” I know that I may seem like just a Christian hick with a bright future ahead of him, but can I give you some advice….”
— Dale, GrEEk
Just read through a recent copy of the magazine, Free Inquiry. Far be it from me, a humble grad student, to dissent from such a group of learned men, but Free Inquiry is not a free and unlicensed inquiry. In much the same that they accuse those of us into “conservative Christian (i.e. what they view as fundamentalist circles)” of being blinded by our commitments, they remained committed to their own set of ideas. It was interesting, though, to read a magazine that was so open and unafraid to admit as much. So in the spirit of freedom, let me offer a couple of points:
*** The editorial in front was almost amusing in its West-centric rationalism. It was as amusing as the guy at Borders Book Store yesterday who refused to believe that they did not have a particular boo stocked. I read a lot; spend countless hours in book stores. libraries, and such (it may be boring, but it is almost my favorite way to spend an off-day); and have never even heard of either the book or author. Yet according to flake-0 this was the GREATEST BOOK EVER PRODUCED IN THE U.S. AND UNDER NO CIRCUMSTANCES SHOULD IT EVER GO OUT OF STOCK MUCH LESS OUT OF PRINT, PEOPLE NEED TO READ THIS BOOK. I am sure that my boy loved this book, but get a grip on reality. Just cause you like it, may not mean its that good. Sorry. Similarly, Western philosophers and academics who continue to beat the drum of secularism and bleat for the complete overthrow of Christianity have no objective grip on a very real reality. Secularism, not Christianity, is dead. Around the turn of the 19th century, scholars and writers liked to make such loud pronouncements of God’s death. In the middle half of the century, the Nazis did their darnest to create a world of people who cannot believe in God. During the 60’s and 70’s the hippie culture attempted to kill Orthodoxy, but unrepentant lifestyle choices. As the century has turned still more scholars attempt to bang that drum. And the secularists have won their battles. Christianity in parts of Europe seems dead. America appears to be in a violent struggle. Yet the two-thirds world is yet to accounted for. Life in the Global South is predominantly un-secularist, and un-rationalist. In fact, those sounding the death knell for Christianity in Europe may be sounding the bell a little early (see Phil Jenkins new book). Likewise the secularist victory in America is a far from done deal. I know it kills them to see W in office (and truth be told it kills me at times, too)…. but he is exhibit one that the secularists are in control…. yet.
**** Gerd Ludeman’s discussion of Early Christianity was as frustratingly inaccurate with its historical merit (inadequency is more like it), as it was, imaginative in its “de-mythologizing” of the early church. First, I must redirect the reader to Mark Noll’s work on the topic. It much more historically accurate. Second, I must also point to the work of NT Wright. Last, if magazines are your thing, see CT’s discussion of Paul.
**** The article on homosexuality raised some good points— how can I love the sinner, and hate the sin (especially if that person really isn’t sinning as the article argued)? This is a tough point for us neanderthal evangelicals. The article revealed the primary point of difference between them and us. In two lines, the author diminished the teachings of scripture. In another two, he diminished the traditional orthopraxy of the church, and then spent several paragraphs making a poor mark of the straw man named “natural law.” Let’s imagine for the sake of argument that just maybe there is a God. Let’s imagine that He has created a world and a people. He has then given these people the free will to follow Him or reject Him. Let’s suppose that there is a force that has decided to take down this God, and fails. What does this power do? He gives the people the means by which to reject this God. Let’s suppose that said people chose to reject Him, and break away from contact with Him. Now, said people exchange the freedom of God, for the bondage of sin. Now they are constrained by the sinful natures that they have chosen for themselves. They cannot break free. Regardless of what they do. The enemy is ecstatic, he may be a failure, but he has taken away the one thing that said God loves more than anything in the world. This God lovingly provides an out from this bondage and leaves instructions on right conduct that will ensure that this bondage cannot return. So what do these people led by the enemy do? They act on these desires that they cannot overcome, and berate anyone who suggests that perhaps they can be free again. It really is a win-win situation for this enemy. He has convinced the world that their chains are the state of freedom, and if anyone challenges this logic he simply asserts that said person is trying to enslave them. If anyone questions this logic, then he simply whispers in their ear that they are simply “born this way,” and because of this fact they will only find happiness by giving in to these “natural” desires. If there was a God, and there was devil then this would be an absolutely brilliant scheme. But of course the author if the article is right, cause we are know that there is no God. There is no devil, and the chains hanging around my neck are only jewelry. It’s all so obvious and rational. I should do everything that feels “natural.” I should act on all the first impulses that come to mind. Stupid Christians with all their rules….. Idiots. Morons. I say, morons. The blog shall henceforth pursue the noble-minded secular humanist agenda. UNLESS, NAAAHHHHH…… if there were the morons, then surely they would know it, cause they got degrees and stuff.