Message 1 of 2 (792178)
10-07-2016 1:01 AM
FaceBook offered this link at patheos.com: America Isnít Growing Hostile Towards Christians, Itís Growing Hostile Towards Religious Bullies.. One excerpt from that page is:
However, hereís the part thatís true: America isnít growing hostile towards ChristiansĖ it is growing hostile towards religious bullies, and thereís a big difference between those two things.
Few sane people give a hoot if one is a practicing Christian. Thereís no movement to banish churches and put them under government regulation like in China. No one is stopping us from gathering together with other believers, from feeding the poor, or even from standing on the street corner with obnoxious banners that say ďturn or burn.Ē
Religious freedom and free speech is alive and well in America. These freedoms arenít just tolerated, but embraced.
What is not embraced, and what the majority of citizens (Christians citizens, mind you) are growing increasingly hostile towards, are fringe Christian extremists who are trying to institute their own version of sharia law that infringes on the rights and liberties of the rest of us.
Thereís a massive difference between freedom to practice oneís religion in a pluralistic society where we all equally have that right, versus enshrining oneís extremist religious views in laws that are imposed on the rest of us. Thereís a big difference between saying that you want to be free and not forced to marry someone of the same sex, versus wanting to deny that right to someone else you donít even know. Thereís a big difference between wanting the freedom to own a business and conduct commerce freely in the public square, versus demanding to run a business that discriminates and infringes on the basic rights and dignities of everyone else.
No one is trying to stop you from being a Christian. The country is not growing hostile towards Christians. Itís just growing hostile towards extremist, religious bullies, who are trying to hijack the nation and force everyone to live under their own set of morals and ethics.
Growing hostile towards that kind of nonsense is not the same thing as growing hostile towards Christianity. Itís not even close.
"True Christians" will undoubtedly bridle at this, but I tend to think of certain activities of fundamentalistist in terms of viral infections, epidemics even. That is influenced in part by Michael Crichton's resolution of the problem in his first well-known novel (his sixth novel actually), The Andromeda Strain. Here was this alien pathogen that could coagulate all the blood in the entire circulatory system in an instant (albeit more slowly outside of a narrow pH range), but since that virulence greatly reduces its ability to infect more hosts, the less virulent strains start to predominate.
During the "Jesus Freak Movement" (which I lived through), fundamentalist Christianity was highly virulent. A major factor of that was End-Time Revelations and all that nonsense. After the mid-1970's I lost track of the local fundamentalist nonsense, having enlisted and been shipped elsewhere, but later I heard of a charlatan who wreaked havoc on the local major fundamentalist church, the center of the "Jesus Freak Movement" (ie, the massive influx of those members had propelled it into the Mega-Church category). That charlatan mispresented himself as a former Satanist who in the 1980's cause all kind of havoc. I will regard him much as the Mule in Isaac Asimov's Foundation series, an anomaly who upset the natural evolution of things.
Circa 1970, the new converts to Christian fundamentalism were mainly the burned-out hippies. They then engaged in very aggressive street proselytizing which drew in some number of new converts. We'll return to the overall consequences of those efforts.
My high school best friend's mother and a few family members converted, so I became something of a "fellow traveller" (a McCarthyism term) as I observed that sub-culture while not actually becoming a member. Circa 1970, major emphasis was given to the End-Times and the Book of Revelations. This was the period when the infection was most virulent. Many new converts. Many new and very highly motivated proselytizers. The situation very quickly devolved to where you almost literally could not turn around without some religious nut preaching at you and trying to convert you.
Ok, let's take that kind of religious community forward in time. The earliest Christians were convinced that the Second Coming was imminent, could happen any moment now. It is said that they wouldn't even bother to plant any trees, because nobody would ever be around to pick any of the resultant fruits. And yet the Second Coming did not happen and the resultant fruit of those trees planted nonetheless by non-believers was indeed eaten. The prophecies proved false ... and were immediately forgotten.
Similarly, the Jesus Freak Movement expected the End Times to be immediately at hand. But as with that prior generation two millennia earlier, their families were still there and their children were still there and their grand-children were also still there. Despite all their religious beliefs, life still went on and their families still went on and their careers still went on.
And over time, the virulence of Christian fundamentalism diminished, as with any virus.