Sunday, October 02, 2005

Hostility Towards Christian Faith

Last night I watched John Kasich's "Heartland" show on Fox News Channel. There was a segment that asked the question, are fringe religions like Scientology and Kabbalah using celebrities to gain influence over people and government? The shows guests included James Hirsen, author of "Hollywood Gods" and celebrity journalist Jeanne Wolf.

I tried to find a transcript of all the dialogue at the website, but it hasn't been posted. It was a short but informative segment. What was most interesting to me was Jeanne Wolf's reaction to John Kasich's question about the terrible treatment, ridicule, and shunning that Mel Gibson received before, during and after the movie "The Passion of the Christ" came out.

But first, I must share Jeanne's animated look and words while discussing the various celebrities involved in these fringe religions. She sat there smiling and praising the individual celebrities depicted on the screen and raved about what a good influence they are. Apparently, she thought it was great that they were seeking a 'spirituality' and this is to be considered a good thing for their audience and fans . Notice, it doesn't matter what that spirituality consists of, it is just good that they are seeking and discovering any kind or type of spirituality. She completely ignored John's concerns about the fact that Scientology and Kabbalah are considered fringe religions. Buddhism was also mentioned and Jeanne had only good things to say about that religion.

Then, when John brought up the question about how and why Mel Gibson couldn't (at first) get a production company for his "Passion" film, Jeanne said this (paraphrased here):

'That film was an extremist portrayal of the life and times of Christ. It was Mel Gibson's extremist interpretation.'

Do you see and sense the hostility within that comment?

Every other religion gets her approval and a pass because of her preconceived notion that they are involved in 'good' spirituality endeavors, but an ancient and historical faith like Christianity is considered extremist?

It was really funny to see her comment sliced and diced by the other guest (James Hirsen) and to see Jeanne try to backpedal from her derogatory comment. She finally confessed that she felt "ganged up on" in the midst of James and John's defending of historical, biblical Christianity.

This truly demonstrated the mindset of typical Hollywood elitists. They think that they have the right to be hostile and disparage a faith that millions of people in the United States and billions of people in the world, adhere to; but when confronted with opposition to their hostility they cry that they are being picked on.

What a wimp she was! Obviously she didn't know enough (or, probably ANYTHING) about Jesus Christ and true biblical Christianity to defend her position so she had to whine that she was being ganged up on!

This is even more evidence to me that the looney left fringe of our society is tirelessly involved with destroying and annihilating anything that is Christian in our society.

In my opinion, Hollywood actors should stay out of the Christian bashing business for many many reasons, but probably (for them, personally)
their own selfish intentions in making huge amounts of money in their careers.

I have seen many an actor lose their celebrity status as a result of bashing Christians, Republicans, our President, our Administration, our Congress and the list could go on.

Their vitriol directly and indirectly affects the safety and success of our troops who are in harms way in Iraq and Afghanistan.

And that's my political rant for the day!

One last point.

This exchange reminded me of an encounter between a Christian and a New Age guru. I think I have already mentioned this on my blog in the past, but I wanted to share it again here.

A few months ago I watched Greg Koukl (a wonderful Christian apologist) and Deepak Chopra discuss the future of faith on Lee Strobel's Faith Under Fire. Dr. Chopra has written numerous books on New Age spirituality that have sold millions of copies.

Greg did a superb job of representing the gospel in content and character, modeling the qualities of an ambassador that he and the folks at Stand to Reason seek to instill in others. He repeatedly demonstrated the problems with religious relativism and exposed the fact that, contrary to his denial that he is dogmatic, Dr. Chopra adheres to a theological position of which he seeks to persuade others.

As a sign of respect for Jesus, Dr. Chopra said that his teaching in the Sermon on the Mount is among his favorites and that he carries a copy of it with him. However, he considers Jesus only one among a number of God's messengers. Not only is this a contradiction of the biblical witness to Jesus' uniqueness, it's also unintelligible given Dr. Chopra's own concept of the nature of God. You see, Dr. Chopra emphatically denies that God is a personal being.

The concept of messenger presupposes two activities, both of which can only be performed by persons. The first is that of sending or commissioning. A messenger is one who is sent by someone not something.

The second activity presupposed by the concept of messenger is communication. A messenger is one who conveys a what? That's right - a message. The task of a messenger is to convey some kind of communication from the one who sent him or her to the recipient.

If I were to tell you that my toaster wanted me to tell you something, you'd think that I was either joking or something was seriously wrong with me. That's because we know that toasters and other impersonal entities don't communicate. So, how Dr. Chopra explains the concept of an impersonal God having messengers, I don't know.
I don't think he can. And he didn't. Dr. Chopra's position was logically impossible and spiritually unsatisfying.

I sincerely hope that they re-broadcast this episode of Faith Under Fire. It truly was absolutely fabulous! Greg Koukl pointed out the fact that people can have differing beliefs regarding faith, but that it is logically impossible for them all to be true at the same time. His trust in Jesus Christ and God's Word stood in direct contrast to Deepak Chopra who admitted "embracing his uncertainty." Koukl's view demonstrates a steadfast and true faith where Chopra's view can only lead to theological oblivion.

This is truly an important point to remember and share when confronted by someone adhering to such New Age beliefs.

Back to Jeanne Wolf and her reactions and comments regarding the crucifixion of Jesus Christ. What do you think was the real reason for her discomfort? Why was Christianity the only faith (religion, to her) that deserved the title of extremism? She didn't even mention Islam, a religion that truly does involve extremism in their book, the Koran. Please feel free to share your thoughts on this. Looking forward to reading them!


Thomas said...

Hello Christine,

I'm afraid I lost my temper some time ago as a result of your hurricane comments. I apologize. Theodicy has a tendency to make me very upset.

Anyway, I couldn't resist the temptation to respond to your post. As a secular humanist, atheist, materialist, rationalist, empiricist, utilitarian-libertarian -- and, indeed, as a gay -- I do make a point not to single out Christianity for special censure in my rants. It's hard to avoid, because it is the majority faith in our country. However, I am hostile to all religions and all faiths, regardless of how popular they are. I think the primal sin is when a person ceases to think for themselves, or and begins to take things on faith. All religions inculcate a sense of willful ignorance about the world. They all call on their flocks to stop asking questions and simply accept whatever is written in some book or whatever comes out of the mouth of some "holy" man or woman. I believe, on the other hand, that people make progress when they question their own beliefs, when they argue about controversial topics, and when they demand evidence and logic in support of questionable claims.

So let's see. Out of all the religions in the world, I tend to think that Islam is probably the worst in this regard. It hasn't always been so, and in the middle ages Muslim thinkers far surpassed Christian Europeans. However, Islam is now the principle enemy of progress and peace in much of the world. It condones violence against "infidels" and oppression of women. I think it's rather dull, besides. No booze, no drawings, and no homosexuality (at least officially). I highly recommend the book "Why I am not a Muslim", by a fellow who goes by the name Ibn Warraq. He does not write under his real name, for obvious reasons.

All the other religions are also scams, in my humble opinion. Most religious people are nice. Religion tends to produce great art, along with a lot of shlock. But people can be nice without believing in fairy stories, and most great artists and nearly all great writers are to one degree or another impious.

Deepak Chopra, as I said before, is a quack. You'll find that nearly all atheists and skeptics get nauseous around "New Age" people. The most evil and corrupt church around is the Church of Scientology, which is decidedly un-Christian. I think most Christian churches are temples of free thought by comparison.

Regarding Jesus, I think he was a perfectly nice man and it's a shame he was executed. If he came back today, I'm sure many Orthodox Christians would be happy to murder him all over again. Most fundamentalists come closer to the legalism of the Pharisees than to the man who said "judge not, lest ye be judged."

Jojo said...

Thomas, my friend, how nice to know you are still around. Still as cynical as ever, I see. :)

Just wanted to add my two cents worth. You see, I don't find it a shame at all that Jesus was crucified. Yes, it was a horrible death, and the beatings before hand were most awful. But, it was God's plan all along and because of his death - I will live eternally with Him. I find all my hope, peace and security in that fact. I hope you will someday too.

Susan Smith said...

"Most fundamentalists come closer to the legalism of the Pharisees than to the man who said "judge not, lest ye be judged."

This point is well taken.

Self-righteousness is just as deadly as unrighteousness. There were two trees in the garden, the tree of the knowledge of good and evil and the tree of life. When we feast on good from the tree of good and evil, we are just as damned as those who eat the evil from this same tree. We have all sinned and fall short of the glory of God (see ROM 3:23). We are all guilty. We are futile in our thoughts and our foolish hearts are darkened.

Look at Romans, chapter 1: “God gave them over to a debased mind, to do those things which are not fitting; being filled with all unrighteousness, sexual immorality, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness, full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, evil-mindedness; they are whisperers, backbiters, haters of God, violent, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents, undiscerning, untrustworthy, unloving, unforgiving, unmerciful; who, knowing the righteous judgment of God, that those who practice such things are worthy of death, not only do the same but also approve of those who practice them.” Is this not a good description of our world today, as we know it? This scripture from God’s Word describes you and me. You are included. I am included. The words we speak from our mouths come from our hearts and they defile us. Out of our hearts proceed evil thoughts of all sorts of sin (see MAT 15:18&19).

“The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked; who can know it?” (JER 17:9) My heart is wicked. Your heart is wicked. What can we do? We must be born again. God will give us a new heart so we can know Him and we shall be His people and He will be our God. We must come to Him with our whole heart (see JER 24:7). Only your spirit knows what really goes on inside you. So too no one knows the things of God except the Spirit of God (see 1CO 2:11). When you are born again, then you will receive the Holy Spirit of God. You will hear His voice and know it is God.

Let not your heart be troubled. God has a good plan for your life. He is faithful even when we are not. (ss)

Christinewjc said...

Hey Thomas,

So how have you been? It's been quite a while since you last posted here.

Tempers flaring seems to be a common thing on this blog. Join the crowd. I do accept your apology although I don't agree that what was shared was 'theodicy'.

I also don't agree that Christianity should be lumped in with others and considered an unreasonable type of faith. I don't agree that my Christian faith inculcates a willful ignorance, a call to stop asking questions, or a faith that lacks evidence.

I think it is a good start that you recognize the falsehood of the New Age movement and Scientology. You also reject Islam. I just hope that you consider the excellent points shared by Jojo and Susan.

As far as judgment is concerned, I HAVE been judged. And, I have been found guilty. That's the bad news. The good news is about what Jesus Christ did for me and you, and Jojo, and Susan, and everyone else in the world. Those who believe on Christ do not have to pay for their sins (which they couldn't do anyway) and their sins are covered so they can be reconciled to God. Those who are covered by the sacrifice of Jesus at the cross are saved from eternal separation from God, whether you choose to believe it or not.