deird1: a cross, on a rainbow flag (believe out loud)
[personal profile] deird1
(I have no wider point at the end of this. I'm just wanting to get it out of my head and into writing so I stop kicking things and growling.)

I have spent quite a while this week arguing with Jack about marriage equality.

Who is Jack? Jack is a collective noun – or a personification – representing the many and varied people on my Facebook friends page who are trying to convince Australia that marriage equality is a bad idea.



The thing is, Jack is a very nice person. He has lots of gay friends (no, really), and lots of non-Christian friends, and he usually gets along very well with them. And, in an effort to be friendly and nice, Jack usually leaves a whole bunch of stuff unsaid.

Jack doesn't say much about his point of view or his beliefs, because it would be blatantly rude and unfair to insert "Why I Disagree With Your Lifestyle And Decisions" into the middle of a friendly discussion about footy and holiday plans. Jack has, in fact, spent years keeping his opinions to himself. They're irrelevant to the conversation, and he knows his friends wouldn't like it, so even though everyone's aware of what he thinks, he politely keeps quiet and just has nice friendly conversations.

Now, though? Now we've got the entire country being asked for our opinions on gay marriage! So it's actually RELEVANT. So, finally, Jack has a proper context to point out what he thinks, freely and frankly, so that he can politely express his opinions without being rude! He'll be able to explain the thought and reasoning that has gone into his very well-considered opinions! And his friends will finally understand Jack's point of view! Hurrah!

Jack promptly runs to Facebook, and starts assembling arguments.

When he is, inevitably, howled down, Jack is hurt. And horrified. And feels unfairly stifled. He has been politely keeping his thoughts to himself, after all, and not being judgemental, because it's what you do in friendly company. But now that the proper context for a real airing of thoughts has come up, these people are pushing him down and trying to tell him that he's not allowed to participate in the debate at all? Seriously???

And so, Jack's friends say "Uh, dude, you're being kinda hurtful with all this crap you're saying", and Jack hears "No, mate, this still isn't the right context for discussion. Go back to being polite, and stop trying to talk about what you think." and feels indignant. He responds with an aggrieved "Surely the gay community can handle an honest and open discussion?!"



Meanwhile...

Jack has many very firmly held beliefs.

Unfortunately, Jack's beliefs are all kinda intertwined. And Jack sees them all as pretty binary.

There's no "How important is this belief?" or "How foundational is this belief?" They are all simply "true" or "false", and they ALL MUST BE true or false - if one of them is false, the whole edifice will crumble.

(Hence, in other contexts: "But of course Jonah was swallowed by a real fish! Otherwise, how could salvation even HAPPEN???")

An outsider might say "Belief X is (a) not really essential to your faith, (b) probably incorrect, and (c) something you don't need to convince others of. So stop pushing Belief X at everyone."

And Jack hears "(a) the elements of your faith are not firmly stuck together, THEY ARE CRUMBLING, (b) your faith is INCORRECT in every way, and (c) stop talking about your religion."

Now, problem 1 here is that Jack feels insulted by the whole argument. Problem 2 is that the argument kinda makes sense.

But, you see, it mustn't make sense, because ALL of it is true and right and correct or NONE of it is true or right or correct! Jack's entire belief system is threatening to topple around him!

...which is why Jack reacts with desperate attempts to dismiss the arguments as illegitimate, such as "You're only pro-gay-marriage because you're putting your selfish interests ahead of GOD'S REVEALED TRUTH!" (And the only reason they're saying it is because of their selfish pride, so they're wrong, so what they're saying is wrong, so really there's no threat to the belief system at all, and it will be alright, Jack's salvation is not in question after all.)



I may be wrong about some of this. I am, after all, speaking in broad charicatures about a whole range of people.

But, in the last few weeks, I've noticed the same two things, over and over again:

- Posting of all kinds of nasty crap, by people who I know are usually nice to gay people, followed by "But isn't the gay community willing to even have the conversation???" when they're called out for being hurtful.

- Accusing all naysayers of putting their interests above God, or not caring about saving the lost, or similar, pretty much every time the naysayers produce a decent theological argument. Said accusations being slammed up in front of them very quickly, almost as if they're trying to shield themselves from having to consider what's being said.

...and, knowing these people like I do, the above description is the only way I can make sense of what they're doing.


Date: 2017-09-05 05:45 am (UTC)
tielan: (hates it we does)
From: [personal profile] tielan
Oh, dear LORD this is terrifyingly accurate.

*facepalms*

And helpful for me, too, in unfolding my own perspectives on the No vote - which I understand, coming from a very similar perspective, but which I'm finding eminently cringeworthy, being built either on a theological perspective which the secular world holds cheap, or else pushing fearmongering and 'what if' situations.
Edited Date: 2017-09-05 05:46 am (UTC)

Date: 2017-09-06 12:27 am (UTC)
tielan: Hulk angry (AVG - wtf)
From: [personal profile] tielan
At least the Christians I respect seem to be giving the topic a wide berth. And so far as I know, the church I attend hasn’t put out a statement (they’re an Anglican church, however, so officially they’re going to follow the Sydney diocese lead).

However, I have at least one Christian acquaintance who hasn't done anything on FB in ages suddenly posting every pro-No link possible and I’m just UGH.

Date: 2017-09-05 04:23 pm (UTC)
vass: Warning sign of man in water with an octopus (Accidentally)
From: [personal profile] vass
Thank you for posting this. I found it useful.

Date: 2017-09-06 02:23 am (UTC)
lizbee: A white, slim teenage ballerina (TV: Abigail)
From: [personal profile] lizbee
This is so very apt that I'm reluctant to share it, because it will become a self-fulfilling prophecy.

Date: 2017-09-07 05:20 am (UTC)
lizbee: Mid-shot of Lin Beifong, a slight pout on her lips (LoK: Lin (pout))
From: [personal profile] lizbee
I think what irks me is that the Jacks in my life seem to assume that, because I am Catholic, I'm just pretending to support queer people, and that if we were alone, I'd drop the facade and join them in agreement.

Like ... is that really what you think of me?

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