Jesus graphically described a condition of lasting, fierce torment to which we consign ourselves by ignoring the state of our fellowman and relying on ritual piety to gain God’s attention and blessing. Contrary to what Jesus taught Christian Orthodoxy has wallowed in the separation of the saved/ lost identity. Per that doctrine a few people are good enough to be acceptable to God and the vast majority are summarily rejected.
That kind of religious philosophy is completely at odds with Jesus. It is a rejection of Jesus in favor of allegiance to the tenets of OT Judaism with all its legalisms and resulting self righteousness. It conveniently ignores the boldness of the Gospel in establishing the absolute equality of all men before God. It denies the very stated Will of God that none should perish. It treats both Jesus and the Apostle Paul as some sort of ethical morons who didn’t comprehend the impossibility of forsaking violence, retribution, and segregation as a necessary safeguard against evil men.
The horrendous angst created by the pandemic, endless political intrigue, and racial turmoil in this country are a direct consequence of the precepts of Christian Orthodoxy. This subdividing of our citizens into the worthy and the unworthy sends us all right straight to the very Hell Jesus warned us about. All our hellish problems are systemic problems for the very reason that all our systems are predicated on a Christian theology that creates Hell.
A civil society requires that we have faith in one another as responsible citizens. That faith is built upon an awareness that all are equally valuable. There is no room in that civil society for the preaching of the divinely ordained few and the divinely cursed rest.
That kind of dichotomy is behind a justice system that relies on oppression and violence as a necessary evil. That sense of what qualifies as justice essentially guarantees that the law enforcement agencies become a threat to many.
That good/evil distinction explains why so many want to seal themselves off in gated communities with private roads and exorbitant HOA fees. Why parents move their kids from school to school trying to separate from the evil other. Why home security companies do such a booming business. Why guns in public places proliferate and endlessly result in killings. Why political parties revel in declaring large portions of the population as their enemies. Why many look out the window to report suspicious people to the police who then feel obliged to respond aggressively. The whole religious paradigm is a maelstrom of evil pursuing evil.
Anyone who is seriously concerned for America might consider some truly dramatic changes. It is no longer viable to think that America’s problems can be solved either by returning to some past greatness or by “tweaking” around the edges of our institutions. Nothing should be unchallengeable if we really want to heal America. Not the Constitution. Not so called capitalism. Certainly not anyone’s religious understanding. Systems created under the thinking of institutional Christianity are fundamentally flawed and cannot form the base of a truly great nation.
While the church has hammered into our heads the idea of a physical location where we suffer after death in fiery flames, they have simultaneously consigned the entire country to the real Hell that Jesus taught. If we ever escape it will be because we finally and completely reject the precept that some of us are good and need to oppress the rest.