An open question to the theists here:
Why aren't more Christians followers of the Westboro Baptist Church? You know, the "god hates fags" folks.
You might say, "Yuck. They're disgusting and abhorrent. They protest soldiers' funerals for pete's sake. They don't represent Christianity."
But have you really read their website? They're not just a bunch of kooks. I mean, they are, but they're well-thought-out kooks. And they certainly know their scripture. They quote it at every opportunity. And they're unflinching about it: In many places, scripture points out god's hatred of various people and places, and these hateful passages are largely ignored or glossed over by mainstream christians.
Not WBC. They gleefully preach god's hatred and selective grace; they believe only the "elect" make it to heaven, and the vast majority of us burn for eternity. Their job is to preach that word. And they certainly ain't dumb: Most of them are lawyers and some have argued before the Supreme Court. They make their living arguing civil rights cases!
And as near as I can tell (i'm no scholar), their theology seems sound. Their quoted verses seem to back up their thinking, and there are plenty of them. A couple of examples:
"CRY aloud, spare not, lift up thy voice like a trumpet, and show my people their transgression, and the house of Jacob their sins." (Isaiah 58:1)
41 If I whet my glittering sword, and mine hand take hold on judgment; I will render vengeance to mine enemies, and will reward them that hate me.
42 I will make mine arrows drunk with blood, and my sword shall devour flesh; and that with the blood of the slain and of the captives, from the beginning of revenges upon the enemy.
43 Rejoice, O ye nations, with his people: for he will avenge the blood of his servants, and will render vengeance to his adversaries, and will be merciful unto his land, and to his people.
5 I am the LORD, and there is none else, there is no God beside me: I girded thee, though thou hast not known me:
6 That they may know from the rising of the sun, and from the west, that there is none beside me. I am the LORD, and there is none else.
7 I form the light, and create darkness: I make peace, and create evil: I the LORD do all these things.
And a telling quote from their FAQ:
What you need to hear is that God hates people, and that your chances of going to heaven are nonexistent, unless you repent. What you need to hear is a little fire and brimstone preaching, like Jesus preached. What you don't need to hear is that you're okay just the way you are, and God accepts everyone without exception. Don't listen to the money-grubbing heretic who stands at the front of your church. Listen to God. If you are one of His elect, you'll hear.
So why aren't more Christians following these, admittedly distasteful, but seemingly theologically valid, practices? Your god is a bloody tyrant. Why not preach it?