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Forum Locked"Against Christianism" TIME

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Brian J Checco View Drop Down
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    Posted: 26-Feb-2008 at 21:37
An interesting article. Take a look and then let's discuss this one.

My Problem with Christianism

Sunday, May. 07, 2006 By ANDREW SULLIVAN

Are you a Christian who doesn't feel represented by the religious right? I know the feeling. When the discourse about faith is dominated by political fundamentalists and social conservatives, many others begin to feel as if their religion has been taken away from them.

The number of Christians misrepresented by the Christian right is many. There are evangelical Protestants who believe strongly that Christianity should not get too close to the corrupting allure of government power. There are lay Catholics who, while personally devout, are socially liberal on issues like contraception, gay rights, women's equality and a multi-faith society. There are very orthodox believers who nonetheless respect the freedom and conscience of others as part of their core understanding of what being a Christian is. They have no problem living next to an atheist or a gay couple or a single mother or people whose views on the meaning of life are utterly alien to them--and respecting their neighbors' choices. That doesn't threaten their faith. Sometimes the contrast helps them understand their own faith better.

And there are those who simply believe that, by definition, God is unknowable to our limited, fallible human minds and souls. If God is ultimately unknowable, then how can we be so certain of what God's real position is on, say, the fate of Terri Schiavo? Or the morality of contraception? Or the role of women? Or the love of a gay couple? Also, faith for many of us is interwoven with doubt, a doubt that can strengthen faith and give it perspective and shadow. That doubt means having great humility in the face of God and an enormous reluctance to impose one's beliefs, through civil law, on anyone else.

I would say a clear majority of Christians in the U.S. fall into one or many of those camps. Yet the term "people of faith" has been co-opted almost entirely in our discourse by those who see Christianity as compatible with only one political party, the Republicans, and believe that their religious doctrines should determine public policy for everyone. "Sides are being chosen," Tom DeLay recently told his supporters, "and the future of man hangs in the balance! The enemies of virtue may be on the march, but they have not won, and if we put our trust in Christ, they never will." So Christ is a conservative Republican?

Rush Limbaugh recently called the Democrats the "party of death" because of many Democrats' view that some moral decisions, like the choice to have a first-trimester abortion, should be left to the individual, not the cops. Ann Coulter, with her usual subtlety, simply calls her political opponents "godless," the title of her new book. And the largely nonreligious media have taken the bait. The "Christian" vote has become shorthand in journalism for the Republican base.

What to do about it? The worst response, I think, would be to construct something called the religious left. Many of us who are Christians and not supportive of the religious right are not on the left either. In fact, we are opposed to any politicization of the Gospels by any party, Democratic or Republican, by partisan black churches or partisan white ones. "My kingdom is not of this world," Jesus insisted. What part of that do we not understand?

So let me suggest that we take back the word Christian while giving the religious right a new adjective: Christianist. Christianity, in this view, is simply a faith. Christianism is an ideology, politics, an ism. The distinction between Christian and Christianist echoes the distinction we make between Muslim and Islamist. Muslims are those who follow Islam. Islamists are those who want to wield Islam as a political force and conflate state and mosque. Not all Islamists are violent. Only a tiny few are terrorists. And I should underline that the term Christianist is in no way designed to label people on the religious right as favoring any violence at all. I mean merely by the term Christianist the view that religious faith is so important that it must also have a precise political agenda. It is the belief that religion dictates politics and that politics should dictate the laws for everyone, Christian and non-Christian alike.

That's what I dissent from, and I dissent from it as a Christian. I dissent from the political pollution of sincere, personal faith. I dissent most strongly from the attempt to argue that one party represents God and that the other doesn't. I dissent from having my faith co-opted and wielded by people whose politics I do not share and whose intolerance I abhor. The word Christian belongs to no political party. It's time the quiet majority of believers took it back.


Visit Andrew Sullivan's blog, The Daily Dish, at time.com


http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,1191826,00.html

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote snowybeagle Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 27-Feb-2008 at 03:03
It doesn't really matter in the long run.  Give the phenomena a new name, and it will return in disguise.
 
Christianity - Catholic - Orthodox - Protestant - Evangelical - Born-again - ...
 
It is an old game of using religion for political purposes, and giving it a new name, Christianism, will not change.  The "Christianist" will still call themselves Christians, the media will still call them Christians, unless there is compelling circumstances like potential litigation, which is why some learned not to interchange Muslims with terrorists.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Parnell Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 27-Feb-2008 at 13:13
Social extremism is unfortunately hand in hand with religious organisations. Be it the ridiculous policies of the Catholic Church in Africa to www.conservapedia.org and its 'illuminating' 'homosexuality' series, bigotry is inter-related with a system that requires blind faith and discourages the use of reason. The sooner religion dies the better.
"Neither apathy nor antipathy can ever bring out the truth of history" Eoin Mac Neill.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Sparten Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 27-Feb-2008 at 14:44

Nothing much. Mr Sullivan is a homosexual and the article clearly demonstrates the chasm he feels that exists between his beliefs and his faith. To make sure no one reads this the wrong way, Mr Sullivan has a right to all his preferences, but I think this article reflects more him than the world, the "opposition" has always been godless world over

The Germans also take vacations in Paris; especially during the periods they call "blitzkrieg".
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Brian J Checco Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 27-Feb-2008 at 23:07
Well, being that Mr. Sullivan is a homosexual, I guess he is uniquely placed to criticize the extremists within his own religion who demonize and marginalize him for his own personal practices. I think something like this illuminates the fact that one can be both a practicing Christian and a group of a subculture that the mainstream of the faithful do not approve of. Would he be in a similar circumstance if he were a practicing Christian, a heterosexual, and a Socialist? I'd imagine it would be much the same. Identifying God with a particular political ideology is ludicrous. Jesus never even heard of democracy, let alone was a proponent of it.

The real meaning I read into it was that people need to separate politics and religion in America. Religion is all well and good, one of these necessary societal functions even, but when it gets into politics, it convolutes and corrupts both itself and its messages.


Edited by Brian J Checco - 27-Feb-2008 at 23:10
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Sparten Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 28-Feb-2008 at 04:53
Jesus was an eductaed man, a rabbi, chances are he had heard of Athens at least.
And its very hard to seperate religion from polictics since politics relates to social cliamte of a nation and politics is guided by said social climate.
The Germans also take vacations in Paris; especially during the periods they call "blitzkrieg".
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Brian J Checco Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 28-Feb-2008 at 05:09
I wasn't aware that the Rabbinical tradition extended it's curriculum to Greek political history. The only Greeks in the Torah are the occupying Selucids. They don't even mention Alexander, if I'm not mistaken.
Besides, Jesus was neither an advocate of democracy, nor was it ever mentioned in his teachings. So it's highly doubtful Jesus ever even began to conceive of the "political climate" of contemporary America. I mean, hell, he'd never even heard of the continent we're on.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Paul Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 28-Feb-2008 at 10:25
"What God really meant to say, was ..................... .............. ................"
 
Seems to be the essence of any christian religion.
 
You either become a sheep and believe what the leaders tell you to, or you become a leader and change the religion to what you want. Among the leaders and wannabe leaders there's gonna be a game of politics. It's highly competitve power and wealth brokering at heart.
 
 
 


Edited by Paul - 28-Feb-2008 at 10:26
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Sparten Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 28-Feb-2008 at 10:56
Originally posted by Brian J Checco Brian J Checco wrote:

I wasn't aware that the Rabbinical tradition extended it's curriculum to Greek political history. The only Greeks in the Torah are the occupying Selucids. They don't even mention Alexander, if I'm not mistaken.
Besides, Jesus was neither an advocate of democracy, nor was it ever mentioned in his teachings. So it's highly doubtful Jesus ever even began to conceive of the "political climate" of contemporary America. I mean, hell, he'd never even heard of the continent we're on.
I have'nt studied Greek political history either except on my own informally. I just mentioned that being an educated man Jesus would most likely have heard of Athens.
The Germans also take vacations in Paris; especially during the periods they call "blitzkrieg".
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