What?!

Yes.  This thought came to me as I did some reading about the recent protests from Westboro Baptist Church (and even counter-protests, one which was led by my inspiring brother-in-law).  The complaint which emerges from the Westboro controversy is that religion usually brings this type of hatred and intolerance.  The solution, then, is a non-religious or even inter-religious community which celebrates human dignity above any creed.

As much as I, being a 25 year old mosaic who has a Macbook and wears black-rimmed specs, want to embrace this progressive viewpoint, I see a flaw.  Whether it be Islam, homosexuality, abortion, or any other issue that WB makes an issue out of, I don’t see any fundamental difference between the radical religionists and the nominal/irreligionists.  In other words, the radical right is in the same boat as the left.

The reason this is true is that both groups offer little to no hope for change and renewal.  We are either doomed or dandy.  There is no good news.  No gospel.

Anyone in ministry will tell you that there are people who feel outcast.  There are people who feel trapped in certain lifestyles (sexual, religious/philosophical, chemical, etc.).  They want redemption.  The message of Westboro Baptist is devoid of such a hope.  By extension, the secular-progressive perspective is equally pessimistic.  One side offers little room for human flourishing.  The other believes that faith in humanity itself is what is required for such flourishing, but even then there is little need for further flourishing (doomed versus dandy).

True hope lies in a worldview which assigns inherent worth/dignity of humanity in the One whose image humanity was made.  Instead of me, myself, and I, we have an Other who provides the transcendental basis for flourishing.  Such flourishing begins with redemption.

Thus, I believe in a third way.  Perhaps it is just “the other way” since WB and secular-progressives seem to occupy the same path.  The gospel alone can promote the path of true love, true tolerance, and true hope.

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