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Fundamentalism Leads Mostly to a Sanitation Problem

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Fundamentalist Christian leaders love a good Middle East war as long as it doesn't affect them personally. Every time sabres rattle and armies move around to torment the common folk, who simply want to be left alone, they become almost giddy over the imminent return of Jesus. "Boy, you can sure tell it's almost time for Jesus to return," they will drool. Of course, this sham has been going on for 2000 years now and "Behold I come quickly," as noted in the Book of Revelation, has dragged on and on with only rotting bodies to show for it.

Now we live in a time where it even feels like the leaders in government seem to feel that if they just push and pull the right way, they can orchestrate the Second Coming. We should have paid more attention to what the next eight years would be like when the President announced the axis of evil.

John Hagee, the rotund and mouthy fundamentalist TV Evangelist, who has turned alleged Bible prophecies of just what exactly, for sure, you betcha believe it, will happen, into influence peddling, is busily running around encouraging war with Iran to fit his plan for our salvation. "Hagee has spent the past six months mobilizing popular support for a war with Iran. Based on his end-times prophecy … and false claims that Iran is just months away from a viable nuclear weapon, Hagee maintains that confrontation with Iran is necessary to fulfill God's plan for the future of the world." (Free Speech War) With charts and authoritative pronouncements, the man is just sure he knows what it will take for Jesus to say, "gosh, I better get back there. John Hagee has me scheduled and I mustn't disappoint." He is just one of many evangelicals who think they know but are going to end up with nothing but a huge sanitation problem and no Second Coming. Of course, they can always claim that it's still just around the corner and do, all the days of their lives, for big bucks and ego, until the day they die in the faith and the kids can take over the family Evangelical business that promotes the imminent return of Jesus some more.

Somehow, for humans, it just feels better to think that somewhere, someone knows how it all works out and as I used to say myelf, "I have read the Book, and we win!" Everyone wants to win. Everyone wants to be protected from the wrath to come, even if the wrath that comes is man made and ill conceived. Everyone believes they belong to the right and true church with the right and true way of understanding the absolutely inerrant Bible. The problem is that the Bible, the source of their being so sure just how it all works out, is not inerrant, is often historically inaccurate and the books are often not written by those they think wrote them, nor contain the message they hope means them. All Evangelicals in times past have been the last generation and , of course, have gone to their graves perplexed as to how they could have misread the times so badly.

I know pastor types who genuinely believe they personally are God's chosen Apostles, Watchers and Witnesses. They appoint themselves and go through amazing explanations as to why it's obvious to them and why it should be to you, that they are the chosen ones for you to send your tithes to. They have an amazing history of working for a church, stirring up strife, leaving that church and starting their own. They simply cannot work with or for other people. They offend and bully in the name of Jesus and people come and go in their organizations, offended, hurt and disillusioned with the lifestyles, attitudes and self-absorbed nature of God's chosen. If you put them all in the same room, however, they'd all kill each other trying to get to the top of the heap before someone took their title away from them. Most Christians who follow the charismatic leader types, and this includes in government, don't realize that narcissism, a mental disorder, propels many such people to very high positions of delusion.

It has never ceased to amaze me how gullible and willing to believe anything we humans are if just the right man pushes our buttons. We know that religious types can get you killed by agreeing to drink poison, dress in nice sneakers to lay down and die or allow yourself to burn up in a raging fire. Some today are just sure it is almost time to order the faithful to flee to Petra, in Jordan, or some other safe haven, which they just know is where God is going to hide and protect the true church until God's wrath be past. Do some study on the origins of the Book of Revelation and the deficiencies of it before you "fly to her place." If this is your Church, don't go.

Ideas have consequences. Faith healers, who live rather in your face with their wealth and personal arrogance, seem to intrigue us to the point of practically throwing money at them. We know they aren't really healing the deaf, the blind, the lame or the cancers that plague humans, but we let them bull sh*t us into thinking they do, and no one questions it. Faith healing is one of fundamentalists more cruel tricks they play on each other. I have been to those revivals to hear the healer say that time won't permit all the people in wheelchairs to be brought out and healed, but they are back stage healed and praising Jesus. I got up, went backstage and there they sat in their chairs, depressed and marginalized because there was not time to make a spectacle of them. That bastard was lying plain and simple to thousands and they threw their money at him for it. May his reward be according to his works!

The problem now is that behind all bullying by America and Israel is the idea that somehow it is God's time to set the wheels in motion for the Second Coming of Jesus. What the President does or thinks, somehow is exactly what God is thining, which of course is delusional and an incredibly dangerous way to govern. By this, I mean those governments, not the average person. Most of my friends are more concerned about where this stupidity is leading than hopeful it will bring Jesus back. Most say the Jesus of Fundamentalism would be pretty darn scary. People who want you to live under their idea of Theocracy are not going to settle for not being in charge of it and YOU, in Jesus name.

This President, whose family has presided over the deaths of hundreds of thousands since they came on the American scene, also has the kind of fundamentalist beliefs that wend their way into the daily decision making of our government. I'm not sure these people are really all that religious in the Sermon on the Mount sense, but it's a good show. Well, actually it's not even that. When the President said on an overseas trip that God had told him to strike Sadaam and he did, no one noticed. Imagine if Bill Clinton had said that! What a weird reality we are accepting without questioning where it is going to lead us.

To question an Evangelist or Government official that feels God is telling them what to do and say is akin to questioning God Himself. Of course it isn't, but they are happy if you think that. They can do obscene things for obscene reasons and get away with it, until of course they don't any longer and we get to clean up the mess. One might be "the deceider," but we'd prefer the actual decisions be sane, helpful and encouraging. I don't, maybe it's me, but encouragement, should actually be encouraging to the encouraged. "I'm a war President," is not quite what we had in mind, especially since that seems to mean, "I provoke wars, and peoples and my friends and I make big bucks." Most of my friends have that sinking feeling that this man was not even fairly elected by the people and that voting in the future may or may not reflect the actual will of the people, but I digress.

We do live in dangerous times. But it is because the ideas of people who think they know and speak for God have dangerous delusions about themselves and their direct line to who and what God is and what on earth he is thinking. Time and space would fail to remind us just how many thousands of times in the past 2000 years "God's chosen leaders" have been dead wrong..well actually they have been 100% wrong 100% of the time so far!

Ideas, whether about so called Bible prophecies, the role of the Church in world affairs or of men who for the most part are really self appointed, under educated in theology and origins, scientifically ignorant or resistant to new information, have consequences. We are seeing that unfold every hour on our televisions and will contine to do so as these few make poor decisions that affect the many. If these so called leaders are not careful they will get a huge sanitation problem for all their just knowing the mind of God, and of course charge us to clean it up.

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Dennis Diehl is a former pastor of 26 years,  who outgrew the Literalism of Fundamentalism.  He writes about Pastoral and Church abuse and is available to speak on such topics or be helpful to any church suffering under abusive (more...)

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