Website owner:  James Miller

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  EVANGELICALISM                          9/83

   Tony.  Aggressive, pushy, rude and obnoxious.  And religious!  
   A Baptist!  What a combination!  But how often it has happened 
   that that person who has come to my attention as standing out 
   from others as being especially obnoxious, nasty and 
   emotionally and mentally messed up has turned out to be a "born 
   again Christian".  And the ones who are messed up the worst 
   usually turn out to be Baptist.  It is a definite pattern.  I 
   have seen it too many times. "Born again" people are so often 
   confused, messed up people.  There is something about 
   evangelicalism that messes people up.  Evangelicalism is like a 
   disease and people who catch it start exhibiting certain 
   symptoms.  It twists and changes them according to certain 
   patterns and in ways that are not good.  Why?  I am not sure 
   exactly but the following are some of the things that I think 
   contribute and are, at least, partial causes: 

    - Because of their emphasis on Christ's commandment "Go ye 
        into all the world and preach the gospel" they put a lot 
        of emphasis on witnessing, testifying, etc. and feel under 
        obligation to go about witnessing.  The preachers 
        continually tell them that if they are Christians it is 
        their duty to be witnessing and testifying to those around 
        them.  Thus they feel that they ought to be continually 
        witnessing and testifying (where they work, where they 
        live, etc.) and feel guilty if they are not.  Yet it is a 
        difficult and impractical charge for it only brings 
        dislike and ridicule down upon their heads if they do it.  
        Who wants to have someone trying to impose his religious 
        views on you or telling you that you are going to hell if 
        you don't believe in his way?  Just that simple practice 
        is enough to ensure them of being obnoxious pests.  Doing 
        it brings rejection, ostracism and discrimination.  And if 
        you do it at your job it can be dangerous.  You can make 
        enemies and lose your job.  As a result most Christians 
        have enough sense to keep your mouths shut.  Losing your 
        job is serious business.  Especially if you have a wife 
        and children that are dependent on you.  So, as a 
        consequence, they usually don't do what they feel they 
        ought to be doing (making for a big differential between 
        the ideal of their beliefs and the practice of them). 

    - They believe that they are fundamentally different from 
        other people.  This creates a sort of wall between them 
        and the rest of humanity, a wall created in their minds 
        and existing in their minds.  The reason they think they 
        are different is because they believe that once you are 
        converted and become a "born again Christian" you are 
        miraculously changed and transformed in some mysterious 
        way, that you suddenly have God's spirit within you 
        whereas formerly you didn't.  Once converted you are one 
        of the "saved", one of the few who will go to heaven;  all 
        the rest of mankind will go to hell.  Your conversion has 
        made you special and different, substantively different, 
        from other people. 

    - Their simplistic formula for becoming saved can be rather 
        difficult to support intellectually and they become all 
        hung up trying to defend it and rationalize it to 
        themselves.  Since belief without works can get pretty 
        close to sham their doctrines can get hard to defend.  
        They sense the weaknesses in their doctrine, the 
        shallowness of their doctrine, the holes in their 

    - Because of their emphasis on salvation by faith and not by 
        works they tend to grossly slight the value of goodness, 
        virtue, uprightness and Christian practice.  Thus they 
        become spiritually weaker and weaker (they become less and 
        less spiritual) and end up spiritually vacuous.  The 
        natural concepts of honesty, integrity, kindness and 
        morality as measures of goodness and Godliness become 
        forgotten and replaced with the duties their preachers 
        keep harping about (namely, much attendance of church 
        services, being active in the church, giving money to the 
        church, testifying to others, reading the Bible each day, 

   So once they start making themselves obnoxious to others by 
   testifying and witnessing, they become friendless and isolated.  
   They start disliking others, start becoming hostile to others, 
   and start regarding themselves as martyrs to their faith.  One 
   thing leads to another.  They are rejected, scorned, spurned 
   and laughed at by others and they respond with anger and 
   bitterness and become confused, unhappy and mixed up.  
   Unwilling to admit they are wrong they become stubborn, 
   hostile, militant, angry and hard to deal with.  They are angry 
   at society because they are rejected and spurned and they are 
   rejected and spurned because they are angry at society.  It is 
   all an ugly vicious circle. 

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