Tuesday, September 11, 2007

The Truth Project

Starting Saturday, I'll be attending the Focus on the Family's "Truth Project" program at our church.

I have to keep an open mind. I have never been a fan of Focus on the Family. Like other politically active Christian organizations, I think they miss a fundamental lesson of the New Testament: we are pilgrims without a country who are called to spread the gospel. We are not culture warriors charged with reshaping our nation. (And the headquarters for a Christian mission organization should not, in my opinion, resemble the magnificent campus of Focus on the Family, which I see when I travel to Colorado Springs on occasion.) This is the same mistake the ID movement makes with their wedge strategy: get ID in the classroom to help win the culture war. But we are not called into that battle. We are to behave properly, regardless of how others behave. We are to present the gospel at the front door, anticipating rejection—we are not to sneak it in the back door. And nowhere does scripture tell us to transform society politically and legislatively.

Elevating the importance of the culture war over evangelism leads to some hideous culture-war compromises for the sake of political expediency. Christians should not be teaming with the likes of Jonathan Wells to win a culture war skirmish—they should be telling Wells (a Moonie) that he is a member of a heretical cult whose teachings are an abomination far worse that anything Darwin gets credit for. Natural selection pales in comparison to Reverend Moon claiming to be the Messiah.

So my hope is that the Truth Project is a call to individual accountability. That is a proper challenge to a Christian. I hope it is not a call to somehow restore our nation as a Christian nation, which it never was. I hope it does not repeat the mantra that "separation of church and state is not in the constitution". Well, if it isn't, it should be.

On the front, I'll be ready to be ready to bring up the Treaty of Tripoli, signed by one of the genuinely Christian founding fathers (John Adams) and ratified unanimously by the U.S. Senate. It contains the article:

As the Government of the United States of America is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion; as it has in itself no character of enmity against the laws, religion, or tranquility, of [Moslems]; and, as the said States never entered into any war, or act of hostility against any [Islamic] nation, it is declared by the parties, that no pretext arising from religious opinions, shall ever produce an interruption of the harmony existing between the two countries.

Most Christians today would find this to be an appalling statement, but I find comfort in both separation of church and state and freedom of religion. Consider even the so-called new atheists. If it is true that they have made it easier for atheists to come out of the closet—that's a good thing. It is far better that someone openly admits their atheism rather than pretending, from peer pressure, to be a Christian.

I am particularly nervous about Lesson 5, described this way in the lesson plan:

Lesson 5 - Science: What is True?

Science, the "systematic study of the natural world," brings to light innumerable evidences of Intelligent Design. But Darwinian theory transforms science from the honest investigation of nature into a vehicle for propagating a godless philosophy. (Part One)

A careful examination of molecular biology and the fossil record demonstrates that evolution is not a "proven fact." Meanwhile, history shows that ideas, including Darwinism as a social philosophy, have definite consequences – consequences that can turn ugly when God is left out of the picture. (Part Two)

If they stress intelligent design as an apologetic, I'll be fine. If they discuss it as science, I'll be forced to respond. Likewise if they blame Nazism on evolution, I'll have to point out that a similar mindless argument blames Nazism on Martin Luther.

But for now…an open mind.

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