Evangelicals Support of Trump Renders Christianity Unrecognizable

Column by Rev. Dr. Jeffrey Frantz on 4 April 2024 0 Comments

Who is Donald Trump?  As our nation prepares for another contentious presidential election seven months from now, the cult and menace of Donald Trump continue to loom large on the horizon.  It would be hard to imagine a more dishonest, corrupt, and unfit candidate for President of the United States. 

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I came across these quotes from the theologian Karl Rahner, which I found very intriguing:
The Christian of the future will be a mystic or not exist at all.  The no. 1 cause of atheism is the Christians.
Do you agree?  (I think suffering is also a major factor in atheism, in addition to the behaviour of some so-called Christians).


Dear Alex,

The challenge to the longevity of any religion is its inherent compulsion to evolve. Remember that joke about two Baptists meeting on a bridge and seeking common identity by placing themselves within the Baptist tradition? They start at the “beginning” and work their way down through all the schisms—each caused by a compulsion to evolve— nodding in affirmation of their allied preferences until, at about the 38th split, they’re suddenly disgusted with one another for ending up on the “wrong” side.

Trying to get religious belief right is a fool’s errand, but bringing a serious critique to it is a believer’s responsibility. That doesn’t mean reading only the materials one’s pastor provides but risking “outside the box” writing, too. The dysfunction in our families is usually invisible to us until someone from outside our family system, perhaps a neighbour, makes an illuminating comment, or we move away from home, mature, and begin to see things in a new way.

So, I agree that “the no. 1 cause of atheism is the Christians,” but perhaps not as I think the question may suggest. It’s not the outrageous, closed-minded, strict Christian practitioner who creates an atheist, though many a dinner table or classroom has been silenced when such a believer attempts to impose their beliefs as ground rules in places outside their church. No. These are irritants, but they do not unravel faith.

It is responsible Christians, fully capable of sustained reasoning, who find themselves beyond belief. Within that group of non-believers, many walk in awe, pondering the beauty, integrity, and emergence of nature and human relationship; they may be the mystics Rahner posited, though few would be interested in the label. And, many who participate in or lead Christian congregations have also moved beyond traditional beliefs, their new understandings out of step but not out of keeping with the language of the old. The system of congregational life—its layered relationships, various gatherings, seasonal rhythms, and community activities—holds and shelters us from many storms, few of which relate to theological beliefs. We thrive in community, and many continue to identify as Christian for the people, not the promise.

Maybe the question is, “How many believers agree on what the words of belief really mean?” That would be a question with which I’m sure Rahner would have loved to wrestle. But what would we do when we found out? More schisms? Or would we stand in awe and wonder at the diversity of belief held within the four straight walls surrounding a group of people who, up until then, thought they were all alike?

~ Rev. Gretta Vosper




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