The GOP Shutdown is a Godsend for the Emergent/Convergent Progressive Churches and Will Pay my Electric Bill Too!

I predict that the slow falling away of a whole generation of evangelical young people from fundamentalist faith – and not a few older folks like me too – has just been exponentially accelerated. Thank you Jesus! Thank you Ted Cruz! The shutdown has not only laid bare the stupidity of the right wing hostage takers running and ruining the Republican Party, it’s also exposed fundamentalist American religion to the harshest light of day as never before.

The root cause of the shutdown is the evangelical religious right. Intransigent theology, myth-based literalism of biblical interpretation and fact-free politics, crafted as a reaction to social change is at the heart of the fiasco we’re witnessing. It’s not about the economy stupid, it’s all about our embattled competing views of God.

The emergent, convergent progressive and generous theology of the more liberal and tolerant Christians is slowly seeping into the evangelical/Catholic mainstream. You can teach at Moody Bible Institute and drink beer now! Even the new oddly sane pope likes gays and wants to accept women who have had abortions. But humanistic decency has been invading the inner space of religious people’s souls in fits and starts—up to now. The universal view of salvation and diversity-friendly view of what it means to follow Jesus has faced the opposition of the guardians of old time religion suspicious of any believers who don’t root for the damnation of the “lost.”

That “them” and “us” view is the same one that, once translated into politics, manifests itself as the 80 Tea Party congressmen and their hardcore represented by 40 men who would rather take the economy and nation down than compromise.

I grew up in a reformed Calvinist missionary household where the dirtiest word in the English language was “compromise.” The Schaeffer family was a holy nation of six—Mom, Dad my three sisters and me. We and we alone stood for truth. Dad had left several denominations over issues of theological compromise. In the 1980s one of my brothers in law, who had given his life to Dad’s ministry of L’Abri Fellowship, was forbidden to teach in the work any longer because his view of the Bible was no longer trusted as sufficiently in favor of an “inerrant” Word of God. Dad was willing to push out his favorite and most liked son in law to avoid theological compromise.

You can’t understand the radical hostage-taking right in Congress today outside of the context of the evangelical battles with the very idea of compromise. Sure, there are a handful of Ayn Rand/groupies and libertarians thrown in and sure the Koch brothers are following their own agenda in financing the demise of the US government, but none of these folks represent the true base of the Tea Party/Republican Party: white evangelical conservatives who have been in a decades old fight with the world are that base.

This group is losing its children to the “None” column in polls, as in none as the answer to questions of religious affiliation. And the cracks are already there in the evangelical monolithic edifice as seen in the rise of the convergent/emergent/Wild Goose Festival/”liberal”/inclusive/gay friendly movement represented at its best by people like writer and speaker Brian McLaren.

But once in a while movements are handed unexpected breaks, a sort of leapfrog of process. So are individuals. For instance my book Keeping Faith about my son’s service in the Marine Corps was just sitting there until Bush declared war on Iraq. Then all of a sudden it was “hot” and became a New York Times best seller. I even was interviewed by Oprah. The Republican right’s ’debacle in Congress, the racist overtones of old white guys bent on stopping the black man in the White House at any cost, and the resulting death march to doom, all in the name of no compromise, is redolent of change. This war too will spin off unexpected winners. The emergent/convergent movement is about to clean up.

When the dust settles the generational divide between the sort of people trying to maintain the evangelical status quo that Christianity Today magazine and Franklin Graham represent, and their aging white southern base and these people’s children and grandchildren will have grown into a gaping irreparable fissure. The reason is that the sheer unworkable bigotry, stupidity, foolishness of the religious right translated into policy (of sorts) is so self-evidently suicidal that this shutdown event will color a whole new generations’ level of intolerance for intolerance.

The twenty-something daughter of the local pastor watching her dad watching Fox News’ version of echo chamber reality used to just think her parents were silly. Now their clinging to a fact-free existence is costing her future, or at least risking it. She’s about to see her parents’ beliefs — both religious and political — as demented and costly.

Another unintended small (but important to me!) consequence of the shutdown is that the Republicans are repeating what happened to my book Keeping Faith. Same thing– different war. Ted Cruz is turning my new book And God Said, “Billy!” into a bestseller. Since religious delusion is at the heart of the American crisis, and since Billy! is the most thorough exploration of right wing religious delusion that’s been written – at least by a former religious right nutjob insider who can also write a funny book – they’ve just paid my electric bill…

The present crisis has created an urgent need to answer this question: “Who ARE these people?”  And God Said, “Billy!” is a good answer. Even the people rejecting the religion of their parents still have a deep spiritual hunger. And that’s the path of eventual soul-searching my character Billy takes, and it lands him first in jail, then on the doorstep of a monastery. That’s where  Billy meets sanity in the form of  an abbot who tells him that  Billy’s only path back to reality from religious delusion — and maybe to God — is for Billy to become an atheist. As such Billy! represents a whole generation of younger Christians about to show up on the doorstep of the progressive inclusive churches.

The shutdown will shape memory and attitudes and harden them in favor of a future where the black and white categories of exclusion just look plain evil. Try hanging onto a generation of young smart people who have John Boehner stuck in their brain as the poster boy for what their parents say they believe!

I predict that the wind down of what could be called the Billy Graham/Christianity Today slick empire-building traditional evangelical fundamentalist domination of the evangelical movement has just been accelerated dramatically. Ten years from now ask that thrifty-something former Southern Baptist why she isn’t raising her kids in an evangelical church, and why she either is a None or going to the local emergent/convergent get together led by a lesbian couple. I’ll bet you that somewhere in her story about her journey away from literalistic insanity to inclusive spirituality will be an embedded deep memory of these weeks of shutdown.

Put it this way if the shutdown was a soccer match: Score ONE for TEAM Brian McLaren, Nadia Bolz-Weber, Rachel Held Evans, Krista Tippett, the Wild Goose Festival, Shane Claiborne, Eric Elnes, Tony Jones, Tony Campolo, Paul Rsushenbaush and Rob Bell and a big fat ZERO For TEAM Boehner, the Republican right and to their evangelical/fundamentalist facilitators.

So thank you to the Tea Party and John Boehner for helping accelerate the pace of sanity invading the churches not to mention your helping make And God Said, “Billy!” the # 1 book in Amazon’s Kindle “Political Humor” category for the last three weeks.

Obama is going to win this battle. Kids will get healthcare, irrespective of the vindictive right and grow up to go to no church at all and/or to a progressive body. They will marry their gay partner, if they want to, probably in a liturgical setting presided over by a woman priest, maybe even a next generation Nadia Bolz-Webber. And they will read my book to figure out why they can’t talk to their mothers.

Thank you Tea Party! God bless you Fox News!

Frank Schaeffer is a writer and author of And God Said, “Billy!” on Kindle and NOOK for $3.99 and in paperback.

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.

  • Smack Mckinn

    I wouldn’t get too excited just yet. I think there are three things that need to be addressed by the convergent/emergent/Wild Goose Festival/”liberal”/inclusive/gay friendly movement before they will “win” – ugh, there we go again “win” versus “lose”…#1 – The doctrine of the trinity (as obtuse as that may sound it is at the root of the idolatry of the state that both right and left adore), #2 – eschatology: hey Christ already *did* return – read Josephus (I know this sounds wacky) but you might want to check our preterism – and take the grain of truth to be found there – not the Theonomy and Christian Ethics kind – I hope you understand what I mean…(but it might be beyond the “progressive” pale – I don’t know?) and #3 – Descartes – Descartes did more to destroy the interpretation of the Gospel than any evil liberal could have dreamed (kidding) – we still view the body and emotions as things to be controlled and the mind as the author and creator of life. So get rid of those three idols of Christianity and Jesus Christ might actually have a chance at “winning”….I’d appreciate your thoughts.

    • frankschaeffer

      Hi McKinn, thanks for reading my post… Well the theology is another matter… and will work out someday– or not, meanwhile the right wing culture wars have just gone off the rails! Best, F

      • GilbertDavis

        no worse then the left

  • GilbertDavis

    I miss your mom. She was one of the few that made sense to me . I believe your right Frank about the “great falling away”. I was informed about it through reading the Bible . Please define your terms as to what is a Fundamentalist and what is a Evangelical . My understanding is that a Fundamentalist is someone that believes the fundamentals concerning Christ and The Gospel , the essentials . Jesus is God incarnate , He died bearing in His own body the sins of the world and that He arose from the dead. My understanding of what an Evangelical is , is someone who tells others about what Christ has done and what that can mean for them if they trust and believe on HIM. I understand the roots of the term dating back about 100 years ago with men like Reuben A. Torrey and B.B. Warfield . Today though I think too much has been added and thus the true essence of the terms are being misconstrued.

    • Norman Walford

      Your understanding of ‘fundamentalist’ is a bit narrow. What you describe is just ‘Christian’. Fundamentalist also embraces a literalist inerrant view of the bible. As such it goes beyond the original claims of the writers of the books of the bible, who never either claimed or believed that their writings were literal errant. This is where all the problems start.

      • GilbertDavis

        I disagree . I believe there is overwhelming evidence that the writers and those who heard and later read The Books that were collected and became our Bible , knew what they were hearing was GOD’s Word. God used man but , ” All Scripture is given by inspiration of God ” ( 2 Timothy 3:16)KJB. Later, God’s people continued to recognize , receive and confirm it as such . The problems started when Eve was deceived by the adversary questioning God’s Word . ” Hath God said ? ” Yes , He did and He does today. His Word is trustworthy and can withstand any attacks.He promised to preserve His Word and He has . (Psalm 12:6,7,8)KJB. Men are without excuse . Their intellect is no match for His . Their wisdom is foolishness in comparison to His . They seek to justify themselves before men but God knows their heart , for that which is highly esteemed among men is an abomination in the sight of God ‘ ( Luke 16:15)

        • gimpi1

          With what you said here, can you accept the age of the earth, the basics of biology and the evolution of life on earth, and the basics of stellar evolution?

          Many fundamentalists try to make the Bible into a science textbook. My intellect is more than up to the task of understanding that this is foolish. That, in my view, needs no justification.

          Science-denial is one of the most dangerous ideas out there. If you want to have vaccines for emergent diseases, if you want earthquake and tsunami warnings, If you want action taken when an asteroid paints a target on the earth, you won’t find answers in the Bible. That’s my hobby-horse. It’s also my problem with many fundamentalists.

          • GilbertDavis

            none of that for which you mentioned concerning vaccines , disaster warnings etc. , is compromised if the Earth is 6000 years or 600 billion years old. The Bible , in fact, has revealed some things about our earth and universe that man did not know until less than 100 years ago . Do you need examples ? You have a computer , you look it up.

          • gimpi1

            I’m sorry, but I have plenty of examples of the earth being much older. I have done the research, mostly by osmosis. My husband is a geologist. One of the things he studies is volcanoes, of profound interest in the Pacific Northwest, where we live. Mount Rainier hasn’t had a large eruption in much more than 6,000 years, yet we have lahars from its last eruption. Much of the city of Puyallup is built on one of them. Understanding that is critical to building safely in that area. Another thing he has studied is the mechanics of subduction zones. We have evidence of tsunami along our coast for much longer than 6,000 years. Predicting them is impossible without understanding their cause.

            Without understanding the geological forces such as vulcanism, subduction, and plate-tectonics no predictions regarding earthquakes, tsunamis or other disasters can be made. And understanding these forces requires understanding the amount of time they have been in play. A world-view in which the Bible is regarded as science won’t allow for that. So, yes, disaster warnings require not regarding the bible as science.

            Vaccine-development depends on understanding biology. Modern biology is based on the evolution of life. I don’t have as good a grounding (pun intended) in that as I do in geology, so I won’t try to go into detail, but I know some people doing research at Amgin, and they say they depend on evolutionary understanding to do their research. I take them at their word, that a “Bible as science” world view would put the brakes on their research.

          • GilbertDavis

            no , none of what you indicated concerning vaccine development , predicting tidal waves and earthquakes, volcano eruptions and any other disasters , is dependent on the false view of evolution and or the erroneous idea that the Earth is billions of years old . Aside from the observable truth of natural selection , those other myths of yours are just that. Sciences DO NOT contradict The Bible .

          • gimpi1

            Well, the vast majority of scientists (including the one I married) believe that science is not compatible with a literal view of the Bible. I have to go with them.

            I believe you are wrong. The overwhelming evidence says I am not. Here are some questions that may explain why I think that’s so:

            Assuming a 6,000 year-old earth, how do you explain 9 feet of volcanic ash laid down in the last Yellowstone eruption, according to research, around 630,000 years ago? How do you explain the size of the Atlantic Ocean, given that the European-African and North-South American continents are moving apart at about 2 inches a year? How do you explain the lahar I mentioned? How do you account for the usefulness of index-fossils in dating geologic layers, to aid in locating mineral deposits?

            You’d never guess I hung out with a geologist, would you?

          • GilbertDavis

            The Earth and visible universe, including light we see in space, were created with apparent age . Adam was created as an adult not a baby. The Earth has in it everything that God wanted to be there. There was a world-wide flood that also must have caused some dramatic changes to the Earth . What are those oceanic fossils doing thousands of feet above sea level ? The Osceola Lahar said to have been caused by Mt. Rainier’s eruption, happened , according to two sources I read , 5600 years ago. I do not see a conflict with “nine feet of volcanic ash ” but do with when you say “researchers” say an eruption happened in Yellowstone . The continents are still moving and probably will be united again into one land mass. That very idea is supported by some information The Bible gives and explains some future Biblical events. I have heard some scientists say that the Earth may flip some day soon . By that they mean the earth will turn upside down and reverse it’s poles . That will happen according to (Isaiah 24:1)KJB. The earth has four high-points or corners . With the continents together or not and without the water in the oceans , it would have a shape more in common with a pyramid rather than a rounded shape we see in a typical globe. There are some fascinating statements in the Bible that reveal many things man never knew about the physical universe until recently . The Bible is trustworthy in every respect .

          • gimpi1

            In my perspective, you are adding unneeded complications to hold fast to your view. By insisting that, “The Bible is trustworthy in every respect.” you need to add layers of limits and special cases to make your geologic world-view work. Without that need, )and most Christians don’t have that need,) the world of scientific discovery opens up. By limiting yourself to the Bible as science, you close yourself to a world of wonder.

            You say the earth was created with an apparent age, much older than it’s actual age. Why? You believe that to keep with your timeline, but if you let that timeline go, the actual age of the earth becomes apparent.

            Rainier’s Osceloa Lahar is about the age you state, but it has generated many lahars, some much older (Rainier is prone to lahar due to its glaciation.) There have been many lahars over the last few million years in this region. No serious geologist questions this.

            No serious geologist takes the Great Flood story seriously either. There have been many floods of massive scale, but nothing like the Flood described in Genesis. Fossils are above sea-level, and in fact in the tops of mountains because those mountain-tops were at one time ocean bottom. The mechanism for this is well-known. When plates collide, the margins are pushed upwards. For example, the Himalayas were pushed up when the Indian plate struck the Eurasian plate. They are still going up, and the Indian plate is one of the fastest moving plates. They have marine fossils on the peaks. (My husband has this cool program on his computer that tracks plate movements.)

            The Yellowstone Resurgent Caldera is one of the largest and most dangerous volcanos on the planet. (My husband terrified me on a trip there, telling me what it has done in the past.) Geologists can type the ash from its last large-scale eruption. Because of the large amount of water and different minerals in the Yellowstone basin, the chemical signature is easy to spot.

            You don’t understand the basics of plate-tectonics. The continents were joined in the past. (Actually, the evidence is that they have been joined several times, in different configurations.) When they split, the plates around the Atlantic began moving away from each other, opening up the mid-atlantic rift. They are moving at about 2″ a year. We have charted this speed through satellite imaging. This process has been going on for millions of years. In order for the plates to have reached their current position, (from a common joined position) in 6,000 years they would have to be moving much, much faster. If the plates were moving that fast, the Cascade Subduction Zone would be much more geologically active, as the Pacific Plate would be subducting under the North American Plate much faster. If the plates had recently slowed down, not only do you need to find a braking-factor, but you need to explain why the geologic record does not show that greater activity. If you claim the continents were created in motion, and were never joined, we have pretty-good evidence for their having been joined. There are geologic formations that start on one continent and end on another. One example – the Appalachians actually start in Scotland and end as the Atlas Mountains in Morocco.

            No scientists are calling for the earth to “flip.” This is another discussion I have had with my husband. Pole shift refers to the magnetic poles reversing. That means that the south pole will be the magnetic pole, and compasses will point south. There have been many recorded pole-shifts, mostly charted through the “striping” that occurs at sea-floor rifts, where young crust rises up and solidifies. When that happens, magnetic crystals align with the current magnetic pole. The process appears “striped” because when the magnetic pole shifts, the crystals align in the opposite direction, marking a boundary in the rocks. Over time, those boundaries make strips of similarly aligned rocks. This process could profoundly disrupt our electronics, GPS and such, but the earth is not expected to “flip over.”

            All that said, I have to let this go. I’ve gone on way too long, and I know there is no point. You clearly can’t accept anything that calls your view of the Bible as a science text into question, and I can’t unlearn what I have learned in my years of marriage to a scientist.

          • GilbertDavis

            very interesting but I think we are often saying the same thing with different terminology . Much of what you have stated is supported by Scripture although you seem to think that processes remain constant at speeds that do not change. Catastrophic natural events such as The Flood mentioned in the Bible is one such catalyst that did effect the whole Earth . “Flip” , turn upside down , or pole-shifts, they are all the same event for the same thing . My recollection about pole-shifts is that it has something to do with movements of Magma in The Earth . However it happens , I believe as you said, that it will cause profound disruption our electronics. It explains though why future battles and warfare are spoken about in more conventional, less high tech,methods in the Bible , even the need for horses if those portions of prophetic Scripture are speaking of men and not spiritual forces . Mountains lowering and deep places rising , is also spoken about in The Bible . ( Isaiah 40:4; Luke 3:5)KJB. I have never closed my thinking to exclude science that is not mentioned in the Bible . I accept good science that is not biased and contrived to support presupposition of ideas , just as you think a Bible believer does the same. I don’t take the Bible alone but i accept and believe it as Supreme. I still believe you would be fascinated by the many scientific facts that the Bible describes . Many of these Biblical revealed facts were not even known by modern scientists until recently . You must have heard of these before and if you have not , please do yourself a favor and look at them . If you need a source reference for the portions , let me know .

          • Norman Walford

            I’m not convinced that the writer of Genesis ever intended his creation story to be taken as literal fact. When you write a story about a man and a woman where is the man’s name is MAN and the woman’s name means LIFE then i think there is a good case to make that the writer is talking of archetypes rather than real people.

          • GilbertDavis

            Both God and Moses intended Genesis to be taken literally. God incarnate , The LORD Jesus Christ , quoted from Genesis as if those events actually happened . I have been taught that the 1st law of Bible interpretation ( Hermeneutics), is to understand a passage literally unless it is obvious that that is not meant by the particular portion . This would include taking into consideration the context . There is often more then just a literal understanding of a passage . There can be both a literal and spiritual interpretation that would include typology. The spiritual and types can be used for application to convey truths for teaching and preaching .

          • Norman Walford

            I respect your opinion Gilbert. it is however ultimately an expression of opinion not of fact. When you say that God intended the book of Genesis to be taken literally, that is a valid opinion. But it can only ever be an opinion. You cannot possibly know whether God intended Genesis to be taken literally, just as i cannot possibly know whether God intended it to be taken literally. Neither of us can read the mind of God, and God has not told us. Therefore it is impossible for is us to know with absolute certainty. I see massive evidence to indicate that it is not literal; however it is of course entirely theoretically possible for God to fabricate such evidence to mislead people, though why he should wish to do such a thing is entirely beyond me.
            I think the most important thing here is to make a distinction between facts and opinions.

          • GilbertDavis

            Do you believe that Jesus is God incarnate? If you do then His Words matter concerning what He believed and spoke about . Jesus spoke concerning events in Genesis . He did not in any way imply that they were not actual events . The following verses reveal the mind of God and His Children. ( 2 Cor. 2:16; Romans 12:2; I Cor. 2:14-16; Phil. 2:5; I Cor. 2:13-16; I Peter 1:13; I Peter 1:3; John 5:30; Romans 8:9)KJB

          • Norman Walford

            Now you’re raising a huge question, Gilbert! That is, when jesus emptied himself taking the form of a man, just how far did that emptying go? Did he remain omniscient? or did he take on the limitations of being a human being, including the limitations of not knowing everything? my reading of scripture, particularly the book of Hebrews, is that he became like us. He took on a finite human mind.All he knew about the book of Genesis was what he had processed through his human brain. On my understanding, that is what the bible teaches.

          • GilbertDavis

            He was fully God and fully man. He did not lie and when needed ,He demonstrated His fullness .

          • GilbertDavis

            I defer to the scientists . <www.icr.org

          • GilbertDavis
          • Sam Bailey

            I fully agree with you. Have you ever heard of the translations of portions of the New Testament by James Morgan Pryse, freeing the Bible of centuries of accretions and interpolations? The Bible as he translates it, restoring it to it’s true purpose as a spiritual text meant for spiritual illumination, restores it’s rich metaphor and symbolism, meant not to point to literal or relative phenomena, but to spiritual realities alone.

          • GilbertDavis

            For unto us was the gospel preached, as well as unto them: but the word preached did not profit them, not being mixed with faith in them that heard it.( Hebrews 4:2)KJB

          • Sam Bailey

            “Flip, turn upside down , or pole-shifts, they are all the same event for the same thing.” NO. They do not mean the same thing at all. When you show this degree of fundamental misunderstanding of science, you disqualify yourself as authoritative on scientific topics.

          • Sam Bailey

            “You say the earth was created with an apparent age, much older than it’s actual age.” I find this most interesting. When Gilbert Davis says this, whether he will admit to it or not, he is implying that God intended to deceive us as to the nature of the earth. Look at his words, reason it out. I believe the logic is valid, and points to very twisted inconsistencies in his belief system.

          • GilbertDavis

            Here are some other scientists that you are not married to http://www.answersingenesis.org < http://www.icr.org

          • gimpi1

            Answers In Genesis is not a scientific site. The people there are engaged in propaganda.

          • GilbertDavis

            and here are some other scientists that you are not married to and what they have said . –> http://www.answersingenesis.org >< http://www.icr.org

          • Sam Bailey

            NO. No scientist says that the earth will reverse it’s magnetic poles by physically flipping upside down. Magnetic reversals have happened before and will happen again. They are not physical reversals, only a shifting of the magnetic poles. During this reversal, the earth’s protective magnetic field decreases dramatically, and may even go to zero for a short time, which is why some predict possible cataclysmic disruption. Think about it – if a pole reversal was a result of the planet physically turning upside down, then technically speaking, no pole reversal at all would have occurred. The magnetic poles would still be in the same geographical locations. And what do you mean by the earth “turning upside down?” Do you think that in space, there is up and down? If so, in relation to what? One last question: Which Bible verses say that the earth’s continents will unite into what land mass? I don’t think you can name any. That is a challenge.

          • Sam Bailey

            typo: substitute “one” land mass.

          • GilbertDavis

            I don’t believe there is a verse that states that the earth will unite land masses . IN order for ever eye to be able to see the city of New Jerusalem from any position on Earth during the Millennial reign of Christ on Earth , it is speculated that after every valley is exalted and every mountain made low , that the land mass would join .

          • Sam Bailey

            I was raised in a fundamentalist church who espoused a supposedly literal interpretation of everything in the Bible. That didn’t stop them from adding the crazy idea (stated nowhere in the Bible) that the devil manufactured dinosaur bones, then placed them in the Earth at the beginning of creation, so that when we humans showed up on the scene, we would suppose the Earth to be older than 6,000 years, and therefore be damned to burn in his kingdom for all of eternity. Have you heard that one before? It’s not uncommon in fundamentalist churches, and has been around for decades. I was only in grade school when I first heard it in church, but even then I immediately recognized it as utter foolishness.

          • GilbertDavis

            they were destroyed , most at the same time , by a world wide event . Some scientists say something from space hit the Earth . I believe rather their demise was caused by The Flood .

          • gimpi1

            I have run into it, and Gilbert Davis’s explanation below. Of course, that’s not possible. The stratification that allows index fossils to be used in mineral-location developed over great spans of time. Oil, for example, must “cook” for millions of years. It reaches it’s peak of power at a set age, and then degenerates. Index fossils can help geologists date deposits, to increase extraction-potential. I’m glad you spotted the idiocy of it. A pity some don’t.

          • Sam Bailey

            OF COURSE, the REAL sciences do NOT contradict the Bible. And neither does a MATURE reading of the Bible contradict the real sciences. But so-called “Creation Science” DOES contradict both REAL science AND the Bible. It is not based upon either empirically valid scientific observation OR the Bible, but rather upon an overly subjective and therefore distorted interpretation of natural phenomena, stemming from the pseudo-scientific idea that the Bible is a valid yardstick for science. That isn’t what the Bible is at all, or what it’s about. Rather, it is a spiritual text, meant for spiritual enlightenment, liberation, salvation, call it what you will. The Bible is fine in it’s own domain – spiritual matters. Outside the spiritual domain, it isn’t really applicable. It isn’t meant for that. But the literalistic don’t understand that their literalism inherently implies a materialist, and even dualistic view of existence. The very idea of “Creation Science” is evidence of their materialist world view. In their delusion, they drag both science and religion, respectively, into arenas neither is well suited for. They subvert both science and religion, misunderstanding and confusing the appropriate domains of each, and in spreading their confused views to the as-yet uninformed, they weaken the ability of both science and religion to enlighten humanity on the subjects each is meant to illumine. And in my humble opinion, Frank Schaeffer is a truly wise man.

          • GilbertDavis

            while your at it , study the phrase, ” apparent age”, in reference to the literal Biblical view of Creation .

    • http://www.fivedills.com Greg Dill

      A “fundamentalist” as used in any religious faith are those who interpret scripture as only they understand it, and then force it upon their own culture to comply. Those who differ or oppose their teachings are seen as evil, infidels, or heretics by said fundamentalists. Usually, most fundamentalists are seen as dogmatic, legalistic, and moralistic. Unwilling to bend or change. Not open to other views, often believing that their view is the ONLY and correct view.

      As a former fundamentalist, I can attest to these things.

  • http://www.wideopenground.com/ Lana

    Brilliant post as usual. I think the evangelical church is shaken up for sure. Will people flock to the progressive churches if they are little more than social justice clubs? I dunno.

  • Wayne C Hanson

    I loved your dad…He was brilliant. There was a man in my church that was a reformed Drug Addict that went through your family’s ministry in Switzerland. His name was Dean Nichols (a brilliant saxaphonist) do you remember him? I’m afraid God doesn’t care too much about all this political garbage…I can see you’re a good writer, why don’t you elevate your subject matter a little bit and instead of being the critic of the Religious Right become the Champion of the Next Reformation.

    • Martin Trench

      I think, perhaps, that the “next reformation” is precisely to deconstruct the distorted gospel of the Religious Right.

  • http://rethinkxian.com/ Rob McQueary

    As a fellow (without choice) child of Fundamentalist parents, I applaud what you are trying to do. I’m not sure the McLaren bent is accurate (he had his chance and largely failed), but I do agree that voices like Rachel Held Evans are more of where the new kind of Christians (intentional nod to McLaren) are heading. Thanks for being a voice for the rest of us.

  • Mark Pixley

    Thanks for the insight Frank, I hope you are right since this exodus will greatly affect the monster of empire we’ve created for ourselves. I do not see the exodus being informed by the religious right as much as you do, and frankly your tone here sounds rather like sour grapes, my hope is that you are not under the impression that a new leader at the helm of empire is what we need…the damn thing needs to be killed…the tithe that supports the pulpit that controls, the buildings that suck the resources away from the widow and fatherless, the subjection of the image of God in His people to the image of man in a priests garb…but far worse is the unintended consequence of a life lived in isolation from a world needing light…someone has to have hope…and i am not looking at some lefty social construct of affordable healthcare to be the answer…the guys selling votes in DC to the pacs will not provide an answer…that twenty something pastors daughter is not going to fall at the alter of liberal politics because its not just the right side of the aisle that is to blame here and she knows it.
    Yes be done with the evangelical machine of judgment, God is not mad or in control or standing with a sword over any nation that questions Israel, He is in us wanting to reveal His goodness and the perfection of what He has already done…but I think THAT wake up call is a little bit down the road…your mileage may vary…

  • R Vogel

    I loved the fire-storm the posting of your last article generated on my FB page. Coming from a family of ‘religious right nutjob(s),’ with myself counted as one for the first 30 years of my life, the response was a mix of angst, fear, and a ridicule. They are only used to seeing the opposition through the Fox News filter. Thanks!

  • Ffay55

    Interesting read. Although I like the thrust of this, it does seem extreme. I don’t think you can throw Christianity today in with Fundamentalism thinking, for instance. Seems like a lot of self promotion.

  • Jim

    Thanks Frank. Sadly, too many of us grew up with the RSV (no, not that RSV, the Reversed Stilted Version), where Jesus said: “I tell you the truth: it is to your advantage that I go away, for if I do not go away THE BOOK will not come to you. But if I go, I will send IT to you.” John 16:7. Lord have mercy.

  • Sam Bailey

    Thanks Frank. I’ve heard some things about your spiritual journey over the years. Now, reading your essay, I’m deeply confirmed in my opinion that you are a man of true moral courage. Thanks for sharing. I take courage knowing you are out there, doing what you do, asking the questions you ask.


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