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The moral bankruptcy of fundamentalism

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Do so-called 'Bible-believers' ever read the Bible?

 

In light of the Bush bankruptcy bill and his repeal of the estate tax, let's examine the phrase "Bible-believing Christians," who we can thank for giving Bush his "mandate." Supposedly, a "Bible-believing Christian" is a Christian who believes the Bible to be the inerrant and infallible word of God.

 

It's redundant to call a Christian a Bible believer (all Christianity is Bible-centered). However, in popular dialogue, when someone is identified as such, they mean to indicate they are a particular type of Christian -- a fundamentalist. And though the phrase is a religious one, "Bible believer" is also meant to imply a politically, socially and economically conservative Christian.

 

But to honor conservative Christians with the title of being "Bible believing" is off the mark. They're fundamentalists all right -- market (not Christian) fundamentalists, obsessed with sexual ethics.

 

Given "Bible-believers'" deafening silence over a bankruptcy bill that subjects the working-poor to market discipline while doing nothing to hold unethical lending institutions accountable, and their low-key support for the permanent repeal of the estate tax, is blasphemy against the spirit embodied in the very Bible they claim as their guide.

 

Exodus 22:25-27 speaks of a divine ordinance prohibiting interest charges on money lending. Hebrew and Semitic Language Professor John Gray points out: "The prohibition against interest refers, not to commercial investment, where the interest is simply a share of the borrower's profit, but to exploitation of a poor man's need."

 

There are 46 million Americans without health insurance, and one of every five children in America are born into poverty. But, under the new bankruptcy laws, if you're one of the millions of working Americans who use credit cards to pay medical bills or food because charity isn't enough, credit card companies can charge usurious interest rates, turning people into debt-slaves.

 

Wouldn't a Bible-believing Christian call for legislation that, at the very least, outlaws usury?

 

Exodus 23:10-19 calls for the fields to "lie fallow" every seven years to feed the poor with surplus food. Leviticus 25:8-34 proclaims the "Jubilee year," which called for the cancellation of all debt based on the biblical pronouncement that God is the absolute owner of all property and even though people "own" possessions they're actually mere stewards over God's property.

 

So while these passages are anti-Communist insofar as private property is acknowledged by the God of the Bible, the scripture advocates for periodic, massive redistribution of wealth to even out the playing field, recognizing the human propensity to use the power wealth affords to exploit the poor, as the book of Proverbs discusses in scripture after scripture.

 

Speaking of Proverbs, in that collection of wisdom sayings, you'll find several warnings such as: "rob not the poor because he is poor; neither oppress the afflicted in the public square" (Proverbs 22:22).

 

The thematic focus of all the books of the prophets, from Isaiah to Micah, is God's displeasure with idolatry and oppressing the poor, and the two are often linked.

 

In the Christian New Testament, Jesus says he came "to preach the gospel to the poor..." and that the nations would be judged according to how "the least of these" have been treated. And don't forget what Jesus told the young rich man who asked how to get into heaven. Sell all your possessions, Jesus told him.

 

Jesus' eldest brother, James, one of the "pillar" apostles and leader of the Jerusalem Church -- the first Christian Church to ever exist -- sent the apostle Paul out to collect money for the poor (Acts 15) and, in his epistle, he speaks on this issue with real moral clarity.

 

"Go now, you rich men, weep and howl for the miseries that shall come upon you. Your riches are corrupted...."

 

None of this is to say that God is a Marxist or that capitalism has been divinely rebuked, but it does point to an ethical spirit that is being mocked today by the very people who claim to be "Bible believers."

 

Though such social sin is a cause for lamentation, true Bible believers have faith that justice will eventually "roll down like waters" because "whoever blocks his ears at the cry of the poor, he also shall cry, but will not be heard" (Proverbs 21:13).

 

"Bible-believing" market fundamentalists, consider yourselves warned.

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that's really true

if these so called christians actually read and followed the bible, they wouldn't be for a lot of the legislation and other things that occur in our country.

war is not pro-life

cutting funding for health care, welfare, social security, etc, is not helping the sick, the dying the poor or the elderly.

it pisses me off

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On that one, the same thing is happening in India. The Hindu fundamentalists believe that modernization is bad, other minorities are bad. They like to crash Valentine's day but do nothing about the smut coming in Hindi movies as of late. They shut down a movie about lesbians.......yet are perfectly okay with the latest movies that have strippers and prostitutes dancing in strip bars. If we let these mofos as I like to call them, get out of hand, it'll really hurt America. My mom said that unless you know someone personally who is suffering, you cannot make a decision on others' lives I.E. Terry Schiavo. Seriously, these people need to be crushed, they're the fricking KKK of modern society. Since when did filibustering have anything to do with faith? It's all gone downhill, are we really in the 4th major religious revival of America?

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psst... (it would be the third)

 

Not really.

 

1740's-1760's: the Great Awakening. Baptist sects flourish, move from their Rhode Island home and invade the Anglican South, where the poorer, Scots-Irish population eagerly embraces it, while the rich planters loathe it. Methodism is founded. Church attendence increases, Puritan Church becomes Congregational Church.

 

1800's1820's: the Second Great Awakening. Increase in church attendence. Parts of upstate New York have so many revivals that the area along the Erie Canal around Rochester gets the name the "Burned-over District". The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (Mormons) is founded.

 

1920's: Various kinds of church, mainstream and otherwise are founded. Billy Sunday energizes the first Fundamentalist wave, supported by William Jennings Bryan. Bryan serves as prosecutor for the State of Tennessee in the Scopes Trial (Tennessee law against the teaching of evolution, passed by Fundamentalist pressure). Weird sects also appear, notably in (you guessed it) California, where Aimee McPhearson establishes an emotionalist church.

 

1980s-present: Current religious revival. No explaination needed.

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You win.

 

 

 

 

Third Great Awakening

 

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

 

The Third Great Awakening was a period in American history from 1886 to 1908. It is also called the Missionary Awakening.

 

The Awakening (one of several Great Awakenings throughout US history) began with the Haymarket Riot and the student missionary movement, rose with agrarian protest and labor violence, and climaxed in the revivalist candidacy of William Jennings Bryan in 1896. Gilded Age realism came under harsh attack from trust-blasting muckrakers, Billy Sunday evangelicals, "new woman" feminists, and chautauqua dreamers. After radicalizing and splitting the Progressive movement, the passion cooled when William Howard Taft succeeded Theodore Roosevelt in the White House.

 

[edit]

 

 

Causes of the Third Great Awakening

 

After the American Civil War, the country was in the throes of the Industrial Revolution. Cities were packed full of poor factory laborers, the proletariat of Marxist theory. According to the ideals of the Second Great Awakening, men (and women) were improvable by their own works. Material failure was the punishment of sin. This was cold comfort to the impoverished working class.

 

In 1859, The Origin of Species was published, undermining the infallibility of the Bible, the foundation of traditional Christianity. Social Darwinism, a philosophy that essentially states that natural selection was also aplicable to social life, developed.

 

In the face of this rationalistic, materialistic onslaught on traditional religion, an irrational and spiritual movement arose: Spiritualism. Although this movement was not a part of the later Third Great Awakening, its rise was a sign that the theological synthesis that developed in the wake of the Second Great Awakening was cracking.

 

[edit]

 

 

The New Sects of the Third Great Awakening

 

The challenge of the Third Great Awakening was to create new belief systems in the face of proof that the Bible was no longer infallible. Because of this, many of the new sects created or made popular during the Third Great Awakening were atheistic or materialistic in nature. This could be why much less attention has been paid to it, compared to the earlier First and Second Great Awakenings.

 

Socialism and Communism, which some consider atheistic, or at least materialistic, religions, became popular. Atheism and agnosticism themselves became popular. Secular Humanism, which is a moral atheistic/agnostic ethos, developed.

 

A more moderate approach, Modernist Christianity attempted to reconcile the teachings of the Bible with the new scientific theories.

 

The Salvation Army charity/denomination arrived in America in 1880. Although it was theologically based on the ideals of the Second Great Awakening, its concentration on the suffering of the poor was of the Third.

 

A reactionary movement, Fundamentalism rejected any "proof" that the Bible was infallible.

 

[edit]

 

 

Age Location in History:

 

 

  • The Gilded Generation was entering elderhood. As young zealots prepared for the 1898 invasion of Cuba, virtually all of America's aging Gilded luminaries urged peace and caution. The young didn't listen to them, and chose to remember the Maine instead of Gettysburg.
  • The Progressive Generation was entering midlife. After spending half their lives adapting to a Gilded-built world, the Progressives started taking cues from the young.
  • The Missionary Generation was coming of age. "Onward Christian soldiers, rip and tear and smite/Let the gentle Jesus bless your dynamite" sang the Wobblies in 1905.
  • The Lost Generation was being born. Children of the 1890s were America's most tough-minded ever, growing up fast amid gangs, drugs, saloons, big-city immigration, and an emotional climate ranging with evangelical fervor and social reform.

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Woo hoo! We won, rep points, party time!

Let's get back on subject, anyone else willing to say anything?

  • Upvote 1

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