While at the DNC in Charlotte, I made quite a to do of the idea of a Universalist "Cupid God". I believe, as I espoused a narrative contrary to the Leftinista protesters, I responded in said fashion after being criticized for "not being very christian" in my opinion of what the marxist protesters amounted to. I shouted, "Yeah, well I don't worship some cupid-god like a goddamned pagan." as I walked away. It is this notion of a Cupid-like god that I would like to discuss today. You see, the idea of a Divine Being who is all-loving is what is known as Universalism - and though John 3:16 may be prescient for many in the South and elsewhere, it is a notion that is thoroughly disputed by many southern Christians, not to mention generally accepted as Gospel among Universalist churches worldwide.
It's a basic but divisive split. Often likened to the old testament "wrath of god" and new testament acceptance or some such thing, the difference between Jonathan Edwards' "Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God", say, and your average Homo-tolerant preacher's sermon is likely to be profound. One, the former, stands in line with a kind of understanding of God which denoted him as being overwhelmingly powerful and easily incited to acts of judgement upon people. The latter, the Universalist worldview, tends not even to emphasize God's love or mercy but rather de-emphasizes the Moral component of scripture.
Christianity has traditionally been an individualist, moral, tradition oriented system. Universalism runs contrary to this in that it is collectivist, permissive, and oriented with the changing times rather than ancestral duty.
If you are at all interested, I humbly proffer this link to a youtube channel in which this very debate is the central thesis :
SOAPA, or Southeast Open-air Preachers Association, has provided me with a massive amount of material upon which to reflect on subjects ranging from scripture interpretation to social action. I highly recommend the video's in the above link for those with interest in the subject.
So, to say it briefly, Universalism and Universalist Churches are the anti-thesis to Traditional Worship and the "old country church"-style of Christianity that has been the South's heritage for over 400 years. One person aptly described Universalism as an "invasive species", which is rather telling.
Would we like to see the continued rise of Universalism, or a re-emergence of Traditional Morality in the coming age?
I for one, as contrary to my own sense of self as it may seem, vote for the latter