Does Christianity promote tribalism? | GospelFutures
Again, Christianity’s record is sullied. Common examples include the Crusades, Inquisition, and witch-hunts. But there are many others. For example, Philip Jenkins in “Jesus Wars” mentions an even greater bloodshed that occurred between Christians in the 5th and 6th centuries as they fought over doctrinal differences. Even today, many of us know pastors and professors who were fired because they came to accept modern science, or happened to disagree with some archaic point of doctrine formulated 400 years ago, or decided that women could become pastors.
The reasons for exclusion can be almost anything: a person or group’s class, race, sex, physical features, theology, religion, clothes, interests, morals, political views, sexual orientation, education, lifestyle, car, or way of talking. We can exclude someone in order to control their behavior—until they shape up, tidy up, or wake up. We can exclude others because we fear intimacy. We can exclude and shame people when we think they are making us look bad. We can continue to exclude a person who is already an outsider, so that we remain with the “in-crowd.” We can exclude other communities to further our “community,” which provides us access to money, power over others, status, identity, and other resources.
In fact, if we are looking for a reason to exclude, to separate us from the “herd,” there is always one available. Often they are the smallest and insignificant difference. Freud spoke about the “narcissism of the small difference.” The smallest of differences are often the basis for hostility and forming exclusive clubs.
The great irony, however, of exclusive clubs is that they are based on pretense. The only way people can do this is through pretense—a form of self-deception. Pretend that men are superior to women, Serbs to Croats, Whites to Blacks, rich to poor, CEOs to workers, Americans to Iranians, Calvinists to . . . everyone else.
There is probably some spiritual law that the more exclusive the group, the more pretense is needed to establish and maintain the group, and thus the more self-righteous and immoral it becomes.
. . .
(via Fred Clark)