It’s open season on evangelicals!
Most evangelicals would agree with this statement though not necessarily resent it. It is a righteous badge of honor. Believing they have become targets of religious persecution validates their own sense of moral rectitude.
10″Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness,
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”(Matthew 5:10)
American evangelicals have deluded themselves into thinking the persecution they endure is a reflection of their commitment to Jesus and the gospel.
18“If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first. 19If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you. 20Remember what I told you: ‘A servant is not greater than his master.’ [see 13:16] If they persecuted me, they will persecute you also. If they obeyed my teaching, they will obey yours also. 21They will treat you this way because of my name, for they do not know the one who sent me.“(John 15:18-21)
The overwhelming majority of the nonChristian and non evangelical Christian world have a different idea. Evangelicals are seriously flawed individuals with a moral blind spot. This explains not only their initial support for Trump but their continued unconditioned support, in spite of a never ending series of lies and corruption that surrounds him like flies buzzing around rotting flesh.
When I was an evangelical, if someone had accused me of being a bad person, I would have shrugged it off as the perspective of an unregenerate person who is spiritually blind and dead.
14″The person without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God but considers them foolishness, and cannot understand them because they are discerned only through the Spirit.“(1 Corinthians 1:14)
Many evangelicals have convinced themselves they are waging a battle against sin the world cannot hope to understand, an idea constantly reinforced within evangelicalism. Paranoia and skepticism of the outside world are hallmarks of American evangelicalism. Anti-science, anti-intellectualism and anti-liberalism are among its primary “villains” bent on secularizing society. Up for grabs are the souls of America’s youth.
We now come to the central idea of this article. The need to separate bad ideas from good people. Most evangelicals are victims of an ideology that imprisons them with fear of death and eternal punishment and the promise of eternal hope. Not many evangelicals are in the faith for a life of sacrifice and commitment.
Roughly three quarters of the population believe in a literal heaven (just over half believe in hell). This is a staggering statistic to show how engrained belief in a future afterlife is among most. It is no wonder someone would make certain they have a guaranteed place in heaven even if it means being a little “irrational.”
Most evangelicals would prefer not to advertise this aspect of their faith. It is embarrassing to admit to believing in the miracles contained in an ancient book. The resurrection of Jesus is one thing, but what about the plagues of Egypt, the parting of the Red Sea, a burning bush, a talking donkey, Jonah being swallowed by a giant fish, Elijah calling fire down from heaven, Jesus turning water into wine, walking on water or raising Lazarus from the dead?
Is the Bible a credible source to trust on the historical accuracy of the events it records? Ultimately, this is the crux of the matter. Do we have sufficient evidence to believe what the Bible tells me so?
I have dedicated my entire adult life to studying the Bible. What began as a faith journey ended as a total abandonment of Christianity. The key element in my quest was a sincere desire to deepen my faith. Unbeknownst to me at the time, in seeking to examine the Bible without the eyes of an evangelical, I inadvertently let down my faith guard. It was like reading the Bible for the first time and seeing Jesus in the glaring light of cold, unforgiving objectivity.
My mission in life now is to point others to rely on their own mental faculties and not blindly follow something they first believed as a child or out of desperation. I can’t imagine older people ever considering giving up hope in heaven as they approach death but the younger generation can still help reverse their course and limit the damage done.
I am under no illusions when it comes to modern day evangelicals. The general tepidness of their faith betrays the depth, or lack thereof, of their commitment to New Testament ideals. Giving up worldly delights is a tremendous sacrifice.
15″Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, love for the Father d is not in them. 16For everything in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—comes not from the Father but from the world. 17The world and its desires pass away, but whoever does the will of God lives forever.”(1 John 2:15-17)
Jesus portrayed the life of a follower as one of sacrifice, suffering and self denial.
23″Then he said to them all: “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me. 24For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will save it. 25What good is it for someone to gain the whole world, and yet lose or forfeit their very self?“(Matthew 9:23-25)
Investing the bulk of one’s time, energy, dreams and money in the pursuit of Christian ideals is a major commitment only undertaken by those who truly believe.
33″But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.“(Matthew 6:33)
For the Christian, the fruit of their labors await them in heaven. How many are willing to make such an investment in the next life by sacrificing personal wealth and happiness in this life? Not many.
As a keen observer and past participant in evangelicalism for many decades, one thing has become abundantly, if not painfully, obvious. If it was shown beyond any doubt, there was no God, Jesus did not rise from the dead and the Bible is the fallible work of men, it would not significantly change how most evangelicals live.
The sad reality is the world would be immensely better if evangelicals truly lived out their faith daily. Or to put it differently, if evangelicalism did not exist, society would be appreciable better without it. Nothing is a greater indictment on Jesus’ resurrection from the dead than the lifestyles of today’s evangelicals. Jesus’ death and resurrection were meant to be present realities in the life of a believer not just a future hope. Places like America should be the envy of the world for its low rate of crime, poverty, homelessness, social inequality, childhood hunger, sexual immorality, divorce, violence etc., because of the moral , ethical and social impact of Christians endowed with the supernatural Holy Spirit of God.
In closing, giving up one’s faith is like committing spiritual suicide. You are asking a person to give up the things that faith provides such as comfort, peace, joy, guidance, strength, meaning, love, strength, but perhaps most of all, to relinquish eternal life. It is a big ask.
Evangelicalism is not an innocuous faith of highly moral people who believe in heaven and try each day to make the world a better place just like Jesus did. It has become an ideological cistern that spews hate and bigotry in the name of God and His word. It foments hatred of other faiths and peoples who are perceived to threaten cherished freedoms. It shirks environmental responsibility and promotes political strife in the Middle East in the name of biblical apocalypticism. It seeks to restrict or remove individual rights and freedoms of the LGBTQ community or women’s advocacy groups in accordance with so-called biblical mandates.
Continuing to indulge those like evangelicals who appeal to ancient superstitions and fantastical thinking to advance a primitive moral agenda puts society and the world at perilous risk if allowed to continue unopposed. A strong concerted counter-attack that uses rationalism and not fanaticism as its chief weapon must be mounted to preserve and protect current liberties.
We live in a golden age of unprecedented advancements in science, medicine and rationality, yet many evangelicals prefer to wallow in the post-truth world of an irrational faith.
Note to Reader: The term “evangelical” is inclusive of those who adopt a inerrant view of the Bible and use it to justify their political and moral cause. In a broader sense, this article is a rational attack on the idea the Bible is divinely inspired and authoritative, and therefore deserving of our submissive obedience. It is NOT an attack on those who subscribe to this belief; however, separating the two is difficult for a believer who is emotionally invested in the faith.
It is not my intention to offend as I was once an evangelical too.