Sjolander Road Fellowship




Declaring the God of Unconditional Love

religiously inspired sin

8/6/15

 

The seven deadly sins are listed in Proverbs 6:16-19. Pride is at the top of the list, as noted by numerous preachers over the years. Within the context of current day American evangelical Christianity, however, this biblical treatment of pride is ironic to the extreme.

 

Actually, many associated with the American style of Christianity have promoted pride to the status of a sacred virtue, instead of a dangerous vice. All one must do is consider the doctrine that only good Christians can be accepted by God and avoid His wrath to recognize the arrogance associated with orthodox Christianity. The same is true of any religions which make a similar claim. Loudly and proudly proclaiming oneself one of the chosen few is the exact opposite of humility.

 

Then, in addition, I note how orthodox Christian theology is integrated into our cultural norms which again proudly and loudly insist that all things American are divinely ordained and therefore superior to that of the rest of the world. Certainly, the world can learn from us, but to a significant degree we need to learn from them. All this chest thumping about American "exceptionalism" simply blinds us to any wisdom outside our own.

 

Likewise, the church and its political allies are the great cheer leaders for the American brand of capitalism and its incessant emphasis on financial success as the true measure of abundant living and God's blessings. Mega-churches with their prosperity gospel messages simply provide cover for our natural tendency to seek fulfillment in materialism and the pursuit of selfish interest. It also allows us to dismiss the unsuccessful as simply wicked. In this economic celebrity, the church leads us into another of the seven deadly sins, that of greed.

 

In this same vein, the institutional church here is always the first in line to promote the next war. Our military might is projected by the church as a divine blessing which must be used to advance the cause of righteousness. Since all things American are innately superior and divinely ordained, then wars to extend and maintain American influence and the interests of American capitalism, are always righteous. The warrior role thus remains sacred in church theology, often seen as approaching that of Christ in its nobility and impact.

 

In the midst of promoting what the Bible condemns, we see the church continuing to sell ritualism, public piety, and correct knowledge as the defining characteristics of God's people. How can praying before every meal, openly identifying myself as one of the elect, or memorizing the Bible be more important than letting go of sinful attitudes and actions? What is the obvious result of considering myself righteous because of what I know, believe, and practice religiously? If I am righteous for these reasons, then I am inevitably proud of myself and contemptuous of those who are not. Just consider the evident attitude of many in the church toward those outside their ranks.

 

To compound the irony of this "sacred pride", we observe the typical church reaction to any challenge to their self promotion. Cries of religious persecution and/or mindless name calling are directed at whoever raises the challenge. By church definition, if you question the church, you are Godless, un American, and unworthy of basic rights.

 

A religion which can so effectively turn a sin into a sacred characteristic has a strong natural appeal, endorsing as it does what we tend to do anyway. I seriously doubt that an appeal to the natural man was the purpose of Jesus. Many have suggested that Jesus would never recognize today's Christianity. It's a thought worthy of serious, prayerful reflection