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Research: Protestant Religious Groups Perpetrate Racial Exclusion

Field experiments are an ingenious variety of study in which people (or the semblance of people) are sent into social situations. These people have been trained to act exactly the same way, and only vary in one aspect. The question of a field experiment is, how do people differ in their treatment of two people who vary in only one way? Thanks to the rise of the internet, this method has recently become more solid, as researchers have become able to send out of precisely-controlled electronic communications appearing to come from everyday people and varying in only one aspect.

In a new article published in last month’s Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion, Bradley Wright, Michael Wallace, Annie Scola Wisnesky and colleagues report on a field experiment they carried out in which the following e-mail message was sent to 3,113 mainline Protestant, evangelical Protestant and Catholic churches across the United States:

E-mail communication sent out by Bradley Wright and Colleagues

In the field experiment his message was altered in only two ways. First, the word “parish” was used in e-mail messages to Catholic churches. Second, the name varied. With reference to studies in which Americans have been able to distinguish some names as strongly indicating “White,” “Black,” “Latino,” or “Asian” racialized identities, the following names were inserted into e-mail messages to indicate a racial identity to the e-mail recipient:

“White” names: Scott Taylor, Greg Murphy
“Black” names: Jamal Washington, Tyrone Jefferson
“Latino” names: Carlos Garcia, José Hernandez
“Asian” names: Wen Lang-Li, Jong Soo Kim

I’ll cut right to the chase:

  • On average, mainline Protestant churches responded to the e-mails sent with “White” names in 4 days, but waited 6 days to respond to e-mails with “Latino” names, waited 7 days to respond to e-mails with “Asian” names, and waited 8 days to respond to e-mails with “Black” names. These differences are statistically significant.
  • Evangelical Protestant churches also responded to e-mails with “White” names most quickly on average, but the difference was not statistically significant. Notably, however, Catholic churches responded to apparently “Asian,” “Black” and “Latino” requests more quickly than they did to requests with “White” names attached.
  • All varieties of church wrote longer responses to the apparently “White” requests than they did to apparently “non-White” requests. The difference was most pronounced in evangelical and mainline Protestant churches. The difference was not a statistically significant for Catholic churches.
  • Very terse e-mails (one or two sentences not substantively answering questions) were more often sent in response to “non-White” requests than to “White” requests by mainline and evangelical Protestant churches. There was no statistically significant difference in the likelihood of terse responses by Catholic churches.

In short, racial discrimination in how churches respond to potential new participants persists in American Protestant churches. But such racial discrimination in religion is neither ubiquitous nor inevitable — Catholic churches appear to occur racial discrimination toward potential parishoners, at least in the ways tested by this field experiment.

It’s behind a pay wall, unfortunately, but you can read the published results of the field experiment for yourself right here.

27 thoughts on “Research: Protestant Religious Groups Perpetrate Racial Exclusion”

  1. Leroy says:

    Not one iota of that was surprising to me.

    Strangely (as I recall), Blacks and Latinos specifically have a HIGHER proportion of their American population Christian than does the overall White population, but (primarily) White Protestant churches (especially fundamentalist and evangelical ones) don’t accept that.

    Personally, I believe that it is a taught / environmental / preached position that it Whites (that are fundamentalist and / or evangelical) are the real “Chosen People”.

    1. Dave says:

      Why do you believe that, Leroy? I’ve attended many fundamentalist and evangelical churches over the years and have seen and heard nothing of what you suspect they are being taught in those places. Perhaps you are confusing staid old denominational mainline churches which are probably the focus of the experiment with truly evangelical ones, which I find are usually anything but homogenous.

      Mainline churches down my way have a small impact regionally. It’s the evangelicals and charismatics that hold sway here by the millions. Most congregations here are racially mixed, but there are enough Hispanics now that they’ve begun to establish their own Iglesias. Black and white and Hispanic mix freely in the interdenominational evangelical churches I have experienced. Many larger churches in or near cities here support Asian congregations as well. None of these churches would call themselves “Protestant” so they are probably not the Protestant churches targeted in the experiment.

  2. Leroy says:

    Because of research. And talking with numerous people (not simply my own observations) and studies (more than one) as cited here!

    Your personally experienced evangelical churches (how many, BTW?) are VERY definitely Protestant.

    I am suspicious of your veracity (though not shocked as that is such a common Christian trait) if you don’t even understand the definition of the various faiths and sects!

    What are they? Catholic? Eastern Orthodox? Those two and Protestantism make up ALL of Christianity (that is Basic Religion 101)!

    Oh, wait, your described churches aren’t Christian? Buddhist? Hindu? Muslim?

    No… they are Protestant.

    Then there’s:

    “Black and white and Hispanic mix freely in the interdenominational evangelical churches I have experienced. Many larger churches in or near cities here support Asian congregations as well. None of these churches would call themselves ‘Protestant’ so they are probably not the Protestant churches targeted in the experiment.”

    Well, of course they do NOT fit the description of the fundamentalist type evangelical (actually an overly broad term) by the very definition that YOU give! By your own statement of the claim that they wouldn’t even acknowledge being Protestant, you remove them from this very discussion (which involved studies about responses by contacted Catholic churches and contacted Protestant churches).

    1. Dave says:

      Leroy, my observations of evangelical churches are as valid as the observations of Bradley Wright, Michael Wallace and Annie Scola Wisnesky, perhaps even better since their entire observation reported had to do with the timing of returned emails and terse comments. Even terse comments may carry little weight if one understands that people may tend to brevity in conversation with other cultures these days so as not to offend even when offering the most benign communication. It is not unreasonable to assume that the delay in responses could be some white clergyperson taking more time get it right, and though I’m not saying that is the probable reason, it is a possible one and it is not scientific at all to ascribe motives for the delay without taking these possibilities into consideration.

      I am suspicious of your veracity, though not shocked as that is such a common anti-Christian trait, if you don’t even understand the definition of the various faiths and sects. I live in a beach town in Florida that is technically in the Bible Belt, with plenty of opportunity for exposure and observation. There are something like 46 million Baptsts in the U.S. with high concentrations in the South, and as many as a hundred million worldwide (per Wikipedia). They form the largest body of evangelicals in the U.S. They also form the core denominations in most of the large interdenominational (and very interracial) congregations, with many of the pastors being former Baptists. None of them make any claim to Protestantism, which can be traced to the Lutherans, United Methodists, Presbyterians and smaller sects. It is the Catholic Church which makes the claim that they are Protestants (in protest) of the “one true Church.” Most of these churches, thousands of them, Dude, trace their origins to the Donatists (4th century), Armenians, Cathars (12th century) and some to the Waldensians, who are the only sect from which they derive Calvinist teaching. They predate Luther by many centuries.

      Would that you were right about my ability to remove these millions of people from the discussion by saying they are not Protestants, but that is, judging by your comments, not a distinction people can readily make. Your answer to “why do you believe that” was, among other things, that you talked to numerous people. You’re talking to one now, Dude, so take notes.

      Your blanket statement that you believe it is taught in these churches that whites are the real chosen people is as ignorant as the day is long.

      1. Jim Cook says:

        To reiterate, the “terse” answers were coded as such when they were so short that they did not answer the e-mailer’s question.

        1. Dave says:

          A salient point. What is quite telling of those involved in designing the field study is their naïve assumption in the “Keywords” section on the Wiley Library site that Mainline denominations “generally embrace” liberal, egalitarian attitudes. I think there are still many on the left who pay lip service to these things rather than embrace them. In an effort to get an “A” in quotation, the study found that “In response to these inquiries, representation from Mainline Protestant Churches – who generally embrace liberal, egalitarian attitudes toward race relations – actually demonstrated the most discriminatory behavior.”

          Those who are amazed by this or think it somehow relevant are living in the past. Mainline denominations are going away, that is, Presbyterians, Lutherans, Episcopalians, Congregationalists and the United Methodists. Most of these have experienced devastating church splits in recent decades and the decline continues. It is interesting that no such findings are highlighted regarding growing non-denominational or interdenominational evangelicals.

          Not directly to the point of your post, but perhaps an interesting footnote, is the way at least one church became segregated. Two very large evangelical churches down in Jacksonville, one mostly black and one mostly white, until the Civil War were one big church. During the Union occupation of the city, Union army brass segregated the congregation and sent the black folks away from the First Baptist Church to form their own Bethel Baptist Church. Each year the two churches have a big homecoming picnic where they all get together and, you know, potato salad. Self-segregation can have mundane yet humorous origins. It’s hard to get white folks to endure black church as the meetings run on for hours. Black folks find white church a little boring. People will like what they like.

      2. Leroy says:

        I grew up in an Appalachian region as a Baptist. I lived in Florida (an interior location made up 90% of long-term native Floridians) for a period of time. These people (both groups) were some of the most racist that I have ever come across. In many cases racism was preached from the pulpit.

        (BTW, although it was my personal experiences – Ural – plus my observations with games of the Swaggerts and Robertson’s and Falwells, etcetera, etcetera, etcetera – that led me away from Christianity, I am not an atheist nor any other major religion, but a Deist… And I have read the Bible cover to cover at least 3-4 TIMES plus referenced it hundreds of time in addressing incorrect statements people have made about supposed Biblical statements).

        Your continued insistence that evangelicals (and now apparently Baptists) are NOT Protestants reveals that YOU are the one that is TOTALLY clueless about faiths and sects.

        And, “Dude” (being in my mind 60s and a former Marine and 30-year retired cop, I can assure you that I am not some “dude”)… Your ignorance shines through.

        Donatism which existed (strictly amongst BERBER North Africans) as an offshoot of the Roman Catholic Church from the 4th Century until the 7th Century has NO connection with any modern day denomination, Protestant or otherwise.

        Armenians are an ethnic group, not a religious group (with 92% being of their original “Oriental Orthodox”, an early offshoot of Eastern Orthodox, both Christianity and only a few thousand recent Protestant converts to Jehovah Witnesses, evangelicals, etcetera).

        But then, in your ignorance, maybe you’re confusing it with Arminianism, which is contemporary with, and VERY closely related to Luther’s teachings.

        Cathars were one of the early forms of Christianity that existed in a small area of southern France and northwestern Italy between the 12th and 14th centuries, having been eliminated long before the Reformation) had NOTHING to do with Protestant reformation or any later Protestant or other denomination.

        I would challenge you to select significant religious aspects of any of those (that you quoted) that are a significant part of any modern denomination, specifically of Protestant denominations or of the born again evangelical sub sect. (There aren’t any)

        From a source you quote but don’t link:

        “Protestantism is a form of Christian faith and practice which originated with the Protestant Reformation, a movement against what its followers considered to be errors in the Roman Catholic Church. It is one of the three major divisions of Christendom, together with Roman Catholicism and Eastern Orthodoxy”

        The only sometimes considered exception (as it originally was Catholic but separated from Rome for political purposes – while retaining most Catholic practices) is The Church of England (Anglican): ” Anglicanism is sometimes considered to be independent from Protestantism.”

        The term Protestant didn’t come from the Catholic Church – but by supporters of Luther who were protesting him being branded a heretic by the Catholic Church: “The term refers to the letter of protestation from Lutheran princes in 1529 against an edict condemning the teachings of Martin Luther as heretical.”

        Further: “With its origins in Germany, the modern movement is popularly considered to have begun in 1517 when Luther published The Ninety-Five Theses as a reaction against abuses in the sale of indulgences, which purported to offer remission of sin to their purchasers. Although there were earlier breaks from or attempts to reform the Roman Catholic Church—notably by Peter Waldo, Arnold of Brescia, Girolamo Savonarola, John Wycliffe, and Jan Hus—only Luther succeeded in sparking a wider, lasting movement.”

        In fact: ” During the Reformation, the term was hardly used outside of the German politics. The word evangelical (German: evangelisch), which refers to the gospel (note: you didn’t even know that now did you Dave), was much more widely used for those involved in the religious movement. Nowadays, this word (evanelical) is still preferred among some of the historical Protestant denominations, above all the ones in the German-speaking area such as the EKD.

        Protestantism as a general term is now used in contradistinction to the OTHER major Christian faiths, i.e. Roman Catholicism and Eastern Orthodoxy.

        Initially, Protestant became a general term to mean any adherent to the Reformation movement in Germany and was taken up by Lutherans. Even though Martin Luther himself insisted on Christian or Evangelical (Dave… what???) as the only acceptable names for individuals who professed Christ. French and Swiss Protestants preferred the word reformed (French: réformé), regardless of one’s affiliation with the Lutheran or the Reformed branch of Protestantism.

        The term Protestant later acquired a broader sense, referring to a member of ANY Western church, which subscribed to the main Protestant principles…. ”

        As to description: “All the many Protestant denominations reject the notion of papal supremacy over the Church universal and generally deny the Roman Catholic doctrine of transubstantiation, but they disagree among themselves regarding real presence of Christ in the Eucharist. The various denominations generally emphasize the priesthood of all believers, the doctrine of justification by faith alone (sola fide) rather than by or with good works, and a belief in the Bible alone (rather than with Catholic tradition) as the sole authority in matters of faith and morals (sola scriptura).”

        Now getting down more to the REAL nitty-gritty:

        “Collectively encompassing more than 950 million adherents, or nearly forty percent of Christians worldwide, Protestantism is present on all populated continents. The movement is more divided theologically and ecclesiastically than either Eastern Orthodoxy or Roman Catholicism, lacking both structural unity and central human authority. Some Protestant churches do have a worldwide scope and distribution of membership (notably, the Anglican Communion), while others are confined to a single country, or even are solitary church bodies or congregations (such as the former Prussian Union of churches). Nondenominational, evangelical, independent and other churches are on the rise, and constitute a significant part of Protestant Christianity.”

        And the real key statement: “An exact number of Protestant denominations is difficult to calculate and depends on definition.[s] Nevertheless, most Protestants are members of just a handful of denominational families: Adventism, Anglicanism, BAPTIST churches, Reformed churches, Lutheranism, Methodism, and Pentecostalism.” (My emphasis)

        While a great many mainstream Protestant sects refer to themselves (and properly based on its definition) as Evangelical, I believe that the very small segment that you refer to (more appropriately known as “born again”) as in: “There are many other Protestant denominations that do not fit neatly into the mentioned branches, and are far smaller in membership. Some groups of individuals who hold basic Protestant tenets identify themselves simply as “Christians” or “born-again Christians”. They typically distance themselves from the confessionalism and/or creedalism of other Christian communities by calling themselves “non-denominational” or “evangelical”. Often founded by individual pastors, they have little affiliation with historic denominations.”

        (There are by no means 46 million of them as only a small fraction, a tiny fraction of Baptists would consider themselves as “born agains”… as this group is a SEPARATE sect – and, IMO, may very well be interracial, more open, etcetera – but are NOT representative of the mainstream Protestant movement and very especially NOT representative of fundamentalist Protestants… and they ARE of the Protestant denomination!)

        “Baptists are individuals who comprise a group of Christian denominations and churches that subscribe to a doctrine that baptism should be performed only for professing believers (believer’s baptism, as opposed to infant baptism), and that it must be done by complete immersion (as opposed to affusion or sprinkling). Other tenets of Baptist churches include soul competency (liberty), salvation through faith alone, Scripture alone as the rule of faith and practice, and the autonomy of the local congregation. Baptists recognize two ministerial offices, pastors and deacons. Baptist churches are widely considered to be Protestant churches, though some Baptists disavow this identity.”

        (Oh, now I get it. Because 1% of Baptists deny being a part of Protestantism, that means that they ALL do – even though they fit the EXACT description of Protestant… The first church that I attended through my youth was a Free Will Baptist Church – and considered Free Will Baptists to be the ONLY true Christians… but saying and believing that didn’t make it true!)

        Not sure where you got your numbers on Baptist population, but it doesn’t seem to be Wiki:

        “The Baptist World Alliance reports more than 41 million members in more than 150,000 congregations. In 2002, there were over 100 million Baptists and Baptistic group members worldwide and over 33 million in North America (Note: That is 33 million in North America – not 46 million in America alone). The largest Baptist association is the Southern Baptist Convention, with the membership of associated churches totaling more than 15 million.”

        Origins: “Modern Baptist churches trace their history to the English Separatist movement in the century after the rise of the original Protestant denominations. This view of Baptist origins has the most historical support and is the most widely accepted. Adherents to this position consider the influence of Anabaptists upon early Baptists to be minimal. It was a time of considerable political and religious turmoil. Both individuals and churches were willing to give up their theological roots if they became convinced that a more biblical “truth” had been discovered.

        During the Protestant Reformation, the Church of England (Anglicans) separated from the Roman Catholic Church. There were some Christians who were not content with the achievements of the mainstream Protestant Reformation. There also were Christians who were disappointed that the Church of England had not made corrections of what some considered to be errors and abuses. Of those most critical of the Church’s direction, some chose to stay and try to make constructive changes from within the Anglican Church. They became known as “Puritans” and are described by Gourley as cousins of the English Separatists. Others decided they must leave the Church because of their dissatisfaction and became known as the Separatists.

        Historians trace the earliest Baptist church back to 1609 in Amsterdam, with John Smyth as its pastor. Three years earlier, while a Fellow of Christ’s College, Cambridge, he had broken his ties with the Church of England. Reared in the Church of England, he became “Puritan, English Separatist, and then a Baptist Separatist,” and ended his days working with the Mennonites… Smyth, convinced that his self-baptism was invalid, applied with the Mennonites for membership. He died while waiting for membership, and some of his followers became Mennonites. Thomas Helwys and others kept their baptism and their Baptist commitments. The modern Baptist denomination is an outgrowth of Smyth’s movement. Baptists rejected the name Anabaptist when they were called that by opponents in derision… A minority view is that early seventeenth-century Baptists were influenced by (but not directly connected to) continental Anabaptists.[19] According to this view, the General Baptists shared similarities with Dutch Waterlander Mennonites (one of many Anabaptist groups) including believer’s baptism, religious liberty, separation of church and state, and Arminian views of salvation, predestination and original sin… Baptists have faced many controversies in their 400-year history… ”

        And then there’s the sidetracked point of Evangelicalism (the STUDY didn’t single out evangelicalism, it referenced only Catholic churches and Protestant churches as a General denomination grouping):

        “Evangelicalism, Evangelical Christianity, or Evangelical Protestantism[a] is a worldwide, transdenominational movement within Protestant Christianity, maintaining that the essence of the gospel consists in the doctrine of salvation by grace through faith in Jesus Christ’s atonement.[1][2]

        Evangelicals are Christians who believe in the centrality of the conversion or “born again” experience in receiving salvation, believe in the authority of the Bible as God’s revelation to humanity and have a strong commitment to evangelism or sharing the Christian message.

        It gained great momentum in the 18th and 19th centuries with the emergence of Methodism. (What??? Methodists and not Baptists?) and the Great Awakenings in Britain and North America (Note: This being mainly – in America – in the early 19th century). The origins of Evangelicalism are usually traced back to the English Methodist movement, Nicolaus Zinzendorf, the Moravian Church, Lutheran pietism, Presbyterianism and Puritanism. Among leaders and major figures of the Evangelical Protestant movement were John Wesley, George Whitefield, Jonathan Edwards, Billy Graham, Harold John Ockenga, John Stott and Martyn Lloyd-Jones.

        There are an estimated 285,480,000 Evangelicals, corresponding to 13.1% of the Christian population (note: just over ten percent) and 4.1% of the total world population…

        During the Reformation, Protestant theologians embraced the label as referring to “gospel truth”. Martin Luther referred to the evangelische Kirche (“evangelical church) to distinguish Protestants from Catholics in the Roman Catholic Church.[7][8] Into the 21st century, evangelical has continued in use as a synonym for (mainline) Protestant in continental Europe. This usage is reflected in the names of Protestant denominations such as the Evangelical Church in Germany (a union of Lutheran and Reformed churches) and the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.[5]

        In the English-speaking world, evangelical became a common label used to describe the series of revival movements that occurred in Britain and North America during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries…

        Biblicism is defined as having a reverence for the Bible and a high regard for biblical authority. All Evangelicals believe in biblical inspiration, though they disagree over how this inspiration should be defined.

        Many Evangelicals believe in biblical inerrancy, while other Evangelicals believe in biblical infallibility… ”

        (An interesting sideline: “Social Issues –
        Mainline Protestantism has a strong liberal social justice component. In recent years, this impulse has expressed itself in advocating for such issues as feminism, environmentalism and gay marriage. Conversely, evangelicals tend to be socially conservative. Issues commonly associated with evangelicals include abstinence from pre-marital sex, opposition to same-sex relationships and advocacy for legislation to ban abortion.”… Thereby putting Evangelical churches apparently – clearly a position much closer to fundamentalist Christianity than one would assume.)

        Furthermore:

        “Evangelical church, any of the classical Protestant churches or their offshoots, but especially in the late 20th century, churches that stress the preaching of the gospel of Jesus Christ, personal conversion experiences, Scripture as the sole basis for faith, and active evangelism (the winning of personal commitments to Christ)…

        In the United States in the mid-20th century, the term was applied to a group that emerged out of the ongoing fundamentalist controversy. Earlier in the century, an intense conflict developed between the modernists (liberals) and fundamentalists (conservatives) in several of the larger Protestant denominations. Some fundamentalists (note that these are the SEPARATISTS) left their old churches to found new ones when it became evident that they had lost control of the governing boards of their denominations. Many of those who left called for a separation from modernism (liberalism), which they saw as heresy (denial of fundamental Christian beliefs) and apostasy (rejection of the Christian faith)… By the late 1930s, conservatives still in the older denominations and those who left but remained friendly (especially Baptists and Presbyterians) made common cause against the separatist position. Although they maintained a commitment to fundamental Christian beliefs, they also declared their willingness to engage in a dialogue with the academy and society. To distinguish themselves from the separatists, they chose to be called Neo-Evangelicals, soon shortened to Evangelicals… ”

        (Not that the Fundamentalist movement was dying off by any means: “While Evangelicalism has grown into a significant cultural force, separatist fundamentalism has also flourished. Carl McIntire, an early leader of the movement, contributed greatly to this growth. He conducted a radio broadcast, The Twentieth Century Reformation Hour, and helped found the American Council of Christian Churches [ACCC] and the International Council of Christian Churches [ICCC]. In 1969 the ICCC and ACCC broke off relations after the latter moved to end McIntire’s dominance of its administration. The World Council of Bible Believing Churches and the American Christian Action Council [now the International Council of Christian Churches in America] emerged as a result of the schism. In the 1980s McIntire’s leadership of American fundamentalism gave way to that of Baptist [television minister] Jerry Falwell.)”

        “The second major movement, Fundamentalism, combined late 19th-century premillennialism (the belief that Jesus will return before the millennium to usher in the messianic kingdom) with defenses of biblical inerrancy. It took its name from The Fundamentals, a series of tracts that were issued between 1910 and 1915 in the United States. In 1919 and 1920, Fundamentalism became a formal and militant party in denominational conflict in the United States.

        The growth of Fundamentalism was due to the spread of both Darwinian evolutionary theory and higher criticism of the Bible, both of which found acceptance in liberal Protestant churches. Fundamentalists in the United States felt that these two movements subverted seminaries, bureaus, mission boards, and pulpits in the northern branches of various Protestant denominations. The Scopes trial in 1925, in which the Fundamentalist champion William Jennings Bryan fought against the teaching of evolution in schools and defended the Genesis record as being scientific, coincided with the climactic battles between liberals and fundamentalists in the mainstream Protestant churches.

        Despite the setback at the Scopes trial, Fundamentalism exercised great influence on American life in the 20th century. It prospered most when it moved from political passivity to open participation, particularly in support of Ronald Reagan’s successful presidential bids in 1980 and 1984. Although the televangelist Pat Robertson was unsuccessful in his presidential run in 1988, Fundamentalists remained politically active in the 1990s, focusing on opposition to abortion, support for a constitutional amendment to permit prayer in public schools, a large military defense budget, and support for Israel. Fundamentalists also created a network of Bible colleges, radio and television programs, and publishing ventures. In the early 1940s they formed several rival organizations that steadily grew in numbers and assertiveness. In the later 20th century groups like Jerry Falwell’s Moral Majority and Robertson’s 700 Club demonstrated the continued strength of the movement and the effectiveness of the television ministry…. ”

        “By this time, the modernist position had gained a foothold in Episcopal, Congregational, Methodist Episcopal, American Baptist, and Presbyterian denominations in the North. The stage was set for major confrontations during the 1920s, and it remained to be seen only whether the modernists could be forced out of their denominations.

        Not every Protestant denomination was affected by intellectual controversy during the 1920s, of course. In some, such as the Southern Baptist Convention and the Methodist Episcopal Church, South, modernism had NOT become prominent.

        In contrast, modernists (liberals) were firmly in control of the Methodist Episcopal and Episcopal churches by the 1920s, because a large block of theological conservatives had left those churches in the late 19th century to form the Holiness churches and the Reformed Episcopal Church, respectively. Other denominations, such as the Congregationalists, were so loosely organized that decisions on theological controversies were difficult to legislate.

        Discord among northern Baptists was focused at their annual conventions. In 1920 a group of Baptists calling themselves the National Federation of Fundamentalists began holding annual preconvention conferences on Baptist fundamentals. When their attempts to carry their views into the convention failed to make immediate progress, the more militant among them founded the Baptist Bible Union. Eventually the militants left the denomination to form several small fundamentalist churches, while the remainder stayed to constitute a permanent conservative voice within the American Baptist Convention (now the American Baptist Churches in the U.S.A.)…

        By the end of the 1920s, fundamentalists had lost control of the major denominations and had given up hope of recapturing them, at least in the foreseeable future. Although most remained in their denominations, some broke away to form their own churches. In 1932 a number of Baptists left the Northern Baptist Convention and established the General Association of Regular Baptist Churches; four years later, the Princeton theologian J. Gresham Machen (1881–1937) headed a group of fundamentalists that created the Orthodox Presbyterian Church. Other fundamentalists joined one of the smaller churches that preached biblical literalism and premillennialism—such as the Christian and Missionary Alliance, the Plymouth Brethren, and the Evangelical Free Church—or one of the many independent Bible churches that arose during that period.

        Having also lost control of the denominational seminaries, the fundamentalists regrouped around a set of independent Bible institutes and Bible colleges. Many of these schools, such as the Moody Bible Institute in Chicago and the Bible Institute of Los Angeles (now Biola University), not only provided instruction to their students but assumed many of the duties formerly performed by denominational institutions. They published periodicals, broadcast from their own radio stations, held conferences, and maintained a staff of extension speakers…

        Although fundamentalism was pushed to the fringe of the Christian community by the new Evangelical movement, it continued to grow as new champions arose. The Baptist Bible Fellowship, formed in 1950, became one of the largest fundamentalist denominations; Jerry Falwell, subsequently a prominent televangelist, emerged as the movement’s leading spokesperson in the 1970s. Liberty University, founded by Falwell in Lynchburg, Virginia, in 1971; Bob Jones University, founded as Bob Jones College in College Point, Florida, by Bob Jones, Sr., in 1927 (the school relocated to Cleveland, Tennessee, and then to Greenville, South Carolina, in 1947); and Regent University, founded by the televangelist Pat Robertson in 1978, were the movement’s main intellectual centres. Television, which provided direct access to the public, assisted the careers of a number of fundamentalist religious leaders; in addition to Falwell, they included Tim LaHaye, head of a pastorate in San Diego and coauthor of a popular series of novels based on the Revelation to John.

        In the 1960s, religious conservatives and fundamentalists became involved in a renewed controversy over the teaching of evolution in the public schools. Defending the doctrine of creationism—the view that the account of the Creation presented in Genesis is literally correct—they sought again to ban the teaching of evolution or to require the teaching of the Genesis account wherever evolutionary theory was taught. Some fundamentalists also attempted to require the teaching of so-called “creation science,” or “scientific creationism,” which presumed to present the Genesis account as a legitimate scientific alternative to evolution. In the 1990s some creationists advocated the teaching of a doctrine known as “intelligent design,” according to which the diversity and complexity of living things is impossible to explain except by positing the existence of an intelligent creator. In the late 20th and early 21st centuries, creationists were elected to various local and state boards of education, some of which subsequently enacted measures requiring the teaching of intelligent design. In some cases the measures were blocked by the courts or were repealed, and some creationists lost their seats to emboldened defenders of evolution.

        In 1979 Falwell founded the Moral Majority, a civic organization that crusaded against what it viewed as negative cultural trends, especially legalized abortion, the women’s movement, and the gay rights movement. It also lobbied for prayer in public schools, increased defense spending, a strong anticommunist foreign policy, and continued American support for the State of Israel. The Moral Majority led a new generation of fundamentalists beyond simply denouncing cultural trends and back into an engagement with contemporary life in the political arena. Falwell cooperated with nonfundamentalists on common secular causes but remained aloof from the major fundamentalist organizations. Meanwhile, the Evangelicals campaigned on many of the same issues, thus blurring the boundaries between the two movements.

        By the 1980s fundamentalists had rebuilt all the institutional structures that had been lost when they separated from the older denominations. As early as 1941, fundamentalist groups had come together in the American Council of Christian Churches, and in 1948 they joined with like-minded Christians around the world to create the International Council of Christian Churches. In the late 1960s the American Council attempted to move beyond the leadership of Carl McIntire, who had dominated it for more than a quarter of a century. It withdrew from the International Council to help form the World Council of Bible Believing Churches. In the late 20th century, some fundamentalists even began to engage in discussions with conservative members of the Roman Catholic Church, traditionally regarded by fundamentalists as a non-Christian cult. Protestant fundamentalists and conservative Catholics found common ground on a variety of issues, including abortion and school prayer.

        From the late 1980s, fundamentalists sought to build on the success of the Moral Majority and like-minded groups. In 1988 Robertson ran unsuccessfully for president of the United States. Shortly afterward he founded the Christian Coalition, which succeeded the Moral Majority as the leading organization of the movement and became closely associated with the Republican Party. Fundamentalists were strong supporters of President George W. Bush and played an important role in the election of Republicans at all levels of government. They also continued to promote conservative positions on various questions of social policy… ”

        (All of these are Referenced comments)

        Why include Fundamentalists? As they, along with Evangelicals and Pentacostalism are THE three wings of the Protestant denomination. However as only about ten million Americans are of the Pentecostal belief, their specifics weren’t included. And the literal difference between the two main wings are fairly small (although I will readily concede that there are some significantly liberal churches out there; for example, I very closely follow Quaker pastor Philip Gulley, author of “If Grace Be True”… however a handful of Philip Gulleys and John Shelby Sponge and new Presbyterian minister Chris Hedges are NOT going to counter balance the exceptionally more numerous conservative brand of Evangelicals and especially Fundamentalists).

        Additionally, your comment as to your observations being as relevant as those of the authors of this STUDY as yours were “personal observations” (of a small handful at best) is equally ridiculous.

        1. Leroy says:

          And especially:

          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Christian_right

          “Christian right or religious right is a term used – mainly in the United States of America – to label right-wing Christian political factions that are characterized by their strong support of socially conservative policies. Christian conservatives principally seek to apply their understanding of the teachings of Christianity to politics and to public policy by proclaiming the value of those teachings or by seeking to use those teachings to influence law and public policy.

          In the U.S., the Christian right is an informal coalition formed around a core of white, EVANGELICAL Protestants with uneven support from conservative Catholics. The Christian right draws additional support from politically conservative mainline Protestants, Jews, and Mormons. The movement has its roots in American politics going back as far as the 1940s and has been especially influential since the 1970s. Its influence draws, in part, from grassroots activism as well as from focus on social issues and from the ability to motivate the electorate around those issues. The Christian right is notable today for advancing socially conservative positions on “issues” including school prayer, intelligent design, stem-cell research, homosexuality, contraception, abortion… “

      3. Leroy says:

        So there’s an F for understanding the comments made, an F for ability to research, an F for knowledge, an F for properly quoting, an F for veracity, and an F for sticking to topic… but an A for presenting a muddled up bunch of BS that hammers away saying nothing and an A for ego (your minuscule observations are equal to a full fledged study by experts… LMAO).

        And an F for manners, Dude!

        And that is yet to address your lack of understanding about how STUDIES work with evidentiary factors as compared to minimal anecdotal evidence.

        But that’s for a bit later!

        1. Dave says:

          Damn, Leroy. Momma told me not to bring up religion, sex or politics in polite company. Sorry Momma.

          Speaking of minimal evidence, response times on emails would be a superb example of that, and I will stand by my longtime observations, the short version which I gave you in response to your snarky and sarcastic answer to a sincere question.

          I brought the Baptists into the picture because, although the number of Baptists is declining not far behind Mainline churches they are a large part of modern Evangelicalism’s story. Mainline churches are called that because they believe they can draw a historical line from their denomination back to the early church Fathers and church councils and show where the Catholic Church is the one that diverged. Baptist history is quite distinct in that they never were part of the Catholic. Each church is autonomous. They may form associations but there is and never has been any central control. They generally draw their membership from conversions. Certain doctrinal points (on which there is no real consensus) as well as how they “do church” form the model for many evangelical churches today.

          More to the point, I am aware of evangelical churches whose membership is almost entirely composed of new believers, and as such they probably could not care less if the Pope thinks they are heretics. For these people there is nothing, absolutely nothing tying them to the Catholic Church or the Reformed “Protestant” Movement. These churches are autonomous as well, often with pastors who themselves came in off the street. The point I made above (which you missed) is that Mainline churches are fading into irrelevance, along with studies and reports of surprise at their less than liberal ways in practice rather than the liberality they like to think they have.

          If you have experienced racism in church, so be it. I am not arguing that you haven’t, but your blanket statement on the bigotry of churches itself can be seen as rather bigoted.

          Philip Gulley is one of my favorite authors — great humor and wit.

          1. Leroy says:

            Interestingly, I never contested ANY of the points that you bring up NOW.

            I never claimed that Evangelicals were declining or rising. I never claimed that Fundamentalists were declining or rising.

            All that I did was (1) correct some God awful interpretations as to what denomination and sect was what (those things in BLUE are called links and are where my quotes came from), and (2) point out the racism that I have observed in every form of Christianity that I have had any interaction with.

            And somewhere along the way, in reading your material, you seem to think that I have this bias in favor of Catholics. I do not. I know personally of a great many racist Catholics and a few racist Eastern Orthodox (probably only because I only know a few). And I know racist (especially if you consider anti ethnic attitudes) Muslims and Hindus and Sikhs and Jews, etcetera.

            And Evangelicals and Fundamentalists and Pentecostals.

            I really think that you and Ella should get together a form your own Blog.

            You can avoid answering tough questions. Avoid admitting mistakes. Change the peripheral subject matter (and frequently the core subject matter).

            Such as “am aware of evangelical churches whose membership is almost entirely composed of new believers, and as such they probably could not care less if the Pope thinks they are heretics. For these people there is nothing, absolutely nothing tying them to the Catholic Church or the Reformed “Protestant” Movement…”. So what? No one (or at least I never even inferred that ANY where). No author or source that I quoted inferred that anywhere! That’s just a (undocumented and non referenced) statement that you pulled out of thin air (sorry, Dude, but you simply don’t know THAT many beachfront, off-the-streets evangelical churches).

            And then there’s “The point I made above (which you missed) is that Mainline churches are fading into irrelevance, along with studies and reports of surprise at their less than liberal ways in practice rather than the liberality they like to think they have.”

            I didn’t miss that point, I simply IGNORED it as it appears to me to simply be an opinion. It references no source material. But the larger fact is that since the middle of the 20th Century, Evangelical Protestantism (whether they want to call themselves that – which they are – or Mutant Ninja Turtles) have become a form of mainline Protestantism.

            And also, that you seem to be clueless as to how scientific studies are set up and work as compared to ONE individual’s minimal anecdotal observations.

            My main point was that my observations (from 6 1/2 decades… you never indicated yours; however, due to my upbringing and unbiased desire for true research – and ability to speed read with a semi photographic memory,I have no doubt that I have read – and discussed the Bible, and in its several forms, much more often than you) – and a pretty significant amount of SOURCED RESEARCH had – to me – fit pretty closely with the results of the study.

            That may have not fit well with YOUR observations, but like with everything else with the Christian Right falls right in with the attitude of “don’t confuse me with the facts, they’re destroying my opinions!”.

            As to Philip.Gurley, I actually think that a lot of his material (when he gets into fiction work) is really not that good. I primarily am in to his theological works, specifically:

            – If God Is Love
            – If Grace Be True
            – The Evolution of Faith

            As to John Shelby Sponge, I have read 22 of his 24 books (not being able to get my hands on two of them). Most of those 22 I read at least twice, several more than 3 to 4 times. He may be a (retired) Episcopalian bishop, but he is truly a Liberal Christian Theologian and Biblical Historian of the first order.

            https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Liberal_Christian

            “Liberal Christianity, also known as liberal theology, covers diverse philosophically and biblically informed religious movements and ideas within Christianity from the late 18th century onward. Liberal does not refer to Progressive Christianity or to a political philosophy but to the philosophical and religious thought that developed as a consequence of the Enlightenment.

            Liberal Christianity, broadly speaking, is a method of biblical hermeneutics, an undogmatic method of understanding God through the use of scripture by applying the same modern hermeneutics used to understand any ancient writings. Liberal Christianity did not originate as a belief structure, and as such was not dependent upon any Church dogma or creedal statements. Unlike conservative varieties of Christianity, liberalism has no unified set of propositional beliefs. Instead, “liberalism” from the start embraced the methodologies of Enlightenment science as the basis for interpreting the Bible, life, faith and theology.

            The word liberal in liberal Christianity originally denoted a characteristic willingness to interpret scripture according to modern philosophic perspectives (hence the parallel term modernism) and modern scientific assumptions, while attempting to achieve the Enlightenment ideal of objective point of view, without preconceived notions of the authority of scripture or the correctness of Church dogma.”

            As was the Progressive Christian Theologian and eminent Biblical Historian Marcus Borg (if anything, Borg was one of the top figures in New Testament and Jesus History specifics), unfortunately the late Marcus Borg, having passed over this last January.

            Of his 28 books, I have read 27 of them (again, most at least twice and several more than 3-4 times).

            https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Progressive_Christianity

            “Progressive Christianity is a form of Christianity which is characterized by a willingness to question tradition, acceptance of human diversity, a strong emphasis on social justice and care for the poor and the oppressed, and environmental stewardship of the Earth. Progressive Christians have a deep belief in the centrality of the instruction to ‘love one another’ (John 15:17) within the teachings of Jesus Christ.[1] This leads to a focus on promoting values such as compassion, justice, mercy, tolerance, often through political activism. Though prominent, the movement is by no means the only significant movement of progressive thought among Christians (see the ‘See also’ links below).

            Progressive Christianity draws on the insights of multiple theological streams including liberalism, neo-orthodoxy, pragmatism, postmodernism, Progressive Reconstructionism, and liberation theology. Though the terms Progressive Christianity and Liberal Christianity are often used synonymously, the two movements are distinct, despite much overlap..

            Some characteristics of Progressive Christianity:

            A spiritual vitality and expressiveness, including participatory, arts-infused worship as well as a variety of spiritual disciplines and practices such as prayer or meditation.

            Intellectual integrity and creativity, including an openness to questioning and an insistence upon intellectual rigor.

            Understanding of spirituality as a real affective and psychological or neural state.

            Critical interpretation of the scripture as a record of human historical & spiritual experiences and theological reflection thereupon instead of a composition of literal or scientific facts.

            Acceptance of modern historical Biblical criticism.

            Acceptance (although not necessarily validation) of people who have differing understandings of the concept of “God”, such as pantheism, Deism (!!!), non-theism, as a social construct, or as community.

            Understanding of church communion as a symbol or reflection of the body of Christ

            An affirmation of Christian belief with a simultaneous sincere respect for values present in other religions and belief systems. This does not necessarily mean all Progressive Christians believe that other religious traditions are as equally valid as Christianity, but rather, that other faiths have certain values and tenets that everyone, including Christians, can learn from and respect.

            An affirmation of both human spiritual unity and social diversity

            An affirmation of the universe, and more immediately the Earth, as the natural and primary context of all human spirituality.
            An unyielding commitment to the Option for the poor and a steadfast solidarity with the poor as the subjects of their own emancipation, rather than being the objects of charity.
            Compassion for all living beings.
            Support for LGBT rights and affirmation, including, but not limited to, support for same-sex marriage, affirmation of gay, lesbian, and bisexual individuals as authentic Christians, affirmation of trans identity, and LGBT rights in general… “

          2. Leroy says:

            An area that Spong also delved in:

            https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Secular_theology

            “he field of secular theology, a subfield of liberal theology advocated by Anglican bishop John A. T. Robinson somewhat paradoxically combines secularism and theology. Recognized in the 1960s, it was influenced both by neo-orthodoxy, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Harvey Cox, and the existentialism of Søren Kierkegaard and Paul Tillich. Secular theology digested modern movements like the Death of God Theology propagated by Thomas J. J. Altizer or the philosophical existentialism of Paul Tillich and eased the introduction of such ideas into the theological mainstream and made constructive evaluations, as well as contributions, to them.

            John Shelby Spong advocates a nuanced approach to scripture (as opposed to blunt Biblical literalism at the other end of the scale), informed by scholarship and compassion, which he argues can be consistent with both Christian tradition and a contemporary understanding of the universe. Secular theology holds that theism has lost credibility as a valid conception of God’s nature. It rejects the concept of a personal God and embraces the status of Jesus Christ, Christology and Christian eschatology as Christian mythology without basis in historical events.”

            And then in general there’s the:

            https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Christian_left

            “The Christian Left does not seem to be so well-organized or publicized as its right-wing counterpart. Opponents state that this is because it is less numerous. Supporters contend that it is actually more numerous but composed predominantly of persons less willing to voice political views in as forceful a manner as the Christian Right, possibly because of the aggressiveness of the Christian Right. Further, supporters contend that the Christian Left has had relatively little success securing widespread corporate, political, and major media patronage compared to the Right. In the aftermath of the 2004 election in the United States, Progressive Christian leaders started to form groups of their own to combat the Religious Right – such groups include The Center for Progressive Christianity (founded 1996) and the Christian Alliance For Progress.”

          3. Leroy says:

            But my bottom line, with all of this Bible study and readings of Gullet and Spong an F Borg (as well as studies of the Quran, the various Rosicrusian Orders, Theospphy, Freemasonry, Catharism, even Judaism of various forms, I kept returning to the Deistic philosophy of the Age of Enlightenment and so many of our Founding Fathers as what “rang my bell”… “if the shoe fits”…

            https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Deism

          4. Leroy says:

            “Deism derived from the Latin word “‘Deus’ meaning “God”, is a theological/philosophical position that combines the rejection of revelation and authority as a source of religious knowledge with the conclusion that reason and observation of the natural world are sufficient to determine the existence of a single creator of the universe.

            Deism gained prominence among intellectuals during the Age of Enlightenment—especially in Britain, France, Germany and the United States—who, raised as Christians, believed in one God but became disenchanted with organized religion and notions such as the Trinity, Biblical inerrancy and the supernatural interpretation of events such as miracles. Included in those influenced by its ideas were leaders of the American and French Revolutions.

            Features of deism Edit

            The concept of deism covers a wide variety of positions on a wide variety of religious issues. Sir Leslie Stephen’s English Thought in the Eighteenth Century describes the core of deism as consisting of “critical” and “constructional” elements.

            Critical elements of deist thought included:

            Rejection of religions that are based on books that claim to contain the revealed word of God.
            Rejection of religious dogma and demagogy.
            Skepticism of reports of miracles, prophecies and religious “mysteries”.
            Constructional elements of deist thought included:

            God exists and created the universe.
            God gave humans the ability to reason.
            Individual deists varied in the set of critical and constructive elements for which they argued. Some deists rejected miracles and prophecies but still considered themselves Christians because they believed in what they felt to be the pure, original form of Christianity – that is, Christianity as it supposedly existed before it was corrupted by additions of such superstitions as miracles, prophecies, and the doctrine of the Trinity. Some deists rejected the claim of Jesus’ divinity but continued to hold him in high regard as a moral teacher (see, for example, Thomas Jefferson’s famous Jefferson Bible and Matthew Tindal’s Christianity as Old as the Creation). Other, more radical deists rejected Christianity altogether and expressed hostility toward Christianity, which they regarded as pure superstition…

            Note that the terms constructive and critical are used to refer to aspects of deistic thought, not sects or subtypes of deism – it would be incorrect to classify any particular deist author as “a constructive deist” or “a critical deist”. As Peter Gay notes:

            ‘All Deists were in fact both critical and constructive Deists. All sought to destroy in order to build, and reasoned either from the absurdity of Christianity to the need for a new philosophy or from their desire for a new philosophy to the absurdity of Christianity. Each Deist, to be sure, had his special competence. While one specialized in abusing priests, another specialized in rhapsodies to nature, and a third specialized in the skeptical reading of sacred documents. Yet whatever strength the movement had—and it was at times formidable — it derived that strength from a peculiar combination of critical and constructive elements’…

            One of the remarkable features of deism is that the critical elements did not overpower the constructive elements. As E. Graham Waring observed, ‘A strange feature of the [Deist] controversy is the apparent acceptance of all parties of the conviction of the existence of God.’…

            Most deists (see for instance Matthew Tindal’s Christianity as Old as the Creation and Thomas Paine’s The Age of Reason) saw the religions of their day as corruptions of an original, pure religion that was simple and rational. They felt that this original pure religion had become corrupted by “priests” who had manipulated it for personal gain and for the class interests of the priesthood in general.

            According to this world view, over time ‘priests’ had succeeded in encrusting the original simple, rational religion with all kinds of superstitions and ‘mysteries’ – irrational theological doctrines. Laymen were told by the priests that only the priests really knew what was necessary for salvation and that laymen must accept the ‘mysteries’ on faith and on the priests’ authority. This kept the laity baffled by the nonsensical “‘mysteries’, confused, and dependent on the priests for information about the requirements for salvation. The priests consequently enjoyed a position of considerable power over the laity, which they strove to maintain and increase. Deists referred to this kind of manipulation of religious doctrine as ‘riestcraft’, a highly derogatory term.

            As Thomas Paine wrote:

            ‘As priestcraft was always the enemy of knowledge, because priestcraft supports itself by keeping people in delusion and ignorance, it was consistent with its policy to make the acquisition of knowledge a real sin.’

            — The Age of Reason, Part 2, p. 129

            Deists saw their mission as the stripping away of ‘priestcraft’ and “‘mysteries’ from religion, thereby restoring religion to its original, true condition – simple and rational. In many cases, they considered true, original Christianity to be the same as this original natural religion…

            Deists hold a variety of beliefs about the soul. Some, such as Lord Herbert of Cherbury and William Wollaston, held that souls exist, survive death, and in the afterlife are rewarded or punished by God for their behavior in life.

            Some, such as Benjamin Franklin, believed in reincarnation or resurrection.

            Others, such as Thomas Paine, had definitive beliefs about the immortality of the soul:

            ‘I believe in one God, and no more; and I hope for happiness beyond this life.’

            — Thomas Paine, The Age of Reason, Part I

            ‘I trouble not myself about the manner of future existence. I content myself with believing, even to positive conviction, that the power that gave me existence is able to continue it, in any form and manner he pleases, either with or without this body; and it appears more probable to me that I shall continue to exist hereafter than that I should have had existence, as I now have, before that existence began.’

            — Thomas Paine, The Age of Reason, Part I, Recapitulation

            Deist terminology:

            Deist authors – and 17th- and 18th-century theologians in general – referred to God using a variety of vivid circumlocutions such as:

            – Supreme Being
            – Divine Watchmaker
            – Grand Architect of the Universe
            – Nature’s God. Used in the United States Declaration of Independence (along with “The Creator”)
            – Father of Lights. Benjamin Franklin used this terminology when proposing that meetings of the Constitutional Convention begin with prayers

            Deistic thinking has existed since ancient times. Among the Ancient Greeks, Heraclitus (the first of the known ancient Greek philosophers) conceived of a “logos’, a supreme rational principle, and said the wisdom “‘by which all things are steered through all things’ was “both willing and unwilling to be called Zeus (God)’. Plato envisaged God as a Demiurge or ‘craftsman’. Outside ancient Greece many other cultures have expressed views that resemble deism in some respects…

            However, the word “deism”, as it is understood today, is generally used to refer to the movement toward natural theology or freethinking that occurred in 17th-century Europe, and specifically in Britain.

            Natural theology is a facet of the revolution in world view that occurred in Europe in the 17th century. To understand the background to that revolution is also to understand the background of deism…

            The humanist tradition of the Renaissance included a revival of interest in Europe’s classical past in ancient Greece and Rome. The veneration of that classical past, particularly pre-Christian Rome, the new availability of Greek philosophical works, the successes of humanism and natural science along with the fragmentation of the Christian churches and increased understanding of other faiths, all helped erode the image of the church as the unique source of wisdom, destined to dominate the whole world.

            In addition, study of classical documents led to the realization that some historical documents are less reliable than others, which led to the beginnings of biblical criticism. In particular, when scholars worked on biblical manuscripts, they began developing the principles of textual criticism and a view of the New Testament being the product of a particular historical period different from their own… In addition to discovering diversity in the past, Europeans discovered diversity in the present. The voyages of discovery of the 16th and 17th centuries acquainted Europeans with new and different cultures in the Americas, in Asia, and in the Pacific. They discovered a greater amount of cultural diversity than they had ever imagined, and the question arose of how this vast amount of human cultural diversity could be compatible with the biblical account of Noah’s descendants. In particular, the ideas of Confucius, translated into European languages by the Jesuits stationed in China, are thought to have had considerable influence on the deists and other philosophical groups of the Enlightenment… “

    1. Dave says:

      “God made man upright in the beginning, but he has sought out many devices.”

      A Deist who reads Theosophy — a recipe for confusion if I ever saw one. There is nothing mystical about your brain, Leroy, so at least feed it practical things. Stay on point, Leroy. The Apostle Paul is still with us, Spong is fading into irrelevancy along with Mainline churches.

      Whatever god you worship, he/she/it has plunged you into the abyss of “eminent Biblical historians” and their vasty array of “ists” and “isms.” Sadly, for many there’s no coming back but I hope the best for you. You have a good mind, it’s surprising you would let Jimmy Swaggart lead you anywhere at all, let alone “away from Chrisitanity.”

      And lay off of Ella, Dude. She can be quite perceptive at times and she seems to enjoy talking to people, displaying the rare quality of being able to speak as well as listen. Your rude and dismissive comments to and about her are unwarranted and inappropriate.

      As for my opinions on the decline of Mainline Christianity and the rise of independent Evangelical congregations, info on this is all over the place and stats are easily accessible — I see no need to do your research for you on such an overtly manifest phenomenon.

      1. Dave says:

        Note: “Vasty” is not a typo. Shakespeare, Henry the Fourth, Part 1, Act 3, Scene 1.

        Glendower: I can call spirits from the vasty deep.

        1. Dave says:

          For the record, my reference in an above comment was the Baptist emulation of the Armenian Orthodox Church, which was never Roman Catholic. You assumed I was referencing Arminianism. I should have been more tediously concise so as not to prompt a rise in your blood pressure. Apologies.

        2. Leroy says:

          Yeah, right!

          The Baptists were emulating an Oriental Orthodox Church which is a minor branch off of the Eastern Orthodox Church which is 95% identical to the Roman Catholic Church! Yes, the Armenian Orthodox Church has never been Roman Catholic (nor has the Armenian Apostolic Church, nor the Russian Orthodox Church nor the Croatian Orthodox Church, etcetera)… but ALL are extremely close to the theology of the Roman Catholic Church and VERY dissimilar to the theology of any Protestant denomination!

          LOL!

          Nice try though, Dude!

          And actually there is a minor reference (you should consider that at times) of early Baptists agreeing with some small aspects of Arminianism! Your (non existent) research would have put you in a (small) position of “leaving well enough alone”!

          And my blood pressure is just fine. Being truthful and comfortable in knowledge of facts helps, I am sure (and I know that the mirth from postings like yours clearly must also).

          And “vasty”? At no time did I make a reference to you citing “vasty”(I don’t even recall.that comment – nor any reply, of mine, to that term)… And, neither did I ever state that Jimmy Swaggert lead me away from Christianity (it was a combination of things, as stated, which included the garbage put out by people like Swaggart, Bakker, etcetera – to include Pat Robertson who is an Evangelist!!!) I had long since turned away from Christianity before Swaggart .

          But… Oh, yeah, you pick and choose what you want things to say (hmm… like Ella). And when you are rude to people, Dude, it is fine – but when people correct your numerous errors – as is done with Ella – then, oh, they are just rude).

          Your narrow-mindedness is what has been manifested…

          “I see no need to do your research for you on such an overtly manifest phenomenon.” (What has been repeatedly shown has been just the opposite)

          “Whatever god you worship, he/she/it has plunged you into the abyss…. ” (Which shows your absolute IGNORANCE as to Deism).

          “A Deist who reads Theosophy — a recipe for confusion if I ever saw one… ” (No it is so my a quest in knowing about things from numerous perspectives – whether I personally agree with them or not; like with the Christian Bible which I know vastly more in depth than you do).

          This one is especially explanatory as to “Dave”.

          And then Dave the Dude and his ignorance in:

          “There is nothing mystical about your brain, Leroy, so at least feed it practical things. Stay on point, Leroy. The Apostle Paul is still with us, Spong is fading into irrelevancy along with Mainline churches.”

          Yes, practical things – AS DAVE THE DUDE SEES THEM. Saint Paul is HERE… but Spong is irrelevant (not really according to his numerous book sales, interviews, etcetera) but according to Dave (who apparently got confused when he saw that Spong had been an Episcopalian Bishop and didn’t grasp that Spong is like 100 times more anti mainstream change church than Dave and as equally so, if not more so, than Philip Gulley – who Dave likes). I would be getting a headache, but then I realize, “Oh wait… this is Dave and is Fantasyland environment – like Ella’s – who is really pretty clueless as to both what he is talking about and facts versus opinion”.

          And both apparently Trolls as for the most part all I see is disagreement with the vast majority of whatever article gets posted on Irregular Times (like that Milne guy).

  3. Dave says:

    I see disagreement disagrees with you. Your bombastic comments are not directed so much on the topic and subsequent commentary as they are at the person who commented. I agree with much that is posted on irregulartimes.com and only interacting with people on sites that are “safe” for my assumptions about life won’t help me keep my head out of my ass. I suggest you try enlarging your comfort zone and do the same.

  4. Leroy says:

    You are so funny.

    Your very last post slammed me for not just staying on practical points and to stop all that silly research.

    And then you say “… and only interacting with people on sites that are ‘safe’ for my assumptions about life won’t help me keep my head out of my ass. I suggest you try enlarging your comfort zone and do the same… ” (something that I do to an extent that you couldn’t even come close to imagining – as evidenced by your continual lack of source materials, other than your imagination and fantasies).

    What a hypocrite. What a total and full-of-it hypocrite.

    “I agree with much that is posted on irregulartimes.com… ”

    Bullshit.

    You disagree with a vast majority of articles that you post on… making you both a liar and a hypocrite. With your head fully up your ass. You don’t go to “unsafe sites” to LEARN, you go to TROLL. Period.

    As to “see disagreement disagrees with you”, well, I can only imagine that you were looking in a mirror when you made that silly statement. In the SAME article I have often presented BOTH (or multiple) sides of a position.

    Without ever presenting sourced evidence, you just keep coming back again and again with fantasyland arguments.

    Well, continue all you want. Post again to “get that last word” (your main goal). Post a hundred replies.

    Me, I’m done. I have more than accomplished my point. I have no further purpose to simply display your ignorance yet again.

    So do your cartwheels, strut your stuff. Because the reality is that you not only lost your silly positioning attempts, but looked ignorant, hypocritical, ill-mannered and little in doing so.

    Such a silly little boy.

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