Sunday, March 14, 2021

White Christian Nationalism

                                                                                             written 7 March 2021

                                                                                       published 14 March 2021



            I am a scientist by intellectual curiosity and an engineer by inclination and training.  I am also a spiritual mystic, guided mostly by quantum physics and Buddhism, but open to learning from mystics of all traditions.  As the Sufi's say, "all paths lead to the same shining mountain peak".  

            I conceive the material world emerging from a vast field of potential energy, shaped by consciousness unbounded by space or time, which can be considered divine.  But my waking consciousness is limited, and the magnitude of reality is vast and ineffable, unable to be contained within words.  Any description is metaphor at best, pointing toward what can only be experienced directly with insight and inspiration.  My work as a human is to expand my experience of this divinity, from which we arise moment to moment, striving to transcend the limits of my cultural and personal programming.  This spiritual quest is global.  All humanity yearns for fundamental connection, meaning, and purpose.  

            But humans are evolving from tribalism and apparent division, so the global spiritual quest organized as different religions, each with defined structures and sacred texts.  Despite arising with noble intentions, the leadership of these organizations can fall prey to material distractions of secular power domination and the greed of acquisition.  The patterns and words can become formalized, rigidly defended as the "only" truth.  Rather than acting as teacher or guide, such religious institution imposes itself between the individual and the essentially personal experience of the divine, defining, limiting, and distorting the relationship.  Let me be clear, this problem is not unique to any particular religion, nor have all, or most, members of any religious organization fallen into this distraction.  But the history of the world is rife with examples. 

            In America, Christianity is the majority religion, and the Bible is the sacred text.  My Bible has the words of Christ printed in red.  I have "read the red", and very little of the total Bible is printed in red.  I revere Christ and his teachings: "love God" and "love the other as yourself".  These expressions of unity perspective presuppose that everything, and everyone, is divine, and are therefore worth loving: as revolutionary at the time, as it is today.  If everyone actually lived by these simple rules, the world would be a better place!  

            Centuries after the death of Christ, the Roman Empire declared Christianity it's official state religion and a gathering of men decided what would become today's Bible.  Subsequent archeological findings indicate significant exclusions.  The Roman Catholic Church became a political powerhouse, and sanctioned killing all kinds of non-Christians and those declared heretic, contrary to Christ's teachings.  The secular wealth and power of the Church grew so egregious that the Protestant reformation occurred, and then Christians started killing each other as well.  Strife, domination, and oppression arose even between Protestant sects, and many of the people who founded America had been driven out of Europe by other Protestants.  

            Untold millions have been killed in the name of Christ, who preached love, and many more souls have been taught to fear God and hate others, whom Christ directed we love.  This denial of God is the root of much misery.

            These days the overt killing has diminished, but the rise of White Christian Nationalism is a modern political equivalent.  They believe Christ was white, the Bible was written in English, and America is supposed to be ruled by white Christians.  They are willing to disenfranchise everyone else to achieve those ends, by violence if necessary, like other religious terrorists.  This not only violates the teachings of Christ, but violates the American ideals of our democratic republic: equal protection under the law, citizen voting rights, and majority rule.

            This movement is of concern, but demographics are against them.  While 70 percent of Americans identify as Christians, only 43 percent are white, and only 17 percent (and declining) are white evangelicals, those most likely to support White Christian Nationalism.  

            The hateful exclusionary goals of White Christian Nationalism should be rejected by all who love America, and those who feel Christ in their heart should reclaim those religious organizations that have missed the mark, the original meaning of sin.  We humans are too numerous and too powerful to be so foolishly divided at a time of so many global challenges.