All the opinions, all the time.

People roll their eyes when the ‘Christian voice’ is heard in the media on morality, or family issues, or what ever is dominating the news cycle on that particular day. The media loves to portray certain viewpoints and have no problem making sweeping generalizations; but of course groups like the Australian Christian Lobby don’t do their brothers and sisters any favours by claiming to speak for all of us. But people do love to have their bias confirmed, and I guess that does it for them. Apparently Christians are a homogeneous group and there is little to no dissent about big, or little issues.

Oh please.

There are some things that I think I have a particular perspective on, given my move from atheism to Christianity. I don’t think that this perspective is the be all and end all of course, given that certain other qualifiers have to be attached to anything that I claim to have an insight into (introverted, a bit pessimistic, intuitively cynical, a little mocking on occasion).

But I can say that I have noticed a real difference in the way that people treat me regarding my opinions about things these days. And by ‘things’, I mean the ones that they expect ‘Christians’ to have a particularly strong viewpoint on (abortion, euthanasia, pornography, Llama farming practices). There are a few steps involved here.

They assume that I am going to have an opinion, or take a stand. (This is something you would feel strongly about, surely?)

And then they assume (again) that they know what my opinion about that would be. (You would be against that, right?)

NO I DON’T AND NO, I WOULDN’T.

There are a couple of issues here. Firstly, I don’t feel the need to have an opinion about everything. It’s not that I don’t care about, for example, abortion or euthanasia, but I genuinely don’t have an opinion. I can see that they are nuanced and complex areas and it’s not an area I feel equipped to delve into. Do I have feelings about the issue? Sure. But I have feelings on lots of things that are just ridiculous and emotional and are better off left unexplored (I frequently want to pull my kids out of school and teach them at home, for example. This would be a shockingly bad move for many many reasons).

People find that hard to understand. You don’t have to have a dog in every fight, seriously. You don’t have to have an opinions on every single bloody thing and from what I can tell, others find it especially hard to get their head around this when you’re a Christian.

Sometimes, I just don’t care.

Sometimes, it’s so big and complex and I don’t want the responsibility of making a decisions.

Sometimes, I just don’t feel the need to share my thoughts with others.

I think that it is assumed by many that the Bible is a concise little rule book that has a clear and easily referenced solution to every quandary that will crop up during life.

Well, it doesn’t. Except it does, I suppose. There’s ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.  This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself ‘. So we have to love God, and others, deeply and passionately. Does this mean dictating what they can do with their life? Does this mean making decisions on behalf of them? What does Loving Others actually involve?

We need to look at the world through a framework of Jesus’ love. But that can go in many different directions. I personally don’t see how, within that framework, there can be a lot of disagreement on how to treat asylum seekers, but that’s because it’s one issue that I do have all the opinions on. And we are all going to be different in which battle we choose to fight.

But we also need to remember that loving others also means treading carefully with our opinions.

13 thoughts on “All the opinions, all the time.

  1. Having empathy means that you have the ability to put yourself in someone else’s shoes and see their world from their perspective. I think this is more important than being outspoken about how you might feel in a Voice Of The People way. Sometimes issues are so huge that it is enough just to pause long enough to out yourself in someone else’s shoes and try to make sense of why they may have behaved a certain way. It doesn’t mean that their actions weren’t devastating or that you condone their belief system etc. But it means that you are trying to look at people as individuals with bits that shaped them and reasons for doing things, and surely this is more important than Having Strong Opinions Because You Are A Christian And Christians Don’t Do Euthanasia (for example).

    This makes more sense to me in the Love Thy Neighbour way.

    Having said that, My neighbour is always polishing his letter box and peering up at my bedroom window and I do have an opinion about this which isn’t very loving, let me tell you.

    (o:

    • If there’s one thing that really upsets me, it’s the way Christians have dominated the whole llama farming debate. Where do they get they get off with their, “They’re not like us. They can’t be trusted”? And I hate the weasel word “farm” when we know it’s nothing other than state-sponsored incarceration. I understand how confronting men of different faiths dressed in orange robes can be, but surely we ha…

      Hang on a minute… how many lls is that?

  2. I think this post merits a more serious response than my previous efforts (??), especially your comment: “But I can say that I have noticed a real difference in the way that people treat me regarding my opinions about things these days.”

    From reading your blog, it’s clear your journey from atheist to aspirational agnostic to christian has been an unusual one, and somewhat surprising to you, so it is presumably more surprising to some friends and relatives. I think this can be a good thing.

    I think you are an unusual christian, and so you bust some stereotypes – that non-believers have of christians, but also that christians have of each other. And I think we need more stereotype-busters!

    So more power to your pen/keyboard and words! It will try your patience at times, but it will be good mostly, and always interesting! 🙂

    • Thanks! I’m not always sure how to take things that people say to me though. Recently a guy that I share an office with said to me ‘You don’t really seem like a Christian’ and I LITERALLY have no idea what he was getting at. I didnt ask for clarification because I was scared what he might say. It may well have been because of my swearing, I guess 😉

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