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Saturday, April 4, 2015

The Parameters of Our Faith: What It Means To Be A Christian!

Another good friend of mine sent me a link to a very interesting post on The Christian Left blog. The post is titled "The Big Four - Agree with Us Or You're Not A Christian" (http://www.thechristianleftblog.org/blog-home/the-big-four-agree-with-us-or-youre-not-a-christian). The thesis of the article is that Evangelical Christianity has evolved into something that resembles a cult (authoritarian leadership, exclusivity, isolationism, an aversion to independent thinking and various fear tactics which are employed to keep members in check. Membership within this community is limited to those individuals who believe that: 1) abortion is murder, 2) homosexuality is always a sin, 3) evolution is an absurdity and 4) global warming and environmental protections are stupid notions designed to undermine man's God-given dominion over this planet. It is also noted that a few additional parameters have been added over the last few years to the criteria which most Evangelicals use to define membership within their community (e.g. you can't be a liberal, you can't be a Democrat, you can't support President Obama on anything and you can't believe that Islam is a valid religious faith).

Of course, all of these beliefs are underscored by a literal interpretation of Scripture that doesn't allow for any error, mistakes or contradictions. The post underscores how these views have influenced/motivated both religious and political ideology/discourse in the United States. The article concludes with a call to action for Christians who happen to find themselves outside of the acceptable parameters of Evangelical Christianity: "It's beyond time for the followers of Jesus to speak up. The extremists have taken over the camp and they're running the show, and the nation. It is no longer Christianity. It's a cult. Now what are we going to do about it?" My answer to that question: We must continue to point out that God is bigger than their notions about "Him" and that you can have different views on these topics and continue to be a "good" Christian. What do you think?

4 comments:

  1. The blogger quotes no studies to support his dubious ax-grinding claims, in fact I find him using manipulation-by-juxtaposition when he plugs Climate Change in there.

    Not that I care, I'm neither a "conservative", "liberal", or any kind of Christian.

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  2. I think that you're completely missing the point made in the post. The author of the original post quoted from two clearly identified sources (Ron Rhodes and Jonathan Dudley), whose independence from each other is also clearly delineated in the piece. The author's thesis is that: In using the criteria outlined by Dudley for determining who is and isn't a Christian, Evangelicals have effectively met the criteria outlined by Rhodes for defining a cult. The point of the article is not whether or not climate change is real - it is whether or not one's acceptance/rejection of the notion should be used to determine whether that individual is/isn't a Christian.

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  3. Show me links/references to scientific polling indicating Evangelicals' adherence to Climate Change denial.

    The piece commits the Logical Fallacy of Juxtaposition; each issue and its "connection to Evangelical Christianity" (and how does one define 'Evangelical Christianity' for that matter) needs to be analyzed separately to draw any (boring) relevance.

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  4. "For white evangelical Protestants, these numbers basically reversed — 77 percent pointed to the apocalypse, and just 49 percent attributed extreme weather to climate change (the numbers add up to more than one-hundred because people could offer more than one cause). "
    http://thinkprogress.org/climate/2014/11/22/3596041/poll-religion-climate-end-times-evangelicals/
    "American evangelicals have long played a significant role in American culture and politics. Drawing from a nationally representative survey, this article describes American evangelicals’ global warming risk assessments and policy preferences and tests several theory-based factors hypothesized to influence their views. American evangelicals are less likely than non-evangelicals to believe that global warming is happening, caused mostly by human activities, and causing serious harm, yet a majority of evangelicals are concerned about climate change and support a range of climate change and energy related policies."
    http://environment.yale.edu/climate-communication/article/american-evangelicals-and-global-warming
    "The Cornwall Alliance for the Stewardship of Creation is a conservative evangelical Christian public policy group that promotes a free-market approach to protecting the environment. The organization recently published a list of ten reasons it opposes policies to reduce carbon pollution and slow global warming, purportedly to protect the poor."
    http://www.theguardian.com/environment/climate-consensus-97-per-cent/2014/oct/02/global-warming-battle-for-evangelical-hearts-and-minds
    Is that enough evidence to demonstrate that the Evangelical attitudes toward climate change suggested by the article are more than anecdotal?

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