Sunday, May 24, 2015

Christian Rejection of Humanism: Bill O'Reilly and Josh Duggar

Matthew 7:15 Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves.

Instead of pointing out the contradictions between Bill O'Reilly's and Josh Duggar's professed beliefs and their actions, I thought it would be more interesting to focus on the continued elevation, by many evangelicals, of media figures. Duggar and O'Reilly join a long list of fallen religious personalities who were (foolishly) placed above the flesh they reside in by Christians who should've known better. The need to maintain a pseudo-symbolic order is the modern day version of Aaron creating a golden calf. The idolatry lies in the false belief that political affiliation and social status can grant you direct access to the Most High.
Believers are tasked with accepting weakness and sin as constitutive strains in our molecular structure. While some choose to struggle daily with the ways they fall short, others engage in the willful denial of their sinful nature. Yes, there will always be people playing the role and faking the funk, but why do so many believers fall into their trap? Many want/need the illusion of man made wholesomeness to be authentic. Some of their actions lead me to believe that their faith is as dependent on projecting righteousness through an in-group identification as it is on deep metaphysical investigation. We get examples of this every election cycle; some hyper-partisan believer emphatically claims that their candidate is a "true" Christian, or that God is backing their political worldview. These arguments, as compelling as they may seem to some, overlook the fact that none of us can see into the deepest darkest corners of a person's soul, nor do we possess the ability to know God's will.   

It's hard to follow Jesus and admit sin around folks who have a utopian view of what it means to be a Christian. Some of our most vulnerable brothers and sisters find themselves on the outside looking in. There's more dignity in admitting weakness than faking perfection, yet too many feel forced to accept a Stepford religion that forces them to suppress their humanity. Some of us become so consumed with a public figures shiny clear coat that we forget to lift the hood and see what the engine looks like. Some churches and religious leaders have hurt their credibility by professing their faith and allegiance to those who were better at hiding their sins than confronting them. If you're around Christians who make it a regular habit to demean and chastise the very people Jesus died for then maybe the fruit they are bearing isn't of the Lord 

Bill O'Reilly and Josh Duggar hurt real people. While some are dancing on their proverbial graves, we shouldn't forget the tragedy visited upon the children who were molested by Josh, nor the domestic abuse by Bill. Their transgressions are more than ammunition in the war against holier than thou Christians. This isn't an argument to absolve them of their wrong doings. Publicly humiliating them may feel good and vindicate their political enemies, but it does nothing to shrink the pedastal they were standing on. There's a revolving door of people waiting to get access to the money and spotlight that comes with being a public figure; maybe we should lower the pedastal they stand on and do a better job of vetting the character of those we elevate. These men are just symptoms of a greater problem.