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Removing The Thin Veil Of Evangelical Eisegesis

Before I begin, let me be clear…I have great sympathy for the immense pain and loss the family of Matthew Murray must be enduring. I don’t for a moment question their sincerity and I’m certain they love Matthew, and I wish them well. We will likely never fully understand the dynamics that led to this tragic ordeal. However, it is important to explore all of the mechanisms which may have contributed to this terrible tragedy so that others might be spared the life-shatter ing agony. Additionally  , with measured and objective reflection, perhaps we can uncover the means to save the lives of people like Matthew and his innocent victims. I offer the following with this in mind.

As I read an account of the funeral of Matthew Murray, it crystallized the certainty of my long held concern. There’s no better way to state it…Christi anity has been hijacked by those who will spare no effort in their goal of coalescing each and every individual within the confines of their beguiling brand of fundamental and fraudulent evangelicali sm.

This broad movement, populated by dangerous demagogues, is tireless in its efforts to define God’s intentions via literal, though laconic, interpretati ons of Biblical passages. They set out to instill this canard via a cunning sleight of hand…one that endeavors to package biblical eisegesis as biblical exegesis in an effort to engender irrefutable status and unyielding support.

The end game seeks to insure that every human act can be filtered through this masterfully manipulated prism…rega rdless of reasonabilit y. Sadly, the efforts to view Matthew’s life and death through this narrow purview have already commenced.

Since the tragic events unfolded in Colorado, I’ve watched as a number of conscripts have sought to sell the theory that the “normality ” of Matthew’s younger brother precluded the casting of doubt or the shining of a suspicious light upon the environment in which Matthew was raised. This crock block has been expressed as follows:

He (Matthew), in my opinion had the best, most supporting family. The whole family is so nice and giving. 
IF his condition was caused by an event in his life, it would have to be something outside the family because his brother is a happy, friendly and a talented piano player. If it were his mum or dad wouldn’t his brother also be at least somewhat affected???

On the surface, one might be inclined to accept this argument…o r at least consider its plausibility . Needless to say, even the underlying premise of this statement misses the mark. Clearly the relevant problem exceeds his “mum and dad” and the fact that his brother may have embraced the religious teachings of the higher authority brought into the home via his parents doesn’t mean the environment was healthy or connected to rationality.

A siblings acceptance of the prescribed ideology doesn’t affirm its validity nor does it necessarily absolve the parents of any potential responsibili ty. One can just as easily argue that the brother has, in fact, been affected…n ot only as a result of parental oversight; but also as a product of intense ideological indoctrinati on. Should there be any doubt as to this likelihood, let the words of Christopher Murray persuade you otherwise:

Even though Satan attacked my brother, I truly feel God is going to save a whole generation of people through this.”

I suspect Matthew felt attacked by something other than Satan. I also suspect he would have been overjoyed to simply find the means to save himself…but even Matthew realized that wasn’t in keeping with the “master plan” of his “handlers”.

Anyone who has read Matthews voluminous writings will immediately know how to draw the necessary connections to, and conclusions from, this telling statement of Matthew’s brother.

While one might expect Matthew’s tragic death to lead his family to question their fundamental beliefs…as well as the rigid script they pushed upon Matthew suggesting his eventual role as a prophet (even to the extent that it foretold he would first turn away from his faith), it appears that his death has simply been incorporated into an ongoing story line.

The fact that the family would continue to brandish this biblically based biography (adaptations included as needed) with unflinching adherence may surprise or shock the objective observer…b ut it shouldn’t…es pecially if one remembers the constructs upon which this movement is premised. Nothing, not event the death of a loved one, can force them to deviate from their doctrinal diatribe. If the outside observer can discern that rigidity, is it any wonder Matthew would be tormented by it?

I contend such an environment essentially relegates a child like Matthew to irrelevance… a virtual character in a play whereby the doubts and discomforts of the real person (Matthew) are inconsequent ial. The ideology, the church, and mom and dad have but one objective… to direct the production of the preordained outcome. As such, understandin g Matthew was unnecessary. Instead, they set out to make him understand his role regardless of his protestation s. When he failed to comply, they simply wrote his behavior into their script…all the while preserving the integrity of the ending.

I would compare the situation to a father who dabbled in golf as a child, but for whatever reason never succeeded in the sport, who then becomes determined to turn his child into the next Tiger Woods regardless of the child’s total lack of athletic ability and an unbridled interest in classical piano.

As this process unfolds, the child will undoubtedly feel inadequate. If the pressure persists or advances, the child’s identity will suffer untold damage. In extreme situations, some children will strike out in an effort to be seen as more than an object being utilized to augment the insecurities of the parent(s).

Returning to Matthew’s writings, in one of his many entries he states:

As far as dealing with parents….I don’t think the woman known as my mother really is my mother. She doesn’t act like it. My “mother” is just a brainswashed  (sp) church agent cun,t. The only reason she had me was because she wanted a body/soul she could train into being the next Billy Graham, Bill Gothard, or Peter Wagner. […] She had a “special plan from the Lord” for me. No easy way out for me. Almost every f***ing day and at every church service the pastors and our parents would tell me and the other youth that “God has a very special plan for this generation…. .don’t break any rules or you’ll miss out!!! Honor and OBEY your parents and the pastors (”god’s anointed”) or your life will be cursed and you’ll open a doorway for demons!”

Clearly little interpretati onal analysis is needed…Mat thew, in his own words, vividly supports the argument I’ve made. One needn’t take license to realize that Matthew felt invisible.

We may never know what Matthew sought to impart in his final actions…bu t I’m willing to surmise that the words his brother spoke at his funeral would serve as one further reminder to Matthew of his inability to be seen outside the constructs of the dogmatic design of those he knew.

Nonetheless, those who contend that looking at Matthew’s brother should absolve the family or his faith from any accountabili ty is akin to suggesting that Nazi war criminals were not influenced by the rampant rhetoric and reprehensibl e rationale of Adolf Hitler’s “final solution”. Let me be clear, the acts of those who carried out the Holocaust can never be justified and neither can Matthew’s. While this is an extreme comparison, even in the resolution of far more innocuous liability cases, the attribution of responsibili ty is rarely applied solely to one party.

Those who manipulate others in order to execute misguided agendas are sullied by the acts of their minions…ev en if those injustices are perpetrated by the willful behavior of adults…and those in positions of authority mustn’t be allowed to reconstruct reality in order to absolve accountabili ty.

Matthew, unlike these Nazi criminals, was systematical ly submitted to indoctrinati on his entire life. If grown men in Germany were susceptible to the suspension of reasonable and long-establi shed mores, what chance did a vulnerable child have to avoid the madness that ensued from his efforts to reject hypocrisy and see life outside of the prison he was forced to endure? If our condemnation of Hitler and his ideology is justified, so too is our questioning of parental propriety.

It should come as no surprise that the world Matthew chose when rejecting his faith was filled with the constructs of his overlords… a world immersed in images of evil and inhumane idols…a world cast by the iron fisted adults in his life as the only alternative available to those who would fall from grace. In limiting Matthew’s contact with the outside world…as well as vilifying it…they precluded him from witnessing moderation and escaping the confines of the black and white extremities they promoted.

Now, more than ever, it is time to break the back of religious extremism lest we regress into the throes of a dark ages mentality… a time where the pursuit of objective knowledge is subjugated to the asserted infallibilit y of religious ideology.

When the following statement can be accepted as a reasonable reaction to Matthew’s horrendous final actions, have we not commenced the suspension of our humanity in favor of a contrived denial construct?

just thought I’d let u guys know…i go to new life…and i love it there..God forgives and so do i…i forgave matthew the minute it happened…w e are all sinners and capable of making huge mistakes. God loves everyone…i pray for his family…and that somehow through this tradegdy (sp) that God WILL be exhaulted (sp)  […]

The nature of man tells us death is first met by grief and anger and sometime in the future forgiveness will hopefully emerge. When those of faith leap to make statements that deny as much, have we not injected the very ideations that led Matthew to reject the sincerity of religion? Any faith that believes we can or should abandon our basic human traits is suspect.

If I can read the English language…a nd I believe I can…then aren’t those who are leaping to accept and embrace Matthew in death, the same who ignored and rejected him in life? If that is a demonstratio n of Christianity  , then Jesus Christ was a fraud.

On the contrary, I contend those who portray their Christianity through trite statements and symbols, as if it were the equivalent of a badge that can be slapped upon one’s lapel, are simply engaged in a never-ending spiral of hypocrisy and self-decepti on.

While I applaud the sincerity and compassion being exhibited by many people of faith, those easily identified interlopers who wear their faith like a badge, and who seek to usurp Christianity  , must be exposed and forced to travel far deeper than the pretty proclamation s they’ve begun to toss upon this terrible tragedy.

Unless and until this happens, we’re never going to save the Matthew’s of the world…or prevent the needless carnage they inflict.

behindtheveil.jpg

Cross-posted at Thought Theater


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11 Responses to “Removing The Thin Veil Of Evangelical Eisegesis”

  1. Murray was a POS. He is burning in hell with his father satan now.

  2. sandy,
    clearly you have not red or comprehended the in depth series of articles Daniel has written on this unfortunate event. I don’t know what POS means, but i am familiar with your psyche. Get serious, it matters.

  3. Sandy,

    No need to worry, rumor has it he’s just keeping your seat warm for you.

  4. rube,
    POS=Piece of s***

    Sandy is pretty much the perfect example of the sort of ‘Christian’ Daniel as talking about.

  5. paul thanks. you younger folks are so much more efficient with words, especially the slanders. you know i wonder if a lot of the stuff thrown out by folks like Sandy is not being said to just get attention. For example, on daniels home site several days ago SteveL. wrote a totally absurd message. Daniels response was one of the most thoughtful and elegant responses to ignorance i have ever read. wish i knew how to move things around from site to site.

  6. I am not going to defend Religious extremists here because as we know we can have seen what religion has caused people to do.
    As much as I am against any type of hijacking of a religion with the end results being what they turned out to be,we also have to be aware what indoctrinati on can do to people especially the children who are the vulnerable ones. There is plenty that goes on behind closed doors that can cause one to snap and become destructive to themselves and others that is more than likely not religious based. For example the alcoholic abuser ,the sexual abuser .
    I don’t see his family as Christian but more as self proclaimed gods who took a religion that if you know anyone who is religious as I do have done alot to help humanity, and turned it into more of a cult. Something like when Islam turns it’s children into suicide bombers and jihadists as we have seen the results of that extremism.
    In the end I do not feel his family has the right to call themselves true Christians just a bunch of misguided froot loops.

  7. The lure of any kind of extremism is that it spares the true believer the work of, and responsibili ty for, thinking and making moral choices. As the now-famous Reverend Ted Haggard said when he was filmed for the movie Jesus Camp (shortly before his scandal), the “beauty” is that you don’t have to think, just look to the church for the answer. It’s an abdication of adulthood, whether the belief system in which people lose themselves is religious, political, or whatever. Ironically enough, that fits the definition M. Scott Peck proposed for the true root of evil in his book People of the Lie - mental, moral and emotional laziness, the willingness to just let someone or something else do the driving. It seems implausible to suggest that people would willingly be enslaved or even commit suicide attacks out of laziness - but as a therapist one of the bedrock truths I realized a long time ago is that in a lot of life choices including most of those people make in therapy (or in going to therapy), the options boil down to ’suffer, or work’, and a surprising people turn away from working and stick with suffering, even to the point of death (from addiction, for example.) And taking responsibili ty for one’s own moral reasoning can be pretty lonely and scary, especially when surrounded by those who have chosen to be pod people.

    A lot of people are, have always been, and will always be lazy in that way, so extremism will always be with us, just as will all the other forms of human neuroses and self-numbing .

    Real spirituality is the opposite, though - it is living the examined life, which is definitely not what fundamentali sts are doing. It’s soul-searchi ng, questioning everything, and trying to do what’s right; it may or may not show up in connection with religion. Some of the most spiritual people I’ve ever known have been clergymen and women, but some were/are agnostics or atheists. The best analogy I’ve been able to find is that spirituality is like water, a nourishing thing that supports life, and a religion is like a man-made structure meant to contain water; but water can be found in all kinds of places besides bottles, and a lot of bottles hold things other than water, some of them pretty poisonous.

  8. LJ … excellent points. reminds me of the old saying that “religion is for those who are afraid of going to Hell: spirituality is for those who have been there.” Aeschylus observed, over 2500 years ago, that “the gods have ordained a solemn decree, that through suffering we come to wisdom.”

  9. Cognitive dissonance at work.

    There are those that live by anecdote (most). And there are those who insist on facts no matter how uncomfortabl e or gray they may be (few) .

    The fundamentali st worldview is attractive to a mind incapable and/or unwilling to digest complexities .

    It’s funny but these same born-againer s will run videos for their sheeple showing how teenagers were driven to suicide by Mormonism, Jehovah’s Witnesses and other “cults” allegedly due to the un-godly origin of those belief systems.

    Yet, there are plenty of torn Mormon, JW, etc. families where children seemingly brought up in the same environment yield different results. The right-ness or wrong-ness of the belief system would seem to have nothing to do with yet.

    But, the fundamentali st mind fails to see this inconsistenc y. An argument they use to rationalize away an unfavorable outcome is only good enough for their brand of religious belief. None other can use it.

  10. Rube, Gorbe:
    To your points, amen!
    I’d add that along with wisdom, it seems that suffering is the only route to a sense of humor. Look at the life story of any really funny person, and there’s a lot of pain there. For example, in one of his early routines, Bill Cosby used to talk about how terrified he and his brother were of his alcoholic father when he was drunk but still conscious, and how then after he passed out they would go through his pockets for change. And sure enough, one of his funniest routines later on was about people getting drunk (see the first 20 minutes or so of Bill Cosby - Himself.)

    Humor is one of the healthiest psychologica l defense mechanisms, and defense mechanisms are like muscles - they get built up by frequent and strenuous use. Too bad that so far no one has found a steroid to accelerate the growth of wisdom and sense of humor.

    And the subject of defense mechanisms ties to a look at one of the most primitive ones, in contrast with laughter: projection. This is when people responds to the world’s (cognitively dissonant) cues indicating their character flaws by blocking awareness of them in themselves and instead “see” them in others, especially in those that resemble them. So fundamentali sts see other fundamentali sts’ dark side all too well and even exaggeratedl y, while being oblivious to those traits in themselves; Bush, while the combined arms assaults he ordered on various cities in Iraq have aircraft and artillery attacks proceeding on civilian populations, talks about how evil the enemy is because they are willing to kill innocent people to achieve their aims.

  11. I believe that when one preaches hatred and intolerance one should not be surprised when that hatred & intolerance comes back with a vengance. One of the saddest parts of the whole incidence is that the churches affected will never see the true reason for this horrific act and will never change and grow to be true compassionat e human beings. I believe that Matthews parents “grew” this child with no regard to him. Sad Sad Sad!

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