The Christian Hate-Literature Paradox
Vol: 18 Issue: 11 Monday, January 11, 2016
Paradox: “A seemingly contradictory statement that may nonetheless be true;” e.g., the paradox that standing is more tiring than walking.
Two thousand years ago, becoming a Christian meant becoming an enemy of the state. The simple act of believing meant, under Roman law, being guilty of a ‘hate crime’.
It wasn’t because the Romans were anti-religious. Ancient Rome was one of the most religious empires of antiquity. The Romans had dozens of their own gods and were willing to embrace pretty much anybody’s else’s god, as well.
The only ‘god’ rejected by Rome was the God of the Jews and Christians. To be accepted by the God of the Jews required converting to Judaism and forsaking all other gods. To be accepted by the God of the Christians required converting to Christianity and forsaking all other gods.
Your average Roman had room to worship his own gods, (and anybody else’s) but he drew the line at worshipping one God exclusively. And the doctrine that only worshippers of the One True God could go to heaven left out all the pagans.
That’s why Christianity qualified as a hate crime in AD 55.
Christians were persecuted in revenge for what the pagans perceived as Christian persecution of pagans in the afterlife.
Sounds a bit simpleminded, no?
The reason for modern persecution is the same reason given by the Emperor Nero’s forces. It violated the Roman socio-religious principle of ‘vive et vivas’ [live and let live].
That same principle is at the heart of secular humanism, and its variations are found throughout pagan religious systems, from Buddha’s karma to Wicca’s ‘Do no harm’.
The Christian doctrine specifically consigned followers of all other religions and gods to an eternal hell.
As such, Christianity is exclusive, intolerant, and therefore, hateful.
The concept of Christianity as a ‘hate crime’ seems so foreign to believers that they can’t really believe that anybody really thinks that.
Christianity’s Golden Rule dictates that Christians love God with all their heart, soul and mind, and we are commanded to love our neighbors as ourselves.
Jesus also said that, on those two commandments, “hangs all the law and all the prophets.” In other words, it is the distilled essence of what it means to be a Christian. Love.
This is where the world gets hung up. “If Christians are so loving, why can’t they leave the rest of us alone?” A loving God, they argue, would not exclude good people just because of a religious tag.
Imagine for a second that you are an honest, law-abiding atheist. You are driving down the freeway at the speed limit when some bozo comes screaming by you at 30 mph over the limit and sporting a bumper sticker proclaiming, “Honk if you love Jesus.”
You think, “And that hypocrite thinks you aren’t good enough for heaven, but he is? Grrrr.”
Christianity is, of course, a religious worldview singularly devoted to the causes of peace and love. We’ve noted in the past that where the spiritual dimension makes contact with this dimension, it creates a paradox.
The Temple Mount is claimed by all three world religions, but the weakest claim is, paradoxically, Israel’s, whose claim is both the oldest and best attested to.
Israel’s land grant comes directly from God, as recorded in the Old Testament.
Both Christians and Muslims claim the Old Testament as one of their Holy Books and Abraham as their spiritual kin. Yet Israel’s claim is the weakest.
It is a paradox.
When the spiritual dimension meets this physical dimension, things get topsy turvy. Christians obtain victory by surrender, for example. Islam can claim a reputation of peace and love based on its history of violence and repression, and nobody blinks.
The Koran has become so sacred that our military forces take sensitivity training on how to handle it without desecrating it, but the Bible is forbidden in public.
No American politician or mainstream media outlet would dare refer to “Jesus the Savior” but show no hesitation at using the designation, the “Prophet” Mohammed.
America is a culturally-Christian secular republic populated almost entirely by Christians, either cultural or born again believers. And Islam is a theocratic religion with almost no presence in either American society or American history. But officially in America, the Bible is hate literature. The Koran is sacred.
It is a paradox.
We know Christianity to be rooted in the greatest of love. Christianity defines love itself as being God himself.
“Love is of God, for God is love” (1st John 4:7-8)
But at the same time, Christianity IS intolerant of other religions. It IS exclusive:
“I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by Me,” (John 14:6) is both intolerant and exclusive.
Jesus is the ONLY way to Heaven, so by definition, all other faiths are condemned, along with their adherents.
Jesus said of Himself,
“Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword. For I am come to set a man at variance against his father, and the daughter against her mother, and the daughter in law against her mother in law. And a man’s foes shall be they of his own household.” (Matthew 10:34-36)
Christians know their faith to be rooted in peace and love. But the Founder of Christianity says He is come to ‘bring a sword’ rather than peace, and to bring ‘variance’ instead of love.
The Bible explains this paradox in a manner that makes perfect sense to indwelt believers to whom it was given to understand it. And that explanation infuriates the world even more.
“But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.” (1st Corinthians 2:14)
To the natural man, Christianity is a hateful, exclusive and intolerant faith. To the Christian, it is the exact opposite.
Christians know, in their living spirit, a definition of love that escapes the natural man.
“For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?” (Mark 8:36)
The most loving thing a Christian can do is lead someone to Christ and eternal salvation. The most hateful thing a Christian can do is stand idly by and let someone die in their sins. To the world, it is a paradox.
“For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God.” (1st Corinthians 1:18)
To the world, the Bible is hate literature and Christianity is a hateful religion. We know it to be the exact opposite.
That paradox is by itself, clear evidence of the power of God — but discernible only to we who are saved.
Ever have doubts? Remember the paradox. If it all makes sense to you, put your doubts away.
Originally Published: June 30, 2006
Featured Commentary: Watching and Waiting ~ Pete Garcia