My Turn: Christianity is not hate-filled

People should be tolerant just as with any other religion

Posted: Thursday, April 19, 2007

I hesitate to write in recognition that the Juneau Empire uses letters and My Turns simply as tools to raise circulation. I, for one, do not want to be used as a pawn for its profit. I am not writing to begin a dialogue, but simply as a statement on behalf of Christ and Christianity.

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I can't sit back and ignore the sad misrepresentation Christianity has had recently on this page. The letters and My Turns that have been published over the past month make Christianity out to be an archaic, hate-filled religion. If I believed half of what these misguided authors have written, I too would turn away. Passages were taken out of context and made to say what the writer wanted them to say. You can do that with any writing.

The reality is that Christianity is about love, not hate. God's word (John 3:16), tells us that because of His love for a world without hope for saving themselves, God sent His son to die in our place for the sins that separate us from God. Now that's love (I John 4:7-8).

This self-sacrificial action was done with only the good of the receiver in mind. A holy and perfectly righteous God, who cannot look on sin, opened the door for mankind to reach out to Him. He provided a bridge to himself through Christ's dying for our sin on the cross. That provided hope that can be found nowhere else (Romans 5:19).

That's love, not hate!

The hate comes in when mankind chooses to turn its back on God's offer, hating the one who provides the only hope it can possibly have. Those who love God love others as well. That is our mandate given by God. We take it very seriously. I John 4:21 tells us, "And this commandment we have from Him, that the one who loves God should love his brother also."

The authors of recent letters and My Turns want us to turn our backs on the Bible and pursue the enlightenment of the new age. To do that would be to turn our backs on the Judeo-Christian ethic on which our judicial system is based. It doesn't take a whole lot of research to see that it is the Mosaic law that is the foundation on which our rules of justice are founded.

The word "tolerance" is being thrown around as a battle cry for those angered with the message of Christianity. I encourage them to really think about tolerance for a minute and have them ask themselves if they're really following the message they're espousing. Why is it that society is supposed to be tolerant of everything other than Christianity?

Tolerance does not mean I have to accept as right what someone else is teaching; it simply means I must recognize they have the right to believe whatever they choose. I want people to be tolerant of Christianity as well as any other religion.

Since the founding of our country, we have enjoyed the freedom of religion. This would be defined as the freedom to worship and choose what faith we will follow. I simply want the right to continue this practice. I have no desire to force Christianity down the throat of someone who does not want to hear it. Each person has the right to make their own choice. As I recognize that right, I am expressing tolerance.

• Tom Matthews is the pastor at Douglas Island Bible Church.

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