Monday, July 23, 2012

Why Folks Are Leaving The Churches

One would think it possible to allow some decent interval between an event as horrible as the massacre in Aurora, CO and opening one's festering gob and spewing out nonsense.  That filter, alas, doesn't seem to exist for some folks.  First this:
If a Christian dies early, if a Christian dies young, it seems tragic, but really it is not tragic because they are going to a wonderful place.. on the other hand, if a person doesn’t know Jesus Christ.. if they knowingly rejected Jesus Christ, then, basically, they are going to a terrible place.
Then, of course, there's Rick Warren, invited by then President-elect Obama to give the invocation as his inauguration.
When students are taught they are no different from animals, they act like it
Most folks who were around eleven years ago remember the chat between Pat Robertson and Jerry Falwell, a couple days after the terrorist attacks on New York and Washington, in which they mused that our many liberal social and cultural habits and practices had, perhaps, brought upon us God's wrath in the form of three thousand dead people.  Of course, they soon apologized, or at least issued what passes for apologies from people like this who really believe, as Jimmy Stewart once said, the sons-a-bitches deserved it.

Rick Warren has removed the tweet above, but as the Atheist Examiner website notes, it's still up on his Facebook page.  A later tweet seems to claim this particular tweet does not relate to the Aurora shooting.  However, Warren's record is against him, as the story above makes clear.

As for the Newcombe, the guy who comforted the mourning by telling them their dead loved ones were burning in hell for all eternity, should he apologize, I am sure he will not mean it any more than Robertson/Falwell meant their retractions/apologies.

I recently did a series of posts under the general theme "Everything's Connected".  I also have engaged in some thoughtful discussion with some United Methodist clergy on recent trends away from religious affiliation in the United States.  On a personal note, let me say that, given the rest of my personal beliefs and social and cultural commitments, were I not also deeply invested in my own Christian faith, I would no more associate with any organization that called itself a church, than I would tap-dance naked in a minefield.  Because, it isn't just these incidents.  It isn't just a few people or organizations or parachurch groups.  There are whole denominations that are dedicated to the proposition that, having been blessed with the Truth, they feel no obligation to sugarcoat their condemnation of pretty much everyone and everything.  Why should anyone not familiar with religion make any distinction between, say, a publicity-whore like Warren and the promotional material of the United Methodist Church?  Why should someone who never attended church care that the UCC and the AFA are really very different organizations?

While many UMC sit and ponder why it is more and more young people shrug and walk away (yes, I know there's evidence that there has been growth in membership and attendance among that much coveted age-cohort in our denomination; if true, then why is the hierarchy still acting like their feet are on fire and their asses are catching?) they might just want to consider this.  Instead of harrumphing about the absence of the word "Jesus" in denominational promotional ads, maybe they need to open their eyes and ears and take a look around.  "Jesus" is associated with a whole lot of heinous, horrible stuff.  Young people are smart, savvy, and most of all, discerning.  Since Jesus gets hauled in to hatred of gays, the damning of dead people, the promotion of ignorance, and the defense of violence, it seems to me we might need to be a bit more forgiving of these folks who look at our constant bleating of "Jesus!" and say, "Forget it.  Not interested."

If it weren't for the reality that I believe and live differently, I would probably do the exact same thing.  That I believe and live differently is just an accident of biography and circumstance.  Folks need to keep that in mind.

Virtual Tin Cup

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