Friday, August 27, 2010

No one likes a moderate

No one like a moderate.

More teens becoming "fake" Christians

My favorite Christian-on-Christian attack phrase is back. “Moralistic Therapeutic Deism”. Quite a mouthful, eh? This is a form of attack believers throw against other believers who aren’t as delusional as they ought to be. For some reason some believers want happy-happy delusion. Some call them moderates. To others they are normal. To me they are self-fulfilling self-delusional. To fundamentalists, they are a grave threat.

So what is this “moralistic therapeutic deism” and why is it so dangerous to the fundie? Since I listen to the christian radio shows, I can answer this one. Moralistic Therapeutic Deism (or MTD to keep my spell check from exploding) is feel-good Christianity. It has a firm moral code, which is mostly don’t do drugs or have premarital sex. Beyond the no drugs/no sex mantra, actual morality is grey, and varies from person to person, just like in real life. As a fee-good dogma, it is therapeutic. Since we have a god here, we have deism. Toss them all together and you have the reason teens leave the faith for atheism: MTD.

The fundie sees this as a great threat. You see, these people actually have deluded themselves into thinking that god wants them to be happy and that’s it. God just wants you to have a coke, a smoke and a smile. Wait. No smoke. Sorry. But the MTD follower may not believe in hell or any kind of eternal damnation. They may not be able to speak in tongues. Worst of all, they may not be able to articulate their faith well enough to stand form against the challenge of an atheist.

I’m kidding. That’s not the worst thing. The worst thing would be that teens do good for the sake of doing good, rather than for eternal rewards. This comes straight from the article:

She [Kenrda Dean] says parents who perform one act of radical faith in front of their children convey more than a multitude of sermons and mission trips.
A parent's radical act of faith could involve something as simple as spending a summer in Bolivia working on an agricultural renewal project or turning down a more lucrative job offer to stay at a struggling church, Dean says.
But it's not enough to be radical -- parents must explain "this is how Christians live," she says.
"If you don't say you're doing it because of your faith, kids are going to say my parents are really nice people," Dean says. "It doesn't register that faith is supposed to make you live differently unless parents help their kids connect the dots."

See? I can’t make this up. The author of the article says that doing good isn’t good unless you do it and make sure everyone knows you did good because of faith. This is the kind of delusion that makes people dangerous. This is why I find religion disingenuous.

Personally, I think MTD is a good thing. Taking what works from religion and making it your own is the only reasonable thing to do, unless you want to drop delusion for rationality. I find most people who would subscribe to MTD are those believers who would defend the wall of separation between church and state. They recognize that religion’s place is in the church and home, not the statehouse. If I were to imagine a world with religion that works, I’d find a world of MTD believers.

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