I think about a lot of troubling things. I was speaking to a class last night and defined my motivating theological impulse as a conviction that evangelical Christians can do much better than we are doing. I mean this in a lot of ways: how we treat people, how we think about social injustice, how we read scripture, how we worship, how we love, even how we work towards social transformation. Fortunately, I do find a lot of sites of hope in the world of evangelicals, even in the North American context which is my object of study. But one of the more disheartening things I run into is the love of lies that evangelicals have. I'm not saying this lightly. I first ran into it when I came to Christ from quite a bit of involvement in New Age spirituality. Some of the first books handed to me were by the cult sensationalists throwing out all kinds of matter-of-fact (and unsubstantiated) claims about the New Age being a highly organized out-to-get all Christians organization. While I'm not in any way endorsing New Age philosophy or spirituality - but the idea that this was a hyper-organized, actively anti-Christian organization was laughable. What I was part of was quite disorganized, multi-faceted and more concerned with its own spiritual insights than attacking Christianity.
Some of the lies that I keep hearing Christians tell are as follows:
- there is a gay agenda that is anti-Christian (I think my gay Christian friends would have a lot of trouble with this one)
- there is a gay agenda that wants to convert our kids to homosexuality (I think this fear is based on the realization that evangelicals want to convert kids so why wouldn't everyone else?)
- Dungeons and Dragons was created by Satanists to recruit kids to the occult (Actually it was created by a JW and a Baptist and a central idea for them was the epic battle between good and evil)
- Catholics (by which they mean Roman Catholics) can't be saved (that lie makes me want to cry actually)
- Pentecostals and Charismatics are so much closer to God than other Christians because they have the Holy Ghost (another one that makes me want to cry, seriously there are Christians who love lies about each other and not just about those outside of their religion)
- The slogan love the sinner and hate the sin isn't just an excuse to exclude people who aren't like us (I've come to detest most Christian platitudes)
- That their 'literal' reading of scripture is not actually another picking and choosing (this one goes out to all you shellfish loving homophobic literalists)
- That the King James bible is the only legitimate English translation (I'm being kind, I've run into KJ only folk who literally think it was the version Jesus used???)
- That it is ok to condemn sinners and sit around on their arses waiting for a rapture. (What makes you sure you'd qualify for a rapture?)
I could go one, but not without getting depressed. The thing is I'm convinced Christians should be lovers of truth. So the need of our day is to get off our complacent backsides and seek the Truth. I recently had a Christian minister send me a raft of homophobic hate articles telling me that if I was really interested in the TRUTH (her emphasis) then I should read these. I read three of the four - and all I found were lies. Maddening lies that were meant to dehumanize and justify hatred. Enough, this love of lies should really tell us something. The biblical father of lies is not God. Lies are not good. If you claim to have the Holy Spirit and are loving lies - well you would be the one I question if you really have the Spirit. I've spoken in the past of how certainty is the idol that has seduced modern North American evangelicals. That idol is entrenched in a fortress of lies. If we listen perhaps we'll hear another voice, "come out of her my beloved." And turn from the lies we love to tell.