First off, I think we need to recognize that reconciliation =/= one side conceding to another. No one is asking SJ to adopt Christian moral values, and no one is asking Christians to adopt SJ moral values. Reconciliation = recognizing our differences, respecting them, and choosing to work alongside each other despite those differences. Most importantly, reconciliation means that through working alongside each other, we are able to learn about and from each other in a positive, constructive, and non-combative light, with the goal of being positively influenced by each other.
So there’s that. Now onto sex-positivity/negativity in Christianity.
Here are the facts: Yes, the Bible condemns premarital sex. But the Bible is also incredibly sex-positive. Contradictory? Perhaps. But as always, things aren’t as simple — or as conflicting — as they may seem.
This was (mostly) answered here!
Unlike the above ask, though, your question seems to be asking (if I may bluntly and ungraciously paraphrase) ”What makes Christianity more true than other religions?”….or, if you want to be even more damning (and cause my inbox to be filled with very unfriendly messages): “What makes Christianity true and all other religions false?”
I can’t give you a good, logical answer for that, simply because any answer I could give you wouldn’t be fair or impartial. My knowledge of Christianity (both experiential and empirical) far outweighs, in sheer volume, my knowledge of any other religion. Therefore, it wouldn’t be fair to these other religions for me to try to “prove” that Christianity is the “most true” or the only true religion. I’m simply ill-equipped to do so in any way that would be productive, and I definitely don’t want to risk butchering or misinterpreting facts about other religions in the same way that many people misinterpret Christianity in order to serve their own argumentative purposes. But I can tell you why I (and other Christians) am so sure that the Gospel isn’t just true, but Truth itself.
The ask linked above details a very long story (essentially my testimony) of how I became a Christian and why I decided it was “worth it” to follow this God that has very little scientific evidence supporting His existence. If you’re interested in that story and you have the free time to plow through all that text, then by all means, go ahead and read that. Every Christian’s story is unique. But through my own observations, it seems that there’s a common thread amongst all of these stories.
*throws confetti with you*
Thanks for the compliment…though I should add that I’m writing all of these lengthy essays with relative ease and fluidity at 4am after a long day of school and work. I’m also human. Humans aren’t supposed to be able to do that. I’m not the amazing one here; God is. :)
If you don’t know and you want to know…just ask! :)
Please don’t feel bad! I’m really flattered and kinda surprised that I haven’t lost all of my followers from talking about Jesus for three straight days on here, haha…let alone the fact that people are still willing to engage with me and ask questions. That in itself is pretty awesome.
When someone asks about the Bible’s stance on rape, I usually ask that they point out which verses in the Bible indicate to them that God condones rape. The reason why I do this isn’t for the sake of being argumentative; it’s because people sometimes pick out the most irrelevant references in the Bible - verses that have absolutely nothing to do with rape - and then misinterpret them. Basically what I’m trying to say is that there’s no one overarching response to the accusations that the Bible condones rape, because the accusations themselves are so wide in range that it becomes impossible to address them all at once.
So for now, I’ll just tackle the most obvious and damning reference to the Bible’s endorsement of rape: in the Old Testament, there are lots of instances when the Israelites defeated a tribe or a country in battle, and God appears to give the Israelites “permission” to capture the women of the defeated party. In Numbers 31, the Israelites fought against the Midianites and won. They captured their land and all their possessions and thought that would be enough. But Moses comes over to the officers of the army and says:
"Have you allowed all the women to live?" he asked them. "They were the ones who followed Balaam’s advice and were the means of turning the Israelites away from the Lord in what happened at Peor, so that a plague struck the Lord’s people. Now kill all the boys. And kill every woman who has slept with a man, but save for yourselves every girl who has never slept with a man. (Numbers 31:15-18)
This passage also mentions God’s command to kill Midianite Boys and non-virgin women. Sounds pretty controversial, but we’ll get to that later.
Yeah, I agree with that. The historical ties between Christianity and white imperialism are pretty much undeniable (currently writing a paper on the Boxer Rebellion for one of my classes right now so this is super relevant haha), and I’ll fully concede to the fact that the focus on conversion and evangelism in Christianity has played a big role in Christianity’s imperialist track record.
But while most Christians fully acknowledge (or at least I hope so) that imperialism in God’s name is wrong, it doesn’t change or eliminate the gospel’s core evangelistic message. The Bible says that the only way to eternal life is through Christ. This isn’t something we make up as Christians so that we can feel justified in trying to force the entire world to think and behave just like us. It’s just the plain truth - and it can be an extremely uncomfortable truth for BOTH parties. But as long as we believe the Bible to be true (and at the end of the day, the entire Christian faith basically rests on scripture and scripture alone), there’s no way around it.
There are good ways and there are bad ways to get this message across. The bad ways would include taking over entire countries and destroying entire cultures as an exercise of human power rather than God-centered redemption. But the good ways of conveying this truth far outweigh the bad: demonstrating the genuine love of Christ through our actions. Caring for people. Helping to heal a broken world in respectful, culturally sensitive ways that reflect a desire to see people restored, instead of a desire to inflate our own egos or feel better about ourselves.
So yes: Christianity is definitely guilty of being extremely oppressive and imperialistic. Oppression and imperialism is completely unacceptable. But by admitting that oppression/imperialism is wrong and owning up to Christianity’s oppressive past, we are not negating or apologizing for the truth that Jesus is the only way to salvation. However, we see this exclusive path to salvation not as a limiting, exclusionary measure, but as a way of conveying an extraordinary, otherworldly hope and love that is only possible through the God whom we claim to love and worship.
I’ll let you in on a little secret: most Christians are aware and acknowledge the fact that it’s virtually impossible for the existence of God to be proven through science. This does not mean that Christians have given up on science altogether and are content with living in their little fantasyworld with their bearded man in the sky. There are tons of Christian scientists (such as Francis Collins, who founded the Human Genome Project and is currently the head of the NIH) who spend their lives and careers demonstrating the glory of God and His creation through scientific research and discovery. But not all Christians are PhD-holding scientists, so I think it’s kind of unreasonable to expect every Christian to be able to provide an airtight, strictly scientifically based argument for the existence of God. I mean, if that’s the ONLY thing that would convince people to come to faith, then sure — Christians everywhere would dedicate their entire lives to studying evolutionary biology and astrophysics so that people would come to know Jesus. But let’s face it: even if solid scientific evidence proving the existence of God were to emerge, would it suddenly cause every atheist to get on their knees and start praising Jesus? Probably not.
But here’s the thing: we don’t believe that human scientific discovery is the only way to bring a person to faith. We don’t even believe that it’s the strongest or best way. We believe that God is a personal God, capable of working through every facet and channel of human life in order to reach a person’s heart. But as far as how that happens….your results may vary.