Primary Misc. Ricochet Targets
the suggestion we are making is that many of the things that Richard
raises in the book are merely secondary issues, and although some
may be valid in their own right, they really do little or nothing
to contribute to the argument about God's existence.
take the big issues first, of which there are three:
United States finds itself in Richard's sights again and again. Is
tends to be so for one of two reasons. First there is the issue of
whether the constitution of the USA was founded on Christian principles.
The fact that the Pilgrim Fathers were Christians would suggest that
Christianity would have had some influence, even many years later,
but whether or not the leaders were Christians, deists, or atheists
is utterly irrelevant to the argument about God's existence.
far as the origins of the USA
go, let's quote from our notes:
with Nancy Pearcey,
in How Now Shall We Live,
makes a very balanced comment:
"At the birth of our nation, no one - not even deists and skeptics
- doubted that basic biblical truths undergirded American institutions
and informed the nation's values. Though the Founding Fathers drew
heavily from the Enlightenment philosophy as well as from Christian
tradition, few at the time saw any contradiction between the two."
second reason that Richard attacks America
is because of the vocal Christian
leaders, some of whom haven't always been wise in the way they spoke.
‘God's Country' it may be, but sometimes God isn't always well represented.
Although the Church in the United
States does sometimes lead with
its chin, I believe it only fair to say that they have often been
a good example to the rest of us. Perhaps some of the poor image to
the rest of us has been because they have had the faith to stretch
out into areas of the media where the rest of us have not gone, and
forerunners often go over the top.
balance up the picture let's take one tiny picture from our notes:
Colson and Nancy Pearcey
comment in How Now Shall We Live,
one point in the early nineteenth century in America, there were
more than eleven hundred Christian societies working for social
how many atheist societies I wonder!!!!
The Roman Catholic Church
of us who are Christians, and who are not part of the Roman Catholic
Church, are deeply unhappy about the political history of this part
of the Church, the power structures of this part of the church, the
pomp and affluence of the church of Rome, and many of the teachings
that are add-ons and, yes, the abuses that have been carried on by
individuals in respect of children down through the ages and in recent
the political history of the Church of Rome has been embarrassing
and it has been good that some apologies have been made. Nevertheless
a massive power structure such as the Vatican
may be a force for potential
good, but it is also vulnerable to the temptations of powerful political
institutions. For these reasons Richard has been given genuine things
against which to speak. However there are two further comments that
need to be made in this discussion.
whatever the antics of particular Christians, groups of Christians,
denominations, or parts of the Church, this has nothing to say about
the existence of God beyond the fact that He is very merciful, in
that He doesn't wipe us all out for being imperfect representatives
of Him. This is the main point here and is what makes the subject
of the Catholic Church a secondary target that does nothing except
possibly act as a ricocheting source so that some might think the
main tart is hit. It isn't!
while it is obvious that, for the point of debate, only negative things
are brought forward, I would suggest that for the sake of truth, it
should be recognised that the Catholic Church has been a bringer of
incredible amounts of good all around the world where priests, nuns
and their congregations have worked with the poor and for society.
To criticise the institution should not demean the incredible numbers
of genuinely good, caring and compassionate men and women of that
Church who have ministered God's love to the world around them in
the face of poverty and degradation. No, these are not perfect men
and women, but that makes even more wonderful their service to mankind.
a follow-up comment of this subject I think it is worth commenting
on the general teaching of the Catholic Church. While, in many of
our eyes as least, there have been grounds for disagreement and concern
over what I have referred to as add-on beliefs or perhaps, extra-Biblical
beliefs, an examination of the many words of the present pope on the
website reveals the depth of grace and pure biblical teaching so often
presented. The appeal for goodness in so many ways is possibly one
reason for the many attacks on the Catholic Church. So yes, we don't
agree with everything they say or do, but to write off everything
that comes from that part of the Christian Church is unthinking and
ungracious – and possibly pharisaical.
shooting at the institution, it is worthwhile remembering that in
reality, political abuses in the past have not involved the vast majority
of the Church who were simply followers. It was only the Princes of
the institution. This is not to excuse them, but to limit the reality
of what is being challenged.
attacks on the Bible come again and again and of course the whole
of Chapter 7 is given over to it. I almost hesitate to put this subject
here as a secondary target because, as I have already indicated, the
belief in the Bible is a primary foundation stone for Christian belief.
However, the way Richard goes about attacking the Bible is more like
he attacks the other secondary issues – superficial – and therefore
it really hardly seems a genuine attack. For this reason we will deal
with the Bible and specifically the things he says about it, and the
examples he attacks, as a separate chapter.