Who cares what Christians believe?

One of the complaints we often hear in response to Dawkins, Hitchens, Harris and company is that they ought to mind their own business. A person’s Christian beliefs are his (or her) own business, and if atheists don’t like what they believe, who cares? It’s not as if anyone is forcing them to go to Church. But this attitude overlooks the fact that believers do have a faith-based impact on the world, and not always a positive one. According to the Washington Post, this impact may be accelerating, as Christians turn from government to business as a way of forcing their demands on non-believers.

What’s emerging, observers say, is a market-based response to popular demand for ways that people of faith can make their voices heard on issues closest to their hearts. And people of faith — especially social conservatives — are seizing what they see as a new opportunity to make a difference.”It’s just a matter of growing up” and adding more sophisticated tools for advancing an agenda, said Ronald A. Simkins, director of the Kripke Center for the Study of Religion & Society at Creighton University in Omaha. “Now, instead of boycotting Disney, they’ll be investing in Fox Family Films.”

Religious conservatives are mobilizing to attach a voice to the cash they have on Wall Street. For example, the Tupelo, Miss.-based American Family Association is for the first time urging its 2.8 million online members to purge their investment portfolios of companies that support a “gay agenda” or “anti-family” practices.

In other words, given enough conservative Christian involvement in capitalistic finance, you could lose your job–even if you yourself are a Christian!–if enough believers with enough combined financial clout are able to drive your employer out of business. All it takes is a perceived insult to whatever believers decide “Christian values” are. The leaders of the conservative Christian movement are flexing their financial muscles today just the way that Falwell and Robertson began toying a few decades ago with political involvement. Big Government has been harnessed by Big Religion, and Big Business is the next item on the agenda.

This is an interesting trend, from an apologetics (or unapologetics) perspective. Why would the “servants of Almighty God” need to work so hard to gain control of secular power sources like business and government, in order to get God’s work done for Him? Yes, that’s right, it’s because God does not actually show up in the real world. He does not do anything. He does not behave as though He Himself believes any of the things that conservative Christians are saying about Him. In His continual and universal absence, the Christian church has no choice but to resort to forces that really do exist, like politics and business, in order to produce any real-world results that they can attribute to their mythical deity.

This is what makes Christian involvement in big business so scary. They’re not going to change course just because the consequences of their actions start to go downhill. (Just look at our faith-based war against Iraq.) This is a survival issue for them. They need to control big business in order to keep their religion on life support. Pulling the plug isn’t going to be an option, so once they’re in, say goodbye to good sense in the business world. It’s not going to be about profits or economics or market forces any more. It’s going to be about maintaining the delusion that a certain imaginary friend is really real. And that’s not going to be good for business.

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