Christian Nationalism

christian-g41a80d98e_640

Recently I read an article related to the term “Christian Nationalist.” It seems that … “A year ago, calling someone a Christian nationalist was an insult.”

In fact, after the debacle of January 6th, when rioters spoke of their cause as a religious crusade and wielded crosses and bibles and banners with scripture, many pastors pushed back on any suggestion that the actions were related to Christian Nationalism.

Some even remarked that linking the term to American evangelical Christianity was “deeply dangerous,” and one leader claimed it was an unfair “accusation.”

Oh how times have changed.

In June, this same leader commented thus: “We have the left routinely speaking of me and of others as Christian nationalists, as if we’re supposed to be running from that.” He then added: “I’m not about to run from that.”

He is not alone. As many are aware, Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene declared in a Tweet: “I am being attacked by the godless left because I said I’m a proud Christian nationalist. (My emphasis.)

We also hear such remarks as: “This is just a tactic on the part of liberals and the left to smear good, patriotic, and godly Americans.” and “Christian nationalism is what we’re supposed to do.” (My emphasis.)

What has become a concern is that those who affirm the label are becoming more radicalized, more militant, and more open about it, claiming that if this is who they are, they’re going to embrace it.

“Christian Nationalism” is actually an academic term that encompasses different degrees of intensity. It includes the more harmless, everyday God-and-country white evangelicals who believe politicians and courts should eliminate barriers separating church and state, but it also identifies the violent extremists willing to tear down democratic processes to bring about their vision of a white Christian nation.

Several Republican individuals currently vying for positions in the government do support and promote the idea of Christian Nationalism; however, due to its negative connotations, they are now using the term, “Christo-fascism” when referring to the violent, extremist form of Christian nationalism seen during the Jan. 6 insurrection. Essentially, however, it is nothing more than an effort to direct attention away from their support for Trumpian extremism that has become “inextricable from some parts of white evangelical power in America.”

A Yale professor was quoted as saying that “A hallmark of fascism is this idea of regeneration through violence.” So one can’t help but wonder if the terminology even matters because, at the core, it’s the actions that speak the loudest and will determine the end results.

****************************************
Image by Darelle from Pixabay

Fear of Death

beyond-gc08177151_640

Someone in the blog world recently observed that acceptance of Christianity later in life is more about one’s emotional feelings related to death than anything else.

I agree.

It has often been demonstrated that when parents follow the biblical instructions in Proverbs to “Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it” — the child will nearly always stay “in the faith” as s/he grows into adulthood. The ongoing and constant indoctrination — from nighttime prayers to grace at dinner to children’s church to church camps to Sunday School and finally, to regular Sunday worship — will most certainly accomplish the prime directive. (This is not to say they will remain in the faith, but that’s a discussion for another time.)

But what about those individuals who were not exposed to this indoctrination? Why do they turn to Christianity as an adult? I think it goes back to the introductory sentence of this blog post … “emotional feelings related to death.”

Or to put it bluntly … Fear of Death.

Naturally, any Christian reading this post who “found Christ” as an adult will disagree and offer a myriad of reasons why they disagree. But speaking from personal experience, I feel I can authoritatively say that FEAR is the underlying motive. Although the fear I felt (as described in the referenced post) was more about the pain and horrors described in the Book of Revelation, it was ultimately about the fear of death.

Believers like to talk a lot about the “love of Christ,” but this is nothing more than a feel-good aphorism used and repeated by church leaders to help people forget … deny … overcome the fear that rests at the core of every human being:  the certainty of our demise.

I’m sure many have noticed that church congregations are often made up of senior citizens. The ever-present realization that death is fast approaching is a strong incentive to believe the oft-repeated (and thus must be true!) promise of everlasting life.

Folks, the cessation of Life is inevitable. And while it may offer comfort to think/believe there is “something more,” until someone reports back … it is nothing more than solace for the soul.

That’s why my personal philosophy lies with the motto coined more than 2,000 years ago by the Roman poet Horace — Carpe Diem!

(Besides, way back in 1965, Doris Day explicitly told us … 🎵”Whatever will be will be.”)

******************************************
Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

Who Do You Love?

love-gffb3cf2af_640

Recently I came across an article related to Herschel Walker’s run for a seat in Congress (Georgia US Senate) in which he said this about his decision to run.

“Before all this coming about, my wife and I … we went into prayer and I prayed about it. And to be honest with you, I was praying to God to bring somebody else. ‘Oh my God, I am happy, my life is doing well …’ But I love the Lord Jesus.”

“But I love the Lord Jesus.”

This phrase got me to thinking. How does anyone “love” an entity that exists only in a book?

Of course there are multiple meanings and variations to the word “love” — and I daresay nearly all of us have used one or another of them at various times in our lives to describe how we feel about different foods, movies, games, activities and other inanimate objects — not to mention the living creatures in our lives, such as dogs, cats, horses, etc., etc.

However, I tend to think most of us recognize the core meaning of the word LOVE is the deep emotion we feel for other HUMAN BEINGS. That is, those Real … Vital … Breathing … Touchable entities that are part of our daily lives.

Yet Herschel’s comment is not uncommon among the religious. In fact, the word “love” is used anywhere from 300+ to over 500 times in various versions of the bible. However, not every use of the word, even in the bible, relates to the distinct feeling that exists between and among humans.

So back to my original question: How does a person “love” an entity that exists only in a book — an entity that no person living today has ever met in a direct and face-to-face encounter?

And further to the question, how does anyone know that this entity loves them? The standard response is because “the bible tells me so.” But again, has anyone in today’s world ever felt that book-derived individual actually wrap his arms around their body, look deep into their eyes, and say with soulful and intense emotion … I LOVE YOU ??

I tend to think not … simply because imagination is not reality.

**********************************
Image by Herbanu Tri Sasongko from Pixabay