Friday, November 24, 2006

We be jammin

"Don't jam your religion down my throat" is a common, crude, and faulty argument advanced to oppose religious displays on public property. I think this can be best illustrated by using the same crude example. We all know that many cities have gay pride parades on public streets. And this begs the question. What are they jamming down our throats?

For the record, my issue is not with gay pride parades. It is with the use of crude and flawed logic.

24 comments:

Preachrboy said...

It's not just religion, mind you, it's any adherance to absolute truth that seems to bring out the worst in post-modernists and liberals. Especially truth that they don't like.

But I do think, as a religious person, this confirms much of what Jesus said about people "hating you because of me". Jesus - even Baby Jesus - stands for a lot of things that a lot of people don't like.

Frankly, I have mixed feelings about the whole display debate. We Lutherans have a strong tradition of clearly distinguishing between the role of the government and the church. But I'm not exactly sure how that applys to a situation (like this) in which the government is simply "allowing" something.

But I have experienced the "jamming it down my throat" accusation on numerous occasions when I simply spoke my opinion of what was true, particularly publicly, though not always in the realm of religion.

Anonymous said...

Preachrboy can you give an example of an "absolute truth"?

Denis Navratil said...

I can certainly respect the Lutheran tradition of distinguishing between the roles of church and state. Of course you realize I am grappling with this issue with respect to the governments role here, not the churches.

Denis Navratil said...

Good question anon. I hope preacherboy will answer.

Preachrboy said...

Well, for instance, that Jesus Christ rose from the dead.

Either he did, or he didn't.

Or whether God created the world or we are products of mindless chance. Only one can be true.

Denis Navratil said...

Preachrboy, I should probably avoid being the "devils advocate" when conversing with a religious man, but I will anyway. I understand what you believe to be true regarding this being a God created world as opposed to a chance occurance. What would you suggest for an open minded skeptic who might like to explore this question?

Preachrboy said...

Denis,

I would simply suggest you read both sides of the debate. There are numerous "creationist" resources freely available on the internet. A quick google will reveal quite a bit.

However, neither side will "prove" its case sufficiently for the other. I sincerely believe that "one cannot find truth with logic until one has found it without". We Lutherans respect reason as the servant of faith, but it has its limitations. You and I should probably discuss that further sometime.

Denis Navratil said...

"one cannot find truth with logic until one has found it without".

I find that quote particularly interesting. Yes, I would very much like to meet you sometime. Perhaps I could attend one of your services. Can you tell me when and where they are held?

Anonymous said...

Which one is true?
You will get a different answer depending on whoyou ask. Which would make neither one, taken seperatly, universal.

What you describe as a universal truth is in logic called a tautology. A or not A. It is alays true but does not really contain any information.

Denis Navratil said...

To anon. You wrote, "Which one is true?
You will get a different answer depending on whoyou ask. Which would make neither one, taken seperatly, universal."

Isn't it possible, or to put it more bluntly, absolutely true, that truth is truth regardless of whether it is accepted as such universally? Something can be true even if large numbers of people are not convinced of the truth. Truth is independent, I would think, of whether people believe something to be true.

Preachrboy said...

Denis,

Our church website has all the info: Grace Lutheran Church

eric said...

If someone feels a nativity scene, symbol of giving and love, is 'jamming religion down their throat', then despite my gut feeling that this someone probably also needs 'some religion' kicked up their back side and slapped up along side their head, the truth is this is probably the very type of person that needs the message of the nativity scene the most. (A cry for help?)

Regarding religious displays on public property, we soon forget that this issue re-emerged over the last few years in several spots around the country. In the name of diversity, you could display all kinds of religious symbols on public property, just not Christian symbols because Christianity is the majority religion and that doesn't much lend itself to greater diversity. Now the backlash and it's leading to discussion about what rule and standard we do use to determine what can be displayed on public property - this conversation is a good thing.

BTW, absolute truths sound much like mutually exclusive tenants which when challeneged seem to threaten our insecurities (often leading to arguments, spats, wars, etc). Isn't the message what's most important if it can be supported by both sides of the absolute?

Preachrboy said...

I can understand why a nativity scene is offensive to atheists and other non-Christians. Christians believe Jesus was born to be the Savior. That's the whole point of Christmas - that this baby would grow up to die for the sins of the world - and he himself would say that "no one can come to the Father but by me". (another one of those absolute truths)

All that is "wrapped up" in those swaddling clothes. The atheists and non-Christians are being told they are not saved. The meaning of Christmas is not (simply, or primarily) about being nice and spreading love - it's about what God is doing to save people from sin. That's what bothers people who don't believe it.

Anonymous said...

Preachrboy and Eric,
Would you be OK with Jewish, Muslin, Hindu, pagean or other religious displays on the square?

eric said...

Anonymous - I'm fine with other religions' symbols on the square. Again, I think the irony is we are to some degree dealing with a backlash because at various places around the country other religions' symbols were allowed on public property, but not Christain symbols. I think by allowing all to display you make it harder to argue government is endorsing religion.

Preachrboy said...

No, I don't think I have a problem with other religions being allowed to display in a government-owned setting, as long as the government isn't paying for it. I wouldn't like it - but I would tolerate it without making a stink. And I wouldn't see it as their religion being "jammed down my throat".

Unlike many postmodernists I have observed, I believe in TRUE tolerance - where you can BOTH disagree with something AND allow it at the same time.

Anonymous said...

Eric & Preachrboy,
glad to hear you are both tolerant folks. (I'll pass on Erics desire to "kick religion up people's back sides" the world has seen enough of that.

What is your opinion of some Christian groups/individuals asking stores to use the excluding "Merry Christmas" over the inclusive "Happy Holidays".

Isn't that being intolerant?
A quick look at my cheap calander show Christmas, Hanukkah and Kwanzaa coming up.

Anonymous said...

Many homosexuals are taking the W.E.B. DuBois approach to gain equality - angering the average American. This strategy has not and will not work. However, my inner libertarian is aginst gay marrige because I don't think one should get a tax break for saying "I do", gay or straight - sam braun (I just figured out how to make comments)

Preachrboy said...

Well, same with "Happy Holidays" - I don't like it, but I think a business can do what it wants. If they think that more people will like that and that will be better for business, then whatever they want - it's their business - literally.

But personally, I as a Christian, don't go around wishing people Happy Hanukkah, or Happy Holidays. I wish them a Merry Christmas.

(Kwanza, from what I understand, is more of a made-up holiday and doesn't really represent any religion anyway.)

Anonymous said...

Preachrboy,
Well Christmas was made up to co-oped the pagen winter solstice festival.

Preachrboy said...

No, Christmas marks a historical event associated with a historical religion, unlike Kwanzaa.

And while history might show that Pagans were celebrating Saturnalia or Sol Invictus when Christmas was first observed by Christians in December, I think there is good reason to celebrate it then.

The Solstice marks the shortest day, but also when the darkness "breaks" and the light begins to come into the world. Not only is this wonderful symbolism for the birth of Christ (the "Light of the World"), but it also just might be that the Father sent His Son then for that reason.

After all, the Resurrection (verifiably) happened in the spring - when pagans celebrate new life - though new life can only truly be found in Christ.

So, co-op? That's one way to look at it. A Christian would probably say that Christmas corrects and clarifies what pagans got/get wrong.

But this is far afield from the topic of the orinigal post, so rather than continue to clutter poor Denis's blog, let's continue this converstation elsewhere if you wish. I can be contacted at tomchryst at yahoo.com.

Denis Navratil said...

Glad to have you participating Sam. Do you care to expand on your ideas re marriage? Should government get out of the marriage business alltogether?

Anonymous said...

Government shouldn’t care if your married or not. A flat tax per household would be good. But there are problems with inheritance, children and separation. That’s why I favor some sort of civil union or domestic benefit contract. - sam

eric said...

Anon/Sam, lest me be misunderstood, allow me to elaborate that I have no 'desire' (your word) to "kick" anybody, but rather, do get the feeling that someone who reckons a nativity scene is "jamming" religion down their throat, would probably in fact benefit greatly from the kinder messages that religion provides, but that such individuals are more accustomed to responding to "kicking" and "slapping" since they perceive viewing a nativity scene as "jamming".

Businesses should just let their employees use whatever greeting they wish at holiday time. I can understand if the store believes certain greetings will impact their business negatively, that they're reluctant to have employees use them. But I harken back to the idea that if all these folks are principled on this subject of avoiding the use of "Christnmas" for whatever reason, shouldn't they forgo the observation of the federal holiday, report for work, and behave like it's just another day, and of course support elimination of the Christmas holiday since it must violate the seperation of church and state?