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January 14, 2010

On Pat Robertson's Childish Santa Claus Conception of Christianity

If you're good, Santa Christ fills your stockings with treats; if you're bad, Santa Christ drops an earthquake or meteor on your sinful ass.

There is another important issue involved here, which is a warped and confused theology Robertson has employed before. For example, Robertson agreed with Jerry Falwell that on 9/11 God lifted the “curtain” and allowed the enemies of America to give us “probably what we deserve”; and in 1998 he warned after Orlando city officials voted to fly rainbow flags from city lampposts during an annual Gay Day event at Disney World, “I don’t think I’d be waving those flags in God’s face if I were you. . . . [A] condition like this will bring about the destruction of your nation. It’ll bring about terrorist bombs, it’ll bring earthquakes, tornadoes, and possibly a meteor.”

Pat Robertson’s argument is as neat and clean as a mathematical equation: God grants blessings and curses on nations and people based on their allegiance and obedience to Him. If things are going well, you’re living right; if things are going badly, you’re living wrong. And it is Robertson himself who can divine the hierarchy of sins that most trouble God.

But this view simply does not correspond with any serious understanding of Christianity. After all, the most important symbol in Christianity is the Cross, which represents suffering, agony, and death. When Jesus spoke to Ananias, who was instrumental in the conversion of the Apostle Paul, Ananias was told, “I will show [Paul] how much he must suffer for my name.” Christ Himself warned His disciples that they would suffer for His sake; most of them were martyred for their faith. The Apostle Peter speaks about the suffering that Christians will endure for doing good. And in the book of Romans we read that we are to rejoice in our suffering because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance produces character; and character produces hope. On and on it goes.

The Lord works in mechanical ways, sayeth Pat Robertson.

You know what has always turned me off? Pitches for any religion (including cultish ones) where there are so many promises for prosperity and health and such in this world in exchange for belief.

According to Robertson (and some cult leaders), if I believe in the God he champions, that God will give me wealth and health and happiness.

Okay. Let's note right out of the gate, then, that this exchange, were I to make it, is a wholly selfish and mercenary one on my part: I'm being offered money and services for my belief.

I can't see how accepting a great deal like that is an indicator of faith, or piety. If I really believe that, and if I believe that is the primary benefit of giving my devotion to a god, then I'm not really showing any real spiritual thirst. I'm just accepting a beneficial business arrangement.

Via AllahPundit's Twitter feed.


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posted by Ace at 11:14 AM

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