It's time to refer to people who are obviously not Christians as something else. Something from the Old Testament maybe; not Puritanical…?
I can think of a number of other descriptions that would be unacceptable to all but rabid activists. Now if you say alt-Christians I'd accuse you of jumping on a bandwagon, but it'd be a start.
alt-, disregarding the computer keyboard usage, used to refer to an alternative, was never used to mask true meaning and thus legitimise an unacceptable stance. Now, the alt-Right, far from being an alternative to it, is about as far right politically as it can be.
Neo- is the same. At their core the redefinitions are intended to hide… OK, when all is said and done it matters not what prefix is used; a Fascist is a Fascist, a Nazis a Nazi, a racist a racist, and a Cheeto-faced short-fingered vulgarian shitgibbon is, well…
Language usually evolves slowly; nuanced changes are the norm, but adoption of slang, buzzwords is driven considerably faster by technological development, wars.
Oh, that precedent!
We must look back only to the first third of the twentieth century, a time within living memory, to find widespread adoption of new social norms of the type that negatively impacted large swathes of the world's population.
Yes, the rise of National Socialism, the Nazis. They had a movement too! It too stirred up the population against those it deemed subhuman.
I'm not about to compare and/or contrast the Nazis with the grossly perverted and repressive practises enacted in the name of Communism. Suffice it to say the acts of subjugation, abductions, torture, deaths, all, all of them were carried out perfectly legally too. Laws made by executive decree and which wiped out any semblance of regard to the human dimension when lawmaking. Laws enacted in single countries without regard to the impact on their own citizens and the world at large. All enacted in the guise of making (country) great again.
The 1930s brought a number of organisations out in support of the Nazis. OK, maybe that's unfair, at least to the one I'm picking on to flesh this out: the 'America First Committee' . Setup after the start of World War 2 their core beliefs centred around building defences to keep the world from inflicting the war upon America. In simple analysis a noble ideal: look after your own first. The world had changed irrevocably since.
What hasn't though, simple ignorance. If I was being charitable I'd say it was a desire to hold on to traditional values. But I'm not being charitable.
I read a series of tweets earlier today from an American, an ex-military man, an egg injured in the line of duty whilst stationed in Iraq. Gross in their extreme as the tweets were, he seemed to truly believe his Christianity, his military service and especially his injury, all qualified him to ignore the humanity of those born in other countries. He detailed precisely how and where he'd kill them, which munitions he'd use. His statements on the Koran's commandment to kill everyone not of the faith were genuinely held. But 'genuine' cannot be conflated with well-informed.
Finally, he believed his government would look after him personally, owed him a debt of gratitude. Now I read only his side of the many conversations, and came to two conclusions. He was either:
- Trolling or
In the latter case its probably appropriate to consider the impact of his protest vote personally. He may need healthcare, may as an ex-serviceman rely on a small income, may be reliant on food stamps… But the bit that I cannot help thinking of, the simple fact that he was wounded. His president is on record as stating his utter absence of respect for someone who allowed themselves to be captured and faced years of brutal torture whilst on duty. So to think oneself special after carelessly allowing the enemy to draw blood? No, sorry, not worthy. Here we go, back again to Schadenfreude.
Back for a moment to the notion that Muslims must kill all nonbelievers: Within the Bible, and the Torah the book of Deuteronomy is easy to find, which implies wilful ignorance on the part of pretty much everyone who calls the enrire Muslim world terroristic.
They have my scorn, the time for acceptance in the name of expediency is over. That's not to say I will not take the time to understand different viewpoints, far from it. But some causes are hopeless.
Ignorance, it's the cornerstone of whatever the hell is happening in this world right now. A desire to ignore the realities of injustice, of social and economic change, a desire to return to the past, a past in which life was fundamentally simpler.
So yes, it's time we chose a different word for those who call themselves Christians but hold none of the core beliefs. A term that encompasses their fire-and-brimstone approach to those worshipping at different altars, their ignoring of the broken stranger in the road, the repulsion towards the refugee fleeing crises unimaginable even in times of previous conflict. It's time those holding pre-Christian beliefs were given personal responsibility for, shown the consequences of, their actions.
No, I really do not know what term I'd apply. I'm a simple man, see. It says so in my bio.
Disclosure: You should know that, whilst I call myself an atheist, I'm not singling out Christianity here, simply hypocrisy. I visit the local church a few times a year with my girls and often feel slightly awkward that these people welcome me without an inquisition. That said I hold many Christian values because it seems right to do so. And, I must say, I have a yearning to know more about the tenets, the core, of basic Buddhism.