This is essentially an opinion blog. You get to read my rants about certain topics that I decide to chime in on. However, I’m going to do something a bit different on my home page. This will be an ideological table of contents wherein I will compile my more broad viewpoints on different topics. This page will be subject to change as my views change (or require clarification) but hopefully it brings everything else into perspective.
Who Am I?
My name is Nathan.
I am a believer in Jesus Christ and I place the scriptures as the primary (physical) authority of my faith.
I am an African American
I am college educated with a bachelor’s degree in psychology (nothing to brag about), a paralegal certification, and a pending master’s degree in professional counseling (right now I need to find a way to pay for it).
I tend to look at things from a more socially conservative perspective, but I used to be much more to the left.
I enjoy discussions about religion, politics, psychology and more “nerdy” forms of pop culture (comics, video games, movies, television, etc.)
I believe that the Bible is the essential authority of the Christian faith. I acknowledge different translations existing, but I believe people can get the same general point from these supposedly diverging texts. Christianity’s real division is NOT based on the scripture interpretation, but the ecclesial matters (organization and authority of the church). I think many denominational differences can be understood and respected without being agreed upon.
“In Essentials, unity. In non-essentials, liberty. In all things, charity (love)”-St Augustine
I tend to use the King James Version by default. I like the NRSV for it’s accuracy.
I take on a somewhat passive view on the historicity of scripture (especially the Old Testament). I believe it’s more important to understand the purpose behind the teachings rather than the “history” of them. Therefore, I have no strong opinion on the age of the Earth etc. Though I do take issue when people use this belief (usually Old Earth Creationists and Theistic Evolutionists) to limit God. (IE: when someone says, “God COULD NOT create the Earth in 6 Days, btw I’m a Christian”)
Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble.
One of the things I think both proclaimed Christians and commenters on Christianity miss is the instruction to deny ourselves.
Then said Jesus unto his disciples, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.
The instruction to deny ourselves ought to bring most sociopolitical issues facing Christians into perspective. Especially when we have a society which lauds people who choose not to engage in self denial. However, I will also say bigotry (racism, sexism, homophobia, and self-righteousness) are also violations of self denial.
The other thing I believe Christians have fallen short of, myself included, is confessing our sins.
Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.
To Atheists, I respect your honesty and candor. Atheists have done a lot to help me reevaluate what is important in my faith and I hope they continue to do so. I strongly disagree when you attempt to claim the moral high ground. Individual atheists are generally “good” (subjective) moral people, but I don’t take solace in the idea of a world wherein humanity disregards the existence of a higher authority. But it does sound appealing to my “animal instincts” (or sin nature). Yet that isn’t usually a selling point for atheism.
Liberal Christians, you ask all the right questions, but seem to be afraid of the answer. Your theological perspective seems to require an obfuscation of established beliefs. From the confusion, you tend to adopt the more progressive view as the safer alternative. Like with the atheists above, you have the more emotionally appealing viewpoint, in my opinion yet you sell yourself as cautious and uncertain. If, for example, you’re arguing for Universalism, you have the more appealing view. Unless the traditionalist/Conservative takes joy in self-righteousness, they on some level WANT you to be right.
Skeptics, do not believe you are immune to biases when you look into a different viewpoint. Here’s a good litmus test to avoid inserting your own bias. If you believe something which places you as a moral, physical, spiritual or intellectual superior over others, you might want to look into your own believes. Like I said before, I used to be a much more “progressive” thinker. Ironically, my continuance with the Christian faith (and embracing of right-wing views) was the result of “getting over myself”.
Christians should not impose their beliefs on those who aren’t willing. It’s called a personal relationship for a reason. While Christians cannot impose their beliefs there is another commandment which conflicts with this instruction. Namely, Christians must be witnesses of Jesus Christ when they are in the world. Then combined that with the western society’s distaste toward religion in general, and there is a real conflict. I believe the solution for Christians is to focus our behavior above our rhetoric. The founding pastor of my home church used to say, “the life you live is sometimes the only Bible some people will read”.
On Race (and social justice)
As I said, I am an African American. I do believe that the African American community is actively being brought down by forces beyond their control. Individuals can escape, but the community itself is STILL suffering. I do not believe that those on the political right are to blame, per se. They are largely guilty of egregious apathy rather than active persecution. The left end, on the other hand, benefits from the subjugation of minority groups. Presenting “solutions” that only create more problems and division (perhaps knowingly for the latter) and then asserting a sort of moral superiority in the process. When it comes to minority groups who are impoverished and suffering I fall in between the two extremes. The right tends to argue that they need to be left alone and taught the “value of hard work”. The left believes that they should have tax payer funded interventions to help them until equality of outcome (rather than opportunity) is achieved. I believe a socialization of practical knowledge is the solution, more on that later.
Gender and Social Justice
I believe that male privilege exists, but it is not universal to all men. Male privilege only applies to men who, in my opinion, are “successful” at achieving masculinity. These are men who fight for women’s rights, and then get away with spousal abuse or sexual assault. These are the men feminists ought to target. MRAs and MGTOW are largely composed to harmless men (and their non-male supporters). These men refuse to take the label of subjugator and constantly apologize for actions they haven’t committed. I personally respect MGTOW more than the MRAs. The MRAs, from my opinion, seek to use government intervention to achieve “equality for men”. MGTOW, on the other hand, opposes this position. Instead, they choose to opt out of the social dynamic altogether. No relationships with women at all. I do not support MTGOW’s penchant toward Atheism (shared among strong feminists ironically). Nor do I support their tendency to look at other racial groups as “the other”. As a Christian, I do believe women should be able to lead the church. However I believe leadership is the primary responsibility of men.
On fiscal policy
I’m not the most knowledgeable or passionate here but this tends come up a lot.
I believe that every system “works” but not everyone is willing to participate. When people do participate they break the rules when the going gets tough. Capitalism devolves into cronyism because corporations dislike the idea of risk. Socialism devolves into communism (or totalitarianism) for similar reasons.
If I were a politician this would be the issue I’d run on. There is a lot that goes in to it, which defeats the purpose of the “generality” of this page. So if I were to sum up this idea, I would say it would focus on the middle class. Education reform needs to emphasize the nuance of individual differences, rather than broad strokes (ie: gender inequality, or low income initiatives). This will be discussed in more detail in a separate post.