A window into the world and mind of the “evangelical.”
**These articles are intended to provide a window into the world and mind of “evangelicals” (See following note) from the perspective of a former evangelical.
Note: The term “evangelical” has become doctrinally meaningless and politically significant. Some who identify as evangelicals do not subscribe to the basic tenets of evangelicalism, while others who have vacated the term do so for political reasons.
In these articles we will use it in a general way with the understanding of the vast spectrum of belief that exists among evangelical Christians. Perhaps a better term would be “biblicists” or “inerrantists” but even these terms may fail to incorporate the political wing of evangelicalism.
Our primary goal is to target anyone who appeals to the Bible as a divine source of authority and uses it to shape or influence legislation or policy that threatens the rights, freedoms or lives of others, minimizes global stewardship and environmental viability or adversely impacts political stability at home and abroad.
Obscurantism may be defined as: “The deliberate act of distorting or fully disclosing information knowing the affect it will have on the audience.”
From this definition we see two different types of obscurantism. Either when one distorts the information released or prevents the full release of accurate information. It is misinforming or under informing. In both cases, the goal is to prevent his/her audience from access to full and accurate information. The motive could be beneficial or harmful from the perspective of the obscurantist.
Think of it in this context. Is it ever all right to intentionally misrepresent the truth to someone if it is for their benefit and the greater good? Perhaps, but I think most would agree it is never all right to deceived someone for one’s own benefit or to hurt someone else.
In view of the current COVID-19 pandemic, would it be justifiable for a politician to provide misleading information or withhold information about the severity of the virus if doing so ensured greater vigilance among the public and thus mitigated its impact? What if he or she thought a less alarmist tone might cause premature relaxing of public safeguards and thereby slow down the recovery?
Let’s turn to religion specifically evangelicalism. We single out evangelicalism because it is a subset of Christianity which adheres to a rigid worldview based on an alternative reality which distorts our reality.
Christianity posits a dualistic view of reality, the natural and spiritual. The two are inextricably coalesced being at once unified and distinct. What happens in one effects the other yet each is perfectly preserved and distinct. One day all Christians hope to leave this material world and enter the heavenly world to life forever.
This biblical model carries profound consequences in the lives of those who take it literally and seriously. Furthermore, those like evangelicals, have and are attempting to influence society with this worldview firmly entrenched in their mind. It presupposes one believe several things: The existence of a dynamic and vibrant spiritual world where angels and demons are intimately associated with humans and can profoundly affect them. The conviction Jesus death on the cross and resurrection imbues believers with power to defeat sin and Satan. The presence of the indwelling Holy Spirit who daily helps Christians overcome sin in their lives and fight the forces of evil. One final day God will give complete victory over evil when Satan undergoes his final judgment. And the assurance of knowing an all powerful and loving God participates in the affairs of this world through the prayers and actions of His people.
However, if you don’t believe the Bible is the divinely inspired world of God, this world is fantastical and illusory. It is a fake reality.
Is there such a thing as deliberate unintentional obscurantism?
Are evangelicals obscurantists if they believe in a world that does not exist and seek to inflict this dogma on the rest of society along with the consequences of that belief? What if the impact of these actions are harmful on others despite evangelicals thinking they are beneficial?
This is the crux of the issue. If evangelicals are right, their actions are justified because it is in accordance with God’s will (as they understand it). But if they are wrong, their actions have already harmed people and could potential causes even greater harm to people, the environment and global political stability.
For instance, if the world is going to end in a cataclysmic conflagration at Armageddon, we should try to align our political purposes with God’s as interpreted from the perspective of premillennial dispensational prophecy. Israel should be supported unconditionally and all Arab countries especially Iran should be viewed with distrust as prime time players in opposition to God.
Also, we may ease restrictions on environmental issues like global warming or the health of the planet because God not man will determine the fate of the world. He operates according to his divine timetable.
Next, we should promote Christian Dominionism by diligently implementing biblical ideals throughout society to ensure God’s continued blessing on our nation. Women should assume a subordinate role in the home and church, homosexuality should be outlawed, slavery instituted but under biblical guidelines, other faith groups branded idolatrous, divorce, premarital sex, drunkenness, adultery, gluttony, greed, pride, avarice should all be punishable by fine or worse. Children should be severely reprimanded for disobeying parents perhaps even by corporal punishment. Church attendance would of course be mandatory and strictly enforced. Christian Dominionism should be the law of the land.
It is both tragic and humorous we continue to indulge evangelicalism and allow it a preeminent place in people’s lives, society and government. That a sectarian ideology rooted in an ancient superstition is allowed to dictate official policy and effect legislation at every level of government is preposterous. To see the Bible as revealing the perfect mind of God and transcending cultural limitations and biases is intellectually and morally irresponsible. It is the product of the religious imaginations of prescientific men replete with the bigotry and sexism attending that age.
As offspring of the Age of Enlightenment we as a community of thoughtful rational people should be embarrassed we have allowed this collection of archaic writings to have ruled in place of reason for so long. It is time to replace God with humankind as the center of the universe or at the very least our planet.