[I sent Harper's the following letter to the editor regarding their December cover story by Jeff Sharlett slamming the Christian right. I could have written in much more depth regarding the distortions, the ignorance, and meanspiritedness of the article (which also managed to make a few good points), but I chose to address what sparked the most fire in my bones. They have not contacted me, so they will not likely publish it.]
Jeff Sharlet's piece on the Christian right's understanding of American history was an eccentric admixture of random insight and radical misrepresentation. Perhaps his most egregious error was to describe the Christian study center) of theologian and philosopher Francis Schaeffer as a "Christian madrasah." Madrasahs are Islamic centers for indoctrination and jihad. Schaeffer never indoctrinated, but welcomed questions from doubters, skeptics, and unbelievers. He encouraged intellectual challenges instead of rejecting them; he modeled persuasion, not coercion; he issued intellectual arguments, not theological fatwas. He never engaged in the ignorant invective displayed by Sharlet.
Tuesday, December 19, 2006
Harper's December Cover Story: Lies about Schaeffer
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Jeff Sharlet is projecting his own feelings onto others.
'Christian madrasah...' Can we all see where this is going? Looking at your recent post on the New Atheism and the West's clash with Islam, I would say this makes for an interesting development. Western philosophy has taken away the pillars of historic Christianity. In the resulting pluralistic playground there has always been a bias against religion based worldviews.
The onslaught of islamic extremism is proof, in the eyes of Western materialists, that - just like they have been saying all along - religion is indeed a bad thing. Where Western philosophical thought has been the scourge of Christianity, Islam may be a nail in its coffin.
A new trend in our Western culture may be an ever louder call to curtail or even ban religions. Europe may be closer than North America.
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