I want to switch gears for a moment and talk about hypocrisy. Much is made about the hypocrisy in the Church, but the time has come where everybody, myself included, must be held accountable for their own. I make no secret of the fact that I have left Christianity after many years as one of the faithful, but we are all guilty of hypocrisy, Christian or not. For example – after months of talking about love, acceptance, and the abolition of hate, I once made a very offensive remark regarding a topic on which I was ill informed. Those who held me accountable pointed out my hypocrisy. We all do this from time to time, and the important thing is that we accept it. It is okay to point out the hypocrisy of others, but we must first acknowledge our own. Too few people assume this accountability.
When I write and talk about the relationship between Christianity, Homophobia, and Western pop culture, I am careful to never point out hypocrisy unless it is absolutely necessary. Christianity is undoubtedly the cause and sustainer of homophobia in the Western world, but that is due to ideals derived from decades of scriptural misinterpretation. To claim that holding homophobic views because of scripture is a hypocritical position may be true … but it’s unnecessary. The problem is that pointing out hypocrisy does nothing to further the discussion. All it does is create hard feelings, distrust, and reveals further hypocrisy on the part of the person pointing it out; since nobody is innocent of it.
I will undoubtedly take a lot of flack for saying this, but I have seen the greatest hypocrisy in the atheist community as of late. All too often, these people who fancy themselves free thinkers and rationalists will assume a position of moral superiority and outright demean and ridicule people of faith. They will demonstrate the very same hatred that they are fighting against and then claim that they are justified in doing so. When pointing this out, I have been confronted with statements like “we fight from our keyboards, but religious people fight by flying planes into buildings.” This is not a sufficient answer because it distracts from the point. The point is hypocrisy, not behavioural extremes. To set up an easily refutable argument that is only slightly on point is intellectually dishonest. It is truly disappointing when this happens, because we see a failure to address the fact that intellectual superiority is wrongly assumed over those who hold views that are less likely to be true than the views of those criticizing them. This is not true of all atheists, just as it is not true that all religious people are hateful and ignorant, but for those who do act like this the hypocrisy bleeds through in what they say. While the Church is rife with problems, those who point them out rarely acknowledge that they have the same flaws.
It is a Christian teaching that states “let he who is without sin cast the first stone.” We are all very quick to point to Christians and say, “look! Practice what you preach!” Since the tenet of that verse is generally accepted within secular society, perhaps we should all do the same. While no Christian can make any claim of moral authority, neither can we. God or no, we will all hurt somebody at some point. Acknowledge that, then speak.