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Five types of Christians

by Diane Vera

Copyright © 2004 by Diane Vera. All rights reserved.

The following list of "Five types of Christians" is intended as a parody of the lists of "types of Satanists" in a lot of books on "Satanic crime." (For examples of "types of Satanists" lists, together with my commentary on them, see my articles Open letter to Colin Ross and Comments on Ted Peters's article "Satanism: Bunk or Blasphemy"?.)

  1. Officially sanctioned persecutors of heretics.  Best-known example: the Inquisition. But Reformation-era Protestant countries did this sort of thing too. It has been out of fashion these past few centuries, but could easily come back, especially in some Third World countries. (See The Next Christianity by Philip Jenkins.)

  2. Unofficial Christian terrorist groups and murderous mobs.  Christian terrorist groups are now a growing problem worldwide. In the United States, they typically limit their activities to bombing abortion clinics, but their activities are much more extensive in other countries, especially in Africa. (Again, see The Next Christianity by Philip Jenkins.) Mob violence, in the name of God, has had a long history in Christianity. A well-known ancient example is the mob that murdered Hypatia.

  3. Self-styled exorcists, some of whom have been known to kill people whom they believed were demon-possessed.

  4. Hardcore fundamentalists.  Usually law-abiding, except that many of them beat their children in ways that most other people would consider child abuse. Fundamentalists believe that (1) the entire Bible is the inerrant word of God, even when it contradicts the findings of science, and (2) that they should have nothing to do with non-fundamentalists except for the purpose of evangelizing them.

  5. Other organized churches.  Usually less inclined to beat their children than fundamentalists are, but there have been quite a few child sex abuse scandals among some of their clergy.

Two important differences between the above list and most "Types of Satanists" lists: (a) All the categories above are definitely real. (b) My list, skewed though it may be, does account for nearly all Christians.

Is this a terribly one-dimensional way to look at Christians? Of course it is. That's the whole point - to show how one-dimensional it is to look at any religious category in this kind of way.

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