It is one thing to consider some apoplectic bozo sputtering about blood guilt, quite another to try to reason with someone who is ignorant of the history and theology surrounding “Jesus” yet is rabid about how they are “more Christian” than someone else (berating and verbally abusing, in the process, the other), especially when the other arguably deserves to be scorned for their heartless self-involvement and theological delusions?
Certainly, if the abuser chooses to argue that they are “true” adherents to the social gospels, then one would have to respond that their abuse is obviously inconsistent with both the “Christian” message to ‘turn the other cheek’, as well as the Muslim message (echoing the Old Testament concept) that justice is “the Lord’s” and humans should always treat other humans with patience and acceptance (see e.g. the Bee Sura.)
But for those who think that the gospels also portray Jesus as flatly revoking Deuteronomic law and rejecting the concept of a religiously ordered community, how does attempt to broaden their view of the complex issues of 2 millenia ago? And to try to address such positions in the online “press” or on Facebook, of all places? The ignorance of history and theology so often seen online is disturbing; that it feeds a rather bizarre attempt at refutation of the claims made for a particular religion by others, such as we saw this past week (Shannyn Moore: These Christian churches wouldn’t vote for Jesus Christ | Shannyn Moore | ADN.com) is simply bizarre. While the believers in the myths of Christian America are possibly delusional (reserving judgement on the mythos proposed by Jack Balkin), their despisers, relying on the same or similar myths are no worthier.
Of course, as an aside, one is reminded of what a Richard Dawkins might ask, “Why is anyone suggesting that we be guided in our modern ethical obligations solely on the basis of a deeply the massaged canon of a Roman demi-god cult which initially endorsed a continuation of stoning and other delightful practices and was largely devised as an instrument of the imperium?” Might we not come to the conclusion that putting people out to starve is wrong without trying to lift that instruction out of bizarre texts thousands of years old?
While I am indeed upset by the deplorable impact I think Jerry Prevo’s theology is haing on my community, celebrating a self-proclaimed forfeit over Dr. Prevo in a Christ-off will not have the effect of mending the ways of Prevo’s flock; just to the contrary! Dudley’s “Broken Words” is a vibrant testimony to the response of the fundamentalist evangelical right to such controversy. Nor will her screed push those in the “middle” away from the Puritanism of Prevo et al, as would any rational adult attracted by such teenage angst? Would anyone pursuing a progressive agenda wish to really be associated with this tumultuous bellowing over whose musty magician does better magic? Is this even remotely appropriate?
No, no and, no. The irony in “let my people go” is almost too much to bear… It is just so unfortunate that “Christians” have lost contact with the allegorical tradition once extent in Christian thought. And it is that kind of public diatribe that also paints agnostics in a poor light (to the extent that others see “blue domers” as agnostics.) We may be able to do without religion (and do very well, thank you) but as E. J Dionne and others have noted, we don’t do well without community, and one of the functions of religion (perhaps the most important function of Jesus’ religion — and he was certainly and unabashedly NOT Christian) is the maintenance of community.
As far as I can see, the taunters and the tauntees are tools all.