Speaking Of Christianity…

Yesterday’s post was about the ongoing effort of Christian culture-warriors to maintain their privileged position in American society–their insistence that the laws of the land reflect their particular theological perspectives.

That effort is nothing new. What is new is their diminished percentage of the American population. A recent study by Pew was headlined “Decline of Christianity Continues at Rapid Pace.”

In Pew Research Center telephone surveys conducted in 2018 and 2019, 65% of American adults describe themselves as Christians when asked about their religion, down 12 percentage points over the past decade. Meanwhile, the religiously unaffiliated share of the population, consisting of people who describe their religious identity as atheist, agnostic or “nothing in particular,” now stands at 26%, up from 17% in 2009.

Both Protestantism and Catholicism are experiencing losses of population share. Currently, 43% of U.S. adults identify with Protestantism, down from 51% in 2009. And one-in-five adults (20%) are Catholic, down from 23% in 2009. Meanwhile, all subsets of the religiously unaffiliated population – a group also known as religious “nones” – have seen their numbers swell. Self-described atheists now account for 4% of U.S. adults, up modestly but significantly from 2% in 2009; agnostics make up 5% of U.S. adults, up from 3% a decade ago; and 17% of Americans now describe their religion as “nothing in particular,” up from 12% in 2009. Members of non-Christian religions also have grown modestly as a share of the adult population.

The Pew study found that both belief and observance had declined; attendance at religious services is down, especially among younger respondents, reflecting what the report called a “generation gap.” Some forty percent of Millennials are “nones.”

Given the fact that it is evangelical Protestants, rather than members of mainline denominations, who have been most likely to demand prayer in public schools, attempt to post religious texts on public buildings, and protest laws protective of LGBTQ citizens, I was particularly interested in the following:

The share of U.S. adults who are white born-again or evangelical Protestants now stands at 16%, down from 19% a decade ago. The shrinking white evangelical share of the population reflects both demographic changes that have occurred in the United States (where white people constitute a declining share of the population) and broader religious changes in American society (where the share of all adults who identify with Christianity has declined).

The survey reported demographic information only, and didn’t get into motivations, but in addition to the normal historical ebb and flow of religious fervor, it seems likely that the embrace of Donald Trump by evangelicals has repelled people–especially young people. An article by Peter Wehner in the Atlantic makes a point that others have echoed.

The enthusiastic, uncritical embrace of President Trump by white evangelicals is among the most mind-blowing developments of the Trump era. How can a group that for decades—and especially during the Bill Clinton presidency—insisted that character counts and that personal integrity is an essential component of presidential leadership not only turn a blind eye to the ethical and moral transgressions of Donald Trump, but also constantly defend him? Why are those who have been on the vanguard of “family values” so eager to give a man with a sordid personal and sexual history a mulligan?

Wehner worries about the likely consequences of that blatant hypocrisy, a worry that other evangelicals share.

While on the Pacific Coast last week, I had lunch with Karel Coppock, whom I have known for many years and who has played an important role in my Christian pilgrimage. In speaking about the widespread, reflexive evangelical support for the president, Coppock—who is theologically orthodox and generally sympathetic to conservatism—lamented the effect this moral freak show is having, especially on the younger generation. With unusual passion, he told me, “We’re losing an entire generation. They’re just gone. It’s one of the worst things to happen to the Church.”

For years, these “pious” Christians have mounted assaults on separation of church and state. They have insisted that laws should favor their beliefs; they take as a given their right to dominate the culture. They continue to diminish and stigmatize those they label “sinners,” and fight even modest efforts to recognize the equal civic status of those others.

I’m sorry for people like Wehner who truly “walked the walk” and are helplessly watching their co-religionists betray their faith. But I’m not at all sorry that many more Americans have now seen–and rejected– the hypocrisy concealed behind a curtain of false piety.

 

 

48 thoughts on “Speaking Of Christianity…

  1. I left organized religion for the same reasons I left the Republican Party, I have seen both take on the agenda of the other. Religion is about Faith, Politics is about Facts.
    But both for power and money have sold out their beliefs to the highest bidder foreign or domestic. And that saddens me greatly, but as my 30 year old son said to me, both Republican politics and the Religious Gospel of Prosperity will not be part of his generations American future. I believe he is right. But until then I have a shaken faith and a belief in our rule of law to balance the scales of justice one again, but when people like trump puts his thumb on the scale of justice it tests those Rules and that’s troubling.

  2. “For years, these “pious” Christians have mounted assaults on separation of church and state. They have insisted that laws should favor their beliefs; they take as a given their right to dominate the culture. They continue to diminish and stigmatize those they label “sinners,” and fight even modest efforts to recognize the equal civic status of those others.”

    On my personal level, the pious Catholic Christians in my neighborhood segregated themselves from “others” to the point of not allowing their children to even talk with us. I learned recently this was because Catholic parents didn’t want my “evilness” to rub off on their angelic offspring. So much for “Love thy neighbor as thyself.” My first divorce attorney was a Catholic family friend since before I was born, friends because my father was one of their most loyal customers in their neighborhood tavern. He worked for my husband, who had his own attorney, while being my attorney and lowered child support to the minimum and I was given all of the family bills in the divorce because I had lunch with a “colored man” while separated. The Sunday School Supervisor in Birge Terrace Baptist Church tried to rape me in my basement and the Deacon of Northwest Church of Christ, acting as my divorce attorney refused to uphold the court findings in the divorce.

    I stay at home and try to follow the words attributed to Jesus, a Jewish Rabbi, as I support Atheism belief in science and evolution as evidence of all life as we know it. Christian religions have shown little if any signs of what is for some reason called Christianity for many years. This separation goes much, much deeper than “separation of church and state” and the current administration has melded religion into an evangelical/political base of “state and church” while trying to convince us the Constitution is based on their Christian religious beliefs.

  3. No surprise at these data. With the advanced media and information access around the world, religion’s dogma and fear-peddling has been pushed aside…probably for any number of reasons.

    For me, it was way back in the fall of 1960 – even before an 18-year old could vote. The minister at our church started railing about how Senator Kennedy couldn’t serve two masters: serving the nation as President and the Pope too. The Pope? Really? From that point on, I started questioning everything and, after studying life science for 8 years came to the final decision that fairy tales like those in the Bible and all the other books of faith, were for those who were either afraid or too lazy to think for themselves. That didn’t make them bad people, just people with whom I could not relate to in that realm. Too bad. I miss the goodness that was them without the phony piety.

  4. You can “self-declare” all you want by are you practicing your faith? Are you a role model?

    We have plenty of role models of Christianity, and guess what?

    The people watching this display don’t like it one bit, leading to: “With unusual passion, he told me, “We’re losing an entire generation. They’re just gone. It’s one of the worst things to happen to the Church.”

    Don’t blame it on video games or the Devil. The blame lies solely with those who publicly decry Christianity be implanted in all walks of life.

    Whatever happened to attraction over promotion?

    Then we have idiots like Pence who double down on Christian speak. Sorry, Mikey, you have to walk the walk, not talk the talk for people to want what you have.

  5. huff post,6/5/19 ken copeland,defends his two private jets,and other needs
    commondreams,open democracy.net,, american dark momey behind europes far right..
    if one was to look at the money from poor folk to screw the world out of its liberties,one would maybe make a voice at the scam,and where it leads.of course we speak out,to deaf ears.copeland,extortion at its best,legal…

  6. Like so many others of my generation I learned and developed my moral and ethical standards through my religion. I attended both Catholic grade school and high school. The religiosity was thick, much of the piety was phony, and the dogma purposely non-understandable. But the morals and ethics taught to me then have stood the test of time and served me well. Real life problems were discussed and picked over in such a way that all could see the truth behind the lesson being taught. It was the best of my education.
    I do not know what is being taught today, nor how it is being taught. I do know that we have way too many people in our society who do not have a moral sense and do not know what ethics are. Because of this they live out lives devoid of morality and humanity… and are destroying the advancements of civilization.

  7. The decline of “whiteness” is greater than all of its parts, including errosion of Evangelical power and influence. That is a threat to some folk. Christianity happens to more incidental to the greater failing.

  8. The attraction of evangelicals to Trump is simple. They are glad to have someone in the White House who can (and has) packed the Supreme Court so Roe v. Wade will be overturned. That is all they care about. In addition, some of them are simple-minded enough to think that the Second Coming is immanent because of the apostasy of the bulk of the population (that is, the ones who don’t attend their church), and they and only they will be “saved.” That is not exactly a Christian attitude, but when you spend all of your time thumping the bible, you don’t have time to actually open it, read it, and internalize the messages.

  9. As I told my priest (Episcopal), I can’t swallow all of the myths, but I can follow someone who preaches love and forgiveness.

  10. “Zero Tolerance,” shown on ‘Frontline’ Tuesday, Oct. 22 and now available on YouTube, documents the cynical machinations of Steve Bannon, Stephen Miller, and Jeff Sessions to take over the Republican Party. They were successful when they settled on Trump. No lines are drawn to the shift in religious dedication and affiliations; immigration is the issue the trio rode to victory, but fear of immigrants won the day. That latent fear has appeared too often in American society. Religious instruction loses that conflict, if it’s even in the fight.

  11. Have you ever had a thought come into your head that won’t go away; no idea where, why or how it formed? For days a quote from the book by Dag Hammerskjold, “Markings”, has been on my mind and won’t leave. “He was a seaman on Columbus’s sailing ship to the new world and worried he wouldn’t return to his home village in time to replace the old shoemaker.” This morning I put that quote together with the title of Harper Lee’s sequel, “Go Set A Watchman”, to “To Kill A Mockingbired”; her title came from the Bible, I have forgotten chapter and verse but it told townspeople to “Go set a watchman” to protect themselves from their enemy.

    Could we be the “watchmen”; set in this time and this place against the obvious greatest enemy to this country which is our own government? We are in the position, precarious as it is, to bring the beginning of the end to the Trump White Nationalist reign over this country as he destroys diplomatic relations with our allies and snuggles up to our enemies? Stopping the current insanity is the only way to save this country, the environment and reestablish diplomatic relations with allies for our children, grandchildren and all future generations. If we drop our guard, stop being watchmen; this country will be lost and if we are lost, so goes the world. We have been the conscience for the world for more than 70 years; the current administration displays nothing but “consciousness of guilt”. We must stay aware of our current situation as watchmen…and women. Arguing Christianity is sacrilegious, to borrow from Sheila’s words; “…many more Americans have now seen–and rejected– the hypocrisy concealed behind a curtain of false piety.”

  12. TV preachers with their fear games and demands for money came before Falwell and other evangelicals decided to back Trump as their useful idiot to once again intermix church and state, and the youth are not buying it. I am not surprised at the wave of religious non-belief and laissez faire attitudes sweeping the country, but we have seen this ebb and flow before (though perhaps not so pronounced). I think without knowing that it will be different this time, i.e., the ebb will be more or less permanent, and why? Because of TV preachers and such as Pence but perhaps even more so because of the ease of communication in these times. Look around. There are many more people who have phones than go to church, and they seem to be agreeing with Marx that religion is the opiate of the people, or if not an opiate, an aspirin, and with such as the Falwells around spewing their brand of Holy Roman Empire politics, the ebb may continue to ebb.

    I have often written that we do not have the religion of Jesus but rather one about him, one concocted by medieval monks which emphasized magic and resurrection over the plain views of the gentle Nazarene, whose views were and are universally available irrespective of approach, Occidental or Oriental. Thus (as an example) we have “Honor thy father and mother” (KJV) vs. the Osteen drivel that “God wants you to be rich.”

    Given such facts on the ground today and our means of learning about them, I think it would be shocking if there were a return to monk-based Christianity. We need more Voltaire and less Charlemagne, more honor and less collection plate sleeze on the tube – but don’t hold your breath. Business is business.

  13. The church is many things but among them a business with declining demand and a fixed expensive infrastructure. It also is for its members a source of much influence. Good church members dedicate an hour a week at least to listening to a sales pitch by expert well trained salespeople selling eternal comfort for whatever price they can get. Sort of a wealth priority time share concept with unlimited capacity once you’re dead but expensive “stores’ to maintain when you are alive with the wealth limited to this side of the great divide.

    Of course it is also a real source of comfort and guidance for many, but like people it is all of the above at different times and with different priorities for different people.

    Church finances are pretty complicated but they must be based on the one rule of capitalism; make more money now regardless of the impact on any others ever, congregation by congregation. That imperative requires them to look at expanding their product line and clearly there is money to be made in many areas, like education and politics and charity for example. They compete with our schools and our political parties and other not for profits for those “additional” services.

    As I said, it’s complicated, but to survive, all congregations must be first a business and second a teacher of morals as well as an unlimited source of hope for those with faith. Like all businesses some preachers become ridiculously wealthy and others as poor as, well, church mice because the competition is so intense the distribution of wealth is extreme.

    Probably the financial reason that the concept is doing as well as it is in troubled times is their tax exemption, the biggest donor there is among their advocates. No matter how it’s sliced the tax exemption means that all of us are forced to contribute to churches.

    All of this just is. It explains the present and every one of us is immersed in this very complex recipe and has an opinion on the impact on our lives.

    We know the past, we know the present but the future is murky to even the most theologically expert among us.

    This is only one of a litany of really tough problems facing every one of us regardless of our faith or lack thereof.

  14. “Civilization will not attain to its perfection until the last stone from the last church falls on the last priest.” Émile Zola

  15. It’s always been about selling false hope to peasants, tolerated by kings because it tamed the population. It has no role moving forward and is now an impediment to progress.

  16. Good “church” (church, mosque, synagogue, etc.) is good community. Surely we have learned that from the perseverance of African-Americans through the years – they seem to have taken that idea literally.

    As “community” dies and tribe and/or ME become the focus, so go hope for our democracy and civic culture.

  17. Lester,

    Seldomly do I disagree with you, but…

    Christianity was introduced to slaves by their white masters to manage their suffering, and they are still suffering.

    John

  18. John,

    I do get that….however, I grew up in the South (and live there now) and have seen the strength and true Christian values that they took from that imposed on them. Not to mention the kind of leaders that have come from it – MLK, Rev. Barber, Elijah Cummings. Yes, they have used it to “manage” their suffering, not too much different than we Jews have used our religion to manage ours.

  19. Hope is a commodity that all of us value.

    But, what if it’s hope for more power? It’s still valuable to the holder but a threat to those the power is to be taken from.

    Democracy doesn’t change that but does mean that power is given to the greatest good.

  20. Jack Smith. You have good things to say but you make reading them a burden, because you will not learn how to space and punctuate. Please make an effort and know that your message will be better understood. Thanks.

    As to prayer in schools etc., I have always said I favor so long as they are my prayers and I get to prescribe what you pray. My favorite prayer has always been The Memorare. So I explain that were I in charge we would all start out each day praying, “Remember, O Most Gracious Virgin Mary….etc.” I doubt that I would last long. Nor should I.

  21. I still have hope for the future of the country because there are groups like this, who uphold values found in The Jefferson Bible, long one (among many) of my favorite religious sources. Please look at their webpage.
    https://faithfulamerica.org/

  22. Learning is a prayer for hope to use our powers for the greatest good. The return rarely is immediate but always eventually comes.

  23. Marv;

    I received my copy of “Virus Of The Mind, “while I was waiting for this book to come, I was reading George Orwell’s animal Farm, WOW! Talk about George Orwell’s insight and how it relates to present day, SMH, Nostradamus didn’t have anything on Orwell.

    Virus Of The Mind, by Richard Brodie fits nicely in this discussion.

    Concerning the Christian beliefs, people died horrible deaths trying to spread Bible teachings to what were considered laypersons. For over a millennia, reading the Bible was considered wrong, as laypeople could not understand its messaging, and many could not read.

    After the apostles died, others rose up, it was Emperor Constantine at the Nicene counsel in 325 that really weaponized the church to manipulate newcomers. It was much easier to control one church that it was to control all of these minor and major paganite religions/followings. The church themselves admitted to changing the doctrine to include pagan beliefs to bring more people into the church. Thereby making the church a counterfeit organization claiming to be something else. The root word of Christian is Christ, so, if you want to be a Christian, you need to follow his teachings.

    But in the day and age of television, radio, social media/Internet, is the perfect primordial pool for development of “Virus Of The Mind” religion has become weaponized by using the constant din of MEMES that subliminally implant conspiratorial ideals, blatant untruths/lies, and false tribal cohesion against a– insert your bogeyman here—-, LOL.

    The Russians are very good at this sort of thing, but they learned by observing us. Do you hear the evangelicals in this country roiled up about the imprisonment and confiscation of Christians and their property in Russia? No! Of course not. The Russians make sure that narrative never really gets out there. But you have evangelicals saying, how they wished Vladimir Putin was their president, but they can ridicule China for doing the same thing, because Donald Trump says so, and I’m sure Trump is told by Putin.

    It’s not the teachings of Christ that are wrong, if you’ve read the Scripture you can actually see how liberal minded Christ actually was. But, men have subverted the church to control huge sections of the population.

    It’s not only Christianity, but Islam has the same issues. If you read any of the Islamic holy books, you realize that they have been manipulated by the mullahs, the top of the hierarchy, to control large swaths of Muslim believers. They use human misery, and —— insert their bogeyman here—-, to get their desired political results.

    Are there some good things that come out of these phony religious organizations? I’m sure there are, charities, and charitable events, do some good. But the hypocrisy, the supporting of policies that cause human injury and suffering, negates any and all of attempted good. You can’t disrespect/cause injury the foreign resident, you can’t throw allies to the wolves, you cannot put in cages, or make orphans out of those children after they have been separated from their parents, you can’t deny human impact on this planet and be a bad steward of it, you cannot support owning weapons of war or supporting the arming of an entire population for some inexplicable reason, or be involved in politics while not paying your taxes for that privilege.

    This truly is, Virus Of The Mind, and I highly doubt the genie can be put back in the bottle. As Elijah Cummings said, “we are better than this” Elijah Cummings was a good man, and I think he probably died not just from complications of surgery, but a stressed and broken heart.

    Every man must be swift about hearing, slow about speaking, slow about wrath; for man’s wrath does not produce God’s righteousness.” (James. 1:19, 20)

  24. I would tend to agree with John Neal concerning the “managing” or control of the population – The Proles. Religion has been used since ancient Egypt to create an elite that stood above the Proles. Political Power and Religion were hand in glove.

    The early Christians went from a disorganized cult, to achieving power and using that power to destroy paganism and other forms of Christianity that did not follow the orthodox views.

    During the Medieval Period in Europe, the peasants or Proles, were subjected to warring, kings, princes and dukes that ravaged the land carrying the cross along with their heraldic banners. The Proles were carefully controlled by a variety of religious hierarchy all males. Woman could be nuns but they had no power.

    So this expression of control or managing by Evangelicals and Conservative Catholics is nothing new. What is something new is religion is not the heart of our social, and cultural life anymore as whole.

    Evangelicals and Conservative Catholics have lost the battle of ideas and must now resort to various methods to manage and control the Proles. Fire, Brimstone and Eternal Damnation are the old reliable fears that keep the Proles in line. If fear does not work than the prosperity gospel can be used.

    What I have noticed is that the more extreme and reactionary the religion is, the more often the Proles have to gather together in supervised prayer. Authoritarian Reactionary Religion must dominate every aspect of the individuals life.

  25. John S;

    “This truly is, Virus Of The Mind, and I highly doubt the genie can be put back in the bottle.”

    It can be, but only through the DIRECT ACTION suggested by MLK. That’s the reason for POLITICAL EPIDEMIOLOGY. You have to be able to ATTACK the GROUND ZERO of the VIRUS, and that can only happen if the VIRUS can be tracked back to its BEGINNING.

  26. Marv;

    I was just tooling around the web when I decided to make sure I had an exact understanding of epidemiology, my wife worked in the pharmaceutical field for many years, and I had a rudimentary definition of it. Sadly, I never really looked it up for myself.

    By definition, epidemiology is the study (scientific, systematic, and data-driven) of the distribution (frequency, pattern) and determinants (causes, risk factors) of health-related states and events (not just diseases) in specified populations (neighborhood, school, city, state, country, global). (Source: Principles of Epidemiology, 3rd Edition)

    Whoa! Does that hit the nail squarely on the head? I just started “Virus Of The Mind. But I like to flip through and pick out something that catches my eye immediately, and this is definitely a book to read. From what I’ve seen so far, it really ties everything together in a thoughtful and easily understood way, that’s also easily fact checked and pondered upon.

    Ignorance is the easiest way to manipulate. That doesn’t mean a lack of education, it just means being ignorant, kind of willfully ignorant, where you know your opinion is ignorant, you know your belief is ignorant, but, individuals prefer to believe in their alternative facts or alternate reality. That is a severe mental illness that I don’t think can be addressed in a positive way on a mass scale, CCR said, “I see a red moon risin,” I have to agree.

  27. Hey Charlie,

    Nice hit job on Jack, but your comment had plenty of issues in of itself! So, I would suggest, try not to criticize punctuation or spacing or spelling, we all are guilty of mistakes. We are all guilty of shoddy editing at times, shoddy proofreading, and being long-winded, LOL. So give Jack a break, he’s not being a prick, he’s just expressing his heartfelt opinion. How he does it, shouldn’t matter.

  28. John,

    “That is a severe mental illness that I don’t think can be addressed in a positive way on a mass scale….”

    Agreed. It can only be addressed through the protection offered by Congressional testimony.

  29. Well, those Christian Business and Bank sellers are already putting out quarterly reports WHERE THEY RESIDE, not in easy reach of the specialists at the Potomac and Baltimore Bay and Harbor D.C. POST. It seems the scholars are using extrapolation logic and statistics bachelor level or traditional multi-English reports on their telephone poles, or personifying the word, 1.3 billion Roman Catholics and not specifying later or earlier followers after Buddha, Moses, and John, the Baptist -not Roger in 1611 or so, as Milton’s Dutch teacher. National Geographic workers have put out maps of World Religions, not fluctuations in copyrighted Bible books since 1914-on HERE.

    As they say in Belfast District Social Service tables, would that be Protestant or Roman Catholic atheists if you try to pick 3. Thank Indiana University and the University of Louisville insurance companies for requiring ‘Bible as literature’ courses AND English and other grammar classes, and World publishing for labor and materials consistent with those PSAT tests for those $100 suitcase awards. When worried about those end-timers at ‘foggy bottom’ this is a fun map project with all the variants of Americans’ English legends [no u]. Those brief surveys all are recorded by the transformer load and used building to building by Chamber of Commerce CITY mangers and many are used to evaluate workers’ performances on the job per citizen, per diem.

    Remember to use MAPS with Americans for any spelling tests at high speeds: http://mapmaker.nationalgeographic.org/fmB2637aSr1p1LhxJ5xnqd/ As Birds of North America, we are totally North Americans and can earn doctorate degrees over a span of time in theology, law, medicine, art=architecture [storage for art], but cannot make a wash bottle until others get make glass. Has no one read Pensees as another person’s thoughts, or Newton’s law about at least 329, 876,781 North Americans or microscopic art for real angels dancing on the heads of pins?

    We can call a person now within a few minutes via American Telephone and Telegraph because 1 or O is us and we use Phonetic signs. I suspect many hundreds need to pass those BMV tests right now to get their assorts to LEAVE and have a DESTINATION escort. 2010 was the first ‘universal’ Treasurer reports on Humans who use the Romans’ calendars.

  30. I think an interesting example of manipulation, is the handling of poisonous snakes in the South, they claim it appears that Mark 16:9-20, except, 9 through 20 is not in any of the oldest most respected Bible manuscripts. So someone attempted to change Scripture for their own purposes. It’s the same thing with drinking strychnine, that’s in the same area of false Scripture. If you get a chance to research the ancient Syriac or the ancient Armenian or ancient Ethiopic versions, they stop at Mark 16:8.

  31. This copied statement from Sheila’s post was a huge disappointment to me –

    “The share of U.S. adults who are white born-again or evangelical Protestants now stands at 16%, down from 19% a decade ago.”

    In my opinion, 16% is still far too many of them!

    Great comments today everyone.

  32. BTW – there are Christian and even Evangelical groups that support democracy and social justice, for example, Sojourners, sojo.net.

  33. Nancy,

    Not to worry.
    329,877,016 x 16% = 52,780,322
    Trump 2016 votes = 62,684,325

    Looks like we just need to get everybody else.

    John

  34. A dear friend from many years back has become a world-renowned researcher on serpent-handling churches, their preachers, and their congregants in East Tennessee, Eastern Kentucky, and North Georgia. He has written volumes on the subject, done interviews and videos, witnessed their odd practices. He gets to know the people as a result of his research and study. He doesn’t fully understand why they do what they do, but he cares deeply for them. He mourns when a preacher or a parishioner is bitten. Those injured sometimes hide or leave town to prevent anyone from trying to save them from death, which is often certain. They are not about to give up their practice or their faith. There are a lot of people left to try to understand in this world, one of whom occupies the White House, and his followers. It’s kind of like the serpent-handlers. We just don’t understand.

  35. Emile Zola (see John Neal above) told us all we need to know about Christianity. As long as the door to magical thinking about cause and effect is left open to people with bifurcated minds, the invitation to base thinking on something other than factual data keeps its allure. As long as opinions are based on emotions and not thoughts, there will be room for hatred and wars. As long as one person is allow to claim that his relationship with the creator of the universe is more intimate or more reciprocal than someone else’s, serious discussions will end without resolution. If it were not for the church’s mastery over how to handle solemn occasions and how to provide solace (by lying to those grieving), it would have faded long ago.

  36. The rotten, racist, oligarchy is much more of problem than many of the Evangelical Christians. At least you can see the MACHINATIONS of many of the latter; however, that’s not the case with the former.

    Betty, please don’t defame the serpent-handlers by comparing them to Donald Trump in any way, shape, or form.

  37. Good one, Marv! Never, ever my intention to defame the serpent-handlers in any kind of comparison to Trump. They’re so much more worthy of breathing the same air as us, I just can’t even tell ya! Garrison Keillor’s “The Writer’s Almanac” of Wednesday (10/23) referred to Trump as the “preteen president,” which has me still laughing! Maybe read GK every day. He is worth the read. Or listen to TWA online. Good stuff about authors, poets, and others.

  38. Betty,

    I’m glad to see you’re still laughing about this “one-man horror show.” Laughing is good therapy when you really want to cry. For some reason, I seem to be laughing more than I ever have.

  39. So many missteps, faux-pas, and total screw-ups! We can take our pick and laugh 24/7 until Election Day 2020 when we hope the nightmare will finally end. He’s just not the guy for the job. We cannot sit home on this one! The key is the vote! Your vote, mine, and all of theirs!

  40. Betty;

    Somehow I missed your post, but, very interesting! I’ve seen tidbits about the actual practice, and drinking strychnine along with the snake handling. They claim that these preachers can build up a tolerance for the strychnine in small doses and even rattlesnake bites. Most, if not all, of the congregants will die from it though. When we were kids, we took shots of scorpion venom to build up a tolerance. We used to hunt them for their poison sacks. We would get a bounty back in those days, they would use it to make more anti-venom.

    Too bad the scriptures in Luke concerning poisonous snakes and strychnine/poison, are actually fake. Although most people probably think the entire Bible is fake. You can see how people can be manipulated because they believe a man’s word is gospel, then never research what they’ve been told. Never put faith in what you hear without verification, and never believe what you see either, con artists love deception. Without a doubt there are a lot of people who know better, but willful ignorance or willful deception is preferable because of lifestyle choices. Very un-Christlike!

  41. Yes, well, the White Evangelicals decided to go all pragmatic on us. Sure, they dislike Trump’s habits, but they’ll overlook a lot if he’ll give them lots of conservatives on the federal bench and the Supreme Court. Personal sin don’t hold a candle to getting the Lord’s Prayer in place of Take Me Out to the Ball Game during the 7th inning stretch.

    As for me, I was brought up Southern Baptist and walked away decades before the SBC [Southern Baptist Convention] decreed that women can’t be ministers because “Eve et the apple.” Yep, that’s their argument.
    I left when I learned about the marriage between the SBC and slavery 2 centuries ago.

  42. So, if only 20% of adults are Catholic, how does this happen? In today’s Supreme Court, religion is as follows.

    3 Jewish
    5 Roman Catholic
    1 Episcopalian (raised Catholic)

    Yes, I know “The Federalist Society”….. There’s no way that SCOTUS is representative of the general population

  43. I see 45 as a modern day Elmer Gantry. Showman, magician, huckster and a real crowd pleaser we seem to want to believe and can’t take our eyes off the show. Transfixed, we just won’t let go. I have and it is Bu Bye #2020.

  44. It should be obvious to observant people that ‘Christianity’ has been long on the decline. But what is worse is its message keeps getting more and more improbable and totally off-base with what we read of the Gospels and Epistles of the New Testament. There will be no return to ‘the way it was,’ Christianity has lost its purpose and guidance it has been co-opted by agendas and egos and total NONSENSE. “But thou Daniel, close up the words, and seal the Book until the time of the End, many shall walk to and fro and knowledge shall be increased.” That End – is here. It isn’t the ‘end of the world’ – it is an age when there will be an end to the ‘Mystery of God.’ I know that as fact: For 22 years I have been trying to tell people – the Torah, the root of it all – is not what it has been made out to be. NOW is the time of the End. The Mystery of God can be exhibited – laugh if you want – but I have met that Mystery head on. And I can tell you – there is NOT ONE Christian that has it right, there is not one Jew, or Muslim! The words are opened – the Book (which is the Torah he is writing about,) is unsealed – The world is in confusion and things that were one way are now another – And the Torah is waiting to tell its tale – but no one is listening. “https://www.colunga-hernandez.com/subrosanigra.html” – check it out before you laugh. It is not a joke.

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