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Is Christianity Political?

Is Christianity a Political Movement?


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Redress

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But it's an incorrect one, so until Christians learn to keep their beliefs out of politics, I will continue to call them out on it. BTW, are you sure that church feeds homeless gays? I occasionally visit a church in my town that feeds the homeless (unless they're gay - in which case they have to commit themselves to undergo "therapy" first).

You are making several mistakes. You are accusing the whole of acts done the a part of the whole, you are assuming that they are active in politics because of their religion, and you are mistaken about what I wrote. I said they feed homeless, who are largely vets, not gay. However, they would feed gays as well. No one asks, and the cost of admission is sitting through a prayer which I find entirely unoffensive.
 

Catawba

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Christianity was a sub group of Judaism in its inception. It was a small group of people who agreed to follow Jesus across the empire. There was no grand mastermind scheme behind it.

I respect your belief Roadie. However without proof that God exists, it is only a belief. I think it grew out of traditional beliefs that evolved from the sun and moon being gods and man's fear of the afterlife.

Governments simply promoted religion as way to placate the masses, and narrow the leadership to a few, IMO.
 
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Toothpicvic

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Ok Tooth. It seems you are going to argue with anything I say no matter what it is. I said nothing about the origins of the teachings nor whom they listened to. Paul taught them to follow Jesus. Therefore, they were following Jesus THROUGH the teachings of Paul. This is a HUGE discussion which tomes and tomes have been written on throughout the church's history. On a message board, your going to get the surface bare minimum of responses.
Paul didn't speak for Jesus any more than Joseph Smith did - Paul never even met Jesus (unless you believe his "magical vision" was real). He invented his own doctrine and claimed to be "speaking for God" - that's how religion was invented.
 

Catz Part Deux

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Christianity was a sub group of Judaism in its inception. It was a small group of people who agreed to follow Jesus across the empire. There was no grand mastermind scheme behind it.

That's the origins, but it evolved into something much more political from the time of Constantine I.
 

formerroadie

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Paul didn't speak for Jesus any more than Joseph Smith did - Paul never even met Jesus (unless you believe his "magical vision" was real). He invented his own doctrine and claimed to be "speaking for God" - that's how religion was invented.

Philippians chapter 2 for one. Please don't argue with me if you haven't even read your Bible for goodness sake. There are numerous verses in Paul's letters that contradict your claim.
 

Redress

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You'd let people trample all over your just to avoid "offending" someone or making "generalizations".

No, that is called being accurate. It's a good habbit to get into, you should try it.
 

Toothpicvic

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Philippians chapter 2 for one. Please don't argue with me if you haven't even read your Bible for goodness sake. There are numerous verses in Paul's letters that contradict your claim.
Hahaha - you're still assuming that Paul literally had a "magical vision from God" on the road to Damascus. Doh!
 

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Philippians chapter 2 for one. Please don't argue with me if you haven't even read your Bible for goodness sake. There are numerous verses in Paul's letters that contradict your claim.

Paul met him "in spirit" on the road to Damascus, Roadie. It's a valid point. He never knew Jesus the man.
 

Toothpicvic

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No, that is called being accurate. It's a good habbit to get into, you should try it.
It's not accurate, it's a meaningless and bleeding obvious statement that adds nothing to the discussion.
 

formerroadie

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That's the origins, but it evolved into something much more political from the time of Constantine I.

This is true. Like I said in a prior post, religion was not separate from politics in any society (that we have record of) until the enlightenment. Therefore, it's difficult to compare the US to those periods. BUT, there were those who had issues with it nonetheless. St. John Chrysostom was a preacher in Antioch and often preached against the political actions of the emperor. Again, we hear about the prominent and loudest voices while those who are in opposition are often subdued (the winner writes history and all). It is not political in its doctrine but rather can be used politically by those who do so wrongly (and I am speaking again of the US situation. history has taught us the traps of having a theocracy).
 

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This is true. Like I said in a prior post, religion was not separate from politics in any society (that we have record of) until the enlightenment. Therefore, it's difficult to compare the US to those periods. BUT, there were those who had issues with it nonetheless. St. John Chrysostom was a preacher in Antioch and often preached against the political actions of the emperor. Again, we hear about the prominent and loudest voices while those who are in opposition are often subdued (the winner writes history and all). It is not political in its doctrine but rather can be used politically by those who do so wrongly (and I am speaking again of the US situation. history has taught us the traps of having a theocracy).

Unfortunately, there is a huge movement amongst evangelicals that would tear down the wall between church/state. And, the wall was erected during the enlightenment at a tremendous price....the murder of scientists, politicians, etc. for not following the will of the church or in some way daring to undermine accepted doctrine.
 

Redress

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It's not accurate, it's a meaningless and bleeding obvious statement that adds nothing to the discussion.

Of course it is inaccurate. Any time you make generalizations about a large group it's going to be inaccurate. Once you get a fair number of people, there are going to be large differences between even relatively similar groups. You have been wildly inaccurate in just this thread, since you see only what you choose, instead of all that is there. You are one of those people who reach a conclusion, then search for evidence to support it, instead of looking at the evidence and then reaching a conclusion.
 

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The problem, Redress, is that Christianity has a history of being inseparable from government, and there are many in American who want to restore it to that position. In some ways, it is already there.
 

formerroadie

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I respect your belief Roadie. However without proof that God exists, it is only a belief. I think it grew out of traditional beliefs that evolved from the sun and moon being gods and man's fear of the afterlife.

Governments simply promoted religion as way to placate the masses, and narrow the leadership to a few, IMO.

I am talking about historical occurrences, not "belief." While I am a believer, I am also a historian. There was no grand scheme to do what you say at the inception of Christianity. Sorry man. The fact is, the majority of people (I am a scholar and am hesitant to say "all" ;) ) were religious and it would not have been in any way odd. In fact, a deviant would have been non-religious. Like I said to Tooth, it's far more complex than we can discuss here. People are involved with daily lives in a real historical period of Roman Occupation, upheaval, and massive mobility like never before. I understand your belief and I respect it, but to say that it wasn't a sect of Judaism that spread throughout a small group of people across the empire is odd. It doesn't contradict your take on the situation in any way.
 

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I understand your belief and I respect it, but to say that it wasn't a sect of Judaism that spread throughout a small group of people across the empire is odd. It doesn't contradict your take on the situation in any way.

I think it would be accurate to say that it was adopted by Constantine as a tool of managing the empire. That may not have been the origins, but it was quickly seized upon by ambitious men and used politically.
 

Redress

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The problem, Redress, is that Christianity has a history of being inseparable from government, and there are many in American who want to restore it to that position. In some ways, it is already there.

And when efforts are made to insert Christianity actively in government I will happily oppose it. That does not make Christianity political, only some people who are Christians political.
 

formerroadie

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Unfortunately, there is a huge movement amongst evangelicals that would tear down the wall between church/state. And, the wall was erected during the enlightenment at a tremendous price....the murder of scientists, politicians, etc. for not following the will of the church or in some way daring to undermine accepted doctrine.

Agreed. But, again, not all Christians agreed with such measures. So, we are at the beginning of the argument again. I do like that you say "evangelicals" because that is the group I would place them in among people who claim to be Christian. But, there are probably evangelicals that don't do that, I've just not met any.

I think that it's more religion has been a part of our government since our inception because the people in many political positions were religious and made and enforced laws based on that instead of the constitution, precedent, etc. Moving away from that is what we are trying to do and the religious right are scared, fearful and downright wrong. It's the same shrill we heard when our government moved to make blacks legally recognized as people.
 

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Agreed. But, again, not all Christians agreed with such measures.

I agree, but that's the first point at which it transitioned from spiritual movement to political movement, and it remained a political movement into the Holy Roman Empire.

So, we are at the beginning of the argument again.

I like that you can discuss this with a background of history and without getting overly emotional.

I do like that you say "evangelicals" because that is the group I would place them in among people who claim to be Christian. But, there are probably evangelicals that don't do that, I've just not met any.

I grew up Evangelical, it's the fastest growing group of Christians in the U.S., and is highly political.

I think that it's more religion has been a part of our government since our inception because the people in many political positions were religious and made and enforced laws based on that instead of the constitution, precedent, etc.

I agree, but on the other hand, chicken or egg?

Moving away from that is what we are trying to do and the religious right are scared, fearful and downright wrong.

Oh, I agree. And, they've created quite a backlash for themselves. (see the poll votes)
 

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And when efforts are made to insert Christianity actively in government I will happily oppose it. That does not make Christianity political, only some people who are Christians political.

I guess the question is: Do they represent the majority of the movement or the minority? If they represent the majority, and I would contend that they do, then the movement could accurately be characterized as political. It's a matter of numbers.

For instance, I have zero problems with the Greek Orthodox church. But then, they aren't political and they are also small in numbers in the U.S.

Why do you think that Rick Warren was one of the facilitators at the presidential debates? Was it because Christianity is apolitical? ;)
 
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Catawba

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I am talking about historical occurrences, not "belief." While I am a believer, I am also a historian. There was no grand scheme to do what you say at the inception of Christianity. Sorry man. The fact is, the majority of people (I am a scholar and am hesitant to say "all" ;) ) were religious and it would not have been in any way odd. In fact, a deviant would have been non-religious. Like I said to Tooth, it's far more complex than we can discuss here. People are involved with daily lives in a real historical period of Roman Occupation, upheaval, and massive mobility like never before. I understand your belief and I respect it, but to say that it wasn't a sect of Judaism that spread throughout a small group of people across the empire is odd. It doesn't contradict your take on the situation in any way.

While I do not claim to be a christian scholar, it was my understanding that Judaism itself was a belief. Just as there were those in our history that believed the sun was a God. I do not argue that most people in early history were religious, I used to be myself. I just see no proof that belief was based on anything but a fear of the unknown and writings by those who believed similarly.
 

Redress

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I guess the question is: Do they represent the majority of the movement or the minority? If they represent the majority, and I would contend that they do, then the movement could accurately be characterized as political. It's a matter of numbers.

For instance, I have zero problems with the Greek Orthodox church. But then, they aren't political and they are also small in numbers in the U.S.

Why do you think that Rick Warren was one of the facilitators at the presidential debates? Was it because Christianity is apolitical? ;)

I am looking for some good poll numbers, not found it yet. I did find this as something to think about: Evangelical Vote Shifting Democratic, Poll Indicates - Features - Christian living - Christianity.com

Poll data from the March 4 primary in Ohio show that more than four out of ten white evangelical Christians cast their vote for a Democratic candidate. According to the liberal groups that sponsored the poll, the data indicate that white evangelicals are interested in a broad range of issues and are shifting their voting behavior.

This further suggests that christianity is not homogeneous, which it would have to be at least to an extent to be political. Most people in the US are christian, which means they make up large portions of both political parties, plus smaller parties, and make up large portions of many opposing organizations(say pro and anti abortion groups).
 

Toothpicvic

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Of course it is inaccurate. Any time you make generalizations about a large group it's going to be inaccurate. Once you get a fair number of people, there are going to be large differences between even relatively similar groups. You have been wildly inaccurate in just this thread, since you see only what you choose, instead of all that is there. You are one of those people who reach a conclusion, then search for evidence to support it, instead of looking at the evidence and then reaching a conclusion.
Wrong. It's based on my personal experience with Christianity as a former evangelical Christian.
 

Redress

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Further information: http://www.publicreligion.org/objects/uploads/fck/file/Activist%20Survey/Religious%20Activists%20Final%20Report.pdf

The 2009 Religious Activist Surveys were conducted by the Bliss Institute of Applied Politics at the University of Akron in partnership with Public Religion Research. These first ever comparative surveys of conservative and progressive religious activists find them to be faithful, engaged, and divergent.

Again, wildly divergent political beliefs all under the umbrella of Christianity. In this case, it is even looking at politically active Christians, and finds them not a single force.
 
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