I watched The Most Hated Family in America by Louis Theroux. I like explorations of “extreme ideology”.
So The Most Hated Family is the family associated with Westboro Baptist Church led by Fred Phelps. Let’s be honest: it is a cult. The argument is simple: I am right and if you disagree with me you are wrong. I was shocked by how narcissistic it all is. And how the fear of hell is used to motivate.
There is something very attractive to being told what is right and wrong. No heavy lifting! Simply obey. The sovereignty of God was mentioned a number of times. I cannot recall the compassion of God being mentioned. I find it very sad to see what people do to other people in the name of God!
At one point one of the members asks Theroux if he believes in the bible. Can I say that question confuses me?! When I hear that question I feel like the bible is elevated to being an end in itself rather than a means to an end. The bible is not the relationship but only informs and strengthens the relationship.
So putting it simply: I do not believe in the bible (a book) but in Jesus (a person). That does not mean I do not take the bible seriously. But I cannot take it literally. (I still have both hands and both eyes!) I am aware that it is written by different people who have experienced God to the fullest. And people who have experienced their own separation from God. It is a story I enter to experience God.
I doubt Jesus would hold the signs that these people hold up. I doubt Jesus would condemn people like this church does. And I think my relationship with Jesus is much more than obeying. But, alas, I envy these people’s confidence in their message.