News from the Vault: Christian Forgiveness is a Weapon
There has been no shortage of examples in the past year or so of Christians supporting the hateful policies of their proto-fascist President. But I have seen few examples of the cynicism with which churches will weaponize Christ's admonition to forgive one another more egregious than this.
It started in Houston, where a young youth group leader was to take a 17 year old high school student home. He did, but not before driving to a secluded area and forcing her to perform oral sex for his gratification.
Today, 20 years later, the girl and now woman has been empowered by the #metoo movement to confront this former youth group leader with his crime.
That man, Andy Savage, is now a pastor at a megachurch in Tennessee. Being the morally upstanding Christian leader he claims to be, he admitted his guilt in church, to his audience of fellow churchgoers. He did not describe the crime in detail, referring to it as a "sexual incident", and claimed to have thought it resolved years ago. He said he'd always been open about it with church leaders. His mea culpa culminated in an apology, of sorts:
“Jules, I am deeply sorry for my actions 20 years ago. I remain committed to cooperate with you toward forgiveness and healing.”
For all this, Pastor Savage received a long standing ovation.
After his admission, the lead Pastor at the church told the congregation, according to the New York Times, that "[ Savage ] was one of the people 'hurt by the ripple effect of the consequences of that sin.'" He goes to pray for
Mind you, that 17 year old girl was not a victim of sexual sin, Andy Savage is, however. The girl did not sin when she was assaulted, and while she can be reasonably said to be a victim of his sin, Pastor Conlee has already stated that Savage was a victim of his own sin. Thus victim and perpetrator are equivocated in prayer, and the perpetrator is applauded for having the courage to admit his guilt.
Savage's apology, however, is a case study in passive aggressive religious coercion. What else can it mean to say he would "cooperate" with the victim "toward forgiveness and healing", except that healing for her depends on forgiveness for him?
Forgiveness for sale is the very reason the Protestant churches came to be in the first place. In the 21st century, however, things have moved on from the 17th. So called "indulgences" are no longer directly used to extort parishioners. But just as the Catholic Church and its Pope did for those priests accused of raping children, this evangelical church places forgiveness of its own as its top priority.
So my question to you is how should a victim of sexual assault feel when the perp is lauded for his admission and prayed for by the church, while the victim is hardly mentioned?
Over at Everyday Ethics, Jeremy Neill raises the critique of atheism offered by Nietzsche, in which he argues that atheists claim to have rejected "God" but nevertheless subscribe to Christian ethics. Ostensibly the questions raised have to do with whether or not atheists are hypocritical as a consequence, and whether they are, in the words of Neill, parasites on Christian culture. In Neill's words:
Now here’s where Nietzsche strikes and criticizes atheists. He says that atheists, who pride themselves on their belief that God does not exist, in fact are hypocrites because they are still drinking the Christian Kool-Aid. Take the value of equality as an example of what Nietzsche is saying. Virtually all atheists in America are going to tell you that they believe in the value of equality. But at bottom, according to Nietzsche, the value of equality is fundamentally a Christian value. It is Christian because it comes out of the Christian teaching that the weak should be pri…
This is a post from our own Dcleve who, like many others, deserves the ability to post his own OPs here. That's something I'll take care of shortly, but for now I think his comment deserves its own conversation. Sorry it took me so long to get to it, D.
I would like to discuss an analysis of a Necessary Being and Creation. I will be summarizing an argument from Paul Davies, a physicist, and Deist, and one of the early advocates of both Fine Tuning and Emergent Organized Complexity. Davis presented this argument in The Mind of God. I have a full review on Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/gp/r... The book is from 92, but the argument is as current now as it was then.
The central question Davies addresses is whether the universe can create itself, or requires a creator. He notes that whether the universe had an origin in time or not, its EXISTENCE still needs an explanation -- WHY is it here at all instead of nothing, or something else. With this point, he effectively dismisses t…
My atheist brothers and sisters will not find this fable particularly challenging, but perhaps rhetorically useful. Originally posted at the RC, it only got 99 comments. Strange, I thought at the time, that so few theists were willing to engage it.
One day for no obvious reason god creates little Johnny and Susan. Susan is made bright and kind and eats veggies, of which there is enough for her to last her lifetime. Johnny has claws and fangs and eats meat, of which Susan is the only kind around. God says to little Johnny "be good, and don't eat little Susan, or you shall surely suffer by me!" But little Johnny kills Susan and eats her all up.
God says to little Johnny: "You are a very bad boy, Johnny, for you have disobeyed me. I will therefore cause you incessant pain and hunger, and the longer you do not eat of the other children, the stronger the pain and hunger." So Johnny eats his fill of other children, and he is free of the pain of hunger.