Tag Archives: politics

Education is not the solution to sin…

I have been musing recently about the way political conservatives and political liberals (those on the “right” and the “left”) view the past and future of America.  In the middle of one of these moments of reflection I stumbled on a blog post by Doug Wilson.  Wilson’s reflections on Glen Beck and the Bible provided motivation for me to jot down a few thoughts.

1.  The problem with humanity is sin.  The only way for humans to “fix” their sin problem is to “repent and believe.”  To say it another way, the only way to fix the problem of humanity is to trust Jesus.

As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins… but because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions — it is by grace you have been saved (Ephesians 2:1, 4-5).

2.  Wilson makes clear in his post that one of the main problems in America is humanism.  Both liberals and conservatives have a basic belief that mankind is “good” and “the explanation for evil is ignorance.”  I see this sort of logic applied on both sides of the political system.  The result is a belief that good logic and argument will be enough to convince people to agree with you.  With the right information and the right decisions our society, the humanists argue, will be “fixed.”  Both sides (the right and left) are unable to agree on which direction to take our country, but the underlying assumption is that American can be “fixed” by proper information.

I came across a really good illustration recently that speaks to this very point.

Imagine encountering a man’s body lying by the side of the road.  You decide to pull over to check the man’s condition.  As your car comes to a stop, you jump out and run toward him.  Reaching down to check his pulse, you realize he has none.  He’s dead and gone, perhaps due to a heart attack.  What can you do?  Based on his appearance, you deduce that the man may have suffered heart failure due to a lifetime of poor eating habits.  Instantly, you leap to your feet, rush to the car, pull out a diet book, and begin screaming important information from its pages as you head back toward him:  “Chapter 1:  Eating for Health and Heart!”

Stop to examine the absurdity of this situation.  No amount of information on eating habits is going to resurrect this man.  He’s already dead.  The only real solution would be for him to somehow obtain a new lease on life.  In the same way, no amount of education will change the heart of a spiritually dead person.  Life is the only solution to death.

Andrew Farley, The Naked Gospel

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Judeo-Christian Heritage from a Congressional Point-of-View

I recently received an e-mail from Randy Forbes, one of my Congressional representatives, updating me on his work to “affirm America’s Judeo-Christian heritage.”  I have written in the past on the meaninglessness of the term “Judeo-Christian.”  While I respect Randy Forbes as a man of principals and godly character, I think he is clearly wrong on the issue of America’s heritage and future.

America was never a “Christian nation… united in some evangelical consensus.  Church membership at the time of the American Revolution was no more than six percent of the population” (C. Douglas Weaver, In Search of the New Testament Church:  The Baptist Story).

Here is an excerpt from Forbes’ e-mail newsletter.

Last May, I spoke on the floor of the House of Representatives affirming America’s Judeo-Christian heritage and its importance in shaping our government. My statement came in response to President Barack Obama’s April 6 speech in Turkey where he said, “And I’ve said before that one of the great strengths of the United States is — although as I mentioned, we have a very large Christian population, we do not consider ourselves a Christian nation or a Jewish nation or a Muslim nation.” Currently, my video has been viewed over 3 million times, proving America’s religious heritage continues to be a heightened point of debate in our society.

In this particular instance, President Obama is correct.  America is neither Christian, Jewish, or Muslim.  If it was we would be subject to the laws and dictates of that religion.  America is not and was not ever a theocracy.

While Forbes promises “to protect the freedoms of religious expression in public life” I am afraid he is more concerned with protecting Christian freedoms than the freedoms of other religious persons.  We must never forget the mistakes that have been justified by the myth of America as God’s “chosen nation” (e.g., Native Americans, etc.).  I am, of course, wary of the idea that Forbes or any other person can discern the absolute intent of the Founding Fathers or that the “religious values” of the “Founding Fathers” are worth fighting for.  It is clear from history that America is not God’s “chosen nation” and that the most important things to protect our are freedoms.

At the time of the American Revolution many Baptists’, for instance, were being jailed and persecuted for there particular brand of religious beliefs (i.e., voluntary association, baptism by immersion, priesthood of believers, etc.).  Many Baptists felt that religious uniformity and collusion of church and state had produced the “shocking monster of [a] Christian nation” (Weaver).  This sort of language might  seem inflammatory to the modern Christian, but it was central to the beliefs of many at the time of the Revolution.

As a Christian it is important for me to distinguish my nation from my heavenly citizenship;  my duty is to proclaim the gospel in all of  life.  All of the political parties and movements in America have proven to be unsuccessful in producing genuine gospel change in the lives and hearts of the American people.  In fact, the collaboration of churches with political movements have produced disinterested “disciples” with mixed motivations.

Do I think that the gospel is the only hope for every person?  Absolutely.  However, knowing how politicians and power-brokers use religion as a means to dominance, I am careful to separate religious affiliation and law.  Further, based on abuses of the past, it is essential that all people of all religions have the same acceptance and protection under the law.

Myth of Progress

The demise of serious political discourse today consists not least in this, that politicians are still trying to whip up enthusiasm for their versions of this myth — it’s the only discourse they know, poor things — while the rest of us have moved on… That is why the relentlessly modernist and progressivist projects that the politicians feel obliged to offer us (“vote for us and things will get better!”) have to be dressed up with the relentlessly postmodernist techniques of spin and hype: in the absence of real hope, all that is left is feelings… What we appear to need, and therefore what people give us, is entertainment.  As a journalist said recently, our politicians demand to be treated like rock stars while our rock stars are pretending to be politicians.

— N. T. Wright, Surprised by Hope