Tuesday, March 10, 2009

The decline of the religious right

Michael Spencer seems to believe that evangelical Christianity is about to collapse. I suspect that there's a good deal of truth to what he's saying. Why? Here's probably a key reason:
Evangelicals have identified their movement with the culture war and with political conservatism. This will prove to be a very costly mistake. Evangelicals will increasingly be seen as a threat to cultural progress. Public leaders will consider us bad for America, bad for education, bad for children, and bad for society.

The evangelical investment in moral, social, and political issues has depleted our resources and exposed our weaknesses. Being against gay marriage and being rhetorically pro-life will not make up for the fact that massive majorities of Evangelicals can't articulate the Gospel with any coherence. We fell for the trap of believing in a cause more than a faith.

On a personal level, I can say emphatically that it was precisely the knuckle-dragging intolerance expressed by many of evangelical Christianity's leaders (Falwell, Dobson, Robertson, etc.) that turned me off as a teen and young adult. I suspect that the millenial generation, which is now reaching adolescence and adulthood is even less interested in all the culture war nonsense than I was at that age (by the way, the older I get, the more cranky I get when dealing with culture warrior types). Unfortunately, that was my experience of Christianity until later in life. Once I realized that one could have faith and, say, be a socialist, or a green, or an anarchist; could have faith and embrace friends and acquaintances who are openly gay or bi; and so on I was able to keep an open mind to Christianity as well. Sometimes, my wife and I can find a really cool church with a really cool pastor and congregation - sometimes not; just depends these days. I rarely blog on matters of faith, but I do wish to highlight the possibilities that one can get a lot out of the message without necessarily accepting the bile spewed by some of the messengers.

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