Skip to comments.Anti-Christian paranoia [no longer just "untrue", Christianity is now "evil"]
Posted on 11/21/2006 9:21:25 PM PST by Alex Murphy
Instead of arguing that Christianity is not true, the more popular argument today is that Christianity is evil
We Christians need to get something through our heads: Secularists do not like us. This is perfectly understandable. But the case against Christianity has now degenerated into paranoid bigotry.
The old argument against Christianity was simply that it is not true. Modern science, evolutionary theory, rational argumentation, and the like were said to disprove the existence of God and the claims of the Bible.
But this line of attack does not work well anymore. Postmodernists themselves distrust science and rationality, and they consider such hallmarks of the now passé modernism to be so last-century. In fact, now Christians are about the only ones still standing who have a worldview that has a place for reason and the reality of the objective creation.
So instead of arguing that Christianity is not true, the more popular argument today is that Christianity is evil.
Letter to a Christian Nation by Sam Harris last month reached No. 10 on the Amazon bestselling list and No. 6 on the New York Times nonfiction list. Going beyond the old argument that the world's suffering shoots down belief in God, Harris argues that belief in God causes the world's suffering.
As he put it, "That so much of this suffering can be directly attributed to religionto religious hatreds, religious wars, religious delusions and religious diversions of scarce resourcesis what makes atheism a moral and intellectual necessity."
Of course postmodernists do not believe in moral absolutes, either, so any argument invoking them against religion, their only conceivable source, is going to be lacking. What postmodernists do believe in is power. They teach that all truth claims are "constructions" that can ultimately be traced back to one group trying to exercise power against others. That is, "imposing" beliefs on other people is a way to seize power.
As Ross Douthat has pointed out in a review essay in First Things, a whole raft of books have come out recently warning America that conservative Christians are on the verge of taking over the country: Michelle Goldberg's Kingdom Coming: The Rise of Christian Nationalism; Randall Balmer's Thy Kingdom Come; and Kevin Phillips' American Theocracy, which hit No. 2 on the New York Times nonfiction list.
The most lurid of them all is James Rudin's The Baptizing of America, with this opening paragraph:
"A specter is haunting America, and it is not socialism and certainly not communism. It is the specter of Americans kneeling in submission to a particular interpretation of a religion that has become an ideology, an all-encompassing way of life. It is the specter of our nation ruled by the extreme Christian right, who would make the United States a 'Christian nation' where their version of God's law supersedes all human lawincluding the Constitution. That, more than any other force in the world today, is the immediate and profound threat to our republic."
Never mind that virtually all Christian conservatives would be content if we would just follow our Constitution. That "specter" metaphor is a cliché originating with Karl Marx in The Communist Manifesto, and Rudin tries to scare his reader with all sorts of ghost stories.
According to Rudin, once we Christians get into power, "All government employeesfederal, state and localwould be required to participate in weekly Bible classes in the workplace, as well as compulsory daily prayer sessions." We would issue everyone a national ID card giving everybody's religious beliefs or lack thereof, and "such cards would provide Christocrats with preferential treatment in many areas of life, including home ownership, student loans, employment and education." Religious censors would control all speech, political dissent would be outlawed, and freedom would be eliminated. Did you know that was what you wanted to do?
It is one thing to oppose religion, but now we have arrived at the marks of dangerous religious bigotry: spreading sensationalistic lies, instigating fear in the public, and promoting paranoid conspiracy theories.
Actually, it seems Christians are one of the few groups interested in maintaining the Constitution as it was written. And that is a threat to those who call it a "living, breathing" document subject to change at the whim of the American people.
Gee, that sounds a lot like Islamofascism.
Gee, that sounds a lot like Islamofascism.
Ah, Ms. Goldberg will bleat in terror about Christian "theocrats" up until the instant that some Iman throws a burqua over her addled head and frog-marches her off to a Sharia harem.
They also claim that radical Christianity is on the rise. This is the most absurd thing you could possibly say. Christianity has become less fervent every decade of American history, beginning in the 1600s when Catholics could not hold public office because their beliefs were unbiblical.
Too funny...that's why every wannabe dictator tyrant tries to stomp out two things; religion and an armed populace.
Maybe we should start issuing death threats, and cutting the throats and lopping off the head of the detractors of Christianity.
But that wouldn't be very Christian.
These are sad times, in which we live; truly, there is more danger now than in the time of our fathers, who suffered death for the testimony of the Lord. Few believe this, because the great majority look to that which is external and corporeal, and in this respect it is now better, quieter and more comfortable; few only look to that which is internal and pertains to the soul. And on which everything depends, "for what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? Or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?" Matt 16:26
These times are certainly more dangerous; for then Satan came openly, through his servants even at noon-day, as a roaring lion, so that he could be known, and it now and then was possible to hide from him; besides, his chief design then was to destroy the body; but now he comes as in the night, or in the twilight, in a strange but yet pleasing form, and in a two-fold way, lies in wait to destroy the soul; partly, to trample under foot, and annihilate entirely, if this were possible, the only saving Christian faith; partly to destroy the true separated Christian life which is the outgrowth of faith.
The good times are returning, where the devil is easily seen.
Unfortunately, the track record of self-described atheists in places such as the Soviet Union and Communist China do not support the author's contention.
The sad truth is, human beings are all too willing to commit evil for whatever reason (or no reason at all). Religious belief can motivate violence and oppressionbut so can such ideals as peace, freedom, brotherhood, equality, and prosperity. Even love can be a motivation for evil acts.
Atheists are subject to the same appetites, passions, and weaknesses as other human beings. Perhaps what the author really means is that humans must rid themselves of all emotion and become dispassionate logic machines. I would be interested in hearing how he would manage that feat.
The reference made by the author to Ross Douthat and his essay may be further investigated at this FR Link!
By the United States in Congress assembled.
Whereas, it hath pleased Almighty God, the supreme Disposer of all Events father of mercies, remarkably to assist and support the United States of America in their important struggle for liberty, against the long continued efforts of a powerful nation: it is the duty of all ranks to observe and thankfully acknowledge the interpositions of his Providence in their behalf. Through the whole of the contest, from its first rise to this time, the influence of divine Providence may be clearly perceived in many signal instances, of which we mention but a few.
In revealing the councils of our enemies, when the discoveries were seasonable and important, and the means seemingly inadequate or fortuitous; in preserving and even improving the union of the several states, on the breach of which our enemies placed their greatest dependence; in increasing the number, and adding to the zeal and attachment of the friends of Liberty; in granting remarkable deliverances, and blessing us with the most signal success, when affairs seemed to have the most discouraging appearance; in raising up for us a powerful and generous ally, in one of the first of the European powers; in confounding the councils of our enemies, and suffering them to pursue such measures as have most directly contributed to frustrate their own desires and expectations; above all, in making their extreme cruelty of their officers and soldiers to the inhabitants of these states, when in their power, and their savage devastation of property, the very means of cementing our union, and adding vigor to every effort in opposition to them.
And as we cannot help leading the good people of these states to a retrospect on the events which have taken place since the beginning of the war, so we beg recommend in a particular manner that they may observe and acknowledge to their observation, the goodness of God in the year now drawing to a conclusion: in which a mutiny in the American Army was not only happily appeased but became in its issue a pleasing and undeniable proof of the unalterable attachment of the people in general to the cause of liberty since great and real grievances only made them tumultuously seek redress while the abhorred the thoughts of going over to the enemy, in which the Confederation of the United States has been completed by the accession of all without exception in which there have been so many instances of prowess and success in our armies; particularly in the southern states, where, notwithstanding the difficulties with which they had to struggle, they have recovered the whole country which the enemy had overrun, leaving them only a post or two upon on or near the sea: in which we have been so powerfully and effectually assisted by our allies, while in all the conjunct operations the most perfect union and harmony has subsisted in the allied army: in which there has been so plentiful a harvest, and so great abundance of the fruits of the earth of every kind, as not only enables us easily to supply the wants of the army, but gives comfort and happiness to the whole people: and in which, after the success of our allies by sea, a General of the first Rank, with his whole army, has been captured by the allied forces under the direction of our illustrious Commander in Chief.
It is therefore recommended to the several states to set apart the 13th day of December next, to be religiously observed as a Day of Thanksgiving and Prayer; that all the people may assemble on that day, with grateful hearts, to celebrate the praises of our gracious Benefactor; to confess our manifold sins; to offer up our most fervent supplications to the God of all grace, that it may please Him to pardon our offenses, and incline our hearts for the future to keep all his laws; to comfort and relieve all our brethren who are in distress or captivity; to prosper our husbandmen, and give success to all engaged in lawful commerce; to impart wisdom and integrity to our counselors, judgment and fortitude to our officers and soldiers; to protect and prosper our illustrious ally, and favor our united exertions for the speedy establishment of a safe, honorable and lasting peace; to bless all seminaries of learning; and cause the knowledge of God to cover the earth, as the waters cover the seas.
Jesus the Christ said He would return, and reconcile all things to Himself. Better get ready guys, it could be a bumpy ride for you two.
THANKSGIVING DAY 1864
BY THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA A PROCLAMATION
It has pleased Almighty God to prolong our national life another year, defending us with His guardian care against unfriendly designs from abroad and vouchsafing to us in His mercy many and signal victories over the enemy, who is of our own household. It has also pleased our Heavenly Father to favor as well our citizens in their homes as our soldiers in their camps and our sailors on the rivers and seas with unusual health. He has largely augmented our free population by emancipation and by immigration, while He has opened to use new sources of wealth and has crowned the labor of our workingmen in every department of industry with abundant rewards. Moreover, He has been pleased to animate and inspire our minds and hearts with fortitude, courage, and resolution sufficient for the great trial of civil war into which we have been brought by our adherence as a nation to the cause of freedom and humanity, and to afford to us reasonable hopes of an ultimate and happy deliverance from all our dangers and afflictions:
Now, therefore, I, Abraham Lincoln, President of the United States, do hereby appoint and set apart the last Thursday in November next as a day which I desire to be observed by all my fellow-citizens, wherever they may then be, as a day of thanksgiving and praise to Almighty God, the beneficent Creator and Ruler of the Universe. And I do further recommend to my fellow-citizens aforesaid that on that occasion they do reverently humble themselves in the dust and from thence offer up penitent and fervent prayers and supplications to the Great Disposer of Events for a return of the inestimable blessings of peace, union, and harmony throughout the land which it has pleased Him to assign as a dwelling place for ourselves and for our posterity throughout all generations.
In testimony whereof I have hereunto set my hand and caused the seal of the United States to be affixed. Done at the city of Washington, this 20th day of October, A.D. 1864, and of the Independence of the United States the eighty-ninth.
Except that Christians who are trying to spread the word about their religion don't behead you if you decline to accept it.
But then, you knew that...
THANKSGIVING - 1923
BY THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA - A PROCLAMATION
The American people, from their earliest days, have observed the wise custom of acknowledging each year the bounty with which divine Providence has favored them. In the beginnings, this acknowledgment was a voluntary return of thanks by the community for the fruitfulness of the harvest. Though our mode of life has greatly changed, this custom has always survived. It has made thanksgiving day not only one of the oldest but one of the most characteristic observances of our country. On that day, in home and church, in family and in public gatherings, the whole nation has for generations paid the tribute due from grateful hearts for blessings bestowed.
To center our thought in this way upon the favor which we have been shown has been altogether wise and desirable. It has given opportunity justly to balance the good and the evil which we have experienced. In that we have never failed to find reasons for being grateful to God for a generous preponderance of the good. Even in the least propitious times, a broad contemplation of our whole position has never failed to disclose overwhelming reasons for thankfulness. Thus viewing our situation, we have found warrant for a more hopeful and confident attitude toward the future.
In this current year, we now approach the time which has been accepted by custom as most fitting for the calm survey of our estate and the return of thanks. We shall the more keenly realize our good fortune, if we will, in deep sincerity, give to it due thought, and more especially, if we will compare it with that of any other community in the world.
The year has brought to our people two tragic experiences which have deeply affected them. One was the death of our beloved President Harding, which has been mourned wherever there is a realization of the worth of high ideals, noble purpose and unselfish service carried even to the end of supreme sacrifice. His loss recalled the nation to a less captious and more charitable attitude. It sobered the whole thought of the country. A little later came the unparalleled disaster to the friendly people of Japan. This called forth from the people of the United States a demonstration of deep and humane feeling. It was wrought into the substance of good works. It created new evidences of our international friendship, which is a guarantee of world peace. It replenished the charitable impulse of the country.
By experiences such as these, men and nations are tested and refined. We have been blessed with much of material prosperity. We shall be better able to appreciate it if we remember the privations others have suffered, and we shall be the more worthy of it if we use it for their relief. We will do well then to render thanks for the good that has come to us, and show by our actions that we have become stronger, wiser, and truer by the chastenings which have been imposed upon us. We will thus prepare ourselves for the part we must take in a world which forever needs the full measure of service. We have been a most favored people. We ought to be a most generous people. We have been a most blessed people. We ought to be a most thankful people.
Wherefore, I, Calvin Coolidge, President of the United States, do hereby fix and designate Thursday, the twenty-ninth day of November, as Thanksgiving Day, and recommend its general observance throughout the land. It is urged that the people, gathering in their homes and their usual places of worship, give expression to their gratitude for the benefits and blessings that a gracious Providence has bestowed upon them, and seek the guidance of Almighty God, that they may deserve a continuance of His favor. In witness whereof, I have hereunto set my hand and caused the seal of the United States to be affixed.
Done at the City of Washington, this 5th day of November, in the year of our Lord, One Thousand Nine Hundred and Twenty-three, and of the Independence of the United States, the One Hundred and Forty-eighth.
"It is a good thing to give thanks unto the Lord."
More than three centuries ago, the Pilgrims, after a year of hardship and peril, humbly and reverently set aside a special day upon which to give thanks to God for their preservation and for the good harvest from the virgin soil upon which they had labored. Grave and unknown dangers remained. Yet by their faith and by their toil they had survived the rigors of the harsh New England winter. Hence they paused in their labors to give thanks for the blessings that had been bestowed upon them by Divine Providence.
This year, as the harvest draws near its close and the year approaches its end, awesome perils again remain to be faced. Yet we have, as in the past, ample reason to be thankful for the abundance of our blessings. We are grateful for the blessings of faith and health and strength and for the imperishable spiritual gifts of love and hope. We give thanks, too, for our freedom as a nation; for the strength of our arms and the faith of our friends; for the beliefs and confidence we share; for our determination to stand firmly for what we believe to be right and to resist mightily what we believe to be base; and for the heritage of liberty bequeathed by our ancestors which we are privileged to preserve for our children and our children's children.
It is right that we should be grateful for the plenty amidst which we live; the productivity of our farms, the output of our factories, the skill of our artisans, and the ingenuity of our investors. But in the midst of our thanksgiving, let us not be unmindful of the plight of those in many parts of the world to whom hunger is no stranger and the plight of those millions more who live without the blessings of liberty and freedom. With some we are able to share our material abundance through our Food-for-Peace Program and through our support of the United Nations Freedom-from-Hunger Campaign. To all we can offer the sustenance of hope that we shall not fail in our unceasing efforts to make this a peaceful and prosperous world for all mankind.
NOW, THEREFORE, I, JOHN F. KENNEDY, President of the United States of America, in consonance with the joint resolution of Congress approved December 26, 1941, which designates the fourth Thursday in November of each year as Thanksgiving Day, do hereby proclaim Thursday, the twenty-third day of November of this year, as a day of national thanksgiving.
I urge all citizens to make this Thanksgiving not merely a holiday from their labors, but rather a day of contemplation. I ask the head of each family to recount to his children the story of the first New England thanksgiving, thus to impress upon future generations the heritage of this nation born in toil, in danger, in purpose, and in the conviction that right and justice and freedom can through mans efforts persevere and come to fruition with the blessing of God.
Let us observe this day with reverence and with prayer that will rekindle in us the will and show us the way not only to preserve our blessings, but also to extend them to the four corners of the earth. Let us by our example, as well as by our material aid, assist all peoples of all nations who are striving to achieve a better life in freedom.
IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand and caused the Seal of the United States of America to be affixed. DONE at the City of Washington this twenty-seventh day of October in the year of our Lord nineteen hundred and sixty-one, and of the Independence of the United States of America the one hundred and eighty-sixth.
JOHN F. KENNEDY
Watching and praying, precisely. Thanks Carbine.
As a newbie Christian such things amazed me, but I am no longer surprised.
And neither, it seems, is anyone else.
I love you, JockoManning!
"No country upon earth ever had it more in its power to attain blessings. Much to be regretted indeed would it be, were we to depart from the road which Providence has pointed us to, so plainly; I cannot believe it will ever come to pass. The Great Governor of the Universe has led us too long and too far to forsake us in the midst of it. We may, now and then, get bewildered; but I hope and trust that there is good sense and virtue enough left to recover the right path. " - George Washington
Just pray for him and move on. Whatever the truth is, it will be known and if he's so right, he shouldn't need to be asking to kill anyone(:
Bumping those good words.
Woe to those who call evil good
and good evil,
who put darkness for light
and light for darkness,
who put bitter for sweet
and sweet for bitter.
From Tacitus book 15
Consequently, to get rid of the report, (that Nero burned Rome) Nero fastened the guilt and inflicted the most exquisite tortures on a class hated for their abominations, called Christians by the populace. Christus, from whom the name had its origin, suffered the extreme penalty during the reign of Tiberius at the hands of one of our procurators, Pontius Pilatus, and a most mischievous superstition, thus checked for the moment, again broke out not only in Judaea, the first source of the evil, but even in Rome, where all things hideous and shameful from every part of the world find their centre and become popular. Accordingly, an arrest was first made of all who pleaded guilty; then, upon their information, an immense multitude was convicted, not so much of the crime of firing the city, as of hatred against mankind.
Correction: our beliefs were unprotestant.
His book has been endorsed by an 18-year-old on Myspace and an hysterical journalist. He could use some better company.
This is an interesting error of argumentation that atheists often make.
Strictly speaking, nobody has ever killed anyone over "religion". Religion is a category, not an entity. People kill each other over particular religions, not over "religion" in the abstract.
Given that people kill over particular religions, referring to people killed by "religion" or on behalf of "religion" is an error of false generalization.
To put it concretely, if Muslims go on a rampage in India and murder Hindus, how does that somehow impugn Christianity? (Conversely, if we consider people killed by Christians over religious differences, how does that reflect badly on Hindus?)
And as you correctly point out, sin, including mass murder, is a part of the human condition. There is no religion whose members are exempt from that, and atheists certainly aren't.
If that's the truth then wait 'til he meets a radical Muslim, ha ha!
Anyway the older I get the more I realize that none of us represents Chrstianity as we'd like, in perfect love that is. We each could stand improvement for sure.
So if our own perfection is the basis of our religion then our faith is definitely in vain and our words untrue.
Love is the answer and yet it is such a difficult task to model love for the world to see 100% of the time.
Hence you will see fallen examples in and out of the pages of the Bible... and in our lives as well. But our message is not that we are perfect but that we are fallen and we need what everyone needs -- forgiveness.
Amen, to Be Like Him; to Be Conformed to the Image of His Loveliness; it is what I Long for, my Sister.
Watching Unto Prayer with you, Even as Clouds of Persecution Gather on the Horizon.
Hide your Loved Ones in the Shelter of Your Presence, Safe Beneath Your Hand, Safe from All Conspiring men. (Ps.31:20)
Jehovah is King! He is Robed in Majesty and Strength. (Ps.93:1)
Oh, Carbine, thank you for having a heart of flesh and pure motives. Such a breath of fresh air. Blessings all ways, ever, upon you and yours.
See post # 232 on the depression thread, it's a blessing. jm
We have reached the point where the lies of Satan now almost all the time seem like truth and truth, the lies. Jesus is coming soon and the truth will out. Even so, Lord Jesus come.
I must note that I personally do not perceive that there can be a pure "atheism" insofar as man is by nature a religious creature (I mean an innately God-seeking being), and those who name themselves "atheist" are actually making of themselves the god and center of their universe around which all matter revolves and which all matter serves - as illogical as that is...Ozymandias comes to mind...
Thanks for the ping!
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