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Malignant Christianity

Yesterday, Fresh Air with Terry Gross featured an interview with Rachel Tabachnik who recently wrote a post at Alternet about a new religious movement called the New Apostolic Reformation. Paul Rosenberg wrote a followup post titled “The Biggest Religious Movement You Never Heard of: Nine Things You Need to Know About Rick Perry’s Prayer Event“.  I highly recommend these pieces to those of you who are not familiar with this new cult of evangelicals who are planning to conduct spiritual warfare on an institution or religious affiliation near you.

I don’t know what effect they will have on the political system if they ever get a politician in the White House but if we give them some rope, they just might hang themselves.  I call them malignant because they really don’t care what sect of Christianity *you* believe.  There is only one truth according to them and it is the one they define.  They have absolutely no respect for your religious beliefs.  They don’t believe in tolerance.  They’re cultlike in that they have cultivated a mindset and thought stopping ideas and it is impossible to argue with them.  You can’t reason with people whose minds exist in a parallel universe.  They are end timers who put their faith only in God.  They are waiting for a critical mass of Jews to accept Christ before the end.  Unlike some evangelicals, they don’t necessarily believe in the Rapture.  They expect that they will have to go through the tribulations on earth before Jesus comes.

In many respects, they are indistinguishable from Jehovah’s Witnesses.  This is pretty surprising.  When I was a kid, Jehovah’s Witnesses were thought of as eyes-glazed-over zealots with no sense of humor and a stubborn streak of anti-intellectualism.  Now, a whole new generation of evangelicals has adopted their theology lock, stock and barrel and probably don’t even know it.

These new apostles claim they don’t belong to any church.  They belong to a movement.  Their movement is obsessed with the idea of demons everywhere, another feature of Jehovah’s Witnesses.  Yep, if you are a freemason in the Midwest, you just might find a bunch of these people standing on the lawn to your temple, driving a stake in the grass and praying fervently to drive the demons out.  In most other respects, they are like the religious right.  Adamantly anti-abortion, they also think that homosexuality is perverted.  It’s not just that they think it’s immoral, the very thought of gay sex is mentally and emotionally revolting to them.  I find this aspect really weird but it does tell you something about the age of some of these participants.  Bedroom practices for gay and straight couples don’t really differ a lot these days but you don’t hear the religious right spazzing out about married heterosexuals performing oral or anal sex.  If it’s immoral to use the wrong orifice, it’s wrong for anyone who does it.  Consistency, people.  It would make you a whole lot more credible.

They also seem to think that the government has too much of a safety net and that the responsibility for helping people in need belongs to the church.  This is really strange because these people don’t belong to physical churches and they detest the mainstream religious institutions so who’s supposed to be doing this stuff for the poor?  And what do the poor have to give up in exchange?  It’s funny how these people think the unemployed are parasites after people such as myself paid more in taxes in a year than some of them made in salary.  We’re out of work but we still pay taxes on severance benefits (if we’re lucky enough to get them) and our unemployment checks.  But when the severance is gone, so are the taxes.  You’d think that the New Apostolic Reformation would be banging down the doors of Congress to get politicians to focus on unemployment but you would be wrong.  Because these new apostles don’t believe in the government of man.  They’re waiting for the end time to come.  Any effort towards solving the economic crisis would be a waste of time and besides, that would deprive them of their ability to look down on anyone not like them.

I call it malignant.  It spreads and it causes great harm to the body without providing any positive benefits.  Tabachnik says it’s gaining in popularity but I would hazard a guess that it will become a lot less popular after 2012 when the obsession with Mayan numerology takes its course and we’re all still here in January 2013. Or when Glenn Beck exhausts his good will among the survivalists.  Or when Rupert Murdoch finally has to explain himself before a Congressional committee.

But keep the malignancy aspect in the forefront of your mind.  The New Apostolic Reformation has nothing to offer this country or the world or you personally.  The politicians who pander to it probably don’t either.

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26 Responses

  1. Do these extremist religious types really think that any sane person would want to spend an eternity with them? I suggest that if there is a heaven & a hell that they would make hell look like a very pleasant alternative.

    • I grew up in a jehovah’s witness house even though I never was one. The thought of a new earthly paradise free from any kind of stress or conflict or sex just never appealed to me. That doesn’t mean I approve of evil or bad stuff. It’s just that what they envisioned reduced humans to the state of cows on an eternal green pasture. There would be no reason to strive. It would be a permanently blissed out state of all you can eat fodder and sunshine.

      It would be a mistake to say these people are stupid. They’re not. They are just intensely conformist. And they are fearful. Their concept of god is capricious, vengeful and irrational. He punishes innocent children for the behavior of their parents. He wipes entire cities off the map because some of the residents are gay. And their interpretation of the mystic visions of a obscure apostle mean much more to them than the gospels themselves. Revelations was almost deleted from the bible. Which idiot decided to keep it in? That person pretty much screwed the rest of us over big time.

      But anyway, they rely on other people to think just like them. I think it’s because this theology is so bizarre and improbable that you might question your own sanity if you were the only one to subscribe to it. They want to believe it so intensely that nothing and no one else matters. It is the ultimate wish fulfillment. But as my dad used to say, “wishing doesn’t make it so”.

      • Several good points RD – I heard the Terry Gross interview and started doing some research on my own -this is a massive movement – and we are at a critical time here in the US with millions hurting so it wouldn’t be surprising to see poor, beleagered people turning to “promises” – isn’t that what we saw in 2008? Promises unfulfilled!

  2. “They are waiting for a critical mass of Jews to accept Christ before the end.”

    They are going to have a long wait!

    Roz in NJ/NYC

    • The question is, when do we get to that critical mass? How many conversions are enough?

  3. I was thinking the other day, what happen to the promise keepers? That as going to take over as well. It’s good to keep an eye on such
    people, but I’ve seen a number of such movements flame up and die out to be replaced by the next one. They love the honey moon phase of such things.

    But I was also thinking perhaps we should not criticize Obama for his laziness so much , ….if Perry is installed, we might call the times of Barry always on the links, the good old days …sigh Perry sems like a busy guy. That’s worrisome

    • In a way, maybe we should just let them take over. Once people see just how illogical and destructive they really are, they can stop focusing on paradise and start paying attention to who’s stealing their living standard. Maybe the infection has to be so putrid that even Republicans can’t stand it.

      OTOH, if the Democrats hadn’t expelled the old coalition, ignored their votes or neglected their economic situation, the movement wouldn’t be picking up so many adherents who see the country declining with no end in sight. Fixing the unemployment problem and the financial system would have gone a long way to drain that swamp.

      • Fixing the unemployment problem and the financial system would have gone a long way to drain that swamp.

        no doubt about it

        That fact Tabachnik was on Fresh Air is interesting….Gross is still stained deep purple from the Obotaid. Everything like this helps Obie of course to look at least sane and like a Dem …not surprised Terry had Tabachnik on the show

        • Don’t be so sure that this helps Obama. In 2008, Obama went out if his way to court evangelicals. The NAR people may not like Obama or believe he is a Christian but that won’t stop Obama from offering them something in exchange for peeling off a few votes he thinks he needs. He haf Rick Warren at his coronation and Donny McClurkin on the campaign trail. The Democrats that ran on Obama’s platform expunged all references to reproductive rights from their websites.
          I can’t wait for 2012 to be over and for some of these apostles to wonder what the hell they were thinking.

  4. I’ve come to the conclusion that most protestants in this country are not actually Christians in any sense of the word. They seem to think that the only requirement of being a Christian is to accept Jesus as your lord and savior. Once they do that then they can do anything they want and all will be forgiven as they have the get out of hell card.

    Never mind that Christianity is actually a way of thinking, seeing the world and living your live as an unselfish person following the ideas and tenets of Jesus. It is about helping the poor. It is about paying your taxes. It is about dealing fairly with your customers. It is about feeding those who need food, clothing those who need clothes and sheltering those who need shelter. As far as I can tell, Christianity isn’t about insuring your place in Heaven but really about dedicating your life to being more than what we actually are.

    I always find it so confusing to me when people try to convert me and chastise me for not believing and yet the only reason they want to be a Christian is so that they can get the ultimate reward. I think the actual payoff to being a Christian is following the teachings of Christ as laid out by the New Testament and living your life with quality, dignity and humanity. Everything else is just window dressing.

    • I apologize for the sloppy grammar. I was just trying to say that to me Christianity is more of a lifestyle and a commitment to doing what is right. The perplexing thing about many of our Christians is that they do exactly the opposite of what Jesus taught. It is such a powerful and strange disconnect that it seems as if many are just using Christianity as the cover to do whatever they want without being questioned.

      • hey I was sort of saying the same thing before I saw your disconnect post….yep

        I apologize for the sloppy grammar

        You’ll have to do alot worse than that to warrant a “me sorry” lol! .

    • The next time you meet one and she/he starts proselytizing, look them in the eye and say firmly without smiling, “no, thank you”. If the persist, say it again and then move away from them. They are counting on you to be polite and engage with them socially so they can draw you in. You must make a point to isolate them.

    • I’m a Christian of the protestant persuasion… I am not interested in converting or interested in your “salvation” – I’m just clarifying the Christian things to help.

      It is easy to conflate the ideals for “good” Christians with requirements for admission to Heaven. I know there are some religious organizations (or lack of organization) where the admission to heaven is treated as a quid pro quo sort of thing, but Christians are supposed to be saved by Grace alone through the sacrifice of Jesus.

      We aren’t required to do anything to be saved. When Jesus said the believers would be saved, he didn’t say they had to do anything to make that happen but that the work was done by God through the sacrifice.

      • Good answer! Butcha know, the NAR apostles would not consider your brand of Protestant christianity as legitimate. That’s the whole point of their movement. It doesn’t matter what you believe if your brand does not meet their criteria. That’s why it is pointless to argue with them or try to justify your beliefs. They aren’t interested in your beliefs and have no respect for them or you as a person. All they are interested in is getting you to accept only their version of Christianity. If you don’t, you may be under the power of demons.
        So, don’t engage them in conversation. I guarantee that it is pointless. Just say no thanks and move on. Their brains are on autopilot and they have deliberately suppressed their own personalities in order to fit in to this movement. That’s what they want for you too.

        • Yes, I’m sure you are right.

          I wouldn’t bother to argue with the malignant Christian or even some Baptists. It doesn’t matter what we argue or decide anyway since it isn’t up to us how the rules are established or carried out. That is what I find amazing, people who think they can declare the will of God and make it so.

    • Oh, one more thing – I have no idea if there is a God or a heaven. I think there is and that is the “faith” thing – but I’d also live by these same ideals even if I didn’t believe in God because caring for the poor and standing up for social justice is the right thing to do just from the perspective of human suffering.

      Horrible people would probably still be horrible even if they became Athiests. It isn’t God that prompts them to be evil.

  5. What I find odd is they go on and on about “their Jesus” , but quote only the Old testament .If they read the Sermon on the Mount, they would call it a commie manifesto for welfare queens on drugs.

  6. They do not just wait for the end days. They actively work to bring the end days about. They don’t need to be a majority to be dangerous. How many members did the Trotsky-Lenin Bolsheviks need to take power in an anarchic and disordered Russia?

    Colonel Lang at Sic Semper Tyrannis had a guest-post by Adam Silverman PhD called: Seeking Dominion? It briefly touches on Dominionism and the Dominionists, and gives many sources for further reading. Some of the commenters in the thread give links about the NARs in particular. Here is the link to “Seeking Dominion?”
    http://turcopolier.typepad.com/sic_semper_tyrannis/2011/08/seeking-dominion.html#tp

  7. People get religion during hard times.

    This is anecdotal but I remember reading about some economist that tracked hem lines compared to how well off the country was. The lower economy the lower the hem on women’s dresses and skirts.

  8. In my 20’s I avoided Born Agains who were intent on “saving” me, in my 30’s it was the EST crowd, By 40, the traditional “Christian” push was an obvious testosterone trip for men to subordinate otherwise strong, mentally challenging women. In the past ten years, since the day I worked the polls for Kerry, flanked by a lovely woman who all but worshipped George Bush and begged for votes for him. By the end of the day, Kerry’s lead had evaporated and Bush was re-elected by bible thumping fundies who soon dropped out of religion AND politics when they arrived at the realization that their Trust had been used as a weapon. Such Evangelism leads to one of two things: one either recognizes that religion is no substitute for Faith, or forcing Religion into a civilized person’s life is a way to make money.

    • And these ‘good Christians’ are the ones who helped to conduct the election fraud that shoved Chicken George Bush down our throats for 8 long miserable years. We were hoping this misery was over when Bush departed by alas Obama seems to have turned into Bush III. In short we have been lied to and our Constitution has been trampled by the thugs who have ruled this country far too long. Now the question is how to get rid of them. I see no reason why we cannot have a strong Independant party if we work at it. One that truly works for supporting the Constitution of the US and not the Corporations of the US and beyond. One that practices separation of church and state but it will take one helluva fight to pry loose the corrupt Republicans and Democrats.

  9. One more note…. I am almost 70 yrs old and one thing that has always p*ssed me off is having only two sorry partys to choose between. If this country was truly represenative, we would have at least a half dozen active political partys. Someone suggested in another forum a few days ago that we should adopt the parlimentary type government that the British have. I’m not an expert on that type government but I could sure enough enjoy having a president who had to asnwer to the Congress on a regular basis the way the Prime Minister has to do in England. And wouldn’t it be nice to vote them out more frequently when they screw up?

    I tend to think that this might attract the interest of a lot more people.

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