Steve’s comment on his own blog:
I’ve actually had conversations with atheists who use entirely the same approach as these three false brethren. It’s like some kind of deja vu. Spooky! Especially when you consider they’re supposed to represent Christ.
I am not certain that I understand Steve’s comment, because what I think he means is quite horrible. We were discussing equal marriage, and the “false brethren” were arguing for it.
I don’t think I can exonerate Steve, however I try, from the charge that he thinks atheists are bad people, or at least that they make bad moral arguments. This could be a Biblical view, from the Chosen People first coming to Canaan and being commanded to wipe out the inhabitants, to the return from Exile.
The Book of Nehemiah is firmly in this exclusivist view. Jews are returning from Babylon to Jerusalem after the exile. The city is in ruins, and they rebuild the defensive wall, though the neighbouring peoples attempt to stop them. Then, they pledge to keep the Law of God. What is the first item of that Law that is actually quoted in the book? 10:30-31:
‘We promise not to give our daughters in marriage to the peoples around us or take their daughters for our sons.
31 ‘When the neighbouring peoples bring merchandise or grain to sell on the Sabbath, we will not buy from them on the Sabbath or on any holy day.
What of the New Testament? Revelation has the Bad people worshiping the Beast rather than God. Even Jesus says, Matthew 12:30:
Whoever is not with me is against me, and whoever does not gather with me scatters.
So, that a soi-disant Christian uses arguments atheists use is suspect. There are strong Biblical arguments for a small group of Christian Good people, alone among the wicked heathen hordes.
Fortunately, there are also strong Biblical arguments for the goodness of people generally. Peter and Cornelius the Centurion:
You are well aware that it is against our law for a Jew to associate with or visit a Gentile. But God has shown me that I should not call anyone impure or unclean.
I see it as a conversation, over the world wide web, and elsewhere: ideas swirling around, in newspapers and in universities, in pubs and homes, in political parties and multinational companies. Even the supporters of the worst ideas do a valuable service, testing them to destruction, reducing them to absurdity. The extremists who will not compromise make it easier to hold a more moderate view on their side. So people get better. So we seek to recycle and reduce waste, because it is the fashion. So we are kinder to animals: most people in Britain “would not hurt a fly” and use humane mousetraps if they need to trap mice. The opposing idea, of a Remnant of Christians clinging to the morality of God’s Word while the Atheists and the Muslims all were just Wrong is simply ridiculous.
Another Pastor Steve says that the Roman Catholic child abuse scandal was covered up by coteries of gay men in the priesthood. He is sick and tired that the mainstream news media prevent this truth from being stated.
I think this untrue, because the level of vilification of gay people is as great in the Catholic church as in the Evangelical. However, even were it true, those gay men had to keep their sexuality, a large part of their identity, secret on pain of being disgraced, sacked and ruined. You cannot predict how gay people will behave when free from how other gay people behave when persecuted. Persecuted people act in twisted ways. Free people act in creative ways.