Ethically Bankrupt Christianity
Foster’s welcome to his denunciations of conservative Christianity, the latter being indeed a travesty. But the liberal Christian sounds to me like a parasitic ghost floating around, attaching itself to living persons, and having the gall to dictate how people should live. ~ Benjamin Cain
Caine’s statement from the insightful The Emptiness of Liberal Christianity contains the civility and empathy for Dan Foster’s Outhouse Church I cannot muster. If liberal Christianity were solely a fool’s quest, like any other interpretation, I might show sympathy for their cause, but liberal Christians, in many ways, prove worse than conservatives. Besides making no sense, they promote Christianity even more dishonestly than evangelicals. Using the same doctrine as the hardline conservative Christians, liberal Christianity gives credence to the idea that scripture contains the truth and, worse yet, that the dangerous, nonsensical, inflexible religion is open-minded and caring.
If someone suggested a particular remedy, you could reasonably research or test to ascertain this claim’s validity. Every day, evangelical and liberal Christians, attempt to convince themselves, each other, and nonChristians of their biblical brand’s value using conflicting, cherry-picked statements from the same book. If Christianity contained any truth or a valid application, there would be no need to continue arguing, most importantly, no need to continue divining the bible for some elusive truth or wisdom. Having researched and tested the Christian cure for personal and social problems, liberal Christians continue arguing the validity and application of Christianity despite the doctrine’s failure to fix anything, often worsening issues.
Truth is truth, and liberal Christians must not understand the meaning of the word or, as Cain questions, “is the liberal “Christian” so timid and mealy-mouthed that he or she thinks everyone’s entitled to his or her own truth, that there’s truth in all religions and even in atheistic worldviews …and that there’s no pressing need to trust in Christian revelation in this life?”
You would need to be a half-wit to continue crediting Christianity as truth using a doctrine so obviously malleable to render itself meaningless.
Christianity’s high-stakes wager of eternal salvation won from faith and living by scripture demands something as close to absolute truth as possible. Yet liberal Christians take the religion à la carte, arrogantly promoting this relativistic view, conjuring an illusion of Christianity as open-minded and adaptable, based on the “No True Scotsman Fallacy” Cain perfectly describes,
But Foster is prepared to declare Feucht and his zealous ilk untrue Christians because Foster stands on the shoulders of secular liberals.
The Liberal Christian Lie
Weariness to believe in liberal Christianity should not come as a surprise to the Outhouse Church’s disciples for the very reason they promote a liberal Christian view that rejects conservative Christianity. That promotion neither proves liberals the “true” Christians nor negates that many liberal Christians are not as liberal as they claim. Criticizing evangelicals spans a great distance from enlightenment, clarified by liberals talking out both sides of their heads.
Many liberal Christians don’t see a problem with limiting abortion or teaching intelligent design alongside evolution in public schools, missing that these beliefs are religious impositions for people to say nothing of polluting law and public service with theocracy. More than lacking progressiveness, liberal Christians still promote the truth of Christ and the bible, albeit in a laissez-faire, willfully-ignorant manner. Blinded to the vast, bloody history and disastrous outcomes caused by the Christian-centric worldview shared by all Christians, liberals take offense with their more rancorous conservative brethren imposing Christianity. Dan Foster clarifies this shared, centric perspective in his article The Rise of Non-Religious Fundamentalism, explaining,
A fundamentalist believes that they have the truth and, therefore, believe they are in a perfect position to disregard anything anyone else says that is at odds with their “truth.”
Adhering to the typical Christian-centered way of thinking, Foster redefines fundamentalism the same way conservative Christians redefine atheism as a religion and dismiss Christian opposition for being just as closed-minded. Never mind the fact that Christianity fails to prove its eternal truth claim, dismissive people; hell, people abusive to Christian positions warrant dismissal for lack of receptiveness and knowledge, or as Foster claims,
Although a person possesses only a tiny fraction of all the knowledge that could be known and therefore knows nothing about most things, some are happy to act and speak as if they have the answers and others are lost and stupid.
This arrogant statement is an absurdity wrapped in a fallacy for claiming no one possesses “all the knowledge that could be known” yet he argues an uncompelling, relativistic liberal-Christian view of eternal salvation and morality as truth.
Christianity must make a strong argument for the faith demanded, especially after failing to do so across millenniums.
With a preponderance of historical proof showing Christianity’s dangers and risks, you must be willfully ignorant or foolish to believe Christianity. More than enough evidence and rational proof negates the plausibility of Christian truth, rendering Foster’s claim about fundamentalist nonbelievers disingenuous by ignoring the correctness of arguments for not being open, understanding, or civil enough to the Christian viewpoint. (This is particularly offensive to the many victims of Christian clergy sexual abuse and fundamentalist cults who have plenty to be angry and disparaging about.) Christianity is either true or false, and pointing out the absurdity of the belief and believer might be rude, but calling a liar a liar, a predator a predator, or a lunatic a lunatic is not a falsehood — just the truth.
As mentioned prior, Foster’s rejection of many evangelical Christian beliefs shows the discrepancies in Christianity, making his “openness” to the truth that much more ridiculous since he picks and chooses his faith based on the same tenets his conservative evangelical foes arbitrarily select. Even more ludicrously, Foster illustrates the same Christian arrogance underpinning all Christianity, regardless of progressiveness: that everyone should be understanding of Christianity and politely listen to people professing this faith and reject the closed-minded because Christianity clearly holds equal merit to other religions and adds value to society, science, education, politics, etc.
Equal merit in the ideological economy is one of the great lies believed and promoted by all Christians, proving them complicit regardless of orthodoxy or sect.
The Ethically Bankrupt
No one believes white supremacy and Naziism hold merit except the ethically bankrupt because these ideologies proved morally and rationally wrong, yet Christianity not only fails to alleviate this problem, but most white supremacists and Neo-Nazis claim Christianity as their religion. Similarly, the repugnancy of forcing women to incubate babies should make anyone civilized cringe in disgust. So offensive an act, most nonChristians will not entertain an oppositional argument because a human manipulated in this manner holds no valid counterpoint. In the same horrific vein, the systematic enslavement and mass genocide of African and Indigenous peoples by Christians who, in the name of Jesus, purposely obliterated cultures to plunder resources should horrify any believer or neophyte. Such an appalling history denies Christianity the right to equal merit in discourse for needing to explain why we should take this religion seriously when faced with these atrocities and many more that continue occurring.
We verbally criticize Christians for partaking in this belief system, justified by Christianity’s incoherence and moral bankruptcy.
Perhaps the Outhouse Church best answers why liberal Christians don’t try very hard to oppose hardline evangelicals. Beneath the liberal veneer, the Outhouse Church exhibits much of the same arrogant Christian worldview claiming merit and importance while admonishing supposedly closed-minded attackers, no matter how much evidence the harsh critic presents. The Outhouse Church, whether meaning to or not, gives credence to all Christians, including the evangelical enemies it vies against and will continue to do so because separating themselves from other Christians means disengaging from that Christian worldview, effectively making them nonChristians.
Original photos by Robert Linder and Justin Luebke on Unsplash