The latest issue of Newsweek arrived a few days ago. In the past I’ve tried to avoid these types of magazines, not wanting to get mixed up in the political and social mess that inevitably comes with it. But lately I’ve been trying to gain a better understanding of our current events; since how are we, as Christians, supposed to make informed choices if we don’t know what the heck is going on in the World?
The cover of this issue peaked my interest. A large Red, White, and Blue flag wrapped around a cross, with the words “The Politics of Jesus” written boldly next to it. Newsweek actually featured THREE articles on Christianity in this issue. In this post I’d like to focus on the last of these three articles, entitled “The Case against Faith”, written by self-proclaimed atheist Sam Harris.
For those of you who don’t have a hardcopy of Newsweek on hand, you can read the article online.
Sam Harris starts out his article with:
Despite a full century of scientific insights attesting to the antiquity of life and the greater antiquity of the Earth, more than half the American population believes that the entire cosmos was created 6,000 years ago. This is, incidentally, about a thousand years after the Sumerians invented glue. Those with the power to elect presidents and congressmen—and many who themselves get elected—believe that dinosaurs lived two by two upon Noah’s Ark, that light from distant galaxies was created en route to the Earth and that the first members of our species were fashioned out of dirt and divine breath, in a garden with a talking snake, by the hand of an invisible God.
Despite a full century of scientific insights attesting to the antiquity of life and the greater antiquity of the Earth… Ok, please stop. Are you referring to the alleged “theory” of evolution? If so, I hope the word “attest” was a typo, for the only reason Evolution is still being taught in schools is for a lack of a better replacement (other than Christianity). You speak as though Evolution has already been proven without a doubt. How can you say that when there are so many holes in it? Evolution’s “greatest find” is skeleton called “Lucy”, of which only a very small portion of the skeleton was ever found. It doesn’t even have a face for scientists to study.
Take a look around you. Look at all the plants, animals, and natural wonders, or perhaps even the human brain. You could spend a lifetime studying just one of these spectacular creations (out of billions and trillions), and you still wouldn’t be able to understand even a small portion of its essence. Yet everything mysteriously fits together. Do you really think that all these species, working together perfectly for the benefit of the environment, were randomly generated from a COSMIC SOUP?!
If we were made from a bubbling lunch entree how do we know that good is good, and evil is evil? How are we even capable of thought at all? How do you explain the small voice (sometimes called a conscience) inside warning you not to steal that delicious candy bar from the store?
The answer to these questions is not evolution. The answer is God, a Creator.
Mr. Harris continues his onslaught…
This is embarrassing. But add to this comedy of false certainties the fact that 44 percent of Americans are confident that Jesus will return to Earth sometime in the next 50 years, and you will glimpse the terrible liability of this sort of thinking. Given the most common interpretation of Biblical prophecy, it is not an exaggeration to say that nearly half the American population is eagerly anticipating the end of the world. It should be clear that this faith-based nihilism provides its adherents with absolutely no incentive to build a sustainable civilization—economically, environmentally or geopolitically. Some of these people are lunatics, of course, but they are not the lunatic fringe. We are talking about the explicit views of Christian ministers who have congregations numbering in the tens of thousands. These are some of the most influential, politically connected and well-funded people in our society.
If by “end of the world” you mean “eternal life with my Savior”, than yes, I am looking forward to it. We are all sinners, Mr. Harris, and Jesus paid for that sin with His life. It is only those who reject God’s forgiveness that will be facing “the end of the world”. In Revelation 22:12-16 Jesus tells us:
“Behold, I am coming soon! My reward is with me, and I will give to everyone according to what he has done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End.
Blessed are those who wash their robes, that they may have the right to the tree of life and may go through the gates into the city. Outside are the dogs, those who practice magic arts, the sexually immoral, the murderers, the idolaters and everyone who loves and practices falsehood.
I, Jesus, have sent my angel to give you this testimony for the churches. I am the Root and the Offspring of David, and the bright Morning Star.”
Christian’s are not going to simply “party” while we wait for the return of Jesus. God has laid out laws for all mankind to follow. Tell me how “You shall not murder”, “You shall not steal”, “You shall not give false testimony against your neighbor”, and so many other moral commandments have a bad effect on society? So many Christian’s dedicate their lives to serving others; traveling overseas to help the sick and the poor.
Think about some of the great people in our Country’s history. George Washington, Martin Luther King, Mother Theresa… just to name a few. It can be said without a doubt that all of three of them dedicated their lives to others. It is people like this — Christians — that have made our Country great.
Are you really embarrassed to have people with those kinds of moral values being citizens of this Country? Do you prefer people who base their sense of right and wrong on what suits them at the current moment? If so, I feel sorry for you. You obviously missed what this Country was founded on in high school.
Sam Harris goes on to say that religious people “will happily contribute to the surplus of human misery if it serves their religious beliefs“. As an example he provides President Bush who used a veto to deny federal funding for embryonic-stem-cell research. Mr. Harris argues that this could be a breakthrough in medicine for the reason that stem cells could become any tissue in the human body. That’s right… but if scientists didn’t KILL IT, nine months later a baby would be born! He says that since a 3-day old human embryo is only a collection of 150 cells, that it’s “ok”. Who are you to decide that lab research is more important than the soul inside that tiny baby? By your reasoning it would be “OK” to use a short person for scientific research because they’re not as big as someone taller. No one has the right to kill an innocent baby. Period.
He continues his article by saying that the United States is a super power, and as such, the President is in the most important position in the world. He then mocks President Bush for praying to God for help in making decisions. Tell me this, Mr. Harris. If you were in such an “important position”, wouldn’t you want help from the Creator of the Universe? I know I would.