Fundamentalist Christianity Is a Collection of Justifications for Hate

Modern Heathens have found that when you’re trying to reconstruct a religion it’s useful to know exactly what you’re trying to reconstruct – and from when. You see, Heathens don’t have an unbroken connection to the past thanks to a long history of Christian intolerance. Our ancestral believes were not allowed to develop naturally from the eleventh or twelfth century until today. We have to make do with what survived.

Because religions and religious beliefs evolve and do not remain static, a strict reconstructionist runs the risk of making a living, vibrant thing into a dead and static thing: a skeleton. You can’t simply say you’re going to reconstruct Viking Age religion and insist that is how it should be forevermore. It wouldn’t be that way if it had been allowed to live and evolve. That brings us to another approach, which I like to think of as revivalism, which has a less strict approach, one which allows a modern Heathenism that is inspired by more than transplanted from the past.

A revivalist believes that not all the customs of the past are necessarily relevant to today: thralldom (slavery) for example. The world has changed drastically, after all. Compounding the problem is our ignorance of beliefs and rituals. When we know for example that people chanted, we don’t know what they chanted or why, or what was being accomplished by the ritual. Simply transferring every bit of knowledge we have of the past to the present would result in a oft-times meaningless collection of activities.

The Tale of Volsi (Völsa Þáttr) is a case in point. This story is found in the Saga of St Ólaf in the Flateyjarbók (II, 331) and takes place in northern Norway during the days of forced conversion.  St. Ólaf plays the part of the ugly Christian. A Heathen peasant family plays the victims. The story goes like this (I’ll let the eminent Turville-Petre tell the tale):

One autumn a fat draught-horse died and, pagan as they were, the family cut him up and stewed him. When the horse was skinned, the farmer’s son, full of boisterous humour, picked up the generative organ (vingull), ran into the house and shook it in front of the women, saying:

Hér meguð sjá   Here you can see

heldr röskligan a good stout vingull

vingul skorinn   chopped off from

af viggs föður   the horse’s father.

þér er, ambátt,     For you, serving-maid,

þessi Völsi            this Völsi (phallus) will be

allódaufligr          lively enough

innan læra.           between the thighs.

The housewife grasped the vingull, saying that neither this nor any­thing else should go to waste. She dried it, and wrapped it in a linen cloth, with onions and herbs to preserve it, and put it into her chest. Every evening she brought it forth, uttering a formula, and she placed all her faith in it, holding it to be her god (guð sinn), and persuading all the household to do the same. The vingull was filled with such demonia­cal power that it grew strong and great and could stand beside the housewife. Every evening she chanted a verse over it and passed it round the assembled company, each of whom contributed a verse.

Late one evening, St Ólaf arrived with his friends, Finn Arnason, and the Icelandic poet, Thormóð, all of them disguised. They sat down in the hall waiting for the people of the house to assemble. Last of all the housewife came in, bearing the vingull, which she addressed affection­ately as Völsi, while she clutched it to her bosom. Völsi was passed from hand to hand, and everyone who received it uttered a verse, often obscene, and always accompanied with the puzzling refrain:

þiggi Mörnir (Maurnir, MS.)  May Mörnir

þetta bloeti                                receive this sacrifice.[1]

Now I can insist upon my Heathen right to wave a horse cock around at the dinner table while chanting over it but that wouldn’t make much sense now, would it? I don’t know why they did it or what they chanted or even why they’d ask Mörnir, himself a phallus, to receive “this sacrifice” of a phallus. The whole thing is probably directed toward Freyr, a god of fertility, but as Rudolf Simek says in, “The various…interpretations of the Völsa Þáttr have led to several conclusions which contradict each other.”[2]

Much like the various stories and injunctions found in the Old and New Testament, when you get right down to it.

Which brings us to Christianity, or what I think of more and more as aberrochristianity, to differentiate it from the real thing. Christianity is a perfect example of how religion changes and evolves and is subject to outside influences.

Being the persecutor rather than the persecuted (whatever its worldview claims), Christianity has had the opportunity to enjoy an unbroken connection to the past. You can see that if you had used the year 1000 as a cut-off that religion then and now are very different species. And that is no surprise. Religion reflects geography and culture just as culture reflects religion.

You can’t take a set of beliefs out of their temporal and spatial context and expect them to be seamlessly transported to a new set of circumstances and conditions. Reconstructionists are left having to decide whether to transplant every (often discordant) detail they can or pick and choose – for example, the horse cock.

The problem is compounded by Christian fundamentalists who focus more on the Old Testament, both Old Testament beliefs and Old Testament language, than they do upon Jesus. You would think they were trying to reconstruct ancient Jewish religion, not practice their own Christian faith. They insist they are Christians but when did Jesus talk about things like the “land vomiting forth” its inhabitants, as does Pat Robertson?

Robertson: It’s a chicken sandwich, it’s a piece of white meat chicken between two pieces of white bread, it’s also a milkshake, now we’re going to go have demonstrations over that? But you know something, I was reading today in Leviticus, which is the law of the Old Testament, but it lays out the reasons why land will vomit out its inhabitants and it goes through a category of stuff we are calling Constitutional rights: killing babies, offering them to Moloch, and it says it is an abomination for a man to lie with a man as with a woman. It’s what it says. That is the moral law that God set forth and now we’ve got people at a university petitioning because somebody said I believe that marriage is between a man and a woman. I defy these homosexuals to bring forth a baby from that part of the anatomy which they concentrate on, when that happens I will change everything I’m saying; until that happens, I wish those demonstrators would shut their mouth.

I won’t even go into the First Amendment issues suggested by “shut your mouth.” Let’s go right to the heart of the matter instead: See YHWH’s threats espoused at Lev 26.14-17; they are enough to chill anyone’s blood.

As R. Joseph Hoffman observes, the God of Abraham “has always threatened vengeance of cosmic proportions for not keeping his laws…The Abrahamic god must be understood in terms of two words: exclusivity and judgment.”[3]

Regina Schwartz notes the manner in which the biblical narrative paints “inclinations toward polytheism” as “sexual infidelity” and how Israel itself “is castigated for ‘whoring after’ other gods, thereby imperiling her ‘purity.'” The land itself must be kept clean “or its inhabitants will be ejected, ‘vomited’ out of the land…when Israel is not monotheistic, it is filthy and it pollutes the land” (Lev 20.22-25). When Israel worships a foreign deity, she is a harlot, the land is made barren, and she is ejected from the land” (Jer 3.2-3).[4]

The God of monotheism is made the “True” God and the “gods” of polytheism are false. The result, when the opportunity offered, was slaughter, pure and simple. See as examples, 2 Kings 23:20-25 and Deuteronomy 13:13-18 for chilling examples of what happened to those as, George Carlin has put it, “gave the wrong answer to the God question.”

The Psalms of Solomon, as John J. Collins reminds us (and tell me if this sounds familiar to you), exalt Israel “above all other nations.” There is no room for Gentiles in the new, hoped forIsrael: “The alien and the foreigner will no longer live near them (17:28). Gentile nations will serve under the yoke of the messiah” (17:30). This sounds very much like Psalm 2.7-9: “I will make the nations your heritage and the ends of the earth your possession. You shall break them with a rod of iron, and dash them in pieces like a potter’s vessel.”

The Jews of the Second Temple period (the era in which Jesus lived) were quite capable then of following the injunctions of these various biblical texts, which John J. Collins characterizes as “programmatic ideological statements”:

We can no longer accept them as simply presenting what happened. Whether we see these texts as reflecting expansionistic policies of King Josiah or as mere fantasies of powerless Judeans after the exile, they project a model of the ways in which Israelshould relate to its neighbors. In this perspective, ownership of the landof Israelis conferred by divine grant, not by ancestral occupancy or by negotiation, and violence against rival claimants of that land is not only legitimate but mandatory, especially if these people worship gods other than YHWH, the God of Israel.[5]

This was also the Israel that the Fourth Philosophy and the Essenes hearkened back to, an Israel ruled by God and unpolluted by Gentiles (Pagans), back to the days of the Maccabees and beyond, just as the Maccabees had hearkened back to the zeal of Phinehas (Num 25.10-15): Mattathias “burned with zeal for the law, just as Phinehas did against Zimri, the son of Salu” (1 Macc 1.26). As John J. Collins and others have shown, these biblical texts have served to “legitimize violent action.”

Fundamentalist preachers like to talk about the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ or leading people back to that Gospel but they don’t seem much aware of it themselves, and seem more interested in leading people back to the dark ages of Israel’s past, to a time when God destroyed entire cities and eradicated entire nations in fits of genocidal rage; when he turned people into pillars of salt and pushing a doctrine of unreasoning hate rather than the injunction to love even your enemies.

As I have asked before, when was the last time you heard a fundamentalist preacher recite the Beatitudes? Despite enjoying that unbroken connection to their past, it is almost as if fundamentalist Christian preachers have elected to skip right over the New Testament part and go right back to the Bronze Age.

Modern-day Heathens often get hung up on the Viking Age – understandable given that’s pretty much the high-water mark of Heathenism – but why intentionally go back to Judaism, to a time before Christ, if you want to call yourself a Christian? It’s less like any of this represents a coherent religion than a collection of excuses and justifications for bigotry and hatred.

Christianity preaches a clear demarcation between Christianity and Judaism – the idea of an Old and New Testament, of a New and Old Covenant, of an Old and New Chosen People, dates back to the early days of Christianity. If, as those early Christians taught, everything changed with Jesus, why are today’s fundamentalist Christians acting like nothing changed at all, except maybe a few things they find inconvenient, like the injunction against shellfish, or shaving their beards?

It’s almost as though the injunction against a man loving a man exists in a vacuum and is the entire purpose of the Old Testament, the alpha and omega of the religion of Moses.  The many types of Biblical marriage are ignored in favor of one and abortion, an activity God himself demands and orders, is suddenly anti-God; the God who orders millions of deaths, who orders rape and destruction and slavery and human sacrifice is suddenly pro-life.

If Heathen revivalists have learned anything in trying to salvage their ancient customs and traditions it is that things have to make sense. You have to ask yourself, how does this fit? Does it still make sense ten centuries later? Do we understand why they did this or that back then? Obviously I’m not going to hang people from trees in sacrifice to Odin just because my ancestors engaged in that activity rather freely (attractive as people like Bryan Fischer and Pat Robertson make that activity sound). Heathens don’t have any choice but to scrounge. Christians do not have to scrounge. It is all there: 2000 unbroken years of history and continuity: nobody burned their sacred texts except when they burned their own.

So why skip over Jesus and pick and choose the most hateful and bigoted passages out of the Old Testament, from an Old Covenant, from the beliefs of what Christian doctrine insists are an Old Chosen People? Why skip over the love for the hate, except to find justification for your own?

I would have more respect for these people if they would actually live as the Old Testament demands, before like Buster Wilson of the AFA, insisting that Chick-Fil-A is successful because “they live according to God’s word” and have kept God’s command to meditate on His law day and night.” Because they haven’t. They haven’t kept God’s command and neither has Buster Wilson and neither has Pat Robertson. They’ve picked out the bits like like best, that best suit their own prejudices. They’re not Jews; they’re not even Christians. They’re parasites, living off other people’s beliefs and demeaning both.

 


[1] E.O.G. Turville-Petre, Myth and Religion of the North: The Religion of Ancient Scandinavia (Holt, Rinehart and Winston, 1964), 256-257.

[2] Rudolf Simek, Dictionary of Northern Mythology (D.S. Brewer, 1993), 365-366.

[3] R. Joseph Hoffmann, ed. The Just War and Jihad: Violence in Judaism, Christianity, & Islam (Amherst,NY: Prometheus Books, 2006), 10-11. Among this god’s enemies are, as Hoffmann identifies this group’s composition, “a blend of idolaters, foreigners, sorcerers, heretics, homosexuals, drunken sons, dismissed wives, disobedient slaves, and above all the catch-all remainder of ‘those who do not do his will.'”

[4] Regina Schwartz, The Curse of Cain (University of Chicago Press, 1998), 18, 63.

[5] John J. Collins, “The Zeal of Phinehas: The Bible and the Legitimation of Violence,” JBL 122 (2003), 11.

Which brings us to Christianity. Christianity is a perfect example of how religion changes and evolves. It has had the opportunity to enjoy an unbroken connection to the past. You can see that if you had used the year 1000 as a cut-off that religion then and now are very different species. And that is no surprise. Religion reflects geography and culture just as culture reflects religion. You can’t take a set of beliefs out of their temporal and spatial context and expect them to be seamlessly transported to a new set of circumstances and conditions. Reconstructionists are left having to decide whether to transplant every (often discordant) detail they can or pick and choose.

The problem is compounded by Christian fundamentalists who focus more on the Old Testament, both Old Testament beliefs and Old Testament language, than they do upon Jesus. You would think they were trying to reconstruct ancient Jewish religion, not practice their own Christian faith. They insist they are Christians but when did Jesus talk about things like the “land vomiting forth” its inhabitants, as does Pat Robertson?

<iframe width=”500″ height=”283″ src=”http://www.youtube.com/embed/gmjNKbTy2cM?feature=player_embedded” frameborder=”0″ allowfullscreen></iframe>

Robertson: It’s a chicken sandwich, it’s a piece of white meat chicken between two pieces of white bread, it’s also a milkshake, now we’re going to go have demonstrations over that? But you know something, I was reading today in Leviticus, which is the law of the Old Testament, but it lays out the reasons why land will vomit out its inhabitants and it goes through a category of stuff we are calling Constitutional rights: killing babies, offering them to Moloch, and it says it is an abomination for a man to lie with a man as with a woman. It’s what it says. That is the moral law that God set forth and now we’ve got people at a university petitioning because somebody said I believe that marriage is between a man and a woman. I defy these homosexuals to bring forth a baby from that part of the anatomy which they concentrate on, when that happens I will change everything I’m saying; until that happens, I wish those demonstrators would shut their mouth.

I won’t even go into the First Amendment issues suggested by “shut your mouth.” Let’s go right to the heart of the matter instead: See YHWH’s threats espoused at Lev 26.14-17; they are enough to chill anyone’s blood.

As R. Joseph Hoffman observes, the God of Abraham “has always threatened vengeance of cosmic proportions for not keeping his laws…The Abrahamic god must be understood in terms of two words: exclusivity and judgment.”[1]

Regina Schwartz notes the manner in which the biblical narrative paints “inclinations toward polytheism” as “sexual infidelity” and how Israel itself “is castigated for ‘whoring after’ other gods, thereby imperiling her ‘purity.'” The land itself must be kept clean “or its inhabitants will be ejected, ‘vomited’ out of the land…when Israel is not monotheistic, it is filthy and it pollutes the land” (Lev 20.22-25). When Israel worships a foreign deity, she is a harlot, the land is made barren, and she is ejected from the land” (Jer 3.2-3).[2] The God of monotheism is made the “True” God and the “gods” of polytheism are false. The result, when the opportunity offered, was slaughter, pure and simple. See as examples, 2 Kings 23:20-25 and Deuteronomy 13:13-18 for chilling examples of what happened to those as, George Carlin has put it, “gave the wrong answer to the God question.”

The Psalms of Solomon, as John J. Collins reminds us (and tell me if this sounds familiar to you), exalt Israel “above all other nations.” There is no room for Gentiles in the new, hoped forIsrael: “The alien and the foreigner will no longer live near them (17:28). Gentile nations will serve under the yoke of the messiah” (17:30). This sounds very much like Psalm 2.7-9: “I will make the nations your heritage and the ends of the earth your possession. You shall break them with a rod of iron, and dash them in pieces like a potter’s vessel.”

The Jews of the Second Temple period (the era in which Jesus lived) were quite capable then of following the injunctions of these various biblical texts, which John J. Collins characterizes as “programmatic ideological statements”:

We can no longer accept them as simply presenting what happened. Whether we see these texts as reflecting expansionistic policies of King Josiah or as mere fantasies of powerless Judeans after the exile, they project a model of the ways in which Israelshould relate to its neighbors. In this perspective, ownership of the landof Israelis conferred by divine grant, not by ancestral occupancy or by negotiation, and violence against rival claimants of that land is not only legitimate but mandatory, especially if these people worship gods other than YHWH, the God of Israel.[3]

This was also the Israel that the Fourth Philosophy and the Essenes hearkened back to, an Israel ruled by God and unpolluted by Gentiles (Pagans), back to the days of the Maccabees and beyond, just as the Maccabees had hearkened back to the zeal of Phinehas (Num 25.10-15): Mattathias “burned with zeal for the law, just as Phinehas did against Zimri, the son of Salu” (1 Macc 1.26). As John J. Collins and others have shown, these biblical texts have served to “legitimize violent action.”

Fundamentalist preachers like to talk about the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ or leading people back to that Gospel but they don’t seem much aware of it themselves, and seem more interested in leading people back to the dark ages of Israel’s past, to a time when God destroyed entire cities and eradicated entire nations in fits of genocidal rage; when he turned people into pillars of salt and pushing a doctrine of unreasoning hate rather than the injunction to love even your enemies.

As I have asked before, when was the last time you heard a fundamentalist preacher recite the Beatitudes? Despite enjoying that unbroken connection to their past, it is almost as if fundamentalist Christian preachers have elected to skip right over the New Testament part and go right back to the Bronze Age. Modern Heathens often get hung up on the Viking Age – understandable given that’s pretty much the high-water mark of Heathenism – but why intentionally go back to Judaism, to a time before Christ, if you want to call yourself a Christian? It’s less like any of this represents a coherent religion than a collection of excuses and justifications for bigotry and hatred.

Christianity preaches a clear demarcation between Christianity and Judaism – the idea of an Old and New Testament, of a New and Old Covenant, of an Old and New Chosen People, dates back to the early days of Christianity. If, as those early Christians taught, everything changed with Jesus, why are today’s fundamentalist Christians acting like nothing changed at all, except maybe a few things they find inconvenient, like the injunction against shellfish, or shaving their beards?

It’s almost as though the injunction against a man loving a man exists in a vacuum and is the entire purpose of the Old Testament, the alpha and omega of the religion of Moses.  The many types of Biblical marriage are ignored in favor of one and abortion, an activity God himself demands and orders, is suddenly anti-God; the God who orders millions of deaths, who orders rape and destruction and slavery and human sacrifice is suddenly pro-life.

If Heathen revivalists have learned anything in trying to salvage their ancient customs and traditions it is that things have to make sense. You have to ask yourself, how does this fit? Does it still make sense ten centuries later? Do we understand why they did this or that back then? Obviously I’m not going to hang people from trees in sacrifice to Odin just because my ancestors engaged in that activity rather freely (attractive as people like Bryan Fischer and Pat Robertson make that activity sound). Heathens don’t have any choice but to scrounge. Christians do not have to scrounge. It is all there: 2000 unbroken years of history and continuity: nobody burned their sacred texts except when they burned their own.

So why skip over Jesus and pick and choose the most hateful and bigoted passages out of the Old Testament, from an Old Covenant, from the beliefs of what Christian doctrine insists are an Old Chosen People? Why skip over the love for the hate, except to find justification for your own?

I would have more respect for these people if they would actually live as the Old Testament demands. Instead we get people like Buster Wilson of the AFA, insisting that Chick-Fil-A is successful because “they live according to God’s word” and have kept God’s command to meditate on His law day and night.” Because they haven’t. They haven’t kept God’s command and neither has Buster Wilson and neither has Pat Robertson. They’ve picked out the bits like like best, that best suit their own prejudices. They’re not Jews; they’re not even Christians. They’re parasites, living off other people’s beliefs and demeaning both.


[1] R. Joseph Hoffmann, ed. The Just War and Jihad: Violence in Judaism, Christianity, & Islam (Amherst,NY: Prometheus Books, 2006), 10-11. Among this god’s enemies are, as Hoffmann identifies this group’s composition, “a blend of idolaters, foreigners, sorcerers, heretics, homosexuals, drunken sons, dismissed wives, disobedient slaves, and above all the catch-all remainder of ‘those who do not do his will.'”

[2] Regina Schwartz, The Curse of Cain, 18, 63.

[3] John J. Collins, “The Zeal of Phinehas: The Bible and the Legitimation of Violence,” JBL 122 (2003), 11.

14 Replies to “Fundamentalist Christianity Is a Collection of Justifications for Hate”

  1. Recently, David Barton had his book “The Jefferson Lies” canceled by his publisher because of “questionable historical facts.”
    The far right and the fundamentalists all want this nation to go back to it’s Christen roots!??
    My problem with all this is: Somewhere in the Constitution it says something to the effect that a person’s religion can’t be used as a test for his being eligible to run for office.
    Seems as though Pat Robinson, Buster Wilson and all the other “Christens” out there want to change that requirement, and are using the bible and distorting history to prove their very dangerous point. The point man in all this is David Barton.
    Abortion and Homosexuality are words used by the Christens in hateful ways, and the examples used in this article to back up that hate with Biblical references is used to legitimize the hate.
    All religions need to evolve as our society and population change, our morals and beliefs change, our attitudes and ideas about one another change. To pick and choose which ideas are to change, and hiding behind a “holy book” in order to legitimize those choices is abhorrent.
    How to change the narrative so that change can occur without the hate, where what was written in holy books in ancient times can finally be viewed as…ancient!! That is something that we all need to look at very closely.
    Interesting conundrum. The problem we face today is the radical right has a strangle hold on the conversation, and the more outrageous the comments, the more acceptable it is, and with a mainstream media trying to present both sides of the equation, and failing miserably at it, the radical right is winning the media wars, and that bodes ill for all of us who believe in an open exchange in ideas.
    What this article says and what is taking place these days is the bits and pieces of the Bible that are most hateful are now being used to attack anyone who doesn’t think their (the far right) way. If we, the free thinkers, can’t take back the narrative, then this hate will only increase in volume and intensity.
    Just think what would happen then: A literal interpretation of the Bible, with all than implies, an eye for an eye, torture, burnings and wiping out whole populations because it’s “Gods Will”…oh boy!!

  2. As it is practiced today, “christianity” is more akin to the Judaism practiced by the hypocritical, self-righteous, and judgemental Pharisees who were noted for their strict observance of the written law based on their interpretations derived from their own oral traditions to justify their own self-righteousness, hatred, discrimination, and bigotry towards “others” who they deemed inferior in the eyes of their god.

    If passages like the following were the cornerstones of the lives of most practicing “christians”, there would be much more good than exists at present, and church pews would be filled to capacity at every service.

    From the New Testament:

    1st Peter, Chapter 4
    8 Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins. 9 Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling. 10 Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms. 11 If anyone speaks, they should do so as one who speaks the very words of God. If anyone serves, they should do so with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ. To him be the glory and the power for ever and ever. Amen.

    John 13:34
    A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another

  3. Oops. I’m not sure where the rest of the post went, but it’s time to pour my second cup of coffee and get started paying some bills here.

    I guess that the gist of my thoughts were cherry-picking the do’s and don’t of an ancient scribe in order to justify someone’s disdain for the “other” is a cheap shot that depreciates the moral value that is inherent in the texts. I can only surmise that it must be good for business, because it certainly has little appeal for most of those I recognize to have good character and integrity.

    I wonder who Jesus would be tossing out onto the sidewalks outside the temple today.

    I enjoyed the post, Hrafnkell. It was well-written and thought-provoking as always.

  4. This one really hits home.

    I understand about having to sift and sieve. According to our elders and ancients, who learned at their elder’s side (and so on down through the years), our religion is a pre-Columbian form of Christianity. However, after Columbus “discovered” these continents, our population and cultures were decimated if not outright destroyed. As pagans were persecuted… well, we didn’t even have the right to just EXIST in most of the Southeast until after 1980. Practice our religion? That was one of the things the “Good Christians” looked for, and up until 1979 it could be a quick way to get a one-way bus ticket to Oklahoma (yep, Trail of Tears law still on the book and still sometimes enforced up until the same year as we gained the right to exist). The change in geography, btw, did have a serious impact on our faith.

    We have to rebuild our faith too. We retain a fair amount, but far far more was lost. Thanks to the “Good Christians”. The problem we face these days is that those damned “Good Christians” think they have some sort of right to make our religion (many pre-Columbian religions are not Christian) over into a copy of theirs. Thus the dominionists have ersatz Potlatches, ersatz Sun Dances, and ersatz Stomp Dances. I’ve personally seen where “Good Christians” have tried to bring their ideology into the Square (as well as new-agers who were just as bad).

    A lot we’ve heard pushed as “Indian” recently was actually Southern Baptist practices. It turned us off.

    I know some pagan belief systems had it hard, and some not so hard. I’ve met people whose family practiced, for instance, Wiccan simultaneously with Christianity and that had gone on down through the ages. It’s a story we know well, because those of us whose families didn’t sever contact with their heritage and/or flee their homeland (to try to survive the attempted genocide) did the same.

    We – those whose faith weren’t mainstream Christianity (and that includes some little-known Christian sects today) all have much in common. The need to rebuild or repair the damage done by the “Good Christians” is only one aspect. I find commonalities and common causes in many areas… the secret is to look for them.

  5. Regarding the change… I believe that Religion can and has served as a force for good… to provide strength and comfort for people and to help prevent greed from destroying society. IMO, some leader discovered that religion can also be used to manipulate, control, and exploit people (inverting the good things it can provide), and that has continued through the millenia until today. It’s my opinion that the situation that Jesus faced was very much that which we face today… people using Religion to exploit, manipulate, and control people, and by doing this, increase the division between the “haves” and “have nots” (with the leaders either being “haves” or expecting reward from them). I’ve mentioned before the dream I had where it was said that “The Church of the anti-Christ” existed long before Jesus’ time”, and I think the dominionists (and fundamentalists) we face today are just the bloom on a very long and old (and thorny and noxious) vine.

    I agree very much with Weber that religion can be a force against the status quo (and thus for good)… and I think yours and ours are doing just that.

  6. Reading this article, it would be easy to conclude that the New Testament says nothing about people of a geographic area being spit out. It’s as though the author is completely unaware of Revelation chapter 3.

  7. I can answer The Authors questions about why todays Christians seem hell-bent(pun intended)on going straight over the Jesus part&flying straight into Old Testament batshi* Insanity.It’s called DOMINIONISM.It has other names,like The Seven Mountains,Kingdom of Judah,but what it boils down to IS insanity&has ZERO to do with how The Bible says anything.It was most popularized by Rushdoony back in the late 1970’s.No one took it seriously because it WAS so extreme.They simply thought it would never catch on,boy were THEY wrong.There’s too much of it’s screwed up Beliefs to go into here,except to say that they believe Jesus”didn’t get the job done”,and that God can’t do ANYTHING without man moving on the earth 1st.I suggest the following website to get a true grasp on just how dangerous&sick this ideology is.I was raised in it&fled like hell,it cost me my Family who is still firmly entrenched in it.What were seeing from them now is a small drop in the bucket to what they WILL do,if they aren’t literally thrown so hard out of power they hit the Stone Age&NOW.Here’s the Site:www.godsownparty.com/blog/what-is-dominionism/.This will help you try to make sense of utter non-sense.

  8. I always have to heave a sigh and roll my eyes whenever self-proclaimed Christians indignantly declare that gay marriage defies “the word of God”. This argument is both cowardly and disingenuous — using biased interpretations of cherry-picked biblical passages to justify their brand of social intolerance and religious self-righteousness.

    The reason why some people are so opposed to gay marriage — and all of the rights and benefits that come with a marriage certificate — is because the thought of homosexuals expressing physical affection for one another totally repulses them, and the notion that such a relationship could be officially sanctioned through marriage pours salt into the wound of their prejudice.

    The argument that gays should be satisfied with civil unions because it provides most of the same protections as marriage is akin to suggesting that blacks shouldn’t care whether they are required to sit in the back of the bus, since all of the passengers will arrive at the same destination.

    The argument that marriage is intended by God for couples that can and will procreate is equally absurd, for then the law should restrict couples from marrying if one or both members are infertile, or are beyond child-bearing age, or if they have refused to contractually agree to procreate.

    Those people who are so adamant that gays be denied the right to marry are the same types of people who would have expressed outrage in the 1950s and 1960s when the validity of interracial marriage was being debated. Hatred toward gays is simply their “flavor of the month”.

  9. We have in fact discussed Revelation here before. Revelation is an example of Jewish apocalypticism.

    In fact, many Church fathers did not want Revelation included in the canon and it was in the end included only because it was thought John son of Zebedee had written it (though Dionysius, bishop of Alexandria proved it was not, in the mid-third century)

  10. Hrafnkell,
    Thank you for taking the time and effort to create this exposé. I have to agree with just about everything you have brought up (although I may have missed a few of the finer points).
    Unfortunately, I have to say that you are probably preaching to the choir (bad pun intended).
    If but one fundy were to take notice and examine their beliefs in this context, I would say it was effort well spent. But I do give you full credit for trying, and truely hope someone may be enlightened by it.

    Even though you have stated these ideas, If I may contribute these thoughts: (using fundy metaphors)

    1) I honestly believe that fundamentalism has literally been taken over by “the devil”.
    I see St. Pete asking each fundy in turn:
    “God gave you the ability to think, so why did you choose to ignore your better judgement and instead, you followed blindly and obediently? Couldn’t tell good from bad? -You lose”, (and then they get reincarnated to try again).

    2) I think every Christian should discard/denounce/destroy the Old Testament, and never mention it’s existence again. Especially those who are “Born again”. If you are a follower of Christ, then follow him. 100%. Not just when convienent. Always.
    And no, the Old Testament is not needed for “background” information, the New Testament stands alone just fine.

    thanks for listening.

  11. No, it’s the “love” of money (1Tim 6:10). People who say “Religion causes all the trouble” conveniently forget the tens of millions killed by the atheistic regimes of Stalin, Mao, Pol Pot and others. Aside from the obvious, that men were not designed to have sex with each other, if there’s a God and he really created this universe, then he get’s to say what’s good and what’s evil. Since we’ve been screwing up since the garden of Eden, he had to put it in writing so it’s perfectly clear to our dim minds what’s disgusting. This isn’t the state he wants to leave us in. That’s why he sent his son Jesus to die in our place on the cross. Since Jesus was without sin it was a travesty for him to die. But God in his justice allowed this paradox so he could offer salvation and the chance to be a part of the family of God, going where he goes and doing what he does for all eternity, to sinful wicked man who doesn’t deserve this, but rather death. Why some people hate him for that I don’t know. By the way, oh puny man, if you think you’re more righteous – you’re not. Give God some credit for having a little more smarts than you do. So instead of trying to protect our favorite form of evil, we should humbly repent and with gratitude of heart receive the great gift of salvation to those who will simply believe (not too bad a price to pay) and escape the hell hole of earth and the judgment to come. Don’t be caught dead without Jesus.

  12. You want to know why people hate you “Good Christians”.

    I’ll tell you a story that illustrates the point (like usual, a true story and something I personally witnessed). This story, by the way, also shows one of the worst viewpoints of “Good Christians”.

    A few years ago a blog (now defunct) had a real troll problem. The trolls were organized and working together, and one in particular was really a problem (I ended up having to ask the North Carolina State Police to get him to stop internet stalking me).

    Anyway, one of his big arguments (supported by the other trolls, including at least one admitted Assemblies of God pastor) was that if you encountered a starving person, it was far better to “Preach the Gospel” at that person and let the person die of starvation, rather than to give them food and then try to witness later. The argument was that if you preached at them and then the person died, MAYBE at the last second that person would “repent and accept Jesus”. If you gave them food, well, then there was a chance that person would continue to live and reject Jesus – especially if you didn’t “Preach the Gospel” at them.

    Their “Gospel” was: “You brought it all on yourself by your sins and God is punishing you!!!”. That’s THE NORM for the churches (excepting the ones hated by the others – the liberal churches).

    THAT is the sort of things that makes people hate “Good Christians” and Christianity in general. Which is sad, because there are also Christians like myself and who value what Jesus TAUGHT, and believe that people are more important than beliefs or dogma. People who have learned to respect others and to value their beliefs and differences.

    Ask around. You’ll find that a lot of people who hate the churches actually like Jesus. I’ll remind you of Ghandi’s statement: “I like your Christ, I do not like your Christians. Your Christians are so unlike your Christ.” Unlike most of the “Good Christians”, these people have actually STUDIED the Bible – including it’s history, the cultures and languages, and especially Jesus’ own words. I suggest instead of preaching at us (a massive fail – I’m sure Jesus did another facepalm when you started writing), why not “listen” and try to think for yourself???

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