Read this post on the Friendly Atheist where a liberal Christian makes the observation that atheists accuse her of not being a true Christian, or otherwise having a fundamentally flawed understanding of Christianity, because she supports LGBT rights.
Fair enough. Then read the comments, where comment after comment after comment is a variation of: its in the bible, you don’t believe it, therefore you’re not a real Christian. Erm, you didn’t read the article there, did you?
It occurred to me as I gamely tried to respond, but got intimidated by such a massive wall of stupid, that the fundamentalists have won. They have successfully convinced the world that Christianity is nothing more or different to bible worship. That being a Christian is believing in an inerrant, absolute bible. That the ultimate goal of Christians is to follow every instruction in the bible. We get epic lack of self awareness like:
[after ‘agreeing’ that we shouldn’t tell Christians they aren’t real Christians, returning ad-nauseum to the point that liberal Christians aren’t following the bible:] This seems like a lot of contradiction for a religion or believers in a holy book that is supposed to be somehow timeless, perfect, or even just “inspired” by god.
Yep, High five for Pat Robertson and his cronies there, right out of the fundy play-book.
Of course, you might be thinking, it isn’t just fundamentalists that believe the bible is inspired by God. It is in the creeds and statements of faith of many churches. True, but you have to actually find out what the phrase means. And it seems that fundamentalists have won the PR war to get their vision of theology to be accepted as default, as the right one. Perhaps because it is so simple, and obvious. Perhaps they snare atheists the same way they do new converts: by packaging Christianity in a shiny plastic packaging with a 10 second sound bite.
I don’t blame a blog full of ignorant atheists for not having a grasp of theologies of the bible, nor of not wanting to (heaven knows it isn’t the best way to spend your time). But I find it borderline incomprehensible that you can reply to someone saying “I have a different understanding of how to use the bible to fundamentalists” by saying, effectively, “the fundamentalists are right”. I suspect it greatly pleases the religious right that they’ve got so many atheists parroting their theology. Well done fundamentalists, you won.
But if that sticks, if Christianity only gets to be defined by extremists on the right. Well it probably doesn’t have a very long future. Maybe that’s what these atheists want. Maybe its a calculation, that if they side with the fundamentalists against liberal Christians, they’ll divide and conquer. Maybe. But I suspect there isn’t nearly that degree of awareness going on.