Richard Russell posits Neo-theo as a means of describing creationist, dominionist, and fundamentalist religious participants. The push back against religious tolerance has created a new class of religious conservatives. In some ways they’ve been around and already rebranded themselves as intelligent design, religious liberty, christian reconstructionists, and founding father advocates but the category is hardening on all levels and going beyond equal-time debaters in school evolution discussions, where teaching the controversy still excludes the Native American origin that the Earth was on the back of a turtle and stars are holes pecked in the sky by celestial birds.
Neo-theos are dominionists
They believe the country was founded and exists for the purpose of exalting the god of the testaments. A kingdom on earth must precede the return of the celestial king who will once again rule on Earth. Dominionists are dour, serious, bearing even a Calvinesque kind of torpor that is impossible to make happy. They live for the future kingdom and their morality is of the strictest and most extensive sort.
Dominionists are the most radical of the theocrats. The most sincere of them see TV, music, art, theatre, and dance as the devil’s influence. Modesty of dress, antipathy of equality, care against blasphemy, and adoration of patriarchal authority are best seen here.
Dominionists credit the constitution and the American republic as being god granted, of direct divine origin. It is only by god’s grace the US came to be. The purpose of the US is the adoration of god’s message.
Neo-theos are antitolerance
They do not believe in democracy or egalitarianism except within the group and even then within a paternal hierarchy. Even when choosing complementarity with family roles they assume male dominance. The pay heed to the sacred as normative. All of the profane is to be shunned and excluded for fear of contamination. While demanding that tolerance allows them to practice religion openly they do not allow others to practice their religion openly until it has been subsumed.
Neo-theos claim exclusive religious liberty
Religious liberty means the exercise of their practices in all spaces public or private. It does not extend to nonChristian and often nonJudaic practices nor do they recognize Catholic practices. Religious liberty means their freedom to do however they please as they see fit in the public spehere. It prioritizes religious law, codes, and practices above all others. If what they presented had a cogent core structure it couldn’t be called Christian anarchy but since the practices are sectarian and impossible to coalesce the only means of creating a coherent public practice is to revert to religious tribalism with theological honor systems where religious honor as an abstraction is the only common ground. It is not anarcaic because it doesn’t believe in the permanent suspension of governance but rather prefers to engage in active social and political warfare to make particular sects supreme.
Freedom from religion is the cry against freedom of religion. They do not believe that freedom of religions mean the days can be divided into prayer and expression moments of all religions.
Neo-theos claim academic freedom to proselytize
Any teacher at any time should have the right to invoke god’s grace, intent, goodwill, and practice as cause for any intellectual endeavor. Invoking god as blessing, or to be thanked, much like the Islamic “Peace be unto him” is normative. Everything comes from god and so is always a good answer. The banana, as developed in agronomy, is praised as god’s creation his technical expression in human achievement. All inventions are credited to god.Teachers on all levels can counter rubric, scopes, parameters, standardized tests, curricula, or any constraint with credit and positive remarks to the bible or god. Indeed, they should and would if religious liberty were allowed.
Neo-theos believe in intelligent design as created
Creationism is expressed through the more accessible intelligent design. Intelligence is always that of god. The term design or purpose is also used with the assumption that it is god’s design. Whether evolution is itself god’s will or there is no evolution or god has faked evidence into convincing us the earth is old when young, all designs are nevertheless godly.
If extraterrestrials were found to have visited they would be a misinterpretation of angels or others of god’s creations. Life found on other planets will be proof that god exists and is powerful enough to fulfill skeptics’ concerns of cosmological abilities. In this same sense the Big Bang and other origin myths involving modern physics are proof that god is self generating and created the universe from nothing.
Neo-theos believe humans are god’s purpose
Humans are the beginning and end of god’s design. Neo-theos believe humans are here for god’s will. There are no other reasons for the existence of humans. All subsequent life and material are subservient to man.
Neo-theos believe a person is a perfect body of god’s expression
God is a person in the same sense that a fetus is a person. God as the unity of the trinity supports that differences, a group of cells, can be irrevocably bound together in personhood. The creation of children mimics the creation of the earth and universe. Procreation is a sacred and never trivialized for pleasure.
Personhood can extend to groups. A righteous company has the rights of a person such that a religious company can be offended as an extension of the common disavowal of offense within. Just as a family unit is united in their commonality of obsequeance and fielty. A family is a single unit and is the most profound unity after the trinity. As the triune god may speak as one, as the family members speak as one, as corporation members speak as one, they all are single-bodied in respect to god. The perfect scalability of all social bodies extend from the farther to the father, whether of celestial, familial, communal, or national dimension.
There you have it. It all makes sense now. Their entire push is not irrational but rational to a different calibration. Knowing how they do this will help us return to better epistemologies. You can’t win if you go after the argument, you have to go for the source. The basis of faith. The truth of revelation.
Jim Newman, bright and well