My entire life has been wrapped up in theology one way or another. Being given the scary image of God I was given as a child made me realize at a very early age that what we think about God has a very real impact on our lives. I know most of us go through life quite nicely ignoring theology and God. Nexus (the church I attend) has the slogan- Faith. Life. Connected. as we commit to making a conscious effort to bring faith and our real lives together. Events in recent days have reminded me that the results of bad theology can bring real, serious and even tragic consequences right here in the real world.
The conviction of Scott Roeder who shot George Tiller the "abortion doctor" as the doctor worked in church was a natural extension of a world view that views abortion as murder (which I'm not 100% convinced is a theological position). I hate the term "abortion doctor" by the way. It makes him seem less than fully human. George Tiller was more than an "abortion doctor". The idea it was good and right to shoot George Tiller stems from the idea that it's good to do "God's work" even if God's work involves premeditated murder. Roeder is now facing mandatory life in prison with the possibility of parole when he's 76. Just motives or not, Scott Roeder is a murderer.
And, we have the missionaries in Haiti caught smuggling children out of the country. when I first heard the story, I thought it was a misunderstanding, that they simply didn't have the proper paperwork and were on a humanitarian mission. But, it appears they knew they didn't have permission to get the kids, may have even lured them with promises of living in riches in the United States and may have known some of the kids were not orphans. Their justification it seems comes from a theology that says God only loves Christians, God will only "save" Christians and anyone who is not a Christian will go to eternal torment. If you believe that, it's certainly logical and justifiable to do anything to save someone, including kidnapping them. I am also guessing there is a certain amount of American arrogance there thinking the children are better off with white strangers in America than with their own families in Haiti since Haiti is such a poor (and maybe accursed) place.
As the missionaries went to court yesterday, what may have been their arrogance and their misguided theology showed up again. They were all smiles thinking they were headed home. They had chartered a flight. They said (in the same sentence) that they hoped God's will would be done and that they would be headed home soon. Apparently, in their minds God's will was for them to be exonerated. No such luck. They were sent back to jail and are facing the possibility of life in prison. Just motives or not, the missionaries were trying to kidnap children.
May God bless the missionaries, their families and the Scott Roeder, his family and the family of Dr. Tiller (his victim). What tragedies we create when we do whacky things in the name of G-d. Murder , kidnapping, flying airplane into buildings. And Americans have the gall to criticize Islam because it supposedly produces terrorists. What does our Christian theology produce? Murderers and kidnappers?
I explained to the girls last night that the plight of the missionaries is a natural consequence of their theology. A theology that says God only loves a certain group and, will torment everyone he doesn't love for all eternity is one that justifies any means to "save" people. As a Christian singer I used to love to listen to sang "You don't ask a drowning man if he wants to be saved.". Kayla told me she didn't like that view of G-d. Neither do I Kayla. And, more importantly, I don't believe it anymore.