I haven’t believed in the god of the Bible in decades. It was a relief to dismiss credulity in that vicious deity who rains woe and tragedy upon us for daring to displease him. I mean, really, when does that ever…oh wait.
Cue the white evangelicals in the 21st century.
And I will execute great vengeance upon them with furious rebukes; and they shall know that I am the LORD, when I shall lay my vengeance upon them — Ezekiel 2:17
And there it is:
- They had spewed so much venom upon the millennials that their own children abandoned the pews in droves. This second Exodus now continues unabated, with Gen Z and a growing list of evangelical super-stars like Joshua Harris and Jon Steingard joining the defectors.
- Their tolerance and cover-up of rampant sex abuse in their churches were exposed, prompting the Southern Baptist Convention to do absolutely nothing to counter it.
- Their women went into revolt, following Beth Moore and others out of complementarianism, and sometimes out of the church altogether.
- Their academic citadel, Liberty University, turned against its own superstar chairman, Jerry Falwell Jr., in a lurid drama involving pool-boy sex, dishonest business practices, and a drunken photo with a woman not his wife.
- Adherents to the New Apostolic Reformation had the bitter experience of watching their beloved prophets crash and burn over “God’s promise” for the 2020 election.
- White evangelicals who reject the New Apostolic Reformation as unscriptural had the bitter experience of seeing how many of their fellow believers were actually apostates at heart.
- Their embrace of Donald Trump failed to result in “retaking America for God,” branding them instead with a reputation for lies, cruelty, and insurrection.
- Their numbers are nearing freefall.
Basically, they’re about as far away from Jesus’ teachings as you can get. And simultaneously, they seem abandoned in Valley of the Shadow of Death.
And oh boy, did Yahweh ever unleash misery upon them for all those sins. Since white Evangelicals fancy themselves the new Israel, how could all this punishment not be an expression of God’s wrath? For their sins and embrace of lies, cruelty, and moral depravity have made a mockery of Jesus and Yahweh throughout the whole land.
So could all this be God’s doing? Are the white evangelical churches God’s new Israel and is he pummeling the life out of them for their sins and failures? Is this a divine reckoning? It just fits so nicely. I mean, this is exactly what Yahweh does, isn’t it?
But is the god of the Bible the only force in the universe that issues a reckoning? No, He is not.
Change is the law of life. And those who look only to the past or present are certain to miss the future. –John F. Kennedy
The story of human civilization is littered with the nations, gods, peoples, religions, empires, companies, and cultures that were eradicated by invasions, earth changes, evolution, extinctions, inventions, or just the march of new ideas and cultures. There isn’t much among us that lasts forever.
At the dawn of this century, the older generations of white evangelicals waged a jihad against their own children. It was a shit storm of abuse and vitriol that exceeded even their own parents’ campaign of the 1960s. In such generational wars, however, the elder cohort is doomed from the outset.
For this is a special kind of sin, not just against God, but against evolution. Contrary to the popular saying, survival does not favor the fittest, but the most adaptable. Those who try to stop the world’s center from spinning away from themselves are fighting the battle of the dodo. And in this case, the fallout is a spectacle for the ages.
No, Yahweh is not punishing white evangelicals — History is. This is not a divine reckoning, it’s a historical one.
— Beverly Garside, ExCommunications, White Evangelicals’ Travails Almost Make Me Believe in God Again, August 9, 2021