A Religious Liberal Blog

This site hopefully can provide some vehicle by which I can comment, complain, and once in a while praise the state of religion in this country and around the world from a liberal protestant perspective.

Friday, April 14, 2006

The War on Easter

Here's an interesting bit of guerilla evangelism with some tongue in cheek humor. Brian Fleming, the maker of the film The God Who Wasn't There, has set up a group to promote what they call the War on Easter, a rip off from Bill O Reilly's language.

They've been having folks leaflet churches around the country and when possible hide copies of the movie, The God Who Wasn't There in the pews or on the church grounds. It copies the tactics of many evangelicals in spreading the word, which is why in the end the effort will only serve to alienate people.

Think the golden rule. Don't do what you would not want done to you. The same reason that anonymous leaflets, brochures, and confrontational evangelism is annoying when done to atheists will likewise be annoying when done to fundamentalists.

Some will say it's payback but one shouldn't be fooled into thinking that a conversation will begin which such tactics. It's more meant for the edification of the leafleter in the case of fundamentalist evangelists and atheist evangelists, than with the one being targeted.

The film itself is a criticism of fundamentalism, with a mix of some scholars which doubt the existence of Jesus historically. Such a view point, is rare in NT scholarship, though such a debate doesn't have as much bearing on the Christian religion as some might imagine.

Because the incarnational moment is likely to be larger than a person, it's a whole complex set of events which led to the formation of ideas, practices, and religious communities of which we are a product of today. Can such a thing do some good in the world? That and not the history question is key.

I have not had a chance to watch the whole film yet. But the good folks who made the movie are sending me and our campus ministry a copy for free. I don't get the indication that any of them are familiar with liberal or mainline protestantism.

I'll be curious if the film addresses this, since it's not the background of the film maker. It's not as if we in the churches don't read the Jesus Seminar, don't have many of the same ethical and social values which animate these folks.

Reading their war on Easter site, they pick any and all churches in their evangelism efforts. One example is Central United Methodist in Winona, MN. A congregation that links the reconciling movement, a group working for gay and lesbian inclusion in the church.

If you want to start a dialogue, then do the things which you would find engaging yourself instead of what you'd find alientating. And recognize that you do have allies in the churches and other religions who share some of the same values. Some common work might make things happen on this front, will this campaign aid that?


At 10:13 AM , Blogger Rainbow Demon said...

I agree with you, Dwight.
Sometimes when people are 'excluded' from something or hurt by something, they tend to strike back; the best example of this I can think of would be players in a football game.

One is hit hard illegally, so he goes back after the one who hit him, usually resulting in a penalty...


At 6:08 PM , Anonymous GDon said...

Dwight, I'm a liberal Christian with an interest in early Christianity. I have no time for inerrantists, fundamentalists or preaching. I AM interested in seeing that facts regarding early Christianity are reported fairly.

Dwight, the "God Who Wasn't There" has about as much credibility as a Jack Chick tract. I've reviewed the information in the movie here:

I've tried to get the "War on Easter" crowd to address the points raised in the movie -- Beddru, the "pagan saviour" rubbish -- but they just aren't interested. Obviously examining the evidence is something only Christians are supposed to do.

At 10:34 AM , Blogger Joe G. said...

Good comments about the movie and their tactics. I had a friend of mine, who is no fan of fundamentalist christianity nor a christian herself, remark that she liked the first part of the movie. However, as soon as they started trying to do the same things that they complained of fundamentalists doing she lost interest and respect for the filmakers.

It's clear that there is still a lot of rage and pain on the part of the film maker and hence he and his organization react and act in ways very similarly to what fundamentalists do.

Glad you brought this up.

At 6:54 PM , Anonymous Ethan said...

That's what I've tried to explain to certain people. These tactics are only playing into the hands of fundamentalists that want people to believe the Christian persecution BS. This type of thing makes it look like it's not BS.

At 2:40 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hello. I'm the one who posted the fliers at the United Methodist Church in Winona, MN.

I think you might have misunderstood my intentions. It wasn't in any way supposed to be an attack on fundementalism. It was an attack on religion. The only criteria I looked at was "Do these people lie to children and tell them about a mythical world in which demons and angels exist and people continue to exist after death?" I've gotta tell you, Methodists fit that description every bit as well as southern Baptists. Yes, fundamentalists are a greater threat to my way of life, but liberal religions lie the same as the others. It has NOTHING to do with fundamentalism. In my case, it is a war on religion.

You're probably going to call me a hardcore fundamentalist atheist, and I fully agree.

I'm sorry I don't have a blog to respond on, but I simply don't have a need for one at this point. However, please feel free to e-mail me at chrisnelson1984. It's a yahoo.com address. Hopefully writing it that way will keep spambots from getting it. :)


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