The "Christians" are coming! The "Christians" are coming!

Yeah, I noticed that. Does that mean that it’s really Judaism that’s a violent religion?

The OT is history and they had their moments.

It’s not. In the New Testament, Ananias and Sapphira were struck dead for lying, King Herod was struck down, Hell is spoken of (a place where most, not the minority, of people burn,) and the tribulations of Revelation will dwarf WW2, the Black Death, and various other plagues.

As others noted this is all OT examples, but there is violence in the New Testament also. Although both groups tend to point to the other guy, between the Romans and Jewish Priests, death by torture was not unheard of.

There is a very good book on this topic by Pete Enns (who is a Bible scholar and true believer, although perhaps too liberal for your taste):

He specifically addresses the violence in the Bible and is a pretty convincing apologist. (Even though he was not able to bring me back to the fold, I respect his work and a clever angle to viewing scripture.)

I have not been finding this very much lately. The peaceful, turn the other cheek variety of Christians appear to be in short supply in my neighborhood. Above I told the story of the pastor preaching a whole sermon on NOT turning the other cheek-- to fight back and defend yourself. Prayer warriors (it used to be said the prayers of the RIGHTEOUS were powerful- apparently now the prayer of the militant is preferred) are claiming all manner of victories over evil these days. I was a believer (when I was one) who subscribed at least some degree to the adage that the Old Testament God was a conservative Republican (his church is like a country club- it is hard to get into and be accepted, there is a dress code, drinking is okay but don’t get carried away, women are less significant than men, etc.), but that the God of the New Testament, Jesus is a liberal. He wears sandals and has a beard, he hangs out with hookers and tax collectors, he is always trying to feed everybody and never worries where the money will come from, etc. I believe the whole thing can trace back to a George Carlin routine.

A very good book on the topic of the evolution of the Evangelical Church in America is one I have recommended here often (and will again now). Kristin Kobes Du Mez’s Jesus and John Wayne

Here is a four part interview with her that combined together lasts less than an hour. I would say it would be a good use of an hour for anyone in this thread. Ms. Du Mez is a historian and an academic as well as a (liberal) true believer.

I would agree with the statement that Christianity has violent roots, and that a sugar coated faith is expressly not what the New Testament reveals. But it is complex and CAN be reasonably interpreted in a range of views (but not as wide a range as American Evangelism is wanting to at this point in time).

There is no doubt that the Bible presents Jesus as passive and humble, even meek upon occasion. It is also true that Jesus had his pet peeves and could get pretty damn angry (although he was low to become so!) The number one method Jesus used to solve problems was to pray in private. He would go into the wilderness, or a garden and pray by Himself - sometimes with His closest allies nearby. When He was persecuted, He would flee to a new place and do good for the people there, not fight or resist the authorities. He was even known to marvel at the faith of a Roman soldier and offer forgiveness to someone outside of His people. And He did tell others to pay their taxes and be subject to governmental oversight.

He was NOT a fan of the religious right or of political religious leaders. In Matthew chapter twelve He calls them a brood of Vipers and says in verse 25 that a kingdom or a house divided against itself will be laid to waste. I believe our sixteenth president found that verse inspirational. Jesus DID hang out with what was considered the dregs of society and offered healing and forgiveness to all- even the lowly. Almost every utterance of Jesus cries out with the subtext that power corrupts and please be humble!

After all the miracles and healings and sermons-- there is only one instance of Jesus being angry or violent (even while suffering death He prayed for the forgiveness of those who tortured and killed Him). The one instance of Jesus losing His cool was when merchants were making profits from the sincere faith of others. It is hard to imagine Him “peacefully” overturning their tables and driving them out of the Temple, but it seems they did survive to tell the tale. In that time, and that place, Jesus might have been the most passive and kind guy around - even while being angry or violent. No eye for an eye talk in that story is there? He just stopped them from doing evil and went about His studies without demanding retribution.

As you point out, He tells Peter to put his sword away and He corrected the violence Peter had wrought when he cut the ear off. The Beatitudes from The Sermon on the Mount are about who will be rewarded in heaven. Is it the mighty and the rich- the powerful??? No. NO, it is the meek and the merciful and the peacemakers. He actually says it is better to be righteously persecuted for theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven. Then He finishes out the chapter by telling the faithful to love their enemies, to accept mistreatment, and to give to others unconditionally.

Yea, He sounds like a total thug!

So Jesus heals and cares for all, encourages all believers to sacrifice for the good of others and to be humble. He even tells them (in His most famous speech ever recorded in His infallible Word) that if someone strikes you, to let them strike you again! He dies a violent death and among His last words He asks for the perpetrators to be forgiven, and He provides for His mother by asking one of His closest friends to treat her like his own mother. The violence is not dripping off the page for me. The closest I can get is righteous indignation at the money changers. He does not hurt or kill anyone and encourages the very opposite behavior at every opportunity. Jesus heals and provides for all, raises people from the dead, and His big reward is a foot rub. His ultimate reward was torture and death, but He is the violent one.

I am not saying it was not a violent time- it certainly was! But the violence was what Jesus was trying to stop, to oppose- not what He was encouraging or participating in.

Let’s move on the Paul, he is credited with writing more than half of the New Testament (plus you don’t have to capitalize ‘he’ every time you type it.) He starts the fifth chapter of Ephesians by encouraging believers to be loving like Jesus who sacrificed Himself for us. Paul goes on to encourage good healthy living and morality and tells the married to be respectful toward each other. Paul says to walk wisely because it is an evil age, but does not encourage believers to partake in evil. Paul (or Saul as he was known in those days) was known for persecuting the newly formed group of believers who were followers of Jesus. But when Paul was imprisoned the first time there was an earthquake and the chains were freed and the door of the prison was opened. But Paul and his companion did not flee, he passively accepted his punishment even when he could have fled.

And lastly, one of the most quoted chapters in the New Testament is I Corinthians 13 which talks about love. I am sure you very familiar with it but look at it in this manner-- he says faith can move mountains, but love is greater than faith. Paul describes love in some detail and never does it mention violence or anything remotely similar to violence. It is entirely about truth and trust and caring for others and self sacrifice.

I will review quickly:
Christianity has roots in a violent tradition with a blood thirsty deity.
Christianity is about the Christ who is Jesus
Jesus was never vengeful or really violent and only solved a problem using physical means once.
When the followers of Jesus were violent Jesus corrected them and healed the victims.
In the most famous speech of Jesus, He spent the entire text encouraging non-violence and passiveness.
Those who followed Jesus and wrote about Him, encouraged love and peace and would rather suffer for Him than practice violence.
In the early days of Christianity there was at least one young woman (and reportedly many others) who would rather die than renounce their faith (only non-biblical reference)

I would conclude by saying with all due respect that the New Testament does portray Jesus as meek, passive, and humble and if anyone is re-interpreting things it is not those claiming there are better solutions than violence.

Upon edit: Ananias and Sapphria were struck down for lying and stealing from the community of believers (actually holding out on them). King Herod died years after Jesus and co. fled the region, there is no mention of him being struck down. Hell is spoken of but Jews of those days had no concept of hell. In most orthodox faiths the belief is that any souls that were condemned before the time of Jesus – that during the three days that He was dead he was in hell offering salvation to the condemned and Satan was all alone at the resurrection. (Although wailing and gnashing of teeth does not sound like a Sunday picnic.) All of these examples of death or violence are not committed by mankind- they are sovereign realm of the Creator.

The apocalypse does sound rather violent and well, hellish! But God is permitted to do as God will do. Both in hell in in the end times by all accounts He (God the Father- the Creator) is the only one who is justified to use violence. To say the message of Jesus was anything violent is to misjudge. Unlike the Old Testament, no one in the New Testament that I am aware of is commanded to or allowed to commit violence.

Well a whole lot of believers particularly those on the Christian right claim to.

This is why the whole “God works in mysterious ways” is such a cop out. These people go on and on about how god says that we should do this and god hates that (all of which conveniently fit their per-conceived agenda), and that all who don’t follow this or that are acting against gods will, but when presented with something that doesn’t fit with who they want god to be they come back with “Well we can’t pretend understand the well of God” so we should ignore it.

You can’t have it both ways, either god is mysterious and unknowable, and so you should stop telling me what god wants, or else you should follow the evidence and accept that god seems to be fairly indifferent to the suffering in the world.

Assuming they exist, to my mind, based on existing evidence, the best model for god would be how humans behave when placed in that role. The clearest example of this is the SIMS computer game. For the most part they provide the sims with the things that they need, but every once in a while they take away the ladder leading out of the pool just to see what happens.

Most of it is of the “we’re screwed now, but in the old days we really kicked butt” variety of history. Sorry “history” since it didn’t happen.
Not to mention they thought that when you killed someone they were just dead. When Crusaders killed someone (Saracen, Jew, wrong type of Christian) the victim didn’t just die, but burns in hell forever.

You are correct. Jesus is not violent. Christianity is violent.

“Christianity” has nothing to do with the teachings of Jesus. “Christianity”, that is organizations and groups that claim the “Christianity” label, are corporations. Each promotes a unique dogma that has little or nothing to do with Jesus. For the most part they are life style organizations that promote their national political norm. They milk authority from the God Club theme.

“Christians” are violent. Germany over Guernica. England and the US over Dresden. Then there was German violence against Jews. Throw in Christian tortures during the Iraq war and the atom bombing of Hiroshima or the torching of Tokyo and you have some real violence.

The book of the Apocalypse is unrelated to the teachings of Jesus. In fact Jesus did not teach the scriptures at all (Mark 1:21).

My isn’t that a sad statement that is far, far too grounded in reality.
This is true for so many believers, and the institutions that claim to speak for God in any form have blood on their hands, greed in their heart, and power and profit as their goal. I think that this very issue is why so many disengaged observers of Christendom view “The Church” (a corporate thing), and “Christians” (as individuals) as hypocritical.

What is heart breaking for me is that most Christians I know are decent and kind and at least trying to do good in this world (they, to be fair are also trying to do well but I do not begrudge them comfortable incomes and lives). But I find very few who think for themselves, all the ones I know are guilty of the worst kind of group think, and when you are part of a mob there has to be an enemy.

So it is an us against them culture war and with very few exceptions (in my experience) the them never meant to be part of a war or even be disagreeable. They just look at the world and state their true sincere belief (I believe a woman should be able to choose, or stem cell research could save lives and ease suffering for millions and the damn cells are just gonna die anyway, or whatever) and now they are in a war.

If the Christians knew who Jesus was, respected His teachings, and followed His example – the amount of conflict in the world would nearly half over night. If they worked with their “enemies”, if they loved them as Jesus instructed – who knows what we could accomplish together. But no, it has to be fights over birth control and sex ed.

You know, abortion was NEVER a Christian issue (outside of the Catholic Church of Rome) until the 1980’s when Surgeon General C. Everett Coop co-wrote that book with Francis Schieffer, What Ever Happened to the Human Race. Until then the big concern of the religious right was segregation. If you doubt me read that Du Mez book I recommended above, or there is an even better one on how sincere believers are being manipulated by politicians posing as Christians, Katherine Stewart’s The Power Worshipers.

We agree to this degree- humans are violent, and petty, and jealous, and we all have several other character flaws, and Christians a human (if you will allow me the joke: more or less). But we have proven over time that we don’t have be all those bad things all the time. If Christians would stop listening to these charlatans that are corrupting and using them to promote their agenda – and instead focused on living as Christ like a life as possible without worrying about what anyone except themselves are doing, it would be a wondrous change for the better in my pompous, condescending, and pedantic view. (Again from the hip and I am going to regret it: it is somewhere in Matthew I think- the remove the board from your own eye before taking the speck from your brother’s eye.)

I kind of want to ask all true believers this question:
If an aggressive extra terrestrial species appeared on earth and tried to exterminate humankind so they could take over – could we cooperate long enough to repel the invaders? Or do we have to abolish abortion first? If every woman agrees to never have an abortion- even if she does not believe in God or His Bible, then can we band together and repel the evil space invaders? Or do we need to secure the border first, outlaw birth control, put the Ten Commandments in every court room?

How is it that some believers cannot comprehend that freedom means being free to live your own life as you see fit without complying with the beliefs of any other, but it does not mean having the freedom to insist every citizen lives by the rules they want to live by? Even if they believe their rules are the best and only moral rules, surely they can see if others do not choose those rule they can never have the free will God wants them to have. They are all up in arms over mandated masks or vaccinations – those are BAD! But mandating that every citizen defer to their moral code is cool. I cannot go on (well, boy could I go on) I will be even more insulting and saddened.

Okay, one last appeal. I am trying to say to all believers (and the ones on this board need this thought the least): decide what is truly important. Is it freedom and human dignity and mutual respect? Or is it abortion and Second Amendment rights?

It’s covered by Eric Hofer in The True Believer.

I know more atheists/non-religious who live as Christ would have wanted them to then Christians.

We had a test run of this with COVID. Turns out, we could not cooperate, and far too many took the side of the virus. I don’t think we would band together any better against aliens.

Never heard of this guy, but the first thing I found when I looked him up - - kinda makes it sound like I have been quoting him. Very much looking forward to reading this, he seems quite insightful:

Hatred is the most accessible and comprehensive of all the unifying agents … Mass movements can rise and spread without belief in a god, but never without a belief in a devil. ” ~ Eric Hoffer,
[The True Believer: Thoughts on the Nature of Mass Movements]

Perhaps by its very nature, the casual observer [literally one who observes the beliefs in a none determined manner- I don’t mean someone who watches from outside] is more likely to do good and well than the heavily invested die hard fanatic. What is more, the faith encourages fanaticism and devotion to the point of death. It is like alcoholism to a degree- someone who drinks occasionally and never when it would be destructive is better off than the addicted drinker who ruins lives and causes hurt and failure at every turn.

I see your point and do not disagree with the premise, but want to frame it differently because I do not want to demonize believers for being sincere and diligent. I believe very few believers set out to be trouble makers, but the more sincere and more devout you become – the easier it becomes for those with a political agenda to manipulate them into caring very deeply about issues that have almost NO connection to their personal lives. (When was the last time you heard of a devout Fundamentalist, Evangelical believer wanting to participate in a gay marriage or an abortion? Never ever, right? But they will go on and on about those topics like it was a daily occurrence.) When you care more about what others are doing than you care about what you are doing things are not right!!! When the behavior of others is paramount, that means self-righteousness is in evidence (I am all fixed- now let me fix others). Also, you have become a social engineer instead of an evangelist. That bears repeating in a bolder font: When you are more concerned about passing laws to control the behavior of others, you have ceased be an evangelist and are now just a social engineer.

Okay, I meant to agree with you briefly and conditionally because I don’t want to blame Christians for doing what they believe to be true and just and righteous. It is not about blame, for me it is about letting them see a more productive and (dare I say it?) Christlike way to invest their energy. To stop seeing enemies where there are only differences.

In your example the disinformation campaign would have seventy-five million Americans fighting for the aliens!! (Won’t they be surprised when the alien manifesto To Serve Mankind turns out to be a cookbook full or recipes!) And neither of us went global in this example - where it begs to be taken. We are talking about cooperating with our own countrymen and neighbors and have next to zero overlap in our Vinn diagram.

I will give believers the benefit of the doubt in a true extra terrestrial event. They may not like godless Socialists, but they are sure to like us better than little green men (or elephants with prehensile trunks). It would be like a buddy picture- they would work with Dems to repel the aliens JUST so they can kick our asses later!!

Listen, this has come off as far too us against them. I am sorry that I cannot express this better without lumping everyone into simple stereotypes. Also, I do not want to be the spokesman for either side; it is just that like many others I have sat in both chairs and feel like I can humanize the other guys and gals.

ThelmaLou, I believe the puppies of the world are safe in these last few posts but I keep switching between personal and corporate pronouns. Until I reinstall Microsoft Word, do you know of an editor who can keep me literate? (You should hear how profound I sound in my own head- not only is it extremely well phrased, it is in deep and resonate tones somewhere between Alistair Cooke and James Earl Jones!)

Can I ask why this bothers you?

My family belonged to a liberal church. We spent a lot of time discussing values like community, fellowship and good intentions and not a lot of time on the invisible entity that brought us together. As a teenager, my Sunday school classes were heavy on comparative religion, with the idea that these religions were just as valid as ours being central to the lesson. We even held an authentic Seder dinner in our church basement on Passover, led by a local rabbi with the assistance of members of his synagogue.

We also had a youth ministry, we had our own meeting room furnished in bright colors, with beanbag chairs, a foosball table and a kitchenette with plenty of snacks and sodas. We’d meet on Sunday evenings and discuss subjects like why bad things happen to good people. Sometimes we had guest speakers that led discussions on subjects like teen sexuality and race relations (this was in the ‘70’s, we didn’t call it racial justice then). And yes, we played guitar and sang Kumbaya.

Not only were we not taught to fear God, we were taught not to fear God.

I get that there is a broad spectrum of attitudes among Christian believers,and that many of those believers fear a vengeful God and let that fear inform their lives. I have no problem with Christians that are afraid of God. You do you, and I’ll do me.

And, in general I have very little problem with Christians that think I’m supposed to fear God. I’m aware that there are religious people that think I’m an immoral degenerate pervert because of the way I choose to live my life. It’s mildly disturbing that there are people that think I deserve to be punished by God, but ultimately I don’t care what these people think because as an American, I live in country founded on robust separation of church and state. You are free to think that God is going to punish me for my lifestyle, but that’s it, you shouldn’t be able to use the legal or judicial system to “help” inflict that punishment, no matter how frustrating it is to watch my sins go unpunished.

This is what I find disturbing about the “religious right”, the pervasive idea that the government and laws that bind me should be set by a religion that I don’t practice and have no interest in practicing. And there is a disturbing undertone to these politicized post-denominational* religions - the idea that conservative elected officials were chosen and elevated by God, and therefore they are beholden to no one but God. The dissonance of this staggering arrogance posing as humility would be amusing if it wasn’t real - and it’s often coupled with the idea that the scandals that frequently plague these politicians are “tests of faith”, and the true believer must not succumb to the sin of critical thinking by letting these scandals shake their faith in the chosen ones. It’s unAmerican - the antithesis of the idea that “all men are created equal” and it advocates for the idea of a God-given hierarchy among men.

*I’m having a little bit of disagreement with the terminology in the WaPo article cited by the OP. I don’t like the use of the term non-denominational to describe those churches - I think non-denominational, while technically correct, carries with it a connotation of secularity. Given the history of these churches as breakaways from more established institutions, I think post-denominational is a better descriptor.

It always comes back to this, for me. “Why do you care what other people do, if they aren’t harming you or others?”

Nah, they’d be wearing shirts that say, “Better green than blue!”

I mean, they’ve already adopted the Fithp as their mascot.

Sounds like Unitarians.

I attended the Unitarian ‘church’ in south Miami for several years. one evening the minister looked out on the congregation and said:

“It warms my heart to see Jews, Christians, Buddhists and atheists, all singing Christmas carols”.

They were Christ like but not “Christian”. The term “Christian” seems to be denominational and apply to members of organized religions.

Ann Hedonia and Temporary Name, I’ll combine my reply to you both instead of quoting and quoting which could get tricky with many quote boxes:

I personally don’t like Hell or the concept of punishment, so it’s not about my wanting to see people get what’s coming to them or anything of that sort. Rather, my gripe about people who sugar-coat Scripture or Christianity is that - like most sugarcoating, it’s just not accurate. There is no way a God who kills massive numbers of people and makes a Hell has ever been can be characterized as sugar and spice and everything nice. And if one disregards all the violent things God has said or done in Scripture and claims this God is chill and is okay with everything and there is nothing to fear about Him, I’d argue that it means that liberal Christians are viewing him through their own skewed lens just like how conservative Christians skew Him through their own lens, just in a different way.

But another reason Christians want to prevent other people (whether liberal Christians or not Christian at all) is that there is Biblical precedent for entire judges or communities being judged for just the sins of a few; communal punishment. Hence, some believers are convinced that if certain sins of America are allowed to go unaddressed, then everybody pays a price, so it’s in the collective interest to squash those sins.

As for separation of church and state - IMHO, the main reason many believers want to overturn that is that “consent” plays little to no role in much of Christianity as depicted in Scripture. Sure, Jesus said not to pull up the tares with the wheat. But many Christians long for an Old Testament Israel type of approach, where good kings like Josiah and Hezekiah wrecked the idols and high places without the slightest care or regard as to whether people objected or not. Consent had absolutely zilch to do with whether king Josiah should have torn down the ungodly things or not; a good king ruled by force and fiat and imposes it regardless of what people think. The main difference, of course, is that modern-day America isn’t olden-day Israel. But many American Christians don’t grasp that. They long for a modern-day president or government who will behave like King Josiah and impose righteousness hard and forcefully from above.

TL;DR - “consent” plays far less of a role in Christianity than it does in secular society.

Sorry, it’s all on you, babe. No automated editor can do the job.

As I’m reading your posts though, nothing is jumping out at me.

I don’t trust MSWord either for grammar or usage. Sometimes the spelling checker is

Boy, do I wish as a teenager who came from a family of lapsed Catholics I had been involved with a group this open minded and progressive! On the other hand, I might have been too conservative by nature to embrace this back then. Plus, I only went back to church because I was enthralled with a piano playing, alto singing brunette of exquisite beauty who was determined to marry a minister.

We had something like this except Sunday nights were corporate worship (although more casual than Sunday mornings) with the adults and then the youth group would usually go for burgers afterward. Wednesday evening was our solo lessons and they were a far sight more formal than yours sound. We only had one topic: SEX and why it was bad, why it was tempting, why we were all many years away from being old enough to marry and participate in it.

Could not agree more! How can they believe they are perfectly right in every instance when you and I are obviously the ones who are perfectly right in this case!

That is so funny!
Thank you for taking what I thought was a pretty obscure reference and making a great observation that I completely missed!

I will not speak for Ann, but to some degree I will agree with you. My sister was one of those people (and she had a short and tragic life) who only wanted to hear the good parts. She saw some really ugly things from a very young age and perhaps she needed that comfort but it was frustrating. She didn’t deny hell or anything, she just focused on the love of Christ and pastoral scenes – in the temporal world as well as the spiritual one she wanted everything to be a Precious Moments reality. Peacefully sleeping babies watched over by large eyed deities; everything else could bring on severe depression and self destructive behavior.

I will agree it is a skewed view, but I will say the bible and life are full of contradictions. With fear and trembling work out your own salvation coexists with I come that you may have live, and have it more abundantly. Any simple view of Christianity is insufficient to say the least and anyone who can put their belief system on a bumper sticker or tee shirt has a far too simple philosophy of life.

Both Jesus and Paul do seem to emphasis personal responsibility over corporate identity. The point of the New Testament in my view, is that the Old Covenant is (while still informative) null and void – you cannot have two ‘Last Will &Testament’ at the same time. The deal with the Roman coin, Paul staying in prison after God caused a means for escape and many other examples show that in the time since Jesus – it isn’t what lunch table you sit at, it is what is in your heart. Judaism is a sectarian religion made for specific people; if Christianity is made for Jew and Gentile alike which government you are under cannot be important. Is a Christian in China or India less Christian than one in Italy, England, or America? Is one more saved or less saved? The curtain in the Temple was torn from top to bottom, God no longer needs a homeland to be on earth, His home is no longer the Temple in Jerusalem it is in the hearts of His believers.

As I stated above, God is different in the Old Testament than in the New Testament. Perhaps not the nature, but the style for sure is different. The dietary laws that were critical and the sacrifices for sin are obliterated. And if you read through the entire New Testament with the idea of spotting where violence is the practice of or encouraged in Christians you will find a very few verses (and some of them are not in the oldest and most reliable copies we have of the New Testament). God can be and is as violent and judgmental as He wishes. But aside from God exercising just retribution, all violence from believers is outright banned.

Like the church that protested at the funerals of soldiers because the US allowed gays in the military? Like the pastor (of like a dozen or so souls) in Florida who insisted upon burning a Koran? Does burning one Koran make America more Christian? Or does it make America less Christian? That happens in the Old Testament- never in the New Testament. If anything the opposite happens when Jesus encounters the Samaritan woman at the well In John 4. Jesus says in verse 21 that a time is coming and now is when you will worship neither here on this mountain, nor in Jerusalem. In verses 23 and 24 He says …true worshipers will worship in spirit and truth, they are the kind the Father seeks. God is spirit and His followers must worship in spirit and truth. When Christianity went global (to coin a phrase) boundaries and borders ceased to matter. Theocracies did not work well in the Old Testament-- they are abandoned in the New Testament!! (How can that be so easy for someone who left the faith to put together and yet be a “stumbling block” for true believers?)

This lesson was presented to me thus: One consents to the authority of God or one does not. That is free will- you get to make one decision; devotion to God, or damned. (Sounds like a terribly weak argument to me now.)

This just smacks of Nazi soldiers saying: “We were just following orders.” I hate to be the guy who invokes Nazi’s but . . . If you want to overturn separation of church and state at least one of three possibilities exist:

  1. You do not understand Christianity (and the personal responsibility associated with salvation).
  2. You do not understand the United States of America. You have bought into some revisionist view of the origins of our nation, or you do not understand freedom, or you have not bothered to think (which I would never say about anyone on this board).
  3. This is just not the place for you. I am NOT saying love it as I see fit or leave it. I am saying that pluralism is the basis of United States culture and laws. If you require a theocracy you will never be happy here unless you fuck up everything that is exceptional about this place. (And don’t even get me started on Christian claims of exceptionalism – that is not what I am speaking about.)

Sure it would be easy to work and live in a society that is perfect and divine and just and fair where God speaks and we only need to comply. Whenever that appeals, re-read Animal Farm and recall that Communism was supposed to be a workers paradise where all shared in the efforts of all society and it was to be a gum drop, lolly pop world you were hating people for buying into in the previous paragraph. But that is a dream that can never, ever be realized in the real world. The only thing that will make this world better is forgiving the others for their imperfections and working together DESPITE differences! (So let it be written- so let it be done!)
[typed with my hands on my hips in true Yul Brynner style]

One more thought on this matter; didn’t the Israelites refuse to consent to a form of government (Judges) and insist upon being a Kingdom like the surrounding nations. (Despite the warnings of Samuel?)

Here is a clue for those believers: if the WHOLE nation thinks it is a bad idea . . . perhaps rethink. Here we do not need to worry about that because if one party embraces ANYTHING, the other will shit all over the idea! (I will say those whom are called left but many of whom are pretty centerist as far as I can see are less guilty than the right but the right has made it almost mandatory because there has to be a conflict and some on the right can’t see beyond the borders of ‘Merica’)

If I am understandable that is better than I was before. The last woman who tried to edit and/or proofread for me eventually ran away screaming (AND divorced me). But she was often able to read through my pages of thoughts and bring four pages down to a tight 3/4 page that didn’t lose any meaning and was more understandable. On occasion she would whiff completely though- she would miss the important point and focus on grammar exclusively. But she was was not as well read as this crowd on the SDMB.

In my career as a grant writer, I often had to take 3-4 pages of deathless prose and condense it down to one paragraph of 500 words or so. If I wanted the money. If an overworked staff member at the funding source is having to read 300 proposals asking for the same money, a proposal that’s short and gets right straight to the point will make them love you more. (As long as your request it reasonable and fits their guidelines.)

Because if you suffer (tolerate) the idolatrous purveyors of abomination to be in your midst, the LORD will rain Hellfire and Brimstone upon the whole Lot of you!

They say.

Plus, you serve as a bad example to impressionable youth.