Religious Dispute? No Religion For You! Next!

Religious dispute? No religion for you! Next!

The problem of diversity and equality of religion recently cropped up in Weaverville, North Carolina. North Windy Ridge intermediate school allowed Gideons International to leave boxes of bibles in the school office. Interested students could come by and pick one up. A mother who practices paganism, specifically witchcraft, was upset when her son brought home a bible and when she was turned away by the same school after offering a box of witchcraft spell books for interested students.

Michael Broyde, a professor and senior fellow at Emory University’s Center for the Study of Law and Religion, stated, “You can either open your public school up to all religious material, or you can say no religious material.” The article goes on to talk about the U.S. experimenting with religious diversity without violence and therein is the issue.

Broyde’s choice of all religions or no religion is a question that will eventually come to a head. Right now the comforts of material prosperity and liberal optimism has the masses mollified but history and other parts of the world show that such periods are destined to collapse. At some point in time the citizens will grow dissatisfied and will express their frustration with violence and it may not necessarily be religious dissatisfaction.

Even so, religion is viewed in a secular mind as the primary cause of war and violence. To talk of religious diversity in the context of violence as the article does assumes this. Diversity of religions peacefully co-existing is heralded as the success of irreligious rule. The non-religious believe they have rightly governed the religious.

Sectarian violence is always assumed to be a threat to a peaceful society and the secular state knows only one solution should violence arise. Given the choice, it will choose no religion over a diversity of religion.

The Gideons passing out bibles while pagan spell books are rejected is a direct violation of the concept of secular religious equality. The controversies while they remain legal are not a threat. However, if the state perceives that these legal cases could lead to violence, whether they will or not, enacting a no religion stance for public life would be a quick and ready solution.

Why I Do Not Celebrate Martin Luther King, Jr.

The celebration of Martin Luther King, Jr.’s birthday is here again as the United States prepares to enter Black History month. The normal expectation is for citizens across the country to celebrate and honor the man for giving birth to the Civil Rights movement in the 1960s.

But I cannot bring myself to view the man with the same sense of awe and respect as others do.

Much of what inspires people about King is his rhetoric, the dream of universal brotherhood for whites and blacks, and his insistence on peaceful disobedience to achieve his ends. These are notable ideas and achievements worthy of mention.

However, couched within the rhetoric there was an idea that ran parallel to the “dream” and became a driving force behind the Civil Rights movement. While the masses looked for the brotherhood, the architects of social engineering found inspiration in something else King said.

In a sense we have come to our nation’s capital to cash a check … This note was a promise that all men, yes, black men as well as white men, would be guaranteed the unalienable rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness … Instead of honoring this sacred obligation, America has given the Negro people a bad check, a check which has come back marked “insufficient funds.”

The Civil Rights movement could easily grasp the idea of universal brotherhood, but it also could and did grasp the idea that white America was in debt to blacks. This debt was never fully quantified and never laid out with a measurable limit so that at one point, America could be said to have paid back the “bad check.”

The debt is now defined as one of wealth and power, not of opportunity, and it is a debt to be paid through transfer and redistribution from those who have to those who have not. Any inequality between whites and blacks, real or perceived, gives proof to the claim that the dream is not achieved and further redistribution is necessary. And this debt has been expanded to include all minorities, women and any who feel disenfranchised.

King had a vision and utopian visions serve no function other than to pacify the masses. The reality is that blacks in 1963 wanted access to the same material opportunities whites had. The evidence now says they have it and still America is said to have a long way to go. King’s dream reminds whites of their “debt” while at the same time convincing the masses that utopia has been achieved.

His dream was only that and the rise of a socialist system for the sake of paying that “bad check” America owes is the practical reality birthed by the Civil Rights movement. Martin Luther King, Jr. is now the face of justification for a Socialist America, universal equality for all Americans. When America elected her first black president, Newsweek openly announced on the cover of its magazine, “We Are All Socialists Now.” King was the face of the beginning of American Socialism and President Obama is its fulfillment. There will be equality, but it will be equality of lower middle class existence and stunted liberty.

Maybe King did not envision a Socialist America, nor did the masses have such an end in mind, but others did. His speeches and achievements do not mark a period of greatness, but rather the emergence of King’s America and the end of Jefferson’s America.

The Evolving and Irrelevant Church

Church evolving into emptiness.

Darwinian Evolution has been established by government and academic voices as the dominant paradigm for understanding human existence on planet earth. The Christian Church, having its own answer and finding that answer challenged as irrelevant, is working for the cause of uniting “science and faith.” However, the friction between science and faith is setting the steeples on fire and the water of intellectual compromise called Theistic Evolution will not quench the fire and save the church from burning away into the ash heap of irrelevancy.

Darwin’s pet theory persists because it is audacious enough to answer some of humanity’s most profound questions. Who is man? How did he get here? Why? The answer, according to Evolutionary paradigm, is that man is the genetic product of a long process of traits, heredity, chance and natural selection. As for purpose, there is no purpose, other than the fulfillment of the evolutionary process.

The evolution of man, though, goes beyond a mere scientific theory of origins. It insinuates the producing of man without God from nothing. Man did not exist. Evolutionary processes took place. Man exists. This natural process produced man, with all his abilities and capacities, autonomously without need for a supernatural agent.

The Christian paradigm is that God directly created man, that created man fell into a state of depravity and redemption was offered by God through an act of overwhelming charity. This paradigm states that a transcendent being of infinite intelligence and ability brought man into existence through a direct and supernatural act. Man did not exist. God created man and give him life. Man does exist. This leaves man dependent on God for his past, present and future.

Within Evolution, it is reasonable to conclude that if the fundamental process that brought man into existence, and has brought man to his current place in the world, did so without need for a supernatural agent then man can safely get along without a supernatural agent. Man is not dependent on God. He may exist, but such existence, while comforting and meaningful, is ultimately irrelevant.

Faced with this, the church is threatened with its own irrelevancy. Man, not needing God, does not need the church. In response, large segments of the church have begun to go beyond developing a rational and thought-out set of doctrines based on a biblical paradigm to adapting those doctrines to the paradigm of Evolution.

These schools of thought walk a path of pseudo-biblical doctrine. They persist in proclaiming the fall and redemption of Christian orthodoxy, but accept human evolution and reject a direct creation of man. The complicated, systematic and ambiguous efforts to answer the obvious problems with a paradigm of Evolution, Fall and Redemption makes for fascinating and interesting theology, but inevitably avoids the obvious progression of rejection of the entire Christian paradigm. Here, atheists and agnostics practice a greater measure of intellectual clarity than Christian theologians.

It would be better if the church would simply and humbly hold to the traditional doctrine of scripture. Man was created by God, fell into separation from God and can find redemption through God, the narrative of Creation, Fall and Redemption. Christianity losing relevancy in an increasingly secular culture is not as disastrous as Christianity losing its very identity.

Weakening The Faith Through Uncertainty

A blank bible for a blank faith.

One facet of Christian liberalism is the overarching priority of inclusiveness for the achievement of ideological diversity. It is held as a moral imperative the simple phrase: “The more the merrier.” However, there is a serious and profound danger in the pursuit of such diversity. Inclusion opens avenues for the legitimization of ideas that are counter to the foundational ideas on which the Christian religion is built.

In reformed traditions, creeds and confessions record attempts to clarify and organize the core beliefs on which the church stands and functions in the world. In these creeds, there is held the belief that Jesus is the Christ, the Holy Son of God. Inclusiveness would allow within the church ideas that would hold Jesus as merely a wise teacher or a political martyr. Deeper still, Christianity assumes the existence of a transcendent God who governs the affairs of the material universe. Inclusiveness would give equal credence to the belief that God is in a place of disconnect, such as Deism, or that there is no God at all, Atheism.

It might be argued, and rightly so, that belief unchallenged is belief unsound. Even the writers of Holy Scripture record that the testing of faith develops the strength of perseverance (cf. James 1:3). Ideological diversity within the church, however, has the effect not of strengthening the certainty of belief, but rather weakening of that certainty. There is a difference between mere belief and committed belief. A person may have a belief, but there is always the possibility that such a belief can be changed through argument or persuasion. Committed belief, on the other hand, is a belief that refuses change, even if evidence to the contrary is presented. This is dogma, something Christian liberalism openly resists. Inclusion of counter ideas with the assumption of equality for the sake of diversity moves the Christian from committed belief into mere belief, where the only certainty is uncertainty itself. The Christian stops being a person of faith, committed belief, and becomes a person of secular skepticism with religious trappings.

In other words, the overarching expectation is not that the Christian holds that Jesus is the Christ, but that the Christian holds that Jesus might not be the Christ. This simple difference is the dividing line between what we might call “conservative theology” and “liberal theology.” So important is this distinction that the derogatory label of “fundamentalism” is oft used to describe committed belief that simply will not be shaken in the face of secular skepticism.

The open-ended exploration of ideas serve to weaken the faith of Christians for the sake of diversity and inclusiveness. Doubting hearts and minds cannot be propped up by simply replacing committed belief with blind optimism in human achievement. The Christianity identity is predicated on committed belief in those ideas that have been the foundation of the Christian faith for centuries. Exposing the purposeful uncertainty in liberalism and working to expunge its presence from within the church will give the church a much stronger stance in an emerging secular world.