Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Addendum to Yesterday's Post, or Why Religion-Based Politics must end as a Politics of Exclusion and Hate

When I'm thinking through a new thought as I write it, I do not proceed in a straight line. I wander about, I backtrack, I repeat myself. I never know what new thought might mean until I've worried it almost to death.

Thinking further about yesterday's post, I feel drawn to make the following argument: if A (=true Christian) is indistinguishable from B (=false prophet/Christian), then there is no difference. In order to be different there must be at least one quality or property which A and B do not share. If the difference in their qualities and properties is because what distinguishes A from B is a spiritual quality, or event that is not of this world, but of another, then for all of the purposes and laws of this world, the physical world, A and B are indistinguishable.

Any differences between A and B are without effect in this world. Considered in this light, the belief of some sects in the reality of miracles becomes understandable, even a necessity. Because without miracles, the world to come, the world in which Heaven, Hell, and the Last Judgment are to be found, have no effect on anything in this world. Spiritual matters would be about what would come after death. Religious and spiritual matters would then be subject to the laws, powers, and forces of this world.

The reason that there is no difference between a false Christian and a true Christian for matters concerning this world, is that the difference between the false Christian and the true Christian is located in the other world which is non-physical meaning without physical effect either in action, belief, or language. The difference between a true Christian and a false Christian is otherworldly.

This means that there is no basis for using Christianity as a basis for politics. What Christians would have in common in this world, is simply that they call themselves Christian. Because their putative common ground is a name, anyone who does not share that name is excluded. This means that all attempts to use Christianity for political organizing will end in a politics of exclusion: they need non-Christians.

Why do else Evangelicals make such a fuss about about homosexuality and sexual issues, generally? If they did not have homosexuals to use to remind themselves to maintain a semblance of discipline and identity for themselves, they would disappear. Consequently, even if all the homosexuals disappeared tomorrow, these Christian-political groups would be forced to select another group for exclusion, just to maintain group cohesion. That group could be agnostics, atheists, Buddhists, sufferers of gingervitus (see South Park, Season 9, episode 11), or Methodists. The machinery of hatred will always require new targets for its venom.

Further, in case it is not clear, all politics of exclusion, are politics of hatred. This is true no matter how much talk there may be of a God of Love or of "loving the sinner and hating the sin." This is particularly true when the sinner is loathe to stop sinning, and the believer's knowledge of sin is largely based on knowledge of sin from another world.

To state what should be somewhat obvious: Religious groups organized for Politics are hate groups.

A Likely Objection: The Incarnation.

The Incarnation in most flavors of Christianity is the doctrine of God becoming human. And more specifically, it refers to the doctrine that Jesus was the 2nd person of the Trinity and most importantly for my purposes that he was both fully human and fully God. The significance of the Incarnation then becomes that the other world, the spiritual world, entered into this world. Jesus performed miracles. And conferred on his followers the power to perform miracles.

My argument is not about the truth or falsity of religious doctrine. It is drawn out reflections on the impossibility of distinguishing True Christians from False Christians. If spiritual matters are as important as many Evangelicals teach, then this too is at least as important and serious.

1 comment:

  1. I apologize for this in advance, but as new members of the Atheist Blogroll, I have tagged you for the latest meme to make the rounds.


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