We fear what we don’t understand…

I was raised Roman Catholic but never bought into it and only made it through to my confirmation because my mother begged me to.  Religion as a personal experience just never really clicked for me even though I’ve found it interesting from a historical or philosophical perspective.  I’ve known some deeply religious people in my day and without exception, I’ve always had a great deal of respect for their piety and faith.

The demagogues, however, I find quite disturbing.  While people of faith look at themselves when they read their scripture, most use their scripture to attack others and to justify their own existence and outlook.

And so, while everyone has been tripping over themselves to say how totally cool and wonderful the Beck-a-thon was this weekend I have to admit I was a little creeped out.  It’s totally illogical but I see crowds like that saying that there needs to be more Jesus in our daily lives, our leaders, our government and I start imagining mobs with pitchforks and torches coming after me.  ‘Burn the unbeliever!  No!  Stone him, it says to stone him in the bible!’

yeah…sort of like this…

And so, while I’m going to guess that I have little in common with Russel Moore when it comes to the role of religion in society or god in our lives, this post is the sort of religious viewpoint that even a secularist like me can agree with (really, read the whole thing):

In order to be this gullible, American Christians have had to endure years of vacuous talk about undefined “revival” and “turning America back to God” that was less about anything uniquely Christian than about, at best, a generically theistic civil religion and, at worst, some partisan political movement.

We’ve tolerated heresy and buffoonery in our leadership as long as with it there is sufficient political “conservatism” and a sufficient commercial venue to sell our books and products.

Too often, and for too long, American “Christianity” has been a political agenda in search of a gospel useful enough to accommodate it. There is a liberation theology of the Left, and there is also a liberation theology of the Right, and both are at heart mammon worship. The liberation theology of the Left often wants a Barabbas, to fight off the oppressors as though our ultimate problem were the reign of Rome and not the reign of death. The liberation theology of the Right wants a golden calf, to represent religion and to remind us of all the economic security we had in Egypt. Both want a Caesar or a Pharaoh, not a Messiah.

That’s why so many of our Christian superstars smile at crowds of thousands, reassuring them that they don’t like to talk about sin. That’s why other Christian celebrities are seen to be courageous for fighting their culture wars, while they carefully leave out the sins most likely to be endemic to the people paying the bills in their movements.

Amen, brother!


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