I Almost Fell For The Delusion That We’re Better Christians

I came within a hair’s breadth of falling for a soul-crushing delusion. I nearly decided that our nation is better off embracing a morally-flawed man who purports to side with me on cultural issues like gay marriage and the protection of Christian conscience, than opening my ears to hear.

Then I read Rod Dreher’s parade of horribles that took me from truly lost Ellen Page to morally corrupt but honest Louis C.K., to the heart-rending tales of Diana Nyad and Nancy French. They landed straight in Roy Moore’s lap. I wept. I suggest you read every word, then go back and read all the stories he linked.

The delusion

The Bible says that the human heart is “deceitful about all things, and desperately wicked. Who can know it?” (Jeremiah 17:9). In the next verse, which is rarely quoted, the Lord answers Himself: “I, the Lord, search the heart, I test the mind, even to give every man according to his ways, according to the fruit of his doings.”

Human beings are all carriers of cognitive dissonance. As Erick pointed out, the anti-Christian progressive left is just fine referring to an unborn baby as a non-person fetus until it is killed by a gunman at a church, then it’s a baby. It’s no different with Christians–why would it be?–only the issues change.


Jerry Falwell, Jr. is more concerned with credibility in the eyes of voters than in the eyes of God. He sees nothing wrong with this. I almost fell for that also. Then, in tears, I realized my error.

Nobody is perfect in life, and I know if I ever ran for high office, plenty of things about me would or could end up in the public eye that I’d rather not be public. (No, I haven’t molested or propositioned a 14-year-old, but who is the judge of what causes shame or discredit but my own conscience and God’s word? None of us is without sin. Not one.)

We are truly living in Biblical times, and it’s very easy to fall for the delusion that God is not here, or does not exist, or care for us. But really, His own prophets and Word predict this very time, and warns/encourages us on how we are to act. Read 2 Thessalonians 2:1-12 for a good description of the “unrighteous deception.”

And for this reason God will send them strong delusion, that they should believe the lie, that they all may be condemned who did not believe the truth but had pleasure in unrighteousness.

It is just as much a delusion to believe you can be right with God and done such damage to a 14-year-old (and others) many years ago, yet walk pridefully away from the accusations as if they are beneath contempt. Every single argument proffered by Roy Moore’s defenders is exactly as predicted by other victims of abuse.

Let that sink in. Others have come forward (like Nancy French) with their own stories because they recognize themselves in Liegh Corfman, who is now being criticized for the exact reasons she recognized and therefore kept quiet for 38 years.

It’s a delusion to believe that we, as American Christians and evangelicals, are somehow better bred, spiritually-speaking, than others. We are not. As the book of Revelation chapter 2 describes the Laodicean church, we say, “I am rich, have become wealthy, and have need of nothing’—and do not know that you are wretched, miserable, poor, blind, and naked.”

Doubtless we can, at the same time, hold up a Godly standard, and violate our own conscience and throw mud on Christ’s sacrifice.

Is it righteousness?

I want to deal with one question right here–the crux of the matter. Is supporting Moore a delusion or a stand for righteousness in the face of political attack?

Let me respond to a theologian I respect, Dr. Michael Brown, who posed some perfectly valid concerns.

Think back to the Ted Cruz campaign for president, when 5 women accused him of having sexual relations with them. These were charges he flatly denied. Do we have any good reason today to believe they were true? (Note also that the National Enquirer was their main source.) Perhaps it is the same with Roy Moore. Perhaps this is nothing more than a politically motivated attack, coming just when he was poised to win the election.

Here is the difference. No women have come forward and said “that’s me” about the Ted Cruz accusations. I don’t mean women who also accuse Cruz of misdeeds. I mean women who heard the accusations against Cruz and said “yes, that’s my story.” The Bible makes it very clear who is witness to sin: a person’s own spirit and mind, and God, are always a witness.

God is the perfect witness, while we humans tend to bend our perceptions to fit our own bias. This is why the Bible calls for multiple witnesses. But the Bible also says that there is no temptation but that what is “common to mankind.” A sensational accusation, in a politically-charged environment, either rings true, or it doesn’t.

In Cruz’s case, it didn’t ring true because others didn’t see themselves in the story. In Clinton’s case–many women have come forward. In Weinstein’s case, I’d guess that most of Hollywood shares the “me too” story. In the Catholic Church, many lives were damaged because the priesthood offered a shield of power and trust over young lives (and also in schools, like Nyad’s coach, or the many instances of female teachers having relations with teenage boys).

In Moore’s case, the “me too” factor is very strong. Christians should not fall for the strong delusion of cognitive dissonance, that a Christian would not have done what Moore did–would not have succumbed to temptation. We should also not believe that Moore will do the right thing and step aside, if the accusations are true, as the White House has maintained.

Face the deception

Conscience demands that we look deeper and face our own deceived souls.

The proof of God’s existence and care for this world is not found in the righteous behavior of good and Godly men. It is found in the reality of sin and the freeing power of the truth, repentance and grace.

I, the Lord, search the heart, I test the mind, even to give every man according to his ways, according to the fruit of his doings.

I believe that the fruit of Roy Moore’s doings are appearing, based on the very real reactions of others who have been victims of similar actions. I almost fell for the delusion that politics is more important–that our religious freedom is hinged upon electing men like Trump and Moore.

But it’s not. The hardest atheist and most confirmed leftist can break under the tremendous force of grace. They will not break under the yoke of those who pursue delusions and power. Too many Christians have traded the moral authority given us by God for a delusion of cultural power we no longer possess.

As Nancy French concluded:

“I’m not an angel,” Corfman pointed out. Moore, on the other hand, repeatedly claimed to be God’s warrior. However, the scripture he really needed to read wasn’t one of the Ten Commandments he so desperately wanted to hang in the state courthouse. It was Luke 17:2, which warns, “it would be better for them to be thrown into the sea with a millstone tied around their neck than to cause one of these little ones to stumble.”

The great thing about 2017 is seeing these victims standing up straight, no longer stumbling. May we also see justice prevail for the predators, this side of heaven.

I nearly fell for the delusion that we can oppose our own hearts and overrule the conscience of mankind. The victims’ hearts speak louder and more clearly, if we have ears to hear.

Race Pimp Kids Grow Up To Be Race Pimp Admissions Officers

One feature of Donald Trump’s rallies has always been his music selection. He always ends with The Rolling Stones “You can’t always get what you want.” It’s really the perfect counterweight to all the things liberals stand for.

Liberals believe in social engineering. They believe in starting with an outcome, and engineering a plan to make that outcome become true. They believe you can always get what you want. Especially in education, opportunity, and economic status, liberals believe that we can guarantee that diversity of skin color, racial heritage, ancestry, and parentage can be plotted in a standard deviation curve, and with the right tinkering, these results can be made to happen.

They’ve been tinkering for 50 years. We’ve yet to see ourselves get any closer to the planned outcomes, although we do have schools seeking a return to segregation and persecution based on race.

The problem here is that kids who grow up on race identity become adults who live their lives according to race identity. The college kid who got in because he checked the right boxes becomes the admissions officer responsible for ensuring the results fit the curve.

Though they try, they fail–in schools, and in business.

Google’s diversity fail

James Damore has a Harvard Ph.D. in biology. He wrote about physical, biological differences between men and women, by way of explaining why men fill more  technical positions at Google. He was fired under the guise of advancing “damaging stereotypes.” They paid Damore to know more about these things than Google executives know, and then fired him when he used that knowledge against them.

Google spent $265 million on diversity, and for their efforts, they have zero Latino executives, a 0 percent gain in the number of female employees from 2013 to 2016 (29 percent), and a 5 percent gain in women in leadership positions (from 8 to 13 percent). That’s dismal if you’re programming to a bell curve. Damore wrote about the bankruptcy of that approach, and the tyranny of forcing all hires to believe in it, and they canned him.

Rod Dreher wrote about liberals and their obsession with privilege, bias and skews.

I would not want my children working for Google. I would not want my sons to be subject to that kind of ritual defamation and professional ruin for expressing the “wrong” opinions. And I would not want my daughter to have the kind of power over her coworkers that women do in the identity-liberal culture of Google. I want all my kids to work for employers that care about justice in the workplace, but do so within a context that — as James Damore suggested in his memo — treats employees as individuals.

What’s a “new Jew” worth?

Liberals have become race pimps in their search for a Holy Grail of diversity–some secret formula that counteracts the pernicious effects of privilege. The privilege of skin color; of growing up in a two-parent household; of having parents who value education and learning; of being part of a culture that values family and achievement.

Daniel Golden became so blissfully unaware of his own racism that he wrote in a book about Asians and affirmative action (The Price of Admission, 2006), that he stumbled in a ProPublica piece into anti-white, anti-Semitism.

In my book, I described Asian Americans as “the new Jews.” Like Jews before the 1960s, whose Ivy League enrollment was restricted by quotas, Asian Americans are overrepresented at selective colleges compared with their U.S. population, but are shortchanged relative to their academic performance.

In the paragraph immediately preceding that, he skewered Jared Kushner, an orthodox Jew, as a “poster boy” for the practice of displacing “more deserving candidates from other backgrounds, including Asian Americans and middle-class whites, without achieving the goals of affirmative action, such as diversity and redressing historical discrimination.”

I strain to contain my eyes lest they roll out of their sockets at such prideful claimed omniscience. Apparently, an “old Jew” is worth less than a “new Jew.”

The best way to redress historical discrimination is to give the discriminated class a way up without placing them in direct competition with those who are already at the pinnacle of the educational system in elite schools. Didn’t Golden learn anything at all from Jewish, Irish, and Italian immigrants who came to America with nothing, faced discrimination of all kinds, and through generational change finally achieved a result?

In other words: it’s okay to learn to be a plumber, or machinist, or welder if your father was a fruit peddler. Not every child of a blue-collar worker can (or should) go to Yale.

You can’t always get what you want.

And now, even high schools are getting into the race pimp act. A Virginia school sent this letter to parents:

“Through our collective work, advanced classes such as AP and Honors will have proportional representation,” read the letter. “Proportional representation is 40% White, 35% Hispanic, 12% African American, 10% mixed race.”

This is the racial outcome bell curve on stilts. Why would you want to place a lower achieving Hispanic or African American in a class to compete with higher achieving kids? So they can fail and feel less worthy? Or so the entire class can become a little less “advanced”  and hold back the kids who got there by achieving standards?

Outcomes cannot be engineered, just like Google can’t force their workforce to look like the racial distribution of Santa Clara County and still be Google. No matter how much money they throw at the problem, the dice will still roll the same.

It takes generations for these changes to happen, and only when values, diversity of thought, family support systems, and playing for the long game take precedence over the shortcuts liberals are obsessed with taking.

Dead fish stink

Dreher quoted Mark Lilla’s new book The Once and Future Liberal (August 15 release):

The identity liberals’ approach to fishing is to remain on shore, yelling at the fish about the historical wrongs visited on them by the sea, and the need for aquatic life to renounce its privilege. All in the hope that the fish will collectively confess their sins and swim to shore to be netted. If that is your approach to fishing, you had better become a vegan.

That’s a kind analogy to fishing. In reality, race identity liberals would drain the lake, kill all the fish, count the number of crappie, bass, and catfish, then scoop the dead fish in proportion to their distribution into their ice chest.

But we all know that dead fish stink, and aren’t good to eat. So the liberals go to Whole Foods and buy fish, and claim they caught it. And if you point out the Whole Foods receipt to them in the Google lunchroom, you’re fired.

This post is cross-posted at The New Americana.

Christians in a Post-Christian Nation – The Benedict Option

American orthodox Christians are besieged. We are inhabiting an increasingly secular society in which atheism is at record levels. The Sexual Revolution has culminated in rampant divorce, millions of aborted children, and pervasive consumption of pornography. The LGBT movement has succeeded in winning the acceptance of mainstream society, and is seeking to cast conservative Christians out of polite society one wedding cake at a time.

Western civilization is entering a post-Christian Dark Age, argues Rod Dreher in his controversial and popular new book, The Benedict Option. This diagnosis is not just based on recent events like the 2016 election or the Obergefell decision, but on a steady decline of Christianity in the West over hundreds of years.

How are orthodox Christians (the author includes Catholics, Eastern Orthodox, and conservative protestants) supposed to live in such dark times? Dreher finds his answer in St. Benedict and his rules for monastic living.

During the last days of the Roman Empire, Benedict traveled around Italy establishing insulated Christian communities, or monasteries, which provided a nucleus from which Christian civilization could survive the lawless barbarity then engulfing Europe. “These monasteries kept faith and learning alive within their walls, evangelized barbarian peoples, and taught them how to pray, to read, to plant crops, and to build things.”

“Benedict’s example gives us hope today,” Dreher continues, “because it reveals what a small cohort of believers….can accomplish” through living out their faith in Christ.

One of the main arguments hurled against Dreher’s Benedict Option is his apparent argument for Christians to forsake the secular world. How can we square Christ’s commission to make disciples of all nations with a call to retreat from society? Buying hundreds of acres in Montana, constructing a wall, and building the ideal Christian society is the stuff of Kool-Aid drinking doomsday cults.

This criticism, however, betrays someone who has not read past the book cover. “The way of Saint Benedict is not an escape from the real world,” Dreher points out, “but a way to see that world and dwell in it as it truly is.” Instead of calling on Christians to form communes, Dreher is simply asking Christians to question how they participate in mainstream culture. After diagnosing the current state of modern society and reviewing the history of St. Benedict, Dreher spends the last two-thirds of the book addressing how modern Christians should approach politics, church, family, community, education, careers, sexuality, and technology.

In all of these areas, Dreher persuasively argues how modern Western society is based on ideas that run in direct opposition to Christianity. Drawing from the wisdom of St. Benedict and modern day monks, he gives strategies and resources for Christians to consider.

In politics, Dreher suggests that Christians focus less on the traditional fights in which groups like the Christian Coalition or Moral Majority have long engaged. “Benedict Option politics begin with the recognition that Western society is post-Christian and that absent a miracle, there is no hope of reversing this condition in the foreseeable future.” Instead, Christians should narrow their attention to matters of religious liberty. A robust First Amendment will give Christians breathing room to create their own institutions and society separate from larger secular one.

Two of the strongest chapters concern education and technology. After demonstrating the failure of public schools to appropriately pass on Western and Christian values to new generations, Dreher introduces the reader to the Classical Christian education model which is exploding across the country. He also addresses the negative effect that pervasive technology is having on our faith and family, and discusses ways in which Christians should consider restructuring their lives away from constant entertainment and immersion in pop culture.

Chapter by chapter, Dreher raises important questions and gives wise solutions to American Christians who may find themselves adrift. We must, he argues, reevaluate the assumption that a Christian can order his or her life towards Christ while also going along with mainstream culture.

But while Dreher’s message for modern Christians is a good one, it is certainly not new.

The Bible makes clear that Christians will find themselves at odds with the world. “If you belonged to the world, it would love you as ts own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world,” Jesus says in John 15:19.

In Romans 12:2, Paul also warns Christians, “Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.”

In Chapter 1 of The Benedict Option, Dreher likens the current trends of secularism, consumerism, materialism, and promiscuity to the Great Flood.

“Could it be that the best way to fight the flood is to … stop fighting the flood? That is, to quit piling up sandbags and to build an ark in which to shelter until the water recedes and we can put our feet on dry land again? Rather than wasting energy and resources fighting unwinnable political battles, we should instead work on building communities, institutions, and networks of resistance that can outwit, outlast, and eventually overcome the occupation.”

Dreher invokes apocalyptic language to describe a society entering a new Dark Age. To be sure, recent cultural developments are discouraging, and the shattering of any American moral consensus over the last fifty years will challenge the American church in new ways. Secular, mainstream culture has always been broken, though. Christians have always inhabited a fallen world.

The storm has always raged. It may seem darker, the thunder more powerful, and the lightning more piercing than ever before, but it is still the same storm.

And our ark was, is, and will always be Jesus Christ.

When viewed in light of Scripture and 2,000 years of church history, the Benedict Option isn’t an option at all. It is a command to every Christian.

You Will Be Made to Care

Vanderbilt University has decided student groups on campus cannot determine their own leadership. Consequently, a muslim can run the Christian group, a global warming skeptic can run the Earth First group, a Republican can run the College Democrats, etc. You get the idea.

The rule came in part because, as you will not be surprised to learn, a Christian fraternity “had expelled several students for violating their behavior policy. One student said he was ousted because he is gay.” Tish Harrison Warren wrote about this at Christianity Today. Her Christian group allowed anyone to be a member, “[b]ut it asks key student leaders—the executive council and small group leaders—to affirm its doctrinal statement, which outlines broad Christian orthodoxy and does not mention sexual conduct specifically. But the university saw belief statements themselves as suspect.”

The first bit of Tish Harrison Warren’s column is really the most relevant part for my purposes here.

I thought I was an acceptable kind of evangelical. I’m not a fundamentalist. My friends and I enjoy art, alcohol, and cultural engagement. We avoid spiritual clichés and buzzwords. We value authenticity, study, racial reconciliation, and social and environmental justice.

Nonetheless, the secularists at Vanderbilt kicked her Christian group off campus “for being the wrong kind of Christians.”

My friend Matthew Lee Anderson has some thoughts on it. In part he writes, “if we do not grasp the joy of the martyrs, we do not understand them at all.” I tweeted out Matt’s post yesterday, but was reminded of it again today by my friend Nick. He sent me Rod Dreher’s piece on the whole thing.

Dreher notes,

“Blessed are you when they persecute you and speak all manner of evil against you.” What if we lived as if that were true?

Folks, this is precisely why I started the saying “You will be made to care.” It all stemmed from a diarist here at RedState who took the position that gay marriage did not affect him, he did not care about it, and he would never care about. But, of course, you will be made to care. It is a larger issue than just gay marriage and many comfortably naive, living at the margins of faith, Christians, think they have a comfortable path through life in the United States.

Put bluntly: if you do have a comfortable path through life with no fears at all of persecution, you probably are not a Christian. Islam may be about submission, but Christianity is about suffering. The suffering may not be major. It may be an accumulation of small sleights over time. It may be the loss of a friend or just the expulsion of your Christian group from your private school. But Christianity is a religion of suffering and persecution.

You will be made to care. You’ll be made to care about gay marriage. You’ll be made to care about killing kids. You’ll be made to care about the influence of a secular culture on your children as they grow. You’ll be made to care on a host of issues.

A lot of Christians have long thought they could sit on the sidelines. Only the icky evangelicals they don’t much care for and the creepily committed Catholics would have to deal with issues. They could sit on the sidelines, roll their eyes, and tell everyone that they didn’t think it was that big a deal. They were, after all, on birth control or watching whatever trendy HBO series is on or having a cocktail or or perfectly willing to bake a cake for a gay wedding.

But it is not so simple. This world hates God and hates the things and people of God. There is no gray in that. Look at John 15:19:

If you were of the world, the world would love you as its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you.

There is no ambiguity in that statement. You may think you can sit on the sidelines. You may think you can opt-out of the culture war. You may think you can hide behind your trendy naked Leena Dunham t-shirt while you sip trendy drinks talking about trendy shows and writing columns demanding Christians be forced by the state to bake cakes, provide flowers and farms, and offer up photographs of gay weddings. But not only will you one day be called to account to your God for how you advanced his kingdom, but on this Earth you will be made to care.

And this is the fun, weird, odd bit of it — the world will make you choose your side and force you to care, not God. God will call you to account, but the world will force you to pick your tribe. As O. Palmer Robertson wrote, “While salvation is by faith, judgement is by works.”1 And on the way to judgment, this world guarantees one thing — you will be made to care.

  1. Yes, to answer the question, I’ve been dying to use that quote in a relevant, appropriate context, since I read it last week for seminary. It’s from The Christ of the Covenants by O. Palmer Robertson.

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