Thursday, September 28, 2006

The Trouble with Certainty

The Washington Post discusses John Danforth's book tour where he blames the Christian Right for turning the Republicans into a sectarian party.

"The problem with many conservative Christians is that they claim that God's truth is knowable, that they know it, and that they are able to reduce it to legislative form," Danforth writes. "The popular question, 'What would Jesus do?' can be difficult enough to contemplate with respect to everyday interpersonal relations. It is mind boggling when applied to the complex world of politics."

That problem is especially challenging for charismatic Christians. They believe that they understand the mind of god. Proclaiming to act on behalf of god, their leaders are arrogant and domineering. Rather than serving something that is greater than us, we mistake our personal biases for divine revelation.

It is about the adulation of the leader. And for leaders, it is about the adulation of one self. That is why some charismatic ministers ostentatiously display jewelry, expensive cars, and huge churches. That is why Joseph Smith needed access to every woman imaginable.

God becomes secondary. It is all about them. That's idolatry.


Anonymous Watt Mahoun said...

OMG he's back! Welcome back, Hellmut.

But what if god really does speak through folks like GWB? I'll tell you would sure explain the rebellion in heaven.

HELL NO! We won't go! :)

Anonymous Gabriel Hess said...

Before I left for BYU, I spent a fair amount of time among evangelicals and Catholics, attending many evangelical meetings, youth gatherings, etc. What struck me about it all was the striking difference between the evangelical approach and methods and the LDS approach. Mormons tend to be rather dull and unexciting. Evangelicals, on the other hand, are actually, dare I say it, cool. Evangelicals have live bands at all of their youth gatherings and many of their services. But the difference here is this: While I was at one of these gatherings, I tried to talk to God through silent prayer, ask Him what He thought of all this. I couldn't here Him. Why? The music was too loud. There was a constant stream of high-volume sound almost the entire time. I must say, it was -very- emotional. But it felt different. It was merely emotion I had, not the feeling of the Spirit which I hoped to receive. It sometimes makes me wonder if, as you say, this is a result of mistaking personal biases for divine revelation, or "the Spirit".

Perhaps that's why our meetings are so routine, and our architecture so.....well.....East-West Chapel-ish (need I say more?). If blandness is righteousness, then Utah is Zion, and I might just have to settle for a lower kingdom....

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Very interesting blog.


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