Discerning Secular Christianity from Christian Nationalism

Discerning Secular Christianity from Christian Nationalism

Jangled Jester is rooted in Tennessee. Even though I am not religious, as a lifelong Tennessee native, I feel a tremendous obligation for Jangled Jester to spread love, freedom, and inclusion to Abrahamic faiths and other religions around Appalachia and globally. To accept many ideas through JJ's philanthropy, the blog and craft store are founded on secularism and agnosticism, genuinely welcoming religious pluralism.

 

 Definitions

Philanthropy: the activity of individuals or organizations donating time (volunteering), talent (skills and expertise), and money (financial donations) to the development of society
Secularism: argues for the separation of religion and government, ensuring equal rights for diverse religious and non-religious viewpoints in defining laws and government decisions, and enabling for representative governance through democracy
Agnosticism: a philosophical position that recognizes the inherent uncertainty about the presence or non-existence of deities, the divine, or other realm of knowledge. It neither affirms nor denies the existence of a higher power, focusing on the limitations of human knowledge in determining the ultimate essence of reality
Religious Pluralism: the acceptance and coexistence of many religious views and practices within a society. It supports the idea that different religious traditions can interact peacefully, fostering mutual respect and understanding among people of different religions or lack of

  

Secular Christianity

It should have been stated in some of my prior postings about the December beheading of the Baphomet statue at the Iowa State Capitol that there is a significant difference between Christian secularism and Christian nationalism. Secular Christianity characterizes the majority of Christians I know. While nationalists are in the minority, their acts are more explicitly anti-secularism, agnosticism, and religious plurality.

Christians I know frequently do not attend church on a regular basis, instead depending on personal interpretations of the Bible and Jesus Christ rather than adhering to a specific Christian authority. They inherently align with a secular approach because they do not advocate for their Abrahamic philosophy to have full political power. Despite expressing their displeasure in their own right, they do not protest against other Christian denominations nor other religious and nonreligious institutions, and they do not resort to violence against opposing viewpoints. 

They instead emphasize the necessity of allowing everyone the right to choose and express their faith without fear of public exclusion. This viewpoint may be influenced by a personal knowledge of American democracy or anarchism, which values minimum government participation and equal possibilities for varied moral advocacy in a democratic society.

Secular Christianity means a lot to Jangled Jester. There are aspects of Christ teachings that can be applied nonreligiously. "Love thy neighbor," for example. Non-religious people can adopt this notion as a key value in building strong interpersonal connections and contributing to a harmonious and inclusive society without necessarily anchoring it in religious philosophy or theology.  

Christian Nationalism

Christians in America should oppose the push for Christianity to rule government and instead advocate for fair representation. Dominance would imply denying the rights and disbelief of people who hold opposing views. Christian nationalists believe that the Constitution only applies to Christians, and that non-religious people like Satanists or atheists are not truly American or acceptable in public places.

Christian nationalists oppose American secularism, democracy, and agnosticism, pushing for a Christian-only government and considering the world as being God's only. They consider religious pluralism as a mission for conversion and may resort to violence against nonconformists. Secular Christians are concerned about the beheading of the Baphomet monument at the Iowa Capitol, not because they align with Satanic tenets, but because it jeopardizes their religious liberty and calls into question the notion of limited government participation in people's lives.

Individuals who embrace the values of minimum government intrusion and democratic representation may find it difficult to advocate for the authority of only one religion. Such an attitude increases the likelihood of future exposure to a potentially dominant solitary belief, such as Islam. Secularism and anarchism, on the other hand, promote dialogue without condoning violence; they empower dialogue. Consider how terrible the scenario of Satanists destroying crosses in the Capitol would be—whether one favors the lack of religious representation or disputes the religious legitimacy of Satanism, which is rooted in atheism, nonviolent discourse is critical.

The Iowa Capitol's admission of The Satanic Temple, which showed the Baphomet monument, illustrates a sensible attitude to religious representation. Jangled Jester believes in equal representation in state legislatures and believes that democracy, which is for the people, should not primarily incorporate Christian imagery. To respect principles of religious neutrality and inclusivity, if government facilities exhibit Christian crosses or scripture, similar consideration should be given to enabling the inclusion of Satanist tenets. This is because what has been officially referred to as Satanism has been defined by humanitarian, law-abiding, and democratic principles. Allowing Satanist tenets to coexist with Christian symbols so adheres to the principles of religious equality and constitutional liberties.

The First Amendment to the United States Constitution protects citizens' right to profess and exercise their religious beliefs, or lack thereof. Advocating solely for Christian representation runs counter to these principles. Christians in America should oppose the movement for Christianity to rule government and instead urge for fair representation, knowing that dominance would necessitate the denial of rights to people with different views. Beheading the Baphomet statue, while less severe than harming actual Satanists, undermines The Satanic Temple's nonviolent democratic efforts to balance religious symbols in the Capitol. Such actions as the beheading appear tyrannical and irrational, contradicting fair representation principles as well as Christ's teachings.

 

Recommended Watch

This Holy Post video provides a short description of Christian nationalism, and numerous secular Christians express their objections to nationalism in the comments. These people value secular freedom and urge for people to find their faith in God or Christ on their own, without relying on government indoctrination.

Skye Jethani argues that Christian nationalists don't actually care about Christ but rather the political power they use Christianity as a tool to attain. He shares in this video on, 

"Nationalists may talk a lot about Jesus and biblical values, but underneath the surface, their goal isn't Christianity. It's cultural and political power. They talk very little about a life with God but a lot about all the blessings they expect to get from God."

 

 

Assessing for Signs of Christian Nationalism

It is crucial to emphasize that these features can appear in a variety of groups, not just Christianity, including nonreligious people. As previously stated, some of my past posts on Christianity's potential harm to democracy were inappropriate since they did not differentiate Christianity from Christian nationalism specifically. As a result, those posts mistakenly project a divisive "Us vs. Them" mentality, which is discussed below. Secular persons should strive to avoid these trends.

 

Key Themes

 Exclusivism: may have a high feeling of exclusivity, considering their own beliefs to be the only legitimate ones and other faiths or worldviews to be inferior or threatening
Dominionism: entails a desire for absolute power and influence over different parts of society, such as government, education, and law, with the goal of constructing a society based strictly on their ideals
Hostility to Pluralism: may be hostile to secularism and the separation of church and state, seeing them as a danger to the influence of their ideas in public life

 

In its pursuit of a society exclusively fashioned by Christian ideals, Christian nationalism resembles totalitarianism, tyranny, and dictatorship. It, like totalitarianism, strives to exert total control over different aspects of public and private life, seeking to govern with a specific theological viewpoint. Exclusionary desires for theocratic control are characteristic of tyranny, in which a single authority imposes its will with little respect for conflicting voices. Furthermore, the pursuit of centralized influence and opposition to pluralism are traits associated with dictatorship, as Christian nationalists seek to establish a system in which their faith's dominance pervades political, social, and cultural spheres, mirroring the concentrated power seen in dictatorial regimes.

 

What Can You Do?

Promoting secular American liberty is a shared obligation for all people, regardless of religious or nonreligious beliefs. It entails ongoing self-examination to ensure that one's ideas or behaviors are not unintentionally supporting totalitarian inclinations. Fostering interfaith contacts becomes a critical way to restore peace and compassion between different communities. Prioritizing humanitarian efforts, such as alleviating poverty and illness, over religious conversion demonstrates a dedication to global wellness.

Interfaith discourse is a great example of understanding and collaboration that builds an atmosphere of respect for varied belief systems. It is critical to be aware of individual rights and to engage in self-reflection to ensure that personal values comply with democratic and independent ideas. In this endeavor, concerns about faith, Godly action, and the nature of judgments should be handled with an open mind, appreciating the value of facts and acknowledging the inherent difficulties in demonstrating certain parts of complex situations.

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