To be sure, these are not easy words to write, but necessary, and nonetheless true.
The spiritual influences of darkness pulling the strings behind nearly every political headline in America is alarming—especially when the true culprit portrays and positions itself to be the only and ultimate cure.
Pulling the mask off perhaps the greatest spiritual scheme on planet earth is not a pleasant task nor one easily received.
As a pastor of 23 years, it has been my experience and it has become my conviction that much of conservative Evangelical Christianity manifests an evil unlike any wielded upon the earth. Its presentation of a false, mixed-Gospel of highly conditional love, a schizophrenically violent God, a spiritual justification of hate and condemnation, a weaponizing of the Bible, a legitimizing of self-righteousness, and a ruthless desire for world-domination has been the catalyst and cause of more death and destruction (spiritually, emotionally, and physically) than perhaps any other influencer—world history, a sure source of evidence.
Indeed, some who participate in this system of belief have genuine hearts to do what is right and are truly unaware of the evils and antichrist attitudes in which they have been indoctrinated and participate. Yet, nonetheless, much of conservative Evangelical Christianity aggressively stands as an intentional, religious movement that embodies the desire to eradicate the planet of anything that would disagree with and stand against its ideology—condemnation, conversion, and conquering its primary tools. Under the guise of Jesus, love, moral purity, and goodness, conservative Evangelical Christianity has become perhaps the greatest spiritual deception ever misted upon the masses—a pungent blasphemy against the Spirit, who is Grace.
As much as I wish all of this was unfounded and overly exaggerated, nothing confirms these strong assertions like conservative Evangelical Christianity’s undeniable lust and insatiable appetite for power and control. Their willingness to embrace blatant hypocrisy and double-standards, justify deplorable violence, and spiritualize human discrimination. Their willingness to rape the earth and its cultures, enable greed and materialism, conveniently usurp the teachings of Jesus, and arrogantly position themselves as the sole possessors of truth above all others, all for the furthering of their agenda and the needed power to do so, affirms the darkest of suspicions and the most urgent of calls for resistance. Strip away all the spiritual veneer—the heart and soul of much of conservative Evangelical Christianity is the spiritualized pursuit of power and control, virtually at any cost.
In fact, most everything you see in Donald Trump, his election, and life under his leadership is deeply intrinsic to the ethos of conservative Evangelical Christianity and what it’s truly like to be a part of their ministry world. Sadly, Donald Trump is merely the tip of the conservative Evangelical iceberg, mostly frozen to the core.
Trump focuses on aggressively giving our highest national priorities to self-serving interests regardless of their detriment to others. Conservative Evangelical churches have long focused their existence on self-preservation, internal interests, and increasing their numbers, facilities, and budgets, all while countless good people needlessly suffer just outside their doors. You don’t have to attend many a church meetings before you’re smacked in the face with the sobering conclusion—as spiritual as it all gets packaged, the bottom line for many churches ultimately revolves around the preservation and promotion of themselves—at times even displaying a cold callousness to the alarming needs around them.
Trump favors preserving the comfortable lives of the privileged and seeks out the wealthy and powerful for the most intimate of counsel. Conservative Evangelical churches have long catered to those who garner the highest financial and political means, enthusiastically gathering them into the leadership of their ministry. There is perhaps nothing more white, upper middle-class, pretentious, and privileged than what has become of modern, contemporary conservative Christianity. Big visions of big buildings and big campuses as far as the eyes can see, state-of-the-art worship venues, marketing, branding, books, concerts, conferences, and so called “reaching people for Christ” all costs big money. “Making church great again” for the white and well-to-do comes with a hefty price tag and the necessary appeasement and leveraging of the privileged.
Trump surrounds himself with primarily white, male influencers who are vetted by their unwavering loyalty to his unilateral leadership. Conservative Evangelical churches have long been dominated by white, male pastors and leaders who demand unwavering loyalty to their vision with the overall goal to increase their own power by the limiting of others. The contemporary move towards staff-led and pastor-led church leadership models often serves as a rationalizing and spiritualizing of the pursuit of power and control, energized by the ego and desire for ministry fame so rampant within modern Christianity.
Trump manifests a culture of fear and inequality where those who color outside the lines of conservative ideology and values are quickly condemned, discarded, and belittled. Conservative Evangelical churches have long been largely unwelcoming and un-wanting of those who are different in color, orientation, lifestyle, creed, or status. In fact, many on the fringe are largely deemed the enemy, unless of course they convert, clean up, behave, and buy into all things conservative. As Trump raises the level of our national defenses to an all-time high, conservative churches have long made what they stand against in the world to be their primary commission, often creating battles where none need to exist in order to justify their worth and mission. Listen in to a few church conversations and you will soon hear the clear underlying sentiment, “We are good, the world is so bad. What a shame. Let’s build some more walls and send some Bibles.”
Trump embodies callous arrogance, greed, bigotry, sexism, immorality, xenophobia, homophobia, transphobia, racism, and a foundational desire to conquer those who oppose him and gain the power to dominate them. What Trump has positioned as the “art of the deal” is merely a business version of the conservative Evangelical pursuit to “make disciples of people into people just like us.” No matter how much spiritual lipstick is plastered on the face of conservative Evangelical evangelism, the underlying goal is the same—the fruition of self-serving desires through spiritually packaged manipulation, coercion, and exploitation. Still to this day, many conservative churches see women as inferior, the LGBTQI community as needing of reparative therapy, financial prosperity as a sign and goal of faithfulness, the world as “lost,” and immorality as that which can be overlooked or minimized if you know the inside Evangelical handshake. In fact, any given Sunday between 11 a.m. and noon at just about any conservative Evangelical church near you, could very well serve to be the most sexist, homophobic, hypocritical, xenophobic, transphobic, racist, graceless, greedy, privileged, and spiritually arrogant hour you’ll ever experience.
Put a steeple on top of the White House and the workings, dealings, and ethos of the current administration and the leadership of president Trump, and one might easily confuse it all with their local, conservative Evangelical church. When it’s all said and done, the connections between the rise of Donald Trump to the presidency and the true soul and ambitions of conservative, Evangelical Christianity are undeniable and highly disgusting.
In fact, over the past several years, conservative Evangelical Christianity has perceived itself to be losing in a cultural war it actually created all by itself. Surprise—good, thinking people have awakened to the highjacking of Jesus, the Bible, and the cause of Christ by religious, Christian conservatism. Like a spoiled child throwing a temper tantrum in response to not being granted their every wants and wishes, conservative Evangelical Christianity has long been whining, pouting, and insisting on its own way in the private, public, and political square. The emergence of true equality always feels like war to the privileged.
Desperate to see their ideology survive and fulfill its twisted version of the “great” commission, conservative Evangelical Christianity savagely licked its fingers and led the way in electing Donald Trump as president. Whether you like him or not, voted for him or not, it’s all too clear that Trump serves as a message to all who would oppose and stand apart from religious, Christian conservatism, “We won, you lost, and now we’re gonna shove our way down your throat and do whatever the hell we want.”
As a middle finger raised boldly for all to see, Donald Trump is the true sum of conservative Evangelical Christianity and a clear sentiment of its dark soul of spiritualized hate, self-righteousness, duplicity, and greed. Though conservative Evangelical Christianity might not ever say “FU” to the world in those specific words, their messiah Donald Trump is gladly doing it for them—loud and clear.
Make no mistake and be not deceived, much of conservative Evangelical Christianity is a monster, that monster has a middle finger, and that middle finger has a name—Donald Trump.
Grace is brave. Be brave.
Chris, you’re passionate, no doubt, but I think, in your passion, you are incautious in your use of words. Your posts always seem to lack subtly. Is there a way to keep your passion but also use nuance? It’s just silly to say all Evangelicals are hateful. I know you feel led by God in this matter, but I would encourage you to pause for a bit and see if your approach is the right one. I think you can take your writing up a notch in this matter by maybe being more precise with your language.
John, thanks for your comments. With all due respect, the irony of your criticisms of my writing is startling. To think that you would share such sentiments with me in a public forum and yet expect me to believe that you truly have my writing interests at heart and therefore should take your words seriously, is beyond comprehension and even hurtful. You say I should pay more attention to the words I write while apparently disregarding them yourself, as on several occasions in this article, I clearly state and allude to the fact that not all Evangelicals are alike. And even if I hadn’t specifically said so in this article or any other, it’s common sense to conclude that not all Evangelicals fit every description of which I write. Additionally, I have perused your blog and truly wonder from what place you believe you have the credibility to instruct me on how to take my writing “up a notch.” Hundreds of thousands of people read, respect, and find grace and life in my writings, and your comment here, will serve as an extreme rarity of those perhaps lacking the ability or desire to read precise words and subdue their own projections long enough to understand them.
Thank you, and you were right he was not comprehending what you said only thinking of his response.
Either John is lacking education which l encounter a lot. Or he just wants to misunderstand.
You just can’t be wishy washy about the times we live in now and sugarcoat evil!!
Well said Gesine!
Chris is very clearly writing about “Conservative Evangelical Christianity” and “Evangelical Christianity,” which are a thing distinct from “all Evangelicals”. The meanings are totally different. In the way Chris is using it, he writes about the great mass of Evangelical churches who claim to speak for all Christians specifically and all Christianity as a whole. This in no way suggests that all Evangelicals (or even most) believe or behave this way, but that the loudest voices claiming a messianic mantle for all Christianity, like a 21st Century Pat Robertson already diminish the voices of Evangelicals by speaking nastily in their stead.
It is the difference between my speaking about the Mainline churches and the specific Mainliners in my congregation and it’s neighbors. To confuse the two is not the unspecificity on Chris’s part but perhaps the willful misconstruing of the difference.
Thank you Drew for articulating those points so well!
I found Chris’s language very “precise” in how he describes Evangelicalism.
Except for the mentions of Trump, Chris has not condemned any individual persons, rather, his condemnation is directed toward a System which has taken on the logos of “the World”.
Tom, thank you so much for respecting my writing enough to read the words, and “get it.”
I too found Chris’s language defining a system and not so much the souls within the system , rather the evolution of Evangelical Conservatism which I’m not sure if I’m correct but is rooted in the Azusa Street Revival wearing a Corporate America hat on!
I agree John, blanket judgments like this seldom cover everyone. However, as a life-long member of the evangelical wing of the Christian church I have to accept the validity of parts of what Chris wrote, it explains why so many of my Evangelical friends so easily laid aside the moral values they said they believed in to drink the Trump not-cool-aid. The disturbing question to me is – What is the most accurate modifier for Chris’s description of Evangelicals, some, many, or most? I may not be in a position to answer that question, but having to ask it is deeply troubling. Maybe one good thing that will come from the Trump tragedy is the national and personal exposure of the characteristics Chris is describing of – some, many, or most Evangelicals, and a “Come to Jesus” moment of self-confrontation. With all her weaknesses, the greatest testimony to me of the divine impetus within the Christian Church has been its historical self correcting renewal and reformation be it the selling of indulgences, the divine right of Kings, slavery, or the subjugation of women, or civil rights. We may not have had it all right all along the way, but we keep getting it righter – or lefter as the case may be.
I agree with John Draper. Yes, there are great flaws with contemporary Evangelical Denominations–mainly for me it comes from the unholy (and unconstitutional) marriage of religion with political power. But such a broad brush does not take into account the missionary work, the philanthropy and the quiet service being done every day by some very conservative, rank-and-file Christians.
Still, I was surprised, that Mormons, for example, showed more principled character in opposing Trump.
Interesting that you *were* surprised at Mormon’s opposition to Trump, since I wasn’t surprised in the least. What almost didn’t surprise me was the vigor with which so many evangelicals leapt aboard the Trump bandwagon. As someone who has left both the Mormon church and evangelicalism, I’ve known for some time that the evangelical movement’s ultimate goal is to wrest power from those who see all humans as equals and seek to uphold the principles of the Constitution, and turn our secular nation, where all people of all faiths are free to worship as they choose (within our laws–no Virgin or baby sacrifices, for example), and turn it into what they believe will be a “godly” theocracy. I’ve yet to figure out how they can justify throwing their lot in with one of the most ungodly candidates ever to have run for president with their desired outcome. It seems the old adage is absolutely true: Power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely–even when one is only actively seeking that power.
Good news and bad news. The good news: Your words here are correct. The bad news is that similar indictments may be made of the other divisions in the institutional church. Each have misrepresented God and all things spiritual. You won’t correct the others by persuasive speech or clever arguement. The only way you may effect change is to drop your own pretenses and pet doctrines and simply embrace Him as He reveals Himself on the earth.
Les, thank you for reading and commenting. I truly understand your point, however, I would add that thankfully, many have actually reconsidered and even changed their minds regarding their conservative beliefs because of my writing, and that of others. This should give us all hope. It was the writings of others that changed my mind, perhaps that can me true for many others to come! Thanks again for your insightful comments!
We are not saved by what Jesus taught, and we are certainly not saved by what we understand Jesus to have taught. We are saved by Jesus himself, dead and risen. “Follow me” he says. It is the only word that finally matters.
Robert Capon, end of chapt. 6, The Parables of Grace
Evangelism accepts the “Bible” as a complete and final reference. We know know since WW2 of the lost gospels, edited by Constantine for political empire reasons……please call evangelicals “Constantinists”….for the results of the recent 1700 years ….wars, conflicts, corruptions…..cannot be teachings of Christ!!! Perhaps a useful model is St Francis who was a teacher without clerics!!!
On the other hand, Chris, have you fully told us what you really think about Evangelicalism?? ;o)
Not yet! Bwahahaha!
Thank you for this Chris. It is certainly difficult to call out people in so direct on such an important (and heated) topic, but it needs said. Too many people follow blindly because too conservative evangelical Christianity makes it easy. First, there’s a straightforward checklist of what to believe, who to believe, and who to hate (the other). You’re not really expected to get your hands dirty with the unwashed. You’re provided a group of like-minded people to associate with, so you are trapped in an echo chamber.
And lest we forget, all of this centers around the final disposition of our eternal soul, most people preferring heaven to hell. These folks get comfortable that they are “saved,” and are part of the in-crowd, and asking them to step outside that system is uncomfortable for the one asking, and those being asked…but it must be done. Conservative Christianity has become anything but Christianity, and we are not doing our jobs if we don’t try to hold up a mirror for those folks.
BJohnM, thanks so much for taking the time to read and respond to my article. Thank you for listening and hearing the heat and intentions behind this article!
I find it very interesting that when conservative evangelicals, such as the ones you speak of in your article, are called to question the reason why so many have left the church they simply say it is a result of the secularism of this world.
They are correct in some ways, but not like they think. The conservative political elecments they have brought into the church has gone a long way to rot the church from the inside.
A truly holy church (and I mean this in a very universalist way) would never be threatened by the element of secularism.
Great article. Thanks so much.
Well said Arlene, thanks for reading and commenting!
“… they simply say it is a result of the secularism of this world.”
What they mean by secularism might interpreted by you or I as, not allowing students to hold a prayer in a school assembly, forbidding a ten commandments sculpture in the courthouse, LBGT rights. Pretty tame stuff even for this atheist. No, I think the modern conservative mind, political and religious may be more ambitious. I remember saying 10 years ago to a very smart friend that the goal of political conservatives is to repeal the New Deal. She disagreed. “they want to repeal Enlightenment,” she said. I believe she was right. I used to think they wanted the courts to adhere to a strict originalist view of the constitution. I now believe that discarding that document and going back to the Articles of Confederation is the ascendent ambition. Prayer in school, gay rights, a creche in the park are small potatoes to the conservative evangelicals. Enshrining apostasy in law with real consequences like prison or even death is not out of the question for these people.
This article grieves me with its truth. I see so many of my family and friends indoctrinated, but they won’t listen when I try to share the truth with them. Jesus Himself said the sum total of the law and prophets were these two things: Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul and mind; and love your neighbor as yourself. Jesus also said He did not come to destroy the Law but to fulfill it. Thank you for shining such a necessary light.
Donna, thank you so much for reading this article and giving voice to your thoughts about it! Sometimes love is the furious voice that cries out for the religiously oppressed and the hands that hold up the mirror, as unpleasant and unpopular as it will be received.
This is my first visit to your blog, but you have quickly won me over, Chris! Well-written post, my sentiments exactly. I’ve been a “born-again” Christian since 1964, spent decades in Evangelical churches, always in leadership, board member, etc. But now “conservative Evangelical Christianity” as you describe it, has been co-opted by the Dominionists. Either the Rushdoony camp or the New Apostolic Reformation camp or some synthesis of both. I’m now leaning toward the rise of a “Christian Left” to try and combat this trend in the Church but it’s just too small yet. Have you noticed this?
Gregory, so great to connect with you! Thanks for reading this article and for your encouraging words. Honored to be brave with you!
I am sorry you said what you did. I must apologize for the non-Christ-like manner you used. The Jesus I am acquainted with would not express Himself that way if He was physically here. He would not allow his speech to be influenced by people He would be around speak and think. A True Christ follower is constantly mindful of who he/she wants to emulate. Grace is a free gift to us, if we accept it. Along with it comes the responsibility of remembering where it came from and not just “look the gift giver in the face” and do as we want. We are to share that grace with those we believe do not deserve it in the same attitude and behavior Jesus gave it to us. It was not a gift to hoard for ourselves but to share it (as just mentioned). It is very easy for Christians to get insulted and act out of that….just where Satan wants us to be. Choosing to be insulted by DJT is very easy, l know. It does not remove us from the grace Jesus asks us to show regardless of how apparently difficult it is……and above all …….ANYWAY! I am also working on this. I know God is in charge regardless of our opinions.
Um….am I the only one that got a little lost in this quasi-sensical self-indulgent pretentious comment? I mean, I get that Ruth probably felt very morally superior when she hit “send”, but that was the biggest take away.
It’s a little unclear what you took issue with. Should he have just not mentioned that the vast majority of the the evangelical community has aligned themselves with the most crass, self-serving, unscrupulous, and least Christian snake-oil salesmen that has ever run for president, much less occupied the White House?
Last I checked, the Bible isn’t too keen on hypocrisy. And it seems like, to me, that Ruth’s criticism may be rooted in the fact that Chris’ insightful, respectful, and spot-on commentary hit a little too close to home.
Interesting that Ruth believes ” when Christians get insulted, that’s just where Satan wants us to be.” Hmmm. So it is Satan if you are insulted by Trump? It is Father, Jesus and Holy Spirit if you are insulted by Chris? Wow. Just wow.
Hey Ruth – you’ve read about John the Baptist, right? He didn’t have the same personality or syntax as Jesus but why would he? He was John. And Chris is Chris and Truth is Truth and when you hear it, you can’t unhear it. You just know it. Thank you Chris for your authentic and penetrating prose. The Jesus I am acquainted with has his arm around you and is smiling like the good brother He is.
Actually, Ruth–if the Jesus of the New Testament were physically here, he’d probably agree with every word of this essay, and would probably repeat it to and for all the Conservative Evangelical Christians who use his name to justify their hate, bigotry, and acquisition of power.
I was involved in the evangelical movement in the late 1970’s, but left it and “Christianity” completely when I realized it was nothing more than a movement to wrest power from any and all who refuse to convert, conform, believe and behave exactly as the Conservative Evangelical Christians demand of them.
My father once told me, “Any time there are two or more people who all believe EXACTLY the same thing, only ONE is doing the thinking.” That’s what CEC demands. There is NO room or allowance for individuality, independent thought, or being who you were created to be. In that world, the ONLY option is to do and be what they tell you.
Perhaps you should take some time away from your religious organization to clear your mind–then read the New Testament again, paying close attention to how Jesus treated everyone he encountered, the words he (allegedly) spoke and the lessons he conveyed. If you’re able to be completely honest with yourself, you’ll see a blatant and stark contrast between the Jesus of the Bible and the “Jesus” that CEC’s hold up as their champion of hate and bigotry.
I wonder if Ruth can imagine the sweet words that came from Jesus when he flipped over the money changers tables in the temple court? Mr. Kratzer writes in a way that we can feel and relate to his anger, frustration, and offense. There is, after all, a time to tear down, a time to scatter stones, and a time to refrain from embracing, and a time to speak.
if they had wanted a real christian they would have voted for huckabee. a real Jesus-lifestyle doesn’t interest them in the slightest. they wanted an “earthly king” instead, so God gave it to them. on His terms alone! trump is no savior, he’s God’s instrument of judgment on america.
“make america great again” is highly ironic too. it’s america’s famous last words.
Kirstine, interesting thoughts and perspectives. Thanks for reading and commenting!
He’s not Gods instrument, he’s Satan’s.
The entire GOP slate was nothing but rich old white men bent on creating laws that marginalize certain religions, punish women for being sexually active, take healthcare away from the poor and the elderly, and take food away from children. That’s “Christian”? No, it’s why so many are leaving the Christian church — because there’s nothing “Christian” about it, and certainly NOTHING “Christian” about Huckabee. Sorry, but believing in a divine Christ is NOT all that’s needed to be a “Christian.” One also has to be Christ-like and follow his teachings. Huckabee, Trump — ALL of the many GOP POTUS wannabes — are nowhere near that.
Very well said!
Thank you for this. You have called it exactly right. The Anti-Christ is not Communism or Islam but something so akin to Christ as to fool many. Only by differentiating between spirits and attitudes can they be differentiated. You have done a masterful job of exposing the conservative fundamentalist Evangelical Church. I have maintained since Reagan that the true enemy of Christians are the people you have described. They, and not the Communists nor the Muslims, will be the ones who hang my children and grandchildren from meathooks and gleefully watch them die.
Blog Fodder, thank you for your encouraging words and insight, well said!
I rather think, however, that Communism, Islam AND conservative Christianity are ALL evil and will ALL be the ones who hang people from meathooks and gleefully watch them die.
Thank you for this writing, Chris! A friend sent it to me and reading it, I couldn’t help but think of The Last Battle from Chronicles of Narnia, where Puzzle the Donkey and Shift the Ape put a lion skin on Puzzle and parade him around as Aslan, colluding with others for the destruction of the Forest and other terrible things. There’s Animals and people who fall for it, and do the destruction believing it to be Aslan’s will, and there’s Animals and people who begin to hate Aslan, and there’s Animals and people who can see that this is NOT Aslan, even though it looks like him.
I see you are being criticized for taking a stand, drawing that line in the sand, and clearly identifying the ‘enemy’ behind the scenes. I’ve been struggling with how to go about doing that very thing, as many of my old friends and family have bought into this model, and I’m over here feeling “woke”, but also wanting to treat them and the subjects with respect. I can’t just call them all fools and rant about what I see, lol. You handle it very well, and I applaud you.
For the first time in my life, I’m identifying with The Prophets who were tasked with speaking publicly about what God was REALLY saying and who He really was/is, but knowing that the people will not listen. I was thinking of Jeremiah or one of the later prophets, but that exchange in 1 Samuel 8 has been stuck in my head, too, in relation to the election.
Thank you for having the courage to pull the lion skin off the donkey and show us what’s really going on!
Pevensie, what you say is so true and well stated! When people are confronted with truth, its easy to react in ways that seek to deflect it. Some people are just determined to misunderstand you, that way they don’t have to deal with what is shared. Thanks for such a wise comment!
You’re spot on! I’ve compared it with that book too. Love C S Lewis and love The Chronicles Of Narnia.
It’s not just America that’s affected by these nutters. We’ve had “missionaries” come here to the UK and it’s just vile. It puts people off real Christians and turns people from God which is exactly what the Satan wants. They call themselves Christians but really they worship and follow the devil. Africa has been damaged by these idiots too. In Uganda, for instance, there are people who call themselves Christians and who want gay people to be killed and say the bible says they should be killed. This teaching comes from these american “missionaries”. The bible warns us of false prophets and that this would happen. People need to know that evangelical Christian means something completely different here in the UK and around the world and not lump them in with the yank cult.
Good points Natasha, thanks for reading and commenting!
Great piece. Just outstanding. You rewrote Matthew 23 for the modern era.
Thanks Mark, appreciate the encouragement!
While I appreciate your thoughts and words and agree with the spirit of your message, I take some exception to how you’ve framed it. The word “Evangelical” is a well-defined term. The activities of the churches you’re describing here don’t meet the definition, and therefore their own use of the word shouldn’t be justified.
Instead of writing an article about what “Evangelicals” are doing wrong, you should instead focus on why these folks shouldn’t be referred to as Evangelicals in the first place.
Again, I’m to criticizing your core message in any way; rather, I’m just trying to get more people on board with ending the misappropriation of this term.
A Committed Evangelical
Tom, I understand your point, thanks for sharing it!
Thank you for this article. I am 65 years old and have always felt under attack by evangelicals, and really conservatives of any demomination. That said, I still find Christians that do practice what Jesus teaches and they are always positive contributors to the people around them.
Amen David, I agree 100%, thanks for commenting and reading!
Thanks for your excellent article. Growing up in Atlanta as the grandson of a minister, differences between traditional Protestant branches had more to do with the personality of their minister than nuances of their doctrine. Terms like Evangelical or Pentecostal might be outside the purview of most Presbyterians, Methodists, and Baptists. Nevertheless, much of your critique resonates with my experience.
Growing up in the church, I never understood why there was so little interest in discussion or scholarship. Inconsistencies in the Bible were ignored and questions were discouraged. Piety was displayed through professing one’s beliefs. And charity usually involved writing a check, rather than directly engaging with the needy. There was no understanding of mythos and logos, as Karen Armstrong has so brilliantly explained. And the simpler the language, the better.
I would only add to your points the remarkable similarity between radical Islam and the agenda of the Christian Right. The more they profess their superiority, the less they tolerate dissent. Their agendas become increasingly extreme as their interpretation of sacred texts becomes more and more specific. The murderers in Dhaka who forced their victims to recite the Qu’ran offer a dystopian example of what we could become if current trends go unchecked.
Robert, thanks so much for your thoughtful and insightful comments! Glad to have you read and share your thoughts! Well said!
These are some of the reasons that a majority of Americans consider themselves non-religious. The hateful hypocrisy of religion has pushed society away from religion. The younger generations can see through the lies and deceit and want no part of a religion that promotes hate, war and greediness as virtuous. If Conservative Evangelical Christians push their their version of Sharia Law down Americans throats through legislation they will soon find themselves regarded with the same respect as Scientology and will be looked upon no different than fundamentalist Islamist. Christians need to also take a long look in the mirror and start coming to terms with mass killings that white men have inflicted on American society in the name Christianity.
Cindy, well said and powerful points of wisdom! Thank you for reading and commenting!
Truer words have never been spoken.
Chris, My husband and I are Canadian and live in Newfoundland. As onlookers of the 2016 Presidential Campaign and the Election it was just so surprising to us that Trump won! This article you wrote is bang on and indeed Evangelical Conservatism has “slithered” in combined with the cold hearted idealogy of Corporate America . It’s become a whole new ballgame where this new current trend in the White House Administration to create distraction from the issues. I have a friend who lives in another province. Her and I have been friends since age 4, I am now nearly 68 years of age and she regards Trump as the “Salvation for the USA”..Good grief! I believe it’s the prophet Micah that wrote about the times far off when God would send a strong delusion and many would be seduced by it…Evangelical Conservatism in the Political soup! At the end of the day the friendship has become strained on her part, she says I do too much Trump bashing…lol! I just tell her I hope she won’t be disappointed!
Suzanne, thanks for reading and commenting! A lot of relationships have been strained by this election, the spiritual and political divide in America and across the world grows each day. Sad. Sorry to hear about your life long friend.
Really great article Chris.
Unfortunately Every single Christian that reads this blog, regardless of how conservative or progressive they are, will somehow justify in their own heads that they are not one of those radicals that you are describing.
That is the nature of Christianity.
Christianity or any religion for that matter is a systematic brainwashing that eventually produces this kind of behavior and mindset.
Saying that I am a Christian that follows the true teachings of Jesus and do not garner the same kind of mindset than them, is like saying I am a not a racist because I love all people of color except for latinos.
Racism is racism.
The problem is religion PERIOD.
Justsaying, thanks for reading the article and put your thoughts into words. I completely understand how you feel, but for better or worse, still hold out hope that not all of Christianity is doomed. 🙂
Well said. There are a lot of people who are very critical of religion for the reasons you’ve detailed here. We should be loving, but we should also not be slow to condemn the hypocrisy of those who claim to worship the Prince of Peace and yet use violence to build wealth at the expense of others.
So many good inciteful observation are in your article. I hope you keep it up.
Please consider using more punctuation, especially “periods” and semi-colons.
Many of your paragraphs are only one long run-on sentence, or maybe two sentences.
Please continue to write, you have much that needs to be heard. If you break your thoughts and paragraphs down to more sentences your thoughts will be more powerful and your energy and enthusiasm will seem less manic.
I am also intense and passionate so it is always a challenge for me as well.
Keep up the fight.
John, thanks for the feedback. My writing style is intentional.
Wow…..concerning. Have you actually had a bible education? I don’t think so.
Don’t get me wrong, I am a evangelical Christian that did not and could never vote for trump…..oh no. Also, I am full aware that conservative does not equal Christian, of course not. Personally, I feel that trump used Jesus for the votes, which if true is beyond disturbing.
But you write here as if you have only read a third of God’s word. There IS right, there is wrong. Wrong is NEVER just “okay”. Yes, Jesus LOVES, but he warns “go and sin no more”. For ALL have sinned. We do not need any more wishy washy Joel Osteens!!
Thank you for shining light on the darkness.
You are led.
They will attack you.
They are closed to truth.
The fact the God has not abandoned these Christians speaks to the loving nature of our God, not to the deceit of so much of His flock.
I do not see the false teaching and leading only through Evangelicals though. It is widespread throughout what is called Christianity.
Mary, you are spot on about false teachings being beyond Evangelicalism. Thanks for reading and commenting!
My teenage daughter stopped wanting to participate in any church activities due to the frankly extreme modesty policing that the church practiced with teen girls. Her youth group leader even told the girls that if they were seen around town wearing anything immodest, that the leader would publicly and loudly tell them so. No rules of any sort were placed on the boys, who were allowed to be shirtless due to hot weather, while the girls were required to wear long pants, not shorts. When I voiced my disagreement, and my opinion that the church emphasis on modesty, especially only for girls and women, was hurtful, I was told that my daughter and I have a problem with unforgiveness.
Quite frankly, my daughter has no such problem. She made a decision to leave behind a group that treats her with disrespect. She isn’t angry or unforgiving about it – but she has made a practical decision not to continue as part of a community that sees her as something that needs to be watched and controlled. I’m proud of her and think she made the right move. (The momma bear is having a little more trouble with the unforgiveness thing – I occasionally want to maul the people who tried to slut shame my beautiful darling girl).
As a follower of Jesus, I do wish she wanted God in her life, but she will have to come to that herself. Again, I don’t blame her. She tried several Christian groups, but every one had bullying, or modesty stormtroopers, or incomprehensible leadership power struggles. She doesn’t want to be in a church because all her experiences in church have been toxic. I’m glad she has figured out in her teen years that the problem is them and not her.