Monday, March 17, 2014

Why don't 'moderate' conservative Christians condemn religious extremists?


With these extreme groups and individuals making their opinions loud and clear, a certain question needs to be asked. Christians and other religious Americans who consider themselves "moderate," are often too quiet when these extreme groups make the headlines with hate and intolerance. While there are often a small group of religious Americans voicing their opposition, not enough do so to make enough noise to change the direction of the issues.

The Republican party and their conservative Christian base don't always speak as clearly as Pastor Harris and Worley, but their silence does just as much damage. It's possible to hold a certain position in your political and religious ideology without damaging the lives of others. If the United States is going to move forward in a direction that includes equality for all Americans, people of faith need to speak up when clear ignorance, intolerance and bigotry are being unleashed right in front of their eyes.

More here.

I've really started to believe in recent months that what we have thought of as "Christendom" for centuries doesn't really reflect reality.  Indeed, the United States has probably ended up becoming the ultimate fulfillment of the Protestant Reformation.  We've got a gazillion different denominations, a similar number of independent churches, countless Christians who are unaffiliated with a church at all, and all of them with differing beliefs and values, in spite of a common name, Christian, and common holy book, the Bible.  In short, there is no single cultural phenomenon called Christianity.  Rather, there are multiple Christianities, with various emphases and ideas, often reflecting various local ethnic and secular cultural norms.

That's how you can range from "God hates fags" all the way to churches holding wedding ceremonies for gays and lesbians, how we can have some churches supporting the invasion of Iraq with others condemning the military action as immoral, how some churches advocate universal health care, while others see it as a stepping stone toward communism and eventual state enforced atheism, how some churches reject evolution, the big bang, and set theory, while others embrace science as that which reveals the intricacies of God's divine plan.  And so on.  All of them arriving at wildly different conclusions about the nature of reality even though they use the same name, use the same holy text, and employ, more or less, the same symbols.

How can this all be simply one religion?  How can a single religion be so divided against itself?  Who are the real Christians?  Is there such a thing as a "real" Christian?  Or is anybody who self-identifies as a Christian automatically a Christian?  These are serious questions to which I would like answers.