The Significance of Reformation Day for the United States

October 31, 1517 was a forerunner to America’s Independence Day.

The following scholarly excerpts can be found in Amos and Gardiner’s Never Before in History: America’s Inspired Birth, which enthralled me at the age of 14.

“The American Revolution might thus be said to have started, in a sense, when Martin Luther nailed his 95 theses to the church door at Wittenberg. It received a substantial part of its theological and philosophical underpinnings from John Calvin’s Institutes of the Christian Religion, and much of its social theory from the Puritan Revolution of 1640-1660, and, perhaps less obviously, from the Glorious Revolution of 1689. Put another way, the American Revolution is inconceivable in the absence of the context of ideas which have constituted Christianity. The leaders of the Revolution in every colony were imbued with the precepts of the Reformed faith.”

- Page Smith

“The founding of the United States and the principles on which it was established belong to the ongoing human quest for political and religious liberty. That quest is ancient and has been a central theme of Western civilization…For Luther, God alone had authority over peoples’ consciences…For Luther, the creator-redeemer distinction meant that there was a clear difference between the role of the church and the role of the state. Because church and state are separate institutions, the government’s role has to be restricted.” – Gary Amos and Richard Gardiner

“God has ordained the two governments: the spiritual, which by the Holy Spirit under Christ makes Christians and pious people; and the secular, which restrains the unchristian and wicked so that they are obliged to keep the peace outwardly

…The laws of worldly government extend no farther than to life and property and what is external upon earth. For over the soul God can and will let no one rule but himself. Therefore, where temporal power presumes to prescribe laws for the soul, it encroaches upon God’s government and only misleads and destroys souls. We desire to make this so clear that every one shall grasp it, and that the princes and bishops may see what fools they are when they seek to coerce the people with their laws and commandments into believing one thing or another.”
- Martin Luther

Coons vs. O’Donnell: Does questioning evolution violate U.S. Constitution?

Photo from Widener University School of Law

Photo from Widener University School of Law

The First Amendment commotion that appeared during the Widener Law School debate between Coons and O’Donnell was initiated by a bogus premise.

Once again, the question of evolution was brought up in the race between the Senate candidates of Delaware, Chris Coons and Christine O’Donnell. The recurring theme of science education and religion is a bewildering campaign topic that has prompted some observers to ask, “So why is Christine O’Donnell spending more time on religion than on taxes?”

It was actually atheist Bill Maher who made religion a trending election topic in the first place. To figure out who revived it, I decided to look past the all-too familiar sophomoric laugh track clip and see what was really going on in that recent debate.

About ten minutes into the debate (which can be viewed in its entirety on the Widener Law school website), the doomful diversion was pitched in the crossfire round by none other than the Democratic candidate himself:

COONS: I have a different view of the Constitution, as does the vast majority of the American public, and many current legal scholars. But the larger point Ms. O’Donnell, really, is that you’re not coming clean with the Delaware voters about what your real views are. As we saw in the CNN debate, you repeatedly ran away from answering clear, concise questions, whether from the moderators, from me, from students – to be clear about what your views are on a range of very important issues on which you would have to pass as a U.S. Senator. To say, for example, that it’s really a question of local control whether a school district teaches science or teaches religious doctrine misses the basic question. As a repeated candidate for the United States Senate you have made public statements on everything from choice, individual liberty, evolution and others that I do think our voters deserve to hear a clear answer from you on…

O’DONNELL: Great, let me clarify your remarks. Mr. Loudell’s question was about marriage, not necessarily about the so called “right to privacy”. Now you say that you have a different view of the Constitution. I would agree with you that you do have a different constitution, because in the CNN debate you stated that there were three constitutions, and you don’t need to go to any kind of Ivy League school to know that we have but one Constitution – and in all of my remarks it is said that that one Constitution is the Constitution that I will defend. I’ve made my positions very clear. Everybody knows where I stand on issues. But even where I stand on certain social issues, I will defend our constitutional right to disagree, and I have made that very clear. Our Constitution is not in opposition to my personal beliefs, and it’s not in opposition to someone who might have a different position on these social issues than I do. Our Constitution protects our freedom to disagree.

COONS: That’s right, and I’m grateful for this chance to continue to disagree. I just hope you’ll come clean with the folks of this State and the listeners to this debate…

O’DONNELL: I have come clean on every position.

COONS: …about what your real views are. Well then, answer the question. Do you believe in evolution?

O’DONNELL: What I think about the theory of evolution is irrelevant because I will defend…

COONS: Again, you’re dodging the simple question. It’s a settled scientific fact.

O’DONNELL: No listen, let me ask you – what is the relevance on that other than campaigning on Sunday mornings (which you tend to do) going to the churches, and you know – do you disagree with the positions that those several churches that you’ve been attending? I mean,

COONS: I believe that…

O’DONNELL: Are you going to tell them that you’re going to…

COONS: …churches have…

O’DONNELL: …show up just to get their votes?

COONS: …the absolute right to believe what ever religious doctrine they wish to. But you cannot impose…

O’DONNELL: And do local schools have the right to teach that?

COONS: They do not. Public schools…

O’DONNELL: Local schools do not have the right to teach what they feel…? Well there you go.

COONS: Religious doctrine does not belong…

O’DONNELL: You want a Senator who is going to impose his beliefs?

COONS: …in our public schools.

O’DONNELL: Talk about imposing your beliefs on the local schools. I’m saying that if a local community wants to teach the theory of evolution, it’s up to the school board to decide. But when I made those remarks it was because a school board also wanted to teach the theory of intelligent design, and the government said that they could not.

COONS: That’s right.

O’DONNELL: You have just stated that you will impose your will over the local school district, and that is a blatant violation of our Constitution. Do you want a Senator who is going to do that?

COONS: To be clear Ms. O’Donnell, I believe that creationism is religious doctrine and that evolution is broadly accepted…

O’DONNELL: How about the theory of intelligent design?

COONS: Creationism – which you like to call it “theory of intelligent design” – is religious doctrine…

O’DONNELL: No, they’re two different things.

COONS: …Evolution is widely accepted, well-defended, scientific fact – and our schools should be teaching science. If we want to instruct our children in religious doctrine, or religious practice as my wife and I choose to, that’s wonderful. That’s what our churches are for, and that’s what private or parochial schools are for. But our public schools should be teaching broadly accepted scientific fact, not religious doctrine.

O’DONNELL: Wow, you’ve just proved how little you know not just about Constitutional Law, but about the theory of evolution – because the theory of evolution is not a fact, it is indeed a theory. But I’m saying that that theory – if local school districts want to give that theory equal credence to intelligent design, it is their right. You are saying it is not their right. That is what has gotten our country into this position – the overreaching arm of the federal government getting into the business of the local communities. The Supreme Court has always said it is up to the local communities to decide their standards. The reason we’re in the mess we’re in is because the so-called leaders in Washington no longer view the indispensable principles of our founding as truly that: Indispensable. We’re supposed to have limited government, low taxes…

COONS: Ms. O’Donnell, one of those indispensable principles is the separation of church and state.

(Moderator MACARTHUR interrupts briefly)

O’DONNELL: Where in the Constitution is separation of church and state?

COONS: It’s in…

(Uproarious laughter)

COONS: …no, an excellent point…

MACARTHUR: (Responding to laughter) Hold on, hold on…

There are so many things wrong with that exchange that it’s challenging to decide where to begin.

It was bizarre enough that when Coons attempted to force O’Donnell to “come clean” on the issues, he thought O’Donnell’s views on evolution were what the voters needed to hear most. But Coons almost doomed the debate to nonsensicality with this bogus premise and deduction: Any academic opinion contrary to Darwinian evolution is religious doctrine. Therefore, allowing any academic opinion contrary to Darwinian evolution to be taught in public schools is a violation of the First Amendment.

O’Donnell was correct in differentiating between creationism and the theory of intelligent design. The latter is not a religious doctrine, but rather a scientifically informed opinion that perceives intelligent design to be the most plausible way to describe the complexities of life. For instance, biologist and atheist Richard Dawkins says that intelligent design by extraterrestrial beings could possibly be a plausible idea derived from scientific observation.

Creationism, on the contrary, is the belief in a particular supernatural Creator that initiated the design seen in the universe. Creationism encompasses historical and cultural data as well as scientific data, which sets it apart from mere intelligent design.

Creationism as a whole doesn’t need to be taught in the public schools. But to avoid teaching the flaws of Darwinian theory – including the not-so-flattering data and dissenting voices in the scientific establishment – has nothing to do with upholding the First Amendment. It has everything to do with bigotry and disregarding academic freedom.

Coons argued for the validity of the evolutionary theory because he thinks it is “widely accepted, well-defended, scientific fact” (yeah, and so was Aristotelian natural philosophy for about 1,900 years). He isn’t keen on tolerating dissenting views in politics, so Coons’ simple-minded approach to science is not surprising (though he would probably suddenly find room for tolerance in public schools if Islam was the topic at stake).

Coons has demonstrated himself to be a puppet of left-wing, politically correct ventriloquists. He thinks that the Obama administration made the right choice on health care, the stimulus and the jobs bill – the very things that have most Americans up in arms right now.  No wonder Coons has resorted to taking advantage of the liberal media’s cheap attack on the Tea Party movement: “Clueless Christian extremists one step away from Timothy McVeigh” (the terrorist who, ironically, was agnostic and said that science was his religion).

Yet what is most disturbing is to see a senatorial candidate essentially define public skepticism of Darwinian theory as a violation of the U.S. Constitution (the original authors of which, incidentally, did not likely believe in evolution).

Fallaciously – but smoothly – Coons invoked the legendary notion of “Separation of Church and State” to seal his case. Everybody from Rush Limbaugh to Dictionary.com has since doled out a response, clarifying that the famous phrase, of course, is not mentioned in the First Amendment.  That Amendment simply makes it clear that the United States is not to have a state-sponsored religion, nor is it to prohibit the free exercise of religion (among other things).

Furthermore, the separation of these two important aspects of society can mean different things. In an ideal world, Church and State function in separate domains without interference. For instance, Church should not orchestrate imprisonment, capital punishment, etc. and State should not have to be burdened with ministering to the poor. Thus, “Separation of Church and State” is reasonable systematically.

But ideologically, one cannot separate Church from State anymore than one can separate soil from trees. President George Washington himself said that “Religion and Morality are indispensable supports” of government (there are your indispensable principles, Mr. Coons). It is futile to attempt to purge the presence of faith and independent thought from public affairs.

As O’Donnell said, “the overreaching arm of the federal government getting into the business of the local communities” is far more threatening in this country than Christianity or a non-Darwinian scientific opinion.  Most voters ought to be aware of that.

Read more of Amanda’s column Not Your Average Read in the Communities at The Washington Times.

Naming the Dragon

Smaug“How do you gain protection against the dragon?  By naming the dragon.” – from The Hobbit Companion‘s analysis of the dragon Smaug in J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Hobbit

I’m a History major, and the history of science is one of my primary interests.  On a technical level science is not my specialty, though the recent debate on this blog is prompting me to want to get into it again.  I’m not quite sure I want to change majors over it yet, but I’ll admit that it has crossed my mind.  I’ve got this desire to get my hands in the dirt and see the evidence for myself instead of relying on a crossfire of scholarly links that tell a different story perpetually (“Well according to this…”  “Oh yeah?  Well take that!”).  I was always a hands-on sort of child, so science was my favorite subject for years.  I’m looking forward to my Physical Geography class this summer.  However, there are more facets to the origins debate than that of science.  I don’t intend to leave the scientific debate hanging, but there is a question nagging my mind that I want to take the opportunity to ask my skeptical commenters.

Richard Dawkins admits that we cannot scientifically verify the origin of life.  He is even open to the idea that intelligent design could have been involved, so long as that design was not divine.  In a purely argumentative sense, I find that to be a mystifying aspect of atheists.  Why would an atheist not mind the concept of aliens creating life, but have a problem with God doing it? It seems to me that the core of this rebellion against God is directed at the Biblical God, Yahweh.  Or, as some might define Him in a more politically correct fashion, “the God of the Old Testament” (ha, as though He’s a completely different God in the New Testament).

Here is an illustration of the rebellion I’m speaking of.  There is a popular atheist YouTube channel called NonStampCollector that produces videos that appeal to anyone of the doubting persuasion.  One particular video was shared with me by a liberal college acquaintance.  It is titled “Forgiveness, Grace, and God’s Death Sentence” and attempts to discredit Yahweh by comparing Him to psychotic parents who torture their son for their daughter’s disobedient act of getting chocolate out of the refrigerator.  This argument is riddled with so many intellectual errors that it couldn’t hold water.  Some talk of Creationists using “strawman” arguments.  Well, this is a strawman argument if I ever saw one, but I think that many Christians might be at fault for it instead of atheists.  Too many believers try to dismiss the Old Testament instead of study it.  Thus, they aren’t presenting the Bible wholly and accurately. [Note: I have historical science reasons for believing the Bible is accurate; I'll address them later.]

If you watch the video, you are probably so appalled at God that you don’t realize a significant character is missing from the story.  From the videos I’ve watched by NonStampCollector (who seems to have too much time on his hands), the trend is that Yahweh is made out to be the villain, the bully, the enemy.  He’s the bad guy in this version of the story.  But the individual who would approve of this view doesn’t show up in the videos.  The most rebellious God-hater of all never even makes a cameo appearance.  My initial theory is that this is because he is actually telling the story in first person, slanted to make himself out to be innocent (but that would be over an atheist’s head – never mind it now).  His name is Satan, if you haven’t already figured that out.  I never see the devil mentioned in these atheist YouTube videos, with the possible exception of occasionally being portrayed as the horned, red-spiked-tail goofy caricature that nobody takes seriously.

In this particular video Eve is not shown to be tempted by Satan, which permits him to escape the blame (and why was Adam left out?  Adam is just as guilty, and could probably have reversed the curse if he rebuked the serpent).  Sin is made out to be a harmless, malum prohibitum act, and in fact the punishment is made out to be only for the first sin of Adam and Eve rather than any subsequent individual sins.  Thus, the event that according to the Bible was an act of the highest political and personal treason is reduced to the equivalent of a child getting into the cookie jar.  No wonder God looks ridiculous!  If you are going to judge the Bible, please evaluate it in an intellectual and historical context.  The Bible welcomes intellectual examination (Acts 17:11, Isaiah 1:18, 2 Samuel 22:31, Proverbs 30:5).  Philosophically, to examine the story and its implications, you must try to imagine for a moment that it is real even if you don’t believe it.  Then begin your honest questioning (i.e., if such is the case, then this follows).  The following is what you should realize (though I’m putting it very briefly now).

Yahweh is not some sort of one dimensional wizard with fiery darts and spells and bombs.  The spiritual conflict in the Bible is of two powerful entities that are constantly at war, much like political operations between nations in our world today, only on a much larger and more complex scale.  You view Yahweh as beating up on poor helpless people in the Old Testament, without acknowledging the likelihood of demonic possession and strongholds that were exercised over certain tribes (as that was a time when the devil was trying to thwart the plan of a Messiah entering the world).  Satan wants his kingdom, condemned though it may be, to be larger than Yahweh’s, hence the strength of his opposition.  Thus, it was Yahweh vs. Satan, not Yahweh vs. poor innocent people.  Sure, Yahweh is more powerful than Satan, but He plays fair and keeps His word, sticking to the plan He promised in Genesis (Genesis 3:15).  Satan is no match for God, but Yahweh gave him a chance to have full domain over the earth by fighting him with one hand behind His back – in the weakest form imaginable – the human form of Jesus.  Thus, Yahweh empathized with our humanity entirely and gave everyone a chance to choose His side or His opponent’s side.  I would think that those of you who are obsessed with equality and leveling the playing field would be impressed by this.

There is another important detail left out of NonStampCollector’s video – the Resurrection.  In Forgiveness, Grace and God’s Death Sentence, Jesus is said to have been brutally tortured and never seen again.  But according to eyewitness accounts, He was seen again at least eleven times, once even appearing in front of 500 people (1 Corinthians 15, John 20, 21, Luke 24, Mark 16, Matthew 28, Acts 1,9).

In short, people have failed to correctly name the dragon.  I think that the Church is greatly at fault for this.  My intention is to expose the dragon in this debate by naming him.  The dragon doesn’t want to be named, because that reveals his vulnerability and exerts dominion over him.  Staying out of the picture is his favorite strategy, as Keith Green aptly illustrates in his song, No One Believes in Me Anymore, and C.S. Lewis likewise does in The Screwtape Letters.  The dragon would rather you never notice him and thus see his enemy as the bad guy.  The existence of Satan (name definition = “adversary”) is a crucial missing link (if I dare say so myself) in understanding the Biblical account.

For intellectual stimulation on a slightly different course, here is an interesting story from the biography of J.R.R. Tolkien by Humphrey Carpenter.  C.S. Lewis, as a non-Christian, had some poignant questions:

“In Tolkien, [C.S. Lewis] found a person of wit and intellectual verve who was nevertheless a devout J.R.R. TolkienChristian…Lewis argued, but more and more in the matter of belief he was coming to admit that Tolkien was right.  By the summer of 1929 he had come to profess theism, a simple faith in God.  But he was not yet a Christian…[O]n Saturday 19 September 1931 they met in the evening.  Lewis had invited Tolkien to dine at Magdalen, and he had another guest, Hugo Dyson, whom Tolkien had first known at Exeter College in 1919.  Dyson was now Lecturer in English Literature at Reading University, and he paid frequent visits to Oxford.  He was a Christian, and a man of feline wit.  After dinner, Lewis, Tolkien, and Dyson went out for air.  It was a blustery night, but they strolled along Addison’s Walk discussing the purpose of myth.  Lewis, though now a believer in God, could not yet understand the function of Christ in Christianity, could not perceive the meaning of the Crucifixion and Resurrection.  He declared that he had to understand the purpose of these events – as he later expressed in a letter to a friend, ‘how the life and death of Someone Else (whoever he was) two thousand years ago could help us here and now – except in so far as his example could help us’.

As the night wore on, Tolkien and Dyson showed him that he was here making a totally unnecessary demand.  When he encountered the idea of sacrifice in the mythology of a pagan religion he admired it and was moved by it; indeed the idea of the dying and reviving deity had always touched his imagination since he had read the story of the Norse god Balder.  But from the Gospels (they said) he was requiring something more, a clear meaning beyond the myth.  Could he not transfer his comparatively unquestioning appreciation of sacrifice from the myth to the true story?

C.S. LewisBut, said Lewis, myths are lies, even though lies breathed through silverNo, said Tolkien, they are not.  And, indicating the great trees of Magdalen Grove as their branches bent in the wind, he struck out a different line of argument.  You call a tree a tree, he said, and you think nothing more of the word.  But it was not a ‘tree’ until someone gave it that name.  You call a star a star, and say it is just a ball of matter moving on a mathematical course.  But that is merely how you see it.  By so naming things and describing them you are only inventing your own terms about them.  And just as speech is invention about objects and ideas, so myth is invention about truth.

We have come from God (continued Tolkien), and inevitably the myths woven by us, though they contain error, will also reflect a splintered fragment of the true light, the eternal truth that is with God.  Indeed only by myth-making, only by becoming a ‘sub-creator’ and inventing stories, can Man aspire to the state of perfection that he knew before the Fall.  Our myths may be misguided, but they steer however shakily towards the true harbor, while materialistic ‘progress’ leads only to a yawning abyss and the Iron Crown of the power of evil.

In expounding this belief in the inherent truth of mythology, Tolkien had laid bare the centre of his philosophy as a writer, the creed that is at the heart of The Silmarillion.  Lewis listened as Dyson affirmed in his own way what Tolkien had said.  You mean, asked Lewis, that the story of Christ is simply a true myth, a myth that works on us in the same way as the others, but a myth that really happened?  In that case, he said, I begin to understand…

…Twelve days later Lewis wrote to his friend Arthur Greeves: ‘I have just passed on from believing in God to definitely believing in Christ – in Christianity.  I will try to explain this another time.  My long night talk with Dyson and Tolkien had a great deal to do with it.’”

UPDATE – 03/25/10: Here are my responses to some points raised by commenters…

“Dawkins point which he stated at the time, is that the Aliens themselves would still have to have come about by natural means. Moving the source of life off the planet doesn’t explain anything.”

I didn’t state that Dawkins firmly believed that.  I just said that he is open to the concept of aliens starting life on this planet.

“It would be much more accurate to say ‘He’ll believe in naturalistic explanations of Origins, but not Magic’.”

There really are no naturalistic explanations of origins outside of life already in existence.  Darwin thought that natural selection would explain the origin of different species, but that does not explain the origin of life. The Big Bang concept of getting things formed in the universe is extremely hypothetical, unobservable and un-experimental.  The Biblical account of Creation comes from a book of historical value, and we know that Jesus is a historical figure more influential worldwide than any other.  If philosophizing about origins is likened to a game of “hot and cold”, I would say that taking a closer look at the person and heritage of Christ is getting pretty warm.

The Biblical model of Creation explains the existence of the universe by saying that an infinite Being outside of its realm created it, and thus offers an explanation for why we cannot determine the origin of even the tiniest particle of matter through naturalistic means.  That’s not a simple “Goddidit” argument – it’s a sensible, philosophical and historical way to explain what empirical science cannot tell us.  Consider it this way – a figure in a painting cannot explain its existence outside of the canvas because it does not originate outside of it – an artist outside of the canvas formed it there.  That’s a lame analogy since figures in a painting aren’t alive and can’t reason, but hopefully the point gets across.  It is far more rational to presume that something outside of the natural realm put the natural realm into existence than to presume that the natural realm jump-started itself through its own processes.  After all, how would those processes have existed?  What got them started?  It gets even crazier when you try to imagine the process in a “pre-biotic” universe that relies on mutations to get the job done.  You might as well call that the “MotherNaturedidit” argument.

“The only thing really missing is that the Parents needed to have another child specifically conceived by the parents so that he could tell the younger children to misbehave.”

Actually, in order for it to have even been remotely accurate, it would have to be a brilliant, powerful prince disguised as a child, enticing them to disobey their parents’ rules by arguing that perhaps their parents didn’t really mean what they said.  Also, he would have been wicked by his own design, not by the design of anyone who raised him.  Just because God knows that people will do wrong doesn’t mean that He wants them to do wrong.

The laws that people obey reflect their citizenship.  A citizen of the United States of America respects the laws of this nation, whereas a citizen of China or Saudi Arabia respects very different laws.  The laws you submit yourself to reflect your allegiance.  The issue at stake in Eden was Adam and Eve’s allegiance – were they going to obey the commands of Yahweh, or the commands of someone who contradicted Yahweh?

“As for the Devil? Well he’s just following God’s plan right? God created the Devil and all the Demons knowing full well what was going to happen. And he only continues to exist with God’s blessing. I have no idea how Genesis 3:15 is supposed to be ‘fair’ in any sense .

‘The Serpent’ (only retroactively identified as satan) is only punished with crawling in the dust. Whereas Humanity is cursed with all manner of things including painful childbirth, and must be quickly kicked out of the Garden in case they eat from the Tree of Life.”

You missed the symbolic part about the Messiah crushing Satan’s head.  The fairness comes in the Scriptural fact that Yahweh kept His promise of sending a Messiah in human form (descending from Adam and Eve themselves) for Satan to combat, rather than evicting the devil right then and there.  Adam and Eve had given Satan dominion by obeying him, and he was thus entitled to a reign on this earth because of their foolish surrender.  For the sake of analogy, think of C.S. Lewis’ novel, The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe.  The White Witch Jadis was entitled to Edmund’s blood because Edmund willingly chose to follow her.  Aslan played fair – He knew Jadis had won Edmund fair and square, so instead of devouring the Witch to bits instantly like we furious readers would have wanted the Lion to do, He gave himself up as a sacrifice instead.   Aslan represents the Messiah, Jesus. They both made a deal to free their lost prisoners of war and kept it.

By the way, the man and woman had to be prevented from eating from the Tree of Life, or else mankind would be trapped in an eternal life of pain (a previous natural law in Eden – that’s why no such trees exist now).  Everything deteriorated from there on out.  In fact, I think that in a physical sense we sort of “devolved” – not into different creatures, of course – we’re still made in God’s image – but our bodies are far less perfect than they would have been had sin not happened.

This whole ordeal has NOT been God’s plan, but He is a gentleman and will not force anyone to obey Him.  Yahweh takes no pleasure in the death of the wicked (Ezekiel 33:11).  But since justice is very important to Him, He will not change the deal that was made in the beginning.  It is not in His nature to contradict Himself.  Thus, the devil does not continue on with Yahweh’s “blessing,” but rather so that the built in laws of the universe will play out.  By the way, there is a time limit on that…

~Amanda~

Jesus Christ, The Narrow-Minded Bigot?

It’s a commonplace scenario that was repeated recently: Christian invites unbeliever to salvation.  Unbelieving onlookers wag their heads and proceed to enact the contemporary equivalent of stoning or the lion’s den, whichever stamps the notion out quickest.

“Wow, Hume’s attempt to inject religion into a discussion of the Woods mess, and then setting one religion as superior and more forgiving to another…” (Olbermann)

Two things you need to get straight, Keith.  For one, this was a very lame swipe at FOX News, because Brit Hume was speaking as a guest on a panel, not as a broadcaster.  He said what his message to Tiger Woods would be as one person to another.  Secondly, of course a Christian is going to assert that following Christ is superior to other religions, because Christ said so!  That’s the whole reason why we’re Christians!  Faith is not subjective like different hairstyles or ice cream flavors.  Only one can be right.

“Jesus said to him, ‘I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through me.”

- John 14:6

“He who is not with Me is against Me; and he who does not gather with Me, scatters.”

- Luke 11:23

“Do you suppose I came to bring peace on earth?  I tell you, no, but rather division…”

- Luke 12:51

The Man insisted He was the One and Only Son of God.  Buddha never said anything like that.

“There’s Brit Hume on FOX News suggesting that people should be Christians…because it offers the ‘best deal’, the get-out-of-adultery-free card that other religions can’t.” (Savage)

Christianity is the best deal around?  You better believe it!  Following Christ is about gaining eternal salvation and losing the nastiness of the world.  It’s about condemning sin for what it is, and choosing to live like a child of the King.  It’s not about religious activity, it’s about relationship with a Person.  One of the best Biblical case points of redemption is that of Rahab, the Canaanite prostitute who repented and helped bring victory to YAHWEH’s chosen people (Joshua 2).  She was redeemed, and as a result of her faith (Hebrews 11: 31) became a direct ancestress of Jesus Christ (Matthew 1:5)!

Among other religions, Buddhism doesn’t offer true forgiveness and salvation because, like atheism, it doesn’t believe there is anything to be saved from.  But regardless, Brit wasn’t intending to make a point about Buddhism.  He was talking about the redemption of Tiger’s soul, and merely saying what he would tell him if he had the chance.

“When Christ is mentioned…all Hell breaks loose.” (Hume)

Yes, every time skeptics condemn Christianity, they reaffirm the Bible.

“Know this first of all, that in the last days mockers will come with their mocking, following after their own lusts, and saying, ‘Where is the promise of His coming?  For ever since the fathers fell asleep, all continues just as it was from the beginning of creation.*’  For when they maintain this, it escapes their notice that by the word of God the heavens existed long ago and the earth was formed out of water and by water, through which the world at that time was destroyed, being flooded with water.  But by His word the present heavens and earth are being reserved for fire, kept for the day of judgment and destruction of ungodly men.”

- 2 Peter 3:3-7

*Notice that this word is often replaced with evolution (and the Big Bang) nowadays, and that this passage illustrates common arguments against the Bible:  Uniformitarianism, discounting the worldwide Flood, and disbelief in judgment.  It also explains the presuppositions that block scientific advancement (“For when they maintain this, it escapes their notice…”).

“Keep religious advocacy out of public life since, you know, the worst examples of that are jihadists.” (Olbermann)

Secularists have yet to realize that there is no such thing as a neutral society.  People are not robots that can be programmed to devote various percentages of themselves to “religion” and State.  Not even atheists are neutral; they are religiously anti-religion.  Thomas Jefferson’s letter to the Danbury Baptists states explicitly that the “wall of separation between Church & State” is there to prevent the government from violating citizens’ rights of conscience – that is, the government cannot establish a State-sponsored Church and force everyone to worship under it.  NOTE: Do not read Jefferson’s letter if you experience an extreme allergic reaction at the mention of the words “Creator of man” or experience similar symptoms when doctors and nurses refuse to perform abortions because it violates their conscience.

“Where are the moderate liberal Christians?” (Savage)

Oh, would you like to know?

“So because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of My mouth.”

- Revelation 3:16

Jesus doesn’t like moderate Christians.  You can’t think and live with one foot in Heaven and the other in Hell your whole life and truly please Christ.  Make up you mind.  Whose side are you on?

“WWJDIHS – What would Jesus do if He strayed?” (Olbermann)

Oh Mr. Olbermann, you know not what you say.  By the way, it’s been 1,977 years since Jesus declared “mission accomplished.”  He’s coming back.

~Amanda~

UPDATE 01/24/10: Matt Barber of Town Hall wrote that Keith Olbermann actually “suggest[ed] that Jesus may have been a homosexual and wondering aloud: ‘WWJDIHS: What would Jesus do if he’s straight?’” http://townhall.com/columnists/MattBarber/2010/01/08/the_crucifixion_of_brit_hume

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