Tag Archives: muslim

Why “Love the Sinner, Hate the Sin” Doesn’t Work

This post inspired by Beth Woolsely’s article, which I’m sure is much better than mine.

This painting by Heinrich Hofmann is in the public domain..

What makes you who you are?

Is it merely the physical body, the material of which you are made?

Is it your genetic code that makes you “you?”

Is it the information you contain, your thoughts and feelings, which determine your identity?

Are you composed of what you have done?

Are you composed of what you will do?

“Love the sinner, hate the sin,” rests on the premise that we are essentially separable from our actions. That hating your actions has nothing to do with hating you; that loving you in no way implies a love for your actions.

There are some circumstances under which this makes sense. A person who has been forced by circumstance to do something they would rather not be doing, for example, or a person who has developed a habit they would rather not have through addiction or poor teaching.

But in these cases, the person’s action is clearly not in line with their will – the assumption that the person is  better than their action rests on a clear distinction that the person doesn’t want to perform that action.

Can it be argued that we are defined by the actions that we want to take?

Where does this leave an unrepentant “sinner?”

Where does this leave the “sinner” who believes that at least some of what you call “sins” are not, in fact, grievous crimes?

Where does this leave the person in the sexual relationship outside of marriage, or the one whose spiritual practices you consider to themselves be “sins?”

Where is such a person left if you hate their relationship, or their spiritual practice?

If you hate these things, can you truly love them?

Or is the effect of this “love the sinner, hate the sin” truly to allow the hater-of-sins to behave hatefully towards the person, transgressing their personal boundaries, treating them with anger and disgust, and attempting against their will to force a change in their behavior, while still allowing the hater-of-sins to pretend they are not themselves being a horrible person?

Food for thought.

This painting of Joan of Arc by Dante Gabriel Rossetti is in the public domain. Joan said it was God who led her to successfully drive back the invading armies threatening France; she was killed by the Church, depending on who you ask, for blasphemy, witchcraft, or crossdressing, and later venerated as a saint.
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Breaking the Cycle of Recrimination

ChristiansandMuslims
“In the name of Jesus and Mohammed, we unify our ranks.” During the first days of the Jasmine Revolution in Egypt, Christians and Muslims turned out en masse to form protective shields around each other’s places of worship amidst fears of violence by extremists.

I’ve been speaking recently to a lot of people who feel that other Americans are out to get them.

“Why should we respect Christianity’s right to exist,” ask some supporters of gay rights, “when they don’t respect our right to exist? Christians told me for years that I was evil or inadequate because I was gay; why should I support Christianity?”

“Why should we respect gay rights supporters,” ask the Christians, “when they don’t respect our right to exist? People who want gay marriage are going around calling all religious people dangerous bigots; why should I support them?”

“Why should we respect white people,” some black people ask, “when they don’t respect us?”

“Why should we respect black people,” some white people ask, “when they don’t respect us?”

Christians still say “Paganism is dangerous, because 1800 years ago pagans executed Christians just for being Christian. That’s proof that paganism is evil.”

Pagans still say “Christianity is dangerous, because hundreds of years ago Christians executed pagans just for being pagan. That’s proof that Christianity is evil.”

Going back through history, we see this cycle again and again. Members of one group perpetrate violence against another; and the other group punishes their group for it for years to come.

It’s time to stop the cycle.

Find a member of the group you most fear, and talk to them. You will find that they are only bent on your destruction insofar as they think you are bent on theirs.

Find a member of the group you most fear, and talk to them. Let’s start now.

Gay Jesus Fish
Some American churches have begun using this symbol to indicate that they are a safe space for gay families.