Monday, January 24, 2005

Intolerant Christians

Reuters reported that a survey by Public Agenda sows that Church-going Americans are less tolerant than others.

The truth is, many Christians now think intolerance is virtuous. I suspect the source of this thinking is Rousas Rushdoony, the founder of Christian Reconstructionism and Dominion Theology. Here's a quote from his Institutes of Biblical Law:

In the name of toleration, the believer is asked to associate on a common level of total acceptance with the atheist, the pervert, the criminal, and the adherents of other religions.
Those interested in learning more about this influential trend in American Christianity might consider attending a conference on "Examing The Real Agenda of the Religious Far Right" on April 29-30, 2005 at the CUNY Graduate Center in Manhattan, NY.

7 comments:

Anonymous said...

From the "Examining The Real Agenda of the Religious Far Right" link...

>Most Americans outside the Bible Belt have little idea of the beliefs held by millions of fundamentalist churchgoers. We have an almost total lack of awareness of the rise of Dominionism and Christian Reconstructionism, forms of theology that advocate a biblical vision of God?s kingdom on earth. Some fundamentalists also foresee events such as The Rapture, the Times of Tribulation, Armageddon, and the Second Coming of Christ as we enter The End Days.

I can only speak for myself, but I'm not really interested in the end-times trend. I am content to know that God is in control,and that He will bring about events on His time-table and not ours. If we get enamored with this aspect of Scripture, I believe we can be tempted to withdraw as Christians from the culture and we were never commanded to do that. We are called to be the church, salt and light, the hands and feet of Jesus - and we can't do that unless we live amongst and engage the world we live in.

>Why are so many fundamentalists ... how can we come to understand them?

Just ask them! Talk to them. Debate them. I'm surprised that so many folks have this view, yet they will not go to the source and find out straight from them. After looking at the 'presenters list' for this conference, I see that there are plenty of speakers but none of them hold the views that they say they are trying to understand.

Roger

Rob said...

Seen on a bumper sticker at my place of work..."God, save me from your followers."

:)

Seriously, though, I'd like to say to those who are so intolerant that their attitude does more to push people like me away from Christianity than it wins converts. It's offensive. It's rude. It's not the "church atmosphere" I remember as a child.

I've said several times since discovering your site that if I am ever to change my views on Christianity, it's by an example such as yours. Having been long a skeptic, I find that those who approach the issue with respect, understanding, and most of all are not "holier than thou" in their attitude win a lot more friends and influence a lot more people (in a positive sense) than the fundamentalists ever do. It's a "lead by example" concept that we are drilled with in the military, but it works. Case in point...me. A few months ago I'd written off Christians altogether, pretty much, but seeing people put the faith into practice in a way that doesn't rub everyone else like sandpaper on an infected wound shows me that not all Christians are the Falwell/Phelps/Dobson crowd.

Anonymous said...

Rob,

I'm thankful you haven't closed the door and are taking a second look. Remember it's called CHRISTianity - not DOBSON-anity, FALWELL-anity, or CHURCH-ianity...it's about Christ, we worship Him - not the church, not organizations, not Dobson, and certainly not Phelps (I would not put Phelps in the category of Dobson and Falwell. Phelps ignores God's word in many areas and chooses to handle things his own way).

I know it's only human to react this way. But yet we need to be aware of a few things...

*** Warning! Spiritual warfare language ahead! This may seem weird or hard to understand at first but this is what the Bible tells us. (Ephesians 6:12) I may use quite a few Bible verse references but I want people to be able to look this stuff up on their own, and verify what I'm saying as truth. ***

We know that Satan loves to keep people from Christ by pointing out the faults and hypocrisy of Christians. In the Bible he's called the 'accuser of the brethren' (Revelation 12:10). He knows if he can keep people from taking a look at Christ, he can keep them from understanding what Christianity is about. All Christians are hypocrites, I'm a hypocrite. Paul the apostle felt the same way (Romans 7:19). If a Christian acts as if they are above that then they are either naive or proud - and heading for a fall (1 Corinthians 10:12). We cannot live the Christian life, it's impossible. Only through the Holy Spirit living in us and working through us can it be done. And then we still battle our flesh. Speaking of bumper stickers, the bumper sticker of "Christians aren't perfect, just forgiven"...is true. Once we accept Christ, God looks at us and sees the righteousness of Jesus instead of our sin. (Romans 3:21-31, Philippians 3:7-9)

Here's the heart of the matter:
The question is not about Dobson or anybody else.
The question is 'Who do you say Christ is?' (Mark 8:27; Matthew 16:13; Luke 9:18)
There is nothing tricky about that...no religious terms that are confusing, no theological degree needed, etc. Thank God that He does not base it on works or any religious system. It's just faith - to take Him at His word, to believe He is who He says He is.

I'll be praying for you - that you will understand what I'm saying and that the truth of Christ will be understood.

Roger

Anonymous said...

Roger,
would it be useless for me to point out the irony of what you're saying here:

"I can only speak for myself, but I'm not really interested in the end-times trend. I am content to know that God is in control,and that He will bring about events on His time-table and not ours. If we get enamored with this aspect of Scripture, I believe we can be tempted to withdraw as Christians from the culture and we were never commanded to do that. We are called to be the church, salt and light, the hands and feet of Jesus - and we can't do that unless we live amongst and engage the world we live in."

My gentle suggestion to you is that you open yourself to "this aspect of Scripture". Can it be that Scripture would steer you wrong? Or would you be willing to find out that "this aspect of Scripture" has nothing to do with the assumptions of dispensationalist theology?

You've expected the readers of this blog to put up with your selection & use of Bible verses. I am suprised that you don't give the Bible the honor of reading all of it in its contexts.
Neal

Anonymous said...

Neal,

I'm not saying it is unimportant or worth neglecting, but in terms of sharing our faith and leading souls to Christ, it is not necessary. Sorry, I realize now my choice of words made it sound like I was casting aside parts of Scripture. I should have been more clear.

Roger

Anonymous said...

Roger,
my real point is that I hope you will become excited about the apocalyptic parts of the Bible. They aren't about what the 'Left Behind' authors think they are. They are about calling people to be faithful.
Thank you for your reply.

Neal

Tig said...

One of my favorite plays is A Man For All Seasons. There's the 1960's movie with Paul Schofield and a 1990's TNT version with Charleton Heston. In one scene Thomas Moore is asked to arrest, as Lord Chacellor of England, Richard Rich. He asks what law has he broken and his son-in-law says God's law. Moore replies "Then God can arrest him." Moore then goes on to state that all of England's laws are Man's laws. "And I would give the Devil benefit of Law for my own safety's sake."
I would like for Judge Roy Moore to be able to understand that essential point. What the religious right doesn't understand is all their attacks on the Constitution are attacks on Due Process of Law. They want a Bill of Attander against Homosexuality. But once you allow that, then it is fair game against everybody, not just the unpopular or picked on minority. Tolerance is putting up with something you don't like, but if you don't want them cramming it down your throat, don't cram your beliefs down theirs. Kung Fu Tzu (Confucious), Sidharta, Socrates, Plato, Jesus, all call for Reciprocity, or the Golden Rule, for societies to live in harmony and peace.