“When people stop believing in God, they don’t believe in nothing — they believe in anything.”
– GK Chesterton
I have little doubt that when the Obama fanboys that call themselves journalists at Newsweek cooked up this “cover” (Why a purely digital outlet needs a cover is a bit of a mystery to me.) they thought they were being sardonic. I; however, think their Freudian slip is showing.
There are atheists in this world, probably always will be. There will always be people that disdain religion. So be it. What is so deeply troubling is the utter lack of respect, and recognition of the goodness of religious people involved in this. They continually complain about how we Christians want to implement “theocracy” and compare us to the Taliban and fail utterly to note that a magazine cover like that in an Islamic nation would result in riots, bombings, and other assorted mayhem. In other words they take our “tolerance” of them for granted while they feel completely free to “tolerate” almost nothing from us. Who, precisely, is the “theocrat” here?
Equally troubling to me is Obama’s inability to say something like, “I am uncomfortable with language and images of myself that invoke the Almighty.” He is a bit too comfortable in his demigod skin.
The problem is this is really our fault. We have allowed the media to co-opt our identity. Quoted Terry Mattingly, responding to a Rick Warren interview in this past week:
“I know what the word ‘evangelical’ is supposed to mean,” said Warren, 58, leader of the 20,000-member Saddleback Church in Lake Forest, Calif., with its many branch congregations and ministries. “I mean, I know what the word ‘evangelical’ used to mean.”
The problem, he said, is that many Americans no longer link “evangelical” with a set of traditional doctrines, such as evangelistic efforts to reach the lost, the defense of biblical authority, projects to help the needy and the conviction that salvation is found through faith in Jesus Christ, alone.
Somewhere during the George W. Bush years the word “evangelical” — a term used in church history — got “co-opted into being a political term,” said Warren, in a recent telephone interview.
How could something like this happen? As I think things through, I keep returning again and again to the idea that we have quit leading culture and started following it. The Deseret News carried a story this last week about how universities are growing not through academics, but through “improving the student experience.” I know that every solicitation for funds that I have received from my alma mater in the last few years has focused on things like the “student center” and improvements to the fieldhouse. These things are not unworthy, but they are not the purpose of the university. Again we see a culture defining and shaping institution chasing a constituency rather than creating one.
Does leadership exist any more? Do we any longer attempt to shape people, or do we merely cater to them in an effort to capture their…money…vote…allegiance?
I think that truly defines, in a nutshell, the outcome of the last election. Mitt Romney came and ran to lead the nation through a crisis. Barack Obama came to cater the marketplace. We know who won the election, but one is forced to wonder if the nation as a whole won much of anything. Not because Obama is a bad man (he is not) or because he is a bad president (most assuredly) but because it seems any desire or effort to be better has left the building. We no longer want to be better, we just want.
But without efforts to better ourselves, all we get is vapor. Dennis Prager wrote in NRO last week about godless attempts to offer comfort in the wake of Newtown:
“The dead do not suffer” is atheism’s consolation to the parents of murdered children? This sentiment can provide some consolation — though still nothing comparable to the affirmation of an afterlife — to those who lose a loved one who had been suffering from a debilitating disease. But it not only offers the parents of Sandy Hook no consolation, it actually (unintentionally) insults them: Were these children suffering before their lives were taken? Would they have suffered if they had lived on? Moreover, it is the parents who are suffering, so the fact that their child isn’t suffering while decomposing in the grave is of no relevance. And, most germane to our subject, this atheist message offers no consolation at all when compared with the religious message that we humans are not just matter, but possess eternal souls.
“The Second Coming” is shorthand to all those of Christian faith for the return of Jesus to finally complete the job of remaking the world. That is to say making us not just better, but perfect as we were created to be. This Newsweek cover reflects the fact that apparently the nation (or at least the Newsweek reading portion of the nation) does not want that. Apparently they just want and if Barack Obama is willing to give, then they have their “second coming.”
That is a pretty sorry excuse for a second coming.