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This last school year (my junior year of high school), I wrote a paper on John Steinbeck and The Grapes of Wrath. The whole year, we had been reading papers and books and then relating them back to the idea of being an artist. An artist, based on what we learned in class, was a speaker of truth who went against the flow of society and spoke out against culture. We read various of “the Greats” like James Baldwin and William Faulkner, and we learned that an artist must care for the truth rather than what people want to hear. We also learned that that often resulted in the banning of books and assaults on the artist himself. In the essay I wrote, I remarked,
[A] good artist oftentimes must stand as two prominent things in the eyes of society: an idiot and a bigot.
Now, my teacher appeared confused at my use of the word “bigot,” and I’m guessing you might be in the same boat as her at this point. Let me elaborate.
We live in an increasingly omnistic society. In layman’s terms, we live in a culture that promotes the “Coexist” ideology. All religions are right. Whatever you believe, that’s what happens to you after you die. We have begun to abandon objectivism* and opt for relativism, which means we’ve begun to believe absolute truth does not exist. And, if we’ve begun to believe absolute truth does not exist, we’ve essentially begun to throw logic out the window. A man I do street evangelism with likes to give this simple analogy: if you jump off a building believing gravity doesn’t exist, you’re still gonna fall. It doesn’t matter what you believe, truth is truth.
So what does this have to do with bigotry? Well, if you’re a Bible-believing Christian, then you understand that Jesus is “the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through [Him]” (John 14:6b, ESV). You can’t reconcile Jesus’ statement with a “Coexist” worldview. You simply can’t say Jesus is the only way to Heaven and agree that everyone can just believe what they believe and it’s fine. It’s not fine. But, if you say that in our modern society, it’s likely you’ll be deemed a bigot. It literally happened to me several weeks ago. Talking to a lady about my faith and the Gospel in downtown Fort Collins, she tells me that I’m bigoted. Why? Because I don’t believe people who follow other religions are going to Heaven. In fact, I know that they’re going to Hell if they don’t have a genuine relationship with Jesus Christ.
You simply can’t say Jesus is the only way to Heaven and agree that everyone can just believe what they believe and it’s fine. It’s not fine.Tweet
After she remarked on my supposed bigotry, I asked her what was wrong with it. If bigotry is simply not accepting others beliefs as true and having a “slanted” opinion because I don’t think anyone else could be right if I’m right, then what’s the issue? Thinking such a thing isn’t arrogant, particularly because of the word “if.” The key is if I’m right then other people who believe something else is true can’t be right if they’re opinion is something other than what I believe. It’s like the gravity example—you can believe all you want gravity isn’t real, but you’ll fall to your death if you jump off a skyscraper either way. If you believe God will let anyone who tries to be good into Heaven and I believe only those who have a real relationship with Jesus get into Heaven, we simply cannot both be correct. Why is it such a heinous crime to say that other people are wrong? It’d make more sense if it was a crime to say everyone is right.
Therefore, during this present time there isn’t simply a movement to reject God. There’s a movement to reject logic. The idea of “your truth” (as in “personal truth”) has permeated numerous facets of culture and society. Take the teaching of universities and the public school system for instance. The concept students are taught is often “there’s no wrong answer” and with that “it’s whatever you think.” This is present in history and English most frequently from what I’ve experienced, and that’s just within high school. In my College Composition class (which is a dual enrollment course through a public four-year university), our book repeatedly states that the meaning of a text is created by the reader as well as the writer. The writer has a part in it, but how the reader views the piece of writing and his/her background as well as other aspects also supposedly determine the meaning of the text.
The author of the writing gives it its meaning, not the one who reads the writing. And any other mentality is extraordinarily dangerous, particularly when handling the Bible.Tweet
Let me tell you now: a writer does mean a certain thing when he/she writes something. Or, even if he/she means multiple things or he/she is thoughtless, it does not automatically mean that the reader gets to decide the meaning. The author of the writing gives it its meaning, not the one who reads the writing. And any other mentality is extraordinarily dangerous, particularly when handling the Bible.
Still, the whole idea of “becoming a bigot” may be unclear. Should we be hateful, intolerant religious fanatics? In a sense, yes.
We should hate sin, be intolerant of evil (Psalm 97:10), and be zealous followers (Romans 12:11) of the one true religion (James 1:27). So, in the way many view bigotry in our society, you should be a bigot. Jesus told us that He is the Way, the Truth, and the Life. Consider this passage in John 6:60-69 (ESV):
When many of his disciples heard it, they said, “This is a hard saying; who can listen to it?” But Jesus, knowing in himself that his disciples were grumbling about this, said to them, “Do you take offense at this? Then what if you were to see the Son of Man ascending to where he was before? It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh is no help at all. The words that I have spoken to you are spirit and life. But there are some of you who do not believe.” (For Jesus knew from the beginning who those were who did not believe, and who it was who would betray him.) And he said, “This is why I told you that no one can come to me unless it is granted him by the Father.” After this many of his disciples turned back and no longer walked with him. So Jesus said to the twelve, “Do you want to go away as well?” Simon Peter answered him, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life, and we have believed, and have come to know, that you are the Holy One of God.”
The truth of God’s Word is offensive. In a self-loving, Coexist-oriented, LGBT-proud world, clinging to one truth and rejecting all other claims to truth isn’t acceptable. Paul writes,
“The coming of the lawless one is by the activity of Satan with all power and false signs and wonders, and with all wicked deception for those who are perishing, because they refused to love the truth and so be saved.”2 Thessalonians 2:9-10, ESV
In 1 John 2:15 John writes, “Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him.”
So the choice is clear: love truth or perish. Choose Christ or die.
Are we willing to be called bigots?
*In my mention of the term “objectivism,” I in no way accept and encourage the full doctrine of objectivism developed by Ayn Rand, but rather just the idea of there are things that simply are and they do not depend on what you believe, and that is the nature of things.