I confess to having winced more than a little as Tyson Fury waxed lyrical on the radio yesterday about his Christian views.
Apparently, according to Tyson, the Bible says that legalizing abortion, homosexuality, and paedophilia are all signs that the end of days has come. According to Tyson, ‘It’s in the Bible.’
To which I want to say, ‘No Tyson, it isn’t.’ I’m a minister of a church, have an MTh in Theology, and am currently midway through a PhD in Biblical Studies, and I can find no place where it says what Tyson claims it says. The gospel to all nations? Check (Matt 24:14); war, earthquake and famine? Check (Matt 24:15-22); False teachers? Check (Matt 24:23-24); General evil and wickedness? Check (2 Thess 2:1-10); The legalisation of abortion, homosexuality, and paedophilia? Nope. Could some of these things be considered under the category of general evil? Yes, but so could a whole host of other things. Could some of the passages about the end be about the fall of Jerusalem in AD70? Seems quite likely to me. Should these passages be related specifically to legislation in 21st c. Britain? I’m not sure it’s quite that simple. Ultimately, does the Bible say that the day and hour of Christ’s return is unknown? Yes (Matt 25:13).
So, if you’ve heard some weird things in the news about what Christians believe, based on Tyson’s interviews, I can assure you that he doesn’t speak for the vast majority of Christians.
However, in the words of Voltaire (if he did actually say it!), I disapprove of what you say, and I defend to the death your right to say it. All right, maybe not to death – I’m too much of a coward for all that – but really really strongly! Tyson’s certainly no Aristotle, with his logos, ethos, and pathos, but those aren’t the qualifiers for expressing a view. It’s no good the media goading him into saying something for the story, then demanding that he be silenced. Removing him from the Sports Personality of the Year is a ridiculous example of the thought police running rampant. The best way to deal with ideas is to discuss them, not shut them down. That way they can be seen for what they are and responded to accordingly. SPOTY is a public vote anyhow, so that will quickly reveal what people think of his views. Taking ‘offence’ is such a slippery criteria for discussion. Your offence at his offence offends me in its offensive response. So what now friend? Shall we just discuss the weather and Bake Off? What are ‘acceptable’ views anyway? Who decides? Is it the view of the majority? Is Big Brother going to tell me what to think about issues that might cause disagreement with others. Is Thomas More’s Utopia George Orwell’s 1984?