A follow-up of sorts to Pride, Lies and Murder
I don’t mean anything mystical by the title. God didn’t audibly speak to me and I didn’t see a hundred shooting starts immediately after thanking God for the wisdom I gained from my [traumatic] time as an internet pariah whom it was fair game to slander, harass and attack in a variety of ways, for the crime challenging other ‘academics’’ consensus views of what could be discussed and what couldn’t. The lesson is something I learned through reflection and study of Scripture, subsequent to personal experience that knocked any and all tendency to believe that “people are generally good” right out of my head. And it’s instruction from above simply in the sense that all truth is authored by God, and He is sovereignly in control of all circumstances that occur. He could have prevented what happened in a number of different ways, but He didn’t. In yet another series of texts to Hank the Homosexual, I explain why.
This began as a response to a question from Hank as to what my full name was.
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I’m nervous about telling people that because of my college experience. It could be not-necessarily you, or not-necessarily the person you mention me to, but the person they ‘let slip’ some seemingly innocuous information (e.g. I work at [place]) to, who knows or is friends with one of my sworn enemies from that college, and funnels that information to them, to be used against me. Next thing you know, the store is flooded with customer complaints alleging that I made racial slurs, homophobic remarks, etc etc toward/in front of guests, and even if the GM knows it’s bogus, it will raise suspicion over why people would be so motivated to come after me, and I may be less likely to get that stellar work reference from my managers, much less rise in the [ranks] while I remain in employment there. I’ve had to really think hard after what could be innocent yet harmful information. I’ve resolved that people knowing things that DEFINE me are hardly embarrassing or shameful, but information that IDENTIFIES me puts me at risk of character assassination.
It’s not intuitive for me to think that way. And that’s how I got hurt in the first place. If my name was not attached to my posts on my university forum, I couldn’t have been targeted for mobbing. Based on my experience I’m a firm believer in the right to be anonymous. For a debate that is contextualized by the individuals involved in it, in private, it is not right for antagonists to take one of the private names of the individuals involved, and publicly shame them by making accusations that cannot be defended against. Truth is, most of the world isn’t Christian. And that’s how people are. Truth doesn’t matter, so the way to win an argument isn’t through reason, it’s through demoralizing your foe so they stop telling you the truth, or through tarnishing their name so no one else listens to them. I was young and naïve in my 20s-22s. Now I am no longer, but the damage is done. Was it because of something I said? Or was it because of how others chose to behave in response? I refuse to accept the blame for any damage to my reputation.
[Hank responded that I didn’t deserve to be treated cruelly etc]
I have two ways of approaching that. One is, that I absolutely don’t deserve better, because what I deserve from God is nothing but the blackest hell for what I’ve done to scorn Him, and continue to do. Two, is that I absolutely don’t deserve this from other people, because they are on the exact same plane as me. Unlike God, who is utterly perfect and has every right to deal calamity after calamity on our heads for our evilness, no human has the right to usurp the role of Judge of another and to proceed to Punish them for their perceived sins. What the Cross shows us is that any time a Christian is punished by another person with human wrath, whether the punisher is Christian or not, they are denying that their punishment was already dealt with—that Jesus took ALL their punishment for sin; not just eternal but any and all punishment. [note: this is adapted from bonus material on the The Biggest Question DVD] For any human to inflict suffering on another as a rationalized retribution and “what they deserve” in the minds of the inflictor is nothing more than a sin that denies the very heart of the Christian faith—the Cross.
In other words, social ostracism on the basis that “I deserve it” is double jeopardy and is a sin against God. I say this with particular irony aimed at one person who did the most early on to make me a pariah; a self-absorbed Orthodox “Christian” male of about the same age. He has alternately justified his behavior, and refusal to remove his thread(s) attacking me, on the basis that:
- ‘people need to know’
- ‘it’s for the lulz’
- ‘I brought it upon myself’ – the audacity of someone excusing THEIR ACTIONS by accusing their victim of being responsible makes my blood boil.
So like Job, I believe I rightly decry my calamity and assert that it is neither ‘of God’ nor that I ‘deserve it’ for any particular deed or series of deeds, and yet, like Elihu, the young man who criticizes both Job’s friends and Job, I assert that I have no petition I can bring to bear against God, who is in the right whether He authored the calamity or merely allowed it, because I am a sinner –in general–, and deserving of far worse than anything I can receive on earth. Just another example of how context matters. If I simply said I don’t deserve it, someone would accuse me of being self-righteous. If I said I deserve it, someone would think I was validating the accusations against me. Neither are the case.
And people’s unwillingness to explore nuances rather than make accusations based on incomplete pictures and assumptions is why my naïve eagerness to tell everyone what I had learned resulted in some of the most vile hatred and irrational condemnations and just plain unfairness that I’ve ever witnessed with my own eyes, in my whole life. If words like these come from the restrained minds of civilized academics, imagine the terror the human heart can unleash in a state of lawlessness, especially when in a position of power. The same spirit that lies behind the kidnapped, presumably-soon-to-be-slave-prostitute Nigerian schoolgirls is the same spirit that lies behind a professor’s refusal to write a recommendation letter for a ‘proselyte.’ Same in quality, different merely in degree. It is an anti-God spirit.
Jesus said in ‘the Sermon on the Mount,’ that lust is just as bad as adultery and hatefulness is just as bad as murder. I think from a divine perspective, He let me experience what I did so that I would really appreciate the truth of those statements. It is especially interesting that Jesus in one place says,
"Satan was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaks a lie, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of it." ~ John 8:44
What is the connection with ‘murder’ being there? I believe that it’s because the same impulse that incites a person to lie is the impulse that drives them to kill in rage. A person who will lie to cover up the truth is a person who would kill to cover up the truth, if he had the capacity and no fear of retribution. The only thing separating a public liar from a serial murderer is not character or self restraint, no, it is merely the presence of CONstraints upon him that limit his freedom to do what he wishes. Think on this, and ‘be very afraid,’ for a little bit. It’s worth dwelling on.
Dunno if you believe all that, but it explains why ridiculously heinous crimes take place; it’s not a surprise to me because I know that it’s INNATE. Nothing needs to be offered as an extenuating explanation, such as “poverty,” “disadvantage,” “depression,” “mental illness,” “lack of education,” “PTSD,” etc. These are offered by confused people who don’t understand why people do evil things, because they think people are basically good. They aren’t. And if you want to see proof even in the “nicest” people you know, confront them with Christian doctrine. Tell them they’re wrong. Tell them they’re a bad person. Tell them Jesus is the ONLY way, and insist on it when they try to dismiss your claims, and they will aptly demonstrate their wrongness and badness to you. Sometimes it’s more subtle and sometimes it’s more overt, but you’ll observe things like offense, resentment, arrogance, disdain, belligerence, ignorance, stupidity, vulgarity, immaturity, rejection, bullying, rudeness, snideness, spitefulness, vindictiveness, stubbornness, vengefulness, and more.
A thing to consider from all of this is personal. Namely, if thoughts and attitudes are just as bad as monstrously evil acts, because the heart condition is the same, and those acts flow from those thoughts, then in God’s eyes, we’re each far more despicable than we like to see ourselves as. Have you seen yourself as a rapist? As a murderer of children? We think, phew, I’m glad I’m not as bad as that. But our natural evil inside is no different. I remember a passage in the NT that says, “sin, when full grown, brings forth death.” I don’t know if this is the exact context, but I believe the difference is one of maturity (in a negative way). Even babies have evil tendencies, but they are immature. The worst they can do is cry or slap or refuse to eat. But the more a person dwells on evil, and does evil, the more it manifests. So like I said, the rapist and the person who masturbates to a rape fantasy are one and the same in quality, just different in degree. A rapist may have “more worseness,” but it’s not a different “type of worse.” :P
What I’ve been talking about here underlies a number of key doctrines. Each are worth giving the time to explain in their own right. But being able to grasp the fact that though there are indeed ‘greater sins’ and run-of-the-mill sins, according to God: some which are “just bad,” and others which are “an abomination,” there is nevertheless no difference in the sense of whether a punishment is deserved. All sins are equally sinful, it has been said. For God, who is perfectly holy (which means “separate”) and infinite, anything less than holy is in a practical sense, infinitely unholy to Him. He can treat some sins with differing punishments on earth and in hell, but the one thing He cannot do is tolerate the existence of any sin ‘in His presence.’ This is because God’s very nature is “a consuming fire,” says the Bible: He literally destroys that which is sinful. Hence why hell is flames. Hell is continually present before the wrath of God. So because all sin merits eternal punishment, we are all, no matter how evil, in the same boat.
And that is why even “nice people” need to be saved. Clearly we can do nothing to remedy our state. The only way to “flee the wrath to come” is to find forgiveness from God. But how can God forgive? He can not merely overlook evil, that would be negligence and a miscarriage of justice. He must punish our evil deeds and thoughts, yet still somehow forgive us. How? That is how He conceived of the Cross in eternity past. God chose to live life as a perfect human with no sin, who would thus not need to die for His own sin, who could take the place of the rest of us. Jesus being God, infinite, can bear the sins of an infinite number of people. So Christianity, unique among all beliefs that have ever existed, asserts that we cannot get to heaven by “being good,” because we can’t be good. How we go to heaven is that Jesus was good on our behalf, and then died to take the punishment for our sin that we deserved, but He did not, on our behalf. Every believer is someone who has traded places with Christ. Justice for sin has been met, and we are forgiven.
When I finally ‘got this,’ I realized a bunch of things.
1) I’d been very ignorant before, even as a believer, whether I was saved or not
2) this makes the most sense of everything out there
3) no human agency could ever make this up as a man-made religion. And that’s why none of the others are anything like it.
4) there’s a LOT of people out there who also “don’t get it.” And it’s my highest responsibility in life to ‘get them the truth’ in whatever capacity and to whatever extent I can.
You can’t make informed decisions if you’re not informed. My job will never be to ensure conversions; what people decide after I’ve witnessed to them (that’s the generic term, not all witnessing is “preaching” per se, preaching is speaking out loud, with the connotation of being in public or before an audience) is not something I can influence, that is between them and the Holy Spirit.
And that’s why I’ll keep telling you what I know, and I might ‘exhort you’ (not to be confused with ‘extort’) to make a decision because it’s urgent, but I know faith can’t be forced.
~ Rak Chazak