Atheists love to label all Christians as guilty of the sins of the extremists such as the KKK by saying that KKK is Christian, Hitler was Christian, so therefore all of Christianity is like this, or Christian teaching makes you a racist, this is basically what the Camel guy in the last post is doing, the old fallacy of guilt by association. Some Christians do bad things, therefore, all of Christianity is bad. Even if they are making the essentialist argument, which I believe the Camel guy is, they are making the guilt by association argument.
What is a Christian?
The basic concepts handed by Jesus himself tell us that it takes more than just membership in group to be his follower. Following Jesus, the basic job description of a Christian, is a person relationship with Jesus not just membership in a group. But of course atheists who have not had the knowledge of Jesus on a personal level, or controverted Chrsitians who forget that knowledge becuase their hearts are hardened to God, forget what that's like, if they ever really knew to begin with. They can't see the difference in spouting rhetoric and really walking the walk. Jesus tell us not all who acknowledge him as "Lord" really know him or are sincere their profession of faith.
"parable of the sheep and the goats:"
31 “When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his throne in heavenly glory. 32 All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. 33 He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left.
34 “Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. 35 For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, 36 I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’
37 “Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? 38 When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? 39 When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’
40 “The King will reply, ‘I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.’
41 “Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. 42 For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, 43 I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.’
44 “They also will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?’
According to this rendition of Jesus own words there are those who will say "Lord Lord" but do not know Jesus. The point being that just belonging to an organization or a group is not enough to make you a "real Christian." Of course when atheists hear this they call it the "no true Scotsman fallacy" and of cousre they misusing that fallacy. That fallacy does not say that anytime someone fails to live to the essence of a belief it's a fallacy to say he's not truly a follower of that belief. Jesus says if you don't know me, if you do my teachings, if you don't live the kind of life I'm talking about, you are not truly my follower and I don't know you. There's no way that can be a fallacy because it's the rules of the game. Its' the conditions put down by the founder of Christianity that demarcate membership.
31 "The time is coming," declares the LORD,This tells us that the new covenant (Christianity--same passage is alluded to in Hebrews 1) is not a matter of following rules, but a personal relationship. "They will all know me." You wont to teach each other to know God, its wont be like the old covenant which was a law, a list of rules it will be a personal relationship, "they will all know me." To be in it you have to have the personal relationship. Saying that a particular group or organization is a "Christian group" does not make it part of Christianity even if it says so itself. Jesus said "by their fruits you shall know them." So you have to look at the fruit of thier lives, the fruit of the lives of KKK are drastically oppossed to everything Jesus taught.
"when I will make a new covenant
with the house of Israel
and with the house of Judah. 32 It will not be like the covenant
I made with their forefathers
when I took them by the hand
to lead them out of Egypt,
because they broke my covenant,
though I was a husband to [d] them, [e] "
declares the LORD.
33 "This is the covenant I will make with the house of Israel
after that time," declares the LORD.
"I will put my law in their minds
and write it on their hearts.
I will be their God,
and they will be my people.
34 No longer will a man teach his neighbor,
or a man his brother, saying, 'Know the LORD,'
because they will all know me,
from the least of them to the greatest,"
declares the LORD.
"For I will forgive their wickedness
and will remember their sins no more."
Does the KKK teach one to love one's enemies? to turn the other cheek? You can't turn the other cheek and burn a cross in their yard. No where in Jesus' teachings does he even come close to sanctioning the kinds of things the Klan does. Everything he taught was about crating love, forgiveness, understanding, acceptance of other people.Now you might say "by this way of figuring then a lot of established groups like the 700 club aren't really Christian." Gee really? Imagine that!
What is a Christian Organization?
Presumably it would be an organization ran either for the purpose of spreading the Gospel or for somehow enlightening or otherwise edifying Christians. One would think a "Christian" organization would have some kind of formal ties to a chruch. Anyone can say they believe in something for the purposes of getting what they want. How do we know the KKK is serious about Christianity? Atheists would have us believe that even asking this question is the no true Scotsman fallacy (see link above).
KKK fails to meet any reasonable criteria for a Christian organization.
*no formal ties to any chruch
*blatantly repudiate teachings of Christ (turn the other cheek, love enemies and so on)
*Their teachings open contradict those of Jesus such as sermon on the mount
they teach the opposite of turn the other cheek, they teach fight and make your enemies pay.
* they don't spread the Gospel
their purpose is not convert people, they do no preaching, they don't contribute to preaching, they don't contribute to mission work or evangelism they do nothing at all to spread the gospel
*They actually work against other chruches
they can't said to exist for the edification of the chruch because they fundamentally opposed to most other churches.
*They were started for the purposes of violence and terror
their mission has grown over the years and evolved from a secret terrorist organization whose aim was to stop reconstruction and prevent blacks from obtaining advantages in the post civil war south, to an ideology of racial conflict and supremacy that even the original clansmen would find odd.
*Their basic mission is murder
*They don't espouse the major Christian doctrines such as the Trinity: no theological mission.
None of these things are in keeping with those of the chruch and they set them fundamentally at odds with the basis of Christianity. Moreover the vast majority of Christians do not accept them as Christian. Even in the time of the deep south and Jim Crow laws the average southern Christian, while harboring racist views, saw them as extremist and out of line.
There are basically three things that atheists try to do with the view that KKK is Christian:
(1) Those who just want justice of an admission that Christians can do wrong.
These are the most rational ones, and I suspect that's where Hermit and Mike and many of the readers of this blog are coming from. They don't really believe that being a Christian is going to turn one into a KKK supporter, they just us to be fair and acknowledge that there are Christians who are in hate groups. Most liberal liberal Christians would agree with them. A lot of liberal and even moderate Christians want to stick the fundamentalists and the extreme sorts of right wing Christians with being ni the KKK style of belief. I think we can all see that there are some confused souls who don't understand the issues, who call themselves "Christians" and might be somehow connected with KKK groups or at least that type of view point. I have long suspected certain televangelists might be mixed up with the KKK. In the rural south of the pre 1960s it was not uncommon to find KKK members in Christian congregations, although their membership was secret and there never any formal ties between groups.
That's not enough to call the KKK a "Christian Group." It's not certainly not, it's not connected to any chruch and have no theological mission. The most we can say is there's an overlap of membership.
(2) Those who try to stick Christianity with guilt (essentialist)
These are atheists who argue that the evil essence of racism taints anything it touches, thus if there are overlapping members in Christian groups and KKK that makes Christianity guilty of all the KKK stuff. I've actually argued with atheists who didn't know that Martin Luther King was a Christian! The essentialist are strange because as atheists they are supposed to repudiate any sort of metaphysics, but essentialist basic Platonic and can't be much more metaphysical than that. These guys are a contradiction to the entire atheist metaphysics. All the metaphysical assumptions atheists make are contradicted, including their ethical assumptions which otherwise repudiate the idea of guilt and sin; of cousre they are more than willing to say that Christians are guilty of the sins of oppression all the bad things the chruch has done, while telling that sin is a magical thinking outmoded concept and morality is relative and guilt free.
Speaking of those who don't know that King was a Christian (like they can't figure out why he's called "The Reverend Martian Luther King") they also never heard of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference and are totally in the dark as its role in the civil rights movement. I've argued "Christianity led the civil rights movement" to have atheists say "that's crazy the Christians were against civil rights they were all KKK." So the evil of the KKK taints all of Christianity and makes all Christians guilty of the Klans actions, but the good done by Christians who led the Civil Rights Movement means nothing!
Why does the bad stuff define Christianity for these people dn the good stuff is totally unimportant?
(3) Those who try to say that Christian teaching if followed "correctly" leads to hate
These guys are at odds to show how following the teachings that put love of God and love of neighbor as numbers 1 and 2 on the hit parade of important laws will result in being a KKK guy. Obviously the charge on its face is mean to confuse and discredit and has nothing to with real thinking. Usually such people have no historical analysis at all. They can't understand that a secret terrorist society that was organized by illiterate veterans of a benighted rural class that just lost a major war, along with their homes and everything they owed were being oppressed by the victors and working themselves into a climate of fear and hysteria took matters into their own hands, and shed the teachings of a belief system they clung to in name only, does not make Christianity responsible for their actions. That these people went to churches as labeled themselves after a belief system they did not understand or live up to is hardly surprising but it should not reflect upon that belief system. Those who saw themselves are Chrsitians were clearly abandoning Christian teachings on not only love and being good but also on trusting God.
The Atheist Camel guy falls somewhere around these latter two. Me made no attempt to distinguish between any legitimate Christian organization and the KKK. One salient point missed by my critics is the way this guy tried to leverage Christianity out of the way by the guilt by association argument. He says "where are the atheist hate groups?" He sticks KKK as Christian, Christianity is tainted by KKK but there are no atheist hate groups (so he tells us). In saying that he's clearly trying to fault Christianity with producing hate groups and taught the superiority of atheism which is supposedly lacking them. Then we have to play this stupid game, in the reconstruction era after the civil war it was called "waving the bloody shirt." People back then knew it was a shabby tactic and it was looked upon as unfair. Now atheists use it all the time and things its great. In the aftermath of the civil war it meant metaphorically waving blood stained uniform and going "look they killed my brother, look at all we've lost let's punish the south for the war." Now it means going on message boards and going "look at the crusades, Hitler was a Christian," ect ect.
These people have no more sense than to think these are perfectly valid ways to argue. They are just forms of emotionalism designed to work up the hatred of atheists and foment their sense of outrage at things they don't understand. They clearly can't understand it because they don't see how unethical it is to argue that way. So we have to play this stupid game of them going "Christianity has the KKK so Christianity is evil" and Christians going "we don't' have the KKK." There is no reasonable standard by which the KKK can be called Christian. It's clearly part of the goat herd that's put on the left and goes to hell. It's hate, it's murder, it's made up of those who do not know Christ, they are not born again, the wolves in sheep's clothing that Jesus warned us about. He said there would be fake Christians that said the right things but didn't do the right things. since the White supremacy guys fill that bill we can assume that they are part of that group. They don't bear the right fruit and by their fruits we should know them. That means they are not in the kingdom they don't know God, thus they are not in the new covenant so they are not "true" Christians.