personally, i think that the most serious attack on christianity (as in walking the path of the christ), has come from within the faith's own body.
pope urban's crusade and those that followed, torqumada, mary queen of scots, the spanish mission network, cotton mather, witch trials, the temperance league, the "christian" underpinning of the kkk, ernest angsley, pat robertson, jerry falwell, bob jones, robert tilton (
) randall terry, eric rudolph, roy moore, pedophile priests, and george bush jr. have not done a lot to help you guy's in the image department. and that's just a few of the leaders.
some of the deacons and lay people are pretty over the top as well. an example;
my folks live in a small east tennessee town. my father is a freemason and a shriner. he travelled extensively in his career, but since retiring 20 years ago, he has spent the bulk of his time in doing "good works", with his masonic brothers. this has included a variety of "drives" for funds supporting children's hospitals, new shoes and clothing for the poor as well as councilling men with any one or combination of social problems like alcoholism, violence and depression. he has never asked for or received a penny for his efforts. and he would never accept it being forced into his hand.
also, he is a lifelong christian.
of course, in the area where they live, evangelism is pretty big, and they frequently have someone knocking at the door with "the good news".
on one such occassion, (knock, knock knock!), my pop was engaged by a local deacon and his, uhhh, deacon in training or whatever. it was a short conversation but it went sort of like;
"hello sir, we are visiting homes to bring you the words of jesus christ".
dad says, "well, you're a little late there, friend."
the fellow says "are you a christian?"
pop says, "yes, i am. always have been".
then the guy got kind of all stood up and asked him, " have you been born again?".
dad; "no, i got it right the first time.. <wink> ". (dad has a sense of humor, ya see..)
the fellow looks him dead in the eye and says; "huh! you're
no christian!" and stomps off with mini-deacon in tow.
now imagine how that came across to the old man. add to that the constant yowlings of some nutjob minister down in chattanooga about how evil freemasons are.
and let us not forget the whining from self interested dudes at fox etc. "the secular war on christianity" ?? "the secular liberal war on christmas" ??
most of the numbers i've seen indicate that only a small percentage of christians are the rabid, theocracy happy, strong arm types that i've described here.
but mainstream christians are letting them get away with appearing to be the representitives of your whole faith in america.
surely you must see the difference between a solid christian leader such as the reverend billy graham and the partisan foolishness of his son, franklin ? it's day and night, man.
i have great respect for one of our local christian ministers, robert shuller. i have never heard him utter a harsh word towards anyone.
conversely, i've never heard jerry falwell utter anything but
condemnation and pompous self agrandisements at
anyone unfortunate enough to be within earshot of his braying.
look, i disagree with wilso's characterization that all
people of faith, and all religion is totally bogus. in it's best form, spiritual faith can do much to alleviate the suffering we all encounter in our lives.
it's when zealots like the christian ott'ers i've mentioned hijack your megaphone and get into everybody's face, and you do nothing but "back the team", that you lose my support.
imho, christianity isn't about teaching i.d. in science classes, insisting that everyone consult jesus over even the most mundane task or even that everyone must
say "merry christmas" instead of "happy holidays".
to me, it's more about understanding christ's message than the words themselves and taking responsibility for yourself
to walk that path in your daily life without anyone else's validation.
in other words, if you really
have a faith that is strong, you carry it with you everyday, in or out of church, and should have no need to splash it all over everyone else or to control every bit of information, the government or insist that when i pledge allegiance to my country, that i swear fealty to your
that's where i'm coming from, anyway...