Christian activists don’t have faith in their God, so why should we?

October 20, 2006 | By | 1 Reply More

You’ve probably noticed that Christian activists — members of the so-called “Religious Right” — have been trying to dominate American politics, with the goal of ramming their religious beliefs down every possible throat they can find and overpower.  But, in addition to being disturbed by this phenomenon, have you thought about *why* this is happening, and why now?  Here is my theory.

For the past thirty years or so, America has seemingly been characterized by rapidly declining moral behavior.  School shootings, suicide bombings, sex scandals (including pedophilia cover-ups by both the Catholic church and the U.S. Congress), gigantic corporate financial swindles, movie stars hooked on booze, sports stars hooked on steroids, presidents impeached for corruption (Nixon) and for lying (Clinton), and another president (Bush) who tortures prisoners and ignores the Constitution…the list goes on.  Virtually every institution in America that has ever been admired or respected has been tarnished by immoral behavior.

Christian activists, understandably, are deeply concerned about this problem and want to do something about it.  Unfortunately, their prayers are failing:  America seems to be spinning toward self-destruction and the churches cannot seem to stop it.  What is a concerned Believer to do?

Answer:  use the power of the state to mandate Bible-based moral behavior.  Kids don’t spend enough time in church, so let’s mandate school prayer.  Women have recreational sex and occasionally get pregnant, so let’s ban birth control and abortions.  Crime remains a problem, so let’s post the Ten Commandments in our courtrooms.  Homosexuals have come out of the closet, so let’s ban same-sex unions.  And on and on.

But here’s the important part:  all of these examples are symptoms of the same underlying disease; namely, the failure of Christian leaders to secure moral behavior via “the power of the Holy Spirit.”  They push for political power because their prayers, their religion and their God have conspicuously failed to achieve their desired results.  Political power is their strongest remaining weapon against what they see as a widespread failure of American society:  rather than admit that their religion and their God have been impotent, they try to use the sheer weight of their numbers to achieve through brute political force what they are unable to achieve through prayer and faith.

Thus, the recent upsurge in Christian activism is a resounding hypocrisy.  It is a tacit acknowledgment by these very same Christian activists that their religion is, in fact, failing, and that their prayers, worship, faith, Holy Spirit, etc., are not powerful enough to fix today’s problems.  If Christianity were effective at changing peoples’ hearts and minds, and at producing the moral behavior that Believers so desperately desire, then Christian activism — i.e., political activism — would be unnecessary.  The fact that they think it is necessary demonstrates the collapse of their own faith and a collapse of their claim of being guided by the one and only true, absolute moral compass.  Without faith, they are merely another run-of-the-mill special interest group grasping for political power.

If Christian activists cannot secure moral behavior on their own terms — through faith —  then there is no good reason for America to try to mandate Christian behavior by fiat.  To the contrary, by turning to brute force political power to solve moral problems, Christian activists concede that their moral authority is no more valid than anyone else’s.

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About the Author ()

Grumpypilgrim is a writer and management consultant living in Madison, WI. He has several scientific degrees, including a recent master’s degree from MIT. He has also held several professional career positions, none of which has been in a field in which he ever took a university course. Grumps is an avid cyclist and, for many years now, has traveled more annual miles by bicycle than by car…and he wishes more people (for the health of both themselves and our planet) would do the same. Grumps is an enthusiastic advocate of life-long learning, healthy living and political awareness. He is single, and provides a loving home for abused and abandoned bicycles. Grumpy’s email: grumpypilgrim(AT)@gmail(DOT).com [Erich’s note: Grumpy asked that his email be encrypted this way to deter spam. If you want to write to him, drop out the parentheticals in the above address].

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  1. Erich Vieth says:

    I suspect that prayer alone doesn't run governments for the same reason that it doesn't heal amputees.

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