The Savior The Religious Right Had Been Waiting For

There is in fact a lot to be grateful for in connection with Donald Trump. And not just the fodder for Saturday Night Live skits that he and his administration have been providing. The underlying values of the so-called religious right are being exposed more clearly to public view than ever before. 

This comic by Mike Peters makes the point well.

"Isn't "ark of the [new] covenant' a title given to Mary not Jesus by the ..."

700 Names of Jesus?
"“Inerrancy is all about paying lip-service to the Bible, while actually working hard against it, ..."

The Bible Was Made For Humans
"Phil said: "And this is where Jesus as rabbinical commentator is very useful. He seems ..."

The Bible Was Made For Humans
"The example of the humane-ness of the Sabbath is a really good one.Coming up in ..."

The Bible Was Made For Humans

Browse Our Archives

Follow Us!


What Are Your Thoughts?leave a comment
  • myklc

    They missed “Persecute the unbeliever!”

    • John MacDonald

      I think setting up a dichotomy between “believer” and “unbeliever” misses the epistemological point. For instance, a believer may treat a highly idiosyncratic event as a “miracle,” while an unbeliever might call the same event a “coincidence.” In fact, there is no basis in reason for either judgement, so one side is just as irrational as the other. Hegel pointed out, contra Kant, that truth presented itself more as a continuum than an antinomy (Kant’s “either/or”), while Derrida rejected that the poles of the continuum can stand on their own in the first place (Derrida’s “neither/nor”). “Belief” and “Unbelief” both make a “leap of faith” to establish evidence for their respective points of view. Atheists assume their stance is more rational because they simply uncritically assume faith is baseless, even though Atheists adopt the mundane explanation without any justification (Atheists “already assume” cold materialism without demonstrating it, and so proceed to interpret nature from that groundless framework). Such is the nature of the postmodern epistemological deconstruction of faith issues. The “atheism/theism” debate proceeds with both sides pointing out the groundlessness of the assertions of their respective opponents, without realizing, to reference a children’s story, that their own emperor has no clothes. Perhaps one day debaters on both sides will awake from their dogmatic slumbers and realize that neither side can be rationally defended.

      • jh

        Well, as an atheist, it isn’t cold materialism. It’s simply not adding pink unicorns to an explanation. It’s acknowledging the weakness of human ability in pattern matching. It’s looking at probabilities and avoiding confirmation bias. It’s applying the simplest explanation rather than some convoluted explanation that introduces elements that are not necessary.

        This world cannot continue when a substantial portion of the population chooses to ignore evidence in preference to “revealed subjective knowledge”. To put it simply, we cannot survive on just words. We cannot survive when groups of people go “no gay marriage because of our god”. their reasoning is spurious and subjective. We cannot survive when groups of people go “no climate change because god promised no floods” nonsense. This self-deception is dangerous to the existence of every living creature on this planet. There must be some common reference points and facts that everyone can agree on without invoking some personal subjective, non-testable experience.

        As an ex-christian, I cannot understand why I believed in a god, especially the christian god. The emperor has no clothes and now, I cannot un-see the flaws and the obvious human invention that went into creating christianity.

        believe what you want. Just apply it to yourself. Acknowledge that other people do not believe what you believe and they aren’t evil for rejecting your beliefs. Help create a society where secularism is the basis for our public square and reality is respected. You can believe in Santa Claus if you want. Just don’t make laws based on St. Nick’s bullshit.

        • John MacDonald

          As I said:
          (1) Phenomenologically, the theist, atheist, and agnostic perceive “a highly idiosyncratic event.” The agnostic stops here.
          2) The atheist and the theist continue on to make the unjustified leap of faith that the event is a miracle (for the theist), or a coincidence (for the atheist).

          • I’ve never met an theist who calls all “highly idiosyncratic event” miracles. I’ve met some theists who call some “highly idiosyncratic events” miracles. The rest they call coincidences.

          • John MacDonald

            You are right, of course. I didn’t mean theists would call “all” highly idiosyncratic events “miracles.” Allow me to rephrase:
            (1) Phenomenologically, the theist, atheist, and agnostic perceive “a highly idiosyncratic event.” The agnostic stops here.
            2) The atheist and the theist “may” continue on to make the unjustified leap of faith that the event is a miracle (for the theist), or a coincidence (for the atheist).

          • What leap of “faith”? Most atheists I know would reserve judgement on the cause of any particular event in the absence of enough evidence. For that matter, most theists I know would do the same.

            Of course, withholding judgement on the any given event does not preclude one from assessing the likelihood of any particular cause. Even when proof is not possible; probability can still be assessed.

            Agnostic is not an exclusive term. In philosophy, the term has long been used as a descriptor that can apply to both “agnostic atheism” and “agnostic theism”.

          • John MacDonald

            Atheists make these unjustified leaps of faith all the time. For instance, if naturalism is true, then
            (A) Where did the material that made up the “Big Bang” come from in the first place?
            (B) How did living organic material originally arise in the universe out of purely inorganic materials and processes?
            Atheists simply assume a naturalistic solution to the “arche” problems all the time, without having a generally accepted solution to how these happened without God(s).
            I’m not religious. I’m just speaking about epistemology, not ontology where we would have to pick atheism or theism.

          • What solution to those questions are atheists “leaping” to in “faith”?

            Physicists and biologists (both atheist and theist) are still researching abiogenesis and models for the universe prior to and at the moment of the Big Bang. As far as I know, no one is claiming to have proven, or to have declared “faith” in, any particular model at this time, though they might see balances of probabilty favoring some models over others.

            I still fail to see the “leap of faith” you keep claiming.

          • Nick G

            The important thing is that John MacDonald has found a way of feeling superior to both theists and atheists.

          • Nick G

            You should learn to distinguish between unjustified leaps of faith, and provisional, justifiable assumptions. Naturalism (what you call “cold materialism”) is a high-level hypothesis, which could have been refuted by empirical investigation of alleged “highly idiosyncratic events” such as communication with the dead, the efficacy of prayer, psychokinesis, etc., or by sufficiently strong evidence of a miracle (such as the instant regrowth of an amputated limb) – and still could be, at any time – but has not been. It is therefore a provisional, justifiable assumption, and not an unjustified leap of faith.

          • John MacDonald

            Maybe you should google “paralogism,” lol

            As I said:

            (1) Phenomenologically, the theist, atheist, and agnostic perceive “a highly idiosyncratic event.” The agnostic stops here.
            2) The atheist and the theist “may” continue on to make the unjustified leap of faith that the event is a miracle (for the theist), or a coincidence (for the atheist).

            Atheists make these unjustified leaps of faith all the time. For instance, if naturalism is true, then
            (A) Where did the material that made up the “Big Bang” come from in the first place?
            (B) How did living organic material originally arise in the universe out of purely inorganic materials and processes?

            Atheism is just as thoughtless as theism. It just falsely dawns the mantle of “critical thinking by pretending its assumptions are examined (which, in fact, they are not).

            Agnosticism is the only true path.

          • Nick G

            You fail, of course, to identify any paralogism. As for your questions:

            (A) We don’t know. Why you think this is any sort of refutation of naturalism is a mystery, since the hypothesis of naturalism does not entail that we should know everything.
            (B) See (A).

            Atheism, of course, does not entail naturalism. It is quite possible to disbelieve in gods while also disbelieving in naturalism. However, the hypothesis of naturalism has been subject to both conceptual and empirical examination for centuries. You claim to the contrary merely shows your ignorance.

          • Chase Miller

            “the unjustified leap of faith” ie human nature

  • Brandon Roberts

    kind of a cute cartoon

  • Ann

    Sadly, I have seen a brother of mine gravitate toward and then fully enter the far-right evangelical world. Interestingly, he for many years had had a very unenlightened view of the “Other.” He then managed to locate a community that calls itself Christian that fully reinforces his prejudices. In fact, he now is worse than ever before, having been given what he seems to regard as religious sanction for his attitudes. He’d probably say he underwent a “conversion”–a highly ironic term in this case.

  • Trump and the religious right just helped make this passage come true:

    2 Timothy 3New International Version (NIV)

    3 But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days. 2 People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, 3 without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, 4 treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God— 5 having a form of godliness but denying its power. Have nothing to do with such people.

    6 They are the kind who worm their way into homes and gain control over gullible women, who are loaded down with sins and are swayed by all kinds of evil desires, 7 always learning but never able to come to a knowledge of the truth. 8 Just as Jannes and Jambres opposed Moses, so also these teachers oppose the truth. They are men of depraved minds, who, as far as the faith is concerned, are rejected. 9 But they will not get very far because, as in the case of those men, their folly will be clear to everyone.

    • Chase Miller

      That would describe most of the left and a significant proportion of the right, but then again it would describe a large proportion of humans for much of history

      • sheryl clyde

        To a point yes but if you take into consideration other factors it becomes more clear that it is a description of a type of mindset of the end time and no time in history has it become more so then it is now. All you have to do is read comments on news comments and social media to see how far we have gone down hill.

  • Chase Miller

    That there are Christians that believe that we ought to make the government bigger and that government will help the poor and homeless more effectively than voluntary giving, or even that the government is anything but a bane to moral religions, is mind boggling. Both the mainstream left and right seek the same thing: to expand monopolistic powers of government. With the left, they seek to do so domestically, cracking down on both personal and economic liberty, while the right wants to do that somewhat but mostly are war hawkish. The right is obviously preferable and a better path to diminishing government and creating voluntary societies. If the so called religious left thinks they will have any power in the future of developed nations, they ignore not only the complete ineffectiveness of the policies they support (resorting to post hoc fallacies to take credit for existing trends), but their own demographics.

    • There may be some reason to think that government in some authoritarian sense might provide the solutions to major problems. But if you are referring to the collective effort in a democratic context to address social matters in a way that individuals cannot on their own, then it isn’t clear that such efforts are misguided, or that other solutions are feasible, never mind preferable.

      • Chase Miller

        You assume that a democratic system cannot be authoritarian or can’t select an authoritarian and that a democratic state is necessary to have “collective effort” to “address social matters,” it isn’t; voluntary social organizations and individuals have done far more to help than states ever have.

        • It is not clear that in an ancient context things were better, nor that they are better in societies in which there are fewer collective solutions to issues of healthcare, or poverty, or so on. Can you perhaps provide evidence to support your claim?

          • Chase Miller

            It is clear, just look at what happens when markets are freer and commodities are treated as such without governments hampering competition.

          • That is exactly what persuades me of the need to address societal matters collectively. I have thankfully never had the chance to live somewhere where each individual arranged for their own trash collection. But I have had the opportunity to see what universal access to healthcare looks like, and consider it unfortunate that most people in the United States will never get a chance to experience it so as to compare it to the system that we have here.

          • Chase Miller

            Then I wish you good luck in hell, the more than doubling in standard of living in countries like china, singapore, korea, japan, and some ex soviet countries, etc, and the massive developments in medical care haven’t come from stifling market freedom and stealing money

          • Stealing money? In a democracy? Is that what you call it when things like the military are dealt with collectively? Or are your objections only to some thing, such as those that relate to human wellbeing such as healthcare?

            http://www.patheos.com/blogs/religionprof/2012/07/taxation-charity-and-robbery.html

          • sheryl clyde

            I take it that you are ignorant of the reason for the creation of welfare in the first place? During the great depression the church could not keep up with the demand for help and giving dropped. Humans are not the altruistic creatures you would like them to be. Even the old testament had laws for helping the poor. Farmers had to leave a corner of their fields uncut for the poor to harvest. IF there was all kinds of animals to hunt and wild food people could gather lt might be different but there is not. IF God provided a way in the old testament for the poor to be taken care of then who are you to say that they should not be? I suggest you read matthew 25 again and again until you understand what it really means.

          • Chase Miller

            Ah yes, the old great depression canard. Prolonged double digit unemployment, reduction in working hours, shortages because of price controls, massive debt, and the formation of a literal ponzi scheme all to “fix” something caused by the government anyway. The government meddling was the problem in the first place, and welfare gives them even more power. I find it so incredibly ironic that you accuse me of ignorance when I have looked at every right wing left wing and other view related to these topics, have you done that, can you give a justification for your positions that stands on it’s own and isn’t just a logical fallacy based on non existent facts or positions that people like me don’t even take? You should consider whether you are looking at different views from the same basic facts to arrive at an initially unknown conclusion, or are starting with an intransigent position.

            “Humans are not the altruistic creatures you would like them to be.” Good point, now tell me how a system where one group of people have a monopoly and are economically unaccountable is a good thing, instead of a market system where the more favorable firms out compete less favorable firms.

            In the old testament people had a covenant with god and with each other: https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Covenant_(law)
            This is far far different from the involuntary modern state system we have today, which has led to far more evil than good.

            Matthew 25 does not seem to support anything you are saying at all, but the new and old testament do have numerous verses supporting private property rights, you should perhaps read the whole of the bible again and again, and also venture outside your echo chamber

  • Pat68

    Yep. I know an elder in an evangelical church that this fits well. When discussing whether or not to give a line item in the budget to an already successful ministry that was providing help to the needy, his reasoning for not doing so was, “God didn’t call us to save the world.” I about fell off my chair. Of course God doesn’t call us to save the world, but my goodness, to use this as a rationale for not helping to continue this program was beyond me. And this was a man very much into holiness doctrine.