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"Are Conservative Christians Religious Extremists?"

"Are Conservative Christians Religious Extremists?"

Prepare For Further Christian Marginalization, And For Further Bail-Outs

            The Atlantic magazine does not have much influence along the Texas Gulf Coast. With a far-Left editorial policy, and with a target readership of "serious readers and thought leaders" (ahem), The Atlantic is far more at home along the Red-State coasts of the Northeast and California. Why would a church bulletin give any attention to The Atlantic? In a recent article, The Atlantic presented a rationale for the further marginalization of Christians.

Christian Marginalization

            Christianity has been and continues to be under attack. John said, "Do not be surprised, brothers, if the world hates you" (I Jn. 3:13). Jesus explained why: "If the world hates you, know that it has hated me before it hated you" (Jn. 15:18). Any respite of relative popularity enjoyed by Christianity in the latter half of the 20th century is fast disappearing. We are rapidly realizing again that "All who desire to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted" (II Tim. 3:12).

            Although the ultimate steps in Christian persecution are life- and career-threatening, the lead-up steps are less dramatic. Instead of being thrown to the lions, Christians will be thrown out of the mainstream. This is marginalization, "The process whereby a group is pushed to the edge, accorded lesser importance, and ultimately excluded."

            Marginalizing a previously popular group, like Christians, is not an easy thing to do. As a character in the movie Gladiator said to Maximus, “You have a great name. They must kill your name before they can kill you.” In order to marginalize Christians and Christianity, "they" must kill-off our good name by constantly criticizing us and pushing us off the edge of society's approval.

"Are Conservative Christians Religious Extremists?"

            Here is where The Atlantic and its attempts to shape thought comes in. In the March 10, 2016 edition, The Atlantic asked, "Are Conservative Christians Religious Extremists?" Borrowing from previous studies entitled The Fundamentals Of Extremism: The Christian Right In America (Blaker, 2003) and Good faith: Being A Christian When Society Thinks You Are Irrelevant And Extreme (2016, Kinnaman and Lyons), The Atlantic cleverly concludes that "Christian's beliefs and practices are so far outside of the norm that they deserve one of society's ugliest epithets: extremist."

  • "Most Americans consider the beliefs and      practices of traditionalist Christians to be extreme."
  • "Conservative Christians share striking      similarities with Taliban terrorists." (Give this some thought. The      Atlantic is asserting that Willo Dean, Phillip Cottle, and Jo Ella,      the heroes of last week's bulletin, are no different than Taliban terrorists. How credible is that?)
  • "Traditionalist Christians seek to indoctrinate      youth with oppressive views of women, minorities, and LGBT persons through      mind-control tactics and intimidation."
  • "Because Americans think that many Christian      beliefs are extreme, it makes sense to apply the same label to anyone      looking to spread those beliefs."
  • "Americans also believe even more mundane but      common beliefs are extreme. [For      example] if your teenage daughter commits to abstain from sex until      marriage...she's an extremist too."

Bail-Outs

            Christians will respond to this, and to other attempts at marginalization, in one of two ways. First, feeling the pressure to either conform to society's expectations, or to at least be quiet, many Christians will disregard the attempts. They recognize that "We must endure many hardships to enter the kingdom of God" (Acts 14:22), even the "hardship" of being outside of society's mainstream. They will even "rejoice insofar as [they] share Christ’s sufferings, that [they] may also rejoice and be glad when his glory is revealed" (I Pet. 4:13).

            Second, others will be horrified at the thought of not being accepted, of not being popular, or of not being approved. Fearing marginalization, feeding off of social approval, and fearing worst of all any description as extremists, they will adjust their belief and practice to a comfy place in the bosom of contemporary culture's approval. Recognize that The Atlantic attacked Conservative, Traditionalist, and Evangelical Christians. The Liberals and Progressives were left alone.