Guns & Churches: A Look at Fundamentalist Ideology & Paranoia

    Brian Worley 

   [ The Rapture; The Environment; Theocracy; Uncle Sam; Masons ]

I want to remind the Christian of Thomas Merton’s book entitled, “No man is an island”. What you, the Christian believes, often affects the lives of others. If Christian’s were an island, some of these twisted ideas that I will proceed to highlight would be limited to your own community. But since we share this planet together, we would like for you to conduct yourselves properly and to be a good neighbor before your great escape (the rapture) comes!  

(The Rapture)…Escape from Reality 

Fundamentalists live with the expectation that Jesus could suddenly return for the church. This glorious future event is termed “the blessed hope or the rapture” by Christians. Think of the motion of a yo-yo (if you are not familiar with this aspect of the Bible). Jesus comes down alone from the clouds, gathering all believers of the earth (even awakening the dead resting in their graves), and then makes a U-turn back up towards the Heavens taking all of the Christians with him! This rapture ideology caters to adapting short-range plans, while forsaking long-term strategic planning. I recall several students dropping out of Bible school stating that Jesus is coming soon. They said they needed to quickly “win people to Christ” before it was too late!  Personally, I thought that they were just lazy and undisciplined.  

(The Environment)…Pigeons Leave a Mess as Well!  

This rapture expectation provokes impulsive and irresponsible living. To illustrate the damaging effects of this ideology just look at our environment! The environment isn’t such a big priority to many Christians because they think that this short-term problem becomes a moot point when Jesus returns. Everyone knows that owners will generally take better care of their residences than renters do. Christians are just passing through this world. They remind me of pigeons, they strut their fat carcasses around selfishly fighting for their desires while seeking to adapt in places that weren’t meant for them to dwell. They take what they can get only to fly away, leaving an unsightly mess for another to clean.  

What is important to Christians is to praise God, proclaim “the truth”, and bring the heathen to Jesus!  They count on everyone else to disregard their social annoyances while crying when they are denied an indulgence.  Recently, a coalition of ministers became bold enough to openly defy the IRS by delivering political sermons and endorsing candidates. Being aggressive doesn’t faze many Christians today and sadly peacemaking has given way to making war! Why is this? It is due to an inner view that they “hold the truth”! Christian’s subjective truth needs to evade objective truth for it’s survival, while ignoring the threat of reason. Whatever happened to “Come let us reason together”? 

Disingenuous “truth” proclaimed by those seeking a Theocracy  

Those that can comprehend simple statements clearly see that some Christians today are being disingenuous when they proclaim “the truths of Jesus”. This is especially true when the scriptures deny them of something that they personally want to do. They won’t let the scriptures block their wishes, so they just manipulate the Bible to fit their desires. What is so Christian about churches when they are defiant to their own master’s instructions?  I will give you a clear example of one such manipulation concerning the subject of a theocracy. John 18:36 plainly states “Jesus answered, My kingdom is not of this world: if my kingdom were of this world, then would my servants fight”. You might ask, where is the location of this kingdom that Jesus spoke of? The kingdom isn’t of this world and never will be! Luke 17:20 states “The kingdom of God cometh not with observation: 21 Neither shall they say, Lo Here! Or lo there! For, behold the kingdom of God is within you. Christ taught that the kingdom of God was within the hearts of men. This kingdom is/was to be peaceful!  Romans 14:17 states “For the kingdom of God is not meat and drink; but righteousness, and peace”. This is what an honest minister would espouse, not a version of Dominion theology that would be used as a “springboard” to usher mankind into some type of theocracy!   

Christians as sheep follow Biblically illiterate men that are either damn stupid or wickedly immoral! With just these few verses, I have Biblically documented the ignorance of those that seek to establish an earthly theocracy and proven that no physical kingdom was ever intended or implied by Jesus according to the scriptures!  

Who will come first: Jesus or Uncle Sam?  

On one hand you have those that seek to establish a theocracy, on the other hand you have those who fear that the government is out to get Christians. Can you imagine the government (Uncle Sam) rounding up Christians? Christians can be annoying but the only subject that is going to attack you is the voice of reason! I submit to those of you that may not understand the fundamentalist mindset that many of these fundies are so damn paranoid that an agent of Satan (Uncle Sam) has diabolical plans for the church!  A number of churches are so prepared to meet a challenge like this that they are “lock and loaded” with firearms illegally every Sunday in their sanctuaries! This problem needs addressing before someone with an “itchy” finger makes a mistake and an innocent person gets killed!  

Guns in churches, this is a deep, complex problem that needs immediate attention! I’m certain that this will be news to many people. Personally, I doubt that anyone is strategically working upon this or even realizes that such a problem exists! Were another Knoxville, TN type of shooting incident to occur in a fundamentalist church, I don’t think that the taxpayers would have to foot the bill for the prosecution….just tag the toe and save the dough (if you know what I mean)! I don’t like the thought of excitable, paranoid people having guns in tax-exempt churches. 

Some Christian will probably write and remind me of Foxe’s Book of Martyr’s and the fate of those Christians. I would remind them that often it was a different type of church with the bloody hands, not the government!  

To those of you that are familiar with Ex-minister, some may wonder or suspect that my alma mater, Tennessee Temple University (TTU), wasn’t all that radical for a fundamentalist school. In fact it wasn’t, I should mention that initially I had enrolled at the radical Trinity Baptist College (TBC) in Jacksonville, Florida. If  I were so inclined, there would be so many negative things that I could say about that school. Suffice to say, I was exposed to the radical roots of fundamentalism at TBC (people like Jerry Falwell were regular guest speakers for those with Pastoral majors). I became uncomfortable realizing that something just wasn’t right at this school and transferred to TTU after my sophomore year. I mention this for clarity and to introduce the last topic of paranoia of this article, the subject of Masonry. 

Christian Paranoia about Masonry  

Many Christian authors have written negatively about the Masons. For the record, I am not a Mason, nor have I been approached to join or write an article such as this. We do have something in common though; Christians persist to dump their Satanic idea upon us with hope that this slander might stick! 

Fundies would tell you that upon reaching the Shriner level (30th degree), that these Masons adopt Satan as their master. This is a serious charge and thus you see why I would include this subject when I discuss Christian paranoia. Being freed from the tyranny of my previous Christian dogma, I now have a few logical questions to ask the Christian practitioner here! 

1.   If this were true (Mason’s being Satanist), then why would any fundy that is so zealous for “the truth” ordain an upper level Mason into the ministry or allow them to join a church?

2.   If this were true, doesn’t your scriptures teach that God will ultimately subdue Satan? What, do you think that your God’s omniscience and omnipotence is slipping and that you need to do your God’s handiwork here and now?

3.   If this were true, don’t you realize that Masons are required to acknowledge a higher power (God)? Wouldn’t this then put them in higher esteem then you would give to an atheist? My point is why the slander and who are you to judge? 

Since leaving the faith, I see things much differently than before. The secrecy surrounding Masonry will always make people suspicious about what they do. One thing for sure, no one in their right mind can ignore the many positive contributions that Masons have accomplished in history and with charitable causes like the many children’s hospitals that they operate. 

I will close with this thought. Christians often delight in labeling those that don’t share their faith in an undesirable manner. Your labels would be fair if they could pass an objective test for truth and reason. I mention this here in this context because of the dual, parallel concept of God and Satan that exists within the Christian religion. If you believe in the Christian God then of necessity you must admit to the concept or personage of Satan.  Irreligious people realize that the fictional Satan/God idea is utilized somewhat like the Santa Claus concept is towards children. The child may think that Santa is for real, while the adult understands the metaphor. The metaphor is harmless as long as no one suffers! 

The most clear-cut reason that I know the Christians are wrong about Masons is that there is NO Satan to worship or to follow! Satan is just a metaphor that Christians don’t seem to understand! Upon cross-examination, these faith-based subjects and ideology have been shown to be a detriment to society.  A good man seeks to right the wrongs that he was responsible for in life. Dear Christian, think about it! 

Brian Worley     October 26, 2008    All rights reserved

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