Two Republican Congressmen fell for another Fox story. From rightwingwatch.org: “Congressmen Scalise and Gohmert Fall for Debunked Fox News Story on Supposed Plan to Court Martial Christians.”
I have to admit, I wish I had done a bit more investigation before commenting on an online post on this topic. But my comment stimulated an interesting interchange that raised my awareness on one of my favorite topics.
My interchange was with two sincere evangelical Christians. During the interchanges I formed two opinions: 1. The so-called war on Christianity, or culture war if you prefer, may really be a war on Christian evangelizing. 2. Usually, it only takes a couple of interactions with certain Christians, to be hit with the knockout question, “are you disputing God’s word?”
This kind of interchange is a fascinating process as long as you don’t think you’re going to change anyone’s minds. Because why would someone who knows the word of God even consider changing his or her mind? I wouldn’t. But then, I’m an agnostic, so mind changing doesn’t count.
I know it doesn’t count because I was reminded by a Fundamentalist Minister’s claim of my religion, Unitarian Universalism, “there’s no there, there.” Sounds like music to this agnostic’s ears, even though it’s not true.
But when you believe you have the truth on God’s existence and nature, you can’t possibly understand how an agnostic can find peace and contentment living without your certainty.
But I digress. Getting back to evangelizing. I made the mistake of saying I believe to have religion or no religion is personal. Big mistake. I forgot the Christian evangelist’s commitment to convince everyone else of their point of view.
I will give them credit for their intention, even though I think its misguided. They believe they have been commanded to go out and evangelize the good news because only true Christians will be saved; true being those who claim Jesus as their personal savior. So self-serving as it may be, to them, it’s a good thing to do.
There’s also the fervor that I often encounter with evangelizing Christians. It reminds me of the fervor that drove our imperialism and inspired the spirit of manifest destiny while we conquered and eliminated whole nations of people, destroyed their cultures and took their lands.
It must be driven by the same good intentions to save people for Christ. Christians have been doing it for a long time. You know, destroying people to save them when they burned them at the stake, coerced them to reject their own religions and convert or die, be so supportive of Israel because in the end, the Jews there will be converted to Christ.
So is there really a war on Christians or a war on Christian’s evangelizing? I vote for the latter.
Back to the word of God. There are several Bibles, not to mention other ancient texts like the Nag Hammadi Scriptures, Dead Sea Scrolls, etc. Which one is actually the word of God? Of course to a literalist, it must be the one they read. But it only takes a horizontal reading of the key events in the New Testament to find numerous irreconcilable differences in the “facts”.
None of this seems to influence the Christian evangelist literalist who believes every word is inspired by God.
To me, religions were formed from a set of propositions that attempted to explain a lot of what they didn’t understand when they were formed. And for us Earthlings, propositions can never really be proven beyond a doubt. The best we can seem to do, even in science, is to find the one with the preponderance of evidence. And using the Bible or its derivatives as evidence to prove the truth of the Bible makes me dizzy.
I think your decision to believe or disbelieve is a very personal thing. So I must respect the evangelizing Fundamentalist Christian who sincerely believes in his or her own way.
I just wish he or she would grant the same respect to me and the others they feel compelled to evangelize.
Robert De Filippis