American evangelical Christianity is now in crisis

The editor-in-chief of Christianity Today is warning that evangelical Christianity is moving too far to the right, to the point that even Jesus’s teachings are considered “weak” now.

By NotSoNew | 9 August 2023
Daily Kos

(Credit: YouTube / screengrab)

Okay, so in full disclosure as a pre-teen I was “born again,” but by my mid-teens I became an atheist, which is still where I stand today. I have pretty strong views on the damage religion has done to society through the ages. However, I understand and accept that religious belief can have positive effects on a case-by-case basis, if this explains your situation, then I am all for it.

That said, this diary isn’t about general religious belief and it isn’t intended to bash all believers, it’s about the specific beliefs held by a select group of American Christian Nationalists. I am not picking a pie fight, everyone has a right to believe what they want, but we need to call attention to this group of Christians because they pose a significant threat to our greater society.

At the same time, while I agree it’s not “all Christians”, I also have to question the idea that it’s not a large portion, even possibly a majority of Christian believers in America? We humans are often blinded by the bubbles we inhabit. If you are a good, kind Christian, I suspect you tend to be surrounded by other good, kind Christians and you may not be aware of just how widespread the “bad” version of Christianity actually is.

I could be wrong, but I don’t think this toxic version of Christianity is as isolated as many good Christians wish to believe it is. Christian nationalism is a very small part of our greater society but I question just how small that footprint is inside of American Christianity as a subset.

​​​​​​Anyway, NPR has an interesting, if downright scary, article about the crisis of American Evangelical Christianity. Without infringing on fair use, this is the meat of the article (but it is still a good and important read so please check out the link).

Russell Moore was one of the top officials in the Southern Baptist Convention.

On why he thinks Christianity is in crisis:

It was the result of having multiple pastors tell me, essentially, the same story about quoting the Sermon on the Mount, parenthetically, in their preaching — “turn the other cheek” — [and] to have someone come up after to say, “Where did you get those liberal talking points?” And what was alarming to me is that in most of these scenarios, when the pastor would say, “I’m literally quoting Jesus Christ,” the response would not be, “I apologize.” The response would be, “Yes, but that doesn’t work anymore. That’s weak.” And when we get to the point where the teachings of Jesus himself are seen as subversive to us, then we’re in a crisis.

Ya think you are in a crisis?

I think you were “in a crisis” long before you reached this point. The cult worship of guns and money from your congregations over the last how many ever decades wasn’t a clear roadsign to the cliff you eventually ran off when they wholeheartedly backed Trump? Somehow NOW you are in a crisis?

I get that a “normal Christan” would see these Christians as not real Christians, but that’s where your religion is leading some of these folks.

It’s a short read but well worth checking out.

One last comment, if I may editorialize for a moment. I started this diary by saying that I am an atheist but I also see that religion can have positive effects on individual lives.

I do NOT think all Christians are like the idiots I posted about above. I can already read the replies saying “these are not real Christians”, and while I would mention that they would say the same of you, I think the more important point is that while I don’t equate your Christian beliefs with theirs, I do feel you are in a much better position to counter their advances than an atheist such as I.

I don’t attend Sunday mass, I don’t go to Bible study, I don’t hang out at Christian social events…. but believers such as yourself do. If you are on the good side of Christianity, then you have an obligation to speak out against these people in your congratulations and in your religious community because it’s your congregation and your religious community not mine. I wouldn’t be in that setting in the first place and they wouldn’t listen to me even if I were.

This is exactly what Russell Moore himself is recommending when he says:

I don’t think we fix it by fighting a war for the soul of evangelicalism. I really don’t think we can fix it at the movement level. And that’s one of the reasons why, when I’m talking to Christians who are concerned about this, my counsel is always “small and local.”

SE Cupp: Is Jesus too woke for Trump evangelicals?

Christian Nationalism On The Rise

How a new Christian right is changing US politics – BBC News

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