The Five Points of Evanjellyfish Christianity
Many people believe that Evanjellyfish Christianity is rapidly displacing what has been popularly called evangelical Christianity in the United States and Britain. However, when the principles of modern, evanjellyfish Christianity are analyzed, it can be seen that this form of errant Christianity has very deep historical roots, whose principles are constantly challenging the Biblical doctrines of the Church. There appear to be five important principles or theological points common to modern evanjellyfishism. These may be remembered by the acronym, “TULIP.”
The first point or theological principle of evanjellyfish Christianity is the “T” in the TULIP acronym. TOLERANCE is the ultimate, unquestioned virtue. The underlying principle here is that all moral or theological truths are relative and equal no matter what their source. In this system of theology one truth is as good as another, and nobody’s truth is ever questioned unless they believe there is such a thing as absolute truth, which would of course imply that some people were in serious error. A very strong cultural corollary to this is that acceptance and respectability are more important than truth. Evanjellyfish Christians are thus loathe to consider the proposition that tolerance is not a virtue at all, but morally neutral.
Try as one may, it is almost impossible to get an evanjellyfish Christian to consider that perhaps they should be intolerant of evil or of moral and intellectual nonsense. That generally gives them a migraine headache. They are generally very surprised to learn that Jesus would tell a church in Revelation 2:20, “Nevertheless, I have against you that you tolerate that woman Jezebel….” Evanjellyfish Christianity is primarily informed by a belief in the innate goodness of man and the ideals of democratic egalitarianism rather than and contrary to Scripture. Evanjellyfish Christians make much use of Scripture, but it is the ideals of democratic egalitarianism that are the authoritative basis of their Scriptural interpretation. Their favorite verses of the Bible are those that are good for comfort and can be interpreted out of context to support a general ethic of syrupy and emotional tolerance selectively separated from any hard truths, ethical considerations, and common sense. Another rampant form of this principle of evanjellyfish Christianity is PLURALISM, but alas, pluralism does not start with a “T.” Nevertheless, it is a rising religious principle very fashionable with those who would adopt heretical values as a show of tolerance. This sort apostasy generally gains them the respect and applause of the mainstream media.
The second theological point of evanjellyfish Christianity is UNTHINKING CONFORMITY to majority or popular opinion, especially if supported by the mainstream media, publishing, and educational institutions. Again, for the evanjellyfish Christian, acceptance and respectability are more important than truth. Knowledge or analysis that does not conform to popular and respectable opinion is avoided. Strange as it may seem, evanjellyfish Christians have a curious intolerance for any facts or straight thinking that might jeopardize their respectability or acceptance. Mostly their opinions conform to whatever is being taught by the major media. Although it would generally be denied by evanjellyfish Christians, in reality the dominant liberal media is far more readily accepted as a source of truth than Scripture. Evanjellyfish college students generally accept without daring to question whatever will enhance their standing with professors and peers. The politically correct environment of the college campus has become a significant training ground for enforcing the unthinking conformity absolutely essential to evanjellyfishism. Unthinking conformity is the very backbone of evanjellyfish Christianity. The fact that the evanjellyfish positively avoids serious analysis and thinking should not be confused with stupidity, although I admit that it is very often difficult to make a distinction. It should also be recognized that this proclivity to non-thinking lies just below conscious awareness for the evanjellyfish Christian. They are constantly in a state of denial. The real cause of this unthinking conformity is moral cowardice.
The third theological point of evanjellyfish Christianity is LIBERTY of conscience in ALL things. Contrary to traditional and especially Reformed Christianity in which there is a place for liberty of conscience on questions not addressed or given any ethical preference in Scripture, the evanjellyfish Christian has a remarkable tendency to apply this liberty to everything that they choose. Scripture is not authoritative to them. They pick and choose what verses they like and how to interpret them. Their private interpretation of Scripture is in fact remarkable in its devices and arts. The church to them has no business interfering with or criticizing their private, self-centered morality. Each one has his own ethical framework, completely superior to anything that might interfere with their success and enjoyment of life. Their idea of liberty of conscience is a completely self-centered deification of their own idols and wants. As such it will not submit to any threatening analysis.
A fourth point of evanjellyfish theology is the notion that INEQUALITY IS EVIL. Of course, it helps to remember the second theological point (Unthinking Conformity) to justify this as some sort of moral law. There are, of course, many areas where some sorts of equality are preferable, such as equal justice under the law, etc. However, the evanjellyfish Christian expands the concept to areas that make no common sense and cannot be justified by Scripture or a study of nature. It is particularly repugnant to them that any differences in intellect, personality, and aptitudes exist among mankind. All such differences must be attributed to evil or substandard environments. They look upon education more of an equalizer than for its benefits in edification and truth. Even academic excellence is somewhat suspect to them. Economic differences seem unfair to them even when the difference is clearly attributable to hard work, perseverance, accumulated knowledge, greater risk taking, and especially intelligence. They cannot imagine that unequal results are frequently related to efforts or ability. They are suspicious of effort and ability except in their own household. They refuse to believe some very obvious facts: that intelligence, personality, and abilities have very high genetic components; and that these factors, combined with effort and providence, have a substantial correlation with economic success. There is one area, however, in which they allow inequality and excellence, and that is sports. In fact, they not only allow it, they idolize it, but this is a part of their natural tendency to conform and even enthuse about all things popular. However, I suspect the more ambitious and forward thinking evanjellyfish leadership is now moving in the direction of promoting, perhaps through Federal District Judiciary decisions the requirement that final scores of team sports be equal. Attendance at sports events will not diminish if mandated by the federal government. A curious characteristic of evanjellyfish Christians, which seems inconsistent to their enthroning of tolerance as an unqualified virtue, is their constant appeal and reliance on federal mandates to enforce all sorts of silly equality and conformity. Indeed it might be said that they are totalitarian in promoting toleration and all other principles of egalitarian democracy.
The fifth and final theological point of evanjellyfish Christianity is the “P” in TULIP. It is really a multiple “P” of sorts. The principle is PERSONAL PEACE and PROSPERITY at any PRICE. There is hardly any truth they will not ignore to achieve this. They will go along with the silliest and most inane proposals by demagogues, charlatans, and crackpots, so long as their acceptance, respectability, personal peace, and prosperity can remain intact. They are incredibly vulnerable to verbal bullying in that regard. They grease the wheel that squeaks loudest however unfair or unwise. They are especially put to flight, indeed utter route, on the mere utterance of certain accusing words, e. g. racism, sexism, etc. On such accusing utterance, though it might be far from and completely contradictory to the truth, they abandon all reason and principle. They will even turn on innocent people to demonstrate their innocence. Their vulnerability to this kind of verbal bullying is known by many and used to manipulate them outrageously. This is an area where their moral cowardice is most apparent. The appearance of righteousness and not the reality is what they seek, especially if the reality has a personal cost. Evanjellyfish Christians are not opposed to costs as long as they are borne by other people, most frequently taxpayers. Evanjellyfish Christians are generally very compassionate with other people’s and especially taxpayers’ money. It makes them feel good. Feeling good is what it’s all about with evanjellyfish Christianity.
There is presently a movement among evanjellyfish Christians to increase the visibility of other important and newly emerging principles beginning with the letter “P.” The importance of Pluralism within the ideals of Tolerance has already been noted. However, there is new interest in conforming to more recent political thinking by making use of the slogan: “Pluralism. Progress, and Prosperity.” Many heresies can be hidden under such a wonderful slogan and yet go unchallenged by an unthinking electorate. Evanjellyfish Christianity might even indeed be linked to some sort of arrogant nationalism that could displace real compassion and both common sense and genuine patriotism.
Now if you think that the five points of evanjellyfish Christianity look more like they came from the French Revolution than the Bible, you are absolutely right. They are, of course then, also absolutely antithetical to both the Bible and the Five Points of Calvinism, or the Doctrines of Grace, which are commonly remembered by the acronym, TULIP. The real TULIP defines the sovereign Grace of God in redeeming his own from the hopelessly depraved and innately sinful and foolish wreckage of mankind. Operating against these truths, against Truth itself, the false and humanist Liberty, Equality, and Fraternity of the French Revolution have put on robes and entered American and British churches. And by the way the full motto of the French Revolution was, “Liberty, Equality, Fraternity or Death.” That made the choice very clear to would be dissenters. The French Revolution was vehemently anti-Christian. Its principles were based on humanistic philosophies rather than scriptural warrant. It was also precedent for many oppressive and totalitarian tendencies in its modernist, liberal forms and applications. Our poor knowledge of Scripture has helped the revolutionary cause immensely. Our ignorance of Scripture makes discernment of error impossible and clouds the distinction between truth and what ought to be obvious and extremely dangerous falsehood. Indeed, one characteristic of evanjellycals is that they cannot distinguish between Christian and humanist principles. Our rebellion against the sovereignty of God and the authority of Scripture has given us a democratic and egalitarian religion of our own making, a religion of self-centered delusion and moral cowardice. Evanjellyfish Christianity is no form of Christianity at all, but we are all vulnerable to its false tenets. Unfortunately, the false presently seems in danger of displacing the truth. May it never be.
December 15, 2003
Mike Scruggs lives in Birmingham, Alabama. He may be reached for comment here.