Sunday, August 23, 2009

Francis A. Shaeffer & The Religious Right Unleashed

UPDATE: 3:35 PM,August 23, Sunday 2009

Another Sunday Sermon for those still able to think in this age of Spin, hype, propaganda , lies, misinformation and a thousand and one distractions.

Creation of the Religious Right Movement in America. From somewhat ineffective sporadic fighting to a more effective well financed savvy well organized movement which has become adept at using the media and when it was felt necessary acted below the radar in stealth achieving success one tiny battle at a time. Under Bush's Regime they had made great strides forward insinuating themselves into the political halls of power , into the White House, into the Pentagon and armed forces becoming more pervasive in spreading their Conservative Evangelical Christian message with the help of the so-called Faith Initiatives program which Obama seems content to continue as these Christian Fundamentalist proselytize with financial aid from the government and as American soldiers freely spread their Christian message to Iraq and Afghanistan and dozens of other countries while Talk Radio drums up support for their cause and Fox News propagandizes for them daily and so it goes..

"I want to say to you, those of you who are Christians or even if you are not a Christian and you are troubled about the direction that our society is going in, that we must not concentrate merely on the bits and pieces. But we must understand that all of these dilemmas come on the basis of moving from the Judeo-Christian world view -- that the final reality is an infinite creator God -- over into this other reality which is that the final reality is only energy or material in some mixture or form which has existed forever and which has taken its present shape by pure chance.

The word Humanism should be carefully defined. We should not just use it as a flag, or what younger people might call a "buzz" word. We must understand what we are talking about when we use the word Humanism. Humanism means that the man is the measure of all things. Man is the measure of all things. If this other final reality of material or energy shaped by pure chance is the final reality, it gives no meaning to life. It gives no value system. It gives no basis for law, and therefore, in this case, man must be the measure of all things. So, Humanism properly defined, in contrast, let us say, to the humanities or humanitarianism, (which is something entirely different and which Christians should be in favor of) being the measure of all things, comes naturally, mathematically, inevitably, certainly. If indeed the final reality is silent about these values, then man must generate them from himself."

A Christian Manifesto
by Dr. Francis A. Schaeffer:This address was delivered by the late Dr. Schaeffer in 1982 at the Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church, Fort Lauderdale, Florida. It is based on one of his books, which bears the same title.

1982 Sermon by Francis Schaeffer: Part One

Francis A. Schaeffer an evangelical fundamentalist Christian is considered to be one of the chief architects of what became the Religious Right. As he points out in his sermon /lecture he believes that Christians view various issues which are troubling to them such as Permissiveness, pornography, abortion, infanticide, ethanasia, birth control, gay rights ,feminism, pre-marital sex, divorce, adultery, creeping socialism
as if they were all separate and unrelated issues and such a view is what has been holding Christians back form achieving their agenda especially in America . So Schaeffer argues that the issues about which conservative Christians are concerned about are in fact connected . He argues that modern society or Western Civilization including Europe and America has reached a crisis in which the true Christian values were no longer dominant and that another system of values which are anti-thetical to true Christianity were or are taking their place . These are symptoms of an all embracing system of values which are being promoted by contemporary society in the media, in art , in the schools , in government , in many of the liberal churches and even on a personal level . This over-arching philosophy or system of values he refers to as "humanism" or "secular humanism" which is pervasive through out Western culture and American culture. It is a philosophy which has replaced belief in the Bible, in God and Jesus with a belief that there is no God and no ultimate truth and that the universe and man are merely the result of blind purposeless chance. So Schaeffer argues that society has bought into this notion that all values and beliefs are relative. This has led to a breakdown in morality and in various traditional institutions such as marriage and the family structure which has led to a selfish narcissistic hedonistic world view in which all that matters is one's own pleasure and happiness and prosperity.

"Secular Humanism" is therefore the disease of the Modern era and the cure Schaeffer believes is the return to traditional conservative Biblical values and laws based upon those values. The enemy in essence is "modernity" itself which promotes humanism and hedonism and has nothing upon which the humanist can honestly create a humane set of ethical values. What he offers up as an alternative is that conservative evangelical Christians united with those he refers to as " others of good will" to create a movement which pulls together all of these issues which are troubling Christians and slowly but surely return America to its original state as a God Fearing Christian State in which the laws of the land are once again based upon God's Word. And Schaeffer criticizes those who want to interpret God's Word that is the Bible as a book made up of myths, metaphors, allegory and literary devices as if it were merely a piece of outdated literature. Instead he insists that the only true Christians are those who read the Bible as it was intended as the very word of God that it is wholly inerrant and therefore the literal Word of God.

As a propaganda or communications technique Schaeffer frames the argument as Christians and others of Good Will ie all those who agree with him in his analysis of the issues and the diagnosis that all of these societal concerns are a direct outcome of the Godless philosophy of "humanism" or "Secular Humanism" or Godless Liberalism which was promulgated beginning in the Age of Enlightenment which was the beginning of the first stirrings of Humanism and a movement away from God, the Church and religion. Religion came to be characterized as being irrational and anti-scientific and a mere belief in the supernatural rooted in Medieval superstitons .

The alternative to "Humanism, "Secular Humanism", Liberalism and "Socialism" is to return America to its foundation based upon Judeo-Christian beliefs and traditions.
The Bible therefore must be the foundation upon which the system of government and its laws are steadfastly based.At the core of Schaeffer's and the Religious Rights beliefs is the move towards a Judeo-Christian Theocracy which reflects the values of a literal inerrant Bible. Therefore that which is considered unlawful or a crime or a breach of God's Law as found in the Bible should also be treated as a crime by local, state and the federal government.
provides the basis for characterizing these activities from abortion to blasphemy and heresies as crimes

It should be noted that Francis Schaeffer speaking in 1982 believed that the struggle to make America into a wholly Christian nation would take more than just one or two election cycles but would take decades and True Believing Christians needed to brace themselves for a long arduous battle with successes and set backs but ultimately if the movement persisted it would eventually succeed because they had right on their side.

Francis Schaeffer in this 1982 sermon sets up his argument against modernity as an "either /or" a dichotomy of either belief in God and Jesus and the Bible as the literal inerrant word of God or the philosophy humanism which he defines as a belief in the final reality of energy which is the result of mere chance.

His description of Humanism is reduced to a radical form of relativism which is amoral or immoral and which is often characterized as leading to various forms of Existentialism and "Nihilism". In this he makes the same error as those scholars who fail to differentiate between "relativism" as purely an observation and a descriptive analysis as opposed to "relativism" as an absolute and as "prescriptive" . The descriptive sense comes from basic scientific non-political Darwinian evolution and anthropology which merely describes that for instance different cultures , societies , tribes and civilization have had or have different views about religion, politics, ethics of what is acceptable and what is unacceptable such as Taboos ala Sigmund Freud .

In one society a man may take more than one wife or a woman may take more than one husband at a time. In another society there might be a belief in God or Many Gods. There may be a belief in the efficacy of Human sacrifice- in one such society the person to be sacrificed must be willing to die for the good of all in order for the human sacrifice to have meaningin another the person sacrificed need not be willing at all. In some societies sex before marriage is acceptable to another it is not acceptable. To murder that is to kill without just cause is considered wrong in most cultures. But killing for justifiable reasons may be fairly narrow or rather broad. In some cases the difference in cultures are not really significant and are merely traditions for which breaking them is not a serious offense in the sense of the individual being executed or banished for said infraction.

According to Francis Schaeffer and the Religious Right all that has gone wrong in Western society including the United States have their roots in this anti-God philosophy and movement known as "Humanism" often seen as connected to "Godless Communism" but Schaeffer in 1982 refers to it as "Secular Humanism" and in more recent times ala Ann Coulter et al as "Godless Liberalism". In this way these critics of modernity have created using a savvy propagandistic technique a much wider all embracing label which goes beyond the narrower label of Communism and socialism as promoted by Karl Marx and Engels and later Lenin & Trotsky etc. Now they are able to define the "Enemy" as "humanism, Secular Humanism, or Liberalism & socialism all grounded in the anti-God, anti-Christian anti-religious philosophies of the Enlightenment.

The Religious Right movement as founded by Francis Schaeffer see the demand for Gay rights, feminism & women's reproductive rights ie abortion, birth control, equal opportunity and equal rights for women,African Americans Hispanic Americans & Gays & pluralism and multiculturalism and freedom of religion for Non-Judeo Christian religions, sexual freedom , free speech , etc. as all being great evils brought about because Judeo -Christianity has not taken its rightful place in his view as being the dominant theological and cultural authority which should be reflected in the laws of the nation.

In the end what Francis Schaeffer is calling for is not just a New Awakening or revival as in the former Great Awakenings in the history of America of Christianity outside of the realm of politics and public policy making but rather something more all encompassing and therefore more dangerous. It is not something which we should treat lightly for they are serious and sincere in fighting for their agenda of a Christian Nation and a theocracy .

What Francis Schaeffer in the 1970s and 1980s set out to do was to create a mass movement of fellow believers who were disturbed by the changes going on in society who would not merely retreat from society and politics but would become fully engaged in making changes in society through their actions in the spheres of politics and public policy making from the local public libraries to PTAs and school boards to city councils to state and federal governments.

The Religious Right movement began creating various front organizations which were committed to single-issue campaigns or others committed to a number of issues and acting as a means for communication among the various organizations and the coordination or orchestration of the various actions or activities. These groups then using their amassed mailing lists of those with similar beliefs could organize their members to put pressure on a local school board or the state or federal legislatures concerning a single issue such as abortion, prayer in the schools , religious symbols in the public square or on Television Networks to censor specific programs or the use of language or ideas which they objected to or on larger issues such as preventing the passage of the Equal Rights Amendment for women which still lies in limbo due to their actions or on international relations to make no deals with certain countries such as the Soviet Union or to criticize or stop trading with a country whose government they disapproved of etc.

So we get the creation of an umbrella group such as the Moral Majority Inc. founded by Rev Jerry Falwell with the help of Francis Schaeffer and others. Other organizations were formed to fight abortion calling themselves not the anti-abortionists but rather the more media friendly "pro-Life Movement" by doing so they implied those not in favor of ending abortion were in fact "Pro-Death" or Pro-Murder" while on the other side of the issue they began referring to themselves as Pro-Choice.

Religious Right rather than merely attacking Darwinian Evolution as being unBiblical or anti-God they began a campaign with a long view of what they could achieve by co-opting science to give a scientific basis to their belief that they had a fully developed scientific theory known as Scientific Creationism or Creation Science which would be a rational alternative to Evolution and the origins of man and of the earth itself and the universe. So sympathetic scientists mainly those in the applied sciences such as chemical engineering,genetic engineering biology, physics, etc. (rather than the theoretical sciences such as) to create alternative plausible explanations of the fossil evidence or which throw into question the methodology for assigning an age to the fossil record or creating doubt about the mechanisms of evolution while explaining Bible stories such as Noah's Flood and his Ark by arguing that there is some evidence of such a world wide flood and that an Ark of the size needed could have been built at that time and it could hold enough animals to be certain of their survival etc. This project has since been morphed into Intelligent Design which merely claims that the universe as we know it is too complex to have been the result of mere chance and so they argue it had to be created by a designer ie Supreme being ie God. They further argue that the world as we know it maybe quite old or not given the various evidence available about which there is a great deal of uncertainty.

The Religious Right believe that only Christians have the right to hold political power because they are the chosen of God. For the last thirty or more years the Religious Right has been hard at work creating a movement which they had hoped would come to dominate American institutions and the government itself either through legal means ie elections but if not by other means or to put it more bluntly if the people are thwarted in their efforts by the "Secular Humanists" or the "Godless Liberals" then the "True Believers" must take power by whatever means necessary because it is their destiny and their God Given Right to create a theocracy to await or to usher in "the Second Coming" or even by their actions push the time table ahead for the Second Coming.

Francis Schaeffer of course rejects all other religions which are not based upon the Bible so only Judeo Christianity has any validity. But basically like other chauvinistic Christian thinkers or apologists before him have argued Christianity has superseded Judaism.

But the Jews it is argued by many Christians including the Catholic Church must be defended because they have played a role in History as part of God's ultimate plan - The Jews were for a time God's chosen people until they rejected Jesus as the Messiah and were guilty of deicide by murdering Jesus the crime for which they were made to wander the earth in the diaspora as an example of what happens to those who reject the Son of God.

Next the Jews were punished by God in the Shoah or Holocaust in which Hitler was acting as God's instrument which the Evangelical Fundamentalist Pastor Hagee has argued recently that God sent a hunter to punish the Jews.

Next came the founding of the state of Israel which signaled the beginning of the End-Times scenario ( in all its variations among Evangelical Christians) in which a remnant of Jews in the last days would convert to Christianity ushering in the rule of the Church or the rule of the returned Messiah .So the Jews can be seen as mere bit players in God's great drama in which the True Christians the Evangelical Fundamentalists Christians have a starring role.

He also ignores the thinking and philosophies found in the works of Humanists over the past couple of centuries from Voltaire to Thomas Jefferson & Thomas Paine to Bertrand Russel etc.. There are for instance many humanist who believe that a humane form of morality and ethics can be argued for without appealing to God or Gods or to Holy Writ. As one of the greatest and influential humanist philosophers in the twentieth century Ludwig Wigenstein argued or made the observation that though he did not know if the human soul existed he believed that one should treat all individuals as if they had a soul. Francis A. Schaeffer Institute of Church Leadership

Francis Schaeffer (1912-1984) is most credited with and the founding of L'Abri and helping ignite political activism, apologetics as well as deep biblical philosophical thinking amongst Protestant evangelicals in the 1950’s through the early 1980’s. Schaeffer also challenge the wakening Church to what he saw as the increasing influence of secular humanism and a deterioration of solid Biblical Discipleship. Hs insights have challenged many people and churches to seek faith and reason to how we lead our life and mange Christ’s Church. Francis Schaeffer did not ask of people to merely critique his work, rather it was his desire for Christian people to develop their skills in faith and reason, knowing His Word and applying Christ percepts into life and church. Thus, Schaeffer’s work was called to be applied, as what he called, “True Spirituality.” Our distinction from other “Schaeffer” organizations, is seeking to do as he exemplified in reference to how we do church. Most look to his works on philosophy and apologetics to which we wholeheartedly support. But we feel his call to reform the Church and point it back to Christ’s preeminence and making disciples has gone mostly unheard.

Under Schaeffer’s guidance and vision, started this endeavor in the late 70’s as a “think-tank” to strategize how to reach and train pastors and church leaders to focus on Christ centered principles.

Because of God’s call and Schaeffer’s influence, we desire to see a church committed to His purpose and poured out to His ways. Then we will see revival through real prayer and devotion to His Lordship.

Currently the Francis A. Schaeffer Institute of Church Leadership Development is in partnership with Into Thy Word Ministries (another Francis Schaeffer vision). Our current task is the collecting articles and essays by the Late Francis Schaeffer, as well as researching his materials and making application of them to help lead the church into a better more biblical direction.

The Great Evangelical Disaster at Church

"Make no mistake. We as Bible-believing evangelical Christians are locked in a battle. This is not a friendly gentleman's discussion. It is a life and death conflict between the spiritual hosts of wickedness and those who claim the name of Christ. It is a conflict on the level of ideas between two fundamentally opposed views of truth and reality. It is a conflict on the level of actions between a complete moral perversion and chaos and God's absolutes. But do we really believe that we are in a life and death battle?" (31, 32).

"Do you understand now what the battle is about in the area of culture and ideas? In the last sixty years the consensus upon which our culture was built has shifted from one that was largely Christian (though we must say immediately it was far from perfect) to a consensus growing out of the Enlightenment: that is, to a consensus that stands in total anithesis to Christian truth at every point- including the denial of the supernatural; belief in the all-sufficiency of human reason; the rejection of the fall; denial of the deity of Christ and his resurrection; belief in the perfectibility of Man; and the destruction of the Bible. And with this has come a nearly total moral breakdown. There is no way to make a synthesis of these ideas and Christian truth. They stand in total antithesis," (35,36).

"Here is the great evangelical disaster - the failure of the evangelical world to stand for truth as truth. There is only one word for this - namely accommodation: the evangelical church has accommodated to the world spirit of the age. First, there has been accommodation on Scripture, so that many who call themselves evangelicals hold a weakened view of the Bible and no longer affirm the truth of all the Bible teaches - truth not only in religious matters but in the areas of science and history and morality. As part of this, many evangelicals are now accepting the higher critical methods in the study of the Bible. Remember, it was these same methods which destroyed the authority of the Bible for the Protestant church in Germany in the last century, and which have destroyed the Bible for the liberal in our own country from the beginning of this century. And second, there has been accommodation on the issues, with no clear stand being taken even on matters of life and death" (37).

"Within evangelicalism there is a growing number who are modifying their views on the inerrancy of the Bible so that the full authority of Scripture is completely undercut" (44).

"Unless the Bible is without error, not only when it speaks of salvation matters, but also when it speaks of history and the cosmos, we have no foundation for answering questions concerning the existence of the universe and its form and the uniqueness of man. Nor do we have any moral absolutes, or certainty of salvation, and the next generation of Christians will have nothing on which to stand" (46).

"What the Bible clearly teaches about the limitations placed upon divorce and remarriage is now put by some evangelicals in the area of cultural orientation. They say these were just the ideas of that moment when the New Testament was written" (59).

"Do we not have to agree that even much of the evangelical church, which claims to believe that the Bible is without error, has bent Scripture at the point of divorce to conform to the culture rather than the Scripture judging the present viewpoints of the fallen culture? Do we not have to agree that in the area of divorce and remarriage there has been a lack of biblical teaching and discipline even among evangelicals?" (63).

also check out: How Should We then Live: Francis A. Schaeffer

L'Abri Fellowship International Francis A. Schaeffer

For more on the Religious Right check out lists of websites at left side bar.

The Rise of the Religious Right in the Republican Party at Theocracy

Religious Right Watch

Right Wing at People For The American Way

Heritage Foundation, Focus On the Family

And a warning from Frank Schaeffer (son of Dr. Francis Schaeffer ) who has become an outspoken opponent of the Religious Right about the Religious Right unleashed & stirred up by the Republicans and Big Business Lobbyists, Health Care Insurance Industry, & Big Pharma & Fox News .

The Threat Is Real: Why Right-Wing Rage at Townhall Meetings Could Quickly Turn Deadly By Frank Schaeffer, AlterNet. August 12, 2009.The insurance industry has agitated the far right to prevent health reform, but they don't know whom they're messing with.

and on the ongoing activity of the Far Right check out recently released report by The Southern Law Poverty Center:

Terror from the Right: 75 Plots, Conspiracies and Racist Rampages Since Oklahoma City Southern Poverty Law Center. Including plots to bomb government buildings, banks, refineries, clinics, synagogues, mosques, memorials and bridges; to assassinate police officers, judges, politicians and more. August 22, 2009.via

Religious Right in Canada-vancouver sun The search

and so it goes,

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