Thursday, September 11, 2008

基本主義キリスト教のアメリカ社会と政治の影響 Fundamentalist Christianity and it's effect on American society and politics

The earth and all it’s creatures were created intact in one week in the year 4004 B.C. Dinosaurs and humans lived together in peace in the Garden of Eden. The dinosaurs were all vegetarians. When Eve ate the forbidden fruit from the tree of knowledge, she committed sin, and some of the dinosaurs became meat eaters. All of the dinosaurs were killed in the great flood. But that was not before some of them helped the Egyptians build the pyramids. The Grand Canyon was also made in the Great Flood.


However, we live in the End Times. All true believers of Jesus will be taken up to heaven in the Rapture. After a time of warfare on earth, there will be great battle on the plain of Armageddon in Israel, where God will destroy the kingdoms of Gog and Magog, which are really Russia and Iran, and Jesus will then return to Earth to rule the kingdom of true followers.


Hello everybody, this is Max writing now. But look at those two paragraphs above. How would you feel if you found them to be the basis for science and history education in your children’s school? However, the truth is that in America legal battles are now being fought by Christian Fundamentalist groups in more than ten states to have Bible based education taught in public schools. Many schools are using texts that have text content very much like those two paragraphs.


I would like to explain a little bit about Christian Fundamentalism, and their relation to American politics and society.


At this moment, we are in the middle of a Presidential campaign in the United States of America. As everyone knows, the Republican candidate, Senator John McCain, has made a controversial choice for his Vice President, Governor Sarah Palin of Alaska.


Let me explain why. At first, I was extremely surprised. How could he expect such an inexperienced woman to attract dissatisfied Hillary Clinton votes? But a closer look shows that that was not the main reason. The main reason is to pull the Christian right wing voters to his cause. And in that it seems that John McCain has succeeded.


She is very much what Christian Fundamentalists want to see in America’s leaders.


Present Christian Fundamentalism began around 1975. America had lost the Vietnam War. During the war, a mass protest movement arose to protest the war. This movement also protested what many people considered to be traditional bedrock values of American society. Conservative people felt lost, that the country was going to fall into ruin.


In particular, it seemed that the people protesting the war did not believe in the role of the military in American society, believed in free sex without marriage, condoned homosexuality, and took illegal drugs.


These things scared conservative Americans. It was at this time that the present type of Fundamentalist Christianity began to arise. What was new was that these Fundamentalist churches pulled religion into every aspect of daily life. According to these churches, all aspects of daily life could, and should be interpreted according to the Bible. Not only that, Fundamentalist Christians are working to recreate America as a Fundamentalist Christian society. To their thinking, older mainline churches are not true Christian churches. This includes Lutherans, Methodists, Unitarians, Catholics, and many others.


Since that time, they have worked hard to change America into their type of religious society. They have done this by joining the government at local levels. Then they attempt to pass Christian laws in their communities. The American Republican party has many of these Christian workers. Many staffers in the offices of Senators and Congressmen are Fundamentalist Christians. Christian Bible colleges, operated by Fundamentalist Christians, make a special effort to send their people to be staff for lawmakers. They then try to take over the personnel section for staffers, and only recruit other Fundamentalist Christians for staff positions. Particularly they have achieved great power in the present Bush administration. They are working very hard to change the laws and customs of America to what they believe in. I believe that in choosing his Vice President, Senator McCain had no choice but to obey them. In America, we call this struggle the “Culture Wars”.


A quick overview of Christian Fundamentalist main points.


Abortion. In 1973, a law that enabled women in every state in America to have an abortion if they wished was passed. This is one of the centers of the Religious Right’s activity. They wish to change the law to make it impossible for any American woman to have an abortion for any reason, except in extreme case medical emergencies where the mother may die.


They believe the Bible justifies them in this, that all lives are precious and must be saved.


Of course, they do not believe in any form of sexual education in schools. To young people, they preach abstinence, to married couples contraceptive use is forbidden. They wish to forbid the sale of contraceptive products. To their thinking, God will decide how many children you will have. Sex outside of marriage is forbidden.


In the case of Sarah Palin’s daughter, it is forgiven because the two kids will get married. This is then regarded as obedience to God.


Recently some states in America have experimented with the idea of some sort of legal relationship for homosexual couples. Of course the Fundamentalist Christians are very against this. They regard homosexuality as a disease to be cured, and maintain many groups who specialize in trying to force homosexual people into heterosexual relationships.


Another major important thing for them is the Darwinian theory of evolution. They believe that the earth is only 6,000 years old, that dinosaurs and humans existed together in the Garden of Eden. At that time, the dinosaurs were all vegetarian. However, when man sinned by eating the forbidden fruit of the tree of knowledge, some dinosaurs became carnivores. Of course, all dinosaurs died in the Great Biblical flood. That is why we find so many fossils today.

基本主義キリスト教信者のもう一つの大切な話題は、ダーウィン進化論理です。基本主義者の考えで、6,000年前に神様が一週間で地球を造りました。エデンの園で、恐竜と人間は共同生活をしました。その時に、恐竜達は全部菜食主義でした。人間は知恵の樹の食禁止果物を食べて、 罪を理解して、いくつかの恐竜も肉食主義に成りました。大洪水で恐竜達は全部死にました。その理由で、現在、私たちは化石をいっぱい見つけます。

There is no reference in the Bible of humans and dinosaurs living together. There is mention of “Leviathan” and “Behemoth” these are simply described as large creatures. The Fundamentalist Christians understand this to mean dinosaurs. Also, they believe that they can pull many children into Christian fundamentalism by talking about dinosaurs, as dinosaurs are popular with children.


Ideas like those above are actually taught as Biology class in Christian schools, and in public schools where Fundamentalist Christians have strong influence. But having their own Christian schools is not enough for them. In their thinking, all public schools in America must teach their ideas, and the teaching of Darwinian Evolutionary theory is to be forbidden. To achieve this goal, Christian Fundamentalists are trying to get as many of their people in political power in America as possible.


Sarah Palin has a very short resume. But when she was mayor of the town of Wasilla in Alaska, she thought about banning books from the town library. It is not specified which books she did not like, but Fundamentalist Christians do not like any book that has any reference to sex, homosexuality, also Harry Potter books are evil in their opinion. This is because the central theme of those books is magic. According to the Bible, magic is evil.


To their thinking, all such books must be banned from America.


These are only a few of their ideas. However, for them to live their own ideas separately in American society is not their goal. To their thinking, all Americans must live in their way by Bible principles. Americans who are not of their beliefs will become second class citizens.


Even though Sarah Palin has very little experience in government, her Christian beliefs are very fundamentalist. To the Christian Fundamentalists, that is fine. One does not need experience, only belief.


Also, the End Times is very much a part of their philosophy. They spend much time studying The Book of Revelations.


They believe that a final war will come in our lifetimes in the Middle East, and it will be nuclear. They believe that Russia and Iran are the evil nations that will invade Israel and start this war. Jesus will then come and take all true believers to Heaven in The Rapture. All people who do not believe as they do will spend the rest of eternity in hell and torment.


Some of them think that the United States should start this war to help Jesus hurry up. And of course, they do not see any point in worrying about Global Warming, since Jesus will take us to heaven soon. They do not see any reason to stop using so much resources and to stop creating such pollution, to them it will not matter. The Bush administration has had deep consultations with such people on Middle Eastern foreign policy.


They believe this is so written in the Bible, there fore it is absolute truth.


Christian Fundamentalist represent about 42% of the American population at this time.


I personally think abortion should be a personal decision between a woman and her doctor. I believe the public schools should have be very good at teaching science, especially evolution.


And I certainly do not believe in nuclear war.


These people are afraid, they are trying to use only the Bible as a way to find certainty. But it does not work that way. Along that road, lies madness. A person should not only study religion, we must also understand the world we live in.


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