A few nights ago I was reviewing previous episodes of MTV’s The Jersey Shore, the addicting show that has a “guidette” getting decked in the face by a gym teacher and fake-tanned, short-tempered, probably STD-bearing fist-pumpers that make a sport out of defiling the image of those who actually live at the Jersey Shore like I do.
As I did this, I saw a link for The Real World: Washington, D.C. After I got over my initial depression from not sending in an application tape after seeing its emphasis on politics, I actually saw a debate that sparked some deep thought about my Christian faith.
The argument features Ty, an atheist; Mike, a bisexual Christian; and Ashley, a pro-Obama Christian who tries to referee. Also present though not actively engaged is Emily, who grew up strictly religious in a cult-like atmosphere, as she describes it, who has predictably rebelled and turned against the faith. I originally thought the deck was stacked against Mike by the producers — and perhaps it was — and that the show would portray the conflict between his sexual orientation and faith as an expose of the intolerance of Christianity. Instead, Mike’s responses show the love and compassion of the religion, even if all of us who believe in it inevitably fail to uphold those qualities.
Watch clips two and three here to see the clash. Ty is immediately angry, obviously bitter at Christians and threatened by any potential credibility of the faith. He says “everyone who is religious is so narrow-minded” and challenges Mike to say God doesn’t exist. When Mike refuses to, that is proof that he isn’t open-minded, according to Ty. For the most part, Mike stays cool throughout, reflecting a confidence in his faith and position. To us “crazy Christians,” we have a relationship with God that feels not too different than that of a family member. To say He doesn’t exist doesn’t threaten us, because we feel His presence, see Him work, and, at least in my case, it is the best thing that’s ever happened to me. And by the way, when we share this with others, it’s not just because we are told to do so, but because we want to see other people’s lives improve as ours have. To not do this would be downright selfish.
But Mike makes a greater point, one that all Christians should embrace. Mike explains how the idea that his bisexuality means “you can’t be religious, you can’t follow the Bible, you can’t follow God … is stupid.” This may sound like a hippie version of Christianity that means there is no objective right and wrong, but he further explains.