Toxic Evangelization: The Vile Christian Disease that Has Killed Millions and Destroyed Hundreds of Cultures, Rob Kall, (www.OpEdNews.com)
I cannot believe that when Jesus told his followers to bring his message to the world, he meant for it to be done in the monstrous way that missionaries and Monarchs, Crusaders, Mega-church Leaders and televangelists have done so over the last two millenia.
The teachings of Christ are beautiful. The examples Christ set were extraordinary, but the sins of the followers who have distorted or, in Christ’s name, acted contrary to the teachings, so horrible, so evil that there is no doubt that if Christ was to return, he’d cast these despicable maggots (and that’s an insult to real maggots) out of the temples, out of the churches off the airwaves and into the nearest cesspools, latrines and garbage heaps.
It is the bogus claim that Christians must aggressively evangelize that is driving fundamentalists to force divisive cultural issues into politics. Of course venal politicians without a scintilla of spiritual marrow are using the proclivities of these misguided Christians to build their power.
The root of toxic evangelization is the arrogant, ego-based belief that Christianity is better than other religions. This attitude is used to justify the aggressive tactics used to destroy indigenous cultures and attack other religions.
There are plenty of Christians who do NOT feel the need to go out and convert others. These are the same Christians who tend to disapprove of war– Quakers, Unitarians….. This proves there is a viable, wholesome Christian model that honors the teachings of Jesus while also respecting others.
In the New Testament, Jesus is quoted as saying, “In my Father’s house there are many mansions.” —John 14:2. I take this to mean that there are many ways that people can come to live with God, many paths, many temples, mosques, churches that are all in God’s mansion. This statement precedes by just a few lines and breaths, that is often cited by evangelist missionaries, “Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” John 14:6
And the new pope Benedict the 16th, as Cardinal Ratzinger, was responsible for “Declaration Dominus Iesus” which reads “If it is true that the followers of other religions can receive divine grace, it is also certain that objectively speaking they are in a gravely deficient situation in comparison with those who, in the church, have the fullness of the means of salvation.”
Dr. Joseph Hough, President of Union Theological Seminary,commenting on this bedrock phrase used by evangelists “It is a weak faith that does not trust God in freedom to be working everywhere for the redemption of the world and its people. It can also appear to be an arrogant faith because the human being who claims an exclusionary faith necessarily limits God’s freedom. What is essential for Christian faith is that we know we have seen the face of God in the face of Jesus Christ. It is not necessary for us to deny that another has seen God in another face at another place or time. http://web.princeton.edu/sites/chapel/Sermon%20Files/2005_sermons/042405way.htm )
A few weeks ago, BIll Frist broadcast a message to 100 churches on “justice Sunday.” I’d say those 100 churches would be an easy starting point for identifying the worst offenders of the most basic rules of a contemporary religion, as I’ve discussed in my previous article, Creating a Set of Laws for All Religions .
Reverend Jim Wallis wrote in sojourners magazine, commenting on Frist’s abomination, “Behind these activities lies a fundamental assumption by Republican operatives and their conservative religious allies that they own religion in America. They demand that religious people vote only their way. They claim that “values voters” in America belong to them, and they disrespect the faith of those who disagree with their agenda. There are better words for this than just “politically divisive” or “morally irresponsible.” For these are not merely political offenses, they are religious ones. And for offenses such as these, theological terms are better – terms such as idolatry and blasphemy.”
It is time for “good” Catholics to face the reality that their church is chronically infested with pedophiles, that its leaders have consciously chosen to ignore these monsters who have preyed upon innocent children and faithful believers, that its leaders have used the power of the church to influence nations, while failing to stop wars and horrible inhumanities, not a few times but on countless occasions.
It is time for evangelicals to wake up and realize that a truly omniscient, all-powerful God does need to be worshipped one way, that defining one religious path as better is truly a sign of a weak religion, a religion that does not believe in the power of its own values and teachings.
It is time for the people of this planet to establish a set of rules for civilized religions to respect and observe three simple rules–
-that all religions deserve respect, except those that do NOT respect others,
-no religion which respects other religions is better than any other, (and that all religions which respect other respecting religions are better than religions which fail to respect other faiths.)
-No religion has the right to force others who are not voluntary members of that religion to abide by that religion’s rules.
Already, just about every major religion has branches that would gladly and easily accept these rules, comprising billions of people. Unfortunately, there are also branches of each faith that fail to follow these basic concepts. Those branches contribute more to the dark side of humanity– war, poverty, injustice, lack of basic rights and freedoms– than the rest of population of the world.
It is frightening to even consider taking on some of the huge organized religions who function like Neanderthals, stuck in their egoistic fantasies of superiority, attempting to force their own values and beliefs upon their neighbors. But we must face the reality that these hulking, grotesque dinosaurs must be either rehabilitated or put out to field, that their evangelizing and leadership must be treated as a corruption of originally inspired and beautiful teachings, corruptions that have become a dangerous threat to the future of this planet and humanity.
There are plenty of models of spirituality in every religion that allow for the three simple rules to be followed. These rules are but a beginning to the further evolution of religion as humankind becomes more and more conscious. We have a responsibility to awaken the sleeping billions who are still under the sway of dark visions of distorted and corrupted original positive visions. While in the past I politely accepted the proselytizing efforts of evangelicals, I have made a decision to not be so nice, and instead, to confront them with their arrogance, their misguided ideas. the betrayal by their leaders and the weakness of their model. I doubt it will be pretty.
by Rob Kall, editor, www.OpEdNews.com