Tuesday, November 18, 2014

A Reader Writes: Re: Christians and the Gay Community, "Is It Really a Matter of Changing One's Mind? Or, Is It More a Matter of Changing One's Heart?"

In response to my posting earlier today about evangelical leader David Gushee's change of mind re: standing in solidarity with gay human beings (rather than standing by as a bystander), a reader responds

Is it really a matter of changing one's mind? Or, is it more a matter of changing one's heart? 
Intellectual, rational arguments seem not to affect people who are determined to cling to cherished, age-old prejudices "just because."  
I'm with you, Bill, on feeling weary with those who "welcome" me to my face and then pull the voting booth curtain closed and vote for those who want to strip me of my humanity.

Here's Jeanette Winterson in Why Be Happy When You Could Be Normal? (NY: Grove Press, 2011), the book about which I posted a booknote a few days ago, discussing that very point: 

There is still a popular fantasy, long since disproved by both psychoanalysis and science, and never believed by any poet or mystic, that it is possible to have a thought without a feeling. It isn’t. 
When we are objective we are subjective too. When we are neutral we are involved. When we say "I think" we don’t leave our emotions outside the door. To tell someone not to be emotional is to tell them to be dead (p. 211). 

There's no such critter as thinking with the head alone. Head thinking, rational thinking, that is meaningful in any sense at all connects to heart thinking, emotional thinking. The belief of some types of Christians that dogma — or what right-wing Catholics today love to call The Truth — can address the head while bypassing the heart is simply arrant nonsense.

If Christian truth doesn't address the heart, then what's the use of it? It's dead in the water.

If what Christians say, think, believe about gay people does not take into account that what they say, think, and believe has serious effects on real human beings, living real lives in the real world — the same world inhabited by everyone else — then Christian "truth" and Christian "thought" are effectively meaningless in the real world. Except as weapons to beat enemies over the head with, one supposes . . . . 

No comments: