Posts Tagged “albert mohler”
Perhaps the most influential single theologian in the US is R. Albert Mohler. As the head of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, he’s the doctrinal custodian of the Southern Baptist Convention, and thus serves as one of the commandants of the Religious Right. I’m not sure why they thought they should do it, but CNN published his idiotic apologia for the Religious Right’s relentless war against gays (WebCite cached version):
Are conservative Christians hypocritical and selective when it comes to the Bible’s condemnation of homosexuality? With all that the Bible condemns, why the focus on gay sex and same-sex marriage?
Given the heated nature of our current debates, it’s a question conservative Christians have learned to expect. “Look,” we are told, “the Bible condemns eating shellfish, wearing mixed fabrics and any number of other things. Why do you ignore those things and insist that the Bible must be obeyed when it comes to sex?”
Unfortunately, despite having posed it, Al doesn’t actually answer this question. Rather, he rationalizes avoiding an answer altogether. I’ll let his dodges and swerves speak for themselves … if you can stomach reading it.
What I would like to point out, is that Al — even though he’s a strict Biblical literalist — factually lied about what the Bible says:
Some people then ask, “What about slavery and polygamy?” In the first place, the New Testament never commands slavery, and it prizes freedom and human dignity.
In reality, the New Testament most assuredly does support slavery. It does so more than once, in fact. Read on:
Slaves, be obedient to those who are your masters according to the flesh, with fear and trembling, in the sincerity of your heart, as to Christ; not by way of eyeservice, as men-pleasers, but as slaves of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart. (Eph 6:5-6).
Slaves, in all things obey those who are your masters on earth, not with external service, as those who merely please men, but with sincerity of heart, fearing the Lord. (Col 3:22)
I’m astonished that a supposed expert on the Bible such as Al Mohler would have said something as clearly and demonstrably untrue as this … but he did, nonetheless. Did he really think no one would notice his lie? Did he really think that people like myself, who have actually read the Bible (not only in English, but in other languages, including the original κοινη Greek of the New Testament), would not have been aware of this? Did he really think people are that fucking stupid? My guess is, he did think he’d get away with it — largely because he’s preaching to his own choir; other Southern Baptists would have taken him at his word and not questioned his statement. Regardless of his presumption of being able to get away with it, though, Al’s lie earns him entry into my “lying liars for Jesus” club.
It’s obvious by now that America’s Christofascists have to resort to lying about their own religion in order to support their hateful rhetoric. I’m not sure where in any of Jesus Christ’s own teachings they discovered the mandate to lie about him, but I’m sure they must have found it. Somewhere. I haven’t managed to find that chapter and verse, but Al and his cohorts must know what it is. I wonder if they’ll deign to divulge it to the rest of us “mere mortals”?
Photo credit: james.thompson.
Tags: al mohler
, albert mohler
, biblical literalism
, biblical literalist
, biblical literalists
, christian bible
, christian right
, col 3:22
, colossians 3:22
, eph 6:5-6
, ephesians 6:5-6
, liar for jesus
, liars for jesus
, lying liar for jesus
, lying liars for jesus
, r albert mohler
, religious right
, slavery in the bible
, slavery in the new testament
, southern baptist convention
, southern baptist theological seminary
No Comments »
Southern Baptist theologian Albert Mohler has come out against the practice of yoga. Time magazine’s NewsFeed blog reports on his pronouncement (WebCite cached article):
In a recent blog post, Dr. R. Albert Mohler, Jr. president of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, examines the argument that practicing yoga may be in direct conflict with the values of Christianity. “Yoga begins and ends with an understanding of the body that is, to say the very least, at odds with the Christian understanding,” Mohler writes.
He was prompted to make this declaration, apparently, by the publication of a single book, according to Time:
Mohler’s warning to Christians stems from Stefanie Syman’s recent book, The Subtle Body: The Story of Yoga in America, a “masterpiece of cultural history” according to Mohler, who argues that it’s yoga’s deeply rooted – and almost ritualistic – meditation through physical positions that should cause Christians to think before they stretch. “Yoga begins and ends with an understanding of the body that is, to say the very least, at odds with the Christian understanding,” he writes. “Christians are not called to empty the mind or to see the human body as a means of connecting to and coming to know the divine. Believers are called to meditate upon the Word of God — an external Word that comes to us by divine revelation — not to meditate by means of incomprehensible syllables.”
I’ll give Mohler points for one thing, and one thing only: Yoga did originate as one of the orthodox philosophies of Hinduism, which is a religion quite distinct and different from Christianity or the other Abrahamic faiths. However, as it’s practiced in the occidental world, Yoga has long since lost any connection with the practice of Hinduism. Aside from the Sanskrit names for positions and exercises, it is not Hinduism. It’s not even “Hinduism-lite.” It’s just meditation and exercise.
(I do admit that the organization called Transcendental Meditation has some religious, even cult-like aspects, however, the vast majority of people practicing Yoga in the US are not part of that group, have no connection with it, and aren’t practicing TM.)
Mohler forgets, though, that the sort of meditation and exercises which make up Yoga, have long had a parallel in the monastic and mendicant movements in Christianity. Devotional prayers are very similar to meditation, and there are many Christian mystical practices with similarities to Yoga. All right, so as a Protestant fundamentalist, Mohler may not really consider these things “Christian” (since they’re most often seen among Roman Catholic and Orthodox monks and nuns, and Protestants don’t think too well of them), but he cannot deny a historical precedent within his own religion.
What happened, I suspect, is that Mohler read Syman’s book, became enamored of it, and wrote a blog post about it. In the process he pretty much dismissed all forms of Christian mysticism as being “un-Christian.”
Photo credit: dharma communications.
Tags: albert mohler
, biblical fundamentalism
, christian fundamentalism
, southern baptist convention
, word of god
1 Comment »
The nation’s current most famous paranoid schizophrenic, Glenn Beck, has (no surprise!) shoved his foot into his mouth. The Intertubes have been alive with discussion of this, and I’d planned to avoid the matter, but since it’s become so well known, I thought I should weigh in on it anyway.
On his radio show this March 2, Beck railed ignorantly — and stupidly — against churches that promote “social justice.” Christianity Today transcribed his comments as follows (screen shot of page):
I beg you, look for the words “social justice” or “economic justice” on your church Web site. If you find it, run as fast as you can. Social justice and economic justice, they are code words. Now, am I advising people to leave their church? Yes! If I’m going to Jeremiah’s Wright’s church? Yes! Leave your church. Social justice and economic justice. They are code words. If you have a priest that is pushing social justice, go find another parish. Go alert your bishop and tell them, “Excuse me are you down with this whole social justice thing?” I don’t care what the church is. If it’s my church, I’m alerting the church authorities: “Excuse me, what’s this social justice thing?” And if they say, “Yeah, we’re all in that social justice thing,” I’m in the wrong place.
Beck, of course, has no idea what he’s talking about … but his raging paranoia prevents him from understanding that. What he’s doing is to connect several things which are not, in the end, connected at all. Let’s tease them apart so that this matter can be truly understood.
First, it is incontrovertible that Christianity and “social justice” are interconnected, and this is the case from almost the beginning of the movement. Jesus himself preached against the common social mores and presumptions of his time; he promoted charity — true charity, not mere “charity for appearance’s sake,” which he condemned utterly; he associated with outcasts and undesirables, actually preferring their company; he taught compassion for others as one of the cardinal rules of spiritual life; he condemned wealth and promoted giving everything to the poor; and much more. Also, scripture itself suggests early Christian communities lived according to a very egalitarian, “one for all and all for one” ideal, thus exhibiting a strong sense of “social justice” among themselves.
Second, this message has not been completely lost on Christians themselves. The themes of compassion and — yes, Glenn! — “social justice” have been continually picked up and expounded upon by Christians, throughout the religion’s history. Classical-era Christians, for example, maintained funds to support orphans and widows. During the Middle Ages, some religious orders funded and ran infirmaries for the care of the sick, even when plagues were raging, thus exposing themselves to disease. Early strong proponents of the Abolition movement — such as William Wilberforce — were devout Christians whose motivation to free slaves was primarily a religious impulse they believed to be part of Jesus’ own message. Later — especially as it arrived in the United States in the 19th century — Abolition became more of a humanist movement, no longer innately connected to religion … however, Abolition’s origins clearly had at least some religious inspiration. Beck’s reasoning, had it been followed in the early 19th century, would have ground Abolition to a halt, and the U.S. would still have slavery.
Third, Beck is correct that, at one time, phrases like “social justice” were, in fact, code-words used by Communists and Marxists. However, that was mostly true only during the Communist revolutions of the early and middle 20th century, and later during the Cold War. The fact is that this type of “coded” rhetoric has faded away since the collapse of the Soviet Union. Thus, any truthful basis Beck may have had for his comments are — at best — anachronistic. They make no sense today, since many different people, of many different ideologies, appeal to their own individual senses of “social justice.” One can no longer safely assume that any proponent of “social justice” is a Marxist.
Fourth, Beck’s objection appears to be rooted in the Jeremiah Wright controversy. By referring to Wright in his comments, Beck betrays his own childish hang-up on Barack Obama’s former pastor. Beckie, let me help you out here: Jeremiah Wright is now a dead issue. Obama has jettisoned him, and Wright is also done with Obama. This particular battle is over, Glenn, and has been for more than a year … at the very least, Obama’s election in November 2008 obviated it.
This idiocy reveals several things about Glenn Beck. Most importantly, he envisions Christianity as being linked to politics — his own personal, extreme-Right-wing, give-everything-there-is-to-the-wealthy-and-take-every-penny-from-the-poor politics. He cannot, or will not, conceive of Christianity as not being related to politics. Any church which — in his mind — does not march in lockstep with his own ideology, is not a “true” Christian church. He does not realize that Jesus himself was apolitical and did not, at any point during his ministry, ever concern himself with politics or statecraft. If anything, he rather clearly stated the opposite … that not only was he unconcerned with statecraft, that his followers also should not be. Beck also reveals that he is still stuck in the past, still thinking in terms of the Cold War and still consumed with scandals which are now obsolete.
Of note is the fact that a lot of Christians, and especially some of the Religious Right variety, have spoken out against Beck’s comments. For some examples, see this story by ABC News (WebCite cached article). Even the ferocious, fire-&-brimstone Religious Right theologian Albert Mohler has said Beck is wrong (cached article).
This criticism — from within Christianity and even from within the Religious Right — has not been lost on Beckie boy. He has responded: By fighting back, and insisting — in spite of the facts — that he is still correct. He has declared “social justice” to be “a perversion of the gospel,” and justifies his (strange) view of Jesus’ message as being about the individual, not the group. This twisted rationale has, itself, been condemned by the same people who first criticized him (cached article). I will leave the debate about that up to those critics, who as Christian “insiders” have more to say on it than I do.
Beck’s claim that “true” Christianity — as he sees it — has nothing to do with “social justice,” places him squarely in my “lying liars for Jesus” club.
The bottom line is that Beck’s initial condemnation of “social justice” in Christian churches — and his insistence, in spite of criticism by various Christian authorities — that he is still correct, as well as his refusal to let go of the Jeremiah Wright controversy show Beckie-boy to be a raging paranoid child. I suggest it’s long past time for the Beckster to grow up, and address his paranoia … there are good treatments for it, and given the millions he makes, he can more than afford the very best psychiatric care available.
Photo credit: Gage Skidmore.
, albert mohler
, christian right
, glenn beck
, jeremiah wright
, jesus christ
, liars for jesus
, lying liars for jesus
, religious right
, social justice
, soviet union
, william wilberforce
5 Comments »
It was, I suppose, inevitable that other Christians would finally begin defending the stupid and insulting comments by Marion “Pat” Robertson about the earthquake in Haiti, which I blogged about already. Other Christians cannot, apparently, simply let the man’s stupidity and ignorance go. Because he is a Christian and because he’s being criticized, they feel compelled to defend the asshat. This item comes from the Associated Baptist Press (WebCite cached article):
As several religious leaders criticized Pat Robertson’s comments blaming Haiti’s massive Jan. 12 earthquake on a pact supposedly made by its people with the devil, one came out to defend him.
Gary Cass, chairman and CEO of the Christian Anti-Defamation Commission, issued a statement saying that while Robertson’s comments made him an “easy target” for criticism, they are essentially theologically sound.
Cass believes the criticism Patty has been getting has nothing to do with the ignorant or hurtful nature of what he said, but merely because it made them uncomfortable:
Cass suggested one reason Robertson’s message is so unpopular is that it forces people to face the spiritual dimension of their lives.
“As long as everything is going well we live as if we are never going to die,” he said. “Then crisis hits and death slaps us in the face. Rather than humbling ourselves and searching our hearts like the Pilgrims did, we lash out at God and anyone who dares insinuate Him into our lives.”
Cass goes on to explain how Robertson is correct:
“A simple reading of the Bible shows how God uses natural disasters to further his purposes,” Cass said. “Earthquakes, floods, famine, locusts, etc. they’re all there, but man hates it. Rather than humbly acknowledging that God’s ways are not our ways, man rails against and accuses God. The last thing they will do is cry out for his mercy in Jesus Christ.”
On top of that, another, better-known theologian cited in this article, Albert Mohler, did criticize Robertson for saying what he said, but at the same time insisted his remarks were nevertheless sound, as ABP goes on to report:
A Southern Baptist scholar faulted Robertson for “over-claiming” the meaning of a single event, but also affirmed his theology.
“Do I believe that God punishes nations?” Albert Mohler, president of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, said on his daily radio program Jan. 13 “You bet, the same way I know that judgment falls upon individuals.” …
Mohler said Robertson “is absolutely correct in speaking about the sinfulness of the people of Haiti.”
Almost unbelievably, Mohler goes on about Haiti’s “dark” nature:
“There is no doubt that Haiti is a very dark place, where voodoo and all kinds of idolatry and all kinds of dark magic, all kinds of enslaving forms of religious belief are very prevalent,” Mohler said. “It is a dark place. It has been a dark place for a long time. The poverty there is not just because the nation started off as a rather impoverished nation, but because of the behavior pattern, beliefs, that have led to a society that has been virtually ungovernable for much of its history and really has embraced so much darkness.”
While this sounds obviously racist … and I have no idea how racist Mohler might be … he turns and tries to justify this statement by generalizing what he said:
However, he said, Robertson could have said the same thing about every human in every country. “All of us are sinners,” Mohler said. “All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.”
Apparently this statement justifies Mohler condemning just about any nation for just about any kind of immorality. Logically this means, of course, that Haiti is no better or worse than any other nation. In other words, his condemnation of Haiti as “a dark place” is basically meaningless, since every country is “a dark place.”
If anyone by now believes the Religious Right and its various proponents … of whom Cass (a protegé of the late militant dominionist D. James Kennedy) and Mohler (president of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, which over the years has educated much of the R.R.) are high-ranking members … have anything even remotely valid to say, they’re as delusional and insane as the rest of the R.R..
Lastly, by continuing to insist that Haiti is under a “curse,” based on an old legend that has never been verified, this makes both Cass and Mohler members of my “lying liars for Jesus” club.
Tags: albert mohler
, christian anti-defamation commission
, christian right
, disaster theology
, gary cass
, haiti earthquake
, liars for jesus
, lying liars for jesus
, marion pat robertson
, pat robertson
, religious right
No Comments »
On the heels of Obama’s remarks in Turkey that got the Religious Right’s knickers in a knot, as I blogged already, the latest Newsweek cover story by Jon Meacham has sparked additional fury and bluster on the part of the fire-&brimstone brigade. Here is some of what’s got them worked up (more than usual):
The percentage of self-identified Christians has fallen 10 points in the past two decades. How that statistic explains who we are now—and what, as a nation, we are about to become.…
While we remain a nation decisively shaped by religious faith, our politics and our culture are, in the main, less influenced by movements and arguments of an explicitly Christian character than they were even five years ago. I think this is a good thing—good for our political culture, which, as the American Founders saw, is complex and charged enough without attempting to compel or coerce religious belief or observance. It is good for Christianity, too, in that many Christians are rediscovering the virtues of a separation of church and state that protects what Roger Williams, who founded Rhode Island as a haven for religious dissenters, called “the garden of the church” from “the wilderness of the world.” As crucial as religion has been and is to the life of the nation, America’s unifying force has never been a specific faith, but a commitment to freedom—not least freedom of conscience. …
Meacham is not saying that Christianity is dead (because of course, it’s not):
Let’s be clear: while the percentage of Christians may be shrinking, rumors of the death of Christianity are greatly exaggerated. Being less Christian does not necessarily mean that America is post-Christian. A third of Americans say they are born again; this figure, along with the decline of politically moderate-to liberal mainline Protestants, led the ARIS authors to note that “these trends … suggest a movement towards more conservative beliefs and particularly to a more ‘evangelical’ outlook among Christians.” With rising numbers of Hispanic immigrants bolstering the Roman Catholic Church in America, and given the popularity of Pentecostalism, a rapidly growing Christian milieu in the United States and globally, there is no doubt that the nation remains vibrantly religious—far more so, for instance, than Europe.
Still, in the new NEWSWEEK Poll, fewer people now think of the United States as a “Christian nation” than did so when George W. Bush was president (62 percent in 2009 versus 69 percent in 2008). Two thirds of the public (68 percent) now say religion is “losing influence” in American society, while just 19 percent say religion’s influence is on the rise. The proportion of Americans who think religion “can answer all or most of today’s problems” is now at a historic low of 48 percent. During the Bush 43 and Clinton years, that figure never dropped below 58 percent.
What Meacham is saying, then, is not that Christianity is going away; it’s that fundamentalist-Christian politics is flagging:
Many conservative Christians believe they have lost the battles over issues such as abortion, school prayer and even same-sex marriage, and that the country has now entered a post-Christian phase. …
What, then, does it mean to talk of “Christian America”? Evangelical Christians have long believed that the United States should be a nation whose political life is based upon and governed by their interpretation of biblical and theological principles. If the church believes drinking to be a sin, for instance, then the laws of the state should ban the consumption of alcohol. If the church believes the theory of evolution conflicts with a literal reading of the Book of Genesis, then the public schools should tailor their lessons accordingly. If the church believes abortion should be outlawed, then the legislatures and courts of the land should follow suit. The intensity of feeling about how Christian the nation should be has ebbed and flowed since Jamestown; there is, as the Bible says, no thing new under the sun. For more than 40 years, the debate that began with the Supreme Court’s decision to end mandatory school prayer in 1962 (and accelerated with the Roe v. Wade ruling 11 years later) may not have been novel, but it has been ferocious. Fearing the coming of a Europe-like secular state, the right longed to engineer a return to what it believed was a Christian America of yore.
But that project has failed, at least for now. In Texas, authorities have decided to side with science, not theology, in a dispute over the teaching of evolution. The terrible economic times have not led to an increase in church attendance. In Iowa last Friday, the state Supreme Court ruled against a ban on same-sex marriage, a defeat for religious conservatives. Such evidence is what has believers fretting about the possibility of an age dominated by a newly muscular secularism.
But American remains America, as Meacham goes on to say:
Religious doubt and diversity have, however, always been quintessentially American. Alexis de Tocqueville said that “the religious atmosphere of the country was the first thing that struck me on arrival in the United States,” but he also discovered a “great depth of doubt and indifference” to faith. Jefferson had earlier captured the essence of the American spirit about religion when he observed that his statute for religious freedom in Virginia was “meant to comprehend, within the mantle of its protection, the Jew and the Gentile, the Christian and the Mahometan, the Hindoo and infidel of every denomination”—and those of no faith whatever. The American culture of religious liberty helped create a busy free market of faith: by disestablishing churches, the nation made religion more popular, not less.
America, then, is not a post-religious society—and cannot be as long as there are people in it, for faith is an intrinsic human impulse. The belief in an order or a reality beyond time and space is ancient and enduring. “All men,” said Homer, “need the gods.”
Meacham points out that even some of the evangelicals who had been instrumental in establishing the Religious Right as a political force, have conceded the intrinsic flaws in their program:
The columnist Cal Thomas was an early figure in the Moral Majority who came to see the Christian American movement as fatally flawed in theological terms. “No country can be truly ‘Christian’,” Thomas says. “Only people can. God is above all nations, and, in fact, Isaiah says that ‘All nations are to him a drop in the bucket and less than nothing’.” Thinking back across the decades, Thomas recalls the hope—and the failure. “We were going through organizing like-minded people to ‘return’ America to a time of greater morality. Of course, this was to be done through politicians who had a difficult time imposing morality on themselves!”
Needless to say, the Religious Right has completely misread this story and interpreted as Newsweek having trumpeted “the End of Christianity in the US.” To deal with this the magazine’s editors published an additional clarification, also by Meacham:
Note that we did not say we were discussing the decline and fall of Christianity, or even the decline and fall of Christianity in America. But “Christian America” is something else again.
Unfortunately the Religious Right confuses Christianity, the religion — which comes in myriad forms — with Christianity-as-political-entity, which is, in fact, losing control over the country. They cannot separate the two in their minds. This is why there have been so many irrational or outright non sequitur responses to the Meacham’s piece, such as the following (these were found using a Google blog search):
To his credit, fundamentalist-evangelical theologian Albert Mohler, who figures prominently in Meacham’s piece, did not misrepresent the Newsweek cover story, although he did offer a clever twist:
The cover story is a serious consideration of the issue Newsweek set as its priority for the week of Easter, and the seriousness of the magazine’s approach is evident in the fact that its editor, Mr. Meacham, wrote the cover story himself. The essay, elegant in form and serious in tone, demands attention. …
One key aspect of Mr. Meacham’s argument is his suggestion that what binds America together is not “a specific faith” but instead “a commitment to freedom” and, in particular, freedom of conscience. There is something to this argument, of course. The founding generation did not establish the young republic on any religious creed or theological doctrine. Still, there is something missing from this argument, and that is the recognition that freedom, and freedom of conscience in particular, requires some prior understanding of human dignity and the origins of conscience itself. Though the founders included those who rejected the Christian Gospel and Christianity itself, Christianity had provided the necessary underpinnings for the founders’ claims.
Did you catch that? Mohler is saying that, while the United States was not actually founded as “a Christian nation” with “a Christian government,” and furthermore conceded not all the Founders were religious — a concession I find surprising coming from him — he’s saying that Christianity nonetheless underpins the country, even in spite of the fact that the Founders had specifically avoided making it “a Christian nation”; and that their effort to do so was itself an expression of Christianity. In essence, Mohler is saying that the US is, in fact, a Christian nation even though it’s not!
I should congratulate Mohler, this is one damned nifty trick of logic. Of course, it’s self-contradictory in itself, which by definition robs it of any veracity, but it’s nonetheless quite inventive.
Eventually the Religious Right will see that “Christianity as a religion that individuals in the US believe in” is NOT the same thing as “the Christianity we worship which we believe to be a political entity whose authority entitles us to run the country as we demand.” Unfortunately they have a lot of growing up to do before they achieve this insight.
Tags: albert mohler
, america is not a christian nation
, american religious identification survey
, christian nation
, religious right
No Comments »
The Pew Forum recently released the results of a follow-up survey to one they’d released earlier this year, on how Americans view salvation. The first survey had been controversial among evangelicals who were shocked to hear that so many Americans did not view Jesus as the exclusive arbiter of salvation. Reporting on both survey results continues to center on what it shows about evangelical Christians; for example, this appeared in the New York Times (WebCite cached article):
In June, the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life published a controversial survey in which 70 percent of Americans said that they believed religions other than theirs could lead to eternal life. …
The evangelicals complained that people must not have understood the question. The respondents couldn’t actually believe what they were saying, could they?
This second survey’s main conclusion is:
A majority of all American Christians (52%) think that at least some non-Christian faiths can lead to eternal life. Indeed, among Christians who believe many religions can lead to eternal life, 80% name at least one non-Christian faith that can do so.
Predictably, evangelical Christians are disturbed a second time over these results. They claim exclusivity of salvation through Jesus, based on one Bible verse, that being John 14:6 (“Jesus said to him, ‘I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me’”).
After reading this reaction I found myself wondering, “Where is the problem here?” What is not credible aout 52% of American Christians believing there’s more than one path to salvation? Many of these American Christians belong to denominations that do not claim exclusivity. For instance, a large number are Roman Catholics; in RC doctrine, many non-Catholics are referred to as “separated brethren”; it is assumed that it is possible for them to be saved, despite not being Catholic. There is also a Catholic doctrine of salvation for those who were never presented with the message of Jesus. Many other denominations have similar views — that members of rival denominations, or those ignorant of Jesus, may face a higher hurdle to salvation, but might still be saved nevertheless. Moreover, prior surveys typically peg evangelical Christians at around 25% of the US population, or about 30% of US Christians.
It’s quite reasonable that most Americans would believe that their religion and/or denomination is not the exclusive arbiter of salvation. I simply could not see how this very-reasonable result could be problematic.
After reviewing more articles on this survey, and some evangelicals’s responses to this survey, I finally noticed a subtle clue in a few places. For instance, Baptist theologian Albert Mohler is cited in a USA Today story (cached):
Mohler sees behind the statistics the impact of pluralism and secularism in U.S. society and the challenge of facing family and friends with “an uncomfortable truth.”
(Mohler has more to say on his own blog, if you’re curious.)
You see, that’s what it’s all about, folks. The fabled creeping advance of secularism into American society. It’s an evil that must be curbed at all costs!
The unstated presumption here is not merely that everyone in the US ought to be Christian, it’s that we must all be uniformly Christian, and claim exclusivity of salvation for our own faith. In short, folks, it’s an implicit argument for dominionism — a movement among Christian evangelicals, to remake the US into an Old Testament-style theocracy, in which everyone is forced to become a Christian fundamentalist. Under dominionism, being anything else would amount to a death sentence, and death would be the prescribed penalty for many other transgressions, such as working on the Sabbath.
Do not be fooled, folks. These people are playing for keeps, and they’re clamoring for rulership over the US.
Tags: albert mohler
, Christian exclusivity
, evangelical christians
, john 14:6
, Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life
No Comments »