On hating unbelievers

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M. Osborne's picture

I had a few nearly simultaneous reactions:

  1. Grief because she's standing before God now.
  2. The memory that she was good friends with Antonin Scalia and his family, and appreciation that Scalia, who encouraged us to be willing to be fools for Christ, still managed to personally connect with an ideological enemy.
  3. Hope against hope that the dogfight for her successor wouldn't overshadow ordinary funeral procedures and care for her family (whom I don't know much about). (Yeah, I knew that one was a long shot.)

Michael Osborne
Philadelphia, PA

M. Osborne's picture

Whatever they think...I've become more inclined toward the notion that politics follows culture and not vice versa.

But I suppose you're right that some in the judiciary think that it's the job of the elite to guide morality forward. I've been listening through Thomas Sowell's A Conflict of Visions, and one of his distinctions between the constrained and unconstrained vision is that the constrained vision tends to respect the collective wisdom of the centuries and be dubious that particular well-educated people can "see beyond" the current morality to guide it forward; and the unconstrained vision tends to think that there are individuals who can "know better" and override what they see as erroneous thinking from the past.

That said, there's John Roberts in the Obergefell decision: "Just who do we think we are?"

Michael Osborne
Philadelphia, PA

WallyMorris's picture

The law is only as good, moral, and fair as the people who make the laws and those who elect the law-makers. Judges reflect the society/culture they live in as they interpret the application of laws. Social media has aggravated the display of the inherent sin in all of us, making argument easier and safer, since you don't have to actually look someone in the face as you argue with them. The discussion pages at SI reflect this problem as well. Yet Supreme Court justices do not use social media. They reserve their writing to their work, speeches, and books which allow more time for careful reflection. The relationship between Scalia and Ginsburg was unique, but cannot mask the reality of Ginsburg's immoral position on abortion and homosexuality. The "dying wish" she made before death was a calculated statement to affect the election. She was not the moral icon that most portray her to be. Yet we should not be happy that someone will face God's judgment.

I forgot to add, since Tyler mentioned Charles Stanley: Stanley should not be pastoring a church. I say this, not because of "hate" but because, by his own words, he disqualified himself with his divorce. He can find some other ministry, but not pastoring a church.

Wally Morris

Charity Baptist Church

Huntington, IN

amomentofcharity.blogspot.com

Ed Vasicek's picture

We all know and probably love people who are pro-choice and do not share our views about marriage and human sexuality.  They are human beings.

When such people are in a position of authority, they perform a function, but do not become mere functionaries. They are still human beings.  Although we know this, technically, our brain re-categorizes them as functionaries only.

In many of her decisions, Ginsburg ruled in ways contrary to God's law But that does not diminish the fact that she was a human being in the image of God, and one who will given an account to God on a higher level than our lost family or friends with similar views. 

The political climate today de-humanizes everyone who is on the "wrong" side.  Sad it has come to that.   IMO, this is nothing less than immaturity of character.

"The Midrash Detective"

josh p's picture

Very well-said Ed. It is a real temptation to demonize those we disagree with, especially on an issue as horrifying as abortion.

TylerR's picture

Editor

My main concern is evangelism. How can you reach a culture you hate so much? Politics and patriotism are likely driving this. God does not view unbelievers this way. He does, in the sense that judgement awaits those who don't follow Christ (Jn 3:36). But, He doesn't in the sense that the Father sent the Son to live, die and rise again for people who hate Him and His law. It's this love we're commanded and expected to have for the world. Instead, increasingly, we get anger and outrage. Yes, unbelievers think and act like unbelievers. Why is this news? Do you want to reach these people with the gospel? Will being enraged at the culture accomplish that?

Tyler is a pastor in Olympia, WA and works in State government. He's the author of the book What's It Mean to Be a Baptist?

Jim's picture

TylerR wrote:
Will being enraged at the culture accomplish that?

If God doesn't take "any pleasure in the death of the wicked" (Ezekiel 18:22-24), neither should we!

Caveat: It is probably safe to assume that RBG was not a believer ... but who knows perhaps she repented and trusted Christ in the hours or days preceding her death.

For those of us who love the country we call home (not being a Christian nationalist but rather in the sense of Jeremiah 29:7, "seek the welfare of the [nation] where [you live]"), we want to see a land where life is valued (sanctity of life - challenged by Roe, late term abortions, post-birth abortions), where Christians can worship freely and participate in politics (cf Feinstein challenging Amy Coney Barrett on her RC faith: "The dogma lives loudly in you"), et cetera.

For us ... we know that SCOTUS leads in the culture wars ... declaring that 2000 years plus of broad cultural acceptance of marriage to be M/W to be invalid! How dare they!

So SCOTUS does matter!

And Ginsberg's passing matters. Her 'dogma lived loudly in her'!

Did I hate her? No! I didn't even know her. (Frankly I don't hate anyone!) But this turning of the page may bode well for the US.

TylerR's picture

Editor

The crux of the matter isn't in the outrage at sin.The angry Twitter pastor and I share that outrage. We also share the disappointment about people in power who abet the moral collapse of the West. The difference is the framing; the framing in our minds and in how we engage the culture.

His outrage (and that of men like him) seems to be misplaced. It's the kind of outrage the prophets had against Israel. But, there's a crucial difference = the Israelites had a covenant with God! The prophets' outrage was rooted in Israel's covenant unfaithfulness (cf. Hosea 1-3). They had a deal, and they were letting God down.

When you're dealing with unbelievers, there is no covenant. The framing is completely different. Why should you be outraged when the Ammorites don't act like Levite priests?

The framing is the difference.

Tyler is a pastor in Olympia, WA and works in State government. He's the author of the book What's It Mean to Be a Baptist?

RajeshG's picture

Statements about God:

Psalm 5:5 The foolish shall not stand in thy sight: thou hatest all workers of iniquity.

Psalm 7:11 God judgeth the righteous, and God is angry with the wicked every day.

Psalm 11:5 The LORD trieth the righteous: but the wicked and him that loveth violence his soul hateth.

Statements about His people:

Psalm 26:5 I have hated the congregation of evil doers; and will not sit with the wicked.

Psalm 31:6 I have hated them that regard lying vanities: but I trust in the LORD.

Psalm 139:19 Surely thou wilt slay the wicked, O God: depart from me therefore, ye bloody men. 20 For they speak against thee wickedly, and thine enemies take thy name in vain. 21 Do not I hate them, O LORD, that hate thee? and am not I grieved with those that rise up against thee? 22 I hate them with perfect hatred: I count them mine enemies.

Bert Perry's picture

It strikes me that what Tyler describes in his article is the same kind of stoking division that too many fundamental pastors do when they don't want to do the hard work of exegeting a passage; "there are some who believe that, and we've got to watch out for....", and all that.  There is something commendable in being willing to be found in opposition to certain things, and Jesus certainly was (e.g. Pharisaical Judiasm), but at the same time, it's a habit that can really get out of control.

For reference, Ginsburg was an unapologetic supporter of abortion, but was honest enough to note her objections to Roe--more or less that it did shortcut the democratic, legislative process.  And the hallmarks of her jurisprudence were more or less a bit of absolutism about the 14th Amendment--there was very little a party could argue that would overcome her belief that any difference in how the sexes are treated (e.g. women not being admitted to VMI) amounted to an illegal infringement of the 14th Amendment--combined with a willingness to rule about what she felt a law should state (e.g. Ledbetter v. Goodyear), rather than what it does state. 

So she was a paragon of judicial activism, really, and a key reason that we fight so much about what goes on in the courts.  If judicial appointments are for life, and it takes a supermajority to reverse a decision (stare decisis), fighting things out in the judicial selection process is going to be far more vicious than doing so for the legislatures simply because the stakes are so much higher and long-lasting.

Aspiring to be a stick in the mud.

Larry's picture

Moderator

It seems that "hatred" and "anger" is a whole lot more tolerable when it is on "our side" and expressed by "us."

But I question whether hating the culture is a useful expression when it comes to evangelism. If we don't hate this culture, there is something very non-Christian about us. We are morally deficient. However, it is quite a different thing to hate people, even those deeply entrenched in and affected by the culture.

Mike Harding's picture

We love our enemies.  But we hate attitudes and activities that God hates.  We hate evil and love righteousness.  Whether that evil is in a likable or unlikable personality is somewhat irrelevant.  Personal anger, hatred, animosity, hostility often lead to violent acts and words.  Recent riots are an example of this. This is punishable by Hell-fire according to Jesus and is equivalent to murder.  Hate sin, love sinners; hate sinful behavior in ourselves first and others second, but love God who cures us and our neighbor second.  RBG promoted most left wing causes and was an enemy of God's righteousness regarding life and marriage, among other things. This judge will answer to the Judge of all the earth who always does right. However, she is much more likable personality wise than some people who take a biblical stand on those issues.  In the end position trumps disposition and policy trumps personality.  In a perfect world we get both.

Pastor Mike Harding

RajeshG's picture

Larry wrote:

It seems that "hatred" and "anger" is a whole lot more tolerable when it is on "our side" and expressed by "us."

But I question whether hating the culture is a useful expression when it comes to evangelism. If we don't hate this culture, there is something very non-Christian about us. We are morally deficient. However, it is quite a different thing to hate people, even those deeply entrenched in and affected by the culture.

Have you considered the account of Paul's interaction with Elymas the sorcerer:

Acts 13:6 And when they had gone through the isle unto Paphos, they found a certain sorcerer, a false prophet, a Jew, whose name was Barjesus: 7 Which was with the deputy of the country, Sergius Paulus, a prudent man; who called for Barnabas and Saul, and desired to hear the word of God. 8 But Elymas the sorcerer (for so is his name by interpretation) withstood them, seeking to turn away the deputy from the faith. 9 Then Saul, (who also is called Paul,) filled with the Holy Ghost, set his eyes on him, 10 And said, O full of all subtilty and all mischief, thou child of the devil, thou enemy of all righteousness, wilt thou not cease to pervert the right ways of the Lord?

Many appear to be quick to speak of Jesus' denunciations of the Pharisees, but this passage speaks of apostolic denunciation of a sinful human being in the context of the apostle's seeking to evangelize another man. We might think that Paul should not have spoken so harshly to this man because of how that would likely have hindered their being able to evangelize him, both then and in the future. 

Nonetheless, Paul's words to the sorcerer hardly evince what we might think would have been a loving, non-confrontational interaction with this sinner. Does this passage not show that using even blistering words when interacting with some hardened sinners in some settings is righteous conduct?