am biased. I am terribly biased. I am prejudiced. I am frightfully prejudiced. There, I’ve got it off my chest and said it.
When I left school and entered the workforce I was envious of people with strong convictions. I wasn’t naturally like that. I tended to want to hear all sides of an argument and I was not very forthcoming with my own opinions. That was more than half-a-century ago when I was a shy and somewhat insecure teenager. I looked up to people who knew their mind and who spoke their mind. Back then I wished I was like that. Looking back now I find it somewhat difficult to remember myself that way because now I’m a bigot who writes opinion-pieces, called blogs, on many different subjects. My 20-year old alter ego would not recognise the person I’ve become.
So why this confession of bias, prejudice and bigotry? Because I know that’s what some people think of me and I want to admit they are right. A small number have had the courage to say it to my face. But I can tell from others by the way my views are dismissed or opposed. Of course I am not alone in my bias, prejudice and bigotry. I share it with many other Bible believing bigots.
It’s particularly the debate about same-sex marriage that has brought all this to a head. For countless centuries we all knew what marriage was and there was no debate about it. Marriage was between a man and a woman. It was the exceptions that proved the rule. When the mad emperor (and Christian-hater), Nero, had his boy-toy, Sporus, castrated and married him, everyone knew it was a sick parody. Historians spoke of it in terms of Nero flaunting his sexual aberrations. But in the last twenty years or so those sexual aberrations are suddenly becoming main-stream and we, who want to stick with the traditional understanding of marriage as the Biblical one, are called biased, prejudiced and bigoted.
Well, I plead guilty. And I know I’m in good company. The Old Testament prophets were not exactly known as a broad-minded and tolerant lot. They were biased, prejudiced and bigoted too – and proud of it. When Israel’s kings wanted to be inclusive and embrace other religious outlooks, Isaiah and his fellow prophets wrote some blogs too that didn’t exactly go over well with their contemporaries. Jeremiah was even thrown into a cistern for his lack of tolerance.
The point is that when we are convinced and convicted that a certain matter is based on the Word of God then we can do little more than be biased and prejudiced. There are some things that are just not up for discussion, period! Whether salvation is by works or by grace is not a debatable matter. Whether Jesus rose bodily from the dead or merely lives on in the faith of His followers is not open for discussion. I don’t want to debate those matters with other people… I just want to convince them from my biased and prejudiced position that they are wrong and need to conform to the teaching of God’s Word. If that makes me a bigot then so be it.
But there’s a rider to my bigotry. I am biased… but I hope I have a gentle bias. I am prejudiced… but I trust it is a loving and caring prejudice. And that’s where I have some reservations with allowing myself to be called a bigot. Bigotry has a reputation of being hateful and dismissive. I still want to love those with whom I disagree and show my concern for those who struggle with my prejudice. For example: I admit to the charge of bias and prejudice. I do not admit to the charge of being homophobic simply because I uphold the traditional view of marriage. In all four churches that I have served during forty years of ministry I had dealings with people who had homosexual inclinations. Some of them were and are good friends.
The point is that we biased and prejudiced Bible believers need to hold our strong convictions with all the gentleness and meekness of Christ. My greatest wish is that in this way Jesus will be seen in this biased and prejudiced bigot.