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The politicization of Christianity

Discussion in 'General Politics' started by only a sojourner, Jan 17, 2021.

  1. only a sojourner

    only a sojourner Junior Member

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    The hyper-politization of Christianity, especially involving its close association with support for Donald Trump. will I believe make evangelism more difficult. Pew Research has documented over time how the number of those identifying themselves as Christians has declined in Europe and now in the US. The decline is most evident among young people. Christians I believe need to eschew divisive politics and focus on the Gospel without at the same time compromising their principals.

    I believe that we and our beliefs will become more marginalized with persecution. Christianity has nothing to do with majority viewpoints, elections and democracy. "Because strait is the gate and narrow is the way which leadeth unto life and few there be that find it." Only a minority through much of history lived committed Christian lives. Before Constantine Christianity was a small persecuted minority.
     
    Last edited: Jan 17, 2021
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  2. Heavenhome

    Heavenhome Well-Known Member Supporter

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    I think that politics shouldn't hold much of our interest or time, unless it is an issue that is in direct opposition to God ie abortion, s.sex marriage etc.
    Keep reasonably up to date, pray and trust God above all things.
     
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  3. Ignatius the Kiwi

    Ignatius the Kiwi Newbie

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    While It might be true to say only a minority are committed to living out the Gospel entirely, why does it follow from this that Christianity cannot be followed by a majority of society? Is Christianity an exclusive cult which doesn't care for the masses because of all their sins? Christianity's growth within Rome was not in spite of persecution, but a result of the Church not being persecuted enough. There wasn't an Empire wide mandate to kill every Christian, only to make an example of caught Christians and when there was an Empire wide mandate it didn't last beyond the Emperor who enforced the policy. Think of the Valerian or Diocletian persecutions.

    If you want examples historically of how outright persecution has muted Christianity look no further than Japan. Japan brutally cracked down on Japanese Christians, outlawing the religion and torturing anyone suspected of being a Christian. There was this test they had where if you refused to put your feet on an image of Jesus they would execute you. Christianity didn't thrive in that context because it couldn't, because the Japanese were not tolerant enough to allow Christian missionaries to convert the people. It's why Japan is majority shinto/secular today. Would it have been such a bad thing if the Shogun or the Emperor had been convinced of Christianity's truth and converted to it along with the Kingdom?

    I cannot abide by this sort of idea. The sort of Christianity which advocates a complete renunciation of power and a complete detachment from political concerns. This would have resulted in a marginalized sect with nowhere to call home and I think it doubtful such a force could have resisted Islam or other aggressive groups (Mongols? The Huns?). Pagan Kings would not have converted to such a religion and hence the effort of Christianization would never have happened. The world would be almost entirely non-Christian instead of it being (for the time now at any rate) the world's most adhered to religion.

    If you want to surrender power and live a life of complete detachment from the world, monasticism exists. If you want to contribute to the world and leave it better off than you found it, well don't blame Christians who might want to assume political power for that purpose. Otherwise, as practical matter, you only leave such power in the hands of your enemies and why would you cut your own arm off in a competition against a more ruthless opponent?
     
    Last edited: Jan 17, 2021
  4. only a sojourner

    only a sojourner Junior Member

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    The politicization of Christianity, especially it's intense support for Donald Trump, has been a barrier to evangelization. I believe we need to practice and live the Gospel without all of the overt politicizing.

    According to Pew Research In 2019 the percentage of American's who identified as Christian was 65 percent a decline of 12 percent in a decade. Among those identifying as Christian were I'm certain many nominal Christians. Moral attitudes are fickle. They vary between societies and over time within a society. We must remain faithful to God's moral values even if they no longer remain popular in the broader culture we are a part of. I believe we are moving into a time in which adhering to Christian values will involve persecution, particularly if we are not willing to compromise.
     
    Last edited: Jan 17, 2021
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  5. tulc

    tulc loves "SO'S YER MOM!! posts!

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    ...anyone else think Matthew 5:30 when they read this?
    tulc(is just curious)
     
  6. Andrewn

    Andrewn Well-Known Member CF Ambassadors Supporter

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    Because of what you wrote above, does anyone still think that a young person can have the courage to tell his friends that he is a Christian, let alone invite them to church?

    How can he tell his friends that his parents believe the election was stolen and Jesus rose again from the dead?

    I doubt it but if this happens then we brought it on ourselves.

    I disagree. But this is a different discussion.
     
    Last edited: Jan 17, 2021
  7. Hazelelponi

    Hazelelponi Well-Known Member Supporter

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    You can't, in all honesty, blame the decline of Christianity in America on Trump.

    First, in 1970 in the U.S. 90% of Americans claimed to be Christian. By 2010 that number had declined to 71%. That professed Christianity continues to decline is no real shock as it's in serious decline and has been throughout all western nations for decades.

    Donald Trump's presidency is simply a symptom of this decline, rather than a barrier to professing Christianity. As atheistic philosophies are taught in our education systems from childhood, and Hollywood, Silicon Valley and their ilk raises our societies children more than parents, this trend in Christianity's decline, having already reached critical mass, will only continue with ever increasing speed...

    You can't blame Christians for fighting for the preservation of their future freedom by whatever legal means they can, even if in the form of Donald Trump, in light of the existential threat these new ideologies taking over our society present.

    Unlike some western nations, many believing Christians in America refuse to rewrite the tenants of our faith in order to become more palatable to a world at enmity with God, and hope to preserve some of the freedoms to declare the Truth of God we now enjoy for their children, and their children's children.
     
  8. Andrewn

    Andrewn Well-Known Member CF Ambassadors Supporter

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    While I agree with you in principle, I find that Evangelical Christians have consistently aligned themselves with one political party since 1980 when the South voted for the Republican Party for the first time in almost 130 years. Other religious groups, such as Jews and perhaps Catholics, have been able to stride the divide and work for the social good that may be found on both sides.
     
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  9. Pioneer3mm

    Pioneer3mm Active Member Supporter

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    Good post..
    ---
    You wrote,
    "..has declined in Europe and now in the US."
    ----
    I remember reading an article (Christian mission)..years ago.
    - The author wrote, "US is next.."
     
  10. Andrewn

    Andrewn Well-Known Member CF Ambassadors Supporter

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    Yes, you always make good points. But I think the point is that we as Evangelical Christians have made many political blunders even before 1970 that might have contributed to this decline.

    "But today’s evangelical leaders should be wary of hitching their wagon to an amoral, corrupt president. They could learn a thing or two from their predecessors, who aligned themselves closely with another troublesome president: Richard Nixon, whose malfeasance eventually became too much for the Christian right to tolerate.

    "During the 1960 presidential campaign, Graham and his fellow travellers were faced with the possibility that John F. Kennedy, a Catholic and a Democrat, would be the next president. They rallied behind Richard Nixon – and stayed behind him for years.

    "Like Graham, many white evangelicals in the late 1960s and early 1970s found in Nixon a strong, powerful man who boldly stood up to liberal politicians, civil rights agitators and amoral student activists. When the president championed the “silent majority” on national television, they were heartened that such a Christian leader would speak for them. Nixon signalled that they were the true victims in the heated political and cultural battles of the age.

    "Nixon won 69% of the evangelical vote in his successful 1968 bid, and he instituted regular White House religious services at the start of his presidency. The president’s call for “law and order” also inspired the faithful. The head of the National Association of Evangelicals endorsed the Republican president in 1972, praising Nixon’s Cold War policies. 84% of evangelicals cast their votes for Nixon that year."

    Evangelicals and Trump – lessons from the Nixon era

    This reminds me of the fight between sons of light and sons of darkness in the Qumran documents. Why regard Trump as a savior? Why not see the light of Christ in the other side, also?

    Is the Democratic Party complete darkness, enemies of God and the Truth which is to be defined as our point of view or favorite interpretation of the Bible? Is it an existential threat to "the tenants of our faith"?
     
    Last edited: Jan 17, 2021
  11. Hazelelponi

    Hazelelponi Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Have Christians made political blunders? Yes.

    Have they contributed to the decline of Christianity? Yes... but these contributions are also a symptom of the decline.

    "having a form of godliness but denying its power. Have nothing to do with such people." 2 Timothy 3:5

    Never read it, I don't read apocryphal materials as I don't find them beneficial to my faith.

    I don't... not even a little bit.

    Getting more difficult by the hour, but I do try to.. I'm hoping some are just a little lost.

    The world (and anything of it) are enemies of God, and the politics of the left demonstrate absolute enmity with God. That said, much of the political right isn't better.

    To openly professing it and living it without retribution, whether social or legal? Yes...
     
    Last edited: Jan 17, 2021
  12. Guinan

    Guinan Live long and prosper.

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    Great post. I can personally attest to the very negative reaction a lot of people (Christians and non-Christians alike) have toward Trump and his supporters. As a Christian and a Republican myself, I've to purposely distinguish myself from Trump and the people who support him. I've been lumped in with them in the past and I've had to make it perfectly clear that I adamantly oppose Donald Trump.

    "I do not believe these are days for mincing words. I’m 63 1/2 years old & I have never seen anything in these United States of America I found more astonishingly seductive & dangerous to the saints of God than Trumpism. This Christian nationalism is not of God. Move back from it." - Beth Moore
     
  13. Ignatius the Kiwi

    Ignatius the Kiwi Newbie

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    Why is it wrong for Evangelicals to vote Republican? How will Democrats better represent that particular demographic? If they won't, why should Evangelicals vote for anyone else? Mind you the question of the Evangelical vote in America is more complex than you give it credit for.
     
  14. iluvatar5150

    iluvatar5150 Well-Known Member

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    The problem isn't merely voting for Republicans. The problem is the blind loyalty, fealty, and personal identity they've wrapped up in being Republican, prioritizing it well above their identity in Christ.

    Trump is both a symptom and a cause. The problem pre-dates Trump by at least a century, but Trumpism is just one example from a long list of things American Christians have adopted that have reinforced their own decline.

    As far as I'm aware, the turn really happened at the Scopes Trial in 1925, where Christians passed laws banning the teaching of evolution in public schools, and opponents of the ban chose to stage a legal fight to press the case. Christians won the suit, but in doing so, shone a light on the anti-intellectualism popular in fundamentalist sects and wound up getting themselves pilloried in popular media. From there, fundamentalist inclinations towards anti-intellectualism and self-imposed social segregation continued to grow until they eventually swarmed much of evangelical culture (which was separate at the time) and now, much of American protestantism. On top of that, fundamentalism was more overtly racist through much of the 20th century - a legacy that it's been extremely reluctant to acknowledge and deal with, and that, along with the aforementioned problems, has hindered its making inroads into urban and minority communities.

    Phil Vischer recently put together a pretty good video about the history of evangelicalism:


    IMO, creeping secularism and the notion of having to "rewrite the tenets of our faith" are red herrings that let Christians off the hook for their own poor, anti-social, often controlling behavior and authoritarian ideologies. Society is more overtly supportive of self-sacrificial, pro-social behavior than perhaps it's ever been: social justice and support for the oppressed is a guiding principle throughout society, corporations are abandoning Friedman's philosophy of "the business of business is business", environmental concerns are at the forefront of development; abusive power structures are being torn down. These are fundamental Christian virtues. And while we can disagree about some of the details of implementing these virtues, Christians could be and SHOULD be at the vanguard of all of these movements. And yet, everywhere we look in American society, the loudest Christian voices are some of the loudest voices in opposition to progress. Instead of fighting for the oppressed, they're fighting for the powerful - it's become clear that many of their professed value were phony and that it was always about amassing power. No creeping secularism or external pressures caused fundamentalists/evangelicals to abandon these values - they did that to themselves; and everybody on the outside can see their charade for what it is.
     
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  15. Ignatius the Kiwi

    Ignatius the Kiwi Newbie

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    Blind loyalty doesn't exist on the left either? If this were a charge that could only be laid at the feet of Evangelicals I might agree, but it isn't and your average leftist is blindly committed to voting Democrat as the Evangelicals are supposedly committed to voting Republican. If Evangelicals want to blindly vote for Republicans, who are you or I to tell them otherwise? Same goes for the woke crowd that will always vote Democrat. Both are contributing to a failing system (I am of the opinion the Republican party must be destroyed or usurped). I say supposebly because I've been listening to a religion reporter called Terry Mattingly who suggests there is more to Evangelicalism than many make it out to be. I would highly recommend listening to him if your interested and no he is not a conservative partisan.
     
  16. iluvatar5150

    iluvatar5150 Well-Known Member

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    Not to the degree that it exists on the right.

    IME, that just isn't true. And unlike evangelical Republican voters, most Dem voters aren't sacrificing a bunch of other self-claimed values for the sake of voting for the Democrats.

    Trump's policy on immigration, particularly as it relates to refugees and asylum seekers is blatantly anti-Christian, yet it merited little more than a shrug from most evangelicals, and hearty approval from some.

    Trump's constant lying and antagonism are blatantly anti-Christian, yet Christians cheer his fighting spirit.

    Trump's stoking of racism is blatantly anti-Christian, yet many Christians try to explain it away.

    Trump's dysfunctional, disinterested management style is horrible stewardship, yet Christians for some reason cheer his business acumen.

    Republican policies on things like protections for workers, customers, the environment, and a host of other categories of oppressed, abused, or marginalized people almost always skew in favor of the powerful - a value entirely at odds with Christian doctrine, yet Christians at best overlook this, and often adopt it as correct and proper.

    I don't see the same thing happen on the left. No, not everybody is on the same page, but I struggle to think of any bloc of Dem voters who claims to hold one set of values, while in reality adopting a Democratic party platform that violates the majority of those values.

    The issue we're discussing is how the politicization of Christianity has undermined evangelism. As fellow Christians, it is entirely appropriate for us to look at our own community and judge and correct its behavior - doing so is a core part of the faith. We would be remiss in our responsibilities as Christians if we didn't engage in that sort of self-reflection and self-correction.

    It's fine if Christians look at the electoral options and decide that the Republican is better. But that isn't what's happened. What's happened is that large blocs of American evangelicals have supplanted religious doctrine with Republican political positions and subsumed Republican political figures into quasi-leadership religious roles.




    For example:
    Throughout his facebook page, Franklin Graham talks out of both sides of his mouth, praising calls for unity, while browbeating Dems and completely overlooking Trump's contributions to disunity and the covid spikes that his organization is working to fight:
    Franklin Graham

    Actually, maybe Graham's problem is straight up idolatry of Trump rather than mere Republicanism. This post is just moronic:
    Franklin Graham

    In another thread, we were discussing this large church in Texas, which has become little more than a mouthpiece for right-wing conspiracy theorists, hosting both Sidney Powell and Allen West.
    KingdomLife

    In a more personal example, when I moved to the Baltimore area a few years ago, I started googling around for churches and found one that listed in its statement of faith its position on taxation and small government.

    It's not hard to find other cases of famous evangelical leaders publicly aligning themselves with right-wing ideology or massaging Christian doctrine to fit that ideology - contemporary evangelicalism is practically rife with it. The recent statement from the SBC seminary presidents regarding critical race theory is but one example.
     
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  17. only a sojourner

    only a sojourner Junior Member

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    I avoided stating this at first when I launched this thread but I believe it needs to be said. Many evangelicals embraced Trump because he supported their causes through executive actions and judicial appointments. Although perhaps an amoralist himself he needed the evangelical vote to win elections. Christians were willing to wink at his debauched behavior and certain policies because he was able to provide them with more tangible gifts and favors than any other recent president. Many people already view evangelical Christians as hypocritical and their continued loyalty to this man and his underhanded attempts to overturn a free and fair election may only further diminish the credibility of evangelical Christianity.
     
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  18. RDKirk

    RDKirk Alien, Pilgrim, and Sojourner Supporter

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    I could argue that the African-American vote is more complex than people give it credit, but when all that complexity under the surface consistently results in a single outcome...what difference did it make?
     
  19. RDKirk

    RDKirk Alien, Pilgrim, and Sojourner Supporter

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    I would point out that 120 years ago, Republicans were the Progressive Movement, and Evangelicals were at its forefront. It was a hell of a twist (literally) that Satan managed to pull off.
     
  20. RDKirk

    RDKirk Alien, Pilgrim, and Sojourner Supporter

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    The left doesn't claim to be led by the Holy Spirit. The left does not claim to be Christian.

    Jesus didn't condemn those who were admittedly sinners, He condemned those who claimed to be operating in the name of God but actually made others' lives hell.
     
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