Saturday, March 6, 2010

We're Not Alone

One thing I hear a lot from my fellow nonbelievers is that it seems like Christian extremists are constantly pushing for an American theocracy. While I'm convinced that this is true - that is, that fundamentalists would love to take over the country and turn us "back to the Bible" (whatever that means to them) - I'm not sure just how successful they would be. After all, they would have to deal with all the non-Christians, not to mention the other Christians who disagree with them. That's no small number of people, either; regardless of how noisy and obnoxious the extremists are, they're still technically a fringe. And they're not without their detractors inside the faith community, either. Anomaly100, one of the few Christians I follow on Twitter, wrote (among a lot of other stuff that makes good sense):

The Family at 133 C Street, infamous for their stifling and oppression, behind closed doors, [and for] deeming who is and who isn’t moral, are the very ones showing support to Uganda for giving homosexuals the death sentence.

The protesters in Iran are determined to topple their government due to the oppressive dictatorship they’ve had to endure from a forced theocracy.

Are we becoming them? So much is done in the name of God but do you think God needs their help?

This is something I've wondered about quite often. Why do religious extremists feel that they need to enforce their God's rules? Do they honestly think that an omnipotent, omniscient being wouldn't be able to handle things on its own? That they're so ready to take action in defense of their deity seems to directly counter the idea that they are devout in their faith. After all, were they truly of the opinion that their God's will would always be done, they would see no reason to act on his behalf. And if their God were omnipotent, how could anything possibly go any way but his? The idea of something going against the will of God would be a logical impossibility.

Anomaly100 and I definitely don't agree on the basic theological argument - that is, she argues against religious extremists on the basis that they distort Christianity, while I argue against them on the basis that their actions belie doubts that their words deny (and think that their stance is more in keeping with a fundamentalist tradition). But her viewpoint is a good reminder that nonbelievers aren't the only ones who are loath to allow dangerous religious ideas to take a solid root.