The other day, I read this editorial in the Toronto Star. The premise was the rights of one group overrides another’s.  In this example, it’s the rights of people wanting to marry into same-sex unions being able to do so from any marriage commissioner (i.e. that commissioner cannot refuse on religious grounds).  The editor was suggesting that a person’s rights (in this case, the rights of the gay couple wanting to be married) should not automatically take presence of another’s (i.e. a Christian marriage commissioner).

At first glance, this seems to make sense.  One’s ideology cannot necessarily be dogmatically enforced upon others (although there must be some standard i.e. the laws of the land).  I identified with the Christian marriage commissioner who’s rights were being impeded because another ideology was trying to override theirs.

Then I also realized that, in Christian circles, we try to do the same thing as well.  We happen to call it “evangelism”.  While some people will argue that imposing one’s ideology is different than “sharing the love of God (and hoping people convert to the Christian faith)”, in many levels, they are similar.  We are all, at some level, trying to persuade others that one ideology is better than another (because you prove it by actually living it).  So really, with some forms of evangelism, I can now begin to identify with the other person who’s ideology some Christians try to change.  I can begin to sympathize with the fact that, at times, we as Christians thrust our theology/faith upon people when we wouldn’t want others to do the same.  Perhaps that’s where the premise or objective of relativism is: to acknowledge that everyone can stick to their own ideologies without having someone try to change them and to allow that stalemate to remain.

Of course, in reality, that’s impossible.  People are always trying to influence another’s ideology in every media possible.  And maybe that’s why I’ve always been so hesitant to evangelize in a certain method because I can identify with the position of having someone thrust their ideology upon me even if I disagree with me.

But perhaps that’s why I take comfort in 1 Cor. 3:5-9 because in the end, if Yahweh is really the true God, then He will help make the changes in that person, that it’s not my responsibility to “thrust” my ideology upon someone, but to love them with the grace and love and truth that Jesus extends to everyone.  Of course, there are times when I must take a stand for what I believe.  But I think, all to often, we as Christians take so many stands that our knees are beginning to buckle.  Maybe we need to trust that God will continue to help people see the light if they want to, and our part is to follow His directives, not push our theology into other people’s faces.

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