THE INSIDE OUT APPROACH
Christianity faces alot of objections regardingwhat it teaches, the practices it recommends and condemns, and thegeneral view of morality that isexpressed in theBible. The belief that Christianity is intolerant and judgmental,that its sexual ethics seem to suppress basic human desires and thefreedom to live fulfilled lives, has been expressed by a lot ofpeople in the modern society. Responseto this belief can be reached using the "inside-out"approach.
The plausibilitystructure of a person who holds that view includes the social andcultural influences that they areexposed to1.In the modern society, there is a more liberal approach to morality,especially regarding sexual matters. The moral standards are lowerthan they were in the earlier ages before technology and the internetwhich seem to have changed people`s views on what is right or wrongonsexual issues. More gay and transgender people are coming out anddemanding their rights. When this happens, some people use the Bibleto condemn them. This condemnation may have contributed to the beliefthat Christianity is intolerant and judgmental.
I agree with the viewthat some people may use Christianity to judge others harshly andmake it seem like the Bible does not tolerate somethings. However,this is not always the case. Christianity providesguidance forpeople in matters concerning morality. Judgment is wrong but shouldwe not have any moral standard to guide our actions? Everyone has thefreedom of living a fulfilled life but should they be allowed to liveas they please? Can one not live a fulfilling life with the moralstandards in place? Should human being then be allowed to followtheir human desires without any regulation?
If there were no moralsand everyone was allowed to live freely and follow each one of theirwishes,the world would eventually descend into chaos. For instance, if therewere no laws, regulations, or any other norm to guide the actions ofhuman beings, there would be lawlessness, no regard for others, andpeoplewould be as savage as animals. If peoplewere to follow their desires and live as they please, there would beno peace. Thisis becausewe all desiredifferent things. Some people wantpeace while others desireviolence. Some individuals are happy serving others while some preferworld domination. There are human beings who desirevile things such as murder, cannibalism, and bestiality. Should wethen allow such individuals to follow their desires tolive fulfilled lives? Shouldn`t there be some form of standard orguidance on where to draw the line?
Human beings are moralbeings2.Thisis because we have the ability to tell what is right from what iswrong. God created human as moral beings capable of takingresponsibility oftheir actions3.The Bible says, "Theyshow that the work of the law is written on their hearts, while theirconscience also bears witness, and their conflicting thoughts accuseor even excuse them."4Thisshows that human beings have the inherent ability to tell what isright from what is wrong. People make decisions based on what theythink is rightor wrong.Animals, on the other hand, have no morals or ability to tell rightfrom wrong. Therefore, we cannot live like animals without moralstandards to keep as from acting like animals. Following our desiresand living a fulfilling life depends on what is allowed by thesociety. Christianity actsas a moral compass to ensure that we live in harmony and realizefulfillment in our lives5.
The Bible andChristianity are relevant in providing guidance in varioussituations. The teachings ofthe New Testament go a long way in guiding human beings on how tolive. It emphasizes on love and encourages people to live inharmony6.The Bible teaches people to love their neighbors as they lovethemselves7.It talks about loving your enemies8.These verses show that Christianity is not intolerant. They emphasizethat love should guide human beings in their actions. It provides astandard against which actions should bemeasured. If anact is committed inaccordance withteachings of love, then they are right since love is the greatestcommandment9.Only a few individuals use the Bible to discriminate or judge othersharshly,and this is wrong. Thisis wrongaccording to the Bible which warns against judging others.
Christianity alsoprovides for fulfillmentin life. Itsays, "Delight yourself in the LORD, and he will give you thedesires of your heart."It also says, "Youmake known to me the path of life in your presence, there isfullness of joy at your right hand are pleasures always."10The Bible further states that "The heart of man plans his way,but the LORD establishes his steps."11All these verses go to show that Christianity is not againstfulfillment.A person is entities to live a fulfilled life according to the Bible.It even says that God makes it possible for an individual to live afulfilled life since it says, that a man plans his way but Godestablishes his steps. Christianity supports people`s quest forfulfillment12.
When it comes tofollowing desires, the Bible has various verses which address thequestion of human desire. It says, “I have the right to doanything,” you say—but not everything is beneficial. “I havethe right to do anything”—but Iwill not be mastered by anything13.It also states that"You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But donot use your freedom to indulge the flesh rather, serve one anotherhumbly in love."14It goes further and says, "You desire but do not have, so youkill. You covet but you cannot get what you want, so you quarrel andfight."15These verses show that human beings are free to follow the desires oftheir hearts,but they should not be slaves of their bodies. It is clear thatfollowing desires can lead to chaos. Therefore, there should be alimit to the fulfillmentof desire.
In conclusion, it isclear that Christianity does not inhibit a person`s ability to live afulfilled life. The fact that some Christians seem intolerant andjudgmental does not mean that Christianity as a whole is intolerant.This belief discourages people from Christian teachings. It breeds anegative attitude brought about by the misconception thatChristianity is anything but a religion of love.
1. Preparingto Engage(not spin) in Late Modernism from the Inside Out
2. Apologetics at the Cross:Holistic and Contextual.
3. Gen. 2-3
4. PontificalBiblical Commission. "The Bible and Morality: Biblical Roots ofChristian Conduct"(2008).12-13
5. Vanhoozer, Kevin. J.Is there a meaning in this text?: the Bible, the Reader,and the Morality of Literary Knowledge.(Harper Collins Christian Publishing. 2009)
6. Rom. 2:15
7. Mk. 22:11
8. Lk. 6:35
9. Vanhoozer Kevin. J.Cambridge Companionto Postmodern Theology.(Harper Collins Christian Publisher.)
10.Ibid note 5
11. Psalm 37:4
12. Psalm 16:9
13. 1Cor. 6:12
14. Gal 5:13
15. James. 4:2
Apologetics at the Cross:Holistic and Contextual.
The Holy Bible, NewInternational Version. GrandRapids: Zondervan Publishing
Vanhoozer,Kevin. J.Is there a meaning in this text?:the Bible, the reader, and the
Themoralityof Literary Knowledge.(Harper Collins Christian Publishing. 2009)
Vanhoozer Kevin. J. CambridgeCompanion to Postmodern Theology.(Harper
Preparing to Engage(not spin)in Late Modernism from the Inside Out
Pontifical BiblicalCommission. "The Bible and Morality: Biblical Roots of Christian
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