The Fourth Epistle of St. Adams to a Secular NationJune 4, 2008 — Deacon Duncan
Townhall.com columnist Mike Adams evidently hasn’t finished venting over Sam Harris’s Letter to a Christian Nation. Today he complains that he’s having a tough time “deciding when [Harris] is expressing total ignorance as opposed to total dishonesty.” But misery loves company, and so he shares this gem with us, just so we can know what that kind of frustration feels like. Are you ready? (CAUTION: Do not read with your mouth full.)
Christians are more likely than atheists to oppose abortion. This is because we have always been more outspoken against racism than our atheist counterparts.
Oh, yes, ending racial discrimination is exactly what the pro-life movement is all about.
But wait, there’s more!
I have never met a Christian who opposed stem cell research. Every Christian I know supports adult stem cell research because it has produced 73 clinically proven applications – many of which are outright cures of known diseases.
It is very difficult to take Sam Harris seriously when he declares that “both Catholic and Protestant churches have a shameful record of complicity with Nazi genocide.” Obviously, whatever sins of omission the churches may have committed in the past with regard to Nazi genocide are now being atoned for by Christian opposition to Planned Parenthood’s genocide against black America.
Um, no, sorry, “genocide” does not mean “affirming that women of every race have a right to sovereign control over what happens to their own bodies.” Even if it did, stifling women’s rights today is not a valid way to atone for having “patriotically” supported government-sponsored atrocities in the past (especially when American Christians today are still supporting government suppression/violation of human rights in the name of so-called patriotism).
Of course, both relevant concepts – the “sin of omission” and “racial equality” – are derived from the New Testament (James and Galatians, respectively).
Well, no again, sorry. James didn’t invent the idea that it was sinful to fail to do good things; even in the Bible he was preceded by the prophet Amos, among others. And the idea of owing good behavior to the gods and to one another is a notion that dates back to prehistoric times. Nor did Paul invent the idea of racial equality. Galatians does not even mention the topic, anachronistic reinterpretations of Gal. 3 notwithstanding.
Let me digress a moment because this is an oft-misrepresented passage. Gal. 3:28 says “There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.” Christian apologists like to present this in as though it were written in the context of our modern, more humanistic ideals, as though Paul were obliquely hinting that slaves (and women) had equal rights. Notice, however, that if we look at the historical context in which these words were written, Paul was not denying that differences and inequalities existed, he was merely denying that these differences ought to be seen as important in the light of the Gospel plan of salvation. “There is neither slave nor free,” but he still commanded slaves to obey their masters (Eph. 6:5-8). And if indeed there is “neither male nor female,” then why all the fuss over the definition of marriage? And why do Christians still teach, as Paul taught, that wives are to submit to their husbands, and are not to exercise authority over a man? Equal, yes, but in Paul’s day some Christians were clearly more equal than others. He was not laying the foundation for modern humanism. He was just trying to sell the gospel to a bigger market.
Back to Adams. He’s upset because other, less overtly-Christian nations, have better government programs for health and welfare (i.e. charitable works). No fair! he cries.
Socialist nations obtain funding for large social welfare programs not through “devotion” that could be deemed “charitable.” They obtain funds through taxation enforced at the point of a gun. Those who do not contribute are not deemed to be “uncharitable” but, instead, “criminal.”
Never mind that this results in much more reliable funding for urgently needed programs. That would benefit the needy, but all Adams cares about is who gets the credit for doing “good works.” (Didn’t Jesus have something to say about that?) And notice the implication that the government is robbing its citizens (at gunpoint, no less!) by providing these benefits at taxpayer expense. No fair! Adams wants needy people to have to depend on his personal generosity. That way, he has the power, muahahahaha! Bow before me and grovel, you sick and elderly! Ha!
Adams started off by complaining about not being able to tell the difference between dishonesty and ignorance, but that won’t stop him from using ignorance as a rebuttal to Harris’s observation that Christians use natural disasters (like the Christmas tsunami that killed hundreds of thousands) to claim that God is judging people for sins like homosexuality and abortion.
I don’t know any Christians who thought God was sending a coded message when the tsunami struck. Perhaps some televangelist said something to the effect but, if so, I am not aware of it. Like most Christians, I ignore televangelists.
That’s a good plan, except it doesn’t go far enough The people making the God->Tsunami connection, however, were more likely to be ordinary rank and file believers. Maybe a few televangelists did pile on, but let’s face it, people don’t need to be led to that kind of superstitious conclusion. They jump to it, so much so that if you search for “god tsunami” you’re likely to find remarks by more liberal preachers trying to argue against it rather than for it.
But what I do know is that my church took up an offering for the victims. And several members of our church went overseas to help the victims. I have no recollection of any help coming from any atheists I know. And I know a lot of atheists – most of them giving only when the government forces them to do so.
Some Christians like to do the kind of good works they can brag about, but just because atheists don’t work that way doesn’t mean that there aren’t compassionate secular individuals and organizations involved in meeting the needs of the victims. Not to denigrate believers, of course—believers do make a tremendous contribution (and are able to do so because, unlike God, they actually show up to help). They don’t even have to be Christians. Muslims, Jews, and Hindus all respond similarly. But Adams does unbelievers an injustice by implicitly discounting their involvement.
Of course, Adams has a familiar trump card up his sleeve, just in case. The old “I was once an atheist” card.
During that dark time of my life I gave nothing to charity. I did no volunteer work. Instead, I railed against the political establishment and demanded radical changes that would move the country drastically further to the left. I demanded radical leftist tax and welfare schemes that I knew would never be accepted by a majority of the American people. But by making those arguments I was able to deceive myself into thinking I was a superior moral being. There was no real chance I would have to deal with the consequences of my ideas.
And how awful those consequences would have been, right? You know, really bad stuff like affordable health care and reliable revenue streams for charitable work. Fortunately that awful fate was averted and we can enjoy the pleasant tones of people in need begging for help and living from day to day on the uncertain benevolence of others. Not too pleasant for them, of course, but after all, they deserve it, right? If they were good people, God would be blessing them instead of making them suffer. Stands to reason.
I see a similar self-deceit and narcissism in the writings of Sam Harris. And I know there is only One solution.
And that solution is to agree with whatever superstitions Adams happens to believe in. Yeah, yeah, we got that, thanks.