It was inevitable that the religious right, or elements of it, would disown Glenn Beck because of his Mormonism. This sort of “I’m a Christian, you’re not!” thing, also called “de-Christianizing,” has played well in Christian circles since the very beginning (read Paul). False gospels abound in the devil’s garden that is earth.
Beck himself treads dangerous ground: he plays to the fundamentalist crowd as one of them, but he’s not, as he well knows, and as some of them are well aware. Brannon Howse, president and founder of Worldview Weekend, “America’s largest Christian worldview conference series,” has attacked Beck and his religion, saying that Mormonism is “America’s Islam.”
Beck, he warns, is spreading “anti-Biblical beliefs.”
Somebody better quick tell Beck before he reaches for that chalkboard…oh wait, too late. After the infamous “Restoring Honor” rally Howse had this to say:
“The Apostle Paul warns Christians against uniting with unbelievers in spiritual endeavors. While I applaud and agree with many of Glenn Beck’s conservative and constitutional views, that does not give me or any other Bible-believing Christian justification to compromise Biblical truth by spiritually joining Beck.”
Bad as that is, Howse has now upped the ante by releasing a half-hour video, attacking Beck for promoting “universalism, post-modernism, and pagan spirituality”.
This is an interesting and all too typical squabble in Christian theological history, and I don’t generally care how much these religious fanatics denigrate and hate each other, but I draw the line when they start throwing words like “Pagan” around.
I can tell you right now speaking as a Pagan that Glenn Beck is no Pagan. Don’t pawn your unwanted bigoted Christofascist trash off on us Pagans. We did nothing to deserve it.
Howse can attack all the Religious Right leaders who have sided with Beck, that’s fine, but he needs to be corrected on this “Pagan spirituality” nonsense of his. Clearly, he has no idea what he’s talking about.
Ironically, Howse used to defend Beck, demonstrating that he was equally clueless in the past, but at least he left Paganism out of it.
But now Beck is suddenly a “pagan New Age antichrist.”
“Back in August of 2010, I tried warning folks that Glenn Beck was a pagan, New Age, universalistic Mormon, and indeed, he now has revealed his hand,” Howse says in the video, which is based on a column he wrote earlier this year. “Beck’s book is nothing less than a promotion of universalism, postmodernism and pagan spirituality, also known as the New Age movement.”
That wasn’t all:
“I hate to say it, but through testing Glenn’s doctrinal fruit, he is not a Christian. In fact indeed, he is a false teacher. He is proclaiming another Jesus and another gospel. … Nowhere in Beck’s new book does he mention the biblical Gospel. In fact, what he mentions is anti-Christ. He’s denying the exclusivity of Jesus Christ. What Glenn is promoting is the same lie promoted by Satan in Genesis 3, verses 1-5. And I’m fearful that the spiritual poison Beck is promoting is not seven wonders that will change your life, but in fact lies that will condemn the souls of millions for eternity.”
That may be, but being a false teacher does not equal being a Pagan.
Paganism is ethnic religion, religion of the place, and Pagans are people of the place, followers of those local customs. Pagans have nothing to do with Christians or Christianity or Christian theological debates. That, Mr. Howse, is between ya’ll.
Modern Paganism is a largely revivalist, reconstructionists movement aimed at bringing back those ancient ethnic religions, be they Celtic (Druidry), Germanic, Norse (Ásatrú), Egyptian (Kemetism), Roman, Greek (Hellenismos or Hellenism), even Canaanite (historical Judaism). These religions existed for many centuries before Judaism; and for thousands of years before Jesus were born. They are completely independent of Christianity and Christian theology.
Furthermore, and this is a perhaps even more critical distinction, Paganism is earth-centered religion. Christianity – and Mormonism whether you consider it Christianity or not – are not. The early Christians condemned this earth-centered, worldly focus as do modern Christians. “Worldly” has never been a Christian compliment. We hear it all the time: Environmentalism is bad because environmentalism puts the earth before God. It turns the planet into God.
I’m sure you have all heard how Pagans worship rocks and trees, or even the planet. We don’t. We reverence them. The world, to our view, is full of the divine. We don’t have to look up to the heavens and some unseen world to see the divine. It is all around us. We Pagans are of the world; our religion is of the world; even our gods are of the world. They, too, are all around us. When the ancient Pagans feasted after a sacrifice, they knew their gods were feasting with them.
This is Pagan:
Beck? Not so much.
That Christianity chose to commit genocide and destroy Paganism, and to co-opt those Pagan beliefs and rituals it found useful (far more than simply Christmas or Easter), does not make Christian groups that are not orthodox enough Pagan instead. Paganism is not a renunciation or a negation of Christianity. Paganism is a diversity of religions that exist whether Christianity exists or not, while Christianity is inconceivable without Paganism’s unwilling contributions to Christian theology.
Glenn Beck, a member of a religion that considers itself followers of the same Jesus other “mainstream” Christians hold to be their god, is not a Pagan. Fine, he rejects the Nicene Creed. Lots of Christians rejected the Nicene Creed even when it was formulated. Call him a heretic if you like, but you cannot call him a Pagan.
Mormonism is not ethnic religion. Mormonism is not earth-centered religion. It is not an ancient religion that predates Christianity. There is nothing of Paganism in it. Not an iota. Please keep your heretics to yourself. We don’t want them.