Tuesday, April 6, 2010

For Rex: Christaintiy, a Force for Liberation

Photobucket
Father Camillio Tores
First Catholic priest to join
a communist insurgent group



Atheists only look at the negative. As Joseph Campbell said "cynicism appears as insight to the cowardly mind." Atheists are cowards and thus they mistake cynicism for insight. They are cowards because they are afraid to seek spirituality they afraid of the subjective, they are afraid to risk being wrong, most of all they are afraid of God. (by "them" and "they" understand the usual caveats). Rex (faithful loyal opponent) makes the charge that Christianity has augmented and fomented so much social evil. But of course atheists mine that data and ignore the good complete.

This was originally written for Hector Avelos when I was trying to persuade him to debate me formally. He never did.

Modern atheist "wisdom" leads our atheist counterparts to contend that religion is dark and evil; God is a big meanie, and they try to stick Christianity with every social iill one can imagine, from cold breakfast to nuclear way. Some of their favorites include slavery, war, social oppression. These are suppossedly condoned in the Bible. What these great thinkers and paradigms of social insight have missed is the fact that Christianity has always been a major force for liberation and social reform. This has been true since Moses led the Israelites out of Slavery in Egypt (this became a powerful metaphor for slaves in America). In the early centuries of Christianity Christians such as Olympia, Deaconess of Constantinople spent their family fortunes to buy slaves so they could free them; they would rescue abandoned infants form under bridges (the ancient world's version of modern day abortion clinics). We know that the civil rights movement was largely motivated by the Bible. Civil rights workers tapped into an old tradition, very much at the core of the abolition movement, that found the Bible not a source of oppression but of encouragement and liberation. They did not call the major Civil rights organization "The Southern Christian Leadership Conference" for nothing! The major figure in the Civil Rights movement was not a minister for nothing. The link between the Bible and liberation goes way back, in the history of liberalism (first abolition group in America, Pheobe Palmer and the Methodist Woman's Association--same people did the first Women's Suffrage group in America) but also in the history of American social justice. But have we forgotten the Baragan brothers? Christianity and the Bible were a big influence upon the anti-war movement in the 60s as well. In fact we can find historically that Christianity has influenced and led to reform, revolution, and radical movements throughout history.

From Joachim of Flora and his thirteenth century revolt of the poor, to sixteenth century peasant revolts in south Germany, to the folks at Lo Chambo (who hid Jews from the Nazis and some of them died doing that--where Camus stayed when the wrote his great novel Le Peste--but I'm sure Avaols would find that of no intrinsic value, being literature and all.) The Ranters, the Levelers, The Diggers, the Quakers --all were revolutionaries or social activists inspired by the bible. Read he Journal of John Woolman to see how this major voice in the early abolition movement was inspired by the Bible. Also consult William Wilburforce, and the abolitionists of the early nineteenth century as well.

Avalos's arguments are themselves totally irrelevant, because he ignores liberation theology as though it doesn't exist. I was a seminary student and (if I do say so myself) a very active political activist in the Central America Solidarity Movement of the 80s. I can tell you liberation theology was a major movement of the day, and the Bible was a source of its inspiration. Liberation historians demonstrate that the Christian left is very old, and it has been involved in every movement in every time period including the beginning of Imperial Christianity, when Olympia the Deaconess gave away her family fortune to free slaves (Constantinople of the 300s). Most people begin to date liberation theology with the radical priests of the `60s. If they know the history of the modern movement, they begin with CLAMB and Christians for Socialism in the `50s. If they are really historically minded, they start with A Theology for the Social Gospel, by Walter Rauschenbusch. But, Rauschenbusch, while he could be viewed as a forerunner, and while he called himself a "Christian Socialist," may really represent the end of an older tradition of Christians in the labor movement of the late 19th century (his work was written in 1917). Those who came before him, in the labor movement, represent a vast movement of religiously minded reformers with antecedents in the Second Great Awakening, much of which Hudson documents. (Winthrop S. Hudson, Religion In America: A Historical Account of the Development of American Religious Life. Second ed. New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1965, 1973, 310-315.). Enrique Dussel uncovers a long history, far more indepth than we have time for here.

The point is that the "religious left", including all forms of Christian socialism, and left-leaning social reformers, is very old and represents a whole world unto itself. It is well worth learning, and demonstrates the irony and tragedy of the current climate in the academy, a climate in which academics would rather feed their urge to bash religion rather than create a dialogue with thinkers who have access to a vast tradition they themselves know little about. (History and the Theology of Liberation. Maryknoll, New York: Orbis Books, 1976). Another excellent source is Smith's book on revivalism (Timothy L. Smith, Revivalism and Social Reform: American Protestantism on the Eve of the Civil War. Baltimore, London: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1957, 129-80.)

While many conservative readers of the CADRE may feel that they have another side to the issues of the Central America movement, one thing we can both agree upon, weather for good or ill: a large part of the support given the FSLN (National Sandinist Liberation Front--the "Frente", the dreaded "Sandinistas") and those who took part as Nicaraguans in that movement, drew their inspiration from their Christian faith.

For a strong sense of the crucial nature of religion to the struggle in Latin America see Penny Lernoux's book, (Penny Lernoux, Cry of The People. Penguin Books, 1982. 29-30). Let us remember priests such as Father Camillio Torres, who was the first priest, but not the last, to take up arms in the struggle. He died in Colombia in 1966. His example sparked much interest in liberation movements throughout Latin America. For a look at religious involvement in the Nicaraguan revolution in particular, see Margaret Randal, Sandino's Daughters: Testimonies of Nicaraguan Women in Struggle. (Vancouver, Toronto: New Star books, 1981.) The example of Thomas Borge in Nicaragua, the FSLN Minster of Interior, is awe-inspiring in that he confronted the torturer who tortured him and killed his wife. He forgave the man and let him live because Borge had become a Christian and read in the Bible to turn the other cheek and forgive. Nothing is more touching than the letter he wrote to Father Ernesto Cardinal about his new found faith. Borge was the leader of the FSLN, the "Sandinistas" in Nicaragua. He was one of the first to help start the Sandinista party. Some might argue that his commitment to religious belief was mere propaganda; but, while he was yet a guerrilla on the run in the mountains, he sent for a priest (Ernesto Cardinal, later to become a member of the Sandinista party). He wished to discuss religion with the priest. The simple note he sent is one of the most moving documents of the Latin American struggle.

"I knew a God who joyfully rang the church bells and dressed up when General Somoza visited León... a God who forgave the heavy sins of the rich... I slew that God without mercy within my conscience. It would seem, however, that God does not wish to die. In the jungles of Colombia there has been a new Bethlehem. Camilio Torres told us before dying, or perhaps told us in dying. Father I await you..."

The priest made his way through the mountains to talk with the revolutionary, and the Nicaraguan revolution kicked in the womb. (Andrew Reding, Christianity and Revolution: Tomás Borge's Theology of Life. Maryknoll, New York: Orbis Books, 1987.) Liberation Theology was spreading to South Korea and all of Asia as the Berlin wall came down. (see James H. Cone, Minjung Theology: People as the Subjects of History. ed. by the Commission on Theological Concerns of the Christian Conference of Asia. Maryknoll, New York: Orbis Books, 1981)

I have no problem with finding more scholars to read more ancient texts that are now being ignored. The study of the Bible is not forcing anyone away form such study. Dr. Avalos himself could have chosen to spend his time studying these texts--then we would be enlightened by his brilliant scholarship!

People are ignorant of the Bible; we need more scholars to teach it. Ignoring the Bible is not the answer. The Bible is not all there is to the Christian tradition. Christianity is a living tradition, with many sources, not the least of which is one's own inner life. The inner life consists of prayer, but also intellectual understanding, literacy, and not just how to read the labels of aspirin bottles but an understanding that there is a world of letters. I cannot abide academics who hate the world of letters. This is the essence of the one-dimensionalizing tendencies of atheism and reductionism that the PC crowd have taken up--and Avalos is their spokesperson. They want to further one-dimensionality at the expense of Western culture. The Bible is at the heart of Western culture. Avalos wants to persuade us that Biblical values are ancient-world and thus foreign to us, but they are the heart of our culture. All of our modern values are the grandchildren of Biblical values. Democracy; autonomy; selfhood; the individual; basic human rights; humane treatment of the poor; worker's rights; even modern science--it all comes out of the Christian tradition.

Arnold J. Toynbee observed that Christianity freed humans from the cyclical understanding of time. Christianity made “history” in the modern sense possible. Ancient paganism, the texts with which Avalos wants to replace Biblical studies, would not have allowed us progress in history, or even a modern concept of history at all; they were focused upon the eternal return of the god/goddess from winter to spring. The same things over and over again. But Jesus died and rose once for all, and then we venture forward in time toward an eschatological horizon. There will be no end of history. History will continually sublate itself until the final and once for all return of Christ.

We can make progress. But we can only make progress if we remember who we are and where we came from. We cannot abandon the inner, the world of books and letters, our ability to think, faith in God, or our understanding of culture as it was and as it will be. This makes the Bible far more relevant than anything, and it means that people with Ph.D's in Biblical studies have an awesome responsibility: a responsibility to promote the world of letters, not to abort it. One is called to teach, not to persuade the student to give up learning. We need to learn more about the Bible. We need to talk up the Bible, we need to educate people on it, and we need to help students develop their own little worlds lined with books so they can understand the interrelationship between the Bible and the culture. I fear this is something for which many of our modern teachers are not equipped.


Notes on Sources


1 Matthew L. Lamb, Solidarity with Victims: Toward a Theology of Social Transformation. New York: Crossroad, 1982, 122.

2 Barry Katz, Marcuse and The Art of LIberation: An Intellectual Biography.Verso, 1982, 200.

3 A. Daniel Frankforter, A History of The Christian Movement: The Development of Christian Institutions. Chicago: Nelson-Hall, 1978, 170.

See Also, Karl Marx and Frederick Engles,The Communist Manifesto . New York: International Publishers Co. inc. 1948, 1984 ed. 33. Granted, Marx didn't think much of "Christian Socialism" in the middle ages, which he called ":Feudal Socialism." "Nothing is easier than to give Christian asceticism a Socialist tinge. Has not Christianity declaimed against private property...? Christian socialism is but the Holy Water with which the priest consecrates the heart burnings of the aristocrat." Granted, history was waiting for Marx to come and introduce true socialism. But, the socialism of the middle ages was more diverse than that. It existed in the monasteries as a monastic form, along side early capitalism, but it also existed among the peasants and in revolutionary form. And there were thinkers, such as Joachim of Flora who led a peasant revolt to bring on the end of times.

4 Enrique Dussel, History and the Theology of Liberation. Maryknoll New York: Orbis books, 1976. Dussel uncovers a long history, far more indepth than we have time for here. The point being, the "religious left," including all forms of Christian socialism, and left leaning social reformers, is very old and represents a whole world unto itself. It is well worth learning, and demonstrates the irony and tragedy of the current climate in the academy, a climate in which academics would rather feed their urge to bash religion rather than create a dialogue with thinkers who have access to a vast tradition they themselves know little about.

5 Winthrop S. Hudson, Religion In America: A Historical Account of the Development of American Religious Life. Second ed. New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1965, 1973, 310-315.

Most people begin to date liberation theology with the radical priests of the `60s. If they know the history of the modern movement, they begin with CLAMB and Christians for socialism in the `50s. If they are really historically minded, they start with A Theology for the Social Gospel , by Walter Rauschenbusch. But, Rauschenbusch, while he could be viewed as a forerunner, and while he called himself a "Christian Socialist," may really represent the end of an older tradition of Christians in the labor movement of the late 19th century (his work was written in 1917). Those who came before him, int he labor movement, represent a vast movement of religiously minded reformers with antecedents in the second great awakening, much of which Hudson documents.

6 Timothy L. Smith, Revivalism and Social Reform: American Protestantism on the Eve of the Civil War. Baltimore, London: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1957, 12980.

7 Penny Lernoux, Cry of The People. Penguin Books, 1982. 29-30. Torres was the first priest , but not the last, to take up arms in the struggle. He died in Colombia in 1966. His example sparked much interest in liberation movements throughout Latin America.

8 Andrew Reding, Christianity and Revolution: Tomás Borge's Theology of Life.Marknoll, New York: Orbis books, 1987. Borge was the leader of the FSLN, the "Sandinistas" in Nicaragua. He was one of the first to help start the Sandinista party. Some might argue that his commitment to religious belief was mere propaganda, but , while he was yet a gorilla on the run in the mountains, he sent for a priest (Ernesto Cardenal, latter to become a member of the Sandinista party). He wished to discuss religion with the priest. The simple note he sent is one of the most moving documents of the Latin American struggle. "I knew a God who joyfully rang the church bells and dressed up when General Somoza visited León..a God who forgave the heavy sins of the rich...I slew that God without mercy within my conscience. It would seem, however, that God does not wish to die. In the jungles of Colombia there has been a new Bethlehem. Camilio Torres told us before dying, or perhaps told us in dying." The priest made his way through the mountains to talk with the revolutionary, and the Nicaraguan revolution kicked in the womb.

9 For a strong sense of the crucial nature of religion to the struggle in Latin America see Penny Lernoux's book, op. cit. For a look at religious involvement in the Nicaraguan revolution in particular, see Margaret Randal, Sandino's Daughters: Testimonies of Nicaraguan Women in Struggle. Vancouver, Toronto: New Star books, 1981.

10 James H. Cone, Minjung Theology: People as the Subjects of History. ed. by the Commission on Theological Concerns of the Christian Conference of Asia. Maryknoll, New York: Orbis books, 1981. Minjung means "mass of the people," as in "a great crowd." It is a theology specific to South Korea, where they are not allowed to use the term "the people" because the government fears the spread of Maoism. But, this is one example of a liberating style theology spreading over Asia.

11 comments:

Loren said...

Metacrock, you claim

Modern atheist "wisdom" leads our atheist counterparts to contend that religion is dark and evil; God is a big meanie, and they try to stick Christianity with every social iill one can imagine, from cold breakfast to nuclear way.

But then you claim that what you consider Christianity is responsible for EVERYTHING good in our society. Seems like you are projecting a mirror image of your beliefs on atheists.

You also project a mirror image of your worship of the Bible onto Hector Avalos, and you indulge in laughable caricatures of pagan philosophers' thought.

Furthermore, you ignore all the Christians who have defended absolute monarchy, slavery, and the like. The KKK doesn't burn letter A's.

Furthermore, you identify with leftist revolutionaries, but it's leftist revolutionaries who founded Communist countries, some of your favorite villains.

Talk about an incoherent mess.

Metacrock said...

Meta:"Modern atheist "wisdom" leads our atheist counterparts to contend that religion is dark and evil; God is a big meanie, and they try to stick Christianity with every social iill one can imagine, from cold breakfast to nuclear way."

(Loren)But then you claim that what you consider Christianity is responsible for EVERYTHING good in our society. Seems like you are projecting a mirror image of your beliefs on atheists.


that's so totally silly because I never said anything like that. man you are really clutching at straws on this one.

You also project a mirror image of your worship of the Bible onto Hector Avalos, and you indulge in laughable caricatures of pagan philosophers' thought.

ahahaha I didn't say anything about a pagan philosopher. I talked about pagan myth and I'm right about I'm just repeating exactly what Joseph Campbell said.


You certainly are unobservant. anyone reading my blog (let alone my website)should know that I'm a Liberal! hell a liberal! but of cousre you don't know what that maens do you? because you have been brain washed "O don't pay attention to theology it's stupid." so you just say utterly assign things and have no idea about what liberal means becuase you refuse to study and learn about the things you pontificate upon as though you know something when you don't.
You should know that liberals do not worship the bile!


Furthermore, you ignore all the Christians who have defended absolute monarchy, slavery, and the like. The KKK doesn't burn letter A's.


you are just repeating the opposite of what I said. Brilliant,

typical of a brain washed lackey. you can't think for yourself so you just do what the ideology tells you, the ideology tells you "our enemies are stupid they don't' know anything and they are in love with social oppression. so rather than think about what I say you fly off at the mouth the way your masters tell you to.

Obviously I know there are Chrsitians who are republicans. how could I oppose the republican agenda and not know that? But clearly I don't thin they should define the tradition!

why should they? why should they define it and not the one's I talk about who are living up to it's teachings?


Furthermore, you identify with leftist revolutionaries, but it's leftist revolutionaries who founded Communist countries, some of your favorite villains.

Very shallow analysis. you apparenlty know little about the left.

there's a whole strings wrong with this.

(1) you are thinking of communism as a monolithic force, since I was a communist I know better.

(2) saying that the Latin American revolutionaries are responsible for deaths in the Soviet union or China is stupid!

(3) I blame the Stalinist for murders but i was a Tortskyite, do understand what that means? It means I would blame them anyway even if I was still a commie. The Trots never got to run a country so they didn't hurt anyone.



Talk about an incoherent mess.

Very shallow analysis.

Metacrock said...

show me one example of one of these "current events" that atheists have lent any kind of positive contribution to?

Don't say "atheism isn't a philosophy or a political party it's just the lack of a belief." Because obviously that doesn't absolve them from doing better than Christianity. I could just as easily say it's not the job of Christianity to solve world problems it' just about salvation. But expect it to create a problem free world.

Not every had abusive parents, not was molested by their father as a child. Understand? I had a wonderful father who was a good man. I'm you didn't but I did. so I have no reason to hate God and I have no to think of Christianity as evil. most people don't either.

Loren said...

Metacrock, could you please tell us the biggest good thing about our culture that you think that Christianity cannot be credited with.

As to feminism, most Christian clergy have been blatantly misogynist for the last 2000 years.

Consider how feminist John Knox was when he denounced the "monstrous regiment of women". Also consider the feminism of all the pastors who denounced women getting the vote in the 19th cy. Like Horace Bushnell, who wrote of "Women's Suffrage: The Reform Against Nature"

19th cy. feminist Elizabeth Cady Stanton had noted: "In the early days of woman-suffrage agitation, I saw that the greatest obstacle we had to overcome was the Bible. It was hurled at us on every side."

She was right. The Bible certainly does not command "thou shalt burn thy bras". Look at the Catholic Church's argument at why women cannot be priests -- because priests must be like Jesus Christ, who was male.

Feminism is a mostly secular movement -- nonreligious without excluding religion.

Even the civil-rights movement was largely secular. As Susan Jacoby notes in "Freethinkers", there were a lot of secular Jews from big cities who participated, and some black-church elders considered them too irreligious and disrespectful.

Metacrock said...

Metacrock, could you please tell us the biggest good thing about our culture that you think that Christianity cannot be credited with.

The basic principles that you are not getting, 2 fold:

(1) Christians are human, some times they do bad things, sometimes they do good things. You can always find stupid narrow minded one's that feel bigotry and oppression, but you can also always find good one's who sacrifice themselves for the struggle of human liberation. But you only want to look at the bad ones. you refuse to give an credence ot the good as though they don't exist.

(2) there is no reason why the former group should define Christianity any more than the latter.

I could just as easily as you and Rex to name one thing that you don't Christianity has caused that is bad and evil and negative.

to answer your question. pornography. I don't think you can blame Christianity for pornography. that and diet cola.


As to feminism, most Christian clergy have been blatantly misogynist for the last 2000 years.

Consider how feminist John Knox was when he denounced the "monstrous regiment of women". Also consider the feminism of all the pastors who denounced women getting the vote in the 19th cy. Like Horace Bushnell, who wrote of "Women's Suffrage: The Reform Against Nature"


there is an unbroken line all the way to Paul of women having authority in the church, serving God striking on their own and even Christian women fighting for woman's rights. The first woman suffrage group in America was Methodist women.

Problem with that topic s half the world is men. So men have male egos. males egos are sensitive and easily bruised by women. That is not a Christian problem it's a male problem. But the tradition of egalitarianism in the chruch has always been around.


19th cy. feminist Elizabeth Cady Stanton had noted: "In the early days of woman-suffrage agitation, I saw that the greatest obstacle we had to overcome was the Bible. It was hurled at us on every side."


It was also used to support woman's movement. There was even a pro woman's rights translation made in the 19th century, and women like Katherine Bushnell who went to Northwestern and learned Greek and Hebrew and wrote on the egalitarian translations have been celebrated in the recent decades and even though she died in 1942 she had a major impact on the chruch in just the last 2 decades.

Metacrock said...

She was right. The Bible certainly does not command "thou shalt burn thy bras". Look at the Catholic Church's argument at why women cannot be priests -- because priests must be like Jesus Christ, who was male.

that's the result of male ego. It's not what the Bible says it's how men have translated it.

Feminism is a mostly secular movement -- nonreligious without excluding religion.


this is what I complaint about in you. You are a bright person you stick with a few little bigoted myths that you have heard you don't research and you don't dig to find the truth. if you new the history of the woman's movement you would know how wrong that is.

Even the civil-rights movement was largely secular.


ahahahah who the hell do you think Martin Luther king was? how old were you when they marched on Selma? Were you even alive? (1963)? I was! I remember it.

the major oranization was THE SOUTHERN CHRISTIAN LEADERSHIP CONFERENCE. WHY DID THEY CALL IT "CHRISTIAN" DO YOU THINK?

the major leader THE REVEREND mARTIN LUTHER KING, WHYD ID THEY CALL HIM REVEREND?????

learn some history man you don't know anything!

I covered all of this in the essay you are commenting on.you didn't read it did you?



As Susan Jacoby notes in "Freethinkers", there were a lot of secular Jews from big cities who participated, and some black-church elders considered them too irreligious and disrespectful.


she's just a bourgeoisie rich person trying to take credit for other people's blood, sweat and tears. next she will be claiming that it was really Middle class Jews who suffered form Jim Crow laws.

if the civil rights movement was not black wha the hell was it? it was black Chrisitans. 90% Christian, over 90% black. Something like four Jews died, hundreds of blacks died. like 20 Jews went to jail, thousands of blacks whent to jail.

learn history!

Rex said...

@Loren:

I think that the best thing in our culture that christianity can't take credit for is The Constitution of The United States. It has put us far ahead of the rest of the world in the last 200+ years, and there is no mention of god or religion anywhere in it. It is addressed in the 1st Amendment but only to define that religion and government shall be separate and independent entities.

Meta: As for pornography, if one doesn't have religious hangups about the human form, it can be quite enjoyable. Women are more and more in control of the productions themselves as well as the billions of dollars that are legally generated in that industry each year.

Of course, if your goal is for everyone to be ashamed of their bodies and their sexuality, then I can see where some would have a problem with it. Also if religious organizations are engaging in the futile effort to control sexuality, I can see a problem there too.

Metacrock said...

Rex said...

@Loren:

I think that the best thing in our culture that christianity can't take credit for is The Constitution of The United States. It has put us far ahead of the rest of the world in the last 200+ years, and there is no mention of god or religion anywhere in it. It is addressed in the 1st Amendment but only to define that religion and government shall be separate and independent entities.


Jefferson was not an atheist. Major supporters of the constitution were Christians and some of hte major lecturers who informed the congress about Democracy were Christians. John Adams and Witherspoon were major forces for Democracy.

Hey get it through your head man, I'm a trained historian, my Ph.D. was in history!




Meta: As for pornography, if one doesn't have religious hangups about the human form, it can be quite enjoyable.

That doesn't mean Christianity causes it! And bull shit anyway becuase i a Christian, I have no hangups about hte human body and I enjoy the human body, without sining.

I also have no hangups about my own body which is from being in the kind of shape that would get it put in a magazine.



Women are more and more in control of the productions themselves as well as the billions of dollars that are legally generated in that industry each year.


that sill doesn't mean Christianity causes it.

Of course, if your goal is for everyone to be ashamed of their bodies and their sexuality, then I can see where some would have a problem with it. Also if religious organizations are engaging in the futile effort to control sexuality, I can see a problem there too.

see how these guys can't follow a line of reasoning? the question was "what does Christinaity NOT Cause!" I say "pornography" he doesn't show that it does, he starts grousing about prudish attitudes on the part of Christains and somehow that's supppossed to counter the idea that Christianity doesn't cause pornography?

Or I guess he's childish and youn enough to think pronogprophy is not a problem becuase you hasn't lived long enough to understand the difference between not hung up and having a sexist attitude to objectifying women.

Rex you go to a convention of radical Lesbian feminists and tell them you are all for pornography and we shouldn't have any hang ups about it and see what they do to you.

Rex said...

"Jefferson was not an atheist. Major supporters of the constitution were Christians and some of hte major lecturers who informed the congress about Democracy were Christians. John Adams and Witherspoon were major forces for Democracy."

"Hey get it through your head man, I'm a trained historian, my Ph.D. was in history!"

Okay Mr. Phd Historian and scowler,

You need to learn how to read.

I said nothing of the irrelevant superstitions of the people involved in drafting the document.

I did state that the only reference to the irrelevant superstitions contained in the document is an admonishment to keep them separate.

It doesn't take a phd from a crackerjack box (like yours) to see that you are talking about something completely different than what I was.

Besides, that was a comment for Loren, not you.

Metacrock said...

It was Loren I was answering stupid. she said:

I think that the best thing in our culture that Christianity can't take credit for is The Constitution of The United States. It has put us far ahead of the rest of the world in the last 200+ years, and there is no mention of god or religion anywhere in it. It is addressed in the 1st Amendment but only to define that religion and government shall be separate and independent entities."

I was saying not that Christianity can take credit for the constitution but that it did make a contribution.

try to follow what's going on.

Loren said...

Thanx so much, Rex. Also note that the authors of the Federalist Papers used the pen name "Publius", after a Roman-Republic politician. Those papers said hardly anything about religion -- they are not exactly filled with Bible quotes and discussions of those quotes.

John Adams, one of our Founding Fathers, wrote a "History of the Principal Republics in the World: A Defence of the Constitutions of Government of the United States of America, 1794" After making a nod to the divine origin of government, he proceeds to argue on purely secular grounds.

Another fun thing is defenses of the Divine Right of Kings, like Robert Filmer's Patriarcha. He linked the authority of kings to the authority of a father over his children, and he argued that kings and fathers get their authority from the ultimate father, Adam himself.

Back in the Middle Ages, the Western Church would get into power struggles with various monarchs, and the theologians penned various arguments for limiting the power of kings.

Filmer noted that, and he complained that one theologian's arguments "makes God to be the immediate author of a democratical estate", which was as shocking to him as it would be to a capitalist to claim that God is the immediate author of Communism.

Not surprisingly, Filmer claimed that Adam's great sin was his desire for liberty.