Image for Trumpetism ... an age-old belief system

*Cartoon: Martyn Turner, used with permission: https://www.facebook.com/martynturnercartoons/ . http://www.irishtimes.com/opinion/martyn-turner

Immediately, The Problem became clear.  Donald Trump is really no different than any fundamentalist believer who told the world for centuries, “Unless you agree with me you are going to Hell!” 

St Paul, about the year 50AD, had the philosophy that he and a special few were the only believers who agreed that Jesus was the Messiah and those of like-mind would experience eternal life.  All other belief systems, so developed the theology, were profoundly and fundamentally wrong.  Paul was one tough person with whom to get along.  He brooked no compromises.  Today we have Donald Trump who has the same assuredness concerning his personal accuracy.  Paul believed he had the assuredness of God and Trump accepts he has the certainty of himself; Paul and Donald are comparable and there is not much behavioural difference between the two.

Step forward 1500 years.  Martin Luther and various theologians of the Reformation were very similar to previous true believers.  Like Paul, their type of ‘godly’ truth was specifically ‘revealed’ to THEM.  They knew they were fundamentally and rigidly right and all other religious insights were wrong.  Lutherans signed the Book of Concord as the truthful exegesis of religious thinking in the same way that the Catholics made their papal approach to Christianity the only true exposition. 

John Calvin’s doctrines of Total Depravity and Unconditional Election put his believers onto a new road except it was not a new road, rather, the same trail: “I am right and all others are wrong.”  It is possible to say about such people that they are so philosophically narrow they sleep on religious strings!  There could be no argumentation, only agreement and acceptance.

Add to these doctrines of righteousness, the religions and numerous divisions of others such as Islam, or the Swedenborgians, or the Jehovah’s Witnesses, Mormons, Buddhists, Baha’i or the Holy Worshippers of Snakes et al and you have disparate belief systems but they share one unshaken aspect:  They know they were right and all other thinking was faulty and mistaken.  Fundamentalists do not suffer doubt.

Remove religious creeds from this equation of certainty and you have “Trumpetism” or a fundamentalist conviction in the philosophy of Donald Trump.  The most obvious aspect of Trumpetism is its lack of an intelligible belief system except for a belief in Donald Trump’s belief in Donald Trump. 

This is hauntingly similar to St. Paul.

Upon comparison there is little difference between the born again supporters of a glorious God-sponsored Armageddon and Donald Trump’s et al belief in self.  Both viewpoints are certain of their ability to make everything right because of: 1. The power of God or 2. The power of Donald Trump.  In logic terms there is no difference.  Certainty is certainty.  All that is needed to be either type of fundamentalist is BELIEF in your faith or belief in The Donald.  They are really quite indistinguishable.

When I was a Lutheran clergyman in Canada and the USA I learned that my liberal, easy-going attitude to other religions carried consequence with other open-minded liberals.  Those whose belief systems were not up for rational discussion, I refer to as “Hard Core Born Agains”, be they Christian or any other religion of avowed superiority.  I learned these believers had hardened contempt for me and I would ultimately experience The Evils, whatever that might be.  Their basic attitude towards me was that of feigned acceptance and thinly cloaked superiority.  After all, they knew they were right and I was wrong, and oh, so very mistaken!  My personal acceptance of their religious tenets was easy and immediate.  I really did not care what others believed, belief was theirs alone.  I was a liberal.  They did not represent a threat to me.  On the other hand, I was referred to as “A Devil” more than once, including from a few members of my extended family who had succumbed to the splendours of religious self-righteousness.

Thus, my hypothesis for this short paper is: “Born again religionists, regardless of their faith or denomination, MUST operate on the basis of their superiority of belief.  They are right and all others are wrong.  Finito!”  This is true of all other hardened belief systems.  This belief is a simple creed needing no special knowledge, only blind acceptance of their own beliefs, supported by those of their organization and the ‘holy writs’ of their society.

Equally, Donald Trump, whilst he espouses a sort of general religion, has only one operating belief system: HIMSELF.  He and like-minded assured religionists, do not bother with being right or wrong as he does not need to worry about error.  He is correct.  No, not only correct but precisely without error, hence no need for many advisors.  His personal faith in the power of a Mexican Wall is no different than the immersion baptism of a born-again believer.  Time is not needed to be spent on possibilities of other truths.  Like Savonarola, time spent on other doctrines was simply a waste of time.  Interestingly, Savonarola was challenged by the Church, hanged and burned with some of his followers.  Lesson: there are many other “True Believers” out there waiting to take you down.

A list of forty-three descriptive words or phrases follows.  Each has been taken from various thesauruses and may be found in the language of religion or philosophy.  You are asked if any of these words/phrases (only partial list) depict Donald Trump’s news-reported communications.  After each item ask yourself if that same identification can be given to Trump, thus developing a Trumpetism Index. 

What is your score?

1.    Right
2.    Turn Back
3.    Return to truth
4.    Transform
5.    Rebuke errors
6.    Conspirators
7.    Discipline the errant
8.    Impose punishment
9.    Compensate for errors
10.  Free from error
11.  Accurate
12.  Precise
13.  Exact
14.  Straight or not in error
15.  Right-minded
16.  Cardinal rule
17.  Great value
18.  Significant value
19.  Just (justice)
20.  Correct
21.  Change errors
22.  Accurate
23.  Free from error
24.  Word-perfect
25.  Right-minded
26.  Conform with truth
27.  Faithful
28.  Conformity
29.  Agreement
30.  Accord
31.  True-truthful
32.  Honest
33.  Divine
34.  Immortal
35.  Super natural
36.  Superior
37.  Devout
38.  Believer
39.  Convert
40.  Repent
41.  Sacred
42.  Holy
43.  Inspired
44.  Fundamental

Your score?  To what conclusions have you arrived?

*Dr Buck Emberg is retired ... with a PhD in History