Well ain’t that just a kick in the shorts…
It seems that the gentleman in this video has a strong disagreement with the people in the pews and their spiritual leader. I’m guessing he genuinely believes that they are genuflecting and saying magic words to the wrong invisible dictator. He believes they will be punished horribly for all of eternity. And he believes that he owes it to them to tell them how wrong they are.
Those poor folks in the pews are in a tough spot. They believe he’s wrong. And there’s no logical argument he can make that will convince them to go to his church instead. In fact, seeing his desperate act of proselyterrorism, they are probably reassured that they’re saying the right magic words and he’s saying the wrong ones. They certainly aren’t going to be inviting him to the Sunday afternoon potluck, either. This is a chasm that isn’t going to be bridged anytime soon. And all because of a sincere belief in hell.
This one’s even nastier. People beating the hell out of each other (yuck, yuck, yuck…) over whether or not their pastor is telling them the correct magic words to keep them out of hell. Ironic, eh?
It’s easy to just laugh this kind of thing off and attribute it to basic human stupidity. But the fact is, whether actual violence breaks out or not, giant social rifts are opened up regularly over matters of dogma. Back when I was a Christian, I witnessed three church splits. One was over speaking in tongues. Half the church believed it was from god. Half believed it was from the devil. There was no room for compromise. One group left and started their own church.
Were there other things going on besides the theological debates? Of course there were. But the dogma was the straw that broke the camel’s back. Many of the participants were genuine believers, and if there had been any hope of settling personal differences, it went out the window when the liturgical lines were drawn.
These are all examples of what religion does, and why Christopher Hitchens believes that it “poisons everything.” It is inherently divisive, and unlike normal human divisions, religion allows no room for compromise. Either you’re going to heaven or you’re going to hell, and there’s simply no way to meet in the middle.