‘So heavenly minded you’re no earthly good’

  

Category:  Religion & Ethics

Via:  bob-nelson  •  last year  •  12 comments

‘So heavenly minded you’re no earthly good’
An overwhelming majority of white evangelicals denies any responsibility for aiding strangers in need. An overwhelming majority of religiously unaffiliated Americans affirms that responsibility.

S E E D E D   C O N T E N T



512 News item: White evangelicals most likely to deny responsibility to accept refugees .


Partisanship and ideology are major factors in opinion about whether the U.S. has a responsibility to accept refugees. Yet there also are differences by race, age, education and religion. … By more than two-to-one (68% to 25%), white evangelical Protestants say the U.S. does not have a responsibility to accept refugees. Other religious groups are more likely to say the U.S. does have this responsibility. And opinions among religiously unaffiliated adults are nearly the reverse of those of white evangelical Protestants: 65% say the U.S. has a responsibility to accept refugees into the country, while just 31% say it does not.

An overwhelming majority of white evangelicals denies any responsibility for aiding strangers in need. An overwhelming majority of religiously unaffiliated Americans affirms that responsibility.

Therefore, one of these groups, according to the Bible, knows God and abides in God. The other group, according to the Bible, consists of “liars” who do not know God. They do not abide in God and God does not abide in them.

The Bible says this . So, again, it seems that intra ecclesiam nulla salus . If you want to know God — if you want to be saved — then it’s probably best to avoid white evangelical churches.

refugees.jpg

“Transcendentize” should be a word.

Yes, it would be an obnoxiously ugly word — a clumsy, awkwardly pretentious and high-falutin’ word. It would be the kind of fancy schmancy word that would always inject a note of “ Look at me! Look at me! I’m a smarty pants! ” along with whatever else it was attempting to communicate.

But that’s part of why this unlovely word is needed. Because it’s the necessary counterpart of an existing word for which all of that is also true. And “transcendentizing” is usually what people are doing when they use that other word.

That other word, of course, is “immanentize.” That one has been kicking around in theology and philosophy for more than a century, but it still seems unnaturally stilted. You can still see and hear it being wordified into being every time it’s employed, the haphazard seam of its stitched-on suffix still visible.

“Immanentize” is an unavoidably showy word. It conveys both the sense that the speaker has read and studied lots of theology and/or philosophy and the sense that the speaker wants you to know that. This is part of its appeal, as its often employed as an authoritative sounding word meant to end the conversation. “Don’t immanentize the eschaton” or “you’re immanentizing the transcendent” are both statements with actual meaning and substance, but they are also statements warning that no response will be heard or engaged unless it too rises to this level of extravagantly learned-seeming language.

The awkward verbification “immanentize” is almost always employed negatively, as criticism or a warning against a kind of imbalance. If imbalance in one direction is concerning, then it seems reasonable to conclude that imbalance in the opposite direction should also be concerning. Hence the need for an awkwardly verbified word to describe that opposite imbalance: “transcendentizing.”

This word would also be useful, I think, for describing what it is that many people are doing when they issue their authoritative, conversation-ending decrees against the self-evident danger of “immanentizing.” It’s difficult to warn against that as something dangerous without thereby commending transcendentization. Or transcendentizification. Or transcendentizificationism. Or …

You know what? Instead of verbifying another ugly new word into existence, let’s just fall back on some older, simpler words strung together in a bit of time-honored folk wisdom: “Don’t be so heavenly minded that you’re no earthly good.”

Or we could revisit some even older, plainer, and blunter language, from the author of 1 John. Because, again, this is right there in the Bible :


Beloved, let us love one another, because love is from God; everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, for God is love. … Those who say, “I love God,” and hate their brothers or sisters, are liars; for those who do not love a brother or sister whom they have seen, cannot love God whom they have not seen.

That’s canon. It’s holy writ. It’s unambiguous and uncomplicated and as plain-spoken and straightforward as can be. “Whoever does not love does not know God.”

Recite that or show any sign of taking it seriously — as theology or philosophy, as ethics or as epistemology, as religion or as politics — and the transcendentizers will soon show up to condemn you for immanentizing. They’re so heavenly minded that they’re no earthly good.

And they do not know God, for God is love.



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Bob Nelson
1  seeder  Bob Nelson    last year

Jesus's straight and narrow path ("love one another") is really, really hard to follow. So lots of people duck and weave, hoping God won't notice. ...   ...     good luck with that...

One technique is to ignore His very simple message, and instead make up crazy stuff like virgin birth, transubstantiation, and ... well you get the idea. That way they can argue about crap that Jesus never mentioned 'cause He was busy preaching "love"... and they avoid the tough stuff.

Of course... they have to make themselves deaf to Christ's message.

 
 
 
luther28
2  luther28    last year

An overwhelming majority of white evangelicals denies any responsibility for aiding strangers in need.

Although I believe this to be a part of the Gospels, perhaps it was omitted from their printing of the Good Book:

The parable of the Good Samaritan is a parable told by Jesus in the Gospel of Luke. It is about a traveller who is stripped of clothing, beaten, and left half dead alongside the road. ... Finally, a Samaritan happens upon the traveller. Samaritans and Jews despised each other, but the Samaritan helps the injured man.

Or just in case they skipped that particular passage.

 
 
 
Bob Nelson
2.1  seeder  Bob Nelson  replied to  luther28 @2    last year

The Good Samaritan is probably the best known of Jesus's parables, and for reason. It's a story that works at several levels, depending on the audience. Even small children understand the "kindness to a stranger" element, while a lot more sophistication is needed in order to understand the consequences of the relative stations of a Jew and a Samaritan in those times.

Americans would understand it better if it was situated in 1930s Alabama, the victim was a White lawyer, and the Samaritan was a cotton-pickin' nigger.

 
 
 
luther28
2.1.1  luther28  replied to  Bob Nelson @2.1    last year
Americans would understand it better if it was situated in 1930s Alabama, the victim was a White lawyer, and the Samaritan was a cotton-pickin' nigger.

Always take a walk in the other persons shoes, you may gain a bit of insight.

 
 
 
Bob Nelson
2.1.2  seeder  Bob Nelson  replied to  luther28 @2.1.1    last year

I'm a fan of His parables. Good stories with inescapable lessons.

 
 
 
luther28
2.1.3  luther28  replied to  Bob Nelson @2.1.2    last year

Fairly much the ABC's of living a humane life for the most part.

 
 
 
Tacos!
2.2  Tacos!  replied to  luther28 @2    last year
An overwhelming majority of white evangelicals denies any responsibility for aiding strangers in need

Source? Because I have seen multiple sources that indicate the opposite.

Evangelicals Give More to Charity, Study Finds

The study finds that 79 percent of evangelical Christians gave money to a church or charity last year, while 65 percent donated items and 60 percent volunteered their time.

Religious Americans Give More, New Study Finds

Among Americans who claim a religious affiliation, the study said, 65 percent give to charity. Among those who do not identify a religious creed, 56 percent make charitable gifts. About 75 percent of people who frequently attend religious services gave to congregations, and 60 percent gave to religious charities or nonreligious ones. By comparison, fewer than half of people who said they didn’t attend faith services regularly supported any charity, even a even secular one.

Who Gives Most to Charity?

It is easy to think of philanthropy as something done by the very wealthy, or big foundations, or prosperous companies. Actually, of the $358 billion that Americans gave to charity in 2014, only 14 percent came from foundation grants, and just 5 percent from corporations. The rest—81 percent—came from individuals.

. . . the vast predominance of offerings come from average citizens of moderate income . . .

Per capita, Americans voluntarily donate about seven times as much as continental Europeans. Even our cousins the Canadians give to charity at substantially lower rates, and at half the total volume of an American household.

Religion motivates giving more than any other factor.

Even a HuffPost atheist had to admit this was true:

Does Evangelical Giving Do the World Good?

If we don't count their recruiting activities, do Evangelical Christians actually give more than non-religious? Do they give more to things that we humans pretty much agree are social goods? Sorry, all you fellow secularists, though the gap narrows the answer still appears to be yes.

Churches often do a wonderful job of providing and organizing members services: warm meals for kids with sick parents, adventures for teenagers, housing for young adults, support during bereavement, even free counseling or legal services. And with regard to outsiders , even if food, medical care, or friendship is offered primarily as bait to set a fish hook, the food and medical care are real.

. . . religious people appear to give more to ordinary charities than secular folks do
 
 
 
luther28
2.2.1  luther28  replied to  Tacos! @2.2    last year
An overwhelming majority of white evangelicals denies any responsibility for aiding strangers in need
Source? Because I have seen multiple sources that indicate the opposite.

It is the opening sentence in the first paragraph of this seed, as to the origin Bob would have to answer.

 
 
 
Tacos!
2.2.2  Tacos!  replied to  luther28 @2.2.1    last year

Fair enough. I didn't make that connection because it wasn't presented as a quotation.

 
 
 
Tacos!
3  Tacos!    last year

Jesus taught about how people should interact with other people. I don't think he was trying to spread concepts of good government. He wasn't trying to be a political scientist. No political party is going to neatly line up with Jesus because he wasn't political.

Religious Republicans may not want government to take their tax money for entitlements and benefits, but they do tend to personally give of their own time and money to charity.

 
 
 
TᵢG
3.1  TᵢG  replied to  Tacos! @3    last year

If the US federal government had a track record of effective use of tax revenue where, for example, the tax revenue actually enabled people in need (e.g. providing a safety net and a program to 'teach a man to fish') and not so much despicable waste and corruption, I suspect there would be quite a few who would be more receptive to government administering these programs.

 
 
 
Tacos!
3.1.1  Tacos!  replied to  TᵢG @3.1    last year

I think that's true, although to be fair, there is plenty of corruption in religious charities, too. 

Also, the mere fact that one donates to a charity (religious or secular) does not excuse one from being charitable to the stranger or sojourner. I would guess almost all of us could do more than we do.

 
 
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