Friday, February 18, 2011
There are a number of things I find fascinating about the above video. For one, it is a perfect example of what happens when you live in a religious echo chamber. I am sure that many of the caller's points seemed perfectly airtight when stating them amongst fellow believers on Sunday.... but quickly fell apart under the most simple scrutiny.
I also love the natural good cop/bad cop format the hosts take on. The gentleman on the right is often gracious as he tries to walk the caller through a linear thought-line - while the guy on the left can hardly contain his exasperation with the illogical pronouncements of the caller. I laughed out-loud multiple times.
Though there is a lot of material here (and perhaps folks might want to talk about other bits in the comment section), I want to focus on a piece that was brought up toward the end which is also a "hobby-horse" of mine - the relationship destroying nature of exclusivist theology.
The host is spot-on when he points out that there is a natural tendency within religion to assume that anyone outside of your group is in some way bad or morally hobbled. I was nervous getting my first "secular" job as a teen. I was convinced that all of my fellow employees would hate me because I was a Christian. It was a life lesson to find out they were friendly and more accepting than most of the Christians I knew.
It was too bad they were all going to Hell.
This attitude isn't confined to the young. I spoke with a Christian who was hiring recently. He discovered his two potential employees were both Christians. "It gave me a peace in my spirit," he said, "to know that regardless of who I hired, I was going to get a good employee." Because of their Christian status, it was assumed they were "good". So non-Christians, by implication, would at best be suspect.
I think Hell lies at the root of this (the caller threatened the hosts with Hell before hardly saying hello). Since most of the world is going to Hell, many Christians have resolved themselves to trying convert who they can while keeping themselves untainted. The world is doomed.
I was at a church one Sunday where the Pastor was mocking the "peacemakers" in our world. "There ain't gonna be any peace in this world," the pastor shouted while bouncing on the front of his toes, "until the Prince of Peace returns!!!"
Let's just hunker down until Jesus gets back....
Another Pastor said to me recently "Not even Jesus can redeem this world. He can only redeem those who believe and are washed in his blood."
Well, I guess that's it for THEM then.
Even the Governor of Alabama felt the need to announce to his fellow citizens that any non-Christians are "not my brother".
With this underlying attitude of separation, it is of no surprise that many religious folks like to keep people who are not in their group at arms length. As I question various aspects of my faith, I have had folks jettisoning my friendship left and right. Six "men of the cloth" have cut ties with me in the past year and a number of the laity as well. Whatever I have might be catching. A few tossed in a hell warning on their way out. :) (for my good, of course)
In the end, the caller from the video is afraid. He is afraid when he sees a Christian abandon his faith. He fears that it could happen to him. He fears that listening to anything outside the echo chamber could taint him. He could stop believing. Then the God he "loves" will reject him and torture him for eternity.
So, in a sense, you can see why he needs to put his fingers in his ears. You can understand why he must maintain superficial relationships with outsiders. It makes sense that he feels safe at church functions, meetings, and potlucks. There are scary possibilities outside.
He could burn FOREVER! That fear, to him, is real!
What a world we might have if the religious could believe that Perfect Love casts out fear!
Posted by Andrew at 8:39 PM