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Understanding harm: argument from left-handedness

I’ve been giving some thought lately to how to explain to well meaning folks why the Alliance Church doctrine is so messed up. I think it’s harmful. The thing is, church folks are so immersed in it, they can’t see the harm.

Here’s one metaphor that might help.

Imagine for a moment that the Alliance Church doctrine is telling kids not to write with their left hand. They love these kids anyway, but everyone knows that left handed writing is like stealing. It’s like hurting people. It’s a sin in the eyes of god and it’s a sin in the eyes of the church leaders. Kids who write left-handed are encouraged not too. They’re given support and love and they’re reminded that god doesn’t want them to sin. Sinning is sinning. Sinning is bad. Sinning is not the path. Left-handedness is wrong. Stop it.

Obviously, stopping kids who are born with a god-given disposition to write left-handed, from doing so would be wrong. It would stunt their growth. It would curb their potential. It would inhibit their capacity. And left-handedness doesn’t hurt anyone. It’s not violence. It’s not theft. It’s not adultery. It’s not rape.

There was a time when schools and parents did stop kids from writing with their left hand. We now think of these practices as deeply ignorant and harmful.

Most importantly, it was not ideology that told us that left-handedness was okay. It was evidence. We didn’t let what the bible tells us, or doesn’t tell us, provide us with direction.