Darrow Miller and Friends http://darrowmillerandfriends.com Reflections on the Power of Truth to Transform Culture Thu, 21 Sep 2017 15:30:04 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.8.2 34033735 What’s All the Fuss About a Biblical Worldview? http://darrowmillerandfriends.com/2017/09/21/biblical-worldview-needed/ http://darrowmillerandfriends.com/2017/09/21/biblical-worldview-needed/#comments Thu, 21 Sep 2017 15:30:04 +0000 http://darrowmillerandfriends.com/?p=19623 The ministry of the Disciple Nations Alliance is based on the conviction that truth has the power to transform lives, communities and even nations. Broken, impoverished communities are transformed when the church confronts cultural lies, and embodies and proclaims the truth. Helping the church do this is the beating heart

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The ministry of the Disciple Nations Alliance is based on the conviction that truth has the power to transform lives, communities and even nations. Broken, impoverished communities are transformed when the church confronts cultural lies, and embodies and proclaims the truth. Helping the church do this is the beating heart of our ministry.

Some call this a “worldview” approach to community development. That word “worldview” is one we at the Disciple Nations Alliance use often. Like “Trinity” and “missionary,” the term doesn’t appear in the Bible. It isn’t used in English literature until the early 1800s. Even then, it is rarely employed until about 1960. But from 1980 onward, its use has exploded.

Today, there are a plethora of books, conferences, articles, and study programs on “worldview.” In evangelical circles, there is much talk about “biblical” or “Christian” worldview. The Disciple Nations Alliance bears some responsibility (or blame!) for this.

What’s behind this sudden interest in “worldview?” What do we even mean by “worldview?”

Exactly what is a worldview?

I like the simple definition from Phillip Johnson in his foreword to Nancy Pearcey’s masterful book, Total Truth: “Our worldview is the [mental] window by which we view the world, and decide, often subconsciously, what is real and important, or unreal and unimportant.”

Dallas Willard taught biblical worldviewDallas Willard offered a similar definition: “Worldview … consists of the most general and basic assumptions about what is real and what is good—including our assumptions about who we are and what we should do.”

These “general and basic assumptions” come from our surrounding culture. We pick them up from our earliest days—from parents, teachers, friends, media figures and celebrities. They are filtered through books, films, television, and other forms of media. Because everyone has these assumptions, everyone has a worldview. You can’t “opt out.”

Dallas Willard goes on to explain that our worldviews “lie outside our consciousness … embedded in our body and in its social environment, including our history, language and culture. [Our worldviews] radiate throughout our life as background assumptions, in thoughts too deep for words.” Philip Johnson concurs: “Our worldview governs our thinking even when—or especially when we are unaware of it.”

The word “govern” is very important here, and it explains why worldviews are so important—they direct our thinking and determine how we behave even without our awareness. As Willard says, “there is nothing more practical than our worldview, for it determines the orientation of everything else we think and do … What we assume to be real and what we assume to be valuable will govern our attitudes and actions. Period.”

Head knowledge does not equal a worldview

George Barna, the famous Christian researcher, has published studies about how many Christians have “a biblical worldview.” He determines this by asking Christians in his research group questions about their knowledge of biblical doctrines. His measure of whether someone has a biblical worldview is based on what they know, or head knowledge.

biblical worldview will show up in the fruit of lifeBut I would argue that worldview isn’t head knowledge. There is a difference between head knowledge and the unquestioned, background assumptions that drive people’s actions. You can teach someone the core doctrines of the Christian faith in a few days, but that doesn’t mean they have a Christian worldview. We “see” a person’s worldview by the choices they make—by how they live their lives. Jesus said, “By their fruit you will know them” (Matthew 7:15-20). Our fallen nature means that all of us are prone to hypocrisy—a gap between our head knowledge and our behavior.

If that is “worldview,” a Christian or biblical worldview is the set of background assumptions about reality and human existence that comes to us in several ways: through God’s revelation in the Bible, through creation itself (Romans 1:19-20), through “the law written on the heart” (Romans 2:15), and through the broader culture to the degree it has been shaped over time by biblical truth.

The biblical worldview is the truth. It is the only worldview that accords with the real world and lived human experience. All other worldviews are distortions of the truth. As Christians, the Holy Spirit works in us, helping us uncover the false background assumptions we’ve absorbed from the surrounding culture, empowering us to replace false assumptions with the truth, and ordering our actions and behaviors accordingly.

Behind all distorted worldviews is Satan, the deceiver. He uses deception at the level of worldview to enslave and ultimately destroy individuals and entire nations. The good news is that God, in Christ, provides a way of rescue. He grants to His followers repentance (the Greek word is “metanoia,” or literally, a changing of the mind), “leading them to a knowledge of the truth” and helping them “come to their senses and escape from the trap of the devil, who has taken them captive to do his will” (2 Timothy 2:25-26).

A biblical worldview affects how we think and act

As Christians, we are called to inhabit the culture of God’s Kingdom and to think with “the mind of Christ” (1 Corinthians 2:16). We are called “to take every thought captive to make it obedient to Christ” (2 Corinthians 10:5) and to “be transformed by the renewing of our minds” (Romans 12:2). In short, we are called to think and act differently—not in accordance with the accepted norms, attitudes and behaviors of our surrounding culture, but in accordance with reality as presented in God’s Word.

A biblical worldview begins with two foundational assumptions: (1) Jesus is king over all, and (2) His word is true. The great Dutch theologian and statesman Abraham Kuyper, reflecting on this, famously said: “There is not one square inch of the entire creation about which Jesus Christ does not cry out, ‘This is mine! This belongs to me!’”

If you build your life on the foundation of these twin truths, you’ll steadily gain a biblical worldview. You’ll bow before Jesus as Lord over “every square inch” of creation, and you’ll treasure God’s word as an accurate guide to reality—a sure handbook for all of life. Ken Myers of Mars Hill Audio put it this way:

Faithfulness to the Lord of all Creation is … faithfulness in every realm of human experience, from science to sports, from making movies to making babies, from how we build relationships to how we relate to buildings. Following Christ is a matter first of inner transformation, and then of living faithfully in accord with the order of Creation as he made and is redeeming it, in all of our cultural convictions and practices concerning a host of abstractions and concrete realities: food, sex, time, music, history, language, technology, family, justice, beauty, agriculture, and community.

What happens when the Bible doesn’t inform your worldview

Here’s the problem. For nearly a century, committed, evangelical Christians haven’t thought this way. The Bible hasn’t informed how we think (and act) with regard to time, music, history, technology or a host of other things. We turn to the Bible as our authority on spiritual topics like faith, salvation, and evangelism–the  kinds of things Barna deals with in his research–but we leave it behind when thinking about almost everything else. When dealing with so-called “worldly” subjects, we assume Jesus isn’t in charge, and turn to other authorities for knowledge—worldly experts and teachers.

biblical worldview enables the church to be saltAs a result, we develop a kind of quasi-biblical worldview—a syncretistic worldview that embraces biblical truth for some things, while adopting prevailing cultural assumptions for everything else. Tragically, this has prevented the church from being salt and light in a dying world that God loves and is working to redeem. In far too many areas, the church believes and behaves no differently than the surrounding culture.

The loss of the biblical worldview is the bad news. The good news is that things are changing. There is mounting evidence that we are living at a “kairos” moment—a pivotal time where old paradigms are giving way and new ones are emerging. I am convinced that God is using this topic of “worldview” to help His bride recognize this syncretism, reject it, and begin to think biblically, once again, about everything.

This really is good news, because historically, when the church has functioned consistently from a biblical worldview, she has been an unstoppable force for social and cultural transformation. Helping to equip the church to do this, in very practical ways, is the beating heart of the Disciple Nations Alliance.

  • Scott Allen


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Worship, Beauty, Music: Creating a Culture That Can Weather the Storm http://darrowmillerandfriends.com/2017/09/18/culture-worship-weather-storm/ http://darrowmillerandfriends.com/2017/09/18/culture-worship-weather-storm/#comments Mon, 18 Sep 2017 15:30:26 +0000 http://darrowmillerandfriends.com/?p=19305 Seventeen years into the 21st century, threatening cultural and political storms sweep the world. Are Christians prepared? Are we creating robust cultures? Are we living lives that will equip us to face these winds? In fact we may be facing the “perfect storm,” three dangerous phenomena colliding at the same

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Seventeen years into the 21st century, threatening cultural and political storms sweep the world. Are Christians prepared? Are we creating robust cultures? Are we living lives that will equip us to face these winds?

In fact we may be facing the “perfect storm,” three dangerous phenomena colliding at the same time; nothing could be more destructive.

One fierce gale is blowing from the East: Political Islam. This jihad in turn is confronting the full-blown storm front of secularization spreading through Europe, the United States, and much of the world that has bowed the knee to mammon. A third front, postmodernism, is influencing the younger generation often identified as millennials.

This perfect storm is bringing chaos and growing anarchy to the globe. Five-hundred years ago, the Reformation was birthed in Europe. This movement brought freedom, justice and human flourishing to the world. How ironic to mark that anniversary as we face a storm threatening the de-formation of Western Civilization via the onslaught against the Judeo-Christian worldview.

Are Christians prepared to survive this storm? Indeed, not merely survive, but remain standing? Are we even aware of the storm we are facing? If so, do we even care? Or are we simply allowing the winds of cultural destruction to blow through our lives and churches, as the November breezes blow away the dead leaves of autumn? Are we doing what is necessary not only to survive, but thrive? Are we working and praying, not simply for a new revival but for a new reformation of culture?

Are our pastors preaching in a way that builds up the church to stand in the midst of our generation’s storms? Are those leading our Sunday schools and youth groups merely entertaining the young souls charged to their care, or are they engaged in building up leaders, activists and servants for the kingdom of God? Does our art, music, architecture create a church environment that equips people to move the kingdom of God forward in the midst of the storm? Or does our preaching and practice leave Christians uninspired and without a vision worthy of our treasure and our lives?

In his latest book, Impossible People, Os Guinness writes of the need for our worship and places of worship to be beautiful and inspirational:

Historians say that the sacred music of the Christian church, such as that of Palestrina, Allegri and Tallis, is one of the greatest gifts of the gospel to Western civilization and on par with the splendor of the magnificent European cathedrals, such as Chartres and Lincoln. Yet this rich treasury is an unknown world to many Evangelicals, whose worship music often draws only from songs written after 2000 and does not even include the rich heritage of Celtic Ireland, St. Francis of Assisi, Isaac Watts, Charles Wesley and Fanny Crosby. Thank God for magnificent exceptions, such as the rich, deep hymns of Keith Getty and Stuart Townend, which will join the music of the ages. But much of the run-of-the-mill renewal songs which are repeated endlessly and constructed more on rhythm than melody, confine Evangelicals within a shadow theology, threadbare worship fleeting relevance and historical amnesia. Along with soft preaching and a general rage for innovation, such music is another reason why many Evangelical churches resemble a field of quick-growing, quick-disappearing mushrooms rather than a longstanding forest of oaks.

Gregoria Allegri wrote beautiful worship music

In another era of the history of the church the sacred music and sanctuaries called people to lift their eyes and hearts heavenwards in worship. These were gifts of the Western church to the world and one of the gospel’s great contributions to Western civilization and the building of a culture where beauty and excellence were appreciated.

Here is an example of the uplifting and beautiful music of Gregorio Allegri – “Miserere mei, Deus.”

 

hear beautiful worship music

Compare this with some of the mind-emptying contemporary worship so popular in many evangelical and charismatic churches today.

Superficial lyrics rather than sound theological reflections leave Christians with empty minds and sentimental hearts. As a result, the church is ill prepared for the storms we currently face.

Often the endlessly repeated choruses are more like Hindu mantras that empty the mind but do not feed or satisfy the soul. Rather than drawing our souls outwards toward others and upwards toward God, they move us inward, toward our base emotions. Rather than drawing us toward the truth and reality, they move us toward the subjective and the world of illusion. In Guinness’ words: “many of the run-of-the-mill renewal songs … confine Evangelicals within a shadow theology, threadbare worship fleeting relevance and historical amnesia.”

a place of worship should reflect the beauty of GodHow about our places of worship? Do they inspire worship or are they strictly utilitarian? Were they built with the values of low cost and efficiency or for beauty and aesthetics?

Today many churches choose utility over beauty, low cost over inspiration. Historically our churches have been places of architectural significance in the community as well as inspirational beauty. They were adorned with stained glass windows, icons, and beautifully crafted woodwork. Today these are mostly discarded. We are captivated by the new rather than enchanted with the old, aligned more with the trite than the true and profoundly beautiful, the popular rather than the timeless.

Not every congregation has access to splendid architecture. But even the simplest sanctuary can be furnished, adorned, and maintained with a care and appreciation for beauty.

a place of worship should reflect the beauty of God

This rich history of art, architecture, music and biblical preaching is lost on so much of the Evangelical and charismatic movements today. Imagine the impact a culture of truth, beauty and goodness would have on our worship, preaching and church architecture today? Such churches could withstand the perfect storm, could serve as a lighthouse of hope to those buffeted by the winds now upon us.

  • Darrow Miller


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No More Puritans at Harvard? http://darrowmillerandfriends.com/2017/09/14/deconstruction-harvard-university/ http://darrowmillerandfriends.com/2017/09/14/deconstruction-harvard-university/#respond Thu, 14 Sep 2017 15:30:11 +0000 http://darrowmillerandfriends.com/?p=19277 This is post 5 of 5 in the series “Harvard's erosion” Puritan pastor John Harvard, the original benefactor of Harvard University Harvard University, along with the nation, is busy deconstructing history that made the university great and the nation exceptional. Most people are likely unaware of the deep historical connection

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This is post 5 of 5 in the series “Harvard's erosion”

Puritan pastor John Harvard, the original benefactor of Harvard University


Harvard University, along with the nation, is busy deconstructing history that made the university great and the nation exceptional.

Most people are likely unaware of the deep historical connection between Harvard University and the Puritans. Harvard and the people of the USA continue to wipe away the legacy of the Puritans, the grandchildren of the Reformation, and their vision that founded Harvard University and the educational philosophy of the early nation.

Like the European Enlightenment thinkers before them, the modern leadership of one of the world’s premier universities is selling its birthright. They are severing themselves from the people whose vision and educational philosophy birthed Harvard and many of the other of the early North American universities. The Puritans’ rich legacy contributed to the governing of the nation and the development of business, as well as the transformative educational philosophy that founded Harvard. Many of these gains have eroded in the ensuing years.

One of the first concerns of the founders of the Massachusetts Bay Company was the need for higher education to prepare pastors, missionaries and civic leaders. So, shortly after the founding of Boston, the first college was founded in 1636, in what was to become the United States. The first benefactor of the college was an English Puritan pastor, John Harvard, who bequeathed his estate and large library to the new school.

It was the “stuffy,” “pious” Puritans that gave us the concept of covenant, a valuable means for binding diverse people together. The constitution of the United States was a product of this covenant idea.

As we have written, the Puritans brought a culture of management to this continent that made their colony successful where Jamestown had been a bitter failure. This Puritan administration model comprised the management culture in the US until the mid-twentieth century. It was a major contributor in making the US such an innovative and economic powerhouse.

The Puritan educational philosophy–Technologia–laid the foundation for colonial education and shaped the founders who would write the Declaration of Independence and the US Constitution.

In his article, “Harvard, the Ivy League and the Forgotten Puritans,” Ellis Washington writes, Ellis Washington wrote about Harvard

Did you know that America’s oldest and most venerated colleges and universities like Harvard, Yale, Dartmouth were founded by the Puritans? Yes, those same Puritans who along with the Pilgrims were devout Christians and the original founders of America.

The Puritan vision of education founded America’s first great universities. From this root came the educated population that built this free nation. The Puritan educational philosophy was tripartite:

  • VERITAS – The Pursuit of Truth
  • ENCYCLOPEDIA – The Circle of Knowledge
  • EUPRAXIA – The Practice of Right Living

For more on this read Education That Leads to Freedom.

What happened to Harvard?

Ellis Washington states how this deconstruction happened:

How did the eight so-called “Ivy League” schools – Harvard, Yale, Princeton, Columbia, Brown, University of Pennsylvania, Cornell and Dartmouth – go from being training grounds for Christian missionaries and ministers and respected citadels of higher education to what they are now – propaganda factories for every leftist, perverted, radical, tyrannical, failed ideology known to mankind? – Marxism, Darwinism, Freudianism, Higher Criticism, communism, multiculturalism, relativism, naturalism, positivism, socialism, liberalism, egalitarianism, feminist studies, gay studies, transgender studies, transvestite studies, outcome-based education, radical environmentalism, etc.

Why? Because by the mid-1800s the secular revivalist movement called the Age of Enlightenment (1600-1830) had thoroughly infected the academy. The French philosophers led the movement – Descartes, Voltaire, Rousseau, d’Alembert, Dumarsais and Diderot…. There were … Anglo-American and Continental philosophers like Hobbes, Locke, Berkeley, Kant, Paine, David Hume and John Stuart Mills, some of whom considered religion generally, and Christianity especially, as passé, anachronistic, barbaric and increasingly irrelevant to humanity’s march towards humanism, secularism, higher learning and utopia.

Therefore, over time, as a new generation of professors and university presidents took over, the Ivy League schools forsook their explicitly religious mandate … and instead pursued newer fields of study that not only denigrated American’s Judeo-Christian traditions, but were increasingly openly hostile to it. The 19th century saw a continued rise of empiricist ideas and their application to old and new disciplines of knowledge – physics, chemistry, biology, zoology, taxonomy, geology, paleontology, archaeology, anthropology, sociology, psychology, psychiatry, economics, political science. This was at the same time Charles Darwin’s theories on evolution and non-theistic creation became popular among intellectuals and academics. Darwin’s famous book, “The Origin of Species” (1859), became their new Bible – its priests and prophets, the professor, its pulpit, the classroom or the seminar, its temple, the academy.

Harvard scrubbing their Puritan heritage

For more of Washington’s insight of the deconstruction of Harvard go here.

Harvard emblemThis philosophy was symbolized in the original Harvard school emblem that reflected the pursuit of truth at the intersection of God’s revelation through Creation, Reason, and the Word of God. Just as the Puritan legacy and educational philosophy have been forgotten and consciously de-constructed, so the original symbol of Harvard has been changed.

Now, we witness another level of deconstruction: the removal of the word “Puritans” from the Harvard alma mater, Fair Harvard. This wonderful piece of music has been sung at every commencement service since 1838. The second stanza of the anthem reads:

Farewell! be thy destinies onward and bright!

To thy children the lesson still give,

With freedom to think, and with patience to bear,

And for Right ever bravely to live.

Let not moss-covered Error moor thee at its side,

As the world on Truth’s current glides by,

Be the herald of Light, and the bearer of Love,

Till the stock of the Puritans die.

Click the video to hear the two verses of this song. (Go here to listen online.)

Did you catch the offensive line? “Till the stock of the Puritans die.”

The Enlightenment would never have produced Harvard University

Evidently the line is seen as exclusive and racist by the postmodern students and administrators. They have started a competition to develop a new final line. English professor Stephen Burt will be judging the submissions. In a recent interview Burt explained why the last line is problematic. People might misunderstand the meaning as “Harvard’s power and glory will last as long as but no longer” than the “bloodline of the descendants of the Puritans.”

The stock of the Puritans has not died. It is foolishly being killed! And besides, what made Harvard (and its nation) great was not the Puritans’ bloodline. It was their vision and ideals, their educational and management philosophies. Harvard is deconstructing its own history. It is abandoning its legacy, the very people, vision and ideas that led to the university’s greatness and nurtured the United States of America to become exceptional among the nations.

Secular, Enlightenment ideas would never have produced the United States or Harvard. Nor will they sustain either into the future.

What symbol will become the next victim to this deconstruction? Will the Bible be chiseled from the statue of John Harvard? Will the statue itself be removed as a symbol of the Puritans’ love for truth and learning?

It is up to a new generation to study and appreciate the foundations the Reformers laid in Europe and the Puritans laid in the United States. In this 500th anniversary of the Reformation, may God raise up a new generation of Christians who have an interest in history and the power of God’s Word to build free, just, compassionate and flourishing societies.

  • Darrow Miller


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Update on Darrow http://darrowmillerandfriends.com/2017/09/11/update-on-darrow/ http://darrowmillerandfriends.com/2017/09/11/update-on-darrow/#comments Mon, 11 Sep 2017 17:25:22 +0000 http://darrowmillerandfriends.com/?p=20023 About 3 weeks ago we posted a request for prayer for Darrow’s health. Thank you for praying. Darrow has seen steady improvement. He is regaining his strength and starting to reengage with his work. Darrow’s Facebook page is a good way to keep up with any news about him. Thanks

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About 3 weeks ago we posted a request for prayer for Darrow’s health. Thank you for praying. Darrow has seen steady improvement. He is regaining his strength and starting to reengage with his work.

Darrow’s Facebook page is a good way to keep up with any news about him.

Thanks again for praying.



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Students Off to College, Read and Reap http://darrowmillerandfriends.com/2017/09/11/students-off-to-college-read-and-reap/ http://darrowmillerandfriends.com/2017/09/11/students-off-to-college-read-and-reap/#respond Mon, 11 Sep 2017 15:30:24 +0000 http://darrowmillerandfriends.com/?p=20000 Dr. Robert George is McCormick Professor of Jurisprudence and Director of the James Madison Program in American Ideals and Institutions Princeton University. He recently published the following article in collaboration with multiple colleagues. We deem it worthy of wide distribution and are happy to repost it here. ~ Some Thoughts and Advice for

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Dr. Robert George is McCormick Professor of Jurisprudence and Director of the James Madison Program in American Ideals and Institutions Princeton University. He recently published the following article in collaboration with multiple colleagues. We deem it worthy of wide distribution and are happy to repost it here.

~

Robert George has a word for students

Some Thoughts and Advice for Our Students and All Students

We are scholars and teachers at Princeton, Harvard, and Yale who have some thoughts to share and advice to offer students who are headed off to colleges around the country. Our advice can be distilled to three words:

Think for yourself.

Now, that might sound easy. But you will find—as you may have discovered already in high school—that thinking for yourself can be a challenge. It always demands self-discipline and these days can require courage.

In today’s climate, it’s all-too-easy to allow your views and outlook to be shaped by dominant opinion on your campus or in the broader academic culture. The danger any student—or faculty member—faces today is falling into the vice of conformism, yielding to groupthink.

At many colleges and universities what John Stuart Mill called “the tyranny of public opinion” does more than merely discourage students from dissenting from prevailing views on moral, political, and other types of questions. It leads them to suppose that dominant views are so obviously correct that only a bigot or a crank could question them.

Since no one wants to be, or be thought of as, a bigot or a crank, the easy, lazy way to proceed is simply by falling into line with campus orthodoxies.

Don’t do that. Think for yourself.

Thinking for yourself means questioning dominant ideas even when others insist on their being treated as unquestionable. It means deciding what one believes not by conforming to fashionable opinions, but by taking the trouble to learn and honestly consider the strongest arguments to be advanced on both or all sides of questions—including arguments for positions that others revile and want to stigmatize and against positions others seek to immunize from critical scrutiny.

The love of truth and the desire to attain it should motivate you to think for yourself. The central point of a college education is to seek truth and to learn the skills and acquire the virtues necessary to be a lifelong truth-seeker. Open-mindedness, critical thinking, and debate are essential to discovering the truth. Moreover, they are our best antidotes to bigotry.

Merriam-Webster’s first definition of the word “bigot” is a person “who is obstinately or intolerantly devoted to his or her own opinions and prejudices.” The only people who need fear open-minded inquiry and robust debate are the actual bigots, including those on campuses or in the broader society who seek to protect the hegemony of their opinions by claiming that to question those opinions is itself bigotry.

So don’t be tyrannized by public opinion. Don’t get trapped in an echo chamber. Whether you in the end reject or embrace a view, make sure you decide where you stand by critically assessing the arguments for the competing positions.

Think for yourself.

Good luck to you in college!

 

Paul Bloom, Brooks and Suzanne Ragen Professor of Psychology, Yale University

Elizabeth Bogan, Senior Lecturer in Economics, Princeton University

Nicholas Christakis, Sol Goldman Family Professor of Social and Natural Science, Yale University

Carlos Eire, T. Lawrason Riggs Professor of History and Religious Studies, Yale University

Maria E. Garlock, Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering and Co-Director of the Program in Architecture and Engineering, Princeton University

David Gelernter, Professor of Computer Science, Yale University

Robert P. George, McCormick Professor of Jurisprudence and Director of the James Madison Program in American Ideals and Institutions, Princeton University

Mary Ann Glendon, Learned Hand Professor of Law, Harvard University

William Happer, Cyrus Fogg Brackett Professor of Physics, Emeritus, Princeton University

Robert Hollander, Professor of European Literature and French and Italian, Emeritus, Princeton University

Joshua Katz, Cotsen Professor in the Humanities and Professor of Classics, Princeton University

Thomas P. Kelly, Professor of Philosophy, Princeton University

Sergiu Klainerman, Eugene Higgins Professor of Mathematics, Princeton University

Jon Levenson, Albert A. List Professor of Jewish Studies, Harvard University

John B. Londregan, Professor of Politics and International Affairs, Princeton University

Uwe Reinhardt, James Madison Professor of Political Economy and Public Affairs, Princeton University

Michael A. Reynolds, Associate Professor of Near Eastern Studies, Princeton University

Jacqueline C. Rivers, Lecturer in Sociology and African and African-American Studies, Harvard University

Ignacio Rodriguez-Iturbe, James S. McDonnell Distinguished University Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Princeton University

Harvey S. Rosen, John L. Weinberg Professor of Economics and Business Policy, Princeton University

Marta Tienda , Maurice P. During Professor in Demographic Studies and Professor of Sociology and Public Affairs, Woodrow Wilson School; and Director, Program of Latino Studies, Princeton University

Noël Valis, Professor of Spanish, Yale University

Tyler VanderWeele, Professor of Epidemiology and Biostatistics and Director of the Program on Integrative Knowledge and Human Flourishing, Harvard University

Adrian Vermeule, Ralph S. Tyler, Jr. Professor of Constitutional Law, Harvard University

Keith E. Whittington, William Nelson Cromwell Professor of Politics, Princeton University



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Championing God’s Transforming Truths in a Divided World, part 2 http://darrowmillerandfriends.com/2017/09/07/transforming-truth/ http://darrowmillerandfriends.com/2017/09/07/transforming-truth/#respond Thu, 07 Sep 2017 15:30:29 +0000 http://darrowmillerandfriends.com/?p=19823 This is post 2 of 2 in the series “transforming truths” The following article from Disciple Nations Alliance president Scott Allen, offered here in two parts, originally appeared at WORLD. We desperately need to speak transforming truth to the culture. In part 1 we treated transforming truth #1: All Lives Matter.

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This is post 2 of 2 in the series “transforming truths”

The following article from Disciple Nations Alliance president Scott Allen, offered here in two parts, originally appeared at WORLD.

We desperately need to speak transforming truth to the culture. In part 1 we treated transforming truth #1: All Lives Matter.

Transforming Truth #2 – God cares for us (and judges us) as individuals

God created us as unique individuals. He cares about each person individually. He counts our tears and numbers our hairs. He also holds us accountable as individuals for the decisions we make, and the actions we take. When we face the final judgement, the book opened will be the book of our lives. There will be no excusing our sinful behavior because we are part of a group that has been oppressed, nor will we be judged for the sins of our fathers or grandfathers.  No, we will stand alone before that judgment throne, and all that will matter is what we did, or didn’t do.

the cross of Christ the most powerful transforming truth of allHere’s the bad news: God will declare each one of guilty. Our own words and actions will be revealed, and show us to be unrighteous sinners before the glorious brilliance of an altogether holy, just and righteous God. We cannot stand in His presence unless our sins are wiped away, and that would require someone to take the punishment we deserve. Someone would have to pay our debt, exchanging their righteousness for our unrighteousness. Only God could do such a thing, and, staggeringly, that’s exactly what He has done in Jesus Christ. All that remains for us is to open our hearts and our hands and humbly accept this priceless gift. But we must do this individually. Nobody can do it on our behalf.

Yes, our families, churches, and ethnic groups are important. They are God-given and valuable. These communities shape us in profound ways. But here’s the powerful thing: Just as the Bible affirms unity and diversity, it also affirms individuality and community.

Today, the emphasis in the culture is all on community—tribe—identity group. Our culture increasingly defines us by skin color or gender. Not only that, it draws the line between good and evil between identity groups, rather than through every human heart (as Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn famous put it). Increasingly, sinfulness and righteousness are seen as functions of group identity, not personal behavior. For example, it is increasingly common to hear the assertion that only white people can be racists (that is to say, evil). Therefore, if you are not white, you are good, or at least not evil. This is a false and dangerous belief. All of us are more than capable of evil thoughts and evil actions, regardless of our skin color, or relative power in society. Evil, including racism, isn’t merely a white problem. It is a human problem.

We must reject this tribal idolatry. We must not treat people merely as members of a group, but as unique individuals. We must never judge others by their skin color or gender, but by the totality of their character and behavior. True justice must always be color-blind. Martin Luther King’s dream of a world where his children would be judged by the content of their character and not the color of their skin is profoundly biblical, and profoundly American as well. After all, our founding creed declares that all men—black, brown, red, yellow, and white—are  created equal, and are endowed by their creator with certain unalienable rights. That is why we fought a civil war. That is what the civil rights movement was ultimately about—being true to our founding creed. Tragically, King’s dream is waning and we are casting aside our founding creed. If we continue down this road, we will end up in a very dark place indeed.

Transforming Truth #3 – Gratitude, not resentfulness, leads to life and flourishing

Gratitude—thankfulness—is a bedrock virtue for good reason. It reminds us that we are contingent, dependent creatures. It diminishes pride, the most deadly of sins. We are all dependent on God for our very lives, for every breath we take. We are dependent on one another—on our families, nations, forebears. We rightly acknowledge this dependence, and express gratitude for all we’ve been given.

Today, there is a great deal of effort, money and organization going into activities aimed at stirring up resentment between different identity groups, fostering bitterness and a sense of victimization.  Sensitivity to even small slights or “micro aggressions” is now not only accepted but encouraged.

The focus here is never internal—on my own vices and shortcomings, on getting the log out of my own eye. Rather, the focus is entirely external—on the thoughts, beliefs and actions of others. We are increasingly quick to disparage people based on group identity. We cast derisive labels—bigot, hater, racist, sexist. Evil is always over there, not in here.  I’m the victim. I’m offended. My feelings are hurt. I’m mistreated. It’s all about me.

In a fallen world, there is no shortage of injustice and oppression. It is real, and it must be carefully identified and fought against by the power of transforming truth. However, to focus only on the bad things, real or perceived, that others do to us—to elevate our sense of victimhood into a kind of perverse virtue—is to move in a very dangerous direction, one that will tear our country apart.

Rwanda shows what can happen when transforming truth is neglectedHow ironic that the Ku Klux Klan and Black Lives Matter have many of these things in common. They both traffic in a racialized ideology. They both fixate on their status as victims, convinced that they are being “targeted for genocide.” They both foster resentment, bitterness, and hatred towards the other. They both tacitly endorse violence. They both see themselves as a vanguard, and invite us to follow their lead. But where will they take us? To disaster. Consider South Sudan, the Rwandan genocide, or the Balkans. That is the end of this road of bitterness, resentfulness, victimization and scapegoating.  It is a mindset straight from the pit, and those that foster it, intentionally or otherwise are enemies of all that is good, true and beautiful.

No, we must never succumb to such thinking. We must choose the more excellent way by nurturing hearts of gratitude rooted in humility and awareness of our own sinfulness and dependence on others. We must first get the log out of our own eye, and then we’ll be able to see clearly to help others deal with their shortcomings.

These are all transforming truths of the biblical worldview. When applied in families, churches, communities and nations, they lead to joy, freedom, and flourishing. When we move away from them in any direction, as we are today, we choose division, hatred, and violence.

As followers of Jesus Christ we are ambassadors of His Kingdom. We are to be salt and light. We must have the courage to champion these truths now more than ever. It won’t be easy. These are increasingly unpopular ideas. We must prepare to be misunderstood, mischaracterized, or worse.

Some will be tempted to filter the Scripture, whether knowingly or not, to conform to the toxic, non-biblical ideologies that are growing stronger in our culture each day. Perhaps motivated by a desire for cultural relevance, or a need for acceptance by the right people, they fall into the trap of accommodating Christianity to popular cultural trends. We must never allow the culture to determine what the Scripture says. Rather, we must allow Scripture to prophetically critique the culture.

Some will be tempted to keep their heads down, lie low, ignore the problem, or even retreat. But if we want to be obedient to our mandate to love our neighbor, and work for the common good, apathy, silence and retreat aren’t options.

We are stewards of God’s powerful transforming truth. God has entrusted us with these truths not for our own benefit, but for the good of our communities and our nation. If we fail to cherish, embody and champion these truths, who else will? This is our time. Let us not shrink from it.

  • Scott Allen


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God Loves Your Job … Do You? http://darrowmillerandfriends.com/2017/09/04/god-loves-your-job/ http://darrowmillerandfriends.com/2017/09/04/god-loves-your-job/#respond Mon, 04 Sep 2017 15:30:52 +0000 http://darrowmillerandfriends.com/?p=18807 If you’re looking for work, you want to find a good job. You’re not the only one. If you’re a parent, you want your child to find a good job. And not you only. These desires are universal. They testify to something about the human heart. God wired us to

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If you’re looking for work, you want to find a good job. You’re not the only one.

If you’re a parent, you want your child to find a good job. And not you only.

These desires are universal. They testify to something about the human heart. God wired us to do meaningful work. Many a breadwinner has endured faithfully in tedious routine driven by utter resolve to provide for his family. But such did not God intend when he made humans and assigned them to cultivate the garden (Genesis 2:15). Work is the purpose for which God made us. So it should surprise no one that we want to do meaningful work, work that achieves something, work that makes a difference.

Our friend Christian Overman, Director of Worldview Matters, has something to say about this. He recently announced a new release (keep reading) in which he wrote,

In Gallup’s “World Poll” of 2013, they found that what the whole world wants, is a “good job.” They also discovered an astounding 63% of workers worldwide are “not engaged” in their work. That is, they “lack motivation and are less likely to invest discretionary effort in organizational goals or outcomes.”

Bring meaning to your jobCould this be because they don’t feel their job is a “good” one?

Pay is not the most important factor for most people in a “good” job. Research shows that a critical factor in job satisfaction is meaning. The kind of meaning that comes from knowing you are accomplishing something very important, for something…or Someone…much bigger than yourself. 

We don’t get meaning from our work, we bring meaning to our work.

Dr. Overman recently released a splendid new resource designed to encourage and equip workers of all kinds to see the difference you can make–through your work–in God’s world.

We speak of Christian’s new e-book, God’s Pleasure At Work: The Difference One Life Can Make. The work is a blend of biblical worldview + theology of work and includes over 50 short video clips to augment the text.  It’s available on both Mac and Windows platforms.

For further information (and more resources) go to Christian’s page Worldview Matters.

  • Gary Brumbelow


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Championing God’s Transforming Truths in a Divided World http://darrowmillerandfriends.com/2017/08/31/transforming-truths-need-champions/ http://darrowmillerandfriends.com/2017/08/31/transforming-truths-need-champions/#respond Thu, 31 Aug 2017 15:30:38 +0000 http://darrowmillerandfriends.com/?p=19814 This is post 1 of 2 in the series “transforming truths” The following from Disciple Nations Alliance president Scott Allen, offered here in two parts, originally appeared at WORLD. There is a reason for the increasing division, hostility, and violence we are seeing in America. As a nation, we are

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This is post 1 of 2 in the series “transforming truths”

The following from Disciple Nations Alliance president Scott Allen, offered here in two parts, originally appeared at WORLD.

There is a reason for the increasing division, hostility, and violence we are seeing in America. As a nation, we are abandoning biblical truth in favor of toxic ideologies that, if left unchecked, will destroy us from the inside.

Now, more than ever, the church must embody and champion those profound, transforming truths that have shaped our common life in America from our earliest days, enabling an amazingly diverse and pluralistic society to coexist in relative peace and unity. These truths are all under  sustained attack today. A movement is afoot to discredit and replace them with dark and dangerous doctrines. If the church merely stands by quietly while these truths are uprooted from our cultural soil, this nation will inevitably fragment into warring factions marked by bitterness, distrust, hatred, self-righteousness, and vengefulness.

As the church, we are here to be salt and light. We do that by living out and creatively championing powerful truths of God’s Kingdom that confront the lies shaping our culture today. Truths that lead to human flourishing and social peace. If we fail to do this, we lose our saltiness, the light diminishes, and we are no longer true to our calling to love our neighbors.

Three transforming truths desperately need champions right now.

transforming truths include all lives matterTransforming Truth #1 – All Lives Matter!

The Bible places far more emphasis on what unites us as human beings than on our differences. It focuses on what all people have in common, regardless of their race, sex, skin-color, stage of development, or relative wealth or poverty. Consider:

  • God creates all people in His image and likeness (Genesis 1:27-28). Therefore, all people have inalienable dignity and incalculable worth. Everyone has God-given rights to life and liberty.
  • All people have unique personalities, gifts, talents, and skills, given by God to enable them to fulfill their God-given purpose of stewarding creation, causing it to flourish. In Ephesians 4 Paul lists individual gifts, but only after he first exhorts us to be “eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.”
  • All people have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23), yet God desires all people to be saved, and come to a knowledge of the truth (1 Timothy 2:4).
  • Jesus shed his precious blood for the redemption of all people. Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved (Romans 10:13).
  • As followers of Jesus Christ, the dividing wall of hostility is torn down (Ephesians 2:14). There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male or female; we are all one in Christ Jesus (Galatians 3:28).
  • As followers of Jesus Christ, our commission is to make disciples of all peoples, all nations (Matthew 28:18-20).
  • In the new heavens and new earth, people from “every tribe, tongue, people, and language” will gather in jubilant adoration before the throne of Jesus (Revelation 7:9).

Yes, we have differences. Race, gender, age, physical attributes, these are important parts of our identity. God delights in diversity. He didn’t just create one kind of flower, or tree, or dog. He didn’t merely create male—but male and female. He rejoices in the vast diversity of His creation, including human diversity. So should we. We should celebrate it—but always, always remember first what we have in common—what unifies us. All of us represent God’s workmanship and bearers of His image. All of us are precious in God’s sight. He gave His one and only Son so that whosoever believes in Him would not perish, but have everlasting life (John 3:16). This knowledge must shape our attitude toward every single person. It is powerful, beautiful and life affirming. It fosters peace, harmony and social flourishing.

Here’s the powerful thing: The biblical worldview affirms both unity and diversity. Today, our postmodern culture values diversity, but not unity. A dark and idolatrous form of racialism or tribalism is on the rise. Human identity is increasingly viewed through the lens of what are now called “identity groups” of race, gender, or sexual orientation. People increasingly preface comments by saying, “as a white, cisgender male,” or “as a black lesbian female” as if that somehow defines them. “Diversity” has taken on an almost totemic significance, yet we are rapidly losing the ability to affirm what unites us. That is what we desperately need today—a passionate assertion of what unites us as human beings.

Only the biblical worldview allows for this. God created us all, and therefore, all lives matter. Don’t let yourself be shamed into thinking that asserting this is somehow insensitive or racist. It is not. It is a truthful, beautiful thing to say, and we need to keep saying it, and demonstrating it, boldly, creatively, courageously, each day, now more than ever!

  • Scott Allen

… to be continued



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How the New Religion Leverages Victimization http://darrowmillerandfriends.com/2017/08/28/new-religion-leverages-victimization/ http://darrowmillerandfriends.com/2017/08/28/new-religion-leverages-victimization/#respond Mon, 28 Aug 2017 15:30:27 +0000 http://darrowmillerandfriends.com/?p=19745 This is post 9 of 9 in the series “cultural roots campus rage” According to the tenets of the toxic new religion, victimization accrues power. Here’s how it works: First, the religion sees reality entirely within the Marxist framework of oppressor and oppressed. Further, the principal oppressors are white, Christian

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This is post 9 of 9 in the series “cultural roots campus rage”

According to the tenets of the toxic new religion, victimization accrues power. Here’s how it works:

First, the religion sees reality entirely within the Marxist framework of oppressor and oppressed. Further, the principal oppressors are white, Christian or Jewish heterosexual males. They are uniquely oppressive, “white supremacists” who have abused cultural power and privilege at the expense of every other group.

These are givens. They function as “core doctrines” of the new religion. Try arguing these points with adherents; they will be incredulous, as if you were asserting a flat earth. These are simply “self evident” realities. If you are not white, male, Christian/Jewish, heterosexual, you are, by definition, a victim, and victimization accrues power. Ben Shapiro explains how this works:

[The toxic new religion] ranks the value of a view not based on the logic or merit of the view but on the level of victimization in American society experienced by the person espousing the view. An LGBT black woman is automatically considered more correct than a straight white male, before any speech exits either of their mouths.

He continues,

If a straight white male, or anyone else who ranks lower on the victimhood scale, says something contrary to the viewpoint of the higher ranking intersectionality identity, that person has engaged in a “microaggression.” They have engaged in “hate speech” or “violence,” and violent action is justified to silence them.

The fact that victimization accrues power helps explain the wild exaggeration and hyperbole employed by so-called victim groups. The more victimized and oppressed you paint yourself, the more your voice counts. If you say (of your experience as a black, female student at Yale University) “we are dying here!” you are setting yourself up to be taken more seriously.

Yazidis experience true victimizationBut this is a dangerous delusion. Yazidis in Iraq, or Christians in North Korea can truthfully claim that “we are dying here” without exaggerating. But to make the same claim as a privileged student at one of America’s most prestigious universities is to mock actual violent oppression.

Victimization warrants mob tactics, riots, and violence

Examples of this abound in the news. In just the past year we’ve read about mobs of students shouting down those who disagree, almost always combined with vitriol, cursing, property damage, threats of violence and actual violence: Berkeley, Evergreen, Missouri State, Yale, Middlebury, and the list goes on. According to Deion Kathawa, the students who engage in these mobs,

… fervently believe that they are the front-line troops of an infallible moral vanguard, locked in an epic struggle for the very soul of their generation — and of their nation, rotten to the core … [Given this] it is not quite so shocking that they understand themselves to have entirely legitimate grievances and are accordingly motivated to act in extreme ways.

In the video below, Professor Bret Weinstein describes the recent mob protests at Evergreen College in Olympia, Washington. (Go here if the video does not appear.)

Another (white female) Evergreen professor wrote about her own experiences of the riots.

Student activists gain license to harass and intimidate members of the Evergreen community in an effort to achieve their ends. Last Wednesday on two separate occasions I was followed by white students who yelled and cursed at me, accused me of not caring about black and brown bodies and claimed that if I did care I would follow their orders and join the protest in the library. They stood in front of me, blocking my way as I attempted to walk across campus.

In the first occasion, three female students and one male who claimed to not be a student surrounded me with raised voices and twisted my words when I responded to them. When I stopped to try to talk with them they refused to actually engage in conversation. The only thing which they would accept was my obedience, which you won’t be surprised to learn I was not going to give. They followed me all the way across Red Square … while berating me. By the time I got to the venue for the faculty meeting, I was shaking.

When I left the faculty meeting I was followed by two new students who were waiting outside the door for me. These two followed me and asserted that nothing I could possibly be doing was more important than following their orders. If I did have something important to do, I should tell them what it is so they could evaluate whether my decision to leave was valid. I tried to get them to question their own assumptions but they were incapable of engaging in dialogue. Their passions were running too high. High enough to violate principles on which this institution depends to exist at all.

All they could say to me was: Imagine what it’s like for black and brown people to experience that kind of threat all the time. They have no idea how or whether throughout my life and in spite of appearances (my white skin) I may have had to deal with and overcome intimidation, threat and harassment. I’m not saying that my trauma is worse or more important or the same as that of people of color. I’m not competing with anybody. But it’s simply wrong to erase someone’s humanity in the name of not erasing someone else’s.

And while this was a terrible experience for me, I’m much more concerned with the students lack of understanding of what they allowed themselves to do, which was to willingly erase their own humanity by treating me in the way they did. I’m telling you about this because I’m also concerned that the students are being egged on by faculty who approve of this kind of thing and ignore the tactics for the sake of the goal. Some of you, in essence, are telling the students to do it again. Maybe they’ll show up in my classroom next week and demand my resignation because I’m a racist. I wouldn’t be at all surprised.

The letter was included in an article by John Sexton, who added this:

These students are behaving like Maoists at a struggle session. They are literally demanding this woman justify her right to do anything else but obey them. It’s reminiscent of students telling Evergreen President George Bridges he could only go to the bathroom if accompanied by two of their minders.

And yet, it seems none of the students who shouted and cursed at this professor have been disciplined. On the contrary, as the letter points out, some of the professors were egging the students on in this behavior.

victimization endorses riotingHere’s what jumps out at me: First, the students and faculty behind the riots “ignore [inhumane, totalitarian] tactics for the sake of the goal.” Second, this mob behavior is part and parcel of the movement on many US college campuses (not only Evergreen).

This is the same totalitarianism of the Maoist Cultural Revolution or the Russian revolution!

Victimization endorses raw power

When you jettison the truth—Christian morality and a biblical worldview—this is what you get. Raw power.

This set of tactics to fight so-called victimization is increasingly used beyond college campuses as well, in places like Ferguson Missouri; Baltimore; Portland, Oregon; Chicago and elsewhere. It is powered by a vast array of revolutionary networks, enabled by social media, and underwritten by incredible amounts of money provided by far-left donors and foundations.

The goal is to disrupt and silence foes. It has been described as “the heckler’s veto.” Noah Rothman writes,

For an unacceptably large number of progressive activists, a violent response to speech has not only become excusable but obligatory. Such undemocratic behavior is the natural outgrowth of an increasingly mainstream progressive worldview in which the distinctions between speech and violence have been blurred beyond recognition.

To advance their belief system, adherents of this toxic new religion are using Nietzschean tactics, behaviors void of any aspect of Christian charity or morality. Civility, open discourse, dialogue and debate are thrown out, replaced by coercion, lies, deception, distortion, emotional outbursts, threats, and violence. Whatever works to further the cause and prevail—whatever it takes.

This should send a chill down our spines. We are in for a long and difficult struggle.

  • Scott Allen


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The New Religion Advances by Silencing Opposition http://darrowmillerandfriends.com/2017/08/24/new-religion-redefines-words/ Thu, 24 Aug 2017 15:30:08 +0000 http://darrowmillerandfriends.com/?p=19732 This is post 8 of 9 in the series “cultural roots campus rage” As we’ve pointed out elsewhere, those who want to change society begin by changing its language. The new religion has employed this tactic from the beginning. The basic aim has been to vacate the most important words

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This is post 8 of 9 in the series “cultural roots campus rage”

As we’ve pointed out elsewhere, those who want to change society begin by changing its language. The new religion has employed this tactic from the beginning. The basic aim has been to vacate the most important words in the English language of any vestige of their original Judeo-Christian meaning. Words like love, freedom, justice, marriage, and, more recently, racism and equality, have all been thoroughly redefined in ways that support and advance the new religion.

Don’t believe me? Just compare the definition of any of those words in Webster’s 1828 Dictionary of the American Language with the definition in any current dictionary, such as the one embedded in Microsoft’s word processing software. I did this a few years back with the definition of marriage.

  • the new religion redefines justiceJustice is no longer equality of treatment before the law; now it’s equality of outcome.
  • Freedom is no longer the fruit of obeying God’s moral law, but license—the right to do whatever I desire with no moral constraint.
  • Love is no longer the act of seeking the good for another, even for an enemy (as defined by God’s moral law). Now love is merely a strong emotion or passion. This is the definition used to advance so-called homosexual “marriage” with its motto “Love Wins.”

The words remain in use, but their historic Judeo-Christian meanings have been scrubbed. Thus redefined, they are put into service to advance an atheistic agenda. As the new religion becomes mainstream in America, the freedom to live according to the old, historic definitions is quickly vanishing. The new religion is intent on forcing everyone to affirm the new definitions, including Christian churches and organizations.

Political Correctness

Political correctness operates under the guise of encouraging respectful public discourse and greater sensitivity in matters involving minorities or other oppressed groups. However, in actuality, it is a rigidly enforced speech-and-behavior code. “Hate speech” describes anything that violates the code.

The consequences for violating the code are becoming increasingly stiff – violators can expect public shaming, censure, and forced re-education (in the form of diversity or sensitivity training). At the more extreme end are fines, the loss of a career and a ruined reputation.

Adherents of the new religion use PC to essentially enforce adherence to the four core doctrines of the new religion. Rather than argue or defend their core beliefs, PC enables them to claim that these are “settled matters” and are “beyond the pale” of acceptable public discussion. An attempt to even discuss them respectfully amounts to hatred, racism, bigotry, homophobia, Islamophobia, etc.

Adhering to a Christian sexual ethic, even privately, is now highly offensive and bigoted against the LGBTQ+ community. Merely having white skin is a mark of racism to some new religionists. Using “terrorist” to describe a Muslim who shoots up a concert hall shouting “Allahu Akbar” brands you “Islamophobic.”

It has gotten to the point where people are fearful of sharing what they think about reality. In an email interview, The Atlantic’s Conor Friedersdorf engaged a 22-year-old San Francisco resident on the stifling PC culture that has grown up around that city. He made the following observation:

[It’s] almost impossible to have polite or constructive political discussion. Disagreement gets you labeled fascist, racist, bigoted, etc. It can provoke a reaction so intense that you’re suddenly an unperson to an acquaintance or friend. There is no saying ‘Hey, I disagree with you,’ it’s just instant shunning. Say things online, and they’ll try to find out who you are and potentially even get you fired for it. Being anti-PC is not about saying ‘I want you to agree with me on these issues.’ It’s about saying, ‘Hey, I want to have a discussion and not get shouted down because I don’t agree.

An anonymous writer at The Federalist spoke for many in describing the frustration people feel at this increasingly prevalent phenomenon:

We don’t want to end political correctness so that we can say hateful things. We want to stop feeling silenced and condemned for having alternative viewpoints. We want to articulate thought-provoking, uncomfortable truisms, and not be told, ‘you can’t say that,’ without even a modest effort at explaining why …

When confronting people who disagree with you, the best tactic is to prove why they’re wrong instead of shutting them up. Have enough faith in your own arguments to welcome dissenting opinions; if your ideas are truly superior, it will show. No need to get emotional, indignant, or defensive.

Weaponized Emotions

As with political correctness, hyperbolic claims of emotional duress and gratuitous outbursts of anger, pain and outrage, usually combined with excessive foul language, are used to prevail by silencing opposing views. For proponents of the new religion, “hurt feelings,” feeling disrespected, or being offended are now grounds to punish, penalize and defeat opponents without ever having to debate them.

Writing in The Federalist, Robert Tracinski calls this tactic an “appeal to emotion.” One “specifically designed to make rational analysis of the issues look not just inappropriate, but positively immoral.” He goes on to note that “the purpose … is to make logical analysis seem insensitive … to [oppressed groups].”

How did we come to this point? Postmodern relativism denies the existence of a real world “out there” that we must conform to. There is no God, no transcendent morality, no good or evil. Rather, reality is socially constructed. Without objective, transcendent truth, reason and logic are undermined and we are left with feelings in the driver’s seat. And while emotions are good and important, they are also very powerful. They can be downright dangerous when decoupled from reason, which is what the new religion does.

In his famous confrontation with aggrieved students at Yale University, Nicholas Christakis asks the students, “Who gets to decide what [speech, language] is offensive? Who decides?” A female student answers: “When it hurts me.” Translation: “My emotions (my claims of hurt, emotional pain and suffering) trump your right to free speech. End of discussion!”

Alarmingly, leading-edge thinkers of the new religion like John Corvino, a professor of philosophy at Wayne State University, are laying the groundwork for a new legal standard that he describes as “dignitary harm.” This would replace “material harm” (physical injury, stolen or damaged property, etc.) as a new legal standard for prosecution and punishment by the state. Corvino defines “dignity harm” as “causing people to feel inferior, intentionally or not” (italics added). Here we see it again. My feelings trump your right to free speech or freedom of religion. If this standard prevails, the state could fine or even jail people on the grounds of claims of “hurt feelings.” There’s another new definition: “violence” now means “hurt feelings.”

Albert Mohler describes the threat this poses to our American system of government.

If making someone feel morally inferior, intentional or not constitutes [legal] harm … that means the end of … any religion based on a claim to revelation. Taken to its logical conclusion, it means the end of all moral judgment… This idea of dignitary harm may be the biggest single threat to religious liberty … in our immediate future.

If “hurting someone’s feelings, intentionally or not” becomes a legal standard for prosecution and punishment, this toxic new religion will effectively become the established religion of America, to the exclusion of every other faith.

In the final post we’ll consider how victimization is leveraged for power.

  • Scott Allen


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