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American Protestantism Is The New Nationalism


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Guest Bright

I have come to the conclusion that modern evangelical protestant christianity in America essentially boils down to "Anglo-Saxon American Nationalism" in disguise. Actually, all religious movements conceal economic, social and political agendas. The Bible here is considered to be a true contract, like a blood oath, and has found special affinity with Anglos in Southern States, known as the Bible Belt. Professing belief that Jesus Christ is the one and true Savior, and the way to eternal life, seems like an oath, admitting one to a club with access to social, economical and political opportunities. This is a feature found in Judaism and Islam, and are perhaps as old as cults and religions on the planet.

 

Essentially, the Bible is like a mortgage contract, a legal will, guaranteeing access to an exclusive society, and an excuse to segregate from non-believers, disregard responsible political actions, such as environmental preservation and conflict resolution peacefully. And don't leave out the obsession with sexual controls, a kind of eugenics in disguise, perhaps.

 

When understood in this light, this unique variety of Christianity, certainly not shared by the majority of believers worldwide, conceals the nationalist, xenophobic, chauvanistic and warlike features of extremist nationalism. Again, such features can be found in other religions in history, and we can certainly find analogies in fundamentalist Islam today.

 

Well, perhaps this is more than just a rant. I don't see an opportunity for formal debate here, but I welcome input from all present.

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However I say 85.5% of all the Christians have not even read the Bible. They own one but only go by what the cult leader says (I mean Pastor). They never truly follow the contract or laws anyway, and be thankful that Christianity is not what it used to be and it pretty much adapts with society in a way.

 

Also welcome to Exchristian.net enjoy your stay here with all of us heathens.

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I have come to the conclusion that modern evangelical protestant christianity in America essentially boils down to "Anglo-Saxon American Nationalism" in disguise.

 

I'd go along with that, to a large extent. I don't think that's all there is to it, there is a sincere religious basis. But I'm astounded at the number of fundies who point to the success of the United States as proof that there is a God, and that he actively intervenes in human affairs ... and who also at times seem to actually think that somwhere, perhaps in a farmhouse out on the great plains, that God is alive, well, and just waiting for the right moment to step forward and say, "hey, y'all thought my name was Sam Smith, but guess what, it's not ..."

 

The Bible here is considered to be a true contract, like a blood oath, and has found special affinity with Anglos in Southern States, known as the Bible Belt. Professing belief that Jesus Christ is the one and true Savior, and the way to eternal life, seems like an oath, admitting one to a club with access to social, economical and political opportunities.

 

That one, I'd have a problem with. Certainly, if you want to get elected to public office around here (Bible Belt), you have to find some church, show up every week, say all the right things, etc. It's expected. But as far as social and economic opportunities ... well, it sounds like what you're saying is that being a Christian is kinda like joining a college fraternity, based on the members' promises that "you'll make all sorts of connections that'll help you once you graduate." That might be true, but it's also true that hard-core fundy Christianity is the most unpopular fraternity on the block. Despite what it may appear like to the outside world, the Bible-beaters aren't the majority around here; they're just very vocal, and they're more or less tolerated by everyone else; probably because Christianity (including all varieties) is by far the majority religion.

 

Anyway, as far as social and economic opportunities, the fundies may buy into their club, but they also alienate a lot of non-fundies. And there are a lot of those. Basically, if someone became a hard-core fundy for those reasons, they'd be trading the status of "just another fish in a large pond" for "a bigger fish in a very small pond." It goes both ways -- you yourself said that fundies like to segregate themselves from non-believers. And as for the non-believers, well, speaking for the small, rural, Southern town in which I live, in which the fundies are very visible, I can assure you that there is a lot of good old fashioned sin that goes on around here, and those of us who engage in it aren't generally guilt-ridden about it at all. We just don't tell the fundies about it, because they're a real pain in the ass; and we're not gonna tell an outsider like you about it either, because "what goes on here stays here." ;)

 

It's certainly true that Christianity seems to be embraced more ardently and openly in some parts of the South than elsewhere in the US. But there's something else about Southern culture that's often obscured by outsiders' focus on the fundies. That's a very strong streak of individualism and independence. Picture the cliche of a grizzled hick, standing at the door of his house, shotgun in hand, yelling "this is my house, and my land, and I can do whatever I want with it; you get the hell out of here!" Although that's highly exaggerated and caricatured, that's the basic idea. At its worst extreme, this was in fact part of the reason that Jim Crow, masquerading as "states' rights," lasted as long as it did. In the more modern era, it takes the political form of strong distrust of the federal government, coupled with the common sentiment that outsiders who make critical remarks are blathering about things which simply don't concern them. When coupled with the presence of the vocal fundies, this may sound at first glance like it necessarily implies hard-core Jerry Falwell-style religious/political conservatism; but the flip side is that the hard-left crowd that believes that "anything consenting adults do in private is their own business" also gets a friendlier reception than one might suspect. A fundy who preaches in general that adultery is wrong, for example, will get approving nods that range in general from polite to enthusiastic. A fundy who sticks his nose into the lives of specific individuals will get a much different reaction.

 

Essentially, the Bible [provides an excuse for modern evangelical Protestants to] disregard responsible political actions, such as environmental preservation and conflict resolution peacefully. [...] When understood in this light, this unique variety of Christianity, certainly not shared by the majority of believers worldwide, conceals the nationalist, xenophobic, chauvanistic and warlike features of extremist nationalism.

 

I'm not gonna address specifics, I'll just note that you seem to be getting at some political questions for which there are legitimate arguments that can be made on both sides, entirely apart from any religious ideology. I'm an atheist, but I also suspect you and I wouldn't agree on very many of those political questions. My intention by stating this isn't to debate on those issues, just to say that it looks to me like you're oversimplifying them.

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