There is this image of earth from space, it is not the first image of the earth from space but it was the first color good image of earth from space. It looks like the earth is rising much like the sun looks while we are standing on the earth. Carl Sagan goes on about the pale blue dot in his book titled pale blue dot. Sagan mentions how everyone that we have ever known and currently know are there on that tiny mote. Sagan’s words are quite poetic.
I grew up in a Baptist church with some evangelical leanings. A big part of the evangelical movement in the United States involves cultivating an us vs them mentality. Evangelical Christians are not the first or only tribe / culture to indoctrinate their participants and believers in an us versus them mentality I only mention them because I have experience with this tribe. I am also a United States citizen and live in a home.
When the first operation Iraqi freedom war started and the United States military invaded Iraq in search of weapons of mass destruction some citizens of the United States took on a patriotic us versus them mentality. I see in the newspaper that the unhoused population is an ever growing issue. Almost every day I pass by a soup kitchen and the lines for people seeking help do not seem to shrink.
The Christian bible speaks a lot about good and evil. he Christian bible separates people into just two categories those who are in Christ and those who are not. I would like to point out that the demarcation line may not be what many believe it to be and that is a big thing to keep in mind when dealing with our relationships.
The Us vs them mentality can do us physical and emotional damage. This mentality puts us on the defense, and makes us unconsciously develop basis against others who are not exactly like us. It is damaging to the body and mind but is it a tenet of the Christian religion? Should it be a tenet of any religion? Let me answer the latter first. No this should not be a tenet of any religion, political affiliation, tribe or culture. Inclusivity not exclusivity, tolerance and acceptance not intolerance and repudiation should be the guiding tenants of your world view and religion.
So is the Us versus them mentality a tenet of the Christian faith? It seems on the surface that the us versus them mentality has become a tenet of the Christian faith. I see a whole market for Christian material and content but where does this idea come from? Many believers who adhere to this mentality will point to scripture like
- Amos 3:3 – “Can two walk together except they be agreed?”
- Ephesians 5:11 – “Have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness…”
- II Corinthians 6:14 “Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers…”
- John 17:13–16 “I am coming to you now, but I say these things while I am still in the world, so that they may have the full measure of my joy within them. I have given them your word and the world has hated them, for they are not of the world any more than I am of the world. My prayer is not that you take them out of the world but that you protect them from the evil one. They are not of the world, even as I am not of it.”
The scripture on its face seems to support an us versus them mentality but if you look at the scripture in context it becomes clear that it is less about us versus them than intentions and love versus apathy or hatred.
All the people of the world are on the same side there is not an us or them there is just us. The world, the universe for that matter is all one, and when one part of the body is sick (without love) the whole suffers and should help (not hurt), the others.
The us versus them mentality is toxic and needs to be dropped right now. I have done it many times. As a joke I will ask my friends and loved ones “who do I hate this week? A boyfriend that broke a sisters heart? I hate them they are not in, a driver who cut you off in traffic I hate them.”
If you read John 17:13-16 you will see that in Jesus prayer for his apostles he does not ask that God take the apostles out of the world but that they are protected. Why not just take them away or isolate them from the world? because the world needs everyone working together figuring out life.
Notice in this scripture:
“Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. The Pharisee was standing and praying like this about himself: ‘God, I thank you that I’m not like other people—greedy, unrighteous, adulterers, or even like this tax collector . . . ”
“But the tax collector, standing far off, would not even raise his eyes to heaven but kept striking his chest and saying, ‘God, have mercy on me, a sinner!’ I tell you, this one went down to his house justified rather than the other; because everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but the one who humbles himself will be exalted.” (Luke 18:10–11, 13–14 csb)
The Pharisee thought that they had all the answers but he did not and neither do you or I. The most dangerous person in the world is the one who thinks they have all the answers. Humility and learning and growing will not exist in a religion culture or tribe that believes that they know everything. Let’s all just love each other and learn together and lift each other up as much as we can.
At the end of the day all we are is this tiny blue dot in what seems to be infinite space