Tag Archives: Rebellion

Comparing male and female support for abortion, divorce and gay marriage

Disclaimer: This post doesn’t apply to married women. When I refer to women below, I mean young, unmarried women. But I’m just going to say “women” for brevity’s sake.

Are women really more moral than men? Let’s take a look at the attitudes of men and women on five of the most prominent moral issues of our time: gay marriage, divorce, abortion, war, and crime.

Gay marriage, divorce and abortion

Here is Pew Research on gay marriage as of 2016:

Women far more likely to support gay marriage than men
Women are more immoral on gay marriage than men

Women favor gay marriage by a margin of 58% compared to only 52% for men.

Here is the Austin Institute on divorce in 2014:

Women are more immoral on divorce than men
Women are more immoral on divorce than men

Women initiate about 70% of divorces, even though they freely chose the man they married, and vowed to stick by him through all circumstances.

Here is Gallup on abortion as of 2015:

Women are more immoral on abortion than men
Women are more immoral on abortion than men

About 75% of young, unmarried women vote for the Democrat party – the party of unrestricted, taxpayer-funded abortion.

Abortion ignores the needs of unborn children. Same-sex marriage ignores the need of children for a mother and a father. Divorce devastates children, causing all sorts of negative effects. Men are more willing to judge all three of these bad behaviors than women. Men are more concerned about protecting the weak than they are about feeling compassionate and being perceived as “tolerant”.

What about war and self-defense against criminals?

Women are also more liberal than men on war and self-defense. You can just look at what happened in the Middle East to the Yazidi girls who are being raped and sex-trafficked to understand the consequences of this anti-war viewpoint. To be anti-war when the war is just is to be pro-evil. Just ask the Christians being tortured and murdered in Syria whether they are happy that American troops were withdrawn from Iraq. Just ask the victims of crimes like rape whether they wish they had been armed when they were attacked. Men are tougher on terrorists and criminals than women are.

Blaming men for what women choose to do

This data shows that men should be challenging women to improve their views on these important issues. But Christian pastors and scholars often discourage men from challenging women on moral issues, preferring to blame men when women take the wrong side of moral issues.

For example, here’s Mark Driscoll explaining how men are to blame for single motherhood:

Part of it is the unintended consequences of divorce. Forty percent of kids go to bed at night without a father. Not to be disparaging toward single moms, but if you’re a single mom and you’re working 60 hours a week, and you’ve got a boy, and he’s home all by himself with no parents and no dad, he’s just going to be hanging out with his buddies, feeding himself pizza rolls.

The number one consumer of online pornography is 12- to 17-year-old boys. What that means is he’s home eating junk food, drinking Monster energy drinks, downloading porn, masturbating and screwing around with his friends. That really doesn’t prepare you for responsible adulthood. That’s a really sad picture, especially if you’re a single gal hoping to get married someday. You’re like: “Seriously, that’s the candidate pool? You’ve got to be kidding me.” That’s why 41 percent of births right now are to unmarried women. A lot of women have decided: “I’m never going to find a guy who is actually dependable and responsible to have a life with. So I’ll just get a career and have a baby and just intentionally be a single mother because there are no guys worth spending life with.”

Lindsay from Lindsay’s Logic shows that even Focus on the Family promotes the view that women are basically good, and that if they are not good, then it’s the fault of men.

First the picture she posted:

Focus on the Family says: blame the man
Focus on the Family: blame the man for what the woman does

Here is the full text of Lindsay’s post:

Focus on the Family recently posted this meme on their page.

At first glance, many people might be tempted to agree with it. But the statement in the poster is actually false.

The truth is that there are plenty of loving, gentle men who are worthy of respect but whose wives are not responding properly to their love and gentleness. Plenty of women have fallen for the feminist ideas that they should never submit or let a man lead them and will be difficult to live with, no matter how wonderful their man is. Even among women who are not feminists, it’s difficult for many women to follow a husband’s leadership because our sinful nature is in rebellion against God’s plan.

Submission and following our husbands is something that must be learned, not something we’re born with or develop naturally. Women aren’t naturally good and kind any more than men are. We’re all fallen. We have to work to develop good habits and learn to do what God wants of us.

It certainly is easier for women to follow a loving, gentle man, but the poster is wrong in assuming that the only barriers to a woman following her man are his flaws. That simply isn’t true. Women also have to overcome their own flaws that stand in the way of the proper relationship they were meant to have.

Unfortunately, this attitude that women are naturally good and that men are the flawed ones that need to change is very prevalent, even among Christians. Imagine the outrage people would have if the scenario was reversed and the poster said something like this:

“Men are usually comfortable being kind and loving to their wives if their wives are submissive, keep up their appearance, and respect them.”

People would be up in arms over such a statement that assumes that men are always wonderful if women will just behave as they should. Why is it any different if the assumption is that women are always wonderful if men are behaving properly? Both are wrong. Both sexes are responsible for their own actions, regardless of what the other person in the marriage does.

This practice among Christian leaders of blaming men for the actions of women is one of the major reasons why women have the views that they do on abortion, divorce, gay marriage, just war and self-defense. Men have been cowed into silence by man-blamers like Mark Driscoll and James Dobson. This message actually weakens the moral leadership of men, and creates a worse world.

This lack of moral leadership by men is particularly problematic with “pro-life” men who try to blame men for abortion. Abortions occur (in non-rape cases) because a woman makes two choices: 1) choosing a man who only wants recreational sex, and 2) choosing to have recreational sex with a man who has shown no interest in commitment or parenting. Speaking as an unmarried virgin somewhat advanced in years, there are plenty of good men out there who don’t believe in sex before marriage, and who have prepared very well for the traditional male roles of protector, provider and moral/spiritual leader. If women insist on choosing the wrong men, and choosing to do the wrong things with those men, it makes sense to hold them accountable. The bad men were bad before the women chose them, and so they should have been recognized and avoided by the women before any need for abortion occurred. A woman cannot expect a bad man to suddenly turn into a good man after he is given recreational sex. Recreational sex does not make a man who is not interested in marriage and children somehow become interested in marriage and children. And women need to be told this by pro-life men who are not cowards.

Men really need to shed this perception that there is something wrong with them, and challenge women on areas where they have immoral views. Men: don’t let yourselves be manipulated into silence in order to get affection, approval or sex. If you must have affection, approval and sex, then choose a woman who puts moral standards above feeling happy and being perceived as compassionate.

Are women naturally good?

Man helping a woman with proper handgun marksmanship
Man helping a woman with proper handgun marksmanship

Disclaimer: This post doesn’t apply to married women.

There is a common theme among pastors and church leaders that the Bible only applies to men, and women are justified in disregarding it because anything they do that is wrong or that backfires can be blamed on men.

For example, here’s Mark Driscoll explaining how men are to blame for single motherhood:

Part of it is the unintended consequences of divorce. Forty percent of kids go to bed at night without a father. Not to be disparaging toward single moms, but if you’re a single mom and you’re working 60 hours a week, and you’ve got a boy, and he’s home all by himself with no parents and no dad, he’s just going to be hanging out with his buddies, feeding himself pizza rolls.

The number one consumer of online pornography is 12- to 17-year-old boys. What that means is he’s home eating junk food, drinking Monster energy drinks, downloading porn, masturbating and screwing around with his friends. That really doesn’t prepare you for responsible adulthood. That’s a really sad picture, especially if you’re a single gal hoping to get married someday. You’re like: “Seriously, that’s the candidate pool? You’ve got to be kidding me.” That’s why 41 percent of births right now are to unmarried women. A lot of women have decided: “I’m never going to find a guy who is actually dependable and responsible to have a life with. So I’ll just get a career and have a baby and just intentionally be a single mother because there are no guys worth spending life with.”

The Bible says that premarital sex is wrong, but Mark Driscoll knows better – he thinks that it is only wrong for men. If women do it, then it’s not wrong – it’s actually men’s fault. He has also told women who have premarital sex that men should be expected to marry them. This man-blaming for the mistakes that women freely make is not an anomaly, this is the standard practice of most pastors and Christian leaders. Is it a good idea to teach women in the church that their own poor choices can be blamed on men? I think a better way would be to teach women that they are responsible for their actions, and that they need to make better choices. In particular, they need to learn not to follow their emotions.

So, here is a post was written by a woman – Lindsay from Lindsay’s Logic.

First the picture she posted:

Focus on the Family says: blame the man
Focus on the Family: blame the man for what the woman does

Note that the Bible does not qualify the command in Ephesians 5 that women should submit to their husbands by making it conditional on anything that a man has to do. A man has separate duties, and those are not conditional on anything a woman has to do first. But Focus on the Family doesn’t quote the Bible – they change what the Bible says in order to appeal to their predominantly female audience (Note: I agree with Focus on the Family on 99% of their views). And this is why men don’t touch Christianity with a ten-foot pole these days. It’s not manly Christianity they don’t like – they’ve never encountered it. It’s the feminized Christianity they find in the church, which blames them for everything, that they reject.

Now, the full text of Lindsay’s post:

Focus on the Family recently posted this meme on their page.

At first glance, many people might be tempted to agree with it. But the statement in the poster is actually false.

The truth is that there are plenty of loving, gentle men who are worthy of respect but whose wives are not responding properly to their love and gentleness. Plenty of women have fallen for the feminist ideas that they should never submit or let a man lead them and will be difficult to live with, no matter how wonderful their man is. Even among women who are not feminists, it’s difficult for many women to follow a husband’s leadership because our sinful nature is in rebellion against God’s plan.

Submission and following our husbands is something that must be learned, not something we’re born with or develop naturally. Women aren’t naturally good and kind any more than men are. We’re all fallen. We have to work to develop good habits and learn to do what God wants of us.

It certainly is easier for women to follow a loving, gentle man, but the poster is wrong in assuming that the only barriers to a woman following her man are his flaws. That simply isn’t true. Women also have to overcome their own flaws that stand in the way of the proper relationship they were meant to have.

Unfortunately, this attitude that women are naturally good and that men are the flawed ones that need to change is very prevalent, even among Christians. Imagine the outrage people would have if the scenario was reversed and the poster said something like this:

“Men are usually comfortable being kind and loving to their wives if their wives are submissive, keep up their appearance, and respect them.”

People would be up in arms over such a statement that assumes that men are always wonderful if women will just behave as they should. Why is it any different if the assumption is that women are always wonderful if men are behaving properly? Both are wrong. Both sexes are responsible for their own actions, regardless of what the other person in the marriage does.

So about the post.

I don’t think that it’s a good idea to blame men when a woman makes a poor choice of her own free will. This is especially the case when a woman chooses a bad man, because we cannot expect a bad man to do good things. A bad man does bad things, and there is no sense expecting him to do good things. It has to be the woman’s responsibility when she chooses a bad man, and he acts badly. The woman could have chosen a good man, but many women today are more attracted to bad men. You can’t choose a bad man and then expect him to act like a good man. 

However, I do think that a good man should take responsibility to help a woman to grow and be better for God’s purposes. But if he does everything he can to lead her and she still prefers self-centeredness, then he is not responsible for the outcome. This is important. We are responsible – practically-speaking – to help other people grow. But we are not responsible for whether they actually do grow. In fact, that goes for men and women. Both sexes should take responsibility for helping Christians grow – especially spouses. But do it right – it if works, then you’re doing it right. The goal here is to take responsibility and to do what works. Not to make excuses.

Note: Lindsay almost certainly does not go as far as I go on this issue. My opinions are my own.

A lesson about men for marriage-minded women from the movie “High Noon”

Marine prays with his wife on their wedding day
Marine prays with his wife on their wedding day

One of my favorite movies for explaining the differences between men and women is “High Noon” (1952).

Here’s the summary from IMDB:

Former marshal Will Kane (Gary Cooper) is preparing to leave the small town of Hadleyville, New Mexico, with his new bride, Amy (Grace Kelly), when he learns that local criminal Frank Miller has been set free and is coming to seek revenge on the marshal who turned him in. When he starts recruiting deputies to fight Miller, Kane is discouraged to find that the people of Hadleyville turn cowardly when the time comes for a showdown, and he must face Miller and his cronies alone.

The main theme of the film concerns Amy’s decision to break her wedding vows the very day that she makes them. She tells her new husband that he must bow to her will, and give up his male role as protector. When he explains his reasons for standing his ground to her practically (Miller will hunt them down) and morally (he has a duty protect the town), she dismisses both. She tells him that if he doesn’t run away from Miller and his gang with her, that she will get on the train and leave town by herself.

The intro of film shows the member’s of Miller’s gang assembling, and the words of the song explain the central conflict between husband and wife:

Here’s the part of the lyrics we care about:

The noonday train will bring Frank Miller.
If I’m a man I must be brave
And I must face that deadly killer
Or lie a coward, a craven coward,
Or lie a coward in my grave.

O to be torn ‘twixt love and duty!
S’posin’ I lose my fair-haired beauty!
Look at that big hand move along
Nearin’ high noon.

He made a vow while in State’s Prison,
Vow’d it would be my life or his’n
I’m not afraid of death, but O,
What will I do if you leave me?

Do not forsake me O my darlin’
You made that promise when we wed.
Do not forsake me O my darlin’
Although you’re grievin’, I can’t be leavin’
Until I shoot Frank Miller dead.

What’s interesting is that his new wife Amy apparently does not understand the meaning of wedding vows or the natural roles of good men as protectors of the weak, and fighters against evil. Although she vowed to stick by him and help him, the minute anything threatening appears that makes her feel unhappy, she abandons her vows and abandons her man. Let’s break down her mistakes now, using actual conversations from the movie.

First, she doesn’t understand or respect the man she married as a man:

Kane: [while riding out of town] It’s no good. I’ve got to go back, Amy.

Amy: Why?

Kane: This is crazy. I haven’t even got any guns.

Amy: Then let’s go on. Hurry.

Kane: No, that’s what I’ve been thinkin’. They’re making me run. I’ve never run from anybody before.

Amy: I don’t understand any of this.

Kane: [after looking at his vest watch] Well, I haven’t got time to tell ya.

Amy: Then don’t go back, Will.

Kane: I’ve got to. That’s the whole thing. [He turns the buggy around and rides back into town]

Her feelings and her desires for the world to be a happy place for her are so strong that they cloud her judgment.

Second, she doesn’t understand the threat posed by evil men:

More:

Kane: I sent a man up five years ago for murder. He was supposed to hang. But up North, they commuted it to life and now he’s free. I don’t know how. Anyway, it looks like he’s coming back.

Amy: I still don’t understand.

Kane: He was always wild and kind of crazy. He’ll probably make trouble.

Amy: But that’s no concern of yours, not anymore.

Kane: I’m the one who sent him up.

Amy: Well, that was part of your job. That’s finished now. They’ve got a new marshal.

Kane: He won’t be here until tomorrow. Seems to me I’ve got to stay. Anyway, I’m the same man with or without this. [He pins his badge on his vest]

Amy: Oh, that isn’t so.

Kane: I expect he’ll come lookin’ for me. Three of his old bunch are waiting at the depot.

Amy: That’s exactly why we ought to go.

Kane: They’ll just come after us, four of ’em, and we’d be all alone on the prairie.

Amy: We’ve got an hour.

Kane: What’s an hour?…What’s a hundred miles? We’d never be able to keep that store, Amy. They’d come after us and we’d have to run again, as long as we live.

Amy: No we wouldn’t, not if they didn’t know where to find us. Oh Will! Will, I’m begging you, please let’s go.

Kane: I can’t.

Amy: Don’t try to be a hero. You don’t have to be a hero, not for me.

Kane: I’m not trying to be a hero. If you think I like this, you’re crazy.

Instead of recognizing how her feelings are deceiving her about the threat and trusting her husband, she tries to force him to accept her mistaken view of reality by threatening to abandon him.

One of Kane’s ex-girlfriends has a talk with Amy, which helps her to understand who Kane is, and what is expected of her:

Amy: That man downstairs, the clerk, he said things about you and Will. I’ve been trying to understand why he wouldn’t go with me, and now all I can think of is that it’s got to be because of you…Let him go, he still has a chance. Let him go.

Helen: He isn’t staying for me. I haven’t spoken to him for a year – until today. I am leaving on the same train you are…What kind of woman are you? How can you leave him like this? Does the sound of guns frighten you that much?

Amy: I’ve heard guns. My father and my brother were killed by guns. They were on the right side but that didn’t help them any when the shooting started. My brother was nineteen. I watched him die. That’s when I became a Quaker. I don’t care who’s right or who’s wrong. There’s got to be some better way for people to live. Will knows how I feel about it.

Helen: I hate this town. I always hated it – to be a Mexican woman in a town like this.

Amy: I understand.

Helen: You do? That’s good. I don’t understand you. No matter what you say. If Kane was my man, I’d never leave him like this. I’d get a gun. I’d fight.

Amy: Why don’t you?

Helen: He is not my man. He’s yours.

Helen understands the need for a wife to stand by her man. But Amy’s response to evil is to shut her eyes and focus on feeling good and being happy. Notice that her “better way” is unspecified – it’s just a feeling she has that pacificism and no-violence will somehow “work” to stop evil. But in reality, pacifism is not a “better way” of dealing with evil – it does not work. Her pacifist response not only does not make evil go away, it actually encourages more evil. Weakness emboldens evildoers, and laying down your arms provokes them to do more evil. Will Kane knows this, but she won’t listen to him.

You can watch the final gunfight here, as well as Amy’s final decision:

So, this is why I really recommend this movie as a discussion-starter when you like a girl and are thinking of marrying her. It clarifies the essential problem with many young women today not being ready for marriage. To be fair, most women come around to respect their husbands and his different roles after they get married. However, the risk of divorce is so dangerous that it makes sense to bring it up for discussion before the marriage happens. Marriage is supposed to be an engine to serve God, and the success of that enterprise cannot be left to chance. You can’t just rely on the fact that she says the words of the vow, you have to check to see if she has a habit of keeping her promises when it goes against her own self-interest.

Ask yourself: Who are you, as a man? And does your woman accept that you have obligations to stand up to evil and do good ? Will she support you in your battle against evil, or will the marriage just be about her feelings and desires? I would especially beware of women who think that God is speaking to them through their feelings and desires. Look at her friends: are they practical and successful? Or are they irresponsible, unaccountable and reckless? Look at her father: does he have a plan for her, and does he lead her to be practical, frugal and hard-working? If you are not going to get an ally and a supporter in a wife, then you will not be able to serve God well, as a married man. Think about it.

Comparing male and female support for abortion, divorce and gay marriage

Disclaimer: This post doesn’t apply to married women. When I refer to women below, I mean young, unmarried women. But I’m just going to say “women” for brevity’s sake.

Are women really more moral than men? Let’s take a look at the attitudes of men and women on five of the most prominent moral issues of our time: gay marriage, divorce, abortion, war, and crime.

Gay marriage, divorce and abortion

Here is Pew Research on gay marriage as of 2016:

Women far more likely to support gay marriage than men
Women are more immoral on gay marriage than men

Women favor gay marriage by a margin of 58% compared to only 52% for men.

Here is the Austin Institute on divorce in 2014:

Women are more immoral on divorce than men
Women are more immoral on divorce than men

Women initiate about 70% of divorces, even though they freely chose the man they married, and vowed to stick by him through all circumstances.

Here is Gallup on abortion as of 2015:

Women are more immoral on abortion than men
Women are more immoral on abortion than men

About 75% of young, unmarried women vote for the Democrat party – the party of unrestricted, taxpayer-funded abortion.

Abortion ignores the needs of unborn children. Same-sex marriage ignores the need of children for a mother and a father. Divorce devastates children, causing all sorts of negative effects. Men are more willing to judge all three of these bad behaviors than women. Men are more concerned about protecting the weak than they are about feeling compassionate and being perceived as “tolerant”.

What about war and self-defense against criminals?

Women are also more liberal than men on war and self-defense. You can just look at what happened in the Middle East to the Yazidi girls who are being raped and sex-trafficked to understand the consequences of this anti-war viewpoint. To be anti-war when the war is just is to be pro-evil. Just ask the Christians being tortured and murdered in Syria whether they are happy that American troops were withdrawn from Iraq. Just ask the victims of crimes like rape whether they wish they had been armed when they were attacked. Men are tougher on terrorists and criminals than women are.

Blaming men for what women choose to do

This data shows that men should be challenging women to improve their views on these important issues. But Christian pastors and scholars often discourage men from challenging women on moral issues, preferring to blame men when women take the wrong side of moral issues.

For example, here’s Mark Driscoll explaining how men are to blame for single motherhood:

Part of it is the unintended consequences of divorce. Forty percent of kids go to bed at night without a father. Not to be disparaging toward single moms, but if you’re a single mom and you’re working 60 hours a week, and you’ve got a boy, and he’s home all by himself with no parents and no dad, he’s just going to be hanging out with his buddies, feeding himself pizza rolls.

The number one consumer of online pornography is 12- to 17-year-old boys. What that means is he’s home eating junk food, drinking Monster energy drinks, downloading porn, masturbating and screwing around with his friends. That really doesn’t prepare you for responsible adulthood. That’s a really sad picture, especially if you’re a single gal hoping to get married someday. You’re like: “Seriously, that’s the candidate pool? You’ve got to be kidding me.” That’s why 41 percent of births right now are to unmarried women. A lot of women have decided: “I’m never going to find a guy who is actually dependable and responsible to have a life with. So I’ll just get a career and have a baby and just intentionally be a single mother because there are no guys worth spending life with.”

Lindsay from Lindsay’s Logic shows that even Focus on the Family promotes the view that women are basically good, and that if they are not good, then it’s the fault of men.

First the picture she posted:

Focus on the Family says: blame the man
Focus on the Family: blame the man for what the woman does

Here is the full text of Lindsay’s post:

Focus on the Family recently posted this meme on their page.

At first glance, many people might be tempted to agree with it. But the statement in the poster is actually false.

The truth is that there are plenty of loving, gentle men who are worthy of respect but whose wives are not responding properly to their love and gentleness. Plenty of women have fallen for the feminist ideas that they should never submit or let a man lead them and will be difficult to live with, no matter how wonderful their man is. Even among women who are not feminists, it’s difficult for many women to follow a husband’s leadership because our sinful nature is in rebellion against God’s plan.

Submission and following our husbands is something that must be learned, not something we’re born with or develop naturally. Women aren’t naturally good and kind any more than men are. We’re all fallen. We have to work to develop good habits and learn to do what God wants of us.

It certainly is easier for women to follow a loving, gentle man, but the poster is wrong in assuming that the only barriers to a woman following her man are his flaws. That simply isn’t true. Women also have to overcome their own flaws that stand in the way of the proper relationship they were meant to have.

Unfortunately, this attitude that women are naturally good and that men are the flawed ones that need to change is very prevalent, even among Christians. Imagine the outrage people would have if the scenario was reversed and the poster said something like this:

“Men are usually comfortable being kind and loving to their wives if their wives are submissive, keep up their appearance, and respect them.”

People would be up in arms over such a statement that assumes that men are always wonderful if women will just behave as they should. Why is it any different if the assumption is that women are always wonderful if men are behaving properly? Both are wrong. Both sexes are responsible for their own actions, regardless of what the other person in the marriage does.

This practice among Christian leaders of blaming men for the actions of women is one of the major reasons why women have the views that they do on abortion, divorce, gay marriage, just war and self-defense. Men have been cowed into silence by man-blamers like Mark Driscoll and James Dobson. This message actually weakens the moral leadership of men, and creates a worse world.

This lack of moral leadership by men is particularly problematic with “pro-life” men who try to blame men for abortion. Abortions occur (in non-rape cases) because a woman makes two choices: 1) choosing a man who only wants recreational sex, and 2) choosing to have recreational sex with a man who has shown no interest in commitment or parenting. Speaking as an unmarried virgin somewhat advanced in years, there are plenty of good men out there who don’t believe in sex before marriage, and who have prepared very well for the traditional male roles of protector, provider and moral/spiritual leader. If women insist on choosing the wrong men, and choosing to do the wrong things with those men, it makes sense to hold them accountable. The bad men were bad before the women chose them, and so they should have been recognized and avoided by the women before any need for abortion occurred. A woman cannot expect a bad man to suddenly turn into a good man after he is given recreational sex. Recreational sex does not make a man who is not interested in marriage and children somehow become interested in marriage and children. And women need to be told this by pro-life men who are not cowards.

Men really need to shed this perception that there is something wrong with them, and challenge women on areas where they have immoral views. Men: don’t let yourselves be manipulated into silence in order to get affection, approval or sex. If you must have affection, approval and sex, then choose a woman who puts moral standards above feeling happy and being perceived as compassionate.

Is belief in the Jesus of the Bible needed in order to be rightly related to God?

Lets take a closer look at a puzzle
Lets take a closer look at a puzzle

Here’s a good introductory lecture on the topic by Chad Gross, who blogs at Truthbomb Apologetics.

You can see the footnotes for his article on his blog.

For those who don’t want to watch the video, here’s a good thought from J. Warner Wallace at Please Convince Me.

Excerpt:

A “just” God does justice, which means to punish or reward appropriately. In the Western tradition, we punish people for the actions they commit, but the extent of punishment is dependent also on the person’s mental state, and a person’s mental state is reflective of his or her beliefs. Premeditated murder is worse than manslaughter, and is punished more severely, and a hate crime is a sentencing enhancement that adds more punishment to the underlying crime. In both examples, a person’s beliefs are at play: the premeditated murderer has reflected on his choices and wants the victim dead; a hate crime reflects a belief that the rights of a member of the protected group are especially unworthy of respect. So, considering a person’s beliefs may well be relevant, especially if those beliefs have motivated the criminal behavior.

But the challenger’s mistake is even more fundamental. He is wrong to assert that people are condemned for not accepting the gospel. Christians believe that people are condemned for their sinful behavior – the “wages of sin is death” – not for what they fail to do. The quoted challenge is like saying that the sick man died of “not going to the doctor.” No, the person died of a specific condition – perhaps cancer or a heart attack – which a doctor might have been able to cure. So too with eternal punishment. No one is condemned for refusing to believe in Jesus. While Jesus can – and does – provide salvation for those who seek it, there is nothing unjust about not providing salvation to those who refuse to seek it. After all, we don’t normally feel obliged to help someone who has not asked for, and does not want, our assistance. So too the Creator has the right to withhold a gift – i.e. eternity spent in His presence – from those who would trample on the gift, and on the gift-giver.

The quoted assertion also demonstrates an unspoken belief that we can impress God with our “kind” or “generous” behavior. This fails to grasp what God is – a perfect being. We cannot impress Him. What we do right we should do. We don’t drag people into court and reward them for not committing crimes. This is expected of them. They can’t commit a murder and then claim that punishment is unfair, because they had been kind and generous in the past. When a person gets his mind around the idea of what perfection entails, trying to impress a perfect Creator with our “basic goodness” no longer seems like such a good option.

If you want to hear a debate featuring exclusivists versus pluralists, I’ve got a podcast and a summary of a good debate on this issue between Chris Sinkinson and John Hick. You can’t find a more prominent pluralist than John Hick, except for maybe Paul Knitter, who is featured in a debate with Harold Netland in the new “Debating Christian Theism” book that is just out with Oxford University Press.