10 Things I Wish Everyone Knew About Evangelicals

A reporter offers his insights on a religious movement everyone talks about but few understand.

Warren Cole Smith is the associate publisher of WORLD Magazine. He is the author or co-author of several books, including A Lover’s Quarrel with the Evangelical Church and Prodigal Press. We asked him to give us 10 things he wishes everyone knew about evangelicals.

1. Evangelicals share a common belief.

Being an evangelical actually means something doctrinally and theologically, namely that salvation comes by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone. Evangelicalism is not, or not merely, a demographical subset or sociological tribe. An evangelical is someone who both believes and wants to share with others this evangel, this good news.

2. Jerry Falwell wasn’t the first evangelical.

In fact, when Jerry Falwell started out, he wasn’t an evangelical, but self-consciously fundamentalist — and there was (and is) a difference. Church historian Phil Johnson credits William Tyndale with first using the word “evangelical” in 1531, when Tyndale wrote this: “He exhorteth them to proceed constantly in the evangelical truth.” The great Catholic martyr Sir Thomas More used the phrase a year later to describe Tyndale and other Protestant Reformers. The great missionary movements of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries were evangelical in character — think of the great evangelical statesman William Wilburforce, who fought against the slave trade in Great Britain.

In short, evangelicalism has a long history and is not a recent suburban American phenomenon.

3. Not everyone who calls himself an evangelical is an evangelical.

We have an old saying in my part of the South: “Just because my dog sleeps in the garage, that doesn’t make him a pick-up truck.” Just because a blogger calls himself (or herself) an evangelical doesn’t make it so. You don’t have to vote Republican or go to a particular church, but you gotta believe in that stuff in #1 above, or you’re something else. Beware of “progressive evangelicals” who claim to speak for evangelicals but who, upon examination, reject core doctrines that evangelicals find essential.

4. Most evangelicals do not go to suburban megachurches.

Megachurches grab the headlines, but of the nearly 300,000 churches in the country, less than 2,000 of them have more than 2,000 in regular Sunday morning attendance. The overwhelming majority of new churches in America are small, evangelical churches with an average attendance of less than 200. The average church in America has less than 300 people. We don’t have rock bands, we don’t have light shows and smoke machines, and we don’t have celebrity pastors. We marry, we bury, we baptize, and we try to love our neighbors as ourselves. What you see on television is not who we are. 

5. Evangelicals are generous.

Virtually every reputable study, from Arthur Brooks’ book Who Really Cares? to the annual Empty Tombs, Inc. survey on church giving to the work of sociologist Bradley Wright, comes to the same conclusion: theologically conservative evangelical Christians give more money to charity than do theologically liberal Christians and non-Christians. And they don’t just give to evangelical Christian organizations. Liberals and non-Christians talk a good game when it comes to income equality or “social justice,” but evangelicals, not Episcopalians, are keeping the food banks of America alive.

6. Evangelicals love LGBTQIA people.

We are not homophobes. We are homophiles. Our churches welcome LGBTQIA people with the same message we present to all others: “Come as you are . . . but leave transformed.”

7. Evangelicals love the arts.

Ok, it’s true: our music mostly sucks. And so do our movies. At least, the music and movies we’ve made for the past 30 or 40 years. But not all of it, and it hasn’t always been so. I’m astonished and inspired when I see Kent Twitchell’s massive murals of Jesus on the public spaces in Los Angeles. Or Makoto Fujimura’s remarkable abstract expressionist paintings in chic Chelsea art galleries. Or hear anything by Bach.

Sure, contemporary evangelical writers, musicians, and artists are producing a lot of kitsch, but so are non-Christians. (You can’t blame the Kardashians and Honey-Boo-Boo on evangelicals.) And I predict that 100 years from now, if the Lord tarries, Christians will be singing Keith Getty’s and Stuart Townend’s “In Christ Alone” in the same churches that continue to sing Martin Luther’s “A Mighty Fortress Is Our God” and perform Handel’s “Messiah” at Christmastime.

8. Evangelicals are pro-science.

I support this assertion by noting that the rise of the scientific method and some of the great technological advancements of Europe correspond with the rise of evangelicalism in the sixteenth, seventeenth, and eighteenth centuries. In our own day, Frances Collins (who leads the National Institutes of Health and led the Human Genome Project) is open about his Christian faith.

Evangelicals have endured the slanderous label of “anti-science” in recent years because of our skepticism about politically correct theories regarding the origins of man and climate change. In these arenas and many more, evangelicals joyfully go where the science takes us. But when ideology hijacks science — that is, when the pursuit of a point of view outruns logic, history, data, and reason — we rightfully object, and so should all who love pure science.

9. Evangelicals value quality education for all.

Because evangelicals operate most of the private schools in the country, and because most of the nation’s two million homeschoolers are evangelical Christians, we are often accused of being anti-public education and of having abandoned the public schools. That is simply not true.

For one thing, I state the obvious: evangelicals whose children do not attend the schools still support them with our tax dollars even though 100 percent of those dollars go to other people’s children. Secondly, most Christian schools I know about are generous with scholarships for those who would not otherwise be able to afford the school.

But the key point is that evangelical commitment to quality education for all means we do not support the government having a monopoly on education. The real threat to quality education for all is the near monopoly of the government-run education system, not the small-but-vibrant private Christian and homeschool sector. Private Christian education and homeschooling are the way up, not the way down.

10. Evangelicals are diverse and tolerant.

Evangelicals have never been, and are certainly not now, old white Americans. By some estimates, China has 30 million evangelical Christians. Some countries in Africa and South America have evangelical majorities. Here in the U.S. you can find millions of Hispanic evangelicals. That diversity is the result of — and has led more deeply into — a culture of tolerance evangelicals don’t get credit for.

No one values the free and honest exchange of ideas more than evangelical Christians. The Bible teaches evangelicals: “Come, let us reason together” (Isaiah 1:18). We take that idea seriously. However, evangelicals believe mere tolerance is a low standard for those called to the much higher standard of love. Tolerance says, “Put up with those different from you.” Love says, “Help them achieve God’s highest and best.” (See #6 above.) Further, evangelicals see nothing tolerant in an ideology that brands any and all dissenting ideas as “hate speech.” Neither do we believe that tolerance demands us to view all ideas, beliefs, or behaviors as equally true and valid. Evangelicals believe some ideas are good and true and some are bad or false. Saying so does not make one a bigot.

Image via Shutterstock.

Warren Cole Smith
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  • http://coolingtwilight.com/ Dan Wilkinson

    So the evangel of Christianity is that salvation comes “by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone?” That might come as a surprise to Paul, who identifies the gospel message as Christ’s death for our sins, his burial and his resurrection (1 Cor 15). Reducing evangelicalism to simply the doctrines of sola gratia and sola fide is both theologically and historically inaccurate.

    • nwcolorist

      I think Mr. Smith has it exactly right. Maybe you could indicate why you hold your position.

      • http://coolingtwilight.com/ Dan Wilkinson

        I thought I was pretty clear. Paul, in 1 Cor 15, gives a very specific description of what he considers the gospel to be, a gospel of “first importance” and by which “you are saved.” Smith’s idiosyncratic definition completely ignores this. As to the historical shortcomings of his understanding, see some of the classic books on the subject, such as those by Noll, Marsden, Bebbington and Hatch.

  • Martin Davis

    There are so many problems here. Let’s start with evangelicals loving LGBTQ people. “Leave transformed” is code for leave heterosexual. As for the defense of “pure science,” whatever he means by that, science is clear on human origins and climate change. You may scream to the roof that evolution isn’t real, but that will jot change the facts. And I’m sorry, but tying evangelicals of the 16th-18th centuries to rise of science is our ignorance. Thee is no evidence for this claim. By the same logic, I could say that atomic theory emerged with the ancient Greeks because they used the word atom. This whole piece is delusional. As, are, most evangelicals I know.

    • Andrew K.

      ‘”Leave transformed” is code for leave heterosexual.’

      Umm… no, it isn’t, actually. Nobody promises homosexual desires will magically go away. Or at least, no responsible evangelical would.

      Oh, and you only addressed two points and said, “this whole piece is delusional.” Surely you don’t think every point is wrong, even if you disagree with two?

      It’s ignorance and rabid bias like this that makes this piece necessary. “Demonize your neighbors” indeed.

      • AtalantaBethulia

        “Nobody promises homosexual desires will magically go away. Or at least, no responsible evangelical would.”

        Is this not the goal of “praying away the gay” and “having faith that can move mountains” that “nothing is impossible with God”? Is this not the goal of the reparative therapy industry? Is not heterosexuality held out and taught as “God’s ideal” and this is what is meant when he refers to loving people enough to “Help them achieve God’s highest and best”?

        Are you saying that acceptance of a married homosexual couple in an Evangelical church is possible? With full inclusion and participation in the life of the church (be a member, teach Sunday School, sing in the choir, take communion)?

        • Mike D’Virgilio

          Clearly you have a very shallow understanding of Evangelical Christian doctrine or theology. Outside of a few notable exceptions in the history of Protestantism (Finney, Wesley and a few others), perfectionism has never been embraced by the Church. The Church is filled with very imperfect sinners saved by God’s mercy and grace. That’s why Paul says in I Corinthians 1 that Jesus is our righteousness, holiness, and redemption. Our works can never earn acceptance before a perfectly holy God. If that was so, Jesus died for nothing.

          Heterosexuality, whatever that is, is never, ever held out as an ideal in the Bible. The ideal is marriage between a man and a women. Otherwise the only option is chastity, not a big sell in our hypersexualized culture that makes orgasm a sin qua none of existence. God never promises to take away our sinful desires. Most males who desire the opposite sex probably break the tenth commandment consistently.

          So to Evangelical Christians “married homosexual couple” is a contradiction in terms. And no culture in the history of the world until this one thought that two people of the same sex could get married. The idea is absurd on its face because everyone who ever lived before ten minutes ago realized the only reason marriage existed was because a man and a women could produce children. Marriage never existed to affirm two (or more) people’s romantic relationship or confer certain tax benefits.

          You are like most other evangelical critics; you believe stereotypes and condemn us for them. If you ever want to be taken seriously do your homework.

          • AtalantaBethulia

            I didn’t criticize anyone in particular as you have done here to me. I asked questions for clarification. And I lived my homework, having been reared in Fundamentalist and Evangelical churches.

          • Mike D’Virgilio

            Obviously I offended you. So sorry. Your question came off as rhetorical, i.e. not sincere, thus my reaction. Having been reared in such churches doesn’t mean you’ve done your homework. You could have had bad experiences in such churches, like it looks like you have, and your views are more formed by that than any contrasting view that might challenge those experiences. It’s hard for all of us to seek out information that contradicts what we hold dear. It’s just that conservatives like me don’t have to seek it out as much as the liberal does because we’re surrounded in our culture by ideas and views the positively vilify conservatism, whether that’s cultural, political or religious conservatism.

            And Paul’s is not the only voice on marriage in the Bible. Whenever we talk about something the Bible addresses, we need to take the entire revelation of God. Paul and the entire NT Church thought Jesus was likely coming back soon, so his exhortation was likely conditioned by that. We can find the real ideal in the creation before the fall: a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife and they will become one flesh. Jesus confirmed this as well. Cheers!

          • Victor

            Heterosexuality is the attraction to the opposite sex.

            In reality, there have been many cultures throughout history who have embraced love between two people of the same sex–most notably, ancient Greece and Rome. Alexander the Great is known as having a strong and prosperous relationship with a male slave given to him as a gift. Also, several Roman emporers married men–like Hadrian, for example.

            Believe it or not, even ancient Israel had a concept of homosexuality–though less developed as the concepts of other cultures, allowing eunuchs to serve kings and queens as their most closest servants.

            My ancestors, the Native Americans, often seen as primitive and barbaric–however wrong that is–embraced sexuality in all its forms. In many tribes, men could enter into unions with men and women with women. The Natives cared less about the sex of the person and more about the role they played in the tribe.

            The belief that modern-day Western societies are the first societies to embrace all sexual orientations is false, and there exists no historical evidence to support the belief.

          • Mike D’Virgilio

            The very concept of hetero or homo sexuality wasn’t even conceived of until the late 19th century. The idea that our identity is ontologically bound up to who we’re attracted to sexually would have seemed patently absurd to all the people you mention. Sexual orientation is a completely and thoroughly modern concept. For some people today the most important thing about them is who they have sex with, and in our hypersexualized culture where orgasm is the sin qua none of existence that is understandable. What made Judaism and Christianity unique in world history was their sexual ethics of exclusivity in a marriage between a man and a women, even if that ideal was flouted through much of that history. Sexual desire is fluid, and because we are fallen (i.e. alienated by nature from God and his law), these desires are expressed in all kinds of harmful and inappropriate way. Everyone has a sexual ethic, draws a line about what is sexually wrong and what is sexually right, the only question is where it come from.

          • Victor

            That’s not entirely fact. Cultures before our own accepted that some people preferred one sex over another. But none of them–just like with science–really had the technology to look further into sexuality. The most basic concept is not a new thing. Our modern understanding of sexuality is, however, due to the technology we now have.

            I’m not sure if you’ve done any research into the subject, but it’s fascinating–especially how the queer population steadily remains within the four to ten percent range. If sexual orientation wasn’t determined biologically, I imagine that wouldn’t be the case. Not consistently, anyway.

            From where do you get the belief that our culture is hypersexualized? And to which culture are you referring? United States culture, or another? Because I think you may be referring to sexual objectification–which is, indeed, an issue.

            Judaism was influential because it taught that sex should only be enjoyed within the context of a marriage between two people? I guess Abraham didn’t get the memo. Or Jacob. Or Samuel’s father. Or David. Or Solomon. There’s sex everywhere in the Hebrew scriptures, a lot of it is most certainly not between two people exclusively, and those practices were rarely condemned by the people of that time. In fact, they were apart of life.

            All that aside, ancient Jewish marriage was hardly a loving and committed relationship between two people. It was a business deal–often planned before the birth of the people involved. They were for political reasons–to improve relations between families–among other things.

            So I guess I could argue that just as mankind’s understanding of sexuality has changed throughout history, the concept of marriage has evolved as well, often differing greatly from culture to culture.

            However, sexuality and marriage can hardly be compared that way. It’s commonly understood that sexuality is ingrained within our DNA. Marriage–no, not monogamy–isn’t.

    • Hominid

      Exactly so. The final three claims regarding Evangelicals are entirely false.

    • Ben

      “As for the defence of ‘pure science’. whatever he means by that, science is clear on human orgins… You can scream to the roof that evolution isn’t real, but that will not change the facts.”

      Hey Martin, I believe that when you say “whatever he means by that”, it indicates a bad understanding of the author’s opinion or perhaps the topic.

      1. Science – As later stated, Evangelicals are generally tolerant and diverse. There are actually many Evangelicals who believe in theistic evolution and see Genesis as a very broad outline for how the universe began, as it was written in a time when people would not understand science as we do today. A lot of churches are made up of 7-day creationists and theistic evolutionists who have the same faith in Jesus and have a close bond. Personally, I don’t believe evolution can be proven (as it takes too long to ‘observe’), but I do lean towards theistic evolution rather than 7 day creation.

      2. Science and Evangelicalism – Since around the 1500’s, there’s been increased critical thinking and focusing on science. Evangelicalism and Protestantism in general came from questioning the authority of the Catholic Church and people being able to read the Bible for themselves, so there is a connection there. As well, many early scientists began studying science because they believed that God had created the universe in a way that we can understand (patterns, laws, constants, etc.) From the christian worldview, science and the universe make sense because for everything which has a beginning, has a cause or a creator. Thus, for example, the universe had a beginning (“The Big Bang”) so it must have had a cause or creator behind it.

      3. Loving LGBTQ people – We’re supposed to love people in general, period. The sexual orientation, race, age, whatever, none of it matters. Evangelicals also believe that we’re also sinners and everyday is a fight to be a better person to bring glory to God, so we recognize we all have our faults and our struggles. We’re all broken and we all have our individual struggles, so we cannot judge another person for something that they cannot change, just encourage them and be there for them.

      I know I probably didn’t do a fantastic job of explaining myself, but I hope that I clarified somethings for you. I also hope that you don’t call other people “delusional” as the problem could actually be that you don’t understand. The same goes for anyone. Have a great day 🙂

      • Martin Davis

        Seems to me that you’re the one with a poor understanding of science. We have, in fact, “observed” it. It’s called the fossil record. As for “theistic evolution,” that’s an evangelical belief. It certainly isn’t science. Genesis is a creation myth, like any of a number of other ancient creation myths. It’s not science, doesn’t pretend to be science, and was never meant to be read as such. I feel no need to square evolution with Genesis. There’s nothing to square. Totally different realities.

        Also, evangelicalism does NOT come from questioning the authority of the Catholic Church. Neither does Protestantism, for that matter. Luther himself never wanted to break away from Catholicism. As for your bizarre reading of how science emerges for religion, there isn’t enough time, or space, to point out all the flaws in that idea.

        Finally, the evangelical church leads the way in hate. Spare me the “love the sin but hate the sinner” bullshit. Here’s a fact for you. We don’t need your approval or your “love.” I left the church 25 years ago, and my life has been infinitely better. The church is dying–praise Buddha. I’ll be glad when it’s grip on American culture is finally ended.

        • Ben

          The fossil record is like ‘pictures’. Evolution is a process of change which cannot be view by ‘pictures’, but ‘video’ or in real time. You could argue that you can put together the ‘pictures’ to create a ‘video’ and I wouldn’t disagree with that. However, a Creationist could say that the ‘pictures’ were captured by the Flood, but that’s another can of worms. “Theistic evolution” is a theistic belief, not solely evangelical. I don’t mean to sound rude, but it’s obvious from what it’s called. I’m not sure what to say about your thoughts on Genesis, you have your opinion and I have mine. But science does not prove or disprove God, it is philosophy which is the lens with which we view science and the world around us.

          For your comment on Protestantism not coming from questioning the authority of the Catholic Church, I really don’t know how you figure it came about. From everything I know, if there’s any split in a “religion” or denomination, it happens because of people questioning the authority of the ‘teachers’. Otherwise, people just follow the same religion (like hundreds and hundreds of years before The Reformation).

          As for your last comments, seems like you have a pretty big personal issue there by your usage of “bullshit” and “praise Buddha” and saying that you don’t need our approval or “love” (I don’t think I said that you did). Personal experience isn’t a rational or reliable tool for determining truth, so there’s no point in debating with you about it. I hope if there’s a personal problem that’s affecting you that you’ll be able to get beyond that to have a more rational perspective (if it is impaired by it, of course).

          Thanks for sharing your thoughts in open discussion, it’s healthy for both perspectives. Have a good week.

      • Victor

        The reason the Genesis creation stories–for there are actually two–were influential is because before, all creation stories were complex and involved several gods. The stories in Genesis where influential because they came up with the concept that, maybe, there was only one God involved in it.

        But, when one looks at the original Hebrew, they discover that the word used for “God” is actually “elohim”, which means “gods”. It’s a plural word. “In the beginning gods created the heavens and the earth.” So that isn’t much help–with the whole monotheism concept.

        • robinrob2

          Ever hear of the Trinity?

          • Victor

            To project the doctrine of the Trinity onto the ancient Jewish texts is not only offensive, but it does a huge disservice to the original texts.

            The gods (elohim) referred to in Genesis and the eighty-second psalm do not refer to the commonly accepted Christian Trinity doctrine of the three aspects of one god. They refer to many gods who are on the same level. Unless you’re Tritheistic, the elohim can’t possibly be referring to the Trinity.

            It’s possible the elohim are evidence of the ancient Hebrew’s Canaanite origins, evidence of the polytheism that was quite common in the Near East at that time. The Hebrews weren’t always monotheistic.

            Not to mention the fact that the Jews have existed long before Christians, and the Trinity is a Christian doctrine. The Jews didn’t read their texts that way.

            The most commonly accepted view of the Trinity was established by the Council of Nicaea under the rule of Constantine–as well as the Canon and the Creed.

      • Victor

        Admitting that “we’re all flawed” is not the same as supporting and being inclusive of LGTBQ people. It’s merely glossing over the fact that a majority of modern-day evangelicals do not, in fact, believe queer people to be equal to heterosexual people.

        It’s nice rhetoric, but it’s frothy at best.

    • blaxale7

      The flaggits are some nasty ruthless hellbound reprobates hu…maybe the hellbound ruthless reprobate oklahoma muzzies will start beheading them soon..hopefully they will just kill each other ,,now that would be cool..

  • nwcolorist

    Mr. Smith, watch out now. You are undermining beliefs that have been carefully nurtured by the enemies of Christianity for decades.

    And on the subject of tolerance and diversity, I was surprised to learn that in the 2008 elections 40% of evangelicals voted for Barack Obama.

    • mdoc

      That is good to hear that many evangelicals are not conservatives. Many values of the religious right are inconsistent with what I always heard were Christian values, like caring for the poor.

    • arensb

      Where did that 40% number come from? Exit polls that asked people whether they’re Evangelicals and who they voted for?
      See Mr. Smith’s point #3, above: people might think they’re Evangelical, but not realize that they’re not, because they don’t fit the definition in point #1. For all we know, 99% of those 40% were actually “progressive Evangelicals” or some other type of not-true-Evangelical.

      • AtalantaBethulia

        Of what consequence is it to distinguish between “true Evangelicals” vs. “not-true-Evangelicals”?

        • arensb

          See point #3 in the article. Not everyone who calls themselves evangelical really are.
          nwcolorist was “surprised to learn” that so many self-described evangelicals voted for Obama. I’m suggesting that maybe that number was inflated, and that the the true number is far less surprising.

          • ElRay

            Right the “No True Scotsman” argument. Are the christians that assault, batter and kill LGBT people “True Christians”? They say they are. Were the christians blowing-up other christians in Ireland “True Christians”? Are the muslims in ISIS “True Muslims”? Are the muslims decrying ISIS actions “True Muslims”?

            You don’t get to say “They don’t count because I claim they aren’t ‘True’ ______”

          • arensb

            I’m not trying to tell anyone that they are or are not true evangelicals. Smith did that in Point #3, above. It’s just that nwcolorist seemed to agree with Smith, and I was wondering whether they’re being consistent in applying the definition of who is or isn’t an evangelical.

          • nwcolorist

            As I remember, the Pew Foundation did that polling.

          • bakabomb

            As I remember, you already said that above. Your point?

          • Sam

            The context clues lead me to conclude you doubt the Pew Foundations objectivity.
            Rather than asking you to explain the basis for that determination would you be so kind as to provide sources you feel are objective? Or is there even an objective?

      • nwcolorist

        The Pew Organisation likely did the polling.

        • arensb

          Right. But the point is, did they ask the obvious followup questions to figure out who was an evangelical per Point #1 above, and who only said they were an evangelical, per Point #3? Or did they just go with what people told them?

          • Sam

            The assertion here being… that an evangelical would never vote for Obama or….?

  • Cole J. Banning

    Okay, so = “salvation comes by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone.” Thing is, that’s a lot of catchphrases packed into a small amount of space, and could use some unpacking. Is it just a fancy way of saying that all non-Christians go to hell? (Talk about a horrific tenet upon which to base an entire theological identity! Certainly not something to wear as a badge of honor.) Or are the notions of “salvation” and “faith” (and possibly even “Christ”) being employed here more nuanced than that?

    Too many evangelicals reduce Christian faith to explicit belief in a set of propositions about Jesus Christ, which diminishes what St. Paul meant by the term and flies right in the face of what St. James clearly wrote. (Even the demons believe; the salvific faith of which St. Paul wrote requires action–which is why St. Paul described faith itself as a “work” in his [first, I think?] epistle to the Thessalonians.)

    I believe in justification by faith alone just so long as I get to define “faith”–define it the way St. Paul used it, and not the way (most? some? all?) evangelicals define it.

  • ElRay

    The simple fact that you believe the fact of Evolution and the Theory of Evolution Through Natural Selection as an explanation for the fact of Evolution as a “politically correct” theory is proof that you are both scientifically illiterate and anti-science. “Going where the science takes you”, takes you to Evolution via Natural Selection and away from the unscientific, trivially disproven, and wholly unsupported nonsense of Creationism/Intelligent-Design. Likewise, all the data supports anthropomorphic climate change, and to claim otherwise is nothing more than religiously correct anti-science.

    • Hominid

      The data do not support anthropoGENic (not “morphic”) climate change. YOU are scientifically illiterate.

      • ElRay

        Actually the data does. One typo doesn’t discredit the tremendous body of evidence supporting human-caused climate change and it sure as heck does not support the nonexistent data refuting it.

        • Orwellian_Dilemma

          First, your numbers are a funny little meme which have been disproven numerous times.

          Second, thanks for pointing out that science is democratic. I didn’t know that until now.

          • Sam

            What numbers have been disproven?

        • Hominid

          You’re just repeating Lib-Leftist talking points – LIES.

          • Sam

            Lies? What evidence refutes his points?

          • Hominid

            Do your own homework – don’t be so intellectually lazy.

          • Sam

            That is an interesting response.

            I have done my research and the data I have come across paints a very different picture than what you are presenting. As such I was hoping that you could provide the evidence that supports your claims. But instead you provide no data to support your position.

            If I said that Ted Cruz and Rand Paul are gay lovers and you asked me for evidence and I said “Do your own homework – don’t be so intellectually lazy”, what would your response be? Would you overcome your “laziness” and do the research to find the evidence or would you discount my claim as not only spurious but wholly unsubstantiated? Would this understanding of my point extend beyond my claim to your impression of me and my positions in general? Would you find it hard to believe or even take seriously anything I say because rather than actually supporting anything I say I am flippant instead? What would you do?

            If your claim isn’t actually fact based and instead is just faith based you should own up to that. Not for my sake but for yours. It is a necessary skill in this world and for your whole life to not only support the statements you make but to be able to support these claims with data and evidence. Until then how can you expect to be taken seriously?

            So, I ask again, what evidence, what data do you have that supports your claims?

          • Hominid

            Nope – the actual raw ‘data,’ such as they are, don’t “paint a very different picture” – some of the data INTERPRETATIONS do. Actually, the warmist findings are not in the least interesting – they’re so-called trends are all within the normal range of variation and trends are not predictive of the future. But, the data are unreliable or nonexistent and the models so inadequate that the findings are not credible anyway. I’m not about to rehash these points in this forum. Only scientifically illiterate dupes continue to believe there is AGW and that it is a looming crisis.

          • Sam

            You decided to though bring it though and join in. If you didn’t want to hash it out what are you doing here?

            Where did you get your climatology degree? Just curious. If not, then what experts are you listening to who state that they are in normal range?

            Also, going forward you may wish to not undermine your own point by starting with “[n]ope – the actual raw ‘data,’ such as they are, don’t “paint a very different picture”” followed by “the data are unreliable or nonexistent”. This leads one to wonder what data that you were speaking of in the first place if in deed the data is, as you put it “the findings are not credible anyway” how can you be certain that there is nothing to be concerned about. By your very own reasoning you state that it is impossible to know. So what are we left with? Perhaps a “scientifically illiterate dupe”?

          • Hominid

            Blather to someone else.

          • Sam

            So, what you are saying is that you actually have no support for your position except you believe it.

            Just say that going forward. Say “I believe climate changing isn’t happening and it doesn’t matter what you say or the evidence or reasoning you have.” This will save everyone a lot of time. Or you could actually build a position.

            Either way, best wishes.

  • https://www.facebook.com/etseq97 etseq

    Amazing parody! Climate change is “politically correct science”?? This article just proves that evangelical is more of a political identity than a religious tradition.

    • Orwellian_Dilemma

      No, it merely proves that your “science” is more a political identity than based in, well, science.

      But enjoy your Marxism/Stalinism passing themselves off as science. All that smug, ignorant, arrogance does wonders for your self esteem.

      • sauron256

        “…evangelicals believe mere tolerance is a low standard for those called to the much higher standard of love”

        Great job demonstrating evangelical love, dude…

        • Orwellian_Dilemma

          How is pointing out that science has become highly political for those on the left contrary to evangelical love?

          (Or do you always just blurt out non sequiturs?)

          • bakabomb

            Uh, “Marxism/Stalinism”? “Smug, ignorant arrogance”? Is that consonant with evangelical love? It certainly doesn’t strike me as consonant with Christian love — or basic human civility, for that matter — since you offer no evidence upon which to base your aspersions. Do you really consider those to be Christian comments?

          • Orwellian_Dilemma

            Why would truth be inconsistent with love or Christianity?

          • bakabomb

            Don’t try to be disingenuous. You ever heard the phrase “Speak the truth in love”? Your language is the antithesis of that. Go post on StormFront or Breitbart where they welcome your brand of vituperation.

          • Orwellian_Dilemma

            To point out that the left is smug, arrogant, and Marxist/Stalinist is simply to state the truth. There is not a single vituperative word in that description. In fact, since liberals have killed more than 200 million people in the last century, I think calling them “smug” is about the kindest description possible.

            I’m not going to lie about the evil of the left merely to shield your delicate little feelers.

          • Sam

            Would you be so kind as to present the evidence that lead you to the conclusion that the “left is smug, arrogant, and Marxist/Stalinist”?

            And where do you get “liberals have killed more than 200 million people in the last century”?

          • Orwellian_Dilemma

            Watch ten minutes of Rachel Maddow and you’ll know all you’ll ever need to know about liberals.

            If you want to know about liberals massacring entire populations, read up on the Hoodomor, Holocaust, Great Leap Forward, Cultural Revolution, Killing Fields, et cetera.

          • Sam

            Would you be so kind as to provide a definition of “liberal”? Are you saying that the NaZi’s and the Communist Party’s of the USSR, China, and Cambodia are liberal? What positions do they hold in common that lead to that conclusion?

            If Rachel Maddow speaks for liberals do Sean Hannity and Bill O’Reilly speak for non-liberals? Is the way Rachel Maddow deals with subjects the same as Sean Hannity or Bill O’Reilly? Or is the way they deal with things the same but positions different and thus less smug and arrogant?

          • Orwellian_Dilemma

            Sean Hannity is a doofus, but he’s not smug or arrogant (and if you claim he is, you’ve clearly never seen his show).

            Bill O’Reilly is definitely not a conservative. I suspect you’ve never seen his show either.

            And yes, I’m definitely saying that all the totalitarian governments of the 20th Century were indisputably liberal. Using government to destroy liberty and coerce conformity has always been the entire point of liberalism. Do you live in a snow cave?

          • Sam

            I find it interesting that if I consider someone smug or arrogant or conservative and you disagree I am wrong. So who is a conservative?

            I apologize, but if you would be so kind as to present me with the evidence that “all the totalitarian governments of the 20th Century were indisputably liberal”? And where do you get that “[u]sing government to destroy liberty and coerce conformity has always been the entire point of liberalism”?

            And would someone who says “do you live in a snow cave” as a way of being dismissive and attacking, smug and arrogant? If so, would someone who practices such behavior be a hypocrite or consider these traits to be virtues, despite the tone previously used? If not, what is the value of such a comment? What do you feel it says? What are you attempting to say if you are not attacking or being dismissive?

          • bakabomb

            Bah. You’ll never get a rational response from this one. Open the wormhole and send him back to Mordor. “It is not what goes into a man’s mouth that makes him unclean, but what proceeds from it.” –Matthew 15:11

          • Sam

            Perhaps, but I don’t feel it is appropriate to give up on them or not try.

          • bakabomb

            As for me, I’m not going to engage any further with a troll who merely wishes to make political statements in a forum about faith. You have nothing to contribute to that dialogue and I refuse to lower the tone of the discussion to joust with an obvious troll. Have a good stew.

          • Orwellian_Dilemma

            You baselessly attack, then call me a troll. Have a nice life, hypocrite.

  • CottonBlimp

    Evangelicals love LGBTQIA people.

    It’s not up to you to say whether you’ve been loving. It’s up to us to say whether we’ve been loved. You can come to us in sheep’s clothing, but we know you “by your fruit”.

    The same goes for arts, science, and education – you can say you love them, but they don’t feel loved.

    • Duane Smith

      LGBTQIA aside, your statement is absurd. In order to be loved you must “feel” loved? Anyone who is a parent sees the fallacy of this thinking. There are times when I correct my children or have to tell them “no” and they “feel” unloved but this does not mean that I do not love them. This idea that you can’t love someone and tell them “no” is just one more example of how childish our society has become. We have become the spoiled, entitled and whiny children of the greatest generation. God help us!

      • AtalantaBethulia

        We aren’t talking about perceptions nor of children who do not yet have the same reasoning skills as adults. We’re talking about grown people. This isn’t merely about “saying No” nor about merely disagreeing with others on matters of theology or philosophy. This is about actions. This is about how people are and have been treated… in the church, by religious people and in the name of God.

        One of the things counsellors teach couples in marriage therapy is that each person in the relationship is responsible for 1) Their own behavior and 2) Expressing to the other person how that behavior affects them. Example: When you do ________, I feel _______. And the parties are supposed to learn from this communication, including learning to better understand their own behavior and HOW IT AFFECTS OTHER PEOPLE despite each person’s intentions.

        Some people are not aware when they are being mean, rude, cruel, unkind. For these people who lack this level of self-awareness, the only way they can know how their behavior affects others is if people tell them. Our good intentions do not always translate into good actions. And our good intentions do not excuse our actions that are not good.

        One of the hardest things to learn to do is to see ourselves as others see us. This is the work of spiritual and emotional growth and maturity and it requires self-reflection. And that is what people are asking individuals and the Church to do when it comes to how they treat LGBTQIA people.

        If you do something that you think is nice, and your wife tells you it actually wasn’t very nice, and she’s being perfectly objective and honest about that… it’s easy to get defensive and not hear her because you *meant* for it to be a good thing. It is not your *intention* to hurt her. And yet, sometimes this happens. This is when we have to listen to others and hear what they are telling us: When you did this, I felt this. And we have to work through that, communicate, and decide how we can change our behavior (because that’s the only thing we have any control over) so that our intentions actually do have the intended loving effect and that we learn to see ourselves as we really are and not how we wish to be received.

        • Duane Smith

          I understand what you are saying and I totally agree that the some in the church have been incredibly insensitive to many people throughout its 2,000 year existence. But there is still a very real dilemma before us. The vast majority of evangelicals believe homosexuality to be a sin, no worse than other sins, but a sin nonetheless. The “evangel” is the same message for all people and one important aspect of the “evangel” is repentance of sins. If, in the course of a conversation, a homosexual, a girl cohabiting with her boyfriend, a man who refuses to pay his taxes, etc., asks me if what their activity or practice is a sin I am obligated to be honest with them. Their sin is in no way better or worse than my sin but it is still sin and therefore repentance is necessary. No matter how sensitive we try to be it is at this point that many people, not only homosexuals, will label an evangelical as hateful or intolerant. I know this from personal experience having immediate family members and friends who are homosexual. When the issue comes up (99% of the time they raise it) I am as careful and sensitive as I can be, but I am still labeled as being hateful. The example above of doing something nice for my wife is certainly true but is comparing apples to oranges in this case. We are not talking about something nice being perceived as being hurtful. We are talking about pointing out something as objectively wrong (the corrective aspect of the evangel) and being labeled as hateful for it. Again, I will be the first to admit that many in the church have done a great deal of harm on this front but not all are party to their abuses.

          • AtalantaBethulia

            Regarding this comment above…The key word here is “If”: “If, in the course of a conversation, [a person] asks me…” That’s an important if.

            Regarding your original comment: “LGBTQIA aside, your statement is absurd. In order to be loved you must “feel” loved? Anyone who is a parent sees the fallacy of this thinking. There are times when I correct my children or have to tell them “no” and they “feel” unloved but this does not mean that I do not love them. This idea that you can’t love someone and tell them “no” is just one more example of how childish our society has become. We have become the spoiled, entitled and whiny children of the greatest generation. God help us!”

            Your comment minimizes “feelings” as being unimportant or less important than what, in your example, is –interestingly– a person of authority who knows better than, and what is best for, a child. I’m not sure if you realize how patriarchal this allusion is when applied to the larger issue we are discussing or that the author also alludes to the same patriarchal role in his essay when he discusses loving people enough to want God’s best for their life. However, this type of minimizing is not helpful to the conversation. Nuance and understanding are helpful to the conversation.

            The point of the original exchange between yourself and CottonBlimp was about his statement: “It’s not up to you to say whether you’ve been loving. It’s up to us to say whether we’ve been loved.”

            While I understand the non-negotiable point you are making about the Evangelical belief of homosexuality being a sin, repentance being required for progress in the Christian life and the evangelizing message that includes naming sin and calling people to repentance (a work many feel is better left to the Holy Spirit as none of us are without sin), I tend to agree with CottonBlimps’ statement: It is important for the sake of objectivity to consider the point of view of the receiver whether a behavior they have received is loving or not. It doesn’t get to be called loving simply because the person who is doing the action believes it is loving. And I do believe how we treat our neighbor and how we treat our spouse are within the realm of apple to apple comparisons.

            I understand that you are here speaking of your role as a minister in answering a person’s question about sin. However, the larger conversation is about how people are treated in everyday life by people who claim to love them.

            Being refused service, being denied employment, being fired, being denied equal protection under the law, being maligned and portrayed as less than, being discriminated against… is not loving. Not listening to the testimonies of LGBTQIA people of how they have been hurt by family, friends, and the Church is not loving. Not believing LGBTQIA people when they tell you that being LBGTQIA is not a choice they made is not loving.

            These are actions that cause pain and suffering and hardship to people.
            These are actions people have asked people to stop doing.

            We are in control of our actions. Refraining from doing these things do not affect nor change a person’s beliefs. Regardless of one’s beliefs about homosexuality, Jesus never endorses treating our neighbor poorly because we disagree with them.

          • Duane Smith

            It was not my intention to minimize feelings in my original post but I understand your point. I was responding to the original comment from the lens of my personal experience which is “if you tell me that what I am doing is wrong you don’t love me or care about me.” My illustration of a parent was one of many I could have chosen, in fact I did choose another example (husband and wife) in my subsequent post. Any patriarchal allusion was wholly coincidental. I know there are evangelicals out there who are rude, obnoxious, insensitive and a host of other things when it comes to LGBTQIA people but I also know a great many, most of the ones I know in fact, who are kind, caring and respectful and go to great lengths to understand those they disagree with. Just as I don’t assume all homosexuals are militantly anti-Christian neither should evangelicals, as a whole, be labeled as homophobes. As an evangelical pastor I would never support the denial of employment or the withholding of equal protection under the law to anyone based on their sexual orientation. I pastor in a resort community with a large homosexual population. Most of the congregation work with or are neighbors to LGBTQIA people. We encourage our people to be good neighbors, co-workers, bosses, employees and friends to everyone. When someone from the LGBTQIA visits our church they are treated with love and respect like any other visitor. In fact we have several self-identified celibate homosexuals in our congregation. In spite of the great care taken we are still labeled by some as intolerant, even hateful because we hold the teaching of Scripture on the issue.

          • AtalantaBethulia

            Just as Progressive and Moderate Christians have had to undo the damage done to Christianity at large by the history of the Church and modern day extremists, Evangelicals will have to undo the damage done by those within their fold. That will take time and requires patience and nuance on everyone’s part to see that not all people are alike. But it will also require far more actions by Evangelicals to disprove the conventional wisdom about them and that the sentiments they say are true, are–in fact–true, rather than just asking people to trust that they are different. The proof is in the pudding. To be thought of as loving, people will have to be loving. And religious folks like ourselves will have to understand that people don’t trust us… particularly with the long Evangelical involvement in the culture wars which politicize these issues and mobilizes religious people to actually vote against the rights and legal protections of their neighbor. So, it’s going to take effort on the part of religious people. And if we as religious people keep doing the same things the same way but are expecting different results, the problem lies with us and not with “the others.” Everybody else can’t be the only ones who need to change. That never works.

            I hear what you are saying. I acknowledge understanding from where you are coming. The primary problem I see within the Evangelical circles I know, is that many people who claim to be as loving and as kind as you describe, actually –objectively– aren’t, because they just can’t see themselves. This is a kind of self-righteous blindness that the church will have to teach and love out of their flock. This too will take effort. But first it will take the Church 1) acknowledging it has a problem and 2) is willing to undergo a metanoia (repentance: to turn and go in a new direction).

          • Johnny Wu

            Have you ever heard of Living Waters? What do you think of their work in relational and sexual (not just homosexual) healing?

          • Orwellian_Dilemma

            You do realize that not wanting to participate in something as clearly abominable as a gay wedding is not a lack of love, right? It’s simply saying “no, thank you, I don’t want to condemn myself by participating in your abomination.”

            (I suspect you would never accuse a Jewish baker of being discriminatory for not wanting to cater a Klan celebration of HitIer’s b’day, or to force a gay photographer to do the church directory for Westboro Church. But a Christian baker? Oh, he’s required to make a phallic cake for a gay wedding. . . .)

            No one is discriminating against gay people, so please give that meme a rest.

          • Jules

            You can’t compare homosexuals to the clan, or Hitler. That is ridiculous. The laws regarding discrimination may be complex, and you may not like them, but why would you compare homosexuals to Hitler or the KKK to make your point? That really doesn’t help your argument.

          • Orwellian_Dilemma

            It’s the same concept: one person demands of another to support an objectively vile cause and uses the law as a battering ram to force agreement. It’s wrong, and the metaphor is spot on.

      • Hominid

        You completely miss his point. He’s saying that the Evangeiicals are LYING – and he’s right – they’re delusional, sanctimonious hypocrites.

      • Jeremy Erickson

        I think you’re awfully naive if you assume that evangelicals have been entirely loving to LQBTQIA people. I say that as a fairly conservative evangelical who is also bisexual in orientation. I hold to a traditional doctrine of sexual ethics, but that hasn’t shielded me from everything. Most of the evangelicals in my life have been great, and have either not broached the topic of sexuality with me or have been supportive. I’m still frustrated with a lot of evangelical culture, especially the “culture war” mentality, a reliance on extra-biblical (and ultimately very problematic) “ex-gay” notions of change, and the tendency to make false generalizations about the broader LGBTQIA community.

        Some of my friends have had it worse than me. I’ve literally lost count of the number of friends I have who have been fired from, or denied employment at, Christian institutions explicitly because of their sexuality, even though these friends were living celibate lives in accordance with their belief in the traditional understanding of Scripture! This indicates a sin problem we still very much need to work through.

        And CottonBlimp’s observations are sadly quite true about the bad fruit. Things like depression, suicide, isolation, and shame are especially common problems for LGBTQIA people who grow up in conservative Christian environments. Unlike some, I don’t think our doctrine on sexual ethics is actually the root cause. I think our overall sinful attitudes of self-righteousness, as well as a reliance on extra-biblical ideas about change, labels, etc., are a rather sufficient explanation.

        I don’t think we have to abandon evangelicalism, but we do have our own sins to address.

        • Duane Smith

          I totally agree Jeremy. Please see my comments below. The cultural/political war which evangelicals have chosen to wage has in large part destroyed the witness and testimony of the church in the 20th-21st century. I believe it will take generations to undo the damage. Socio-politcal activity has proven to be a comfortable vehicle for evangelical self-righteousness.

      • CottonBlimp

        There’s telling a child no, and then there’s abuse. You can tell the difference, right? So can we.

        When you’ve done someone wrong, if you really love them, you ask how you can make it better. A man who beats his wife can tell the world he loves her, he can tell his wife he loves her, he can think he loves her, but her bruises say otherwise.

  • James Anderson

    Hilarious. Evangelicals love the Arts????????? And LGBT men and women???????? Maybe your next piece could be “Ten Things We Wish Evangelicals Knew About Us.”

    #1. We don’t care what you believe!!!

  • Annerdr

    I know what L, G, B, T, and Q stand for. What do the I and A in LBGTQIA stand for?

    • Ryan Bacher

      Intersex, Asexual

      • Annerdr

        Ahh, I see. Thank you.

  • John Lev

    1. Evangelicals share a common belief.

    So was Adam and Eve real people or mythological? Is Noahs flood a myth? My dad was an evangelical and even he didn’t take the bible litterally.

    2. Jerry Falwell wasn’t the first evangelical.

    Don’t care.

    3. Not everyone who calls himself an evangelical is an evangelical.

    No True Scotsman fallacy.

    4. Most evangelicals do not go to suburban megachurches.

    I don’t know anyone who thinks that’s the case.

    5. Evangelicals are generous.

    Giving to your church does not count as “charity”. High overhead.

    6. Evangelicals love LGBTQIA people.

    We are not homophobes. We are homophiles. Our churches welcome LGBTQIA people with the same message we present to all others: “Come as you are . . . but leave transformed.”

    1) yes you are. I know as I use to be an evan. myself. I know you hide behind your bible to mask your hatred. 2) “Come as you are . . . but leave transformed.” = if you hate yourself because of our bigotry, then we’ll convince you that you’re worthless and build you up from there.

    7. Evangelicals love the arts.

    As long as it’s about Jebus you do. Show a crucifix in a jar of urine and you’ll loose your minds.

    8. Evangelicals are pro-science.

    BWAHAHAHAHHAHAHAHAHhahahahhahhh…….. right.

    9. Evangelicals value quality education for all.

    You only support them because you have no choice. It’s not like evans. aren’t trying to change that. And the only reason most evans are homeschooling is to keep their children in a bubble. This is also demonstrated by “christian” college’s. Check
    out love, joy and feminism blog by Libbie Anne. She grew up in that culture and has great insight into it

    10. Evangelicals are diverse and tolerant.

    Sure. As long as you’re an evan and not “actively” gay,

  • Andrew

    So do you accept evolution and climate change or not? Stop being coy and using buzz words like “politically correct” and tell us what you actually believe and why.

  • Through the Looking Glass

    Many people have many different “stories” in what they believe in and diversity can be a catalyst for learning, even by disagreement. Each person is going to present their “facts” as Martin below is doing. Many Christians will use the Bible as their source for facts. The interplay comes about through the individuals diverse resources, their capabilities to utilize the “data at an instant based on the search criteria” and Bingo instant support for a position. The real problem is that the looking glass so to speak denies us personal interaction. People seem to think they know someone because of some magic intuition they have about the other person, when in “fact” nobody knows anybody. Fair game………food fight…………..do you get the idea. Only by personal observation (staying out of the discussion as it presents itself) over and over again, do real issues emerge. What first started out as diversity, stating a position through the magic of instant information on either side of the coin, what you end up with is the ultimate ego problem. Then the “logical arguments” (real logic) go out the window and personal attacks are all that is left. I’ve fallen into that trap numerous times and have had to apologize numerous times, just out of the guilt for falling for it yet again. Sites like this one are no help, because they set up the conditions for a failure of logic before the comments even begin to take shape. Consider why this happens and you will come to the truth. It draws people in, so they can make money off of you and see your trends. Bammmmm. That was just my head banging up against the paverbeol media trickery that indirectly is the real brainwashing at work.

  • nullhyp0thesis

    “Evangelicals have endured the slanderous label of “anti-science” in recent years because of our skepticism about politically correct theories regarding the origins of man and climate change. In these arenas and many more, evangelicals joyfully go where the science takes us. But when ideology hijacks science — that is, when the pursuit of a point of view outruns logic, history, data, and reason — we rightfully object, and so should all who love pure science.”

    I am a big fan of skepticism, but that also requires that you do the research and truly explore the subject that you are skeptical about to truly evaluate the conclusions. The last 150 years of biological research rests on very firm ground for example, and it’s easy to verify it for yourself.

    What this paragraph suggests is that all of the other theories using the same scientific method, and the same techniques that gave us the technology and medicine that runs our civilization are right, but that those two theories are being put forward by scientists because of…politics? Fortunately, this is easily falsifiable, because every conclusion that science reaches is required to show all of their work and evidence so that it can be reviewed by everyone. If there’s faulty science going on in there, it can be exposed. Anyone with a love of science, as is suggested here, is welcome to use science to disprove it. In fact, one of the fastest ways to become famous as a scientist is to overturn a theory. And disproving the biology that has shown us “the origin of man” as you called it would make anyone famous and they would have more funding than they could spend.

    But when I have talked with Evangelicals I have often gotten an anti-science vibe from them. In short, I don’t find this article correcting a misunderstanding that I’ve seen. In fact, I’d be happy to show you examples of misrepresentations by Evangelical institutions that can only be called intentional because of the widespread availability of accurate information about these topics of the sciences of biology, geology, climatology, and even about the scientific method itself. Almost as if they don’t want their membership or readership to have accurate information about science.

  • Donalbain


    This was a joke, wasn’t it?

  • Brian Cox

    I’ve spent most of the past ten years in an evangelist church community and count scores of them as friends. If you go by the definition of evangelist (by grace, through Christ), I’d fit the definition, though I believe fully that God can do whatever he pleases when it comes to salvation.

    The author of this article has told some heavy truths and some cowardly half-truths. Evangelicals do tend to march in lock-step (I almost got trampled once) in THEIR literal interpretation of the Bible, and when this interpretation disagrees with science, the science is denied. In their zeal for God and what they believe is his truth, they forget that along with scripture He gave them brains to use as well. They believe in science insofar as it supports their beliefs or does not challenge their dogma. This they have very much in common with far left sociologist, social psychologists and the like.

    They are consistent in their belief that homosexuality is a choice, and therefore a sin. If you ask them if they chose to be heterosexual, the mental gymnastics and Bible-quoting will begin. BUT, it is true. Homosexuals, homeless, addicts and ne’er-do-wells of all sorts will be welcomed with open arms, and many truly are transformed.

    Lastly, if you know no evangelicals, know this: they are, to use a phrase coined by Danny DeVito in “The War of the Roses,” generous to the point of night sweats. That is, they give joyfully in amounts that would make most of the rest of America wither in cold fear.

    • Hominid

      Your second paragraph is accurate and articulate.

  • cd83

    “when ideology hijacks science — that is, when the pursuit of a point of view outruns logic, history, data, and reason — we rightfully object, and so should all who love pure science.”

    Funny, that’s just about exactly what us sinful atheists say! So let’s compare pure science with pure science (which incidentally means leaving god out of the equation) and see what comes out on top!

  • Venus Bradley

    I grew up in an evangelical family and a lot that is written here feels like half-truths and lies. Sure, they don’t all go to megachurches, but they wouldn’t mind if their church became one because that means the Holy Spirit is moving, right? The stress on a good education goes hand in hand with the fear of your kids being exposed to cursing, sex, drugs, alcohol, and other perceived ills of society. If you can just raise your kid with good sheltered ideals into adulthood, they will keep rolling with it after they leave your home. There is no malice there, but there is definitely a desire to create a Christian sub-culture that is wholesome and safe, to the detriment of the kids. I was homeschooled and although I really liked it, I wasn’t stupid enough to believe that the only reason my parents did it was because they thought they could give me a better education.

    As for loving the LGBTQIA community. This is a mixed bag of crazy. They love them because the Bible says they should, which means that they may not shun you if they discover your are gay. They may try to convince you to seek counseling and should you refuse you may find yourself on the receiving end of a swift expulsion from the church. As one of my good friends learned when we were teenagers, they also may tell the entire church to shun you…forever. To this day if she comes into town and sees someone from her old church, they will turn their back on her and walk away. If they are truly conservative Evangelicals they won’t be attending your wedding, don’t expect them to support an adoption, and if you become friends with an evangelical and you are gay, expect to get “the talk” at some point. This applies to anything they think is wrong. My mother is one of the most hospitable people I know. We have had many people stay and live with us over the years. Her kitchen is always open. However, my middle brother who is sleeping with his girlfriend outside of marriage is not welcome to spend the night in her at Thanksgiving because she doesn’t agree with it. And then she can’t figure out why his girlfriend feels unwelcome. Her beliefs are more important to her than her relationship with her son and his (long-term) girlfriend. Also, I know A LOT of people who talk about the “gay agenda” all the time. They hate gay marriage, are strongly opposed to anything “Pride”, and sneer and snark at their efforts all the time. It’s two-faced and I hate it.

    Finally, Science. I remember those homeschool curriculum books where it said evolution wasn’t real, the earth was 7,000-10,000 years old, and people like Carl Sagan were quacks. I remember taking a Sunday school class using Ken Ham’s creationist books and how they made fun of geologists, physicists, biologists and any other scientist that dared to believe in evolution. I remember not being encouraged to go into any science field because it would be hard for a Christian to do so because you would be expected to believe in evolution or hide your true beliefs. I remember learning about the few scientists who did believe in creationism, as if their belief made them great scientists. My parents firmly believe that climate change is a load of bull because 1) God said we can’t destroy the earth…he will and 2) scientists can’t be trusted. They are just making the whole thing up. You cannot possibly believe in science if you think the whole lot of them are a bunch of under-handed, conniving, God haters, on a mission to destroy the Bible. They aren’t the only ones either. My Facebook page is full of old friends (from when I went to Evangelical churches) who believe the same thing. So yeah, I don’t think Evangelicals support science. Not one bit. My parents and I argue about it all the time.

    I wish Evangelicals would take a close hard look at themselves and just be honest. If you think science is a load of crock then just say so. Tell people that although you will act loving toward a person who is LGBTQIA in public, you don’t actually want them in your family, home, or church. If you are going to homeschool, don’t say that the only reason is because you (a parent who barely passed high school) can provide a better education. And be sure to remind everyone that although you are generous, you only give to organizations that are approved of by your community, pastor, or the newest pro-life website.

  • tatoo

    If you really believe what you say, you are truly delusional.

  • Krychek_2

    Anyone who thinks evangelicals love gay people has never been a gay person trying to find acceptance in an evangelical church. Last time I tried, I was told my two choices were to not be allowed to receive communion, or to end a 20 year relationship.

    • Orwellian_Dilemma

      When you chose to be gay you chose to show hatred toward Christ and Christianity in the first place. Why would you want to join a church you chose to spurn unless it is simply to be hateful and disruptive?

      A gay person wanting to join a church is like a Klansman wanting to join a synagogue.

      It makes no sense.

      • Krychek_2

        The fact that you are silly enough to think it’s a choice disqualifies you from being taken seriously about anything else. And you don’t get to define my faith. Like many other gay people, I seek to join a church for the same reasons other Christians seek to join churches.

      • Sam

        Do you agree with the “by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone” is the defining characteristic of evangelicalism? If so, how does sexual orientation play into that?

        • Orwellian_Dilemma

          When a person chooses to be gay or chooses to be a pedophile or chooses to kidnap and torture people in their basement for fun or chooses any number of notorious sins for amusement they display a hatred toward Christ and His church. Actively pursuing such sins, being completely incompatible with the Bible certainly are not helpful to a church and would most certainly be subject to discipline–see, e.g.
          1 Cor. 5:1-13.

          And no, I would disagree that the grace through faith formulation (though necessary for salvation) is the defining characterization of evangelicalism. The defining characteristic is evangelizing (hence the name).

          • Sam

            Choses? To be gay or a pedophile? These are the same for you?

            So according to your definition Mormon’s are evangelical’s?

          • Orwellian_Dilemma

            One chooses sin.

            Mormons are certainly closer to being evangelical than, say, Presbyterians. Why would you find that problematic? Do you have something against Mormons?

        • biblebrainz

          Precisely!!!! 🙂

  • bakabomb

    “Beware of ‘progressive evangelicals’ who claim to speak for evangelicals but who, upon examination, reject core doctrines that evangelicals find essential.”

    I beware of any Christians who insist on subclassifying themselves, as in “I follow Paul” or “I follow Apollos” (1 Cor. 3:4). And I likewise beware of those who classify other Christians by excluding them, as in “progressive evangelicals aren’t really evangelicals”.

    I beware of Christians who claim to be pro-science but are selectively so, as in “our skepticism about politically correct theories regarding the origins of man and climate change.” And worse, judging by the language used, the author seems to reject certain science based on what he deems “politically correct” rather than “scientifically incorrect”. This is not the attitude of a true scientist, nor is it the attitude of a true Christian (who wouldn’t use politics of one sort or another as a basis for accepting or rejecting anything, particularly matters scientific). Heck, that’s dumb even when atheists do it!

    I also agree with Martin Davis, below, about the “leave transformed” language. Too often that’s a classic dog-whistle phrase, and too often it’s used to divide the body of Christ by excluding certain groups (see my second paragraph). Are we really talking about transformation, or are we talking about conformation?

    There is much to love about evangelicals, but not much to love about these behaviors which are not only too frequent, but too frequently rationalized. There is more — much more — to being a Christian than laying claim to a “core principle”. Specifically, it’s not about what one claims or believes, but how one lives.

  • http://GracefullyTrans.wordpress.com/ Brettany Renée Blatchley

    Oh, I wish that #6 through #10 were true; from my nearly quarter century of experience in various parts of the Evangelical Church, to say these are wishful delusions would be generous. There are *some* in this part of the Church for who this is true, but those people are considered “suspect” by other members. I know this from long observation and personal experience.

    I have to say #6 is an outright lie, even today a vast swath of the Evangelical church defines themselves by their rejection of LGBT+ people. Blessedly, I see God’s Spirit moving to change this, but I have experienced this rejection first hand as a Christian woman of transsexual experience.

  • ‘Til Tuesday

    Evangelicals have an interesting way of showing “love” to gay people. They don’t think gay people should be protected from being fired from their job solely for being gay, they don’t think gay people should be protected by hate-crime laws or anti-bullying statutes, they don’t think gay people should be protected by public accommodation laws, they don’t think gay people should be protected by non-discrimination laws, they don’t think gay people should be equal under the U.S. Constitution or receive equal protection under the law, they don’t think the children of gay couples should be legally protected, and they don’t think gay people should be full and equal participants in their churches, but they DO think gays should be legal and social “outcasts”. Not to mention that Evangelicals have gone overseas to help draft laws calling for the arrest and/or execution of gay people, and they would support the same laws here if they could get them passed.

    But hey, other than all that, Evangelicals love gay people!

  • Danny Klopovic

    If this is what Evangelicals think about themselves, I can only say one word: delusional

  • LynL

    Fascinating that there’s no mention of caring for “the least among us,” feeding the poor, tending the sick, being nonjudgmental, accepting of those who are not like you–“let those without sin cast the first stone”–oh, I forgot. Those are the things Jesus talked about, not the things conservatives talk about. I guess the Episcopal Church of the Holy Apostles & RC Holy Cross Church long running soup kitchens exist only in my progressive fantasies, hmmm? This guy is as defensive & self-righteous as every other evangelical/fundamentalist out there.

  • Douglas Beaumont

    I think there is some special pleading going on here. Point #1 confuses Evangelicalism with Protestantism. All Evangelicals might be “Protestant” (i.e., not Catholic or Orthodox), but the reverse is not true. Because of that, #7 and #8 are illicit claims (e.g., Evangelicals don’t get to claim Bach!).

  • Philmonomer

    This piece should be titled “10 Things I Wish Everyone Believed about Evangelicals.”

    Presenting these 10 things as “Truths,” however, is deeply problematic.

  • Jeff

    Being gay isn’t what I do. It’s a part of who I am. If you don’t believe in full equality for LGBTQ persons, you are not a friend of the LGBTQ community. For the most part the opposition to equality in this country comes from Evangelicals and other christian sects. Love the sinner hate the sin is a bullshit cop-out.

  • Jules

    I’m sorry, but as a lesbian, and as someone with a lesbian little sister, who I constantly worry about, I don’t think evangelicals, as a whole, are very accepting of us. Sure there are a few who don’t mind, but honestly, telling someone that something they can’t control is “wrong” even if it is less wrong than murder, Evin if they try to argue “well, it’s not the worst of sins, but it’s a sin, but there are worse sins” is physiologically damaging because you can’t control it, all major medical groups agree that homosexuality is not a choice (I will not debate you on this, not because I hate debate, but simply because I am tiered). And “leave transformed” is definitely code for something. It may be code for “leave heterosexual” or it may mean “leave understanding that your homosexuality is sinful, and commit to celibacy” but both are still wrong and damaging. Also, the section on “tolerance” is essentially a justification for not leaving us alone. I don’t want to hear about how you think I’m evil, because there is no good secular argument for it, and as a non-christian, it sounds crazy to me. So please. tolerate me, because if you can’t love me as a lesbian, you don’t love me, because that is a central part of who I am.

  • biblebrainz

    Evangelicals, therefore, can quite possibly believe the following truth:

  • hoosier_bob

    I would like to see Smith flesh out what it means for a sexual-orientation minority to “leave transformed” from an evangelical church. As others have noted, this usually comes to mean, “leave heterosexual,” or at least, “leave pretending to be heterosexual.”

    This is problematic for a few reasons. The main one being that “heterosexuality” has far more to do with Freudian speculation than with anything in the writ of Scripture. There is simply no way to square Paul’s rather dim view of sexual desire (see I Corinthians 7, where it is associated with weakness) with the valorization of sexual desire (or, at least, heterosexual desire) that’s widely practiced in evangelical circles today.

    One obvious possibility is to recover something akin to the traditional Christian approach to human sexuality, where sexual desire is viewed somewhat dimly and where sexual orientation plays little role in constructing one’s social identity. That, after all, wass the view that prevailed in Christianity for most its first 1900 years. The Freudian turn only took hold in the post-WWII era. Until that time, celibacy was widely honored and asexuality was viewed as a gift. Today, however, in evangelical circles, celibate single Christians are typically viewed with suspicion and find themselves excluded from the informal social life of the church (where families interact with other like families). In short, we’ve undertaken a subtle Freudian reworking of Paul, and have thereby crafted a new theology of sexuality. Under this new theology, we now valorize certain types of sexual desires (heterosexual desire) and construct a socially privileged class of “heterosexuals.” In contrast, Paul would have us view all sexual desire somewhat dimly, and would have us lavish social privilege on none but those who have the gift of celibacy (who, in modern parlance, are referred to as “asexuals”).

    So, I’m all for evangelicals seeking to love LGBTQ people. But we have to recognize that this has a individual component and a corporate component. It does little good to love LGBTQ people individually, if we continue in our corporate practices to give credence to an unbiblical Freudian-influened view of sexuality that implicitly privileges heterosexuality.

  • blaxale7

    Faggs claiming to be Christians. Yuk

  • blaxale7

    I don’t know about yall but I don’t want no fagggs to get straight. ..no women deserves that shit…

  • Guy

    Well, I think that individuals vary a lot, and you can’t really judge based on religion. Some evangelicals I know claim that every other Christian religion is totally nuts, clearly wrong, and attack anyone who doesn’t share their beliefs when they openly discuss their religion, and set double standards, in addition to saying things about the Bible that are either skewed or flat out wrong. Some others I know are pretty normal, nice people. I think it really just depends on the individual rather than the organization.

  • Ryan Dingess

    I grew up Evangelical myself, and today I am an atheist as a response to the way I was raised. Let me just say this article is full of so many falsehoods and inconsistencies, it is unbelievable! First off, I would have to agree with Martin Davis’s opinions below about how Evangelicals supposedly are “loving” toward people of LGBT…..total hogwash!!! Whenever there is a gay person in the same room with an Evangelical (which thankfully, isn’t often) the tension is so thick you could cut it with a knife. I could spout out at least 10 more problems with these supposed “truths” about Evangelicals, but I don’t have all night, and I’m sure other people in this comment thread have already mentioned these things. All I am going to say, is that lying is definitely not something that an Evangelical should be a part of, if they claim to have even a basic set of moral standards, yet this article is full of lies and half truths. I actually have slightly more respect for any common Christians who at least admit how narrow minded they are, as in mentions everything and everyone they think is a huge sinner. These types of people are what I would call a “fundamentalists.” They take the Bible word for word, and yes, you would have to conclude that if there really was a “God” that inspired the Bible, then he really does hate gay people, or else he wouldn’t call for them to be murdered! There is one other important point, and that is science and logic. I don’t care whether you think you are an Evangelical who “claims” to believe in science and to throw out any notion that goes against it! You are kidding yourself. If you truly believe in scientific data that can be proven, then you could not take the six days of Creation story seriously, as some Evangelicals actually do. A lot of them don’t like to talk about this and are willing to admit that it may be just an allegory, but if it is an allegory, you have to wonder how much of the rest of the Bible is “just an allegory.” No!!! Either you are an Evangelical, or you believe in science and Evolution. There is no in between that allows everyone to pick and choose!