I find it (somewhat) encouraging that even hard-core “Fundie”-type protestants have had to come to grips with the (undeniable) fact that much of what ends up being “Branded” as Christianity is amazingly stupid and vicious.
(This is why they created the term “Churchianity” — a convenient slur-term for “anything claiming to be ‘Christianity” with which we don’t like/doesn’t agree.”
It would be a wonderful thing if they were actually sincere about calling out the bullshit idiocy, but they’re usually not. Instead, denunciation of “Churchainity” (or stuff like the “I hate religion but love Jesus” viral video on Youtube) are mostly excuses/rationalization for calling out everybody else (because at least 99% of those who claim to be Christian are really involved in some sort of heresy/”Satanic counterfeit”, whereas your obscure/absurd little Denominational “clique” is the “One True Church”, etc.)
Quite frankly, it would be really nice if “Christians” made it a point to restrict their efforts at “soul-winning” to those who were already active participants/adherents in some other variant of Christianity. Because guess what? Until and unless some sort of genuine unity (beyond “creeds” and buzz-words) happens, everybody who claims to have “gotten saved” or “become a Christian” (or any of a myriad of other similar “verbal tics”) may very well be deluding themselves (and everyone else) about that claim.
Worse yet: assuming that those individuals are involved in a “Satanic counterfeit” (as opposed to whatever happens to constitute the “True” Church): Every successful instance of “soul-winning” by those folks represents another recruit for “Satan”).
(Assuming –for the sake of argument — that “Christians” have their cosmology/theology correct in the first place — which is itself debatable).
Personally, I’ve come to the conclusion that this is one reason why some variants of “Christianity” invested so much time and effort into the torture and slaughter of “Pagans”, Jews, and so-called “Heretics”.
Ultimately, this is the “Elephant in the room” for Christianity (or any other religion, for that matter): the only way to create the illusion of consistency/unity/consensus — or even to promulgate their ideology on any socially influential scale — is by coercion and threats. Ultimately, this is all even the “best” forms of religion can offer:
The most overt forms involve outright torture and slaughter.
This is inconvenient: for one thing, it conclusively proves George Orwell’s point from his novel 1984:
“The Party seeks power entirely for its own sake. We are not interested in the good of others; we are interested solely in power. Not wealth or luxury or long life or happiness: only power, pure power. What pure power means you will understand presently. We are different from all the oligarchies of the past, in that we know what we are doing. All the others, even those who resembled ourselves, were cowards and hypocrites. The German Nazis and the Russian Communists came very close to us in their methods, but they never had the courage to recognize their own motives. They pretended, perhaps they even believed, that they had seized power unwillingly and for a limited time, and that just round the corner there lay a paradise where human beings would be free and equal. We are not like that. We know that no one ever seizes power with the intention of relinquishing it. Power is not a means; it is an end. One does not establish a dictatorship in order to safeguard a revolution; one makes the revolution in order to establish the dictatorship. The object of persecution is persecution. The object of torture is torture. The object of power is power.”
Quite frankly, the first millisecond that your ideology has to “resort” to measures such as: torture/slaughter of dissidents, censorship, self-segregation, etc., you have utterly and conclusively discredited the ideology itself, by that very fact.
IF your ideology can only “survive” by coercing would-be dissidents into silence, that fact is a tacit confession that your ideology is utterly incapable of being defended via rational argument, or persuasion — that it cannot survive dispassionate scrutiny.
By the same token, if your ideology requires pouting or tantrums (“But…..it would “break your mother’s heart!!!!!”, etc.), then it is unworthy of further consideration by that mere fact.
The only rational response if someone says they’re “disappointed” in you? “That’s funny: I wasn’t aware that you had been ‘appointed’ in the first place!”
Quite frankly, this is also why I am utterly incapable of participating in others’ attempts to use “emotional blackmail” against me: The value of any “relationship” is inversely proportional to the amount of dishonesty required to sustain it.
For example: I was (and remain) “friends” with a Mennonite family, back when I still lived in PA. I would periodically “hang out” with their sons and listen to albums, or go to “jam sessions” at their house and other places. I would even participate both in “pick-up gigs” and other more “organized” events with them.
I even participated in doing the “session musician” thing for several albums.
At the time time, I (hopefully) made it clear from the outset that I was not even provisionally “open” to any attempts at “Conversion”. Quite frankly, getting “sucked into” a religion/ideology merely because it is “comforting” at a desperate/fearful point in your life — with no understanding of that religion or ideology — is exceptionally foolhardy. (The tragic thing is, this is the way many people end up involved with various religions/denominations/sects/”cults”).
This is the thing almost nobody involved with any religion wants to acknowledge: their three “best” recruitment-methods are almost as vicious as outright torture/slaughter:
The 3 most “prevalent” methods are:
- Self-imposed “ghettoization” (IE: ethno-religious “subcultures” — hence all of the pants-shitting over so-called “mixed” marriages, etc.)
- Indoctrinating the children born/raised within those subcultures before they develop the “critical-thinking” skills required to rationally evaluate the truth-claims put forward by those in “authority”.
- “Converting” those too fearful/desperate to use critical-thinking skills even if they possess them.
The most blatantly vicious thing is the “hell”-threats. Quite frankly. if the only thing your religion has to offer is a This-worldly (or otherworldly) “carrot and stick” gimmick, then that should at the very least give you pause.
I don’t — really, can’t — see any substantive difference between the “convert or be tortured/killed” thing, and the “convert or be eternally tortured” thing — except that the FORMER can be empirically verified to have actually taken place where the other must be taken on “Faith” — merely on the say-so of the (self-proclaimed) “Servants” of the entity purportedly planning to engage in the everlasting torture-fest, itself.)
…….who are most likely members of a “Satanic Counterfeit”, and not the “One True Church”.
Arguably (from a strictly probabilistic standpoint): it is vastly more likely that anyone claiming to be “saved” was recruited by/is actively participating in one of the (innumerable) “Satanic Counterfeits”, than that they are actually participating in whatever (if anything) happens constitute the “One True” church).
Thus: it therefore (necessarily) follows that there is (at least) a 99% chance that any specific “believer” has NOT in fact been “Saved”, but has merely been duped (by the “Father of Lies!!!!!”, no less), into actively promoting, aiding, and RECRUITING FOR what is effectively a “cuddly” version of Satanism.
Now, here’s the kicker:
- Everything outside of “Christianity” is a “Satanic Counterfeit”.
- AT LEAST 99.9999999% of “Christianity” is a “Satanic Counterfeit”, too.
Quite frankly, the above two “facts” (assuming currently-fashionable Christian dogma to be accurate), change the nature and consequences of “Pascal’s wager”, fairly radically:
the “traditional” version of Pascal’s wager attempts to validate religious “belief” on the ground that if you’re WRONG, you’ve “lost nothing”, but if you’re right, you “gain everything”.
Unfortunately, this turns out to be an indefensible position:
IF: atheists, agnostics, Hindus, Buddhists, Taoists, Jains, Bahai’i, Wiccans, Satanists, Jews, Muslims AND 99.99999999999999999999999% of “Christians” are all guaranteed an eternity of “hell-fire” whether or not they allow themselves to be “recruited” by any of the innumerable variants of “Christianity” — where exactly is the “Payoff?”
The more I actually think about it, the more this looks like “Unitarian Universalism” in reverse:
The basic point which pisses “Christians” off about UUism is the fact that they do not a priori assert that Non-christians are doomed to an eternity of “Hellfire”. (This is typically — inaccurately — reformulated as the claim that “everyone goes to Heaven”, or some such non-sequitur.)
Ironically, both “Mainstream” (and Fundie Protestant) Dogma lead to essentially the same idea:
IF “Christianity” (as currently formulated) is “correct”, then it is OVERWHELMINGLY LIKELY that even the vast majority of so-called “Believers” are inevitably doomed to EXACTLY the same eternity of “Hellfire” as those whose souls they claim to be ‘winning’ for Christ.
In other words: even if you claim to be a ‘believer’, and not to be “lukewarm” etc. — it is overwhelmingly likely that you are every bit as “unsaved” and “unchurched” and “deluded” as your would-be theological prey.
Wouldn’t this imply that people like Betsy Wegner Rommel need to settle the fuck down, stop trying to “recruit” everyone else into their specific variant of “Satanism”, and concentrate on working out their own bullshit, first?
Ironically enough, there’s a definite parallel here, with a phenomenon I’ve noticed in the Objectivist “movement”:
In an essay/screed titled “Objectivist Dropouts”, Betsy Speicher states:
n the four decades that I have been associated with Objectivism, I have seen 80-90% of the people I went to lectures and conferences with, and considered my best friends and teachers, drop out. I have watched and studied them so carefully that I now know what to look for and I can pretty accurately predict who will eventually drop out and why.
Most of the people who drop out of Objectivism were once sincerely devoted to it. Their problem was that, in one way or another, they were seeking something from Objectivism that it could not give them.
What did they want? Many different things. There are as many wrong reasons to affiliate with Objectivism as there are wrong answers to the problem 2 + 2 = ?
The Rebels, Lost Lambs, True Believers and Exploiters drop out.
The good news is: the real Objectivists stay.
In other words, Betsy (and her ilk) are involved in their own shit-swamp of a squabble over who (if anyone) are “Real” Objectivists.
Make of that whatever you will.
Me? I need more coffee. 🙂
At any rate……see why I don’t allow myself to get “sucked into” religious/political debates?