What is the evangelischer Kirchentag, which was held a couple of days ago in Berlin, and at which Barack Obama met with Angela Merkel? I don't really know for sure, except that I'm sure we don't have anything exactly like it in the US.
I got the impression from the news that the Kirchentag was pretty laid back in general.
This guy was there, and he does not seem laid back:
His sign reads:
"A warning to all drunks, liars, party animals, drug freaks, adulterers, porn freaks, masturbators, whores, thieves, abortionists, magicians, gossipers, hypocrites, homosexuals, greedy people, idolators, feminists, false Christians, atheists, pagans: Hell awaits you!"
Thanks for the heads-up, Buddy!
Clearly, that sign represents a minority view among Christians today. The thing is, though, for most of the history of Christianity, it was not a minority view, it was mainstream. You could get into a lot of trouble for saying that anything on that list was not going to be punished by an eternity of torment in Hell.
As I've pointed out before on this blog: many Christians today, most of them, have beliefs which are entirely at odds with the beliefs of Christians in earlier eras. Which makes me wonder why they still keep calling themselves Christians.
I'm not upset enough about this to go around waving signs of my own. That would be the New Atheists. In fact, my experiences with New Atheists have made me a lot more tolerant of religious believers. New Atheists have removed all doubt from my mind that whether or not a person has religious beliefs is NOT a reliable indicator of that person's intelligence.
Still, this huge contradiction between the great majority of today's Christians (and adherents of other faiths) and the history of Christianity (and the histories of those other faiths) is -- really quite something.
Someone saw that picture above and remarked that John Paul II said there was no Hell.
John Paul II didn't say that. I'm pretty sure not even Pope Francis has said anything like that yet.
But Christians, a lot of them, busily revise the history of Christianity, rather than deal with the contradictions between their beliefs and the history of their religion. And, again, it's exactly the same with other religions today.
Yes, progressive Christians, I get that you're entirely different than that guy with his hateful sign. And I'm not going to get up all in your faces about the things on that sign, but it's still the very plain truth that THAT is traditional Christianity, and that you guys are making it up as you go and still, for some reason, calling it Christianity.
And I get the reasons, too: There's a Hell of a lot of tradition and inertia here besides all that stuff on the guy's sign, and a lot of good stuff, and billions of people can't be expected to suddenly just dispose of one of the centrals aspects of their lives.
Still. It would be nice to hear more often that this good stuff is based on nonsense. As opposed to refusing to face that the nonsense ever existed, and insisting that none of the stories in the Bible were taken literally before 19th century America, and all of that recent nonsense.
It would be nice.