Atheocracy

Denver bishop James D. Conley offers a potentially useful new word:

In our day, those “decrying the Christian religion” have seized the captain’s seat in America—in the academy, the media, the government and courts. The result is a kind of publicly enforced religious indifferentism, or what recent Popes have called “practical atheism.” The Constitution insists that no religious test shall ever be required for public office. But our society, in effect, now imposes an “irreligious test.” To take part in civic life, Americans must first agree to think and act as if they have no religious convictions or motivations.

America today is becoming what I call an atheocracy—a society that is actively hostile to religious faith and religious believers.

An atheocracy is a dangerous place, both morally and spiritually. Cut off from the religious moorings expressed in the Declaration, we risk becoming a nation without a soul, a people with no common purpose apart from material pursuits. Worse, as Chesterton well understood, without belief in a Creator, our democracy has no compelling reason for defending human rights:

The Declaration of Independence dogmatically bases all rights on the fact that God created all men equal. . . . There is no basis for democracy except in a dogma about the divine origin of man. . . . Every other basis is a sort of sentimental confusion … always vain for the vital purpose of constraining the tyrant.

Our atheocracy has rejected what Chesterton called the dogmatic basis of American identity and liberties. An atheocracy has no ultimate truths to guide it and no inviolable ethical principles by which to direct political activity. Hence, it has no foundation upon which to establish justice, secure true freedom or to constrain tyrants.

We see the consequences of this atheocratic mindset everywhere. We see it most clearly in the case of legalized abortion. Denying the divine origins of the human person, our government has withdrawn the law’s protection from unborn children in the womb—the most absolutely innocent and defenseless members of our human family.

The legal extermination of the unborn is only the most egregious offense against God’s law. In fact, there is apparently no area of life over which our atheocratic government does not feel omni-competent—that government knows best.

This is dramatically clear in the movement to establish homosexual unions as an alternative kind of family. Under pressure from powerful special interests who manipulate the language of “rights” and “freedom” in ways that contradict “the laws of Nature’s God,” our atheocratic government now deems itself competent to rewrite the God-given definitions of marriage and the family.

via America’s Atheocracy | First Things.

 

About Gene Veith

Professor of Literature at Patrick Henry College, the Director of the Cranach Institute at Concordia Theological Seminary, a columnist for World Magazine and TableTalk, and the author of 18 books on different facets of Christianity & Culture.

  • http://www.matthewcochran.net/blog Matt Cochran

    I think the bishop pretty much nails the description, which, in turn, might lead to to the development of a solution.

    To use a theological analogy, American secularists demand a kind of Nestorianism with respect to citizens who are also churchgoers–the citizen and the believer have to be so distinct from one another that practically speaking they become two completely separate people. The believer must wait outside when the citizen enters the legislature or the voting booth. Perhaps, then, the solution is to recognize the legitimacy of a hypostatic union between church and state. An individual person who is both churchgoer and citizen will have values and character common to both vocations. In this way, the church would have legitimate influence without mixing ecclesiastical and governmental structures, and freedom of religion would once more become compatible with non-establishment.

  • http://www.matthewcochran.net/blog Matt Cochran

    I think the bishop pretty much nails the description, which, in turn, might lead to to the development of a solution.

    To use a theological analogy, American secularists demand a kind of Nestorianism with respect to citizens who are also churchgoers–the citizen and the believer have to be so distinct from one another that practically speaking they become two completely separate people. The believer must wait outside when the citizen enters the legislature or the voting booth. Perhaps, then, the solution is to recognize the legitimacy of a hypostatic union between church and state. An individual person who is both churchgoer and citizen will have values and character common to both vocations. In this way, the church would have legitimate influence without mixing ecclesiastical and governmental structures, and freedom of religion would once more become compatible with non-establishment.

  • Dennis Peskey

    Bishop Conley offers a clear enunciation of the comingling of the two kingdoms with the kingdom of the left triumphant. The existence of an atheocracy is but one more step toward the final conclusion of the practical atheism which birthed our country.

    Let me be clear; atheocracy is not the problem. For the Roman church, the problem can be traced back to the Diatribe authored by Desiderius Erasmus in 1525A.D. This discourse in essence was the affirmation of Rome’s acceptance of semi-pelagianism which is infused in their theology.

    The basis for this posting rested primarily upon the Declaration of Independence’s statement “that God created all men equal.” In God’s view, this is most certainly true for He gave his Son to save all men. But Rome errs by asserting heavenly realities to this fallen world. What is denied is the fallen nature of this world and our sinful condition. That a group of men from thirteen colonies agreed to a document which referenced a “God” is a far cry from the triune God of Scripture.

    The “ sentimental confusion of the Declaration is to presume a token reference to a “God” is sufficient to warrant Divine blessings and protection for a democratic endeavor. Simply put, did Christ truly say no man comes to the Father except by Him. I do not see the evidence of our nation ever being a “christian” nation. What the Declaration embraces is the known facts of natural law – known to Christian and pagan (i.e., atheist) alike.

    The “religious indifferentism” which the good Bishop decries was present at our nation’s birth. Bishop Conley’s complaint is better directed at a christless Christianity. But then, to this very day, the good Bishop clings to a faith which is bound to good works and firmly rejects Luther’s De Libera Arbitrio. We are not born free; we are born in bondage to sin and can not free ourselves. If you desire freedom and liberty, seek Christ and all he has taught. You’ll not find these qualities in either the Declaration of Independence nor the Constitution for they are the good works of men which do not avail.
    Pax,
    Dennis

  • Dennis Peskey

    Bishop Conley offers a clear enunciation of the comingling of the two kingdoms with the kingdom of the left triumphant. The existence of an atheocracy is but one more step toward the final conclusion of the practical atheism which birthed our country.

    Let me be clear; atheocracy is not the problem. For the Roman church, the problem can be traced back to the Diatribe authored by Desiderius Erasmus in 1525A.D. This discourse in essence was the affirmation of Rome’s acceptance of semi-pelagianism which is infused in their theology.

    The basis for this posting rested primarily upon the Declaration of Independence’s statement “that God created all men equal.” In God’s view, this is most certainly true for He gave his Son to save all men. But Rome errs by asserting heavenly realities to this fallen world. What is denied is the fallen nature of this world and our sinful condition. That a group of men from thirteen colonies agreed to a document which referenced a “God” is a far cry from the triune God of Scripture.

    The “ sentimental confusion of the Declaration is to presume a token reference to a “God” is sufficient to warrant Divine blessings and protection for a democratic endeavor. Simply put, did Christ truly say no man comes to the Father except by Him. I do not see the evidence of our nation ever being a “christian” nation. What the Declaration embraces is the known facts of natural law – known to Christian and pagan (i.e., atheist) alike.

    The “religious indifferentism” which the good Bishop decries was present at our nation’s birth. Bishop Conley’s complaint is better directed at a christless Christianity. But then, to this very day, the good Bishop clings to a faith which is bound to good works and firmly rejects Luther’s De Libera Arbitrio. We are not born free; we are born in bondage to sin and can not free ourselves. If you desire freedom and liberty, seek Christ and all he has taught. You’ll not find these qualities in either the Declaration of Independence nor the Constitution for they are the good works of men which do not avail.
    Pax,
    Dennis

  • http://bibleimmersion.blogspot.com David

    Thanks for the article. Quality as usual. I’ve posted a few thoughts from this article on my blog as well:
    http://bibleimmersion.blogspot.com/2011/07/americas-atheocracy.html

  • http://bibleimmersion.blogspot.com David

    Thanks for the article. Quality as usual. I’ve posted a few thoughts from this article on my blog as well:
    http://bibleimmersion.blogspot.com/2011/07/americas-atheocracy.html

  • DonS

    This seems to be pretty much another way of saying that we have become a society of moral relativists, having a disbelief in any notion of absolute Truth imposed by a Divine Creator. Besides eternal damnation, the problem with being an unbelieving moral relativist in this life is that you have no basis for establishing and enforcing a consistent system of ethics.

    As a result, society unravels. We are observing that process currently.

  • DonS

    This seems to be pretty much another way of saying that we have become a society of moral relativists, having a disbelief in any notion of absolute Truth imposed by a Divine Creator. Besides eternal damnation, the problem with being an unbelieving moral relativist in this life is that you have no basis for establishing and enforcing a consistent system of ethics.

    As a result, society unravels. We are observing that process currently.

  • John C

    Bishop Conley makes the dubious assertion that Christians are an oppressed majority. Opinion polls indicate athiests are the most distrusted and despised minority in America and they are the least likely person Americans would vote for in a presidential election. Muslims, recent immigrants and homosexuals have more chance of getting elected.
    Would you let your daughter marry one?
    I would also make the point that France is a devoutly secular country but I don’t think Bishop Conley would be foolish enough to make the claim that France is a “dangerous place both morally and spiritually, a nation without a soul, a people with no common purpose apart from material pursuits”.
    Christianity became too closely associated with the Bush administration — there was bound to be a reaction.
    The Bishop protests too much.

  • John C

    Bishop Conley makes the dubious assertion that Christians are an oppressed majority. Opinion polls indicate athiests are the most distrusted and despised minority in America and they are the least likely person Americans would vote for in a presidential election. Muslims, recent immigrants and homosexuals have more chance of getting elected.
    Would you let your daughter marry one?
    I would also make the point that France is a devoutly secular country but I don’t think Bishop Conley would be foolish enough to make the claim that France is a “dangerous place both morally and spiritually, a nation without a soul, a people with no common purpose apart from material pursuits”.
    Christianity became too closely associated with the Bush administration — there was bound to be a reaction.
    The Bishop protests too much.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Meh.

    To take part in civic life, Americans must first agree to think and act as if they have no religious convictions or motivations.

    That’s funny. The country I live in, also called America, is nothing like this. Hyperbole may seem like a useful tool, but it does tend to discredit one’s adherence to the realm of facts.

    No, seriously, am I to understand that no one on this blog — or First Things — “takes part in civic life”? And that none of our politicians “act as if they have … religious convictions or motivations”? Because, while that’s the obvious go-to cheap shot, I seem to recall certain (typically Republican) politicians (who, presumably, are “taking part in civic life”) being held up as the opposite of that statement. You know, with religious convictions and all that. Which is it?

    Cut off from the religious moorings expressed in the Declaration, we risk becoming a nation without a soul, a people with no common purpose apart from material pursuits.

    Actually, as a Person of Faith, I find the “religious moorings expressed in the Declaration” to be fairly deplorable myself, as written. Oh no! Am I an atheocrat?

    As to complaining about “no common purpose apart from material pursuits”, you’d think he’d missed that, among the “unalienable rights” held up by said Declaration are “Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness”. Regardless, what’s so bad about holding those material rights in common? The religious freedom that we all treasure necessarily means that we don’t hold spiritual convictions in common, which pretty much leaves “material” ones, no? Of course, not all “material pursuits” are bad. I’m not sure the bishop gets that. Maybe he’s a gnostic?

    There is no basis for democracy except in a dogma about the divine origin of man.

    This is, simply, bizarre. History makes quite clear that belief in the “divine origin of man” in no way guarantees or necessitates democracy. And not a few of my atheist friends seem to treasure democracy, based merely on the equality of people. Of course, this is the product of the current zeitgeist, which, yes, is subject to change. But, again, so is (Western) Christianity’s current insistence on democracy as some sort of God-approved solution. In short, the author’s insistence on these two things being inextricably related seems less than well-founded.

    An atheocracy has no ultimate truths to guide it and no inviolable ethical principles by which to direct political activity.

    Read: atheists have no morals. Come on. Has this guy just never met an atheist? Does he believe that God has completely failed to write any Law on their hearts? And if he does, don’t you find that a bit troubling, given what the Bible actually teaches? Does every atheist universally laud the repealing of any and all laws protecting life and property? Or do they, too, believe such things are good? And if they do, why?

    Hence, [atheocracy] has no foundation upon which to establish justice, secure true freedom or to constrain tyrants.

    Clearly, this was written by a Catholic with only a passing knowledge of how his church has, historically, fared on the terms by which he decries atheists. Because, you know, the Roman Catholic church sometimes wasn’t the biggest fan of “constraining tyrants”. Did you know? What, then, does that teach us about the ideas the bishop is apparently in favor of?

    We see the consequences of this atheocratic mindset everywhere. We see it most clearly in the case of legalized abortion.

    Perhaps. But we also see plenty of non-atheists also supporting legalized abortion. The bishop seems not to have noticed this. Perhaps “atheocracy” isn’t the simple one-stop demon for all of society’s ills? Or are religious people who support abortion simplistically filed under “atheocrats” for the purpose of an easier argument?

    Again, meh, I say.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Meh.

    To take part in civic life, Americans must first agree to think and act as if they have no religious convictions or motivations.

    That’s funny. The country I live in, also called America, is nothing like this. Hyperbole may seem like a useful tool, but it does tend to discredit one’s adherence to the realm of facts.

    No, seriously, am I to understand that no one on this blog — or First Things — “takes part in civic life”? And that none of our politicians “act as if they have … religious convictions or motivations”? Because, while that’s the obvious go-to cheap shot, I seem to recall certain (typically Republican) politicians (who, presumably, are “taking part in civic life”) being held up as the opposite of that statement. You know, with religious convictions and all that. Which is it?

    Cut off from the religious moorings expressed in the Declaration, we risk becoming a nation without a soul, a people with no common purpose apart from material pursuits.

    Actually, as a Person of Faith, I find the “religious moorings expressed in the Declaration” to be fairly deplorable myself, as written. Oh no! Am I an atheocrat?

    As to complaining about “no common purpose apart from material pursuits”, you’d think he’d missed that, among the “unalienable rights” held up by said Declaration are “Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness”. Regardless, what’s so bad about holding those material rights in common? The religious freedom that we all treasure necessarily means that we don’t hold spiritual convictions in common, which pretty much leaves “material” ones, no? Of course, not all “material pursuits” are bad. I’m not sure the bishop gets that. Maybe he’s a gnostic?

    There is no basis for democracy except in a dogma about the divine origin of man.

    This is, simply, bizarre. History makes quite clear that belief in the “divine origin of man” in no way guarantees or necessitates democracy. And not a few of my atheist friends seem to treasure democracy, based merely on the equality of people. Of course, this is the product of the current zeitgeist, which, yes, is subject to change. But, again, so is (Western) Christianity’s current insistence on democracy as some sort of God-approved solution. In short, the author’s insistence on these two things being inextricably related seems less than well-founded.

    An atheocracy has no ultimate truths to guide it and no inviolable ethical principles by which to direct political activity.

    Read: atheists have no morals. Come on. Has this guy just never met an atheist? Does he believe that God has completely failed to write any Law on their hearts? And if he does, don’t you find that a bit troubling, given what the Bible actually teaches? Does every atheist universally laud the repealing of any and all laws protecting life and property? Or do they, too, believe such things are good? And if they do, why?

    Hence, [atheocracy] has no foundation upon which to establish justice, secure true freedom or to constrain tyrants.

    Clearly, this was written by a Catholic with only a passing knowledge of how his church has, historically, fared on the terms by which he decries atheists. Because, you know, the Roman Catholic church sometimes wasn’t the biggest fan of “constraining tyrants”. Did you know? What, then, does that teach us about the ideas the bishop is apparently in favor of?

    We see the consequences of this atheocratic mindset everywhere. We see it most clearly in the case of legalized abortion.

    Perhaps. But we also see plenty of non-atheists also supporting legalized abortion. The bishop seems not to have noticed this. Perhaps “atheocracy” isn’t the simple one-stop demon for all of society’s ills? Or are religious people who support abortion simplistically filed under “atheocrats” for the purpose of an easier argument?

    Again, meh, I say.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    I think John C (@5) is also right in noticing the reactionary quality of what Bishop Conley is observing. To the degree that “atheocracy” is a thing, it is almost certainly a reaction to the foregoing (and still going) theocracy movement, popular among American Evangelicals. Oh, they might not like that label, as such, but it was there. People quoting from Jeremiah (or any other Israel-specific text) and reading it as applying specifically to America (you know, the new Israel).

    I seem to recall the Roman Catholic church dabbling not a little bit in theocracies, as well, throughout its history. Is that all water under the bridge now? Democracy forever, at least until Rome changes its mind on that? Oh, wait, only godless heathens ever change their mind about which is the One True Polity?

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    I think John C (@5) is also right in noticing the reactionary quality of what Bishop Conley is observing. To the degree that “atheocracy” is a thing, it is almost certainly a reaction to the foregoing (and still going) theocracy movement, popular among American Evangelicals. Oh, they might not like that label, as such, but it was there. People quoting from Jeremiah (or any other Israel-specific text) and reading it as applying specifically to America (you know, the new Israel).

    I seem to recall the Roman Catholic church dabbling not a little bit in theocracies, as well, throughout its history. Is that all water under the bridge now? Democracy forever, at least until Rome changes its mind on that? Oh, wait, only godless heathens ever change their mind about which is the One True Polity?

  • Jonathan

    American Christianity is seldom about the gospel or even what Christ said were important to Him in the latter verses of Matthew 25 (hint: the sick, prisoners, etc.) Rather, it’s all about, day and night, going after women who may want an abortion and the gays and lesbians. Paul said, Love of money is a root of all evil. Yet when was the last time the typical culture warrior took a break from screaming about bad women and gays and spoke a word against Wall Street greed?

  • Jonathan

    American Christianity is seldom about the gospel or even what Christ said were important to Him in the latter verses of Matthew 25 (hint: the sick, prisoners, etc.) Rather, it’s all about, day and night, going after women who may want an abortion and the gays and lesbians. Paul said, Love of money is a root of all evil. Yet when was the last time the typical culture warrior took a break from screaming about bad women and gays and spoke a word against Wall Street greed?

  • norman teigen

    I think that this is a big stretch. I am not willing to accept these comments as determinative. Perhaps I am too much of a Lutheran to buy into this sort of thing.

  • norman teigen

    I think that this is a big stretch. I am not willing to accept these comments as determinative. Perhaps I am too much of a Lutheran to buy into this sort of thing.

  • http://www.bikebubba.blogspot.com bike bubba

    I just read a bit from an advocate of the exclusive teaching of Darwinism make claims that, well, make it pretty clear that if we’re not already at an atheocracy, we’re getting close. The scary thing is that a lot of the advocates do not even seem to notice that they’re advocating totalitarianism in the name of tolerance.

    And Jonathan, perhaps you’d do well to take a look at the people who actually inhabit evangelical churches. You will find plenty of people who are quite willing to criticize the titans of the corporate and financial world, and very few screaming about “bad women and homosexuals.”

    Nice red herring, however.

  • http://www.bikebubba.blogspot.com bike bubba

    I just read a bit from an advocate of the exclusive teaching of Darwinism make claims that, well, make it pretty clear that if we’re not already at an atheocracy, we’re getting close. The scary thing is that a lot of the advocates do not even seem to notice that they’re advocating totalitarianism in the name of tolerance.

    And Jonathan, perhaps you’d do well to take a look at the people who actually inhabit evangelical churches. You will find plenty of people who are quite willing to criticize the titans of the corporate and financial world, and very few screaming about “bad women and homosexuals.”

    Nice red herring, however.

  • Jonathan

    @10 Bubba, you’re describing folks who don’t make the headlines or the blogs, and who don’t, apparently, have much effect on what their leaders say. But I’m glad they’re there, nonetheless.

  • Jonathan

    @10 Bubba, you’re describing folks who don’t make the headlines or the blogs, and who don’t, apparently, have much effect on what their leaders say. But I’m glad they’re there, nonetheless.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Bubba said (@10):

    I just read a bit from an advocate of the exclusive teaching of Darwinism make claims that, well, make it pretty clear that if we’re not already at an atheocracy, we’re getting close.

    Oh, well, that completely vague assertion has me convinced. You read something somewhere that said something, you say? Gosh! I guess that overrides all my anecdotal evidence of people of faith taking part in civic life, getting elected, and even speaking about their faith from their elected office, huh?

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Bubba said (@10):

    I just read a bit from an advocate of the exclusive teaching of Darwinism make claims that, well, make it pretty clear that if we’re not already at an atheocracy, we’re getting close.

    Oh, well, that completely vague assertion has me convinced. You read something somewhere that said something, you say? Gosh! I guess that overrides all my anecdotal evidence of people of faith taking part in civic life, getting elected, and even speaking about their faith from their elected office, huh?

  • Daniel Gorman

    Dennis Peskey @2 “I do not see the evidence of our nation ever being a “christian” nation. What the Declaration embraces is the known facts of natural law – known to Christian and pagan (i.e., atheist) alike.”

    The Declaration of Independence is a corruption of natural law that argues for an unnatural right to rebel against authority and that obligates God to endow fallen and corrupt mankind with certain inalienable rights. It could be argued that, until the Declaration of Independence was superceded by the Constitution, America was an anti-christian nation.

    Dennis Peskey @2 “The “religious indifferentism” which the good Bishop decries was present at our nation’s birth. Bishop Conley’s complaint is better directed at a christless Christianity. But then, to this very day, the good Bishop clings to a faith which is bound to good works and firmly rejects Luther’s De Libera Arbitrio. We are not born free; we are born in bondage to sin and can not free ourselves. If you desire freedom and liberty, seek Christ and all he has taught. You’ll not find these qualities in either the Declaration of Independence nor the Constitution for they are the good works of men which do not avail.”

    Do not confound the Declaration of Independence with the Constitution. The Constitution is a purely civil document whereas the Declaration of Independence is primarily a religious document.

    If Luther’s De Libera Arbitrio is true, then Jefferson’s Declaration of Independence is false. Man is not endowed with life but is under sentence of death. Man is not endowed with liberty but is totally enslaved to Satan. Man is not endowed with a right to pursue happiness but must pursue only misery.

  • Daniel Gorman

    Dennis Peskey @2 “I do not see the evidence of our nation ever being a “christian” nation. What the Declaration embraces is the known facts of natural law – known to Christian and pagan (i.e., atheist) alike.”

    The Declaration of Independence is a corruption of natural law that argues for an unnatural right to rebel against authority and that obligates God to endow fallen and corrupt mankind with certain inalienable rights. It could be argued that, until the Declaration of Independence was superceded by the Constitution, America was an anti-christian nation.

    Dennis Peskey @2 “The “religious indifferentism” which the good Bishop decries was present at our nation’s birth. Bishop Conley’s complaint is better directed at a christless Christianity. But then, to this very day, the good Bishop clings to a faith which is bound to good works and firmly rejects Luther’s De Libera Arbitrio. We are not born free; we are born in bondage to sin and can not free ourselves. If you desire freedom and liberty, seek Christ and all he has taught. You’ll not find these qualities in either the Declaration of Independence nor the Constitution for they are the good works of men which do not avail.”

    Do not confound the Declaration of Independence with the Constitution. The Constitution is a purely civil document whereas the Declaration of Independence is primarily a religious document.

    If Luther’s De Libera Arbitrio is true, then Jefferson’s Declaration of Independence is false. Man is not endowed with life but is under sentence of death. Man is not endowed with liberty but is totally enslaved to Satan. Man is not endowed with a right to pursue happiness but must pursue only misery.

  • Jeremy

    Let’s imagine it’s a Hindu and not a fundamentalist Christian we are talking about. If a Hindu wants to run for office and he personally believes that eating beef is wrong, I don’t think we should have a problem with that. However, if he wants to enact legislation to ban the cattle industry, then it’s another issue. It’s also an issue if he wants Hindu creationism taught in the classroom alongside natural evolution.

  • Jeremy

    Let’s imagine it’s a Hindu and not a fundamentalist Christian we are talking about. If a Hindu wants to run for office and he personally believes that eating beef is wrong, I don’t think we should have a problem with that. However, if he wants to enact legislation to ban the cattle industry, then it’s another issue. It’s also an issue if he wants Hindu creationism taught in the classroom alongside natural evolution.

  • Dennis Peskey

    To Daniel (#13) – Due to my sporting nature, when our confessional study took up the Fourth Commandment in Luther’s Large Catechism, I began my apology of King (George) and country (I am a Tory at heart) with an assualt on the Declaration of Independence. I could not conceive of a Lutheran being in agreement with this doctrine. Unfortunately, I am a poor, miserable fisherman and was unable to get any of the pastors to take the bait. I would not go so far as to asssert our country was anti-Christian in the eighteenth century.

    What I do believe is both then and now, there exists confusion and poor comprehension on Luther’s Bondage of the Will. Luther’s work is supported from the Bible; Erasmus relied upon reason and other oddities. If Luther is correct in the Bondage of the Will, then the premise underlining the Declaration is false. (Todd was eloquent in dealing with the issues of civic responsibility and morality outside Christianity (post #6).

    If you read the comments to the original blog posting on First Things, you will come across an interesting entry. One of the commentators ascribed Christian values to the Constitution based upon the Anno Domini inscription in the dating at the end. I can not fathom any yoga master who could endure this stretching exercise. As for myself, I do not witness Christianity in either the Declaration nor the Constitution. I do tire of both the Roman and evangelical attempts to superimpose a theocracy upon our structure of government. Lutherans would fare much better under a Turk than under B16 or Pat Robertson.
    Pax,
    Dennis

  • Dennis Peskey

    To Daniel (#13) – Due to my sporting nature, when our confessional study took up the Fourth Commandment in Luther’s Large Catechism, I began my apology of King (George) and country (I am a Tory at heart) with an assualt on the Declaration of Independence. I could not conceive of a Lutheran being in agreement with this doctrine. Unfortunately, I am a poor, miserable fisherman and was unable to get any of the pastors to take the bait. I would not go so far as to asssert our country was anti-Christian in the eighteenth century.

    What I do believe is both then and now, there exists confusion and poor comprehension on Luther’s Bondage of the Will. Luther’s work is supported from the Bible; Erasmus relied upon reason and other oddities. If Luther is correct in the Bondage of the Will, then the premise underlining the Declaration is false. (Todd was eloquent in dealing with the issues of civic responsibility and morality outside Christianity (post #6).

    If you read the comments to the original blog posting on First Things, you will come across an interesting entry. One of the commentators ascribed Christian values to the Constitution based upon the Anno Domini inscription in the dating at the end. I can not fathom any yoga master who could endure this stretching exercise. As for myself, I do not witness Christianity in either the Declaration nor the Constitution. I do tire of both the Roman and evangelical attempts to superimpose a theocracy upon our structure of government. Lutherans would fare much better under a Turk than under B16 or Pat Robertson.
    Pax,
    Dennis

  • Joe

    Jeremy wrote, “It’s also an issue if he wants Hindu creationism taught in the classroom alongside natural evolution.”

    Why? I went to a public school. My high school science curriculum included evolution and the big bang, but my teacher (an avowed evolutionist) was honest enough to admit that the theory of natural evolution begins after the beginning. It is not a theory of creation. He was also honest enough to acknowledge that the Big Bang is a theory. He did a wonderful job of presenting evolution and the Big Bang and other naturalistic creation theories. But he presented them as the theories that they are. He explained to us that he was convinced the Big Bang and Evolution were the most probable explanations and he explained why he believed that.

    Then he did something that I still admire him for, he invited in guest presenters to discuss other theories, myths and stories of creation. Living in a small northern Wisconsin community, the potential guest speakers were limited but included, Christians, Native Americans (Oneida and Menominee) and some pretty far out their new age stuff. Its too bad there was not a Hindu available to present their myth.

  • Joe

    Jeremy wrote, “It’s also an issue if he wants Hindu creationism taught in the classroom alongside natural evolution.”

    Why? I went to a public school. My high school science curriculum included evolution and the big bang, but my teacher (an avowed evolutionist) was honest enough to admit that the theory of natural evolution begins after the beginning. It is not a theory of creation. He was also honest enough to acknowledge that the Big Bang is a theory. He did a wonderful job of presenting evolution and the Big Bang and other naturalistic creation theories. But he presented them as the theories that they are. He explained to us that he was convinced the Big Bang and Evolution were the most probable explanations and he explained why he believed that.

    Then he did something that I still admire him for, he invited in guest presenters to discuss other theories, myths and stories of creation. Living in a small northern Wisconsin community, the potential guest speakers were limited but included, Christians, Native Americans (Oneida and Menominee) and some pretty far out their new age stuff. Its too bad there was not a Hindu available to present their myth.

  • http://www.bikebubba.blogspot.com bike bubba

    Vague assertion? Well, suffice it to say that one of the pieces of evidence introduced was from Richard Dawkins, in which he did a marvelous job of begging the question.

    Sorry, it’s real, it’s out there, and there are strong movements to get theistic presuppositions a priori banned from the public square. We might as well at least brace for it if we cannot win the debate.

  • http://www.bikebubba.blogspot.com bike bubba

    Vague assertion? Well, suffice it to say that one of the pieces of evidence introduced was from Richard Dawkins, in which he did a marvelous job of begging the question.

    Sorry, it’s real, it’s out there, and there are strong movements to get theistic presuppositions a priori banned from the public square. We might as well at least brace for it if we cannot win the debate.

  • Daniel Gorman

    Dennis Peskey (#15) – “Due to my sporting nature, when our confessional study took up the Fourth Commandment in Luther’s Large Catechism, I began my apology of King (George) and country (I am a Tory at heart) with an assualt on the Declaration of Independence. I could not conceive of a Lutheran being in agreement with this doctrine. Unfortunately, I am a poor, miserable fisherman and was unable to get any of the pastors to take the bait. I would not go so far as to asssert our country was anti-Christian in the eighteenth century.”

    The argument could and should have been made that the America colonial governments were the powers ordained by God and the King was in rebellion against them. The Glorious Revolution transferred governing authority from the King to the Parliaments of the British Empire. The colonies chose instead to officially teach the false doctrine of rebellion. To the extent the colonial governments were false teachers, they were anti-Christian. However, I don’t believe they were in rebellion against the King.

    Dennis Peskey (15): “If you read the comments to the original blog posting on First Things, you will come across an interesting entry. One of the commentators ascribed Christian values to the Constitution based upon the Anno Domini inscription in the dating at the end. I can not fathom any yoga master who could endure this stretching exercise. As for myself, I do not witness Christianity in either the Declaration nor the Constitution.”

    It is purely sophistry to find Christianity in the Constitution or the Declaration. There is, however, a great deal of anti-Christianity in the Declaration of Independence. It’s shameful when government officials urge us the worship the false god of the Declaration of Independence (National Day of Prayer, Pledge of Allegiance, etc.). They want to wield two swords!

  • Daniel Gorman

    Dennis Peskey (#15) – “Due to my sporting nature, when our confessional study took up the Fourth Commandment in Luther’s Large Catechism, I began my apology of King (George) and country (I am a Tory at heart) with an assualt on the Declaration of Independence. I could not conceive of a Lutheran being in agreement with this doctrine. Unfortunately, I am a poor, miserable fisherman and was unable to get any of the pastors to take the bait. I would not go so far as to asssert our country was anti-Christian in the eighteenth century.”

    The argument could and should have been made that the America colonial governments were the powers ordained by God and the King was in rebellion against them. The Glorious Revolution transferred governing authority from the King to the Parliaments of the British Empire. The colonies chose instead to officially teach the false doctrine of rebellion. To the extent the colonial governments were false teachers, they were anti-Christian. However, I don’t believe they were in rebellion against the King.

    Dennis Peskey (15): “If you read the comments to the original blog posting on First Things, you will come across an interesting entry. One of the commentators ascribed Christian values to the Constitution based upon the Anno Domini inscription in the dating at the end. I can not fathom any yoga master who could endure this stretching exercise. As for myself, I do not witness Christianity in either the Declaration nor the Constitution.”

    It is purely sophistry to find Christianity in the Constitution or the Declaration. There is, however, a great deal of anti-Christianity in the Declaration of Independence. It’s shameful when government officials urge us the worship the false god of the Declaration of Independence (National Day of Prayer, Pledge of Allegiance, etc.). They want to wield two swords!

  • Jeremy

    @Joe

    As long as your teacher explained that these creation stories, are in fact, myths, then I’m okay with how he taught the class. My only major compliant about what you wrote is that it seems to ignore the difference between a scientific theory, and how the word “theory” is used colloquially. In everyday speech, “theory” means “conjecture” or a “hypothesis”. On the other hand, a scientific theory is almost synonymous with “fact” or “truth”. So when somebody says “evolution and the big bang are only theories”, it indicates they don’t understand what a scientific theory is.

  • Jeremy

    @Joe

    As long as your teacher explained that these creation stories, are in fact, myths, then I’m okay with how he taught the class. My only major compliant about what you wrote is that it seems to ignore the difference between a scientific theory, and how the word “theory” is used colloquially. In everyday speech, “theory” means “conjecture” or a “hypothesis”. On the other hand, a scientific theory is almost synonymous with “fact” or “truth”. So when somebody says “evolution and the big bang are only theories”, it indicates they don’t understand what a scientific theory is.


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