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Toward Better Understanding Christian Right


JenellYB
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As a progressive Christian that sincerely feels trying to understand those Christians more toward the conservative right in hopes of finding better ways to open communication and seek common ground with them, I found this article very good.

 

http://nationalhumanitiescenter.org/tserve/twenty/tkeyinfo/chr_rght.htm

 

 

Jenell

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Jenell,

 

Good analysis. This demonstrates that not all evangelicals are members of the "Christian Right" and not all members of the "Christian Right" are evangelicals.

 

One way I express my values is in political activity and whom I support. So, I while I differ with conservatives on the various issues, I should not deny their right to likewise express their values in political activity.

 

George

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Jenell just being yourself in their midst, I am sure individuals will seek you out and you will be of much service to them. Just be careful of the pearls of wisdom that you have developed, if people don't recognize or respect it then they are not ready to hear it.

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Something really funny about this conservative vs liberal thing....I took a quiz on a website I found (will post link below) supposed to measure how conservative or liberal you are on 5 different points...

 

Shock. On 4 of those points, I actually scored very close to conservatives, much closer to conservative than to liberal. And onthe 5th point, I scoredas more conservative than the conservatives!!!!

 

That tends to support what I've observed before, that I used to consider myself basically middle of the road, maybe just a scootch left of center...that it seemed like it wasn't me that moved, but everybody else started tilting to the right....

 

Jenell

 

http://www.yourmorals.org/

Edited by JenellYB
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I have found over the years that you can not communicate with someone who has already made up their mind. Once thinking stops, the ability to communicate anything other than their conclusions ends as well.

 

Fundamentalism or fundamentalism has nothing to do with morals but has to do with mental inflexability. Everyone who disagrees with me is wrong because the bible tells me so.

 

We had a very conservative interim minister a few years ago who is a wonderful man and good friend. He is no fundamentalist even tho they biblically agree on most issues. He is conservative because it makes sense to him but he is always open to different ideas and never condemns different viewpoints.

 

Sometimes I think the fundamentalists sole purpose in life is to make everyone think the way they do where as the non-fundamentalists purpose whether liberal, middle of the road or conservative is to live a good life that has positive influences on those around him or her.

 

steve

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Fundamentalism or fundamentalism has nothing to do with morals but has to do with mental inflexability. Everyone who disagrees with me is wrong because the bible tells me so.

Steve,

 

I think it does have something to do with morals. It is moral absolutes based on authoritative sources. They see us liberals as moral relativists in which there is no right or wrong and everyone is their own authority and judge.

 

George

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I appreciated the article. I cherish some of the Christian Right's values. What I don't get about the CR is that so very many (most, all?) suspend their intellect in order to hold fast to certain beliefs: i.e.. bible inerrancy, creationism, gay/lesbian issues, etc. As the old saying goes "I've made up my mind, don't confuse me with the facts." IMHO that, plus the "I'm right, you're wrong" mentally, draws the defining line between fundamentalists - of any religion - and middle grounders, liberals or progressives. And, yes, I know that oversimpliefies - but really, if you think about it, all the issues that separate us can be, almost, boiled down to these 2 fundamentals (pun intended.)

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I think it does have something to do with morals. It is moral absolutes based on authoritative sources. They see us liberals as moral relativists in which there is no right or wrong and everyone is their own authority and judge.

 

 

I disagree. I think they selectively play the morality card to keep people off balance and deflect attention from the weaknesses of their arguments.

 

steve

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I disagree. I think they selectively play the morality card to keep people off balance and deflect attention from the weaknesses of their arguments.

 

steve

Steve,

 

Are you suggesting that they are insincere in their moral values or that their moral values are unrelated to their beliefs, or something else?

 

George

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I think they are insincere (I know I am cynical) and often don't even realize it. It comes from the melding of religion and politics. Politicians have no problem playing any card if it advances their agenda by galvanizing people. If you look at the issues they choose to hang their hat on they are always black and white issues. Abortion, homosexuals .... all things that will make a big splash but have very little to do with everyday morality.

 

I see very little evidence that fundamentalist morality is any different than any other.

 

 

Steve,

 

Are you suggesting that they are insincere in their moral values or that their moral values are unrelated to their beliefs, or something else?

 

George

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I think they are insincere (I know I am cynical) and often don't even realize it. It comes from the melding of religion and politics. Politicians have no problem playing any card if it advances their agenda by galvanizing people.

Steve,

 

I think we are going to have to respectfully disagree, at least, about ordinary conservative Christians. I have no reason to doubt their sincerity on moral issues. But, politicians are another matter (i.e. those I oppose :)) .

 

George

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No No No You are misreading me.

 

Fundamentalism or fundamentalism has nothing to do with morals but has to do with mental inflexability. Everyone who disagrees with me is wrong because the bible tells me so.

 

We had a very conservative interim minister a few years ago who is a wonderful man and good friend. He is no fundamentalist even tho they biblically agree on most issues. He is conservative because it makes sense to him but he is always open to different ideas and never condemns different viewpoints.

 

I am not talking about conservative christians as most are good people. I am referring to fundamentalist specifically the Christian Right

 

We are in agreement

 

steve

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I am not talking about conservative christians as most are good people. I am referring to fundamentalist specifically the Christian Right

steve

Steve,

 

Now, I am confused. I think of fundamentalism and the Christian Right as two different, but overlapping things. I think of fundamentalism as a theology, a way of interpreting the Bible. I think of the Christian Right as a political movement made up of some fundamentalist Christians. I have been talking about the former (theology), not the latter (political).

 

George

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I guess I see the christian right being made up of almost exclusively what I would call fundamentalists. They generally read the bible to find support for their positions where as non-fundamentalist read the bible to find wisdom.

 

Yes I know there is a hint of prejudice in me. Perhaps I need to re-evaluate and refrain from labels.

 

steve

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I guess I see the christian right being made up of almost exclusively what I would call fundamentalists. They generally read the bible to find support for their positions where as non-fundamentalist read the bible to find wisdom.

Steve,

 

Did you read the link that Jenell added in the OP to this thread?

 

George

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"fundamentalism" doesn't even have to be religious, let along Christian. It is any rigid social or political structure or system in which there has been a worldview, or sets of beliefs about reality or anything, that are established as inviolable and inerrant, immnue to attack or discredit by argument of even presentation of facts.

 

Jenell

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"fundamentalism" doesn't even have to be religious, let along Christian. It is any rigid social or political structure or system in which there has been a worldview, or sets of beliefs about reality or anything . . .

Yes. We all bring our worldview to our religion. It is not just random chance that those who are religiously conservative tend to be politically and socially conservative as well including matters that are completely secular. (And, the same for liberals.)

 

George

Edited by GeorgeW
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As a progressive Christian that sincerely feels trying to understand those Christians more toward the conservative right in hopes of finding better ways to open communication and seek common ground.

 

From the article:

 

 

 

To find answers to these questions, we need to examine the world-view of the Christian Right, which rests upon four cornerstones.

  • The assumption that moral absolutes exist as surely as mathematical or geological absolutes constitutes the first. These moral absolutes include...the fixity of sexual identities and gender roles, the preferability of capitalism, the importance of hard work, and the sanctity of unborn life. More importantly, not only do moral absolutes exist, they are clearly discernible to any who wish honestly to see them.
  • The assumption that metaphysics, morals, politics, and mundane customs stand on a continuum constitutes the second cornerstone of the Christian Right's world-view... it is not possible for the Christian Right to draw easy lines between the public and the private spheres of life.
  • The Christian Right further assumes—this is the third cornerstone—that government's proper role is to cultivate virtue, not to interfere with the natural operations of the marketplace or the workplace...
  • Finally, the assumption that all successful societies need to operate within a framework of common assumptions constitutes the fourth cornerstone... Many, perhaps most members of the Christian Right feel that it is one thing to permit dissidents to live in peace, quite another to say that any set of values is just as good, or just as functional, as any other set.

 

 

 

In my mind, every one of these points is a deal breaker when it comes to common ground.

 

I can agree to disagree agreeably.

 

However, I wonder how many of those who self-identify as "Christian Right" work within the above enumerated bullet points? If you navigate even moderately successfully in today's society, you will of necessity violate many of these standards.

 

NORM

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In my mind, every one of these points is a deal breaker when it comes to common ground.

NORM

The "deal breaker" from my point of view is the theocracy aspect. IMO, people are entitled to believe what they want (virgin births, walking on water, biblical inerrancy, etc.). It is when these believes are imposed on others in a theocratic sense that I object.

 

But, as the article says, ". . . many members of the Christian Right were not evangelical Protestants, and many evangelical Protestants were not members of the Christian Right." I think it is important that we not conflate the two.

 

George

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Just a small aside: it would be wonderful if we could treat everyone in the world as the individual that they are instead of placing them and ourselves inside all of these boxes. But there are 7 billion of us now! And while I think modernism is highly indiviualistic, the kind of individualism that it supports does little to build communities. So I wonder about finding a middle ground where individuals are cherished as the unique creations that they are, but where they know that they are also part of something (and perhaps Someone) bigger.

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As to sincerity vs insincerity, I have to grant there may be, probably are, truly sincere people of evangelical/fundamentalist reliigious persuasion. I don't think I've met one yet, though.

 

Having been born into, raised within, and lived my life among those of that sub-culture, I will grant that many to not consciously recognize their insincerity, but have to think more really do know it at some level but have difficulty even admitting it to themselves, let alone anyone else.

 

I think their characteristic refusal to even be shown, hear or consider, even to reaction with extreme hostility to reject doing so, evidences this. The quick falling into fallacies of logic by which they establish and defend their postion against honest examination and inquiry is not the behavior of someone confident in the validity of their beliefs.

 

I also say this because it has been my observation and experience that for all the claims of belief in the bible as being literally God's word, inerrant and infallable and our holy guide, so very few of them even know what's in the bible, many if pressed admit they've never read the whole bible through even once, let along studied it seriously. Many cite the bible as source of their specific beliefs and yet can't tell you where in the bible it "says" that, and often if they do, you find they are mis-quoting it defferently than written, with an entirely different meaning, and/or has been snipped out of larger passaged, taken out of context, to make it seem to say something it doesn't. I've also not met a single one yet that doesn't pick and chose, as they accuse of of doing, what they feel conveniently supports and edifies and validates themselves and their own beliefs, while ignoring or even rejecting other parts.

 

If they truly believed the bible to be God's Holy word, they could not possibly mis-use it like this.

 

Jenell

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