- The American Conservative - https://www.theamericanconservative.com -

Does Strategic Thinking = Squishiness?

The conservative Catholic writer George Neumayr calls Russell Moore, the 42 year old pastor and theologian who is the Southern Baptists’ new voice on Capitol Hill, a squish for taking a more conciliatory and nuanced line in the culture war [1]than his predecessor. Excerpt:

This is not to say that Moore is a clone of Ralph Reed, but the non-confrontational tone he wants the Southern Baptist Convention to adopt lends itself to some comparison. According to the Wall Street Journal, “Mr. Moore has pushed to patch up rifts within the Baptist movement between the conservative Southern Baptist Convention and a growing number of more liberal breakaway groups.” The paper quotes a gay pastor conferring his approval upon Moore as a tolerant sort as if we’re supposed to be impressed. Who cares?

Complacent prattle about changed tactics and a “new” tone will do far more damage to the Christian cultural and political presence than Jerry Falwell’s blunt talk ever did. Reed took a shot at Falwell’s approach once, saying “We have allowed ourselves to be ghettoized by a narrow band of issues like abortion, homosexual rights and prayer in school.”

The irony lost on Reed (and presumably Moore too) is that the culture-war emphasis of the Moral Majority packed much more of a political punch than the poll-tested Christian Coalition message. Falwell helped elect Ronald Reagan; Robertson found himself invited to listless primary parties for Rudy Giuliani.

On the surface, it appears that Moore is counseling a more “spiritual” Christian approach. Don’t kid yourself. It is a far more worldly one. Falwell was a true “prophetic minority voice” who understood, to use Moore’s words, that “we belong to another kingdom.” While Moore no doubt has his strong points, he seems like just another neoconservative (he voted for Clinton but “loved” George W. Bush) who considers pats on the head from pro-gay marriage publications like the Wall Street Journal to be evidence of evangelical effectiveness. They’re not. They are simply evidence of a Christian movement gone spineless.

Cards on the table: I’ve never met Russell Moore in person, but we’ve had correspondence, and I consider him a friend. That’s not why I’m about to defend him here.

I’m going to defend him because this attack by Neumayr, whose work I often agree with, exemplifies a serious problem afflicting conservatism across both political and religious lines. Once again, we see conservatives denouncing other conservatives as sellouts because they don’t share the same devotion to confrontational politics, including cultural politics.

Moore is a conservative Baptist, but he is also in his early 40s, and therefore of a younger generation than the Baptist leadership formed by the intra-Baptist struggles of the 1980s and 1990s. Read the Wall Street Journal article that set off Neumayr’s anger. [2] Excerpt:

change_me

Mr. Moore and other prominent Christian conservatives are blunt in conceding that their long quest to roll back the sexual revolution has failed. The fight, they say, sowed divisions within the movement and alienated young believers.

“I would characterize the movement as having experienced a very tough defeat that now requires a shift of tactics,” says Ralph Reed, who ran the once-powerful Christian Coalition [3] through the 1990s. Religious conservatives once promised imminent victories, he says, “but we are now looking at 50- and 75-year horizons.”

Some evangelical leaders compare the moment today to the retreat that followed the 1925 Scopes “Monkey trial” over Tennessee’s effort to limit the teaching of evolution in public schools. The trial led to a public backlash against evangelicals.

“Evangelicals felt a sting from the culture after the Scopes trial that they weren’t used to feeling,” says Mark Dever, an ally of Mr. Moore and pastor of the Capitol Hill Baptist Church. “What is happening now with evangelicals is a disabusing of any idea of a simple victory of the right in a fallen world. They realize that is not going to happen.”

The change in approach, which not all evangelical groups or churches share, isn’t without risk. Albert Mohler, a top voice in the church as president of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Ky., and a Moore mentor, says the transition to a less confrontational approach, which he supports, could alienate church members from its leaders.

“When Richard Land spoke to most issues, he was certain that Southern Baptists were behind him and he was their mouthpiece,” Mr. Mohler says. “Russ will need a deft touch to make sure that Southern Baptists stay behind him.”

Mr. Moore is in no way a liberal. He equates abortion with the evils of slavery, considers homosexuality a sin, and insists the Southern Baptist Convention will never support gay marriage. At the same time, he emphasizes reconciliation and draws a traditional doctrinal distinction between the sinner and the sin.

What you learn from the article too is that Moore and other Southern Baptist leaders are dealing with a stark falloff in membership. People are leaving Southern Baptist churches in dramatic numbers, especially the young. To be clear, they are leaving all Christian churches, as much social-science research shows, but the key point here is that the belief long held by us religious conservatives — that the liberal churches are the ones losing membership because they don’t stand for anything — just isn’t true. Yes, the liberal churches are in free fall in terms of membership, and yes, their theological squishiness surely has a lot to do with it. But our holding fast isn’t sparing our conservative churches from the same phenomenon. Moore is trying to figure out how to deal with this, given that the strategies of the preceding generation of Baptist leaders did not work.

Similarly, on the front of cultural politics, Moore and Mohler, neither of whom are remotely liberal in their theological convictions, understand better than many conservatives how badly conservative Christians lost the culture wars. It’s telling that Neumayr reaches back to the halcyon days of Jerry Falwell for inspiration in how to stand up for Christian values in the public square. It’s the same thing as political conservatives thinking that if we could only re-establish the purity of Ronald Reagan, everything would be fine again. This attitude doesn’t notice that the world has changed, and changed dramatically, since the 1980s. When Reagan first came onto the scene, he didn’t succeed by harkening back to the 1950s as the Republican golden age. How many people could have related to him had he done so? Neumayr misses the clarity of the 1980s culture wars, and there’s a nostalgic part of me that agrees with him. But we have to live in the world as it is, and doing so means not fighting the last culture war, but figuring out rather how to deal strategically with a world where conditions have changed substantially. In 1999, the late Paul Weyrich, a Catholic conservative who was a co-founder of the Moral Majority (the phrase, in fact, was his), famously announced that social conservatives had lost the culture war, [4] and should withdraw behind defensible perimeters and prepare themselves and their children to endure a new Dark Age. Conservatives, he said, have become very good at politics, which is to say, at winning elections. But they have lost the culture. Excerpt from his letter:

I am very concerned, as I go around the country and speak and talk to young people, when I find how much of the decadent culture they have absorbed without even understanding that they are a part of it. And while I’m not suggesting that we all become Amish or move to Idaho, I do think that we have to look at what we can do to separate ourselves from this hostile culture. What steps can we take to make sure that we and our children are not infected? We need some sort of quarantine.

It is not only political conservatives who are troubled by the disintegration of the culture. I gave a speech not long ago in which I was very critical of what was on television. Several people who described themselves as liberals came up to me and said “Well, I know I don,t agree with your politics, but you are absolutely correct on this and we don’t allow our children to watch television any more.”

Don’t be mislead by politicians who say that everything is great, that we are on the verge of this wonderful, new era thanks to technology or the stock market or whatever. These are lies. We are not in the dawn of a new civilization, but the twilight of an old one. We will be lucky if we escape with any remnants of the great Judeo-Christian civilization that we have known down through the ages.

The radicals of the 1960s had three slogans: turn on, tune in, drop out. I suggest that we adopt a modified version. First, turn off. Turn off the television and video games and some of the garbage that,s on the computers. Turn off the means by which you and your family are being infected with cultural decadence.

Tune out. Create a little stillness. I was very struck by the fact that when I traveled in the former Soviet Union, I couldn’t go to a restaurant or any place else without hearing this incessant Western rock music pounding away. There was no escape from it. No wonder some Russians are anti-American. When they think of the United States, they think of the culture that we exported to them.

Finally, we need to drop out of this culture, and find places, even if it is where we physically are right now, where we can live godly, righteous and sober lives.

Again, I don’t have all the answers or even all the questions. But I know that what we have been doing for thirty years hasn’t worked, that while we have been fighting and winning in politics, our culture has decayed into something approaching barbarism. We need to take another tack, find a different strategy. If you agree, and are willing to help wrestle with what that strategy should be, let me know.

Understand, this was a man who was a contemporary of Jerry Falwell’s, and a close ally, saying that the culture wars will continue, but the overall war has been lost, and it’s time to rethink strategy, because what the Right had been doing has failed. Weyrich may not have been developing the right strategy, of course, but who can possibly deny that he was correct in his diagnosis of the futility of old strategy?

This, it seems to me, is what people like Russell Moore are trying to do: come up with a new and more effective way of advocating for conservative/traditionalist Christian values in a post-Christian culture that grows ever more alien, and even hostile, to the beliefs that used to be held by a, well, moral majority. Laying into Russell Moore and his kind as “spineless” is emotionally satisfying — kind of like denouncing non-Tea Party conservatives as RINOs — but it doesn’t do a thing to advance the cause on a battlefront more complex than anything Falwell & Co. faced 30 years ago. As Weyrich said in 1999:

What many of us have been trying to do for many years has been based upon a couple of premises. First of all, we have assumed that a majority of Americans basically agrees with our point of view. That has been the premise upon which we have tried to build any number of institutions, and indeed our whole strategy. It is I who suggested to Jerry Falwell that he call his organization the “Moral Majority.” The second premise has been that if we could just elect enough conservatives, we could get our people in as Congressional leaders and they would fight to implement our agenda.

In looking at the long history of conservative politics, from the defeat of Robert Taft in 1952, to the nomination of Barry Goldwater, to the takeover of the Republican Party in 1994, I think it is fair to say that conservatives have learned to succeed in politics. That is, we got our people elected.

But that did not result in the adoption of our agenda. The reason, I think, is that politics itself has failed. And politics has failed because of the collapse of the culture. The culture we are living in becomes an ever-wider sewer. In truth, I think we are caught up in a cultural collapse of historic proportions, a collapse so great that it simply overwhelms politics.

I think this is right. While my moral convictions are probably exactly those of George Neumayr (and so, I would wager, are Russell Moore’s, right down to Moore’s sharing Neumayr’s alarm [5] at Pope Francis’s recent statements), I prefer Moore’s strategic engagement with the world as it is today to Neumayr’s angry nostalgia for a time when our side seemed to be winning battles, or at least putting up an effective fight. As Weyrich said, all it did was win elections for Republican candidates; it did not change the culture.

Advertisement
67 Comments (Open | Close)

67 Comments To "Does Strategic Thinking = Squishiness?"

#1 Comment By Bobby On October 27, 2013 @ 1:25 am

@Worrell

I don’t think they’re referring to individual congregations.

Besides, the link you cited goes to an AOG church, which is Pentecostal in its theology. Few would consider Pentecostal theology to be either conservative or evangelical.

While there is growth among Pentecostal churches (including the AOG), membership is declining in traditional conservative and evangelical churches, like the Southern Baptists, the Presbyterian Church in America, Missouri Synod Lutheran Church, and the Christian Reformed Church.

I think we are fast approaching a point where Christianity in America will basically consist of two options: Roman Catholicism and Pentecostalism. Mainline Protestantism and evangelicalism are probably just going to go away. After all, in recent years, many of the top evangelical scholars have converted to Catholicism (Beckwith, Christian Smith, etc.).

#2 Comment By EliteCommInc. On October 27, 2013 @ 1:26 am

but the last survey on christianity finds scripturally oriented christians particularly happier than most.

“If conservative culture were so great, we’d see lots of happy conservatives out there living it. … I’m left wondering if conservatism is, or can offer, any more than dismay. And if that’s all it has, why would it expect to attract anybody?”

now I am not particularly happy, But then I am claiming to be christian — after all, one does have to forgive people.

But on another sight I found this article on priests (I am not introducing anything accept what is contained in the article.)

[6]

#3 Comment By Chris 1 On October 27, 2013 @ 3:03 am

philadelphialawyer,

Truth is not a set of moral, legal or scientific precepts, rationally or irrationally applied.

Abraham’s experience is that Truth is a Who, not a what, and the Abrahamic faiths all proclaim this.

Christianity, uniquely among those three faiths, declares Jesus Christ as the incarnate manifestation of the God of Abraham, and the Holy Spirit as the abiding presence of God.

The isolation, disconnection and loneliness that our technologies and social theories of left and right exacerbate cannot be cured by better and more rational social theories or by more effective social media. Indeed in this narcissistic age both social media and social theory reinforce our illness.

That illness can only be overcome by direct encounter with God, with the One Who Is un-circumscribeable, who cannot be contained or constrained by our moral, legal, scientific or political theory.

When Christian churches declared themselves “liberal” and “conservative” they started being about how they understand the teachings of Christ as they see the Bible, a safe two-step away from the person of the Risen Lord.

Ironically Paul Weyrich’s own parish never identified as a “conservative” Church. The Melkite Church kept its distance from the culture war, and Deacon Weyrich in his parish proved to be a warm and loving witness to Christ.

#4 Comment By Siarlys Jenkins On October 27, 2013 @ 8:14 am

rifts within the Baptist movement between the conservative Southern Baptist Convention and a growing number of more liberal breakaway groups.

This phrase shows Neumayr’s appalling ignorance of Baptist and Protestant history — which is on a par with Protestants who think the Bishop of Rome is the Whore of Babylon and express surprise that Catholics read the Bible, all but six books the same Bible Protestants read, and including exactly the same New Testament.

The Southern Baptist Convention are the newbies, having broken away from the General Baptist Convention because the latter, even in southern states like Virginia, firmly condemned slavery. There were Baptists in the world for centuries before the SBC formed, and for decades in America — the SBC post-dates the Great Awakening, and was not the most prominent force in the Second Great Awakening either. There are Baptist traditions older than the SBC which openly celebrate, if you get two Baptists in a room, you have three opinions. They are not “liberal breakaway groups,” as similar opinions MIGHT be in the context of, say, Neumayr’s own denomination.

OK, so much for Neumayr’s projection of his own prejudices onto real life.

Falwell may have HELPED elect Ronald Reagan, mostly by helping to pull the support of southern born-again Christians away from the first President who was not only southern but also a self-professed born-again Christian, Jimmy Carter of Georgia. But his politics have not been particularly HELPFUL, not LATELY, because support for them is dying, not growing. The political punch just ain’t there — although it serves a useful role by intimidating Democrats who are afraid of their own shadow.

Falwell was a true “prophetic minority voice” who understood, to use Moore’s words, that “we belong to another kingdom.”

That can get you an honored place in Scripture, although it can also get you written up as a false prophet, but it doesn’t get you anywhere in politics. Christians in this sense belong to another kingdom because the kingdom of this world, in which politics plays out, responds to different criteria. Deal with it. The “culture wars” staked out a political platform on a foundation of sand.

In fact, I think Rod has it about right… the SBC, like the liberal churches, like all churches, are losing membership. So the political potency just isn’t there. That’t why Neumayr is spitting into the wind. Moore has every right to stand on all the theological and moral positions he embraces — most of which I disagree with, at least partly. The members of his faith have every right to consult their consciences when voting. What the rest of his fellow citizens will appreciate is not that he is surrenduring, but rather, that he is removing a lot of sand and glue from the machinery of politics, where they simply gum up the works and prevent government from doing those limited things it is good for. He is moving his moral advocacy to arenas where he can actually reach people and do some good.

James C… excellent point on the church sleeping with Caesar. There ought to be an award for that line.

#5 Comment By Elijah On October 27, 2013 @ 10:03 am

“I prefer Moore’s strategic engagement with the world as it is today”

That’s fine, but it isn’t working any better than the all-out oppositional stuff. Far to many “strategic” thinkers have sold out theological positions for the greater good only to see that greater good disappear on the horizon like swamp fire. In short: don’t kid yourself.

Although not a big fan of the Falwell types, the older I get the less I like “lukewarm”.

#6 Comment By Elijah On October 27, 2013 @ 10:05 am

Oh, and about the whole RINO hunting thing. If this exemplifies the thinking of the anti-Tea Party crowd, I intend to sight in my rifle and join in (rhetorically, of course)

[7]

#7 Comment By stef On October 27, 2013 @ 10:44 am

Neumayr overlooks the most obvious difference between Moore’s regime and Jerry Falwell’s as the leader of the “conservative culture war” army.

Falwell had two huge advantages. First, he was organizing during the Cold War. The terrified 40-something parents worried about satanic cults stealing their kids were in their twenties during the Cuban missile crisis, and were thus old enough to remember the charming possibility of getting nuked randomly in the next 20 minutes. That tends to make you paranoid.

Second, Falwell was organizing pre-internet. So all these ridiculous conspiracy theories could propagate unchallenged (mostly through direct-mail, with lots of underlining to emphasize the points over which you were supposed to become afraid.) There was no Snopes then.

As Rod rightly puts it, the key here is that young people (mostly) have far less interest in Christianity than in the past, especially the kind which Moore is promoting.

Which leads to a third advantage Falwell had, which Moore does not. In Falwell’s day, there was an economic boom of sorts. You could go to church and it was like a home away from home: social network, and more importantly, a job network.

Now, Moore and company have nothing to offer young people. The first church that comes along with actual promise of real, living-wage jobs to Millennials would pack them in the aisles. But of course, the Southern Baptists no more know how to do this than anyone else.

Throw in a spouse with a good job and you’ve got it made in the shade.

Salafiyah Muslims from Saudi Arabia understand this. They show up in Pakistan, open a madrassah, offer one or two hot meals a day, and they’re swamped. In India, Christians can be prosecuted for “rice Christianity” – offering what are seen by the government as bribes to convert. Both Muslims and Hindus realize that material infrastructure support go a long way to attracting and retraining members.

However, while Christians used to do this de facto (even if it was considered crass to talk about it), they no longer can afford it. To be fair, no one else can either. But this has to hit the “name it and claim it” prosperity-gospel churches especially hard, I imagine.

#8 Comment By stef On October 27, 2013 @ 10:51 am

I sincerely apologize for the double post here.

As far as “crunchy conservatism,” what many don’t realize is that CC is essentially an appropriation of what was left of the old California hippie culture, which was itself a leftover of the “naturist” movements started by a bunch of German refugees in the 1930s who landed in California.

These German wild men lived up in places like Joshua Tree literally in caves, with virtually no clothing, and made their money opening health food stores and selling to the nascent body builder movement, of which they were a big part.

People who in the 1960s moved “up the country” to places outside LA, to northern California, and to communes like “The Farm” in Tennessee carried with them the focus on gardening, self-sufficiency, retreat from mass-media entertainment, whole foods, home birth, the whole ball of wax.

Virtually nothing has remained of this hippie culture EXCEPT these elements, which as others have pointed out, do not depend intrinsically on your political or religious point of view.

#9 Comment By philadelphialawyer On October 27, 2013 @ 10:59 am

Chris1:

I am not going to argue theology with you. Sufficed to say, and with all due respect, I don’t believe word one about the Abrahamic God or Jesus Christ. And neither do a great many other people, including many of the lonely and disconnected.

“The isolation, disconnection and loneliness that our technologies and social theories of left and right exacerbate cannot be cured by better and more rational social theories or by more effective social media. Indeed in this narcissistic age both social media and social theory reinforce our illness. That illness can only be overcome by direct encounter with God, with the One Who Is un-circumscribeable, who cannot be contained or constrained by our moral, legal, scientific or political theory.”

In my experience, people who are lonely, isolated and alienated crave human interaction. Not contact with the divine. If the latter was what they were seeking, they would be flocking to the churches already. After all, liberal, conservative, Catholic, Protestant, whatever, all Christian churches says pretty much the same thing that you are saying, even if they do go in for too much politics and do overdo the “shame the wicked sinner” bit for certain classes of people.

Plenty of folks who are not gay, don’t use contraceptives (because, if for no other reason, they have no sex life), haven’t had an abortion (same deal) and so on, and so have not been more or less driven from the church door by shame driven politics, but are lonely, isolated, etc, still have no desire to be saved by the Risen Lord. What they crave is human contact. A real romantic relationship, real friendships, family in fact and not just in name, a real, tangible shoulder to cry on, arms to hug them and a person willing to be hugged back by their own arms, and so on. Those are the things that, in my experience, lonely people desperately desire.

I agree that, in our modern world, there is no quick fix coming for this problem any time soon, through law, science, or government. But that hardly means that traditional religion is the answer either.

#10 Comment By The Wet One On October 27, 2013 @ 11:52 am

This article seems relevant to the discussions generally held here.

[8]

I’d suggest that everyone have a read and consider the implications of what is discussed therein. It explains a lot of Rod’s bread and butter discussions.

For my part, I had heard of the nature of the issue discussed some years ago. It was basically summed up as “humans can’t jump over their own shadow.” The article details the nature of the shadow, and why it’s damn near impossible to jump over, but the overall concept has been perceptible for some time.

The discussion of morality, tribes, behaviour and so on in the article is the daily discourse here. Of course, it looks at things a touch more scientifically than we usually do here, but it’s the same stuff.

I fear that the peace of the dead is the only peace that is truly possible here on earth amongst our species. This is a more or less neutral observation of truth, sad though it is. Kinda like the realization that each and every one of us is going to die. It just is.

Anyways. Carry on. I hope I was able to share some enlightenment.

Cheers!

#11 Comment By Chris 1 On October 27, 2013 @ 5:55 pm

philadelphialawyer:

I think it’s fine that we disagree. At the end of the day our views won’t change reality one iota, and I expect us all to be surprised in the end…I hope pleasantly so. 😉

But I honestly don’t think we’ll solve the problem of this era’s illness by cleverly rationing our mercy and compassion to those we judge to be worthy of our time and effort. Do you?

#12 Comment By Chris 1 On October 27, 2013 @ 6:13 pm

Wet One:

Loved this line from the article –

This is the way the brain works: you forget your sins (or never recognize them in the first place) and remember your grievances.

#13 Comment By mwing On October 27, 2013 @ 6:24 pm

To philadelphialawyer and Chris1:
A lot of people who don’t believe, can’t. We just can’t. So, that seems obvious from way over here but seems left out of your discussion. It’s not whether we’re lonely or disconnected, or the church is driving people away, or being too squishy, or etc., it’s that we’d be faking it if we showed up, (apart from weddings and funerals.) You can’t get spiritual nourishment from pretending to believe, and you can’t get (much) community nourishment from a community whose central reason for being is one you don’t believe in. I think it is good to remember that for many of us, religion or it’s absence is not a choice. And that one thing driving decreased church attendance in the USA is that there is less and less cultural pressure to pretend otherwise. And I think this is OK! A church whose members all really believe and want to be there is a healthier church even if it is a smaller one.

#14 Comment By rr On October 27, 2013 @ 10:42 pm

I realize that I am joining this conversation late, but the decline of the church in America is much exaggerated. While the cultural influence of the Christianity has indeed declined, according to Ed Stetzer, who offers a good analysis of what is changing and what isn’t, the percentage of Christians in America who really believe and practice their faith really hasn’t changed since 1972:

[9]

Of course, Christ is risen and Christianity is true, irrespective of the healthy of the church in America. For those of us in Christ, we thus always have hope. Sadly, those who do not believe in Christ are spiritually blind and are perishing. For them, there is no hope as they have rejected Jesus, the God-man who is truer than truth and love beyond our wildest imagination.

#15 Comment By Another Matt On October 28, 2013 @ 12:27 am

This was a good, but strange discussion. The two recent posts by mwing and rr stood out to me:

First.

A lot of people who don’t believe, can’t. We just can’t. So, that seems obvious from way over here but seems left out of your discussion. It’s not whether we’re lonely or disconnected, or the church is driving people away, or being too squishy, or etc., it’s that we’d be faking it if we showed up, (apart from weddings and funerals.) You can’t get spiritual nourishment from pretending to believe, and you can’t get (much) community nourishment from a community whose central reason for being is one you don’t believe in.

Yes, this. I spent my whole childhood and young adulthood “faking it,” and eventually couldn’t anymore. I never got anything good out of it in the first place, but that’s a separate point.

Second.

For those of us in Christ, we thus always have hope. Sadly, those who do not believe in Christ are spiritually blind and are perishing. For them, there is no hope as they have rejected Jesus, the God-man who is truer than truth and love beyond our wildest imagination.

For my part — and I’ve met many, many people like myself — the day I finally admitted I had “rejected Jesus” (I take this to mean not believing that he was divine) was one of the first times I had experienced any real hope.

Related in a strange way: has anyone else been following a recent bizarre Evangelical purity contest? People are being accused of being “ [10]” — in this case, meaning “those who think we have a duty to improve Evangelical doctrine” — and having to deny it to maintain standing in the tribe. This isn’t foreign to anyone who grew up in the culture, but it is one of the many reasons I had to leave. The attitude toward harmful doctrine is usually, “You can’t will the Truth. I’m sorry the Truth is hurting you; I really am — if it were up to me things would be different — but God tells us what is True and what isn’t, and we can’t change it.” To me there doesn’t seem to be that much difference in attitude between rejection of evolution on theological grounds and rejection of contraception or gay marriage on the same. In both cases it depends on deferring to an arbiter of truth that can’t be tested or questioned without taking aim at other doctrines held as true in the process.

#16 Comment By rr On October 28, 2013 @ 11:14 am

quote: “For my part — and I’ve met many, many people like myself — the day I finally admitted I had “rejected Jesus” (I take this to mean not believing that he was divine) was one of the first times I had experienced any real hope.”

Well, if Christianity is true, and of course I believe that it is true, then you are greatly deceived and the “hope” that you claimed to experience was not real at all. All of this depends on ones initial assumptions about this question. If on the other hand, Christianity is false, then we Christians should be pitied for our foolishness.

As I’ve said before, if I wasn’t a Christian, I would be a hedonist and complete nihilist. Those are the only two logical approaches to life in my view. Either Christ is raised and be a Christian or he isn’t and eat, drink and be merry, for tomorrow we die.

#17 Comment By Percy Gryce On October 28, 2013 @ 5:57 pm

Protodeacon Paul Weyrich, memory eternal!