Anne Rice Explains Her Decision – And, What Does it Mean to Love?

Anne Rice spoke with Sarah Pulliam Bailey for Christianity Today, and explained her decision.  I found this part especially interesting:

Christians have lost credibility in America as people who know how to love. They have become associated with hatred, persecution, attempting to abolish the separation of church and state, and trying to pressure people to vote certain ways in elections. I wanted to make it clear that I did not in any way remain complicit with those things. I never expected anyone beyond my Facebook page would be interested. I was doing this for my readers to let them know.

As I mentioned in my most recent article, I find it theologically incoherent to turn away from the church for the sake of Christ.  Christ will not abandon his bride and neither should we.  I don’t believe that the faults of the church at the present moment outstrip its faults at other moments in its history, and those who believe the church is ailing or corrupted or misled should do everything in their might to heal or purify or redirect her.  I don’t know Anne and I should not try to divine what is in her heart, but abandoning the ark strikes me as an act of convenience and self-righteousness.

It also seems as though her primary reasons are political.  She does not like the church’s affiliation with conservative politics on certain issues such as homosexuality and abortion.  These are not examples of being “loving.”

Yet the world’s concept of “love” and the biblical concept of love are not the same.  The world would rather that we “love” people by pronouncing a blessing over what they already want to do.  The worldly concept of love is to promote the beloved’s comfort and happiness and physical well-being.  Yet the biblical concept of love is to protect the beloved’s eternal interest, to promote their relationship with God.  These are not the same thing — they are, in fact, rarely the same thing.  Sometimes the most loving thing to do is to tell someone that what they are doing is wrong.  If the Church truly believes that gay marriage is against the eternal interests of society, of children, and of the gay partners themselves, is it loving to do nothing to prevent it?  Or is it loving – because the world doesn’t like it when we protest, doesn’t like it when we prevent it from doing what is most convenient – to stand idly by as millions of unborn children are killed in their wombs?

The notion that publicly professing our beliefs on abortion and gay marriage is somehow promoting theocracy, or abolishing the “separation” between church and state, is ludicrous.  Religious beliefs, and religiously-inspired moral convictions, have always been a part of how citizens vote and how legislatures legislate.  We vote and press for legislation that reflects our values, just like everyone else does.  That’s not called theocracy.  That’s called democracy.  Christians are permitted to advocate on behalf of their Christian beliefs and values, as are Muslims and Jews and Mormons and Hindus, as are humanists and atheists and secular elites.  This competition of values is the heart of democracy.  There are limits on what the majority can proscribe; we call those limits “rights,” and whether gay marriage is a “right” is one of the big questions at the heart of the gay marriage debate.  But this is what it comes down to: a disagreement over what constitutes a right, not a fault of voting on the basis of religious belief.

Of course, I do not at all mean this as an excuse to advocate for our beliefs in ways that are rude and disrespectful.  But I do mean to say that we should expect the world’s concept of “love” to clash with our own.  The world does not want to be loved in the Christian sense, and that’s why the act of Christian love is often such a sacrifice: because you are surrendering the esteem of the world even as you are acting for its deepest and truest good.   -

About Timothy Dalrymple

Timothy Dalrymple was raised in non-denominational evangelical congregations in California. The son and grandson of ministers, as a young boy he spent far too many hours each night staring at the ceiling and pondering the afterlife.
 
In all his work he seeks a better understanding of why people do, and do not, come to faith, and researches and teaches in religion and science, faith and reason, theology and philosophy, the origins of atheism, Christology, and the religious transformations of suffering

  • http://twitter.com/timdalrymple_/status/21672131124 Timothy Dalrymple

    RT @patheos: Anne Rice Explains Her Decision – And, What Does it Mean to Love? #patheos http://bit.ly/b1ykvA

  • http://www.patheos.com/Religion-Portals/Pagan.html Star Foster

    Tim, believe it or not, I agree with you on this. Leaving organized religion is really just abandoning your faith community. Nothing will improve unless we commit to making those improvements. And this is coming from someone in the most “disorganized” faith tradition there is! :)

  • http://twitter.com/gleamchaser/status/21672365120 Star Foster

    RT @TimDalrymple_: RT @patheos: Anne Rice Explains Her Decision – And, What Does it Mean to Love? #patheos http://bit.ly/b1ykvA

  • Timothy Dalrymple

    RT @patheos: Anne Rice Explains Her Decision – And, What Does it Mean to Love? #patheos http://bit.ly/b1ykvA

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