Thursday, October 04, 2012

The “False Gods” of Evangelicalism

On September 12, 2012, Rob Asghar wrote a blog post for the Huffington Post accusing evangelical Christianity of pledging allegiance to an unholy Trinity which he calls the idols of Mars, mammon and sexual purity.  The idol of Mars refers to our allegedly bloodthirsty desire to resort to warfare when we should love our enemies instead.  Our worship of mammon is illustrated through our alleged allegiance to capitalistic materialism and hoarding material wealth.  Finally, he believes we are hypocrites by demanding sexual purity in society while worshipping at a materialistic altar ourselves.

Mr. Asghar does manage to exhibit a certain rhetorical flourish.  Like a good politician, he can get his audience to stand up and cheer as he holds their hands and navigates them down the path he wishes to travel so by the endof the journey they will proclaim along with him how utterly fair and reasonable his position appears.  And to be fair to Mr. Asghar, in many cases his position is fair and reasonable and he hits on some legitimate points that should cause some sincere reflection to take place within evangelical circles.  However, by taking his listeners by the hand and walking them down his path, he has carefully avoided allowing them to look from side to side and notice the other paths veering from Mr. Asghar’s trajectory, many of which are far more lit and enlightened than the destination to which they are being led.  In logical terms, Mr. Asghar commits the fallacy of universalizing the exception.  He points out a legitimate problem within evangelicalism but then overstates its prominence or effect.  He also makes little to no effort to understand the rationale of his “opponents’” position, so in many instances he ends up crafting a straw man and knocking it down.  As a result, while they are certainly some important things to take away from his piece, his ultimate conclusions are overly broad and not well thought-out.