Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Biblical Literacy: Who Cares?

Atheists care.  Mormons care.  “Evangelical” “born again” Christians don’t care.  “Spiritual not religious” refugees from organized Christian churches don’t care.  Unitarians don’t care (unless they are atheists).  Keli Goff ranted on Dylan Ratigan and the Huffington Post that:
        . . . an overwhelming majority of those who believe in God are ignorant of basic Biblical facts, and facts about other religions. A 2010 Pew study found only 2% of those surveyed could answer 29 of the 32 questions asked correctly. Most could answer about half. This means that people who aren’t well-versed in their own religious beliefs, or anyone else’s, are making decisions in the voting booth fueled by prejudice that isn't even well-informed prejudice.
        . . . Atheists were among the top scoring groups on Pew’s religion pop quiz.  Mormons also scored well. . . . So . . . If most of us are not knowledgeable enough of our own faiths to truly know if another faith is at odds with our own, then how can a vote based in part on someone else’s designated religion be rooted in anything other than prejudice?
More important than voting based on religious prejudice is indifference to Christian fundamentalist Zionism, and the fervent desire on the part of Christian fundamentalists to establish a theocracy in the United States. Christian Zionism  poses a direct threat to world peace because of its belief in the literal return of Jesus to establish a “new Jerusalem” and usher in the "Kingdom of God."  Christian Zionism is at the root of right-wing Christian foreign policy espoused by all three Republican candidates still in the race for the nomination.

Liberal and progressive Christians need to bone up on Revelation, the Revised Common Lectionary, and the Gospel of John (see John Shuck’s sermons, and my Liberal Christian Commentary Archive), and then join the Westar Institute in its continuing, paradigm-shifting work on the historical Jesus, the development of early Christianity, and – most recently – the Bible itself.  Want more help?  ProgressiveChristianity.org provides resources, guiding ideas, and spiritual networking opportunities for progressive individuals, churches, and organizations.

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