once gay marriage gains the full force of law, THAT is when all of these dire consequences that you fear so much will become reality.

    If we melt into the shadows and stop publicly fighting gay marriage this will cede to the battle to the secularists who claim that this issue is over and the overwhelming majority of the American public now support gay marriage. This will play RIGHT INTO THEIR HANDS, and that is exactly what they want you to do.

    Like

    1. My last comment was directed at you specifically, it was a general comment made on the discussion in general directed to anyone and everyone. So all of the accusations of not addressing your specific arguments, setting up strawmen, being dishonest, etc. were unwarranted.

      You wrote it up as a reply to my post, and in any event no one on this thread made the argument that you were refuting…but you portrayed it as such. That is dishonest and may original argument still stands.

      In any event, if it was meant as a general comment, why refute an argument (as a general comment) that no one made?

      (You really should be more careful about playing fast and loose with accusations of dishonesty in particular. That is a rather serious charge to make against another Christian and should not be done lightly.)

      It doesn’t matter if you are Christian or not – if you are being dishonest, you are being dishonest, period. Being dishonest is just as serious as making the charge of it, more so, actually.

      You seem to have a tendency to keep bringing up “emotion” as though it is somehow of less value or unworthy of being a motivating force. I agree that our perception of reality should be based on truth and the facts, and not on subjective emotions. However, to extrapolate from that and imply that emotions are just irrational impulses with little or not value is unwarranted.

      Here you go again completely misrepresenting my position – I never actually said that in any of my posts – I merely said that they have no basis for use in arguments. However, it is also true that they are not rational – this does not make them wrong or without value, but one’s feelings and fact are under no obligation to be aligned. And they often aren’t.

      God created us with emotions and commands us to experience them:
      Numbers 25 – “The Lord said to Moses, 11“Phinehas son of Eleazar, the son of Aaron, the priest, has turned my anger away from the Israelites. Since he was as zealous for my honor among them as I am, I did not put an end to them in my zeal. 12Therefore tell him I am making my covenant of peace with him. 13He and his descendants will have a covenant of a lasting priesthood, because he was zealous for the honor of his God and made atonement for the Israelites.”
      Mark 3:5 – “And he looked around at them with anger, grieved at their hardness of heart, and said to the man, “Stretch out your hand.” He stretched it out, and his hand was restored.”
      Acts 28:31 – “He proclaimed the kingdom of God and taught about the Lord Jesus Christ–with all boldness and without hindrance!”
      Philippians 4:4 – “Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!”
      I plead guilty to being motivated by righteous anger when I see Christians being persecuted, unborn children being slaughtered, and the truth being distorted and suppressed. I also please guilty to be being filled with inspiration when I see people take courageous stands for what is right. So please give the whole “you’re being emotional” thing a rest. Your negative view of human emotion is not biblical.
      3) Jesus said in John 12:25 that “Anyone who loves their life will lose it, while anyone who hates their life in this world will keep it for eternal life.”
      Paul said in Acts 20:24 that “However, I consider my life worth nothing to me; my only aim is to finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me—the task of testifying to the good news of God’s grace.” Jesus said

      True…I never said otherwise. (If you still think so, please quote the relevant text in my posts above.) Stop setting up straw men, only to knock them down and claim victory.

      I stand by my previous assertion that God is not first and foremost concerned with our comfort, well-being, financial prosperity, or physical life here on Earth. He calls us to righteousness.

      For the 80 millionth time…I never made the argument that safety is the first thing…seriously, are you paying any attention? I keep making one argument, you keep refuting something totally different. Take the time to read what I actually wrote before writing your response. This is getting ridiculous.

      And please not that I am not advocating that Christians should be reckless with their safety. I have never said that nor advocated for that. That is a REAL EXAMPLE of setting up a strawman.

      Regarding your statement that abortion protesting has been mostly useless. Try telling that to the babies that have been saved by this guy:
      http://www.lifesitenews.com/news/i-dreaded-going-to-the-abortion-clinic-to-protest-but-what-happened-next-wa/

      I address this more below, but for the moment let me first say that this John Barros dude, as admirable as his work is, doesn’t have a job – he could not do what he does (laudable as it is) if he was not supported by others – support which would dry up if those people get fired due to their activism. Also, how much is he getting in the way of results relative to the effort he is putting in? In order to be sensible about this, compare the results from this link to the fallout from 50 years of such activism. A few isolated successes does not make a meaningful trend.

      Finally, the crux of this discussion has been about the issue of resisting the legalization of gay marriage in the United States. Do you realize that Eric Metaxas and Chuck Swindoll have called on citizens to sigh the Manhattan Declaration? You realize that this means putting your real name and identity on a document that can be traced back to you, I hope?
      http://manhattandeclaration.org/#0

      This is totally perpendicular to my argument above. How is this a counter argument to my statements above? You will need to explain how Mr. Metaxas asking people to sign a document with their real name somehow invalidates my premise that random people going public with this will probably have negative consequences on them and to no effect on the gay marriage issue, but for influential folks the outcome may be different. That was my argument. How does your statement above counter that?

      You comparisons to North Korea is invalid (another strawman?) No one is being put to death in the United States for disagreeing with gay marriage. The reason we are fighting it tooth and nail right now is so things never get to that point. Once gay marriage gains the full force of law, THAT is when all of these dire consequences that you fear so much will become reality.
      If we melt into the shadows and stop publicly fighting gay marriage this will cede to the battle to the secularists who claim that this issue is over and the overwhelming majority of the American public now support gay marriage. This will play RIGHT INTO THEIR HANDS, and that is exactly what they want you to do.

      The comparisons are valid in so far as the left has the habit of using the same type of tactics (not yet as fully empowered as NK…yet) to shut down those that it does not like. They shout down, attack, fire, and destroy the lives of those whom they do not like – try saying something against gay marriage within earshot HR and see how fast you are sent to be ‘re-educationed’ in diversity training and then later fired. Gay Marriage is basically a done deal already, as is nearly all of the leftist agenda. 50 years of open conservative activism has done absolutely nothing to stem the tide of leftism but has head a heavy cost. Your abortion story up above is 1 person as opposed to the tens of millions (that we even know about) abortions that have happened. I don’t mean to in any denigrate what this man does, I mean to merely say that it is the tiniest drop in the bucket. You can’t win the battle against the left via politics – they are *much* better at the political game than is the right, and now they run the game completely and make its’ rules. They win every time, they have won everywhere, and they will keep winning until there is nothing left for them to win. In every society in history the political forces of darkness *always* win out in the end. After that, their unsustainable evil will destroy their host societies, but like a junkie, western civilization is going to need to hit rock bottom before the few remaining conservatives can then help pick up the pieces. There are no cases in history of a moral and spiritual decline like ours being reversed. We should be salt and light to those around us in our real, personal lives, even when it costs us friends or whatnot. We clearly agree there. However, what I am saying is that public activism accomplishes nothing and plays overwhelmingly to the left’s strengths. They have crushed us completely at every turn over the past 50 years and this will continue. Every victory won by the right was temporary and reversed in short order. I admire your courage and your will to change the world for the better, I really do, but your ideas of how to go about it are just not the way.

      If you want to fight the Soviet Union/left, a bullhorn in the street is going to get you hurt and more importantly, accomplish nothing. There are other ways, ways that, when the time comes, are far more effective. If each Christian was light to even one other person, led one other person to Christ and the truth, in their own personal lives, things would be far better. You have to change people’s hearts one at at time, personally. Political activism solves nothing, as I hope half a century of pro-life and other such activism should make clear. For every success story there are a million failures. This is not the way. We can make the future better by obeying the Lord in our own lives and encouraging those over which we have contact and influence to do the same. Trying to use the political process to make the world obey His Will will do nothing. The real battle is fixing individual human hearts – put not your trust in princes. I try to show His Light to those over whom I have influence, and have had some success happily enough. But I have no influence and no chance at changing the country or its’ government and see no point in destroying myself in a vain attempt to do so. My time and effort would be far better invested making a difference where I actually can.

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      1. I once heard someone say regarding the abortion issue (pursuant to my arguyment above):

        “Could we not build a better future obeying our Lord than by trying to get the rest of the world to do that?”

        Again – despite our arguments I admire your dedication and devotion – the Kingdom of Heaven will be populated with people such as that – my point is that a very different ‘battle strategy’s is needed.

        God gave us our lives and He can demand them back again, but unless He does we are called to be good stewards of what we have been given – not throwing them away when it is not necessary to do so.

        Like

  22. Please excuse the typos above. I’m simultaneously entertaining a two year old while trying to reply to you and this interferes greatly with my editing and proof-reading.

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      1. PC Geek,

        It has never been my position that Christians should recklessly endanger themselves or throw their lives away. There is a line between acting with boldness and acting recklessly. The former should always be done, the latter never.

        Keep in mind that the subject of this thread is about publicly opposing legalizing gay marriage in the United States. I have had nothing to say about what Christians should or should not do in places like North Korea or the former Soviet Union, and there is no point in trying to bring that in as relevant to our situation here in the United States.

        In this country we are tremendously blessed to have freedom of speech and freedom of religion. WHILE WE STILL HAVE THOSE THINGS, we need to use them loudly and often to protect our freedoms and the future freedoms of our children. I agree with you that there will come a day when those freedoms won’t exist for us anymore, let’s try to postpone that day as long as possible.

        Evaporating into the shadows on this issue will cement the deal for the secularists. If no one except for a notable few here and there are willing to publicly defend traditional marriage then it is as good as dead. Republican politicians will no longer fear the ramifications of supporting gay marriage and no one will speak for us except for a few strongly politicians here and there mostly from deeply conservative areas. Being afraid to speak out because you are afraid some guy on the Internet is going to send you a nasty email or the liberal boogeyman is going to slash your tires is not being wise, that’s being paranoid.

        You have to realize that there is a gradient here. It’s not like the world will come to an end the day homosexual marriage is legalized. There is a huge difference between (gay marriage + 1 day) vs (gay marriage + 15 years). At first most radical secularists won’t want to use gay marriage to go after Christians because there will be a huge backlash once gay marriage is legalized and they will still be on thin ice, so to speak.

        But as the years go by they will use the new law more and more to punish Christians and go after Christian churches, so that Christians will have to endure some extreme government persecution 10 or 20 years later that no one will even be thinking about the day that gay marriage becomes law. So if we can delay gay marriage for 5 years, then we are possibly delaying churches that refuse to marry homosexual couples from losing their tax exempt status for 20 years. See what I mean? Every year counts, mostly for all the nasty things that will start to happen AFTER gay marriage is legalized.

        Also, in a weird kind of way time is our friend on this issue. The US government is going an extra trillion+ into debt every year. If we can delay this from happening for another 15 or 20 years then the US government will be too broke to have any relevance anyway. You don’t exactly see the governments of Cypress or Greece aggressively pushing gay marriage now do you? One city in California has just gone bankrupt. The government there can’t do anything at all anymore. It’s strange how your abilities to persecute Christians change when you are broke to pay the bills or you cease to exist.

        Finally, the Bible tells us that some pretty dark times are going take place before Jesus comes back. It’s not because evil people are more powerful or smarter than we are, it’s because they are more numerous. You need to quit being so pessimistic and afraid and realize that GOD is in charge of the universe and that nothing happens without His consent.

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        1. PC Geek,
          It has never been my position that Christians should recklessly endanger themselves or throw their lives away. There is a line between acting with boldness and acting recklessly. The former should always be done, the latter never.

          Ok well we agree on that then.

          Keep in mind that the subject of this thread is about publicly opposing legalizing gay marriage in the United States. I have had nothing to say about what Christians should or should not do in places like North Korea or the former Soviet Union, and there is no point in trying to bring that in as relevant to our situation here in the United States.
          In this country we are tremendously blessed to have freedom of speech and freedom of religion. WHILE WE STILL HAVE THOSE THINGS, we need to use them loudly and often to protect our freedoms and the future freedoms of our children. I agree with you that there will come a day when those freedoms won’t exist for us anymore, let’s try to postpone that day as long as possible.

          Here is a main point of disagreement. A brief look at the news will show that while we are not as bad as those countries, we are running headlong in that direction – if you don’t believe me, try mentioning something un-PC (such as anti-gay marriage comments) at the office within earshot of HR (or some brittle liberal who will call HR) and see how long it is before you are out on the street. Police officers have been known to harass and arrest conservative demonstrators (and once you have any police activity on your record…well good luck not eating dirt from a trash can after that). In addition, even random citizens have been known to make death threats and commit acts of vandalism against those with whom they disagree – it’s like they feel empowered by the massive leftward turn in this country to act as enforcers of leftism. Parents who oppose homosexual indoctrination have been in some cases arrested and in the Canada and Europe much conservative speech is now considered a hate crime, and that legislation will come here too. It is not *as bad as* NK or the USSR, but were practically sprinting there.

          Evaporating into the shadows on this issue will cement the deal for the secularists. If no one except for a notable few here and there are willing to publicly defend traditional marriage then it is as good as dead. Republican politicians will no longer fear the ramifications of supporting gay marriage and no one will speak for us except for a few strongly politicians here and there mostly from deeply conservative areas.

          That is basically what we have now anyway. However, in general, you seem to conflate not *openly* fighting against leftism as the same thing as *not fighting it at all* and that is not the case. Not openly fighting it is not the same as fighting it stealthily and carefully. You are conflating the two.

          Being afraid to speak out because you are afraid some guy on the Internet is going to send you a nasty email or the liberal boogeyman is going to slash your tires is not being wise, that’s being paranoid.

          Until he actually does it or threatens and hurts either you or your family…

          You have to realize that there is a gradient here. It’s not like the world will come to an end the day homosexual marriage is legalized. There is a huge difference between (gay marriage + 1 day) vs (gay marriage + 15 years). At first most radical secularists won’t want to use gay marriage to go after Christians because there will be a huge backlash once gay marriage is legalized and they will still be on thin ice, so to speak.

          From what I see so far the are not on thin ice and will be able to go after conservatives as soon as they get the go ahead…I mean, look at the leadership we have in Washington…this is Obummer’s country now.

          But as the years go by they will use the new law more and more to punish Christians and go after Christian churches, so that Christians will have to endure some extreme government persecution 10 or 20 years later that no one will even be thinking about the day that gay marriage becomes law. So if we can delay gay marriage for 5 years, then we are possibly delaying churches that refuse to marry homosexual couples from losing their tax exempt status for 20 years. See what I mean? Every year counts, mostly for all the nasty things that will start to happen AFTER gay marriage is legalized.
          Also, in a weird kind of way time is our friend on this issue. The US government is going an extra trillion+ into debt every year. If we can delay this from happening for another 15 or 20 years then the US government will be too broke to have any relevance anyway. You don’t exactly see the governments of Cypress or Greece aggressively pushing gay marriage now do you? One city in California has just gone bankrupt. The government there can’t do anything at all anymore. It’s strange how your abilities to persecute Christians change when you are broke to pay the bills or you cease to exist.

          We aren’t going to have to wait ‘for the years to go by’ and we aren’t going to be able to delay it even one day anyway. None of our activism in the past has made even the slightest difference, so why this time? The faster the liberal agenda is realized, the faster the corrupt house of cards can collapse – kind of a form of political akido. When you can’t fight the enemy, and his ways are stupid and destructive…let him have them. Once every liberal plan is realized, one welfare pays 5 times more than real job and tax rates are 90% on working people, then, finally, a percentage of the brain-dead sheep in this country will wake up…but not until then.

          Finally, the Bible tells us that some pretty dark times are going take place before Jesus comes back. It’s not because evil people are more powerful or smarter than we are, it’s because they are more numerous. You need to quit being so pessimistic and afraid and realize that GOD is in charge of the universe and that nothing happens without His consent.

          Well I don’t believe in dispensationalism but I still do see the latter half of your point – however my pessimism is (in the short term at least) warranted, and I believe that my level of fear is rational and healthy given what we can observe. He is in charge but He has decided to let things keep going the way they have – I have no idea why He is letting this stuff happen and I know that He wins in the end, but until that time we should engage the enemy *intelligently*. Note that I have received flak for my (unpopular) views on several occasions – I am not saying to keep silent out of fear or that I do so (despite the face that it is basically useless)– I say simply that you should fight the battles where you can win or at least actually make a difference, and like any good solider pick the engagement strategy that maximizes effectiveness while presenting the minimal target to the enemy. Again – why charge the machine gun nest when you can flank it? No one is saying to surrender to the left…I merely argue that open political combat is ineffective and costly – to use our military terminology, you are fighting the enemy in his territory, and we are taking heavy losses while not gaining any ground. Social conservative political activism has been a huge deal over the past 50 years and hasn’t accomplished anything of note – the liberal’s agenda has succeeded more totally and thoroughly than any other compatible agenda ever has in history. As the Scripture commands us, leading quiet lives, and not putting our trust in princes, is the right way to go.

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          1. PC Geek,

            I respect your opinion and wish you all the best in your approach to being salt and light here on Earth.

            I disagree with your conclusions, however, and would instead prefer to follow in the steps of the prophet Daniel who took on the Babylonian Empire all by himself, the apostle Paul who took on the Roman Empire, William Wilberforce who put himself at great risk trying to abolish slavery, and Dietrich Bonhoeffer who took on the Nazis.

            If it ends in my undoing then so be it. I have eternity to make up for whatever I miss out on in this life.

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          2. PC Geek,

            I respect your opinion and wish you all the best in your approach to being salt and light here on Earth.

            Why thank you.

            I disagree with your conclusions, however, and would instead prefer to follow in the steps of the prophet Daniel who took on the Babylonian Empire all by himself, the apostle Paul who took on the Roman Empire, William Wilberforce who put himself at great risk trying to abolish slavery, and Dietrich Bonhoeffer who took on the Nazis.

            You still did not explain why I was wrong though. So far your replies consist of telling me you disagree with me, not even responding to most of my points, and then providing me examples of people who fought openly and (in some cases) paid a very heavy price. Your examples do not contradict what I said above. Some soldiers, like the ones mentioned below, had mission where they needed to fight openly and did so, but in all of the cases below there were far more serving the same cause who fought in the shadows and while they risked just as much however their missions simply did not require the same exposure. Again, recall the metaphor of charging the machine gun nest vs. going around the side and ambushing it. As I have said multiple times, there is a time and place for both, but you seem to only acknowledge the use of the straight charge ahead position, which apparently in your view is more holy by virtue of the flack you receive as opposed to its’ effectiveness in accomplishing the mission.

            In each of your examples:

            Paul + the Romans: most of the Early Church was underground/hidden for a darn good reason. Paul was visible but many others were not. He felt no need to have them change this.

            Wilberforce – much of the underground railroad and many other abolitionist actions were done secretively for a very good reason. Would have been hard for many of those abolitionists to have helped from the clink, yes?

            Bonhoeffer – much of the anti-Nazi resistance was done secretly for a very good reason.

            Getting shot or captured by Nazis is not the ideal way to help fight against them, now is it?

            In addition you never addressed the surfeit of Biblical verses that I have already been brought to bear on this issue (such as Matthew 10:23, Acts 9:26) and examples from Christian history. I backed my argument up with Scriptural principles – you simply took examples out of Scripture (Daniel and Paul) without the rest of the context. For example Acts 9:26 and Paul.

            If it ends in my undoing then so be it. I have eternity to make up for whatever I miss out on in this life.

            I am not sure why what I am writing does not seem to be getting through to you…please carefully re-read what I have posted. You are not arguing against my position…you seem to be conflating the position of intelligent and non-reckless engagement (risking what is required, but not more than that since it hurts your cause for no ROI) with one of non-engagement and ‘going along to get along’/refusing to fight to save your own hide. Your arguments would only counter the latter position and not the position that I made.

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          3. @WK

            Very well. It is your blog and your call. I will drop the issue and make no more posts about it.

            I do just want to say that I may sound a bit harsh but in light of some of my examples with our Lord and Paul *I hope* that I was not excessively so.

            I am sure butler is a very good man and that man with his level of faith will surely populate the Kingdom. I do want to make sure that everyone is clear that we disagree merely on the rules of engagement in certain conflicts that the Body of Christ is involved in today, but not on the central importance of Christ and the faith.

            In any event I wish him the best and will keep him in my prayers! Hopefully he will do the same.

            God bless all + I am signing out now.

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          4. PC Geek,

            Thanks for your thoughtful defense of your point of view. I strongly suspect that we not disagree with one another nearly as much as it might first appear.

            You come across as an extremely intelligent and articulate person. May God use your talents and bless you abundantly as you continue to follow Him. I look forward to meeting you face to face in the Kingdom of Heaven.

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  23. Ok. There are a lot of comments up there and I have not read through them all…can’t now …

    But I would like to mention that I do know of one person who has used his real name on FB and has had profitable discussions on SSM with those who disagree with him.

    I think using a pseudonym is a personal call and yes wise in some cases.

    One to think about:

    ~~>”10 However, after his brothers had left for the festival, he went also, not publicly, but in secret. ” ~ John 7:10

    And possibly related: Acts 9:25

    ~ Raj

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