Sunday, January 30, 2005

Scalia to the Wise: Christianity Not For You!

Here's Agape Press columnist Matt Friedman reporting on a recent speech by Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia:

Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia gave a humdinger of an indispensable speech for people of faith who are wondering when they are ever going to catch a break from their culture.

Summary: bad treatment to be expected. Get used to it.

The standard martyr pose of the religious right.

Addressing the Knights of Columbus Council 969 in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, Scalia said that belief in biblical Christianity is, well, foolish. “For the son of God to be born of a virgin? I mean, really. To believe that He rose from the dead and bodily ascended into heaven? How utterly ridiculous. To believe in miracles? Or that those who obey God will rise from the dead and those who do not will burn in hell?

“God assumed from the beginning that the wise of the world would view Christians as fools ... and he has not been disappointed ....”

Of course, using “wise” as an epithet is something you'd hope would be beneath a Supreme Court justice.

More to the point, however, is this theologically sound? Every Christian bookstore I have ever visited has acres of shelf space devoted to Christian apologetics. These are books claiming that an honest consideration of the evidence should lead a rational person to conclude that Christianity is correct. God's blessings are supposed to be available to anyone, wise or not, who willingly receives them. Why would God so arrange things that education and rational thought make it more difficult to perceive his Glory?

Scalia makes an important point, of course. Basic Christian orthodoxy is outrageously beyond the understanding of a this-world rationality. Born of a virgin, resurrection, supernaturality, a next-world judgment.

Preposterous ... idiocy ... comforting only to the shallow-minded. These are the thoughts of so many of the intellectual elite. One wonders: if this impossible faith were merely a conglomeration of implausible doctrinal assertions, might not people consider believers foolish but only in a quaint, innocuous manner?

But there seems to be today a vehemence, an ugly mean-spiritedness of the mockers when they speak of Christians and their biblical affirmations -- how to explain that?

For ugly mean-spiritedness it is hard to top what outifts like Agape Press say about atheists.

It is not the unpalatable doctrine that has the non-believers shouting invectives through their proverbial foaming mouths. No, it is unpalatable doctrine applied. Christians, you see, believe that the teachings of scripture belong not merely in the church and around dinner tables, but in the marketplace and the state capitols and in the media and even in the Oval Office.

That is what unnerves so many of the academicians, the irreligious power brokers, the old media and the Democratic Party post-election. These people, these Bible-thumpers, actually think that their ethical beliefs ought to be adopted by ... everyone.


Ya think? That people are hostile towards the religious right because they want to force everyone to live their lives as they do? Let me commend Mr. Friedman on some brilliant investigative reporting there.

Likewise, I'm sure Mr. Friedman has no objection to people supporting the separation of church and state in the privacy of their own homes. It is when they actually expect other people to respect that separation that Friedman starts whining about oppression.


At 2:47 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh, OK, I get it. All the funamentalists are trying to do is force everyone to adopt their beliefs. I'm kind of embarrassed now that I ever felt threatened by them. I guess the only polite thing to do now is to accept Jesus Christ as my personal lord and savior.

It does make me wonder, though, why everyone in this country is so uptight about radical Islamic terrorists. I mean, all they're doing is trying to force everyone to adopt their religion through extreme violence, and look how they get treated. No wonder they're so hostile.

At 6:07 PM, Blogger Salvador T. Cordova said...

Hi Dr. Rosenhouse,

You asked:

"Why would God so arrange things that education and rational thought make it more difficult to perceive his Glory?"

Just as an FYI, Scalia is referring to this passage in the Bible by the Apostle Paul.

1 Cor 1:18

For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.

For it is written: “I will destroy the wisdom of the wise;
the intelligence of the intelligent I will frustrate. Where is the wise man? Where is the scholar? Where is the philosopher of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world?

For since in the wisdom of God the world through its wisdom did not know him, God was pleased through the foolishness of what was preached to save those who believe. Jews demand miraculous signs and Greeks look for wisdom, but we preach Christ crucified: a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles, but to those whom God has called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. For the foolishness of God is wiser than man's wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than man's strength. "

I hope that gives a little context.

I do however appreciate your willingness to understand us, and I commend your visits the Christian bookstores and you vistis with the Christians on your campus.



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