Thursday, May 19, 2011

The Wisdom of Bill Maher?

I feel immediately compelled to qualify this post by stating explicitly that I am not only not a devotee of Bill Maher's but that I am, as always, quite thoroughly opposed to Christian involvement in politics in the tradition of David Lipscomb, among others. This clip which I am posting I happened upon while channel surfing in a hotel room the other night. Maher's tirade involves the stance of Chrisitanity toward torture, something which obviously interests me very much. While his style is obviously comedic and irreverant (and the video I managed to find on YouTube is odd in itself), the basic point seems to me to be so plain in its accuracy that it boggles my mind how many Chrisitans can blatantly ignore it. The gift for human rationalization is astounding. A few days before seeing this segment while listening to the news, my wife turned to me in the car and said, "I feel like that's just the most basic thing: Christians should be against torture." In the video, Maher expresses the same sentiment more colorfully:

And not to put too fine a point on it, but nonviolence was kind of Jesus’ trademark, kind of his big thing. To not follow that part of it is like joining Green Peace and hating whales. There’s interpreting and then there’s just ignoring. It’s just ignoring if you’re for torture, as are more evangelical Christians than any other religion.

It is startling to me how readily Christians can reconcile in their mind the command to love our enemies and a secular, political imperative for security through force.

With all that out of the way, let me add this final disclaimer. Though it should go without saying, Bill Maher is not a Christian. What he has to say and the way he says it will undoubtedly be offensive to many of you (as it was at times to me). If, however, it is the very suggestion that to be a Christian is to eschew violence in favor of love that offends you, I propose that the problem is not with Maher at all.

The video can be found here.

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