Thank you, Jim. I stand duly chastised for my misanthropic tendencies...as well as comforted by your gentle faith, which gives me some hope that men can still glean from Christ's example a model for living. I'm sure that there must be a not-insignificant component of those proclaiming themselves Christian who believe just that - that the example of Christ is a model for living. Unfortunately, that component seldom seems to get a turn at the microphone.Jim wrote:Unless one's God is Jesus, who said to love your enemy, to not fear those who can kill the body, and not resist one who is evil. The New Testament teaches that Jesus' suffering (allowing evil people to hurt him) is an example Christians are called to follow. A belief in resurrection makes a difference.dillon wrote: Theocracy DEMANDS blood sacrifice, for how else can man demonstrate his devotion but through the most lethal and drastic means, and with the greatest bloodletting? For doesn't GOD deserve TOTAL OBEDIENCE? Doesn't he COMMAND it? Isn't devotion to GOD worthy of the extermination of all who think differently? Violence in a theocracy is not only likely, it is ESSENTIAL.
My own dismay with theology in general, and theocracy in particular, I think is shared by increasing numbers of Americans. The Pew Research Center (and in this case Pew is not a pun, just a name) regularly conducts a survey on Religion and Public Life, and I find it very interesting. https://www.pewforum.org/religious-landscape-study/ The data shows a diminishing role for Religion in general for America's young people. And analysis suggests that youth is abandoning religion largely due to its trend toward politicization. And that reflects my own experience, although I am no longer a young man.
I was raised in a rural Methodist church, and in the 1960s knew it as a place of comfort, community, and family. I drifted from church-going as a college student, and was away from the environment for two decades. When my own children were small, I returned, wanting them to have the same kinship and and community that I had known. But it seemed the entire faith was very different; I could no longer recognize it. It had become not that place of community and family, but a sort of "Country Club" of superficial belief, a congregation united by socioeconomic class and politics rather than by fellowship. And a place where I felt constantly pressured to "drink the koolaid", to testify, to write progressively bigger checks. It wasn't a uniting faith as I recollected it. I was disheartened, and disenchanted.
I live in a community where "Butler Building" churches pop up like weeds, where people shop for their religious experiences as if in a mall. And it's all about "drinking the koolaid". I just can't relate, and won't care to until there comes some reconciliation between conscience and church culture, between righteous rhetoric and reality.
So it's really no surprise to me that youth may be viewing religion with suspicion and confusion. And that they drift away from it entirely, even at a time when mega-churches, of the airwaves and internet as well, are flush with massive quantities of tax-free cash. What can be done to bring the example of Christ as a model for living to them...through all the noise and fog and mixed messages? We talk about fake and murky news, how no one knows which spin to believe...but the same is true for religion, and getting yet murkier.
https://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2 ... -religion/
But, I digress, and again offer thanks for your gentle response. Perhaps a quiet faith is the example we all need.