Editor: After we reprinted the Rod Dreher article, "Sex After Christianity," Centennial Fellow Brad Hughes offered this penetrating analysis of the same problem - the hollowing out of the church in the USA - from a different angle.
It is secularism, not sexuality, that has seduced the saints and threatens to destroy America from within. America is following the path already traveled by Europe, the bastion of secularism. The problem goes way beyond same sex marriage. It is all about which worldview will be victorious in America. The three dominant worldviews in the world are Christianity, Islam, and secularism.
The symptoms of the problem are evident throughout the state of the American culture. Statistics with respect to abortion, alcoholism, bankruptcy, cheating, child abuse, crime, debt bondage, depression, divorce, drug addiction, fraud, gambling, government dependence, greed, homosexuality, illegitimacy, illiteracy, infidelity, over-medication (more than a quarter of US teens are taking medication on a chronic basis according to Medco Health Solutions Inc.) 25% of adult women are now taking psychoactive drugs to deal with their problems, prescription drug overdose deaths now exceed traffic fatalities for the first time since records have been kept, physical abuse, pedophilia, pornography, promiscuity, prostitution, sexual abuse and assault, STD’s, same sex adoption, same sex marriage, suicide, violence, and the rise of an increasing police state are overwhelming the culture and show few signs of abatement. Nancy Pearcey wrote in Saving Leonardo that politics is downstream from culture and Christians must address the cultural decay in America if we are to prevent the rise of the secular state and persecution of Christians. While Satan and his demons never sleep, Christians often do. The report card is ominous.
The lack of a Christian worldview is corroborated by the survey findings of the Barna Research Group. The Barna study, conducted approximately two years ago, states, “For the purposes of the survey, a biblical worldview was defined as believing that absolute moral truth exists; the Bible is totally accurate in all of the principles it teaches; Satan is considered to be a real being or force, not merely symbolic; a person cannot earn their way into Heaven by trying to be good or do good works; Jesus Christ lived a sinless life on earth; and God is the all-powerful creator of the world who still rules today.”
In the research, anyone who held all of those beliefs was said to have a biblical worldview. Nine percent of Americans have such a biblical worldview and less than one out of every five (19%) born-again Christians had such an outlook on life.” If one were to incorporate additional doctrinal truths, e.g., the Trinity, the inerrancy of the Bible, original sin, the virgin birth, the bodily resurrection of Jesus, the miracles of Jesus, the exclusive divinity and salvific nature of Jesus, the hypostatic union of Jesus, etc., it is likely that a Biblical worldview among professing Christians would drop to the low single digits.
Secularism has conquered Europe. There are 13 countries that have sanctioned same sex marriage, 10 of which are secular European countries: France, Uruguay, Argentina, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Iceland, Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Spain, South Africa, and Sweden.
These problems are substantially the fault of a lethargic and ignorant church whose leadership operates under willful neglect.
The church is increasingly irrelevant in society due to this leadership failure. Colonial America would find individuals spending hundreds of hours annually under the tutelage of a Bible-believing pastor/family resulting in over 10,000 hours of biblical worldview instruction. Our contemporary situation finds individuals getting 20 minutes of teaching for an average of three Sundays a month, equating to approximately 12 hours annually. This translates into a decline of approximately two orders of magnitude in the quantity of teaching (and is further exacerbated by the significant decline in the quality of instruction over the same period).
This educational gap has been largely offset by the government schools, which indoctrinate over 90% of each generation with 30 hours per week over 12 years (for those who graduate) equating to approximately 13,000 hours of secular humanist instruction. The secular humanist worldview is now dominant in America because the Christians have abdicated their educational responsibility. Abraham Lincoln said “The philosophy of the classroom in one generation will be the philosophy of the government in the next.” By almost any measure, the US government education system is in steep decline after decades of secularist indoctrination, underscored by the recent OECD PISA study where America finished 25th out of 34 industrialized nations in the mathematics competition. It is little wonder that our society is in free fall as measured by rates of illegitimacy, homosexuality, suicide, depression, bankruptcy, debt bondage, illiteracy, alcoholism, drug addiction, pornography, gambling, sexual abuse, physical abuse, over-medication, divorce, infidelity, abortion, same sex marriage, same sex adoption, and government dependence.
Our secularist educational system has indoctrinated the generations with what to think, rather than how to think. The results clearly show that humanist indoctrination in our schools bodes poorly for the republic. Studies suggest that declining scholastic performance in the US government schools is inversely related to the increasing secularism in those same government schools. Studies further confirm that US student results are also inversely related to educational spending. Educrats and teachers unions are getting wealthy while US students become increasingly ignorant. As student performance declines, self esteem increases, another by-product of the secular education model regarding affective learning.
The dream of this secularization had its provenance in the 19th century with the arrival of Darwin, Marx, Freud, Keynes, Wellhausen, Kierkegaard, and Dewey. John Dewey, father of the modern US education system, and a contributing author of The Humanist Manifesto (1933) has been singularly effective in inculcating secularism into the American culture. Dewey, a Hegelian, and committed to the transformation of US institutions, said “Meaning . . . is more precious in value than is truth, and philosophy is occupied with meaning rather than the truth.” Sadly, Christians have compromised on absolute truth while abandoning righteous education and now reap what they have sown.
In addition, church membership/attendance has declined with an increasing abdication of Bible study and doctrinal study. More churches are closing while fewer people formally attend church services. There are approximately 300,000 churches in the US with a median size of 75 in the congregation. Approximately 20% of Americans attend church, a number that continues to decline. Further, statistical projections suggest that Islam will become the majority religion on the planet by 2050. Presently, 20% of Russians are Muslim, 45% of those under 20 in Paris are Muslim, and two great founts of Christianity (Germany and France) are projected to be Islamic republics by 2050.
Secularism at home, Islam abroad, the relativism of morals, multiculturalism (better characterized as Cultural Marxism), globalism, and an indifference to biblical teaching bode very poorly for the future of America relative to its Judeo-Christian past.
In the face of an extremely well-organized (and energized) opposition, we find cowardly pastors, lazy Christians, institutions adrift, and a government heretofore sympathetic to Christians, now increasingly hostile to Christianity. The US federal government now concentrates wealth to itself. According to newly released US Census data, the highest percentage of households in the US earning over $200,000 annually is in Washington D.C. with 8.4% of all D.C. households earning above $200,000. D.C. is also the home to the highest percentage of single parent households in the nation. The secular model of society seen in D.C. recalls the history of 20th century socialism when economic power separated into two classes, the elite and the ruled. This same secular government, growing in size and power, will first privatize Christianity, then marginalize Christianity, then persecute Christianity, and ultimately prosecute Christianity. The similarities between our cultural failures and those of preceding empire collapse, e.g. Rome, are startling.
Secularism, which opposes the Judeo-Christian worldview, has a long history of religious persecution. According to the leading expert on democide (murder by government), R.J. Rummel, secular governments have killed more than 170 million people in the 20th century alone. Pre-20th century death counts by government (over 600 million) indicate that secular government is civilization's greatest enemy. Records indicate that Islam, the #2 worldview measured by number of adherents, is responsible for approximately 270 million killed in its 1,400 year history. According to scholars, Tamerlane (a 14th century Islamic warrior) killed 17 million people in his military campaigns, amounting to about 5% of the world's population at that time. Oddly, very few people have ever heard of his slaughters. Moreover, Islam is the world's leading perpetrator of religious persecution today, followed by secularism. If Americans understood the history of these worldview horrors, they might think twice before pursuing their doctrines. The secular doctrines of non-traditional families, atheism, economic interventionism, abortion, same sex marriage, legal positivism, and moral relativism always have (and always will) caused destruction of the civilizations that practiced them.
Conversely, Christianity has a much less pernicious record regarding mass killing than secularism and Islam throughout history (contrary to the propaganda espoused by secularists and Islamists in our government schools and secular media.) The much cited Salem witch trials manifest only 29 deaths. According to Dr. Kirk Duston, Director of the New Scholars Society, less than 300,000 were killed by Christians worldwide including the Crusades, Inquisition, and witch trials combined. There is a substantial body of research confirming that democracies do not wage war on democracies throughout history. Christianity, based upon the Bible, clearly favors representative government, e.g., democracies, to ensure freedom (based upon the morality of the people.) Christianity opposes any teaching of utopia on earth. Secularism and Islam clearly support government control in an effort to impose utopia on earth. Utopianism invariably leads to tyranny. Utopianism believes that man was born good and that the government can restore man's original condition. Christianity believes that man was born sinful and can not be redeemed until the afterlife, i.e., there is no heaven on earth. This difference alone helps explain why secularism and Islam have a disproportionate record of slaughter.
Secularism was a primary motivating force for Margaret Sanger, who founded (what was to become) Planned Parenthood, an organization responsible for over 25 million abortions. It is a moral outrage that secularism has led the US government to fund Planned Parenthood with $487 million of US taxpayer dollars in the past year while Planned Parenthood performed almost 330,000 abortions. Although China, a secularist country, does not officially report abortion statistics, it is clear that their "one child" policy (and size of population) assures them of the #1 place in the world for abortions. They are followed by the secularist Russia at #2 and the (increasingly secular) United States as the #3 nation in the world ranked by abortions performed. California (an increasingly secular state) is the #1 state in America for abortions. Abortion rates by state confirm the relationship between secularism and abortion with the District of Columbia, New York, and Maryland at the top. The relationship between abortion and secularism is evident internationally with China and Russia being the top abortion practicing (and overtly secular) countries on earth. America comes in third as it increasingly surrenders to the secular worldview.
In sum, Christianity in America faces dire challenges and increasing irrelevance in society due to leadership failure, inadequate discipleship, and lack of engagement on the part of the church body. The failure of Christianity contributes to family failure and ultimately leads to broader societal failure. Further, Christians will face contempt and passionate opposition from secular interests engaged in spiritual warfare if they seeks to resolve the challenge. The challenge must be met beginning with individual and corporate repentance. C.S. Lewis said there is no neutral ground in the universe and that God claims every inch of it while Satan invokes his own counterclaims. Satan and his followers are on the field of battle. Most Christians remain bystanders in the bleachers. If our cultural rebellion continues and the cultural course and speed is not mediated, most Americans will neither recognize the United States in the years to come nor find comfort in both the spiritual and economic consequences of their secular worldview. The blue (secular worldview) and red (Judeo-Christian worldview) state divide in the US may only be a foretaste of what is to come.
It is clearly up to the individual to change our direction as elucidated in the following parable: "There was an important job to be done and everybody was sure somebody would do it. Anybody could have done it but nobody did it. Somebody got angry about that, because it was everybody's job. Everybody thought anybody could do it, but nobody realized that everybody wouldn't do it. It ended up that everybody blamed somebody when nobody did what anybody could have done."
Sunday, 14 April 2013 12:24 by Admin
Rod Dreher, writing last week in The American Conservative, offers a grim assessment of where our country is headed in his piece "Sex After Christianity." Full text of the article appears in this post. We have numbered the paragraphs for ease in locating the following key ideas, given in near-verbatim paraphrase.
** Gay marriage will make America a far less Christian culture (Para 7). Is sex the linchpin of Christian culture? (Para 15)
** Since at least the 1960s, the West has been re-paganizing around sexual liberation (Para 19).
** Early Christianity was a liberating force in the sexually exploitive Greco-Roman culture, restraining male eros, elevating women, and sacralizing marriage (Para 21).
** Our era, unlike any in history, won't let culture do what it must do: channel individual passions toward communal purposes (Para 24).
** Gay marriage denies the core concept of Christian anthropology, the divinely sanctioned union of man and woman, thus negating the very cosmology from which we derive our modern concept of human rights. What will anchor them in the post-Christian epoch? (Para 30).
** American Christians tend to misunderstand Christianity as merely a moralistic therapeutic adjunct to bourgeois individualism (Para 33).
** American Christians have already lost the culture and could soon lose their religion as well, unless they learn to fight cosmologically (Para 34).
Books cited by Dreher include American Grace by Robert Putnam, Triumph of the Therapeutic by Philip Rieff, Paul Among the People by Sarah Ruden, A Secular Age by Charles Taylor, and Soul Searching by Christian Smith.
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- The American Conservative - http://www.theamericanconservative.com
Sex After Christianity
Posted By Rod Dreher On April 11, 2013 @ 12:00 am In | 121 Comments
1) Twenty years ago, new president Bill Clinton stepped on a political landmine when he tried to fulfill a campaign promise to permit gay soldiers to serve openly. Same-sex marriage barely registered as a political cause; the country was then three years away from the Defense of Marriage Act and four years from comedian Ellen DeGeneres’s prime-time coming out.
2) Then came what historians will one day recall as a cultural revolution. Now we’re entering the endgame of the struggle over gay rights and the meaning of homosexuality. Conservatives have been routed, both in court and increasingly in the court of public opinion. It is commonly believed that the only reason to oppose same-sex marriage is rank bigotry or for religious reasons, neither of which—the argument goes—has any place in determining laws or public standards.
3) The magnitude of the defeat suffered by moral traditionalists will become ever clearer as older Americans pass from the scene. Poll after poll shows that for the young, homosexuality is normal and gay marriage is no big deal—except, of course, if one opposes it, in which case one has the approximate moral status of a segregationist in the late 1960s.
4) All this is, in fact, a much bigger deal than most people on both sides realize, and for a reason that eludes even ardent opponents of gay rights. Back in 1993, a cover story in The Nation identified the gay-rights cause as the summit and keystone of the culture war:
5) All the crosscurrents of present-day liberation struggles are subsumed in the gay struggle. The gay moment is in some ways similar to the moment that other communities have experienced in the nation’s past, but it is also something more, because sexual identity is in crisis throughout the population, and gay people—at once the most conspicuous subjects and objects of the crisis—have been forced to invent a complete cosmology to grasp it. No one says the changes will come easily. But it’s just possible that a small and despised sexual minority will change America forever.
6) They were right, and though the word “cosmology” may strike readers as philosophically grandiose, its use now appears downright prophetic. The struggle for the rights of “a small and despised sexual minority” would not have succeeded if the old Christian cosmology had held: put bluntly, the gay-rights cause has succeeded precisely because the Christian cosmology has dissipated in the mind of the West.
7) Same-sex marriage strikes the decisive blow against the old order. The Nation’s triumphalist rhetoric from two decades ago is not overripe; the radicals appreciated what was at stake far better than did many—especially bourgeois apologists for same-sex marriage as a conservative phenomenon. Gay marriage will indeed change America forever, in ways that are only now becoming visible. For better or for worse, it will make ours a far less Christian culture. It already is doing exactly that.
8) When they were writing the widely acclaimed 2010 book American Grace, a comprehensive study of contemporary religious belief and practice, political scientists Robert D. Putnam and David E. Campbell noticed two inverse trend lines in social-science measures, both starting around 1990.
9) They found that young Americans coming into adulthood at that time began to accept homosexuality as morally licit in larger numbers. They also observed that younger Americans began more and more to fall away from organized religion. The evangelical boom of the 1970s and 1980s stopped, and if not for a tsunami of Hispanic immigration the U.S. Catholic church would be losing adherents at the same rate as the long-dwindling Protestant mainline.
graphic by Michael Hogue
10) Over time, the data showed, attitudes on moral issues proved to be strong predictors of religious engagement. In particular, the more liberal one was on homosexuality, the less likely one was to claim religious affiliation. It’s not that younger Americans were becoming atheists. Rather, most of them identify as “spiritual, but not religious.” Combined with atheists and agnostics, these “Nones”—the term is Putnam’s and Campbell’s—comprise the nation’s fastest-growing faith demographic.
11) Indeed, according to a 2012 Pew Research Center study, the Nones comprise one out of three Americans under 30. This is not simply a matter of young people doing what young people tend to do: keep church at arm’s length until they settle down. Pew’s Greg Smith told NPR that this generation is more religiously unaffiliated than any on record. Putnam—the Harvard scholar best known for his best-selling civic culture study Bowling Alone—has said that there’s no reason to think they will return to church in significant numbers as they age.
12) Putnam and Campbell were careful to say in American Grace that correlation is not causation, but they did point out that as gay activism moved toward center stage in American political life—around the time of The Nation’s cover story—the vivid public role many Christian leaders took in opposing gay rights alienated young Americans from organized religion.
13) In a dinner conversation not long after the publication of American Grace, Putnam told me that Christian churches would have to liberalize on sexual teaching if they hoped to retain the loyalty of younger generations. This seems at first like a reasonable conclusion, but the experience of America’s liberal denominations belies that prescription. Mainline Protestant churches, which have been far more accepting of homosexuality and sexual liberation in general, have continued their stark membership decline.
14) It seems that when people decide that historically normative Christianity is wrong about sex, they typically don’t find a church that endorses their liberal views. They quit going to church altogether.
15) This raises a critically important question: is sex the linchpin of Christian cultural order? Is it really the case that to cast off Christian teaching on sex and sexuality is to remove the factor that gives—or gave—Christianity its power as a social force?
16) Though he might not have put it quite that way, the eminent sociologist Philip Rieff would probably have said yes. Rieff’s landmark 1966 book The Triumph Of the Therapeutic analyzes what he calls the “deconversion” of the West from Christianity. Nearly everyone recognizes that this process has been underway since the Enlightenment, but Rieff showed that it had reached a more advanced stage than most people—least of all Christians—recognized.
17) Rieff, who died in 2006, was an unbeliever, but he understood that religion is the key to understanding any culture. For Rieff, the essence of any and every culture can be identified by what it forbids. Each imposes a series of moral demands on its members, for the sake of serving communal purposes, and helps them cope with these demands. A culture requires a cultus—a sense of sacred order, a cosmology that roots these moral demands within a metaphysical framework.
18) You don’t behave this way and not that way because it’s good for you; you do so because this moral vision is encoded in the nature of reality. This is the basis of natural-law theory, which has been at the heart of contemporary secular arguments against same-sex marriage (and which have persuaded no one).
19) Rieff, writing in the 1960s, identified the sexual revolution—though he did not use that term—as a leading indicator of Christianity’s death as a culturally determinative force. In classical Christian culture, he wrote, “the rejection of sexual individualism” was “very near the center of the symbolic that has not held.” He meant that renouncing the sexual autonomy and sensuality of pagan culture was at the core of Christian culture—a culture that, crucially, did not merely renounce but redirected the erotic instinct. That the West was rapidly re-paganizing around sensuality and sexual liberation was a powerful sign of Christianity’s demise.
20) It is nearly impossible for contemporary Americans to grasp why sex was a central concern of early Christianity. Sarah Ruden, the Yale-trained classics translator, explains the culture into which Christianity appeared in her 2010 book Paul Among The People. Ruden contends that it’s profoundly ignorant to think of the Apostle Paul as a dour proto-Puritan descending upon happy-go-lucky pagan hippies, ordering them to stop having fun.
21) In fact, Paul’s teachings on sexual purity and marriage were adopted as liberating in the pornographic, sexually exploitive Greco-Roman culture of the time—exploitive especially of slaves and women, whose value to pagan males lay chiefly in their ability to produce children and provide sexual pleasure. Christianity, as articulated by Paul, worked a cultural revolution, restraining and channeling male eros, elevating the status of both women and of the human body, and infusing marriage—and marital sexuality—with love.
22) Christian marriage, Ruden writes, was “as different from anything before or since as the command to turn the other cheek.” The point is not that Christianity was only, or primarily, about redefining and revaluing sexuality, but that within a Christian anthropology sex takes on a new and different meaning, one that mandated a radical change of behavior and cultural norms. In Christianity, what people do with their sexuality cannot be separated from what the human person is.
23) It would be absurd to claim that Christian civilization ever achieved a golden age of social harmony and sexual bliss. It is easy to find eras in Christian history when church authorities were obsessed with sexual purity. But as Rieff recognizes, Christianity did establish a way to harness the sexual instinct, embed it within a community, and direct it in positive ways.
24) What makes our own era different from the past, says Rieff, is that we have ceased to believe in the Christian cultural framework, yet we have made it impossible to believe in any other that does what culture must do: restrain individual passions and channel them creatively toward communal purposes.
25) Rather, in the modern era, we have inverted the role of culture. Instead of teaching us what we must deprive ourselves of to be civilized, we have a society that tells us we find meaning and purpose in releasing ourselves from the old prohibitions.
26) How this came to be is a complicated story involving the rise of humanism, the advent of the Enlightenment, and the coming of modernity. As philosopher Charles Taylor writes in his magisterial religious and cultural history A Secular Age, “The entire ethical stance of moderns supposes and follows on from the death of God (and of course, of the meaningful cosmos).” To be modern is to believe in one’s individual desires as the locus of authority and self-definition.
27) Gradually the West lost the sense that Christianity had much to do with civilizational order, Taylor writes. In the 20th century, casting off restrictive Christian ideals about sexuality became increasingly identified with health. By the 1960s, the conviction that sexual expression was healthy and good—the more of it, the better—and that sexual desire was intrinsic to one’s personal identity culminated in the sexual revolution, the animating spirit of which held that freedom and authenticity were to be found not in sexual withholding (the Christian view) but in sexual expression and assertion. That is how the modern American claims his freedom.
28) To Rieff, ours is a particular kind of “revolutionary epoch” because the revolution cannot by its nature be institutionalized. Because it denies the possibility of communal knowledge of binding truths transcending the individual, the revolution cannot establish a stable social order. As Rieff characterizes it, “The answer to all questions of ‘what for’ is ‘more’.”
29) Our post-Christian culture, then, is an “anti-culture.” We are compelled by the logic of modernity and the myth of individual freedom to continue tearing away the last vestiges of the old order, convinced that true happiness and harmony will be ours once all limits have been nullified.
30) Gay marriage signifies the final triumph of the Sexual Revolution and the dethroning of Christianity because it denies the core concept of Christian anthropology. In classical Christian teaching, the divinely sanctioned union of male and female is an icon of the relationship of Christ to His church and ultimately of God to His creation. This is why gay marriage negates Christian cosmology, from which we derive our modern concept of human rights and other fundamental goods of modernity. Whether we can keep them in the post-Christian epoch remains to be seen.
31) It also remains to be seen whether we can keep Christianity without accepting Christian chastity. Sociologist Christian Smith’s research on what he has termed “moralistic therapeutic deism”—the feelgood, pseudo-Christianity that has supplanted the normative version of the faith in contemporary America—suggests that the task will be extremely difficult.
32) Conservative Christians have lost the fight over gay marriage and, as we have seen, did so decades before anyone even thought same-sex marriage was a possibility. Gay-marriage proponents succeeded so quickly because they showed the public that what they were fighting for was consonant with what most post-1960s Americans already believed about the meaning of sex and marriage. The question Western Christians face now is whether or not they are going to lose Christianity altogether in this new dispensation.
33) Too many of them think that same-sex marriage is merely a question of sexual ethics. They fail to see that gay marriage, and the concomitant collapse of marriage among poor and working-class heterosexuals, makes perfect sense given the autonomous individualism sacralized by modernity and embraced by contemporary culture—indeed, by many who call themselves Christians. They don’t grasp that Christianity, properly understood, is not a moralistic therapeutic adjunct to bourgeois individualism—a common response among American Christians, one denounced by Rieff in 2005 as “simply pathetic”—but is radically opposed to the cultural order (or disorder) that reigns today.
34) They are fighting the culture war moralistically, not cosmologically. They have not only lost the culture, but unless they understand the nature of the fight and change their strategy to fight cosmologically, within a few generations they may also lose their religion.
35) “The death of a culture begins when its normative institutions fail to communicate ideals in ways that remain inwardly compelling,” Rieff writes. By that standard, Christianity in America, if not American spirituality, is in mortal danger. The future is not foreordained: Taylor shares much of Rieff’s historical analysis but is more hopeful about the potential for renewal. Still, if the faith does not recover, the historical autopsy will conclude that gay marriage was not a cause but a symptom, the sign that revealed the patient’s terminal condition.
Rod Dreher blogs at www.theamericanconservative.com/dreher .
(Centennial Fellow) There is a growing intensity among atheists such as Richard Dawkins, Sam Harris, Daniel Dennett, Christopher Hitchens (the four horsemen of the new atheism) and others who believe that materialism is the ultimate reality. Their writings are passionately opposed to promoting theism and specifically, Christianity.
Philosopher Alvin Plantinga states there are three reasons why philosophers accept materialism. "First, some materialists argue that dualism (the thought that a human being is an immaterial self) is incoherent. Second, naturalism entails that there are no immaterial souls. Third, materialism will ordinarily endorse Darwinian evolution."
This essay will examine the failures of materialism to simultaneously explain creation, the Anthropic principle (necessary for a life-permitting universe), the origin of life by chance, the origin of information by chance, the appearance of morality through chemical or biological evolution, and the prophetic evidence for the birth, death, and resurrection of Jesus of Nazareth. The joint probability of these events occurring by chance is less than one divided by the number of atoms in the universe.
I. The universe had a beginning.
Atheists believe that the universe is eternal. We see from Edwin Hubble's work at the Palomar Observatory (on Mt. Wilson near Los Angeles) that the universe is expanding. This expansion is confirmed through observation of the "red shift." In physics (especially astrophysics) redshift happens when light seen coming from an object that is moving away is proportionally increased in wavelength, or shifted to the red end of the spectrum. Albert Einstein traveled to see Hubble's work and famously said "I now see the necessity of a beginning." Since the universe is expanding, it follows that reversing the expansion would ultimately lead to a contraction or what physicists call "the singularity" known as the beginning of the universe. The Kalam Cosmological argument (widely accepted in professional philosophy and logic communities) states that:
1) Everything that began to exist, has a cause.
2) The universe began to exist.
3) Therefore, the universe has a cause.
Time and space came into existence at the singularity. Since there was a cause to bring the universe into existence, it has to be a cause that is outside of time and space. As a result, the cause is both immaterial and transcendent. This is God.
II. A life-permitting universe requires that cosmology and physics are exactly tuned to support life.
This concept is called "the Anthropic Principle." We currently understand that there are about 35 parameters that are perfectly harmonized to support life on our planet. These parameters must all be set within a very narrow range to support life. The probability of these 35 attributes being set at the correctly to support life is less than 1 in 10 40  equating to essentially zero probability. Some examples of these parameters include:
The unique properties of water
Earth’s atmosphere (nitrogen, oxygen, and small amounts of other gases)
Earth’s reflectivity or “albedo”
Earth’s magnetic field
Earth’s place in the solar system
Our solar system’s place in the galaxy
The color of our sun
The force of gravity
The density of matter must equal the critical density needed to prevent the Big Crunch
The earth must be angled in its orbit perfectly to prevent temperature extremes.
Our moon must be its exact size to support the earth's orbit.
The rate of universe expansion (cosmological constant).
This fine tuning requires a fine tuner. This is God.
III. The origin of life did not arise by chance.
There are 20 individual amino acids that are used in building proteins. Most proteins have a combination of approximately 450 amino acids. There are about 600 proteins in the most elementary cell. There are a total of about 30,000 proteins.
Darwin thought the cell was a globule and did not understand cell complexity. If you calculate the probability of individual amino acids combining to form one protein you would multiply (since sequence matters) 1/20 x 1/20 x 1/20 (for each protein) all the way out to 450 amino acids (an average protein length) equating to a probability of essentially zero. A protein that is 150 amino acids in length has a chance probability of 1 in 10 145 There is zero probability that the origin of life came about by chance. When one adds the additional complexity of DNA (which goes beyond the complexity of amino acid formation), we must further reduce the probability of chance creating life. Dr. Francis Crick, Nobel Laureate and co-discoverer of DNA, acknowledged that chance played no role in creating DNA. He was a philosophical atheist so he supported the idea of Panspermia (that life originated elsewhere in the universe and was transported through interstellar systems by some unknown space aliens.) Scientists agree that chance alone using matter alone has a zero probability of explaining life. The sequence hypothesis (DNA nucleotides) confirms this.
The origin of life requires both design and an animating force based on biogenesis. This force is God.
IV. The origin of information did not arise by chance.
Information is the immaterial foundation of all biological life yet it requires material to transmit through. Information requires an intelligent source. We saw this in the formation of proteins and DNA. How much does information weigh? It is a nonsensical question because information has zero weight since it has no physical properties. Highly intelligent people don't weigh more than others because they have more information. According to information scientist Dr. Werner Gitt, DNA is billions of times more densely packed information than is our most sophisticated technology. Darwin was ignorant about information coding. Neo-Darwinists believe that natural selection and mutation explain the advancement of new species. However, a new species requires new information. Mutations by definition are the loss of original information, not the creation of new information. Microevolution has existed for centuries (adaptation within a species, a.k.a. "breeding"). Macroevolution, one species creating a new life form, is without example in the fossil record (the Cambrian explosion showed a sudden appearance of all current life forms without transitional forms.) Darwin tried to use microevolution to explain macroevolution. His philosophical descendants today try the same trick. This deception is widely perpetrated throughout the American education system.
Information, by definition, requires a transmitter or source. There are 10 80 elementary particles (electrons, etc.) in the known universe. The oldest estimate of the age of the earth is 10 16 seconds, thereby creating 10 43 number of particle interaction possibilities or 10 139 maximum event probabilities in the history of the universe. 
The intelligence behind the information that created the enormous but finite universe, the 30,000 proteins, the complexity and wonder of DNA, and life itself is called God. There is no naturalistic/materialist explanation that can fit within the event horizon of probabilities. Information requires intelligence. This intelligence is God.
V. Morality did not evolve physiologically by chemical or biological evolution. Morality requires a transcendent measure.
Atheists pretend that God does not exist by using the intellectual arguments of science
while the root cause of their opposition to confessing God's existence is moral. By pretending that God doesn't exist, the atheist deludes himself into thinking that he is not morally accountable to the God that created him. Evolutionary ethicists state that there is no free will; we are the products of time and chance. There is no concept of right or wrong or ought in DNA. If our morality is evolved, who can say that torturing children for fun is wrong? Who can say that the Nazis were wrong in killing Jews? Evolutionists must say they are just doing what their genes programmed them to do. If evolutionary ethics were true, how do you explain acts of courage, valor, and sacrifice that appear noble but would not lead to reproduction (they die in battle for example.) If evolutionary ethics and morality were true, the biggest, strongest, and smartest would do anything to advance their cause. This has happened occasionally with horrors such as eugenics, Nazi Germany, and other examples of genocide, etc. If everyone chose their own morality, there would be chaos and evil rampant with no punishment and no justice. Necessary conditions for moral objectives are:
1) A transcendent standard of measurement
2) A human free will or freedom to choose.
3) The belief that humans have intrinsic, not instrumental, value.
Moral evolutionist/relativists can not ascribe right or wrong or the word "ought." They can't complain about justice or evil. Everybody would do just what their genes programmed them to do, based upon chemistry and evolution. The contrasting reality is that humans are free will creatures who recognize moral right and wrong and therefore are free to choose beyond their genetic endowment. This is clearly indicated in the economic and social mobility of classes and individuals who operate as moral agents. This moral awareness comes from God.
VI. The life, death, resurrection, and fulfillment of prophecy by Jesus of Nazareth requires theism.
The life and impact of Jesus is corroborated through the eyewitness testimony contained in the Bible. The biblical manuscript evidence attests to its authenticity. Extra-biblical sources, e.g., Tacitus, Thallus, Pliny the Younger, Suetonious, Phlegon, Lucian, and Josephus are just a few examples of those that wrote of the historical veracity of Jesus' existence. The evidence for the crucifixion, the empty tomb, the post-resurrection appearances, and the transformation of the early church all best explain the circumstances surrounding the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus. Finally, there are approximately 100 prophecies in the Old Testament that relate to the first coming of Jesus. Mathematics professor Peter Stoner, author of Science Speaks, assembled other mathematicians to calculate the probability of one man fulfilling 48 of the 100 Old Testament prophecies. The resulting probability was estimated at 1 in 10 157  This miraculous fulfillment is from God.
Conclusion The cumulative weight of evidence from cosmology, physics, biology, information science, ethics, and fulfillment of prophecy clearly establishes that God is the best explanation as the creator of the universe, of life, of information, of morality, and as the one who transcends time and space, thereby fulfilling prophecy without error.
The new atheists have to climb a formidable mountain of improbability to assert that there is no God. Not only is it impossible to assert a "universal negative" that there is no God but the joint probability of the foregoing events is less than one divided by the number of atoms in the universe (estimated at 1080 ). Clearly, the probability is overwhelming that God exists. It was over 350 years ago that the great French mathematician Blaise Pascal formulated "Pascal's wager". It posits that there is more to be gained from wagering on the existence of God than from atheism, and that a rational person should live as though God exists, even though the truth of the matter cannot be incontrovertibly proven. The evidence presented herein confirms that Pascal was perspicacious. The question before the reader now is what will be done with what we know to be true?
 Plantinga, Alvin "A New Argument Against Materialism." Philosophia Christi. Vol.14 No.1. 2012 p.12
 Craig, William Lane The Kalam Cosmological Argument. Eugene, OR. Wipf and Stock Publishers. 2000. p.63.
 Meyer, Stephen. "Does God Exist" TrueU. Focus on the Family. 2009.
 Gitt, Werner. In the Beginning was Information. DVD. Answers in Genesis. 2010.
 Stoner, Peter Science Speaks. Moody Press. Chicago, IL. 1969. p.110
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My wife volunteers with a ministry to those almost homeless along Colfax, the main east-west road through Denver before the interstate went in. At both the east and west ends of Colfax are a string of old motels built in the 40s and 50s. Most are now filled with people who have fallen through the cracks of life. They aren’t yet living on the street, just struggling in little hovels which used to be motel rooms, trying to survive and keep up with the rent. Many get a pay check or social security, but are broke and hungry by the end of the month.
Most have jobs but at minimum wage, or take day labor in an economy where their labor is hardly needed. Admittedly, most have made mistakes somewhere along the line: dropping out of high school, becoming a teen-aged mother, using drugs or alcohol, getting sent to jail, losing a job, etc. Others are just living the marginal lifestyle in which they were raised, never able to rise above just barely making it.
Mean Street Ministry was started by businessman James Fry in 2000 and has volunteers from several evangelical churches. It has a food bank, provides information on jobs, public services, places to get legal aid or counseling, churches which offer free meals on various evenings during the week, even support groups like AA to help them improve their lives.
While my wife visits folks on Colfax nearly every day, I go with her about once a week. One evening, while delivering food from the food bank, a family pulled into the small motel in a van. The dad and mom were crying and their 12-year old daughter seemed in shock. Their home had been repossessed earlier that day. All they could take was jammed into their van. The dad had a job stocking shelves graveyard shift at a grocery store, and barely had enough money for a few nights rent. We were worried for them, as that motel was no place for a 12-year old girl. We left food and referred them to the ministry, who found a more suitable place to live a few days later.
Last week I met a new resident, who was just released from jail. His parole officer had found him a room in the motel and a job where he had to report each day. He had accepted Jesus in prison, and didn’t want to get back into his old crowd. When I found that he had been raised Lutheran, I connected him to a Lutheran church that supports the ministry. They offer a free meal each Thursday evening, and a church bus even comes by to give rides.
Last week we revisited a woman who needed more food from the food bank. We found that four other “friends” had moved into her one person room, and they were hungry too. She took in homeless people, even though she had almost nothing.
Last month we left a bag of food on a doorknob of an elderly man who had requested it, but hadn’t answered the door. It was still hanging there a couple days later. He had passed away and, had it not been for the bag on the door, nobody would have known.
Often we encounter battered and abused women who need out of a bad situation, and we help them get relocated into a group home for women. We also encounter young couples barely out of their teens, already with several babies. Usually the dad has a minimum wage job, while mom cares for the babies in a tiny rundown hotel room. The ministry provides diapers, day old baked goods, canned goods, and friendship. Surely the people we meet have made poor decisions early in life, but that doesn’t mean they shouldn’t be helped out of the pit they have fallen into. Our goal is to help them find good jobs, good churches, and healthy relationships.
I haven’t seen big government liberals on the street ministering to those in need, and I haven’t seen any occupy-wall-street radicals either. These groups use the poor to promote their own agendas, but don’t actually help the poor they claim to care about. It is easy to talk about helping the poor, or say that the government should do something, but few actually do something about it themselves. Mostly I encounter other evangelicals helping on the street. They have told me, that they don’t put faith in politicians to solve the problem of poverty. What is needed, they insist, are people who care, investing their own time in the lives of others.
Last month I met the leader of an atheist organization in Denver. I asked him why the atheists weren’t out there helping the poor. His response was that the only reason we are out there was to make converts. In reality, we are convinced that the only way to make a real difference is for souls to be transformed. Government gives food stamps and a welfare check, but that only promotes dependency. We give canned goods and information on where to find help, but this is to build relationships which can lead to improved lives. The food bank can only feed folks for a day, but if they are transformed, they can feed themselves for a lifetime.
Liberals turn this duty over to the government, but neither liberals nor bureaucrats care enough to do what is really needed. Conservatives often judge the poor for their failures and preach free market policies, which have worked for many, but not for those who can’t see their way out. What they need is real hope and real change, and that comes from people who will get out on to the street and invest their lives in others.
(CCU Faculty) State and Church is the question of the hour in this season of life. It is wrong to believe that the concept of the state is pagan in origin and hence alien to the New Testament. Government is a New Testament idea that does not imply any particular form of state or society. Government is ordained by God.
However, I would reject those bases for government which project the state arising out of the character of man: i.e., Aristotle, medieval Catholicism, Hegelianism; as well as those theories based in man’s sin and need of government for restraint in a chaotic world: i.e., the Reformation tradition.
My view is one that I would maintain is more not less biblical, affirming that government is "from above" rather than organized "from below." I would also affirm Christ as the basis for all government because He is the mediator of creation, the goal of government, its Lord, and its source of authority and power.
Government has a divine character in its being. Think of those that sought freedom in the establishment of America’s government. The very nature of government, its task reflects its divine character in its mission whereby it serves Christ by the sword for punishment and justice and along with education (well-being) for goodness. A further divine implication is the claim of government on conscience, or obedience "for the Lord’s sake" (1 Pet. 2:13). The believer is bound to obedience until the government exceeds its commission, whereupon one must obey God rather than man - and this is happening again today.
This disobedience in a single area must not be generalized to all areas of government. Only an apocalyptic social/political series of events in which all obedience to government involved denial of Christ (see Rev. 13:7) would require total disobedience. But there have been governments in the past that have required the church to be totally disobedient. By some indications, we are moving rapidly to that point in America now.
Government has a relation to the other mandates. It serves to protect and sanction these areas, but in itself government is not creative. Marriage and the church stand independently of government, but always in the presence of government to show the holiness of God. The sanctity of life is also a mandate, both for the unborn and for those that are in need of voice - the aged, sick, those with disabilities. We the church stand with and for them.
Government has a claim on the church in obedience. Obedience to government is obedience to Christ – again IF it isn’t involved in the denial of Christ and obedience to Him. Likewise, the church lays a claim on government. She reminds government of their common Master. She calls all governments to fulfill its "worldly calling," its special task, and at the same time claims protection from the government. The government also has a claim on the church. Government must maintain neutrality with reference to exalting one faith (Christian or non-Christian) over another. It cannot originate new religions either! Similarly, the church has a political responsibility also, the church must warn of sin and call for righteousness which exalts a nation.
We find ourselves serving/living/operating in a constitutional republic form of Government. We are blessed because of how we were founded. But God does not opt for any particular form of government. This means that government must recognize its being from above. It means also that the government’s power will rest on its ability in fulfilling its role as the implementation of justice for all, defense against those that seek to destroy our union, on the rights of the family and of its people to live life and enjoy liberty, and on the ability to freely give the proclamation of the gospel.
If any government seeks to redefine that role (which it has been seeking to do in this country for over 80 years more often than not) and thus to usurp the role of the Church was Jesus’ body, then obedience to that government ends and the Church is required to respond openly in contradiction of the rebellion of the state against God. Today we see the effects of Obama liberation theology which believes Christianity gets in the way of his building his dominion brand of neo-socialism. At present the state is moving quickly to silence and take the role of the church.
"There is not a place to which the Christian can withdraw from the world, whether it be outwardly or in the sphere of the inner life," wrote Dietrich Bonhoeffer in Ethics. "Any attempt to escape from the world must sooner or later be paid for with a sinful surrender to the world.” We as the Church need to take responsible action. Responsible action is a highly risky venture, however. It makes no claims to objectivity or certainty. It is a free venture that cannot be justified in advance except to ask and receive wisdom and discernment.
Civil courage grows out of the free responsibility of free people. Only now, thankfully in fact, I am beginning to hear many Christians and others who were "busy", seem to be beginning to discover the meaning of free responsibility. That free responsibility depends on a God who demands responsible action in a bold venture of faith and who promises forgiveness and solace to a people who becomes a sinner in that venture. But, nevertheless, it is how we participate in the reality of Christ, i.e., it is how we act in harmony with the will of God. The demand for responsible action in history is a demand no Christian can ignore.
We are, accordingly, faced with the following dilemma: when assaulted by evil, we must oppose it directly. We have no other option. The failure to act is simply to condone evil. There isn’t such a world of utopian possibilities; it always leads to dystopian evil which has been the way through time and we are no different. The balance between the two is what is the best we can do as humans together who aren't all redeemed in Jesus till we who live in God's reality arrive in heaven.
We have to be Kingdom people and be that salt and light in a darkness that is present and strong. "Greater is He that is in you than he (darkness) that is in the world!” While I have a desire for everyone to know Jesus in faith, I am a realist to see it is a choice for all to make…it is a move of our free will - not destiny – nor determinism.
My hope is that we will through voting remove the rebellion, and that the courts will do their constitutional duty. Final thought: You cannot expect people of faith to leave faith at their door (home or church) otherwise it wouldn’t be faith (life).
The economy is one of the most important environments where Christians interact. It is where they find employment, provision food and shelter, derive savings for the future, create value, serve others, consume goods and services, contribute charity, and apply their imagination. It is the core instrument of civilization progress. God has a lot to say about the economy and Christians should engage in the economy with a Biblical worldview. Ethics and morality are indispensable supports for a sound economy. Christians should be actively engaged in economic policy matters.
A Christian worldview of business and the economy is essential if America is to recover its eroding economic leadership in the world. A Christian worldview of commerce is predicated upon the fact that man is born sinful (Ephesians 2:3) does not prosper by injustice (Ephesians 4:28) should work (2 Thessalonians 3:10) respects private property (Exodus 20:15) prospers through diligence (Proverbs 21:5) avoids the envy of other people's property (Exodus 20:17) and that righteousness can yield abundance (Proverbs 16:8).
Some liberal Christians, e.g., Jim Wallis, etc. believe that the Bible prescribes socialism (Acts 4:32-35) and social justice (redistribution of private property) but this represents a failure in hermeneutics. This is a failure in thinking because the example presented in Acts 4:32-35 is characterized by the volitional decision to share private property. The passage is explicit in that the property shared is privately owned (antipodal to the state owned model of socialism) and that the redistribution is not compulsory (also antipodal to state run socialism). There is no Biblical support for state run socialism.
Given the economic choices between capitalism and socialism, capitalism is the best expression of a Christian worldview with regard to economics. Dr. Ron Nash (1936-2006) said "One dominant feature of capitalism is economic freedom, the right of people to exchange things voluntarily, free from force, fraud, and theft...[while] socialism, on the other hand, seeks to replace the freedom of the market with a group of central planners who exercise control over essential market functions." Capitalism is an economic system where production, distribution, and trade are privately owned to yield a profit for those who have made the investment to support that objective. It is done in a largely free marketplace where the government respects private property and the legal system protects contractual law. Problems arise based upon the moral and ethical failure of owners (committing fraud) or the market (committing theft) or the government (limiting freedom and violating property rights).
Winston Churchill eloquently observed "The inherent vice of capitalism is the unequal sharing of blessings. The inherent virtue of socialism is the equal sharing of miseries."
Thomas Jefferson rebuked the notion of government control, "Were we directed from Washington when to sow, and when to reap, we should soon want bread." Margaret Thatcher said "Socialist governments traditionally do make a financial mess. They [socialists] always run out of other people's money. It's quite a characteristic of them."
God blesses people and nations according to His will (Psalm 67) and He is not accountable to man (Romans 11:33) and is sovereign (1 Chronicles 29:11-12). However, Christian stewardship requires a responsibility to God for decisions and behavior. "Biblical stewardship views God as owner of all things and man (individually and collectively) as his steward." When man abandons the authority of God in such affairs, he risks danger as Lord Acton stated "Power corrupts. Absolute power corrupts absolutely."
The status of the current American economy is precarious. One of the best measures of a country's economic health is the debt-to-GDP ratio, an indicator of the relationship between debt and production. The official US debt is approximately $15.7 trillion while the US GDP is approximately $13.5 trillion constituting a ratio of approximately 116%. The US ratio is considerably worse than France or Germany but not as bad as Greece or Japan. Further, the unfunded liabilities (obligations without funding sources) is well over $100T. This includes Medicare Part A at $36 trillion, Medicare Part B at $37 trillion, Medicare part D at $15 trillion, and Social Security at $17.5 trillion for a grand total of unfunded liabilities over $105T. America has economically fallen far in the past few years. This suggests that absent draconian measures to cut entitlements (currently above 60% of GDP and growing), the United States may face an environment of bankruptcy. We can not grow ourselves out of this mess without concomitant entitlement reform.
The US government spending as a percentage of GDP has reached an all-time high (excluding World War II). This has happened as more politicians promise more benefits to more people who vote themselves larger abundance. It is a failure of leadership and of the governed. It is both unsustainable and a moral failure of epic proportions. At the time of Jesus, Rome imposed a 5% inheritance tax and a 1% sales tax (compared to the average state sales tax in the US of 5.6%). The US government taxes estates at 35% for those with estates over $500,000. Suddenly, the oppression of Rome doesn't look so bad.
What is the Biblical worldview of economics? It is based on the Judeo-Christian principles of morality, freedom, and protection of private property. Capitalism is the economic system best suited to address the tenets of a Biblical worldview.
What should the Christian do in response to the precarious nature of the US economy and the increasing role of the state? The Christian should recognize that there are seasons of feast/famine where saving is essential to survive the bad times (Genesis 41:34-36) that debt can create bondage (Proverbs 22:7) that ignoring the signs of the times can bring disaster (Proverbs 22:3) and to trust in the Lord (Proverbs 3:5-6). Finally, the Christian should not run to the state (man) for rescue but to God (Jeremiah 17:5). Therefore, it is prudent to prepare for difficulties ahead, restrain spending and borrowing, strengthen savings behavior, embrace the morality of individual responsibility in uncertain times, and get involved in the culture (the recent Wisconsin vote is a perfect example) to assure we have righteous leaders and economic practices. Ethics and engagement matter. We are called to redeem the culture (Acts 15:1-31, Colossians 3:17, and Genesis 1:28).
Those that seek state solutions first may jeopardize their own freedom. Karl Marx said "There is only one way to kill capitalism- by taxes, taxes, and more taxes." Abraham Lincoln said "You can not help men permanently by doing for them what they could do and should do for themselves." Thomas Jefferson said "A government big enough to give you everything you want, is big enough to take away everything you have."
Christians must remember that God is more interested in our character than our comfort. In fact, our historical national character has been abundantly blessed by God and has led to the greatest comforts any nation has enjoyed throughout recorded history. Sadly, the dependence on the comfort of state provisioned solutions has effectuated national character decline. Christians must be salt and light to the culture and the economy. A national repentance of pursuing secular statism will certainly precede a national blessing of recovery. Our nation's economy is ultimately contingent upon the character of our people. The road we choose as individuals will determine the road we take as a nation.
 David Noebel, Understanding the Times, Manitou Springs, Summit Press, 2006, p.354.
 Calvin Beisner "Understanding the Times" Manitou Springs, Summit Press, 2006, p.355.
 Charles Adams, The Good and Evil. First Madison Books, Lanham, MD, 2001, p.101
 James Cook, The Free Market and its Enemies; a Book of Quotes, IRI, Minneapolis, p.108.
 Ibid. p.100
(Denver Post, June 3) The Founders wouldn’t believe it. The Colorado Court of Appeals says the governor may not proclaim an official day of prayer because of a clause in the state constitution prohibiting that “any preference be given by law to any religious denomination or mode of worship.
This novel interpretation would come as a surprise not only to the governors who have issued such proclamations dating back many years, but also to the authors of that very constitution, who declared in its preamble their “profound reverence for the Supreme Ruler of the Universe.”
They couldn’t have intended the religious preference clause to become a barrier to state action encouraging Coloradans to seek that Supreme Ruler’s favor. Good to know that Gov. John Hickenlooper has directed Attorney General John Suthers to appeal the ruling to the state Supreme Court, which should surely overturn it based on logic and precedent.
But wait; did I say “surely”? When it comes to religion and politics, church and state, nothing is sure any more. Also headed for the state Supreme Court is an ACLU challenge to Douglas County parents using their own tax dollars to educate their own children in (horrors) faith-based schools.
Meanwhile at the legislature we’ve seen both political parties consider divorcing the legal definition of marriage from its time-honored theological definition. The rationale for gay civil unions was put this way by Hickenlooper: “We don’t believe we should legislate what happens inside a church or place of worship, but government should treat all people equally.”
Leaving aside the vexed question of how the law recognizes different kinds of couples, look what the governor is saying in that sentence BEFORE the comma. He implies that government’s power over you and me stops only at the church door. This echoes a theme from President Obama, whose speeches always refer to “freedom of worship,” not “freedom of religion.”
What’s the difference? Freedom of religion includes the individual right of conscience in conduct outside of church – exactly what secular theocrats are trampling on with the HHS mandate for Catholic and evangelical institutions to provide drugs for contraception or abortion, in violation of their allegiance to God.
“The Supreme Ruler of the Universe,” you see, is no longer acknowledged as a reality under the dominant liberal consensus. He, or it, is now treated as just an outmoded notion which backward folk are allowed to preach about in their sanctuaries – but to whom they must no longer render homage by public word or deed. That homage is now supposed to be Caesar’s alone.
Where is all this leading? For over a millennium and a half, ever since the Emperor Constantine in 312 A.D., Christians in Europe and eventually America have been accustomed to friendly treatment by civil government. But that is over, over there, and may soon be over with here.
The Church of State, as my Colorado Christian University colleague Kevin Miller calls it in his important book “Freedom Nationally, Virtue Locally,” is setting up as the one and only religious establishment. I won’t say get used to it, because we never should. It must be fought.
But we who honor the God of the Bible had better gird ourselves, for this will get worse before it gets better. We’d better study the persecuted church, thriving in China and Africa; our own time may be coming. We must realize, as the Founders knew, that America is not in the Bible. Americans are, however. It holds vast wisdom and warning for us.
As the Constantinian settlement – itself quite unscriptural – passes away, a good place to start would be Jesus’ own rule: “Render to Caesar, render to God.” That balance, the only safe harbor for faith and freedom, was lost in Christendom centuries ago. It is now ours to rebuild.
This article will look at four questions: Why are the names Allah and Jehovah beginning to be used interchangeably by some Christians in this country? Why are those two deities not the same God at all? Why does it matter? What can be done? Footnotes are provided at the end to document the argument and conclusions on this vital distinction.
Many Arab Christians in America are now referring to Jehovah, the God of the Bible, as "Allah." Using the same name for different gods serves the objectives of the interfaith movement which is focused on political correctness and the unity of a one world religion. This lapse in linguistic rigor has helped contribute to the fact that 40% of evangelical Christians now believe that Christians and Muslims worship the same God. (1)
A partial Arabic translation of the Bible, for liturgical purposes, is often traced back to the 8th century A.D.(2) (after Mohammed established the regional presence of Islam) but no definite evidence exists on the date of those liturgical verse translations. The entire Bible was not translated into Arabic until the 19th century by British missionaries to complete the few verses that had been translated into Arabic for liturgical purposes earlier. (3)
We know that post-Islamic missionaries (from Great Britain, etc.) came to the Middle East after Arabic Bible translations were completed but they were reluctant to evangelize under the name of Jehovah because they feared Islamic reprisal due to Mohammed's history of violence and conquest. (4) British missionaries came to the Middle East when Muslims ruled the land. They had to appease the political rulers and used the name "Allah" in an attempt to avoid violence. The Christian Arabs typically used "al-Rub" not "Allah" before that time. (5)
It's important to understand that the name of Allah originated in polytheism and long before Islam ever arose. Mohammed was born in 570 and began preaching about his new religion of Islam (with Allah as its god) around 610. He gained 150 converts in his first 13 years of evangelism in Mecca and then went to Medina where he pursued physical, or combat, jihad while acquiring 100,000 converts up until his death in 632 A.D. using the name of Allah. (6) However, the god name Allah had existed several centuries before Mohammed co-opted it as the god of Islam. Allah was a truncated form of Al-Ilah, one of the 360 pagan deities worshipped by the nomadic pagan and polytheistic Arabs at the Kaaba in Mecca before, during, and after the time of Christ. (7) Mohammed's father was also named Abdullah (meaning "slave of Allah".) A tribe of Jews was called Abdullah bin Salam in the Bukhari Hadith. (8)
The Christian church exploded in growth in the first century A.D. Christian missionaries came through the Middle East/Africa regions in the late 2nd century and, in an effort to evangelize the polytheistic Arabs, sought a way to get these Arabs to understand the one true God of Jehovah. The missionaries may have used the name "Al-Ilah" (understood by the polytheistic Arabs as the one god higher than the other 359) in an effort to evangelize the Arabs at that time. Although we do not have archaeological, manuscript, inscription, mural, sermon, theological writings, or similar evidence of Christian missionaries using Al-Ilah as a reference to Jehovah in pre-Islamic history, many speculate that Arab Christians in pre-Islamic history used Allah as a reference to Jehovah. (9) If true, Christian missionaries, through lack of discernment, might have used Al-Ilah, a god that the polytheistic Arabs were familiar with as being the supreme god of the 360 gods worshipped by polytheistic Arabs at Mecca and throughout the region as an evangelical tool.
As Arabs converted to Christianity, some may have referred to Jehovah as Allah while the pagan Arabs referred to Allah as one of the 360 gods worshipped by the polytheistic Arab community. This concession to naming expediency on the part of Christian missionaries to reach polytheistic Arabs may have started the problem that we find today with two groups (Arab Christians and Muslims) using the same name of Allah to refer to two different gods. Al-Ilah was shortened to Allah. The problem is that the missionaries may have conflated two gods into one name in their zeal for evangelism. Some of these early Arab converts, e.g., Ghassanids, Lakhmids, Banu Judham, and Hamadan, etc. may have begun calling Jehovah "Allah" post 300 A.D., and 300 years before Mohammed created the Islamic "Allah." Mohammed used "Allah" as the means to bring Arabs out of polytheism and into Islam. The Jews and Christians of that time rejected his teaching as false (they were also familiar with the Al-Ilah becoming Allah) and Mohammed ultimately became a physical jihadist to compel conversion. Forced conversions to Islam (and Allah) continue to this very day. Unlike Islam, Christianity (as taught from the Bible) does not condone forced conversions. These are two very different religions with two very different gods. It makes no logical or theological sense to have these two different gods share the same name.
Here's why this matters so much: The contemporary problem is that some places (Mauritania) still use Allah as a reference to Jehovah while others (Mali) culturally reject that notion. (10) Riots erupted in Malaysia when some Christians used the name Allah to refer to Jehovah. (11) This is now becoming a problem in the United States as Arab Christians, among others, come to America and call Jehovah "Allah." Our culture, unfamiliar with this history, is ill equipped to reconcile this naming aberration. Consequently, we are seeing Christians say that they worship the same God as Islam. Sadly, this may have started with over-zealous Christian missionaries in the 2nd and 3rd centuries who chose a naming expediency in their efforts to lead polytheists into monotheism.
There is ambiguity among Muslims with respect to the Allah naming convention because Allah is the name of their God, and it, through colloquial use, is becoming a generic name for God. However, this contradiction confounds the Muslim when encountering other religions such as Hinduism, a polytheistic religion of 900 million adherents. (12) "When asked, does Hinduism have thousands of Allahs, Muslims say no, because there is just one Allah. The Muslim response is that Hindus worship idols." (13)
The lack of discernment in pre-Islamic evangelism and the lack of courage in post-Islamic evangelism on the part of Christian missionaries has corrupted the use of Allah as a name for Jehovah. Further, there is an interfaith effort (of questionable theological origins) called Chrislam that seeks to bring these two disparate faiths together. This constitutes heresy as Islam rejects Jesus as God and Savior while Christianity rejects the Allah of Islam as a means to salvation outside of Jesus Christ.
The Allah of Islam has 99 names, only one of which includes love, the primary character attribute of Jehovah, God of the Bible. (14) An extreme example illustrates the point of having one name for two different persons. Imagine naming a child Adolf Hitler in a remote tribal region yet when he grows up to be an international businessman, he finds social outrage when conducting business in the West. Those familiar with the German tyrant would see this as a horrendous offense to society while those who were ignorant of who Hitler was would be indifferent to such a naming convention. This, in an overly dramatic way, resembles the challenge to Christians who neither understand the origins of the name Allah in polytheistic Arab culture nor the co-option of the name Allah by Mohammed in promoting Islam.
What then can be done? The failure of discernment on the part of pre-Islamic Christian missionaries in the Middle East and the lack of courage (or fidelity to truth) on the part of post-Islamic Christian missionaries in the Middle East has contributed to the current problem of one name (Allah) being used to represent two different gods. American Christians today should be understanding of the global cultural confusion regarding the use of Allah for Jehovah but discourage the use of Allah for Jehovah by Arab Christians, and others, in the United States.
These two monotheistic faiths make separate and conflicting truth claims regarding salvation for eternity. Those that use the same name for the different gods of these two faiths serve the interests of ignorance, deception, or error. Discerning Christians and Muslims already acknowledge the differences in faith, the differences in the gods they serve, and the differences in the names of those gods. It is now the task for followers of each respective faith to preserve those differences in the public arena without succumbing to the political correctness of the interfaith movement while retaining a civil discourse and respecting the sincerity of each others faith.
Accepting the same name for two different gods as part of "political correctness" accelerates the onset of Chrislam efforts, increases the likelihood of apostasy, ignores the historical truth, and denies the reality of the two largest religions asserting competing truth claims. It appears that Martin Luther, founder of the Protestant Reformation, was prophetic when he said "It is better to be divided by truth than united in error."
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3. Correspondence with Robert Morey, Ph.D. May 11. 2012
5. Correspondence with Robert Morey, Ph.D. May 11. 2012
6. Correspondence with Bill Warner May 21, 2011
7. Winning the War with Radical Islam. Robert Morey Ph.D. Christian Scholar Press 2002 p.14.
8. Bukari Hadith vol.5 book 59 ch.13 no.362 p.241
9. Correspondence with Craig Blomberg, Ph.D. May 8, 2012
13. Correspondence with Messianic Rabbi R. Drebenshedt May 11. 2012
(CCU Student) It was months ago, way back in May of this year, that Osama bin Laden was killed in Pakistan by CIA operatives. But I keep thinking about the moral and spiritual questions posed by all the jubilation over this man's death.
When citizens of the United States found out bin Laden had been assassinated, they celebrated. Baseball games were stopped because everyone was cheering. People started cheering in the grocery store or just where they were when they received the news. Some say people were out of line for celebrating a death, and others say they were celebrating because the man responsible for so many deaths is now dead. Which one is right?
Many people said they were celebrating for those who died because of Osama bin Laden. Yes, the attacks of 9/11 were ten years ago, but in some people’s hearts, it is still raw. Knowing that the coordinator of their loved ones death is dead is reason enough to celebrate. They are celebrating that he cannot hurt or kill anymore people, and that others will not go through what they have experienced.
I believe that people do have the right to celebrate Osama’s death. Although I was not close to someone who died in the 9/11 attacks, I will still celebrate that he cannot bring any more pain to our country. Why can’t people be happy for those who needed closure on 9/11?
There is the debate that the operatives should not have shot him, and instead captured him. However, Osama did have a gun and hostages, and the operatives did what they thought was necessary. If I was an operative, I would think through the pros and cons of shooting him, and made the necessary choice. The pros of shooting this man who has destroyed our country outweigh the cons.
The pros would be: 1) We do not want to jeopardize losing him; 2) He has hostages and a gun; 3) We have waited too long to find him; 4) He won’t come peacefully, which might in turn result of him killing his hostages; and 5) If we do capture him will we have others raid and try to free him. Overall, I believe that it was too risky to not shoot him.
The cons would be: 1) People will be happy we have him captive, and some would be glad that he had not been shot right away; 2) He can have a trial. All together, I think they made the right choice. They respected the Muslim countries' wishes of burying him there, which shows that our operatives do care about those countries' traditions.
The other side of this debate is that people say we, as Christians, should not be celebrating that Osama bin Laden went to hell. I disagree with this argument because the majority of people are not celebrating that he went to hell but that he is gone from this world. According to ABC News, citizens of the United States who claim to be Christian are around 83 percent. How many of that 83 percent talk about hell from the Bible? They don’t! They use it as a swearing term and do not care to admit that there is a real hell. They may say that they are a Christian, but they do not live the real lifestyle of Christianity. Therefore, I believe this side is wrong in that we are celebrating a life going to hell.
(Centennial Fellow) Once while working as an assistant city editor on a metropolitan newspaper, I made the discovery that while talent is a great blessing, it's often character that counts most at the end of the day.
An important story would bounce into sight and I would assign it to a brilliant reporter while overlooking an arrogance handicap, sometimes regretting the decision. The next time I might hand the banner opportunity to a more humble, diligent, eager, helpful reporter perhaps lacking razzle-dazzle ability and rejoice in the outcome.
That paper was in Denver. I went there at a time when the Denver Broncos were headed for their first Super Bowl, and the city was flipped out over the team's Orange Crush defense even to the point of painting houses orange. I myself had many orange moments that season, though I left paint alone.
I now live outside Denver, up the mountains a bit, and am naturally enough caught up in the saga of Tim Tebow, a man of character. He's also a man of controversy, of faith and of miracle wins on the football field. It has been something to watch.
This rookie quarterback has led the Broncos to a series of last-minute, improbable, comeback victories, reversed a losing season and put his team at the head of its division. Inspiring other players to top-notch performances, he is a never-give-up, upbeat leader. Still, he has sometimes been awful in passing the ball and has infuriated not a few with his open praise of Jesus Christ and a kneeling prayer position imitated worldwide.
He's not really very good, some people say. Yes, he runs the ball well, but that is not what quarterbacks are for, they tell us. They seem to think it little excuse for his sorry passing stats that fumble-thumb receivers should have caught some on-the-mark throws. They wonder where he hides out for the first three quarters of so many games and they tell you luck has been amazingly in his corner. Then they come to religion.
Some consider it very nearly an NFL disqualification that he openly prays at games. Sports really ought to get rid of all the God talk, it is said by many reflecting what seems to me the most anti-religious period in my life. Some wear it as a badge of superiority that they hate the church of their childhood. I repeatedly have encountered those whose boasted tolerance does not extend to Christians they think of as hypocritical, judgmental, mean-spirited, anti-science throwbacks to an age of superstitious malevolence.
The critics are not that smart. Most of these I've run into suppose all Christians subscribe to some straw-man version of a faith a world's distance from the one I know that never ceases preaching love. They can recite faults of 500 and more years ago without grasping any of the immeasurable good.
But then listen to me sounding snappish. That is not what the faith is about. So now listen to the always-self-effacing Tebow on being sacked by someone who then knelt gleefully in the Tebow prayer posture.
"He was probably just having fun and was excited he made a good play and had a sack," Tebow told an interviewer. "And good for him."
I ran across the quote in a Wall Street Journal piece that also reminded us of how Tebow has dedicated himself to charitable activities that have included visiting with a young leukemia victim and saying his name on TV to boost his spirits.
I briefly met Tebow and will share my intuitive conviction that he is genuine.
Concerning his public piety, please note that while Tebow thinks believing produces positive results, he also says God does not fix ballgames. His prayers are part of a joy much like that of the early Christians. It just can't help bubbling up.
He's a matter of national debate now. That's fine. The cynics are probably just having fun. As for his sports future, I make no predictions except to say I believe character will out.
Jay Ambrose, formerly Washington director of editorial policy for Scripps Howard newspapers and the editor of dailies in El Paso, Texas, and Denver, is a columnist living in Colorado and a Centennial Institute Fellow.