Is this a reasonable position for Atheists or Secularists to take? Atheists have often argued that the Christian slogan to “hate the sin, but love the sinner” is tantamount to their claim to oppose religion but love religious people. However, I think this would not sit well with me (and many people of faith) because we DEFINE ourselves by our faith, whereas sinners do not define themselves by their sin.
Actually, I can think of only one type of sinner that defines themselves by their sin, being homosexuals. So to hate their sin is (to them) equivalent to hating them, the same way Christians feel an attack on their Christian liberties is an attack on them as individuals (as citizens and as humans).
Can you think of other sinners that define themselves by their sin? Maybe Nazis or the KKK, who define themselves by their hatred and superior feelings against people of colour. If we hate their sin, can we claim to still love them?
In general, Christians can love people, despite their sin without attacking their identity. For example, we love teenage girls who abort and seek to help them, though we hate their sin. We love criminals in prison for murder and visit and pray for their healing, though we hate their sin.
The essential point I am making is, though you can separate the sinner from their sin, you CANNOT separate the believer from their belief.
For this reason, I would disagree that it is possible to hate the religion and love the believer. If this differentiation cannot work with religious beliefs which are an essential part of the religious person (that we claim to love), how then can we deal with our strong views against religion in general or a religious belief or practice in particular?
I would love to know your perspective, whether Christian, religious or not. Please share your thoughts in the comments section. Thanks!
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