The whole point of free speech is not to make ideas exempt from criticism but to expose them to it.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Sibby and Jonathan Falwell

Sibby has upon his blog a column by Jonathan Falwell. Read it here.

Falwell's column is heavy on Bible quotations, each of which neatly fits his premise that all who believe that America is not a Christian nation will be denied entrance into the Kingdom of Heaven. Falwell is "troubled" that many in America believe there may be more than one path to Heaven.

Falwell's column is actually a reaction to a Newsweek column in which the author, Lisa Miller, proclaims that statistically, Americans are no longer buying the Christian edict that there is but one path and it is very narrowly mapped in John 14:6: I am the way, the truth and the life: no man cometh unto the father, but by me. Falwell actually quotes the NKJV, which is similar to the NIV (Nearly Inspired Version).

Falwell continues: "Consider this: If Jesus stated that He is the only way to eternal life, we have either of two choices in how we respond to this claim.
  1. We accept it as truth and embrace Him as the Christ, the Son of the living God.
  2. We reject this claim and assert that Jesus was a liar.

Everyone needs to understand that they stand at this crossroads"

My point is, and I'm looking for discussion here, nobody knows exactly what Jesus said, do we? The reference to "I am the way" does not appear in The Gospel According to Matthew, The Gospel According to Mark or The Gospel According to Luke (that I can find in the King James Version anyway).

The Gospels of course have been written, rewritten, filtered, edited, and basically changed and changed again according to the whims of King James and a couple dozen popes, and even the mindless folks who wrote the Good News Version in the 1960s.

Nobody really knows exactly what Jesus said, do we? Even those who produced the King James Version of the Gospels couldn't agree on exactly what, Matthew, Mark, Luke and John said Jesus said:

Matthew 26:75: Before the cock crow thou shalt deny me thrice.

Mark 14:30: Verily I say unto thee, That this day, even in this night, before the cock crow twice, thou shalt deny me thrice.

Luke 22:31: I tell thee, Peter, the cock shall not crow this day, before that thou shalt thrice deny that thou knowest me.

John 13:38: Wilt thou lay down thy life for my sake? Verily, verily, I say unto thee, The cock shall not crow, till thou hast denied me thrice.

So in which of the above is Christ accurately quoted? Does that mean the others were liars? Must we believe exactly as Mr. Falwell declares we must, or risk calling Jesus a liar?

In the end, I think the question is this: Did the founders in that really subversive document, The Bill of Rights, really believe the America they were envisioning was to be a Christian nation? Or did they believe it was important to keep religion completely out of the nation building they were doing in the 1770s and 1780s?

If we are not a Christian nation, does it matter? And if we do not believe America is a Christian nation, are we doomed to burn in Hell? Is it possible to be a Christian living in a nation that is not? Must we, if we are Christians, force upon others, by legislation (or sword) if necessary, our belief that there is but one path to Heaven?


Bill Fleming said...

I think this is exactly what Tim Johnson meant when he echoed Julian Bond's observation that there is indeed a "Taliban Wing of the Republican Party.

The idea is further supported by Kevin Phillips in his book "American Theocracy." And Kevin ought to know, because he helped found the movement.

betty76 said...

I have always had trouble straightening out my working definition of "Christian Nation". What does that mean exactly?

Does that mean that not being Christian is treason?

Thad Wasson said...

Whether we live under a king, communists or socialists, it does not matter because the bible is to lead us to eternal life in Heaven. This is not meant to build an earthly kingdom.

Our founders were very clear that we do not mandate a state religon, but to recognize we are blessed by God to live in this great land.

betty76 said...

Thad, so in other words, there's no such thing as a "Christian nation", only "Christians" and "Nations"?

Bill Fleming said...

I've never seen one word in the Constitution or any of our laws about going to hell*... although I have heard the concept discussed in conversation from time to time, along with some other suggestions.

... Dick Cheney's directive to Senator Patrick Leahy on the Senate floor being, of course, the classic case in point:

It does get me to wondering though, whether Senator Leahy could indeed follow Mr. Cheney's instructions somewhat better... or somewhat worse ...once in Heaven?

Maybe, Sibby could enlighten us on that, if perhaps very little else.

*Jail, yes. Hell, no.

Neal said...

I would think that 1) the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment, coupled with 2) the complete absence of any reference to Christ or Christianity in our founding documents (DOI, Const) conclusively answers this question.

Oh, and there's also that Treaty of Tripoli...

"As the Government of the United States of America is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion..."

Les said...

Oh, and there's also that Treaty of Tripoli...Clear as mud and very reflective of an honest effort to define our nations foundation.

Neal said...

You'll note that Les has no response to my points #1 and #2.

Bill Fleming said...

Les, Isaac Newton was a student of Alchemy and the Occult, Galileo was Catholic, and Albert Einstein was Jewish.

But you wouldn't say that the theory of Gravity was Judeo/Christian, would you?

Well, the same goes for political science. The USA's Liberal Democracy is a Secular form of government, not a Theocracy.

The fact that a large portion of Americans are also Christians has no more to do with the nature of our government than does the fact that a large portion of Denver Broncos fans are Christians, or that a lot of bald men are Christians, for that matter.

i.e. you wouldn't say we are a Denver Bronco Nation or a Hairless Wig Wearing Nation, would you?

p.s. Les, note that I intentionally avoided reference to those Americans who "believe" in Viagra.

Steve Sibson said...

Nicely done all:

You have provided examples of the point made by Falwell. The reason why Jesus has been lost in America is due to the establishment of Religious Humanism by the government schools. And yes that goes directly to address Neal's point 1.

And point 2; the Progressives need to eliminate Jesus Christ from the discussion so that the Natural Law foundation of America, as defined in the Declaration, can be destroyed. Jesus Christ is God, and God is referenced in the Declaration more than once. Natural Law is from God, and Jesus Christ provided a clear example of God. Clearly then, the teachings of Jesus Christ are fundamental to understanding Natural Law.

And Bill, a Christian nation is different than a Christian government. Only one is a theocracy.

And Michael, I hope to respond to your Biblical point once I get the time. I do appreciate your effort to seek the truth.

Les said...

Bill, Neal, you automatically think I am on the other side of the fence if I make a remark you disagree with or contrary to what you are blogging. I'd like to think these forums are not just a bunch of licking dogs all going home happy they are sopping wet with undeniable support from the party so to speak. If Neals points #1 and #2 make the case, why add the third point, unless it was humor I missed? As to your points Bill. """"The fact that a large portion of Americans are also Christians has no more to do with the nature of our government"""" Right, wrong or otherwise Bill, our government will change with those in power. I am not sure it is too many preachers responsible for the condition our great nation is in. The corrupt players coming to light are from both parties in control, obviously not good Christian, Buddha, Jewish or Muslin standards.

Bill Fleming said...

Les, if I misinterpreted your comment, I sincerely apologize.

I'll get to know you better, I'm sure if we continue to work our way through these topics.

So what didn't you like about the Tripoli treaty?

Bill Fleming said...

Sibby, I don't think Jesus has been lost in America. I think everybody still pretty much knows where to find him.

Les said...

Bill, I am sure we will get to know each other better as time goes on, I value who I see as a person. I was a cradle lib Dem who saw change I did not agree with and switched parties. I have now again seen change I do not agree with and try to walk more as a centrist. I hold my tongue more than I speak on many of the moderators of the few blog's I visit. I do not disrespect any of you as a person when this occurs, as I am hoping that all would rather see what is right happening than to just be right. To me Bill, the Tripoli treaty was an appeasement if I understood it right. It did not have the effort put into our Declaration, which was hardly considered an appeasement.
As to Sib's comment while I have the floor. You and I may know where to find Jesus, but if we have given up that walk with Jesus for much of what Sib mentions, we may know where to find him, but we will have lost that relationship that keeps him close enough we don't have to look to find him.

Michael Sanborn said...


Jesus Christ is YOUR God. And, that's my point, and I believe the point the framers were making in the First Amendment. Christ isn't everyone's God. They were extremely careful to not use Christ's name, because not all citizens worship the same.

Citizenship is not diminished by one's choices regarding religion. Yours and Falwell's position appears to be that lesser people of lesser religious and moral fiber are ruining this country for all you Christians.

I disagree with you and Falwell with as much respect as decorum allows me to muster.