When I was kid, by the rule of my mother, I attended church every time the church-doors opened. It was one of those “holy-roller” churches where the pastor was a “fire & brimstone” preacher, always preaching how fearsome hell was going to be for us unless we all fell to our knees and begged God to forgive us of our sins. Very little was said about how wonderful Heaven would be; it was all about instilling the fear of hell in us sinners.
The church was a small one – maybe 35 to 50 members – where everyone knew everybody else. As such the preacher and good brothers & sisters all knew who was and wasn’t “saved”. Therefore the objective at the end of each service was to get the sinners down to the alter to be prayed over for salvation, which, at times, could result in an hour or more of prayer. Inevitably one or two sinners would be singled out as targets.
I was one of those targets more than once. My name would be called out by the preacher which signaled one or more of the elders to approach me and begin the fearmongering about how I didn’t want to go to hell. When I didn’t respond to their verbal urging, they would take me by the hand and all but drag me to the alter. In fact, if there was any resistance by me, the arm pulling began — literally.
As a result of these bullying tactics by the elders, I remember thinking more than once that I would never go to church again. But I didn’t have the say-so; Mama prevailed each time. But the point is that it was the good-ol’ born-again Christians who were driving me away.
Evidently I wasn’t the only person who highly resented the practice of “forced-salvation”; over the years I knew of several who suddenly stop attending church after becoming a victim of those “bound for heaven” good folks. In plain fact, it was the “Christians” who were driving people away from God. Now, some 60 years later, I am witnessing the same results albeit for a different reason.
I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve heard the Christian and conservative right declare that a war is being waged on Christianity by liberals and left-leaning Democrats. That’s about as much bullshit that can come out of anyone’s mouth. There is a war being waged on Christianity alright, but the war is from those claiming to be the victims.
I seem to have read something before that said the only opposition to Christians is due to their hatred, intolerance and oppression of anyone who doesn’t look like them, think like them and/or act like them. Note that’s it NOT CHRISTIANITY they’re opposed to — it those so-called “Christians” who are spewing the hatred and intolerance that Jesus himself preached against.
Unfortunately Christianity is becoming a victim; but it’s due to the Christians’ hatred — not liberals. Tell me – what sort of person in their right mind would want to become part of a society that has so much hatred and intolerance for others? Their attitude today is ‘other Americans have freedoms and rights just as I do — but only if they embrace the same things I cherish’.
They sound more like radical Muslims than a true Christian.
Never underestimate the difficulty of changing false beliefs [with] facts.
Economist Henry Rosovsky