Dark Christianity
dark_christian
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May 2008
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Dialogue about dialogue

LJ-SEC: (ORIGINALLY POSTED BY [info]sunfell)

Here's a post from Chip Berlet on the DefCon blog about Prophecy, Belief, and Constitutional boundaries. Here's an excerpt:

A group of ultraconservative political operatives have harnessed a particular reading of Biblical prophecy, known as Premillenial Dispensationalism, (embraced by tens of millions of evangelical Christians) and transformed these beliefs into campaigns to deny basic rights to groups of people framed as sinful and subversive.

Premillennial means a belief that Jesus Christ returns in the End Times and, after a series of confrontations and battles against evil, he reigns over an earthly utopia for a thousand years…a millennium. Therefore, Christ returns before (“pre”) the Godly millennial kingdom. Dispensations are epochs, or blocks of history, during which certain things happen. Premillennial Dispensationalists think that we are poised on the edge of that historic epoch during which the End Times preface the second coming of Christ and his millennial reign.

A large portion of Christian evangelicals who hold these specific theological beliefs also believe that devout and Godly Christians, before the tremendous confrontations or “Tribulations” that culminate in a huge global Battle of Armageddon, will be spared injury or death when they are brought away from Earth and held in God’s protective embrace in an event called the “Rapture.”

It is easy to poke fun at these types of religious beliefs, but it is deeply offensive and provocative in a way that undermines a serious and important public debate over the proper boundaries for religious belief and public policy decisions. It is not accurate to dismiss Christians who hold these beliefs as ignorant, uneducated, or crazy. Social scientists have thoroughly refuted these stereotypes with polling data and in-depth interviews. In addition, it is not fair to ask people of faith simply to abandon their beliefs when they step into the Public Square or political arena.

It is also not fair, however, for those in the Religious Right to use God as a trump card in public policy debates.


There are some very interesting comments to this post which seem to be going along the lines of some of the commentary here in this community. Some people understand the need to reach out and engage moderate Christians, and others feel that there isn't any way to establish a dialogue when one side speaks English and the other is speaking in tongues. All in all, it's a thorny question, and a difficult matter to unravel. How can we disengage the political and theocratic elements from the spiritual ones? How can we confront the horrible monster that this politico-religious synergy has spawned?

Go read the post and its comments. I'll be interested in hearing your comments.

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