Big Questions Section
This section includes answers to some big questions. We don’t claim to have the answers (only God has all the answers!) But we hope and pray this helps you and the young people you work with. These are not definitive and you may way disagree or be able to add more, but they hopefully act as an inspiration or starting point.
There are 18 questions answered here. We must credit “When Skeptics Ask” by Norman Geisler and “Cosmic Codes” by Chuck Missler, “It makes sense” by Stephen Gaukroger and the website http://carm.org/ (Christian Research and Apologetics Ministry). We’ve tried our very best to give easy answers to the questions and then more advanced / detailed answers and even further study.
Are Christians bigots? What is a bigot?!
A ‘bigot’ is someone who is hostile to anyone who’s different or who has different ideas. Christians often have a different way of thinking to other people – this is because Jesus was different to the people around him. But Jesus was not a bigot and Christians aren’t – they should never be like this. It’s OK to speak up and speak out for truth and God. But we must never do this in a bad way because God has called us to love people. Often Christians get called bigots and nasty things. But this is because people hate God – they don’t really hate you – though it may feel that way! But don’t be put off by people using horrible words towards you. God lives on the inside of you and will never leave you. If you feel people hate you then go to God, go to people who can help – in school, your church or a youth worker. You are not a bigot just because you believe the Bible!
Actually it’s other people who are bigoted when they won’t listen to your point of view! If there is no such thing as truth like these people say then they can’t say you’re not right! If someone calls you names it’s usually because they’ve lost the argument and can’t think what to say or that they have learned that by saying vicious things, people often back down. But you can respond in love! It is important to remember and tell others that one point of view or opinion should not define you (or others). As a Christian, we can bring balance, encourage others not to hate each other and we can bring God’s kind of peace and bring people together.
What is a bigot? A bigot is defined by dictionary.com as “a person who is utterly intolerant of any differing creed, belief, or opinion.” This usually happens despite evidence to the contrary. Many people label Christians as ‘bigots’. Sadly this is usually this is because the Christian has a different point of view. By calling someone names that makes them sound horrible, it means you can put yourself in the group of ‘persecuted’ or with the higher moral ground. But usually when someone calls someone a ‘bigot’ it is just an insult – usually because they have lost the argument!
It’s also bad to call someone a ‘bigot’ because of their belief because you make them out to be a terrible person overall. Even if someone is a ‘bigot’ in one area, it’s never true of the complete person. Yet often Christians are deliberately called ‘bigots’ to make Christians as a whole seem really bad. Well, it’s not true! It’s done to stop any proper debate.
But a bigot is not someone who has a different point of view to yours! Otherwise we could all go around calling everyone a bigot just because they don’t agree with us in everything! That would be crazy. But people do this. In fact it’s happening so much in the West that some would argue this is persecution. Christians have views on things like homosexuality and many other issues because the Bible speaks about this. But this does not mean that someone is a bigot. Far from it. It just means they have a different opinion.
If you call someone else who disagrees with you a ‘bigot’ then who is the real bigot? Unfortunately some people call Christians ‘bigots’ because (for example) they may not be in favour of gay marriage. Who is the real bigot? Someone who has an opinion. Or someone who has an opinion and refuses to allow anyone else to have a different opinion or even criticise them?! And think about it – by the same logic a Christian could call someone who disagreed with them a ‘bigot’. But they don’t!
Sometimes people throw around words like ‘bigot’ because they don’t like other people or don’t like the fact others disagree with them. But think about this – you won’t find Christians attacking anyone who is (for example) gay or Muslim, or being abusive to them or being hateful. It’s only a very small minority of people who are like that – and they’re usually not real Christians anyway! In every area of society, all Christians are doing is presenting what they believe God says in the Bible. People have all kinds of different ideas about all kinds of things. But when Christians believe something, people can get very nasty.
One elderly Christian couple were subject to death threats and tons of hate mail because of their rules in their B&B. They weren’t anti-gay at all, they just didn’t like people sleeping together who weren’t married (whether gay or heterosexual). Even if you don’t agree with what they believe, it’s fair to say that the level of abuse towards them was horrible. If they were your grandparents, would you want to see them receiving loads of hate mail and even getting death threats? Who is bring truly hateful here? Not the Christian couple.
Very often Christians have a different viewpoint to other people. This is exactly the same as Jesus who had religious people and those with no faith just hate him because of who he was, what he did and who he said he was. The same happens to Christians around the world. Over 165,000 are killed each year simply because they believe in Jesus. Thousands of others are persecuted, imprisoned and tortured. This happens in religious countries (like the Islamic state of Iran) and in countries which are secular (don’t believe in religion – like China).
Christians believe that the Bible and Jesus came to show us a better way then the life we can live without God. At times this means showing God’s love. At times it means standing up for something they believe in. This is driven by God’s love and compassion for people. If you love a child, you don’t allow them to run into the road in front of a car, you would stop them. Advising them not to run in front of cars isn’t bigoted or trying to stop their freedom! In fact it’s liberating them – to live! In the 4th century, an emperor was going to wipe out Christianity but didn’t because he saw how Christians served and loved others of different races, religions and creeds – he didn’t wipe them out but instead allowed Christianity to flourish. He saw how it benefited society. The Christian influence in the world is huge. It’s the largest organisation, the biggest hospital, the largest care force, the biggest group bringing hope to people of all faiths, religions, sexuality and creeds. Often in face of great opposition and real hate. Definitely not bigots!
So I want to leave you with a thought… A bigot is someone who only wants their way and no other way. Christians simply want the choice to be allowed to live by the Bible. They don’t make or force anyone else to believe the same. But those who are really extreme want to silence anyone who disagrees with them. So let me ask this question – who is the bigot? Someone who believes the Bible, or someone who won’t let anyone believe anything that disagrees with them and actively works to silence those who disagree?