America’s White Male Republican Evangelical Magical “Thinking” Racist Problem Is ALL of Our Problem

The American political process is being hijacked by a reckless, whining dangerous gang of psychologically damaged white men who are far right ideologues. I used to be one of them. It’s time to tell the truth about our white male problem.

NO– not everyone who disagrees with the president is a racist! Not even most people who do are! But the continuous attempt by the far white right in Congress to shut down the government rather than work with our black president has a lot to do with racism. And lurching from manufactured “crisis” to crisis isn’t about politics. It’s about pathology. It doesn’t make sense politically to take the blame for risking our American future  – and the Republicans know they will/are taking the blame — so how can we conclude other than something else is going on here?

I’m not talking about the white young male mass murderers we’re afflicted with carrying assault rifles courtesy of the NRA. I’m talking about the white far right males who hijacked the 112th Congress and are set to destroy the 113th. They have metaphorically done to our country what the killer in Newtown literally did to 20 children. And for the same apparent reason: alienation from the mainstream and retreat to a paranoid delusional fantasy land of — literal — mental impairment.

This has less to do with politics and more to do with the fear and mental illness that grips a willfully ignorant minority of white males. But the mainstream media is talking about everything but the underlying racial and cultural and mental health issues afflicting the white male minority of far right congressmen holding us all hostage. And the extreme insanity of the right wing rhetoric over the last 4 years, from “birther” to Obama-is-a-Muslim etc., etc., conclusively points to something other than politics.

The manufactured “crisis” we face are not about economics. These self-inflicted wounds are about a few people’s fear of being marginalized.

It’s not considered polite to  mention race anymore. But I’m going to mention it anyway. We have a white problem.

I’m a 60-year-old white male father and grandfather. I’m the father of a son who served in the Marines. I own a gun. I have handwritten notes from George Bush Sr, Jr, Ronald Reagan and Gerald Ford both to me and my late evangelical leader father Francis Schaeffer expressing gratitude for our contributions to the “fight” for traditional values and the Republican “cause.” Been there, done that!

I spent my youth not only as part of the Republican Party but helping to organize the culture wars that have come near to destroying our country. I changed my views as I describe in my book Crazy For God. I have worked with the very kind people who are now the hard-core Republican right. I may not be one of “them” any longer but I bring an insider’s knowledge to the table.

Overlay a map of the states with the safe gerrymandered congressional districts that sent us the tea party Republicans hijacking our country and you find it’s the same map by and large of the former slave states.

Map of slave states

.

The anxiety of losing white long-held power at the expense of minority and marginalized constituencies like women and gays has metastasized into outright hatred of everything and anything the president Obama would suggest. Racism has combined with fear.

The fear is of a world in which white (mostly) evangelical Republicans lose power… forever.  The country has moved on but the safe Republican gerrymandered districts have not. These folks are literally living in a fools paradise whose time has come and gone.

The Republican white hijackers of our congress talk about smaller federal government and out-of-control federal spending, states’ rights and Defense of Marriage act etc. And these are the defenders of the Second Amendment as interpreted by defending 30 round magazines and personal arsenals, Kevlar piercing cop killing bullets, access to unlimited numbers of semiautomatic weapons and lethal handguns carried in public all in the name of the Second Amendment.

The mainstream media don’t have the courage to say it but the Second Amendment “defense” is nothing to do with today’s loud defense of “gun rights.” The truth of the matter is that there is a subculture of white frightened Republicans who see their own government as a threat. They’ve embraced ignorance and a fact free life that denies evolution, gay-rights the demographic changes in America above all the fact that their fellow countrymen have rescinded our entire history of racist bigotry and voted for a black man for president. They just can’t accept this.

Patterns of red/blue voting show up if you break up the state-by-state vote by sex or race:

The common thread that runs through the Republicans “issues” of the day has little to do with those issues per-se. What it’s really about is the fear of a future in which traditional white male power structures dissolve.

The true crux of the friction with the White House and the Democrats and indeed with most Americans — including most women living in the South and many southern men as well — lies in the in the racial history of Reconstruction, Jim Crow and slavery.

The lies about our federal government — that somehow “they’re” in league with the United Nations – to the point where we can’t even sign an international declaration on the rights of the handicapped! – have nothing to do with the stated objectives. This is like a family argument where an uncle shows up at the dinner table and argues with everyone not because he actually disagrees but because he’s feeling alienated from the family.

Simple palpable hatred drives these people to willful ignorance. The white males insisting on carrying guns (in a country where violent crime is way down!) are scared, not of muggers but of the fact that their imaginary reality is coming unstuck.

They’re too smart to believe that Fox News spin on reality is reality. Most of these folks are too smart to believe in their evangelical theology either. And I’ll bet at heart many are atheists or at least doubters full well aware of the hypocrisies and inanities of evangelical Christianity. But they put on an act of upholding what they believe are the traditional standards we need to live by, which really boils down to little more than white resentment.

And these Republicans are from safely gerrymandered districts so they have little to lose and something to gain by “holding the line” against public opinion and the president even if it continually pushes the country to the brink.

The fact is that many flag waving American Republican males these days are horribly unpatriotic. Not since the 1960s and the far left of the Weather Underground have we seen people who hate America so deeply. (The group conducted a campaign of bombings through the mid 1970s.) Some of the Republican “patriots” hate this country so much they join secessionist movements and interpret their “right to bear arms” as to build personal arsenals against that day when the federal government comes to “take away our freedoms.”

House Republicans like to say that Americans voted for a divided government. They say that “gridlock” is what becomes it. But that’s not true. The Democrats won 50.6% of the votes for president, to 47.8% for the Republicans; 53.6% of the votes for the Senate, to 42.9% for the Republicans.

The fact is a state of panic exists because Republican members of Congress demand a state of paralysis. They want to freeze the world as it is because the new world doesn’t have room for white male bigots who base their lives on Bronze Age mythology and white privileged Jeffersonian-style institutional racism. Their real ideology has nothing to do with gun rights, fighting against abortion, reducing the size of the federal deficit but has everything to do with their own personal psychological turmoil.

These folks are literally ill with fear. And their world is truing lopsided. There is a black man in the White Housed and he’s won, winning and worst of all self-evidently smarter than they are. He’s not even angry!

It is time for the mainstream media to stop playing the Republican extremist’s  game. Let’s talk about racism and white southern males who can’t get with the program. Let’s talk about what’s really going on with “gun rights” which has nothing to do with hunting or home protection or even the Second Amendment but has everything to do with the delusional paranoia of people who really believe the world is out to get them because it’s changing.

Let’s talk about the fact that there never was a fiscal cliff just a dysfunctional Congress hijacked by the white males that turned the tea party into their cry of anguish.

The real problem we face is racism, bigotry and willful ignorance in the face of our changing demographics, spiritual beliefs and the challenge that postmodern thought poses to people stuck in Bronze Age thinking. I say again these haters are a minority in the South but they have  – through gerrymandering – given the whole South a black eye. The millions of tolerant southern white men, women and all the rest of us wherever we’re from need to rise up and condemn this charade.

Enough!

The real problem we face is not economics or gun ownership or what happens to Planned Parenthood but how we can reintegrate a few hurting marginalized white males in Congress and their most ardent delusional supporters into a better future while stopping them from using self-created political stalemate to burn down the house we all share.

Frank Schaeffer is a writer and author of Crazy for God: How I Grew Up as One of the Elect, Helped Found the Religious Right, and Lived to Take All (or Almost All) of It Back .To book Frank Schaeffer to speak at your college, church or group contact him at Frankschaeffer.com 

 

About Frank Schaeffer

Frank Schaeffer is an American author, film director, screenwriter and public speaker. He is the son of the late theologian and author Francis Schaeffer. He became a Hollywood film director and author, writing several internationally acclaimed novels including And God Said, "Billy!" as well as the Calvin Becker Trilogy depicting life in a fundamentalist mission home-- Portofino, Zermatt, and Saving Grandma.

  • sherifffruitfly

    good post.

  • Marsha J

    Great article Frank. Right on point.

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  • http://patheos threeten2yuma

    Frank, Frank, Frank . . .

    This is one of the most asinine things you’ve ever written . . . but thank you for sharing with us. I hope it sells a couple more copies of “Crazy For God,” because it obviously (except to your more stridently leftist ass-kissing fans) has no other purpose than that!

    Your Pal, -3:10

    • OP

      I can smell the ‘derp-itude’ from here.

      • http://patheos threeten2yuma

        “OP,”

        Did you just call me a “retard?” I wasn’t sure what a “derp” was until I googled it, that’s how culturally-retarded I guess I am. You must be one of Frank’s “more stridently leftist ass-kissing fans” to which I referred in my comment above. Well, it’s nice to make your acquaintance too, I’m sure! What I’m not so sure of is why presumed leftists like yourself have such conniptions whenever Ann Coulter uses a word like “retard,” but you feel that you can use an equally-offensive synonym in civil discourse. Oh that’s right, I forgot, political correctness, like racism, only goes in one direction! But I guess that I was also a little creative in my own use of language, and in the blogospere, two wrongs do make a right, so I forgive you.

        OP, you kind of interrupted a conversation that I was trying to have with Frank, here, about the hypocrisy of the left’s nonsensically charging racism anytime anyone criticizes our President, but that’s OK, we can talk too. It is kind of comical, because notwithstanding Frank’s disclaimer, the left does nothing but talk about race when trying to smear their political opponents, which is, of course, all the time. What’s really funny is how the first person whom the Obama campaign smeared with that scurrilous slur was Bill Clinton, “our nation’s first Black President,” and in Clinton’s case the charge was true! I remember Ol’ Bill thinking that he was real cute and clever when he observed after Hillary’s loss in the ’08 South Carolina Democratic Primary that, of course, Jesse Jackson had also taken that state when he ran for President in ’88 (leaving hang his obvious inference that there are lots of dark-colored Democrats in South Carolina) and then acting all victimized when the Chicago pol he still doesn’t know how to beat called him on it, or “played the race card on me,” as Bill continues to bleat to this day for anyone who will still listen!

        What do you know about racism, OP? Do you remember the scene from the movie, “Glory,” when Denzel Washington playing a negro recruit for the Union Army discusses the subject with Matthew Broderick portraying Col. Robert Gould Shaw, a Boston Brahmin, and he agrees with his colonel that it all “stinks” like shit. Then he accurately adds, “And we all covered up in it. Ain’t nobody clean.” Do you know any history, OP? Do you know that racism and its offspring slavery are as old as the human race, and that both still exist all over the world today. In fact, as pertains to the racism at issue in Frank’s article, it was black Africans who captured and sold other black Africans to brown Arab traders who sold these slaves to every other race of people on the planet, whoever had the money to purchase them. But the Anglo-Saxon participation in this vile degradation largely ended just less than two centuries ago: first in England, mainly through the tireless efforts of white Evangelicals spearheaded by the tiny but great man, William Wilborforce, a very wealthy British Parlimentarian, who spent every last cent of his wealth, as well as his always-frail health, on heroic humanitarian causes; and in the United States by a timely coaltion of Evangelicals and Transendentalists, the vast majority of which were white men and women who believed in the then, and probably still, unpopular notion of the equality of all humans before either God or Nature. And if there ever was a moral payment for national sin, it was the oceans of predominantly Anglo-American blood that was spilled during the course of our Civil War, as well as the next hundred years of wealth, toil, and tears that were needed to eradicate, as best humans can do, the residual effects of race-based slavery.

        So yes, there are still vestiges of racism in the former American slave states, just as there is still a whole lot of racism in Boston . . . and Chicago . . . and New York City . . . and Los Angeles. And the racism everywhere goes from white to black to brown to yellow to red and every which way back again. But what was it that good ol’ Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr., used to dream? How it should be about the content of a person’s character and not the color of their skin . . . or something like that . . . or . . . oh who the hell cares any more or even remembers what that old fool babbled on and on about! Did you or Frank or any of your leftist compatriots ever consider that maybe it’s not President Obama’s race (whichever of the two, black or white, that might be) that his opponents object to but, rather, his political policies, which look pretty “red” to a lot of us conservatives? Of course you did! But you get more mileage out of calling us all racists than you ever do by discussing or debating facts and policy, don’t you! Whatever. I predict that if you ever succeed in ridding yourselves of all of us, you’ll then start in on one another next! I pray it doesn’t come to that, but it usually does when the left gains power, as history also shows.

        Finally, OP, I guess I could end by pointing out the fact that you thought you smelled “derp-itude” when you were composing your witticism while alone in a room at your computer, and so whatever it was you smelled wasn’t coming from me, but I’ve probably already grieved my Good Friend, The Holy Spirit, enough with my own crude characterization of people He also loves, so I’ll just let it all pass, and, instead, I’ll sign off,

        With Kindest Regards,

        -3:10

        • stoneyage

          Frank’s right on target, as usual. The truth is ugly, is it not? The majority of Americans are beginning to connect the dots and understand the true motives behind GOP obstructionism. We know who you are and what you represent…

          • http://patheos threeten2yuma

            Damn!

            First OP calls me a “retard,” and now you, “Stoneyage,” whom I’ve never even met (but I’m pleased to also make your acquaintance, I’m sure), tell me that you know who I am and, presumably, that you might soon be coming to get me!

            (Frank, what the hell have you started here?!!)

            Well, for all of you leftists out there, please be assured that I believe in both the First and the Second Amendments to the Constitution of the United States and will continue to do so even long after you all have torn the thing to shreds! http://www.nytimes.com/2012/12/31/opinion/lets-give-up-on-the-constitution.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0

            In the meantime, may the Peace of Christ be with each and every one of you. -3:10

          • Veritas

            Stony, can I have some of whatever you injected in your arm. The author demosntrates a knowledge somewhat less developed than a chimp and less honest than any Clinton. Makes one long for the honesty of a Tricky Dick and the clear thinking of Barney Frank.

        • Jim

          Oh Mary!
          Gurl, you need to reread the Mr Schaefer’s post because your posts have just proven his point: willfully stupid, shrill, and mentally compromised.

          By the way, using the word negro hasn’t been considered respectful for over a generation. When referring to Americans of African descent, the words are African American or black. Sweetie, get with the times.

          May reason always guide you,
          Best,
          Jim

          By the way, gurl, there is no holy spirit. Being open minded, however, if you present me testable evidence for the existence of such a thing, I’ll reconsider. BTW, “the bible says” is not testable evidence. Toodles!

          • http://patheos threeten2yuma

            Jim,

            One more of Frank’s angry leftist readers, I presume. Well, I am pleased to make your acquaintance also! So why ever would you call me “gurl?” Is that supposed to be an insult, or do actually think that I am a woman? If you are trying to insult me, why employ a sexist slur? Isn’t that kind of thing frowned upon in your circles? Or is that some kind of “gay” gibe, perhaps? I wouldn’t know, of course. We’ve already established that I’m a cultural “retard” in an earlier post by your friend OP. But ditto what I just asked about sexism! C’mon, Jim, if you wanna insult me, then you’re gonna have to try a little harder. Cuss or something. Believe me, I’ve been called a lot worse than “gurl.” Why not just address me as the “white male Republican Evangelical” like Frank did in his article and leave it at that? You know there’s nothing worse that someone can call another person today than that! Of course that begs the question, “Why does President Obama surround himself with so many of us?” http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/ruth-marcus-obamas-all-white-team-of-retros/2013/01/09/a8135bf0-5aaf-11e2-88d0-c4cf65c3ad15_story.html And who the hell is “Mary?”

            Moving on, I’m sure sorry that you took umbrage with my use of the term “negro” when I was describing the “African-American” Union soldier that Denzel Washington portrayed in the movie “Glory” back when I was trying to offer OP a brief history lesson about racism. My bad. I thought my use of the term was historically accurate. I should have known that political correctness trumps everything. Like we’ve already established about me . . . “Retard!” I stepped in it again, I reckon. Please forgive me . . . again.

            Finally, I like “reason” as well as the next person. In fact, I love “reason,” it’s just that I love God’s Holy Spirit a little bit more because in my life The Holy Spirit has done more for me physically, emotionally, mentally, psychologically, and spiritually than “reason” ever did. Now I may be wrong, but I assume that The Holy Spirit is Someone Whom we may discuss here on the pages of a website entitled, “Patheos.” I’m curious here, Jim, how do you know that “there is no holy spirit?” What proof do you have to make such an absolute assertion? I am gratified, however, that you profess to be “open minded” and that if presented with “testable evidence” you will “reconsider.” You say that I mustn’t employ the phrase, “the bible says.” Alright, I’ll accept those terms of discussion, but please pardon me the observation that you seem to now be contradicting your claim of open-mindedness just a smidge! Nonetheless, I can offer you my eye-witness testimony, certainly “testable evidence” that is acceptable in every civilized court of law and, even, public opinion. The test for this kind of evidence is the crucible of cross-examination, and I promise you that I will answer your questions truthfully, should you have any when I’ve finished telling you about how I encountered God’s Holy Spirit.

            A poet genius once wrote, “The heart has reasons unknown to reason.” I never understood that until I was twenty years old. By the time I was twenty, I’d already lived my young life according to the most reasonable ways that I could devise to find happiness, which I took, as do most people, to be the chief end of life. Although living at the time under my parents’ roof, I hadn’t for many years lived under their authority. I was, behind their backs, living my life however I pleased. I was, as we used to call it back then, “doing my thing.” And “my thing” included as much promiscuous sex, alcohol and illegal drugs as a teenaged male could get his hands on, which was plenty enough but not as much as I wanted. You’d think that would’ve made me “happy,” as low a hedonistic standard as I’d set for myself. Coincidentally, in my twentieth year of existence, I happened to read an interview with a woman named Maria von Trapp. Her true story has been fancifully portrayed in the Broadway play and later major cinematic release, “The Sound of Music.” Why I happened to be reading this interview in a copy of the now-defunct “TV Guide,” I can’t recall. But one thing the real-life Maria von Trapp stated in the article caught my eye. She said, “The only way to be happy in this life is to find God’s will for you and then do it.” For some reason that simple statement made me ask myself if I really was “happy.” And in an instant of what, looking back, I now think was God’s Grace, I honestly admitted to myself that I was not happy. Back then, although I’d been raised a Roman Catholic, my own “spirituality” was a mishmash of New Age theology and street pharmaceuticals. I actually believed back then that in some fundamental sense that I was God. Don’t laugh. Lots of humans, some even quite famous, have believed this about themselves, Samuel Langhorne Clemens being one of the most prominent ones that come to mind. Well, I figured upon reading Maria von Trapp’s statement that since I was God that, of course, actualizing my will would make me “happy.” So I began praying . . . to myself, I guess . . . “God, lead me to do Your Will.” And I was as sincere as a fornicating, drug-using, alcohol-swilling human being ever was . . . and had I known what would soon come of that prayer, I’d have quit praying it in an instant and cut out my tongue for good measure! Take it from me, you don’t want to pray this particular prayer unless you are prepared to do business with The Almighty, Himself!

            A few months later, I took a job selling books door-to-door in New England, far away from my native state of Arizona. The job promised me hard work that should be richly rewarded with the thousands of dollars that could be made for those willing to test their character and meet the challenges of a young man’s first big adventure. My plan was to work hard, make some money, buy a motorcycle and a gun with the proceeds of my summer job, then move to California, and begin my adult life there, probably by selling drugs. I didn’t say it was a great plan, but it was a plan nonetheless. But something happened. It turns out that I had a deep character flaw. I was a quitter who couldn’t handle rejection. And over the course of the six weeks in the Summer of 1977 that I tried selling those damned over-priced books to people who didn’t want them from 8 a.m. every morning to 9 p.m. every night for six days a week and a sales training / brain-washing session on Sunday afternoons, I quit that job every hour on the hour and after every one of the hundred thousand rejections I received from people of every walk of life, economic position, and race, color, or creed! But what the hell could I do thousands of miles from home and practically penniless but keep trying . . . and pray. I somehow managed to sell just enough books so that I could rent a room from a widow woman for $25 a week and a little bit left over for food, and I prayed constantly, “God, please lead me to do your will!” I traveled with two other guys who were in the same situation that I was and we encouraged each other the way fellow soldiers in war take care of each other . . . but finally one Sunday night I broke both of their hearts when I told them that I couldn’t go on and I quit selling books for good, and they went on without me.

            A week before I quit, I had started having a supernatural experience. Between doors out on the field, I kept begging God “to lead me to do Your will.” When I was finally receptive to whatever that might be, I began falling into conversations with people I met who told me about Jesus Christ and how He was God who became a man so that He could live a sinless life which He offered up as a sacrifice for our sins in His death on a cross but that He came alive again in three days time and He could now be personally encountered if I turned away from my sins and put all my faith in Him. What’s interesting is that out of the thousands of people I met every day and all the different religious or non-religious backgrounds those people had, no one except these particular Jesus people ever told me anything spiritual, and these conversations, the few that I had, only always occurred just at the exact time that I was having conversations within my own soul about the great questions of life: i.e., who are we, why are we here, is there a God, and can we know God? It was, as I remember, as if Someone was reading my mind! I can’t go into more detail in this telling of my story for sake of time, but there are layers of detail that convinced me that God exists and that He loves me enough to make a Way through the sacrificial death of Jesus Christ to both forgive me my many sins and bring me into a living relationship with Him. I knew I had a choice to make. Continue doing things my own way or surrender unconditionally to the Living God Who had heard my heart’s cry and revealed Himself to me in the Person of Jesus Christ. Well I was stupid back then . . . but I wasn’t stupid enough to say “No” to God. And The Holy Spirit? He was there every step of the way, both surrounding and, eventually, indwelling me when I finally gave my heart to Jesus Christ. You don’t know The Holy Spirit, Jim, but I do, and I’d be a liar if I said that I didn’t. Sorry if that sounds too “certain” for seemingly-sophisticated minds to accept, and I’m not saying that I never experience doubt. But I was there. I know what happened to me. I also know that others have material or psychological explanations for something that I consider to have been supernatural and spiritual. Whatever. Everyone is entitled to their own opinion.

            In the thirty six years since I was twenty, God has granted me a loving wife, children and grandchildren. I’m a member of a learned profession and nearing the time of retirement from that career and looking forward to what comes next, both in what’s left of this life and, especially, in the next! I’m also pretty sure that I’d have died of from either the hard drugs like crack cocaine or methamphetamine that weren’t yet available when I was using illegal drugs but that soon arrived in abundance early in the next decade and that I surely would have used, or, maybe, I’d have contracted HIV and quickly, painfully, died from AIDS before much was learned about, and how to treat, that deadly scourge. God’s Holy Spirit has been my constant Friend all these years, closer to me than even my own precious bride who knows me at my worst and still loves me and, yet, not to the extent of knowledge or love as that of The Holy Spirit of God. I could sooner deny her than I can deny Him!

            Anyway, that’s my story, Jim, and thank you for asking. What’s your story?

            Your Friend, -3:10

          • Veritas

            Jim that was soooo gay.

        • Jim

          Oh Mary,

          Seems you are not aquainted with gay humor, which has nothing to do with sexism. I doubt you’d understand it. Suffice it to say, I find the whole thing rather amusing. Just as amusing as your projection: leftest yes, angry no. My comment to you was a bit sarcastic and a bit playful. You’re the angry one, hence your projection.

          As to reason and the heart: feelings cannot be tested to ascertain the veracity of a claim. It doesn’t matter what is in your heart. The devout muslim feels a god in their heart. The devout hindu feels a god or gods in their heart. The devout christian feels the god of christian mythology in their heart. Given how muslims and christians have mutually exclusive god ideas, one or both have to be wrong. Given, also, that neither claim can be tested, muslims and christians have had for centuries an unresolved argument about the veracity of each others claim. Again, you provide me with testable evidence about the existsnce of the christian god idea and I’ll reconsider.

          A constructive point for you: you might want to shorten your comments. You practically wrote a book, and it wasn’t interesting enough to read. After a brief skim, the only thing that caught my eye was the foolish attempt to make feelings equal to a reasoned argument based on evidence.

          Hugs and kisses,
          Jim

          • http://patheos threeten2yuma

            OK, now I get it. “Oh, Mary,” “gurl,” a little curiosity and some googling later, and I now understand that you’re using code terms to accuse me of latent homosexuality. Well, I’ll be hornswoggled! I’m not sure where you got that out of anything that I’ve written so far, but, what the hell, maybe you meant it as a compliment. In that case, “Thank you!”

            By the way, you’ll please note that I was brief and to the point in my very first comment on Frank’s article, and “OP” called me a retard, or words to that effect. And as “a constructive point for you,” Jim, try and do more than “skim” the writings of people with whom you strike up a conversation, especially when they include stuff about sex, drugs, and God It’s only polite.

            Finally, quit denying that you’re angry. Hell, everyone is “angry” these days. A body would have to be comatose not to be angry. It’s what gets done about that anger that separates the angels and demons. And regarding the heart and reason, read some Blaise Pascal. You might like him. He didn’t used to believe in Jesus until he did. I pray the same for you, Friend.

            Christian “hugs and kisses” back at ya!

            -3:10

        • Jim

          Sweety,

          I certainly wasn’t implying that you’re gay. Nothing could have been further from my mind. I suspected you wouldn’t understand the humor, and I was right.

          As to being angry: nowhere in my postings do I sound angry. That, again, would be projection on your part.

          As to the heart you’re so attached to. I’ve read Pascal. His math is useful; his religious commentary, not so much.

          One thing I meant to mention: you wrote that I can’t disprove that the holy spirit doesn’t exist. You’re absolutely right. The holy spirit of christian mythology, like the god of christian mythology, is a logically unverifiable idea. That is, by definition it can’t be disproven.

          You’ll propably need an example. Adorable undetectable purple aliens control human governments. They are quarrelsome and hence governments go to war. However, if you send me lots of money I’ll say nice things to them and they won’t be as aggressive. I know this because they favor me and placed this knowledge in my mind. I know it is true because I feel it in my heart. You cannot disprove this because the aliens are undetectable, and, hence, they by definition can’t be disproved. An immaterial god idea is the same thing: undetectable, untestable by definition. So, you are correct; the logically unveriable holy spirit and the logically unverifiable god ideas of christian mythology, by definition, can’t be disproved. Ideas that can’t be disproved by definition get dismissed. Your god idea, like my adorable purple aliens, get dismissed; hence, I am absolutely certain that adorable purple aliens do not control human governments as I am absolutely certain that the god of christian mythology does not exist. You might want to think on that before you bring up the hollow, weak defense that you’re myth is true because it can’t be disproved.

          Jibbles,
          And may reason guide you,

          Jim

          • http://patheos threeten2yuma

            Jim, my new found Friend,

            You’re gay. I’m straight. I believe in Jesus. You don’t . . . yet? You trust in human reason. I’m tellin’ ya that my reason was dragging me to an early grave. You can’t disprove God’s Holy Spirit. I can’t prove Him either, but I say that I’ve met Him, and He’s a close personal Friend. Considering everything that I’ve already gotten out of my relationship with God so far and, if the Bible literalists have it all correct, the fact that I’ll not only be spared the fires of Hell but will spend eternity with a Being Who calls Himself, “Love,” and also is really fun to be around, wouldn’t you agree that I’ve gotten a helluva deal out of everything . . . even if it turns out to be just a myth?

            If you’re not angry, then I’m happy for you, Pal. More power to ya! My wife and I have prayed for you and will continue to do so. We pray you find Him!

            Love, -3:10

        • Lynident

          Touched nerve somehow, I see.
          I’m am not surprised – this entire article is dead center and no amount of blather will remove it.

          • http://Patheos threeten2yuma

            Whose “blather” are we talkin’ about, Frank’s or mine! And how’s that for concision? But, actually, Jim and I had a real nice conversation once we got past the obligatory snarky put-downs. You may want to try that with someone sometime, Lynident. Peace! -3:10

        • Jim

          Dearest Friend,

          I think you missed the point about my inability to disprove the christian god idea. I can’t disprove the christian god idea because it can’t be disproved by definition. An immaterial anything can’t be disproved, so it is dismissed. This is very different from me not being able to disprove a spherical earth. In this case, I have an idea that can be disproved:

          1. Argument: the earth is spherical.
          2. Can I attempt to disprove this: yes. A satellite picture of a flat earth would disprove it.
          3. Take picture: picture shows a spherical earth.
          4. I cannot disprove that the earth is spherical.

          This is very different from an idea that by definition can’t be disproved–such as the god idea of christian mythology.

          As to reason, seems that we’ve have a very different experience. Even as a young boy, reasoned insights gave me a sense of peace. At about ten and after watching numerous animal documentaries, I understood the components of natural selection. It was quite an exciting and exhilarating moment. When I studied calculus, it took me a while to understand how the derivative of a displacement equation would give the velocity and the derivative of velocity would give me the acceleration. But, when I finally got it, I felt a profound sense of peace and accomplishment. I have had a large number of reasoned insights. Each one added to a sense of personal peace and led to greater curiosity about most everything. Living a life based on reason has been very satisfying.

          Your religion does not seem to provide you with any sense of peace. You came to a liberal post angrily ranting about Schaeffer’s well reasoned argument. You are not the first angry christian republican I’ve encountered. My brother is a right wing, christian republican. I hear the same thing from him: you need to know the christian god to have peace. However, he is always angry. He is always watching angry people on Fox news, gets angry when he sees me giving money to the homeless, gets angry when he hears about the government providing for the poor, gets angry that not everyone believes in the mythology he does, gets angry if someone says Happy Holiday instead of Merry Christmas, gets angry if anyone mentions methods to reduce gun violence. In short, he is angry, always angry. Where is the peace? Where is the decency?

          Gotta say, I’ll stick with the peace, insight, and decency I get through secular humanism. Living a life built on reason has gotten me through tough times and has amplified the good.

          By your own admission, you have abandoned reason, so far…
          I suggest to you that it is never to late to embrace it.

          May reason find you and guide you,
          Jim

          BTW, when gay men use gurl, girlfriend, Oh Mary, Sweetie, or Sweety, it is often to call attention to how ridiculously full of oneself someone is being. It is a playful way of getting a point across. That is how I meant it.

          • http://Patheos threeten2yuma

            Jim,

            I’m really not as “angry” as you seem to think that I am, and, by the way, anger is not something that is exclusively the domain of white, male conservatives and/or Evangelicals. For instance, Frank is a prominent progressive, and he seems to be angry all the time. Of course, that may be a trait of character that was ingrained in him from the days when he was a self-described conservative Evangelical asshole. So maybe Frank’s not the best example. I know, the leftist so-called “Occupy” crowd of twenty-somethings who get free money from somewhere, food, drugs, and lots of sex too, and yet they seem angry as hell every time you see them, do they not? However, I am the one who began this thread of comments referring to Frank’s “stridently leftist ass-kissing fans” and, so, that may be where you formed this impression of me. As an admittedly imperfect follower of Jesus, I do now feel bad about using that sort of language. I doubt that Jesus would address anyone that way. “Brood of vipers” was about the most colorful description He used to employ with His critics. Although, my present regrets are somewhat ironic because we’d probably not be holding this discussion had I not originally come across to you and others in the “angry” manner in which I first did. But I digress.

            However, I am really enjoying our conversation so far, Jim, and I sense that you are also. We seem to be polar opposites, but we’re talking. I think our dialog is far more interesting than Frank’s article that, in my opinion, is nothing but racist, sexist stereotyping that would never be acceptable in civil discourse were his subject any other group of people than white males and, especially, Evangelicals. If I wrote something similar about women or Hispanics, I’d probably be arrested, at least in Canada! (And I claim immunity from prosecution for mentioning either women or Hispanics in my last sentence, because I’m married to an Hispanic woman!) Anyway, that is why I originally objected to Frank’s piece as “asinine.”

            But what I’m most interested in now is your use of the word, “reason.” I haven’t “abandoned reason,” even though you think that somewhere in all my blathering verbosity I made some such “admission.” I am a man of faith, but that doesn’t mean that I’m a lunatic, does it? Originally, when we first made one another’s acquaintance, you did rank me with the “mentally compromised,” but that was before we knew very much about each other. I hope you don’t still view me that way. I mean, I don’t think that you’re a “gurl!”

            What is your definition of “reason,” Jim? When speaking of it, you kind of sound like me when I speak of God’s Holy Spirit. You just prayed or wished that reason would find me and guide me as though reason is a person. “In the beginning was Reason, and Reason was with God, and Reason was God.” (By the way, my wife wanted me to ask you if you had ever read the Gospel of John. Have you? If so, whadya think?) Is reason within a man or woman or outside of us? Is it just human brain activity? If that’s the case, there are as many various grades of reason as there are human brains, aren’t there? Or are you using the word the way the Bible speaks of Wisdom, which is said, therein, to begin with “the fear of the LORD,” specifically, “YHWH,” the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob! I rather doubt you meant that, but re-read what you’ve written to me about “reason,” and tell me that you don’t seem to have personified the word.

            I look forward to hearing back from you, Jim. But please ask your “liberal” pals to stop calling me all these names. I’ve got feelings too, you know!

            Your Friend, -3:10

        • Jim

          3:10,

          This post is going to be longer than what I think a comment should be, but you asked some specific questions that will require a bit of writing.

          First, I think it would be useful to give you my educational background so that you understand what informs my opinions. I have a BA in Business, emphasis MIS (computer programming). I also have a BA and an MA in American history (emphasis labor history) with minors in European intellectual history and Chinese history. I am also well informed on animal behavior, evolution, and climate change.

          My definition of reason is a standard understanding of the word: the use of logic (reasoning) to understand and interpret facts. Facts: indisputable observations. For example, mathematics is a product of reason/logic, and mathematics is used to explain physical observations (facts).

          I think you have abandoned reason from the discussion we had about holy spirit of christian mythology. You attempted to convince me of its veracity by an appeal to your emotional experiences. This is not reasonable. An appeal to your emotions cannot prove the existence of anything, except your emotional history.

          To reasonably prove the existence of the holy spirit of christian mythology, you would first need to define it in a manner that can be disproved. The idea of the christian mythological holy spirit, however, is logically unverifiable. By definition it can’t be disproved; therefore, it can’t be tested. Hence, the idea of a holy spirit as defined in christian mythology, as all logically unverifiable ideas, gets dismissed. That is a reasonable conclusion. Just as reasonable as dismissing my earlier logically unverifiable idea that undetectable purple aliens control human governments.

          Yes, I have read the gospel of John. I have read the entire bible and have read the new testament a number of times. I’ve also had coursework in the history of the christian new testament and have read a fair bit of biblical scholarship. The part where the anonymous writer know as John (as with all the gospels, no one knows who wrote them; the names were assigned arbitrarily) wrote this: “In the beginning was Reason, and Reason was with God, and Reason was God.” This is just pretentious fluff meant to impress the uninformed. It is no different than me trying to convince you of my opinion by writing, “I am me, and I am no one else than me, therefore who but me can know anything but what comes from me and since I know me, what can come forth from what I am than the truth of me, hence the truth.” Pretentious gobbledygook. If you want to convince me that the god of christian mythology is the encapsulation of reason, then you will, again, need a definition of your god idea that can be disproved so that it can be tested. As it stands, the christian god idea is logically unverifiable: it gets dismissed along with the claim that the idea of the christian god is synonymous with reason.

          I most emphatically did not pray that you would find reason. Prayer is a specific practice where a person appeals to nonexistent entity imploring the nonexistent entity to execute the wishes of the person making the plea. The word ‘may’ in no manner whatsoever implies prayer. I’ve noticed that christians tend to bend what someone wrote to make it compatible with their beliefs. I find this kind of disingenuousness offensive. (BTW, the great prayer experiment of 2006 pretty much conclusively proved that prayer has no effect on another person.)

          I wrote, may reason find you and may it guide you. This was a more poetic way of writing, may you endeavor to learn logic and to apply it your everyday life so that you might reap the benefits of living a rational life. There was a slight personification, but nothing that would lead most people to conclude that I think reason has its own existence.

          As to the origin of reason, it is a product, an invention of the brain. There is absolutely no evidence that reason exists separately as its own force. You might want to consider that as human knowledge has grown, so have the complexities of reason. For example, calculus is predicated on earlier mathematics, but is more complex. If reason existed as its own force, why would we see it grow more complex. The logic, reason, or mathematics of the ancient world should be no different than today. Clearly, this is not the case.

          As for formal reason, it doesn’t matter what someone’s brain capacity is, the rules remain the same. Some brains may grasp the rules more easily than others, but that doesn’t mean that the rules differ for one brain to another.

          I’d like to comment on your observation about the Occupy Movement. Yes, many of these people were angry. Many were young, but many, many were middle aged and even older. The economic collapse hit a large segment of the population: it hit the young; it hit the middle aged; it hit the old. It was based on a deregulated banking industry, a corrupt ratings agency, and illegal inside trading. It destroyed many people’s lives. People who had lived honest lives, worked hard, and followed the rules were left unemployed and many became homeless. This is not the first time an unregulated, corrupt banking industry caused an economic catastrophe: it happened in the 1890s and the 1920s.

          The Occupiers were justifiably angry and justifiably scared. This is quite a different anger than the typical evangelical who gets angry that gay people can get married, that people say happy holidays rather than merry christmas, or that the ten commandments should be removed from government property. In the case of the Occupiers, their anger is based on policies that affected them directly and materially. In the case of gay marriage, two men or two women getting married has no effect on a christian’s marriage; it has no effect on anyone except the two getting married.

          I find your callous disregard of the suffering of the many many people from the 2008 economic catastrophe contemptible. I hope you reflect on this, in particular. You say that your mythology leads to good morality, yet you disregard the suffering of hardworking Americans. I just don’t get it.

          Hope I answered your questions,
          Jim

          • http://Patheos threeten2yuma

            Oh, Mary, Jim . . .

            Wait. Wait. Did I do that right? Are you supposed to include the name of the person you’re addressing or just leave it as “Oh, Mary!”

            Sorry, Man! I couldn’t resist. You kind of left yourself wide open for that one, you know. Now Jesus, He would have resisted because He’s nice and all. But me, I’m a smart ass, as you’ve undoubtedly noticed by now. However, I’m also serious sometimes as I think that you’ve also discerned. I’ll try to let you know when I’m being one or the other, because sometimes I think you can’t tell. For instance when I made the quip about the Occupy crowd, surely you didn’t really think that I was seriously being callous to the suffering of people who have lost everything during the Bush/Obama recession/depression, did you? There are entire books that can, and will, be written on the causes of the current mortgage-banking meltdown and who or what is to blame, as well as whether the so-called Occupy Movement of the last couple years wasn’t just a manufactured “rent-a-mob” by socialist political tacticians. By the way, where did that movement go, anyway? Is everyone back in their repossessed houses and in their old jobs already . . . or is it just that the elections have come and gone? Wow. I must have just slept through the entire economic recovery. But that’s strange, because where I live there’s still 30% unemployment! (Notice, here, I’m back to being a smart-ass, but please don’t think, therefore, that our family doesn’t pray for and financially support people who are hurting, and I’m talking here about personal charitable giving and not just by paying taxes.) “Contemptible,” Jim? Really? Sheesh! Who’s being self righteous now? Anyway, I made that comment when I was trying to explain to you that it’s not just conservatives, religious or political, who exhibit “anger.” Do you really want me to catalog for the record all the “hateful” and “angry” things that leftists and, even, otherwise peaceable secular humanists often say and write at times. You all weren’t sitting there quietly during the Reagan or Bush administrations, were you now? And by the way, I wouldn’t be so hasty to dismiss the “logically unverifiable idea that undetectable purple aliens control human governments” if I were you. That idea goes a long way to explaining for me our current administration . . . either that or there’s been a Communist takeover of our county! See I’m back to being a smart ass again . . . or wait, maybe I’m serious about that . . . oh, what the hell, even I can’t tell anymore . . . it’s all just so damned confusing!

            About your educational background, truly, you have a dizzying intellect! You’re probably way smarter than me, at least in some things. Only I’m not so sure that it’s all that smart to “dismiss” God just because you can’t “prove” or “disprove” Him. One thing is logically certain. Either God is ultimately gonna prove Himself, in which case, it would be wise to get to know Him as soon as possible, assuming that He can be known, or, He ain’t there, and none of this will matter when we’re dead anyway. Let’s ignore the latter possibility because it necessarily leads to meaninglessness. But if the first possibility is true, then you just gotta want to know God, don’t ya? I mean, c’mon, He’s God, for crying out loud! Hell, we fall all over ourselves to try and meet the President or some lesser celebrity. Why not meet the Big Kahuna, Himself, if you can? And if, perhaps, all that Biblical stuff about the Fall of Man and the Road to Perdition and Jesus Saves is all true, well, then, there’s just some extra added incentive, isn’t there? (Now I’m being serious, albeit in a somewhat playful manner so as not to frighten off the more skittish members of the audience!)

            Finally, you asserted that my faith doesn’t seem to provide me any peace, and your evidence for that incredibly presumptuous statement was my appearance here in the comments section for the blog of a writer that we both apparently read. Talk about a non sequitur! I love Frank Schaeffer, Jim. We’ve been corresponding for a couple of years now after I sent him an email to tell him that I don’t “hate his guts” when I read in his book “Sex, Mom, and God” about how he told his mother, Edith Schaeffer, that “the Evangelicals hate my guts!” I love Frank’s Mom, and I’ve read many of her books, as well as Frank’s Dad, the late Francis Schaeffer. Back when I was twenty years old, I almost met Frank and his family when a close friend recommended to me that I go visit a place called L’Abri in the Swiss Alps. I almost followed that advise, but, instead, I returned home to my native state to tell everyone what had happened to me with Jesus and soon, thereafter, I met my future bride, then we married, then our children were born, then they were grown, now grandchildren are here too, and, anyway, before I went to meet my Maker, I wanted to tell Frank and his family “thank you” for the positive effect that their lives have had on mine. I also shared a story with Frank about my mother and father that he enjoyed, and he told me that if I wasn’t a writer that he thought I should be one. So that’s why I check out what he has to say and also to give him a ration of Evangelical shit once in a while, and I believe that you’ll notice that Frank said he enjoys having me weigh in with my views even though we two don’t agree on much anymore, except for the fact that we both love our families and that we both beg Jesus for mercy. But I do have “peace,” Jim. If you want me to describe it for you, that’ll have to wait, because this comment has run overly long again, and the comments readers around here have real short attention spans!

            But what about you, Jim? Was your charging me with a lack of peace some sort of “projection” on your part? Why are you here talking with me about my faith? Jesus Christ! You’re a self-professed atheistic secular humanist. Is there an evangelicalism that goes along with that that makes you want to spread the word? Or is it possible that with all you’ve got going for you, Bro, you got no “Peace?” You know what, Jim? I don’t just love Frank. I love you too.

            May the Peace of Christ be with you! (BTW, that’s a prayer!)(smart ass again . . . and serious as all get out!)

            Your Friend, -3:10

          • Veritas

            Wow a professional student. Must be great to have parent’s willing to fund a layabout. So it must be wonderful to find inspiration in yourself. How uplifting. I can’t wait to see the cathedrals built to your glory. Strange how those who use “reason” are resposible for the hundreds of millions of deaths of their own countrymen in the last century. Reason is so wonderful. Let us all be wonderful progressive cosmic donut worshipping, Eskimo-Jewish-African American Loving Transexual trannies such as Jim.

            Allah be with you Jimmy.

        • Jim

          Dear Angry Christian Reactionary White Man,

          Since you asked me some specific questions that required some history knowledge and an acquaintance with logic, I thought it would be useful to give you my educational background. Your reaction to this was a bit surprising, but very telling.

          As to the “big kahuna,” you’re avoiding the fact that there is no evidence for this being. In fact, you habitually ignore that fact.

          As to the Occupy Movement, unlike the teabaggers, who were bankrolled and organized by the Koch brothers, the Occupy Movement was a legitimate expression of rage at a corrupt banking industry. You ignored what led me to call you contemptible: you were denigrating a movement whose members had been devastated by an economic catastrophe. You also ignored the distinction I made between justifiable fear and anger (losing one’s house and livelihood) and those who throw tantrums because of things like gay marriage, teaching evolution in school, happy holiday vs. merry christmas, etc ad nauseam. It is a significant distinction.

          As to your peace, when I see it, I’ll believe it. Your posts have been, for the most part, hostile, angry, and displayed great ignorance. More than once you wrote that Jeebus would probably not do what you’re doing. If your role model has no effect on your behavior and if you can dismiss the example of your role model at the drop of a hat, then what is the point of your role model? Seems to me that your kind of christian uses Jeebus as a get out of jail free card and as an excuse to be a self righteous asshole. I’ll stick with secular humanism. I like to understand the world as it is and use realistic means to deal with it. Understanding often brings a great deal of peace. Maybe you should try it some time.

          Anyway, I’m done and won’t be engaging in further; there is no point. Frank did a great job describing your kind. You have reinforced, albeit unwittingly, Frank’s point–which I find quite entertaining and amusing. So, thank you for that.

          It is never too late to reclaim your rational mind. I wish you the best of luck on that.
          May reason find you and may reason guide you,
          Jim

          • http://Patheos threeten2yuma

            Jim,

            You raise some real good points about me personally that kind of match what Jesus has been telling me lately. So you’ve, thereby, “reinforced, albeit unwittingly,” some of what my possibly imaginary Friend has been saying all along. I will try and work on better following His lead . . . simply following Him more closely is maybe a better way to phrase it . . . because I do want people to see Him, and not some smart ass version of me who turns others away from Him.

            Of course, this little tete-a-tete we’ve been having here really doesn’t allow either of us to observe and/or assess the effects that either of our world views has on our personal day-to-day, year-in-and-year-out behavior because there is so much more in both of our lives that is true of each of us beyond this particular exchange. However, Friend, your point is well taken . . . and, Lord only knows, the last thing I meant to do was to in any way validate Frank’s asinine article!

            So long for now, Pal. I really do love you and pray for you. If it wasn’t for Jesus in me, I wouldn’t be giving you any thought at all because, as I’ve recounted above, I’d most likely already be dead.

            Still Your Friend, -3:10

        • Rand

          Why is it that right wing loons can never be brief with their comments? Instead of using rational or logic, they continue to try and simply smother us in their bullshit.

    • Frank Schaeffer

      Hi Threeten2, I only wish selling books was that easy! But thanks for reading anyway and for the “reply.” I’m always pleased to have you on this page irrespective of agreeing or not. Best, Frank

      • http://patheos threeten2yuma

        Thanks, Bro! I trust you had a good Christmas and pray you and your family have a blessed New Year! -3:10

        • http://patheos threeten2yuma

          Thanks, Bro! I trust you had a good Christmas and pray you and your family have a blessed New Year! -3:10
          BTW, Frank, please stop addressing me as “Threeten2,” only my late mother called me that. It’s either “Threeten” or “3:10.” Take your pick. I sometimes think you do that just to annoy me!

          • http://patheos threeten2yuma

            Sorry about the repetition. It kinda marred the jest. Damned “Comments” software is somewhat unwieldy! -3:10

    • Jim

      Sweety,

      I certainly wasn’t implying that you’re gay. I suspected you wouldn’t understand the humor, and I was right.

      As to being angry: nowhere in my postings do I sound angry. That, again, would be projection on your part.

      As to the heart you’re so attached to. I’ve read Pascal. His math is useful; his religious commentary, not so much.

      One thing I meant to mention: you wrote that I can’t disprove that the holy spirit doesn’t exist. You’re absolutely right. The holy spirit of christian mythology, like the god of christian mythology, is a logically unverifiable idea. That is, by definition it can’t be disproven.

      You’ll propably need an example. Adorable undetectable purple aliens control human governments. They are quarrelsome and hence governments go to war. However, if you send me lots of money I’ll say nice things to them and they won’t be as aggressive. I know this because they favor me and placed this knowledge in my mind. I know it is true because I feel it in my heart. You cannot disprove this because the aliens are undetectable, and, hence, they by definition can’t be disproved. An immaterial god idea is the same thing: undetectable, untestable by definition. So, you are correct; the logically unveriable holy spirit and the logically unverifiable god idea of christian mythology, by definition, can’t be disproved. Ideas that can’t be disproved by definition get dismissed. You might want to think on that before you bring up the hollow, weak defence that someone can’t disprove the god of christian mythology.

      Jibbles,
      And may reason guide you,

      Jim

    • Jim

      3:10,

      This post is going to be longer than what I think a comment should be, but you asked some specific questions that will require a bit of writing.

      First, I think it would be useful to give you my educational background so that you understand what informs my opinions. I have a BA in Business, emphasis MIS (computer programming). I also have a BA and an MA in American history (emphasis labor history) with minors in European intellectual history and Chinese history. I am also well informed on animal behavior, evolution, and climate change.

      My definition of reason is a standard understanding of the word: the use of logic (reasoning) to understand and interpret facts. Facts: indisputable observations. For example, mathematics is a product of reason/logic, and mathematics is used to explain physical observations (facts).

      I think you have abandoned reason from the discussion we had about holy spirit of christian mythology. You attempted to convince me of its veracity by an appeal to your emotional experiences. This is not reasonable. An appeal to your emotions cannot prove the existence of anything, except your emotional history.

      To reasonably prove the existence of the holy spirit of christian mythology, you would first need to define it in a manner that can be disproved. The idea of the christian mythological holy spirit, however, is logically unverifiable. By definition it can’t be disproved; therefore, it can’t be tested. Hence, the idea of a holy spirit as defined in christian mythology, as all logically unverifiable ideas, gets dismissed. That is a reasonable conclusion. Just as reasonable as dismissing my earlier logically unverifiable idea that undetectable purple aliens control human governments.

      Yes, I have read the gospel of John. I have read the entire bible and have read the new testament a number of times. I’ve also had coursework in the history of the christian new testament and have read a fair bit of biblical scholarship. The part where the anonymous writer know as John (as with all the gospels, no one knows who wrote them; the names were assigned arbitrarily) wrote this: “In the beginning was Reason, and Reason was with God, and Reason was God.” This is just pretentious fluff meant to impress the uninformed. It is no different than me trying to convince you of my opinion by writing, “I am me, and I am no one else than me, therefore who but me can know anything but what comes from me and since I know me, what can come forth from what I am than the truth of me, hence the truth.” Pretentious gobbledygook. If you want to convince me that the god of christian mythology is the encapsulation of reason, then you will, again, need a definition of your god idea that can be disproved so that it can be tested. As it stands, the christian god idea is logically unverifiable: it gets dismissed along with the claim that the idea of the christian god is synonymous with reason.

      I most emphatically did not pray that you would find reason. Prayer is a specific practice where a person appeals to nonexistent entity imploring the nonexistent entity to execute the wishes of the person making the plea. The word ‘may’ in no manner whatsoever implies prayer. I’ve noticed that christians tend to bend what someone wrote to make it compatible with their beliefs. I find this kind of disingenuousness offensive. (BTW, the great prayer experiment of 2006 pretty much conclusively proved that prayer has no effect on another person.)

      I wrote, may reason find you and may it guide you. This was a more poetic way of writing, may you endeavor to learn logic and to apply it your everyday life so that you might reap the benefits of living a rational life. There was a slight personification, but nothing that would lead most people to conclude that I think reason has its own existence.

      As to the origin of reason, it is a product, an invention of the brain. There is absolutely no evidence that reason exists separately as its own force. You might want to consider that as human knowledge has grown, so have the complexities of reason. For example, calculus is predicated on earlier mathematics, but is more complex. If reason existed as its own force, why would we see it grow more complex. The logic, reason, or mathematics of the ancient world should be no different than today. Clearly, this is not the case.

      As for formal reason, it doesn’t matter what someone’s brain capacity is, the rules remain the same. Some brains may grasp the rules more easily than others, but that doesn’t mean that the rules differ for one brain to another.

      I’d like to comment on your observation about the Occupy Movement. Yes, many of these people were angry. Many were young, but many, many were middle aged and even older. The economic collapse hit a large segment of the population: it hit the young; it hit the middle aged; it hit the old. It was based on a deregulated banking industry, a corrupt ratings agency, and illegal inside trading. It destroyed many people’s lives. People who had lived honest lives, worked hard, and followed the rules were left unemployed and many became homeless. This is not the first time an unregulated, corrupt banking industry caused an economic catastrophe: it happened in the 1890s and the 1920s.

      The Occupiers were justifiably angry and justifiably scared. This is quite a different anger than the typical evangelical who gets angry that gay people can get married, that people say happy holidays rather than merry christmas, or that the ten commandments should be removed from government property. In the case of the Occupiers, their anger is based on policies that affected them directly and materially. In the case of gay marriage, two men or two women getting married has no effect on a christian’s marriage; it has no effect on anyone except the two getting married.

      I find your callous disregard of the suffering of the many many people from the 2008 economic catastrophe contemptible. I hope you reflect on this, in particular. You say that your mythology leads to good morality, yet you disregard the suffering of hardworking Americans. I just don’t get it.

      Hope I answered your questions,
      Jim

  • Jeff

    Thanks for being our proxy spokesman, Frank. Like a good song writer you say what we are already thinking. While I realize there is a similar relationship between right-wing blowhards and their audience I, nonetheless, think the evidence is strong enough to support your view of reality. My new job in retirement is a haven for whom you spoke of. Things for them are gut level and often beyond sensibilities. So sad because they are often veiled with Christian overtones that seem more like the devil than Jesus, or as I understand Jesus.

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  • Jimbo

    I had to laugh at the slave states maps of the democratic south. Ironic that the Republican Party was responsible for abolition, while the democrats were the ones opposed. The republicans are a far cry from they’re roots but your racist slurs are nothing but propaganda from the progressive socialist left. Frank you are surely a racist, except you hide behind your new left ideologies so no one will suspect, that its people like you that are the problem. You promote the very stuff you supposedly are fighting against, hate speech, racism against whites, class division. Used to be that liberals were anti establishment and about freed of choice, now they are the establishment and the only free choice allowed is abortion. Thanks for more of the same, I do enjoy reading, funny to me that so many agree with you.

    • http://post-modernenlightenment.blogspot.com/ J_Enigma32

      “You promote the very stuff you supposedly are fighting against, hate speech, racism against whites, class division. Used to be that liberals were anti establishment and about freed of choice, now they are the establishment and the only free choice allowed is abortion”

      How so? He called out a group of batshit insane right-wing white bastards. This is exactly what they are – it’s not racist, it’s a fact. Oh, wait, I’m sorry, I forgot. You can’t bring up race anymore. Talking about racism makes you a racist in the twisted, Orwellian world of the New Right. Big Brother is so proud.

      “progressive socialist left”
      Buzz words. Nothing more, nothing less. You couldn’t define any of those words if I asked you to. 10 minute hate much?

      “only free choice allowed is abortion”
      And what exactly have liberals such as myself advocated taking away from you?

      Meanwhile, the New Right has, in particular order: attempted to strip women of their access to birth control, stripped their access to birth control, attacked Hispanics and African Americans through voting registration, and passed any number of anti-worker laws, punishing workers for being works and stripping them of their ability to use collective bargaining, punish poor unemployed people by making it harder to get help, punish poor older people by cutting Medicare and other social safety nets, attacked education and made it harder to for the poor to get a decent education – and that’s just getting started. Stick your victim posturing where the sun doesn’t shine; you wouldn’t know what it’s like to be a victim of society if it smacked you in the face with a baseball bat.

      In short: your comment is nothing more than, “I know you are, but what am I?” You are the problem. You’re the person this is addressed too. Reality has a liberal bias, son, and the sooner you realize that the happier you will be.

      • Andrew Raymond

        Hear hear! Well spoken sir. But of course, you’re speaking to the deafness of the trolls.

        • Veritas

          Report them to the Ministry of Love immediately Andrew. Notify your commissar immediately of this thought crime and lack of progressiveness. And do remember to sacrifice at the altar of Stalin and Che, his archangel.

      • jimbo

        Thanks for the reply, Hilarious tit for tat, and even more comical that you have no idea of my age, race or political leanings. You assume I am far right and white, and maybe wealthy and perhaps too young to know better; your words: “Stick your victim posturing where the sun doesn’t shine; you wouldn’t know what it’s like to be a victim of society if it smacked you in the face with a baseball bat.” Thats what I love about you guys on the supposed left, spouting off buzz words and politically correct blather, most of which is only partly true; and then getting upset when someone else does the same. You have no idea sir, where I have been, what I have done or the dues I have paid, and the fun part is, you don’t get to know, you just speculate yourself into a worthless frenzy. I will tell you that I am no fan of Boehner and the rest of those republican congressmen, nor the democrats. Neither tribe seems to have any idea of what is really going on out here in the streets of society and the work place of America, maybe you don’t either. Surely Frank too, has lost His touch with reality, ranting on and on with hateful diatribes about white conservatives, but how does it help anything? What is any of this discourse, other than hate speech directed at a group of people that may be lousy politicians, but certainly not really any of the things you or Frank have labeled them with. Really? You and I both should know that the only things politicians are good for these days is finding out what they percieve their constituency wants and jumping in front, They could care less about the actual people here, but thats not just the white republicans, that goes for both sides… and you are wrong, I am not even close to whom this article addresses, but I disagreed with the author… and thats apparently no longer allowed by the people who call themselves Liberals now.

  • Thank You

    God bless you Frank Schaeffer for speaking the truth. May it spread far and wide.

    • Frank Schaeffer

      Hi Thank you, thanks for reading and the good word. Best, Frank

  • Omar Salinas

    This guy has many good points. The majority of white men are not racist or religious fundamentalists. But the minority of white men who are is a fairly sizable one. I’ve always found it highly disturbing that almost all the people who are literally hoarding weapons and ammunition are white, usually older, men that are right-wing and/or Christian fundamentalists. It makes me wonder what they would do if government ceased to function, and my imagination does not paint a pretty picture.

  • Andrew Raymond

    I’m with you, sir. But I don’t envy you your troll problems.

    And unfortunately, the problem with fixing this is that the light bulb has to want to change, and I don’t see that happening.

  • Jimmy Horowitz

    You are exactly on point, Mr. Schaeffer! I am an immigrant from England, and lived in New York and then Los Angeles before coming to live in Austin, Texas. And even though Austin is a great, lively liberal town, it is still located in the South. And I have have seen everything you are talking about with my own eyes. Nothing these white evangelicals say makes any sense. Thank God they are a rapidly aging demographic which will eventually die out.

    • Veritas

      Another Wanker tells us Texas should be more like the wonderful city of London where there are more non Brits than the star War bar scene. But I can understand why you left the old country, its about five times as violent as Austin. But then I guess drug dealing and hooliganism is progressive and the order that exists in Texas might just be due to its lack of a century of class warfare, envy, and progressive nostrums. But remember you can always go to the progressives paradise of San Francisco, where the bums decorate the streets in their own uniquely progressive way and the queers procreate with gay abandon. And considering church attendance in the old country-there are more Muslims attending services than Christians one wonders why you le3ft such a progressive paradise? Especially for a land where men don’t wear knickers and wankers aren’t tolerated. Just another gladstone ranger wanna be aren’t you, you tosser.

      • Dave R

        Nothing worse than a right wing american trying vainly to employ the word ‘wanker’ for effect. I assure you that mr H probably responded to to your rant as I did, with a mixture of amusement and incomprehension.

  • rvs

    Let’s not get “magic” involved in this scenario! Sheesh–the world desperately needs the deeper magic, not to mention enchantment, the vision quest, sparks from the benevolent vampires, Harry Potter’s wand (no Freudian readings, please), and the rest of it.

  • http://antichristaliens.com/ Lock Ledger

    Frank, you sound nuts. The Republicans are like the Weatherunderground but they don’t bomb. In fact they aren’t violent. In fact are not a threat until you try to take their gun away.

    The article is way out there.

    • Frank Schaeffer

      Since the Republicans have protpt up the NRA and gun violence kills 10,000 Americans a year I’d hardly say they aren’t a threat. Best, F PS thanks for reading

      • Veritas

        Now who can disagree with a analysis that protpt such logic and reason. Butressed with such evidence and insight such as protpt, I daresay none may doubt your brillance. Have bother to cjheck out the FBI’s data regarding the causes of deaths?

        Let us ban hands and feet, then hammers, and get rid of bicycles, swiming pools, and finally autos.

  • Ed Godwin

    Frank, I must respectfully disagree with what you said. We all blame Congress for not getting anything done, and rightfully so. But they are only a representative example of why this nation is so divided today.

    We have lost the ability to compromise, to silence our vitriol in the spirit of mutual respect for one another as individuals. Every political blog’s comment section I have ever read in the last ten years bears evidence of this. It’s too easy in this electronic age, which dilutes what should be a personal, productive discourse down to a faceless message on a web site, to point fingers at a class of people and say “there’s the problem!” The real problem is, as soon as you label someone, you stop treating them as a person. Each of us are unique in this world, not faceless members of a sociopolitical group.

    The Constitution, either by design or chance, enshrines the spirit of compromise. We must seek to understand one another, to listen to each others’ fears and concerns, for we all care about the world we live in, and the world our children will inherit. This, no doubt, will sound overly idealistic to some people. But we cannot address our fears until we stop seeing each other as cogs on a political wheel. Washington has lost the ability to “reach across the aisle”, but they are not alone. We, as citizens of a once great democracy, must also learn the ability to reach across the aisle, which for us is the impersonal barrier of cyberspace.

  • janet bajan

    i suggest you incorporate the concept of patriarchy into your thinking. all the folks who think the world is coming to an end are talking about their world – patriarchy. and – they may be right.

    • http://anendlesswar.com The One True Dave

      Definitely a great deal of overlap there. Those who will so strenuously defend one form of privilege will also cling to any other that they also have. It’s all intersectional, of course.

  • khughes1963

    Excellent takedown of the problem, but I am not sure the magical thinkers will ditch their illusions any time soon, if ever. I am not sure that they will ever regain their sanity, and I find it as frightening as you do.

  • Tazzle

    A “minority?” Baloney! 46% of Republicans polled in Mississippi think that mixed race marriage should be made illegal again. And about half of them believe Obama was born in Kenya. Southern Republicans are not a benign breed. My husband’s older relatives don’t call on him any more since he married me, a woman of color. So, it’s not just a few, it’s a whole lot. Mr. Schaeffer is being a little too diplomatic for my tastes. It’s not a “minority” of Southerners, Mr. Schaeffer. Try standing in the shoes of a member of a minority female surrounded by white Southern males over 55 in their native habitat. Our children, who can “pass” for white, have lived traumatized lives hearing people trash talk half their heritage when no one suspected they were speaking to members of that same race/ethnic group. If it wasn’t for the fact that my whole family lived within 100 miles of me, I’d have moved us to Vermont or Maine a long time ago.

    • Veritas

      Yes we all know what people of color think of blacks dating white women. I love it when progressives show their humanity. You madam are a beign entity, and I use the term madam in the proper context.

  • http://none jacbi

    As a PK who has stood amidst those of the very same group think of which Frank has first hand knowledge, I agree with most of what Frank says. Those persons have no similarity to anything that Jesus represented. NONE!
    Unfortunately the internet and rightwing radio has given them a sense of power felt by knowing there are others out there who agree. Whether the South was represented in the 19th or 20th century and now by Republicans or Democrats is irrelevant. Those birds of a feather will change name as quickly as necessary to feel powerful and stand among those of the same thought process. They erase from their thoughts processes phrases like “promote the general welfare” because they fear that they themselves will slide into irrelevancy. Yet they declare they are patriots.
    It is human nature, the need to feel superior to someone. So they align with a tribe where they feel important. Sadly they flounder about irrationally as each has a need to see their own self as championing some righteous cause. All the while they refuse to see the horror in which they stand.

  • morpheus

    This is an interesting hypothesis. It brings to my mind several ideas that have bee published about the outbreak of the witch hunts beginning in the early to mid 16th century. These ideas posit that much of Europe was shocked to its roots by the end of its medieval economic systems and by the frequent ruling by powerful women.

  • Jim

    Hi Frank,

    Very good post.

    I have a question for you. You wrote that the white male crazy republican problem is not economic. Although the anger may not be economic, don’t you think this anger is being harnessed and directed by the very very rich? As I understand, the tea party is financed by the Koch brothers. So, it seems to me that the very rich are using a pliable, angry white constituency to further their economic goals. Your opinion on this would be helpful.

    Thanks,
    Jim

  • Jim

    Oh Mary,

    Seems you are not aquainted with gay humor, which has nothing to do with sexism. I doubt you’d understand it. Suffice it to say, I find the whole thing rather amusing. Just as amusing as your projection: leftest yes, angry no. My comment to you was a bit sarcastic and a bit playful. You’re the angry one, hence your projection.

    As to reason and the heart: feelings cannot be tested to ascertain the veracity of a claim. It doesn’t matter what is in your heart. The devout muslim feels a god in their heart. The devout hindu feels a god or gods in their heart. The devout christian feels the god of christian mythology in their heart. Given how muslims and christians have mutually exclusive god ideas, one or both have to be wrong. Given, also, that neither claim can be tested, muslims and christians have had for centuries an unresolved argument about the veracity of each others claim. Again, you provide me with testable evidence about the existsnce of the christian god idea and I’ll reconsider.

    A constructive point for you: you might want to shorten your comments. You practically wrote a book, and it wasn’t interesting enough to read. After a brief skim, the only thing that caught my eye was the foolish attempt to make feelings equal to a reasoned argument based on evidence.

    Hugs and kisses,
    Jim

  • mitch

    Wow! Nice work here. I kept reading the article hoping the author would back up the claims he made in the opening paragraph. Alas, he just kept repeating the same claims without actually supporting them. What a waste of time.

  • http://Patheos threeten2yuma

    To all of Frank’s ever loyal fans, I say, “No mas!” I’m done. And to any of Dr. King’s Dream-Believers who are left in this audience, please carry on the struggle without me. It’s still that important, and I gave it my best shot. Peace & Love to one and all. -3:10

  • Jimbo

    To threeten2yuma; just so you know, I like your posts and your logic, it seems you have done your homework, and can express yourself without using hatefully written vitriol. Sad to see you go, not many left that don’t follow the status quo. Peace be with you.

    • http://Patheos threeten2yuma

      Not to worry, Jimbo. You are one of the Dream-Believers I was talkin’ to. I liked your stuff, and took courage from it. But I’ll still be here. In fact, I’ll be ever’where–wherever you look. Wherever there’s a fight so free people can speak their minds, I’ll be there. Wherever there’s a leftist goon beatin’ up a guy, I’ll be there. I’ll be in the way guys yell when they’re mad–an’ I’ll be in the way kids laugh when they’re hungry an’ they know supper’s ready. An’ when our people eat the stuff they raise without collectivism, an’ live in the houses they build without government fraud, why, I’ll be there too. Thanks, Pal. -3:10

  • Khistine McMahon

    Thank you for saying this. You took the words right out of my mouth!

  • Simon

    Frank, I share your bewilderment with White evangelical America. And it seems to have gotten exponentially worse over the last decade.

    Anyone who has seen taken a good look at conservative American evangelicalism knows that they are a mish mash group of Pentecostals, Dispensationalists, Southern Baptists etc. And these groups you wouldn’t necessarily put up there with the brightest or culturally savvy in society. However, within the conservative evangelical subculture there are the “Reformed” or Calvinists. This is the branch that you and your dad were part of. These guys facinate me because clearly they are more serious than other conservative evangelicals. Yet they largely hold to the same political ideas – i.e. the Religious Right. I have come to believe that this is mostly an American pathology. For instance, the prominent Calvinist theologian, Carl Trueman, from England correctly chastises American evangelicals for their uncritical support for Republicans in his book “Republocrat”. He is not what you would call a liberal by any stretch. He has merely observed the insanity that is the American Religious Right. And many Calvinists are right in there with the Religious Right loonies. Moreover, many of them actually think Fox News is reliable – and these are meant to be the chosen. So clearly, this lunacy is a function of being a White evangelical because of the way that subculture has developed. It’s not because they are any less intelligent. You even have Getting people to see this is very hard. You even have Orthodox and Catholic Christians falling into some of this nonsense. I follow and excellent blog by a convert Orthodox Priest. But every now and then he’ll drop in some comments that come straight out of the Tea Party play book. I’m sure this is because of his Southern upbringing and the kind of politics that he grew up with. But those views seem to have stuck with him. But clearly there is something very seriously wrong about the politics in White evangelical America. I hope they collapse under the weight of their nonsense. I think we are seeing signs of this at the moment. The worrying thing is that some of these guys will go down literally all guns blazing.

  • http://Patheos threeten2yuma

    I have off this weekend using some of my vacation time from work to celebrate with my family a long weekend commemorating the birthday of the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.!

    I personally had never heard of this great American until the night it was reported that he had been assassinated in Memphis, Tennessee, in the Spring of 1968. The next day in our fifth grade class, our teacher in my school at Clinton Sherman, A.F.B., Oklahoma, told us what had happened the day before. When she told us that Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., had been killed, a little girl classmate said what she’d undoubtedly heard at home, “Good!” Our teacher immediately corrected this child in love and certainty, “Oh, no, class, he was A GOOD MAN!” Before I ever knew another thing about Rev. King, I knew this much, because our beloved school teacher had told me so.

    This morning, I took our country’s flag on its pole and marched down the hall on the way to the front door, and I told our five year old grandson, Aron, who was eating his breakfast in the kitchen, “Today we fly our flag in honor of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s birthday, because he was a great American!” Aron didn’t know who I was talking about, but his lesson was beginning today from his beloved “Grandpa” who had just told him so. In response to my enthusiastic statement, Aron just said, “Yeah!” Then as I stuck the end of the flag pole in its holder outside our front door with Aron up from the table trailing along behind me, we both started singing one of Aron’s favorite songs that I’d taught him:

    It’s a grand old flag
    It’s a high-flying flag
    And forever in peace may it wave!

    It’s the emblem of
    The Land I love
    The home of the Free
    And the Brave!

    Every heart beats true
    Under Red, White & Blue
    Where there’s never a boast or brag
    But should auld acquaintance be forgot
    Keep your eye on the Grand Old Flag!

    To quote Aron, “Yeah!

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=smEqnnklfYs

  • DaveP

    Wow more lunacy. Do you really believe this stuff that you write?

    Maybe you should come to small town South Carolina and befriend some white evangelicals and see how they like their lives and hear what concerns them. I think you will find that Obama’s Leftist\Socialist Political views scare them more than the color of his skin.

    This isn’t 1860 or 1960 anymore. Apparently, you still think it is.


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