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Christianists and Human Rights

from Andrew Sullivan:

A reader writes:

You speak of human rights as possibly being viewed as "contingent human achievements." But in the world view of fundamentalists there is no such thing as contingent human achievement, no evolution of development - simply a created order that got messed up in the garden, and has not improved much since, and awaits the return of Christ. The only advancements are technological, not moral - for we ever are as we ever were, save for God's dipping his hand in from time to time to help bring things into better focus, and of course sending in his Son.

As a former fundie, I can (ahem!) testify that those who are immersed in biblical literalism aren't very hot on the idea of free will. To these folks, there are The Saved and The Pagans. You are either a tool of God or a tool of the Adversary and nothing in between. The same thought process occurs among radical Islamists, who work very hard to deny personal expression and individual thought in favor of obedience to doctrine.

Of course, a more accurate reading of the gospel would reveal that free will is everything. A decision which is compelled is no decision at all. And furthermore, Jesus himself said that his kingdom is not of this world which makes the relgious right's efforts to codify the Bible as the law of the land somewhat comical. Less comical is the idea held by some that we can influence God to trigger the Second Coming by starting wars in the mideast. There are many who see Iraq as Babylon...


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Comments (9)

U.P. Man:

Paul,

As a former fundie you really should know that we fundies believe that you are saved or not and that is your choice.

Why should we not try to influence the government? Do we fundies not have the right ?

Lastly, I know of no fundy (fundie?) trying to start the end of the world. Yes, alot of us believe that the end is near but God is in control.

Paul Hamilton:

UP, you are correct that getting saved is (supposed to be) free will. However, I could argue that anyone who walks in the door of a fundamentalist church is coerced to get saved, but that's beyond the scope of this thread. More to the point, people shouldn't give up their free will AFTER they're saved, but that's the evangelical ideal. To stray from the defined path in any way -- even political -- is considered sin. These churches are way too intrusive in matters beyond the spiritual.

Now, about influencing the government, are you SURE you want to go there? Because there is an example of the way Christians are supposed to live in Acts 4:32-36. If you don't want to look it up, what it boils down to is that people should give everything they have to the authorities, who will then distribute it to the community as they believe it's needed. I believe that's called communism. And if you are a fundamentalist, you should believe that because you can't pick and choose the parts of the bible you want and reject the stuff that's politically inconvenient.

Of course the correct answer is that Christianity was never intended to be a form of government, but rather a spiritual guide. If small groups of believers want to enter into a covenant where they share all they have, that's their business, but to institute that as the policy of an entire nation is obviously disasterous.

And yes, God is in control, but that doesn't prevent some people from trying to manipulate the pieces on the chessboard to match they way they read the book of Revelation and make it easier for God to see that the time is right. I try to be a "wise virgin" in all matters pertaining to the second coming -- I live my life but keep my lamp filled. Dwelling obsessively on that subject is a sure ticket to religious insanity.

kim:

I'm sure it says "Turn the other check" somewhere in there.
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U.P. Man:

By straying from the path do you mean sinning?

I don't recall any that have said that we have to vote or think a certain way.


I could argue that when you become a liberal your freewill is taken away, example Joe Lieberman.

Paul Hamilton:

I mean that they define a lot of non-spiritual things as sins. For example, they may tell people from the pulpit that conservative candidates are the "righteous" ones and so anyone who votes liberal is, in effect, sinning.

Groups like the Christian Coalition have done this for a long time.

And I set my own standards for candidates, not take marching orders from anyone. Joe Lieberman is a perfect example of that. The Kos Bunch were all excited about Ned Lamont, but anyone with the slightest bit of political common sense could see that he was not-only a single-issue candidate, but was much too radical to win in a statewide election, especially against an incumbent with broad support. But of course the radicals carried the day in the primary and set themselves up for disaster in November. I'm not the biggest fan of Lieberman, but at the same time, I realize that it's not a good idea for the Democrats to slap him in the face when they need him for a majority. Now, he's an independent and a very shaky one, and the Dems have no one to blame but themselves.

U.P. Man:

Actually, if you look at both sides which side is the one with the Reverand's making political hay with in the party?

Which side goes to Churches and fundraises?

Yes, the Morale Majority did exist but they where not part of the RNC.

And again, I ask is it wrong for Christian to try to influence government?

If you look at what the Christian Co, they may say support somebody that supports sinful things is sinful but voting liberal is not.

Paul Hamilton:

It right for EVERY citizen to influence government, but again, the object of spirituality is not politics, and to quote the bumper sticker, the last time religion and government ruled together, people got burned at the stake. So I'd much prefer for people to use more objective standards in their political choices.

U.P. Man:

If like minded people agree, and ban together to influence Government you have a problem if they also agree on faith? Is this correct?

What objective standards do you base morality on?

kim:

Lieberman is only seeming a shaky independent because he is a hawk and the Dems all have advanced BDS about Bush, even rational one's like mantis. Joe L. is otherwise a completely reliable liberal Democrat.

That Schumer and Clinton, New York Democrats, voted with the Republicans to allow suspicious citizens to harmlesslessly report their good faith suspicions, is a bellweather.

The Democrats are hanging themselves out to dry, to be blown off the clothesline with the next explosion.
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Publisher: Kevin Aylward

Editors: Lee Ward, Larkin, Paul S Hooson, and Steve Crickmore

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