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14 September 2018

Christianity is under attack!

Well duh. But in its defense, let’s not abandon every principle Jesus teaches, shall we?

An acquaintance pointed me to a pro-Christianity group on Facebook. Four hundred members strong, ready to fight to the teeth for Jesus.

…Well, more accurately, they intend to fight for Calvinism. Jesus is in there somewhere. Though you’d never know it from their cage-stage rage, which is pretty far from Christlike. But don’t get the wrong idea; I’m not trying to single out Calvinists. Lots of Christians get this way. Doesn’t matter which -ism they’re promoting.

As I regularly gotta remind Christian apologists, one of the common pitfalls of kicking ass for Jesus, is it’s way more about ass than Jesus. It’s about fighting. Jesus is the excuse. We want a “righteous” justification for anger, for tearing people a new sphincter (metaphorically, I hope!), and what could be more righteous and noble a cause than Jesus?

Plus Jesus is under attack! Christianity is under attack! People wanna get rid of Christians, ban religion, drive us out of the workplace and government and everywhere. Push us underground so our moralizing and sermonizing never, ever comes up. (Particularly anything which condemns their favorite activities.) They want us gone.

So we’re in the fight of our spiritual lives. And you know how desperate, cornered animals get?—willing to fight with everything they have, rather than give up and die? Humans share that very same instinct. We’re willing to do anything it takes to defend Jesus. Anything.

Even if it dips into the human depravity we’re supposed to resist ever since we first started following Jesus. That is, assuming we ever bothered to resist it; assuming we haven’t put new Christianese labels on all our fleshly behavior, which is way easier than repenting and following the Holy Spirit. But because defending Jesus is so important, supposedly we gotta suspend all our efforts towards becoming more like him: Somebody has to get their hands dirty, and defending Jesus and his kingdom is far more important than obeying Jesus and living in his kingdom.

This is precisely why so many Christians go dark—or stay as dark as they were when pagan, and even get a little darker. Why so many Christians are so unlike Christ. It’s a neat little trick which permits us to be evil “for good reason,” because the ends justifies the means.

To these culture warriors, our battle is entirely against flesh and blood. (Scripture to the contrary. Ep 6.12) That’s why they take the fight everywhere they go. To the internet, the street corners, the coffeehouses, the office break rooms, the state legislatures, everywhere. Fight for Jesus. Meanwhile start stocking our End Times bunkers with jerky and rifles. Yeah rifles; in defending the Prince of Peace, certain dark Christians claim we might even need to shoot a few cops in the head.

Inconsistent? Problematic? Downright devilish? Of course.

Of course Christianity is under attack. Still doesn’t justify evil.

Christianity has always been under attack, y’know. Since the very beginning.

And I’m not even talking about the devil’s attacks. Yes, it tried to derail Jesus before he even got started. But plenty of human beings have been eager to help Satan out. There’s all the people who much prefer their own fiefdoms to God’s kingdom. Like the Romans, Galileans, or Judeans in political power in Jesus’s day. Or the Sadducees and Pharisees who held religious authority. Or the antichrists or irreligious people who don’t want a reminder they’re sinners or jerks. Today they all have different labels, but human nature hasn’t changed at all.

Probably the most common form of attack is Christianism, where people imagine they’re Christian and try to pass off their personal preferences or politics as Christianity. They presume Jesus thinks like they do, and in so doing distort the gospel till it suits them best. Phooey on whether it suits Jesus at all.

And when people try to rile up the Christians and get us fighting the wider culture, nearly every time we’re not fighting for Jesus; we’re fighting for Christianism. We’re fighting for human causes, disguised as Christian causes. We’re fighting for somebody’s favorite traditions, their “traditional values,” which might resemble Jesus’s values, but they have none of his fruit, which is what he really values.

They’re kinda hoping we’re too scared or pissed off to ever notice this.

Dictators, cult leaders, partisans, and Christianists all find a bunker mentality comes in handy. Y’see, to quote a whole different religion, fear is the mind-killer. If people are too afraid of enemies, real or imaginary, either way we stop thinking and just react to our fears. If we’re not thinking, we’re not asking questions. Especially not doubting the people we really oughta be doubting.

It’s devilish behavior, but y’know, I’m not even gonna blame Satan for it. Misplaced zeal is such a human trait, it takes very little temptation at all for us to quickly go there.

How Jesus “fights.”

Jesus and his followers really do have real opponents. But Jesus orders us to love our enemies. Mt 5.44 And not in that “tough love” type of fake love, where we hate them but pretend our hostile behavior is really for their good. We really do what’s best for them. They can’t remain our enemies when we make ’em our friends.

We don’t fear them. We don’t resort to their own evil tactics. We don’t invent new evil tactics, then try beating ’em back thataway. We don’t retreat to our bunkers, peer at them from a distance, and lob the occasional grenade at ’em. Jesus ate with sinners. Mt 9.10-13 In contrast, Christianists would never—for fear of being corrupted by them.

Why such a vast difference between Jesus and Christianist attitudes? Simple: Jesus knows he’s mightier than they. He has all the confidence of an infinitely superior force. And we Christians should know we’re mightier than they are, because we have the same Holy Spirit as Jesus.

1 John 4.4 KWL
You’re from God, children; you’ve conquered them.
Because compared with he who’s in the world, he who’s in you, is greater.

Once we’ve had authentic God-experiences, any of those antichrist beliefs, skeptical challenges, and sinful temptations are no contest for what we’ve seen and heard. Once we know God, truly know God, they’re never gonna shake our faith. Only God can, and will—for our good. In fact we’ll have the same kind of crazy boldness the ancient prophets and apostles did—where they willingly stepped into a crowd of pagans, confidently spoke about Jesus, and demonstrated his power where necessary. Same as Paul did on multiple occasions.

When we step out like that, we’ll quickly discover we’re not really the ones under attack. They are. We’re storming hell.

But when we don’t—when we stick to pathetic Christianist fears and petty worldly tactics—of course we’re gonna worry, panic, and hunker down. We’re not operating out of God’s almighty power, y’see. Just our own. Hence the scratching and biting, instead of the benevolent attitude of those who are more than conquerors. Ro 8.37 Hence fruitlessness instead of Christianity.