I have a theory: those so-called “liberal” or “progressive” people who are trying to understand what the Bible means today are doing so primarily because of love.
Here’s what I mean… I think a huge part of my own personal conflict within evangelicalism was a conflict between “truth” – or what was “right” – and love. The more I attempted to make sense of the Bible in light of my actual relationships with real people, the less concerned I was with being truthful or being right.
What if this is the fundamental difference between one type of religious person and another?
I’m not saying that those who are concerned about being right are not also concerned about how best to love people. But, I do think there is an intentional priority within each of us. Either we commit so strongly to (what we perceive as) “the truth” that we’re willing to defend that truth no matter what the cost, or we commit so strongly to love that we will flex on the truth.
I think it was John Wesley who said “better to divide over truth than unite in error.” That’s exactly what I mean here. I think this is a problem.
Maybe this is oversimplifying things, but it seems to be a pretty good description of my own religious story.
What do you think? What matters more to you, truth or love? Being right or being in relationships?
A long time ago, I decided that whatever idea I was claiming to believe, I would put a human face on it. I would try to think “what if my mom ____?” or “what if my son ____?” This kind of imagination led me to change my views on homosexuality and abortion.
I can predict that many evangelicals will see this is a false dichotomy. They will say things like “the most loving thing you can do is speak the truth.” That sounds great in theory, but, in my experience, is a clusterfuck in practice.
We all have to make this choice.