In this neighborhood, they take spiritual warfare quite seriously. I have mentioned that I walk through the local desert park with a friend and neighbor who suffers from complications of being doused with Agent Orange about fifty years ago. This nice old woman approached us and asked if she could pray for him which he accepted. She was a little put out that I refused to join in, even after I explained that it was to respect her beliefs by not mixing her prayers with those of an unbeliever. Her prayers were not so much intercession, the act of asking God to deliver healing; they fell more in the category of casting out evil and “claiming victory in the name of JESUS!!” It turns out that I knew several friends of hers from local churches and just neighbors. We even called and left a message for a mutual friend who used to be my kid’s piano teacher and her worship team member (possibly leader?).
About a week later I saw her again on a different block with another woman I did not know. They asked about my veteran friend and asked how he was doing (was he miraculously healed?). Then they excused themselves and went back to their main business. They would stand in front of each single family home and raise their arms toward it and pray that any demons within would be cast out and bound in HELL so that good “Christian” lives could be lived in each home. That God fearing (which means respect you know?) and Republican voting citizens would reside in each domicile. They wanted to cast out evil so there was room for goodness – which is really godliness – which is really FOX News Republicanism to grow and flourish!
I confirmed with the former piano teacher who assures me she is MUCH more discreet when she casts out demons in her bid to claim North Tempe/South Scottsdale. So these two little old ladies in Ked’s sneakers and culottes were engaged in early morning warfare. You know, before it gets hot and miserable. The former piano teacher is for a fact- and she claims these other women are also- absolutely sincere in their belief and exercise of spiritual warfare.
Just look at Charlie Shamp for instance. He prophesied that the Maine fishing industry would break records in one particular year - it didn’t, it in fact recorded a decline from the previous year. Almost no one called him out on it. He then prophesied that a particular hurricane would be “silenced” - it wasn’t, it caused five deaths and serious damage - almost no one called him out on it. He then claimed God told him the Republican Party would gain nine Senate seats and maintain its House majority in the 2018 midterms - didn’t happen (but this time, he knew enough people were triggered that he had to issue something of a mea culpa afterwards.) Then last year, he prophesied that Trump would defeat Biden in the election - didn’t happen.
As far as I can tell, Shamp has barely lost any of his support despite all that. His followers listen because it’s what they want to hear.
I must be really out of touch because I thought that’s what Christianity was still about, at least that’s how I try to live my life. Then again, I very rarely attend any organized gatherings and worship in private.
Oh dear! They fight the devil with black magic and amateur exorcisms? That is dangerous, it backfires easily. H.P. Lovecraft wrote about that, I believe. Perhaps she is a witch? Would you dare to ask her?
Ironically, I became more moral after walking away from Christianity. There is more of a sense of urgency now- kind of like we are scored while the clock is running and forgiveness and everlasting life mean so little now that I am more diligent than I was as a believer. I still occasionally read the book of James and encourage believers to read it also because it is all action oriented. The epistle of James is about results, not about intentions and since I now believe this world is all there is (spiritually speaking) it has become a good guide to being moral. (It is also fun to read with a Jackie Mason voice because the whole book sounds like an old Jew talking about how it used to be when he was a kid- Oy vey [sp?])
I have to admire a faith like yours Atamasama, that focuses on the teachings in the Holy
Writ rather than the political climate and FOX News bullet points.
These people are absolutely serious. There are believers who also look at them and roll their eyes, but those who bought into the whole seven pillars and Spiritual Warfare angle are devout and sincere and not to be detoured from what they believe to be their spiritual obligation.
Also, you are overlooking the “in the name of Jesus” portion which is very strong magic that cannot fail or be overcome by evil intent!!
Thank you but I’m a pretty casual Christian and probably not a very “good” one. And I also wasn’t raised in a religious environment, I only came to it through personal experiences. If I had been indoctrinated into it, I might be different. (Well, I did go to a Lutheran preschool, and did some Sunday school as a small child but I barely remember anything beyond gluing popsicle sticks into crosses and things like that.)
Oh I don’t know. I was raised in a very religious environment, basically 16 years of Catholic education AND serious observance at home. But IMHO if you have a brain in your head and use it, you cannot continue to believe this stuff.
It’s not the resurrection I have a problem with. Or even “virgin birth” (although I think “virgin” is a mistranslation from Isaiah). Miracles, curing people, feeding the 5,000-- whatever. I got no problem with those.
Where the train derails and I get off it: hell, God presumably needing to send God’s “son” to be in the real-life version of the Mel Gibson movie, and the claim that we have to believe this or suffer eternally bad consequences. Check, please! I’m out!
Okay, I’m straying from the main thrust of my own thread. Mea culpa, mea culpa, mea maxima culpa. I’ll behave. <TL sits quietly in her pew.>
I’m reading this, and my mind immediately starts singing
Would he wear a pinky ring? Would he drive a fancy car?
Would his wife have furs and diamonds? Would his dressingroom have a star?
If he came back tomorrow, there’s something I’d like to know
Would Jesus wear a Rolex on his television show?
I believe that, I have seen it with my own eyes (like Thomas, right?) in my childhood in ultra catholic Spain in the 60’s and 70’s, including a stint in a religious school (Augustines, if it makes a difference or sense to you).
It’s just that I don’t understand it. If I, a simple boy, could see right through the BS at the tender age of 7 or 8 (my earliest memories of religion: “Why don’t you know your Padrenuestro?”), then they must be lying. So I reasoned then, so I still believe now.
I am sorry to say that even if there are bona fide believers out there, and I guess some are, I am convinced that religion is evil.
Another reason for Christian dominionism, IMHO, is that many Christians can’t recognize the difference between forcing an external outcome on someone, and that person being a genuine believer within. You see this in Christian parenting all the time, and dominionism is a grown-up off-shoot of that - if we can’t get America to genuinely transform within, then we’ll try to force America to behave a certain way externally.
This seems like a good thread to place a quote by Barry Goldwater (who for the youngins here was a Republican senator and presidential candidate, and rather far to the right for his time):
“Mark my word, if and when these preachers get control of the [Republican] party, and they’re sure trying to do so, it’s going to be a terrible damn problem. Frankly, these people frighten me. Politics and governing demand compromise. But these Christians believe they are acting in the name of God, so they can’t and won’t compromise. I know, I’ve tried to deal with them.”
Sorry, but this feels like blatant false equivalence to me. Can you cite examples of this sort of behavior on the Christian left in the last 50 years or so. To the extent that the Christian left gets inot politics its more along the lines that Jesus told us to love our neighbor hand help the needy, and that Democratic policies align better with that goal, rather than that the Dems are god’s chosen party.
ETA: I suspect you are considering “souls to the polls”, but that is more about racial identity and motivation to make sure that Blacks have a voice in the political sphere than it is about “god wants Democrats”.
Folks like you are my favorite Christians. I have been raised Catholic, but knew from an age when I didn’t even know what atheist means that I didn’t believe in any of it. I still have family and friends that are Christian, but of a non-devout sort for whom religion in everyday life doesn’t play a big role, who try to live after the tenet “love thy neighbor”, the golden rule and who look to help others. Basically like the golden rule of the Dope, “don’t be a jerk”. And I respect them a lot for that.
I just wanted to briefly add that, IMHO, anyone that thinks that there is anything ironic or dissonant in Trump’s alliance with religious fundamentalists doesn’t fully understand the dynamic.
Trump is exactly what they wanted. They aren’t embracing him in spite of his flaws, in their eyes he has none.
Trump is a tool, a weapon. Would you want a gun with a moral center? A knife that cared what you did with it? Trump is exactly what they were waiting for. They believe that it’s God’s will that Trump lie, cheat and steal in order to destroy secular liberalism. He does it well, and they know he’s doing it.
Not only is Trump’s amorality a feature, not a bug……it’s THE feature, the main attraction.
I can’t even express how true I find this to be. I tried to influence a pastor of an almost mega church (about fifteen hundred souls a week attend). We had lunch a few times, spoke every week after services and exchanged e-mails. For once I was enthused about attending church because I felt like he was reasonable and open and that him and I could exchange ideas and arrive at something better than enemies; perhaps mutual respect or even agreement.
I made a point of bringing up European churches where there IS a state religion and people are forced to belong to a faith and how poorly it works. I told him I would be fine with displaying the Ten Commandments in every courtroom in America if Muslims and Hindus and all others could display their Holy writings also. I tried to discuss pluralism and respecting the views of others- how he did not have a mission field and no one could actually commit of their own free will if “Christian” morals were made the law of the land.
He either agreed with me on all those points or changed the subject or left for a meeting at every opportunity. Then he said the same quasi-political code for support Republicans from his pulpit. He derided ‘cancel culture’ and ‘wokeness’ at every turn while smiling and denying he spent every spare moment studying the Johnson Amendment to skirt the consequence of ramming into the law at full speed as often as possible.
This is part of why I always say these folks are bound by nature to join a majority. They want you to look the part even if you do not agree – even if you openly disagree! It seems more important to them for everyone (themselves included) to LOOK like they are in compliance than to BE in compliance. The personal relationship they seem to aspire to often is not sincerity – it is appearing sincere. As long as you pretend to believe (in my opinion as THEY are pretending to believe), they embrace and welcome you. But ask sincere questions and you instantly become an apostate!
Goldwater was a hometown favorite and my family shopped at his family’s department store all the time! One year when I was in high school ('74-'78) he gave a speech in our high school gym. At the time I was quite ignorant about politics but knew he was a big wig in that arena and attended as we all did. Frankly, he reminded me of my grandfather and other ordinary humans in my circle.
Well, he did want to nuke Viet Nam (as we used to write it back in those days).
Agree with this post very strongly. Only in my case my own . . . hesitancy to believe lead to many years of seeking and trying to believe which ended about ten years ago when I realized I had no faith. I still claim that my morals are good and as sincere as any believer and if God exists (which I do not believe- but if he did) and he does judge us according to our merits, I expect to do as well in that theoretical afterlife as most sincere believers and a damn sight better than most of them!
I was unfamiliar with this quote, so thank you for bringing it to my attention. After reading the book I referred to above (Jesus and John Wayne by Kristin Kobes Du Mez) and others (especially The Power Worshipers by Katherine Stewart) I am convinced that the wing of Christendom Goldwater was talking about has come to dominate the faith in modern America and he was absolutely correct about them!
A friend sent me this article this morning and it seems to address the discussion in this thread. I have already made far too high a word count in this thread, but I would be very interested in what any poster has to say about this aspect of Christianity influencing politics.
Very purposeful word selection to support an already held belief. Further down in the article there is an example where The Gideon Society (those who place Bibles in hotel rooms) had some specific requests and the bible translators were like: “Sure, we can change those words to match your doctrine.” Not only are the “Christians” coming into politics, they are changing the bible’s words to say what THEY want the bible to say!
My impression is that these people are unwillingly walking a tightrope. They don’t want to become PC, but at the same time they can feel the squeeze if they allow the unpopular true words of the Bible (“slave,” “Jews,”) to seep through. If it weren’t for the fact that American Christianity is facing hard times, they’d be perfectly happy to embrace the original, raw language and let slave be slave and Jews be Jews.