As you follow
my "pilgrim's progress" through reality - parts 1 & 2, you
will note the sprinkling of significant dreams - foreshadowings both predictive
and cautionary. Over the past quarter-century a handful of these
"prophetic" dreams have employed the STORM
of these I record in reality - part 2. There I cite
two passages in the book of Jeremiah that specifically tie the storm image to
God's coming global judgment, known elsewhere in the Old Testament as "the
Day of the Lord." Other O.T. prophets utilize parallel words
- "tempest" and "whirlwind"- to characterize that time of
tribulation which will out-chaos everything since the time of Noah.
We are not in
that tribulation yet, but I suspect the first approaching thunderclaps of this
final storm have already sounded in events such as September 11, 2001. The
prophet Zechariah said that during the season prior to Messiah's return, Jerusalem would
have become "a cup of trembling" and a "burdensome stone" to
Are your eyes capable of sight?
Has it not
struck you as remarkable that a global crisis could have arisen
over this geographically inconsequential piece of real estate? - that Muslims
have even vowed the destruction of America simply because the United States
dares befriend Israel?
unseen majesties acting behind the roiling thunderheads of current events.
Discernment of these shapes - and of others more subtle still, soon to be rolled
onstage - is the aspiration of STORMWATCH.
Some of the
most powerful minds in history have, wittingly and unwittingly, been caught in a
chess game that for centuries has squeezed them slowly into a checkmate.
Erasing God from the universe didn't suddenly, all magically happen; it has been
centuries in the making, starting out as a confident spree to arrive at
philosophical certainty about what the mind could know. It ended up with
the players not certain that they could even know their own names. One can
imagine what it would be like to play chess with an immortal being whose IQ is
half a million, who has been around for millennia (like Satan). The best
human players would be trapped in no time, perhaps wondering what their own
Brooke, One World, End Run Publishing,
Berkeley, CA, 2000, p.150.
The context of
the quoted paragraph is the history of Western philosophy. The god of this
world has beaten human rationality at its own game. But if "philosophy" has
erased God, and the contest is moving toward its climax, how is it that the Bible predicts a final global religion in place
at the end of history as we know it?
offering an answer to that question, we need to examine the last couple of moves
on the chess board. Human minds and the culture generated by the overlay of
ideas dominating those minds are the battlefields of unseen adversaries.
Percolating influence down through universities, God's adversary has been allowed to succeed in discrediting the idea of a
personal Father/Creator possessing "human" attributes such as love and
moral justice. Among the cultural elite - while they may allow the word
"God" on their lips - the God of the Bible is the One who has been "erased." At our moment in time, this erasure was the
next to the last move in the chess game. The final move, a replacement
global belief, "faith" in a different "One," is in
process, as we'll see.
But first the
slate had to be wiped clean of the Judeo-Christian "idea." A
vacuum was needed to call forth the replacement god. Listen now to the
sound of that next-to-the-last chess-piece hitting the board:
Paradigms, Preaching and Politics: |
Loeffler, World Affairs Editor, Koinonia House
Education is thus a most powerful ally of
humanism. What can the theistic Sunday schools,
meeting for an hour once a week, and teaching only a
fraction of the children, do to stem the tide of a
five-day program of humanistic teaching?
-1933, Charles Francis Potter,
"Humanism, A New Religion"
Kaboom! A rousing first shot across the bow had been
fired. Humanists declared their intention of
transforming western culture and moving it from its
Christian base into the enlightened religion of
humanism. In 1933, when Humanist Manifesto I
appeared, its co-author John Dewey was made honorary
president of the National Education Association (US).
The manifesto itself stated that:
There is no God and no soul. Hence there are no
needs for the props of traditional religion. With dogma
and creed excluded, the immutable truth is also dead and
buried. There is no room for fixed, natural law or
permanent moral absolutes.
In his book, A Common Faith, Dewey went on to
It is impossible to ignore the fact that historic
Christianity has been committed to a separation of sheep
and goats; the saved and the lost…I cannot understand
how any realization of the democratic ideal as a vital
moral and spiritual ideal in human affairs is possible
without surrender of the conception of the basic
division to which supernatural Christianity is committed
In the early days of the Worldview Wars, humanists
referred to their belief system as a
"religion." That was until it became more
advantageous to clamor about the "separation of
church and state" in attempting to eject the
Christian opposition from the marketplace of ideas.
Suddenly humanism became de-religionized and rebaptized
itself as secular science or philosophy. A dichotomous
wedge was driven between faith and fact. Today, echoes
of that shift are heard in the debates on evolution,
when someone asserts that "this is science, that is
faith" rather than the previously accepted idea
that all are searching for truth.
In the early part of the battle, humanists did not
meet a lot of resistance, since Christians for the most
part remained oblivious to the fact that there even was
a battle or that spiritual battles play out in the
physical arena. As a group, Christians were more than
happy to walk off the battlefield in the name of
"just teaching the Bible" or doing the
"work of the Kingdom," as if there would be no
moral consequences to their dereliction of duty. The
consequences, however, have been staggering - from
abortion to the loss of faith in millions of children.
So humanists, meeting little organized opposition,
quietly plodded onward toward their stated goal of
transforming the worldview of western society,
especially the field of education, where more and more
like-minded future educators could be trained to
indoctrinate new generations of students into the
humanist worldview, while using government handouts -
grants and subsidies - to do it. In 1932, William Z.
Foster, head of the Communist Party USA, published a
book entitled Toward Soviet America , where he
Class ideologies of the past will give place to
scientific materialist philosophy. Among the elementary
measures the American Soviet government will adopt to
further the cultural revolution are the following: the
schools, colleges and universities will be coordinated
and grouped under the National Department of Education
and its state and local branches. The studies will be
revolutionized, being cleansed of religious, patriotic
and other features of the bourgeoisie ideology. The
students will be taught on the basis of Marxian
dialectical materialism [now the absolute basis of
consensus use in all government procedures],
internationalism [today called "globalism"]
and the general ethics of the new socialist society
[which virtually all English-speaking countries have
become]…Freedom will be established for
anti-religious propaganda…Science will become
materialistic…God will be banished from the
laboratories as well as from the schools.
Were he not probably occupying a place in the hell he
didn't believe existed, Mr. Foster would be delighted
that the humanist heirs of John Dewey had accomplished
everything he wished to see. Indeed, the Communists
endorsed the humanist enterprise because they believed
in their common aspirations of a godless, socialist
society ruled by the dialectical process of relative
By mid-century, humanists had gained a chokehold on
most institutions of higher learning. By 1938, the New
York Herald Tribune reported a speech by Dr.
Goodwin Watson, professor of Education at Teachers
College, Columbia University, where he "begged the
teachers of the Nation to use their profession to
indoctrinate children to overthrow 'conservative
reactionaries' directing American government and
industry." In his 1951 book, God and Man at
Yale , William F. Buckley, Jr. commented that:
The teachings of John Dewey and his predecessors
have borne fruit. And there is surely not a department
at Yale that is uncontaminated with the absolute that
there are no absolutes, no intrinsic rights, no ultimate
truths. The acceptance of these notions, which emerge in
courses in history and economics, in sociology and
political science, in psychology and literature, make
impossible an intelligible conception of an omnipotent,
purposeful, and benign Supreme Being, who has laid down
immutable laws, endowed his creatures with inalienable
rights, and posited unchangeable rules of human conduct
The battle internationalized by means of UNESCO, the
United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural
Organization. That is why the curricula and worldview
battles are essentially the same in all English-language
countries. The departments of education in the various
countries collaborate openly with UNESCO and its goals
for a "new educational order…based on scientific
and technological training, one of the essential
components of scientific humanism… Relativity and
dialectical thought would appear to be a fertile ground
in which to cultivate the seeds of tolerance… an
individual should avoid systematically setting up his
beliefs… as a model of rules valid for all
And what of the Church during this time? There were a
limited number of Protestant and Catholic voices
fighting the war, but generally the Church droned on
mechanically with its disconnected Biblical or
catechistic studies as the humanist juggernaut rolled
forward. History was rewritten and Christian
contributions to history, especially freedom and self
rule, were eliminated or denigrated. Other events were
rewritten and Christian or other religious ideas were
ridiculed and banned. Patriotism was banned. Marxist,
socialist, and humanist ideas took solid root as
Christianity was chased out of the marketplace of ideas
with little resistance. Christian morals were publicly
denigrated and rejected. The Church seemed oblivious
that this radical change in public education was putting
the faith of millions of its youth in dire peril.
"Let's just have another Bible study" was the
The second half of the 20th century bore witness to
the danger, as humanism took over the major organs of
education, media and politics, and the youth began to
fall away from even Bible-believing churches in droves
after receiving years of humanist indoctrination in
government schools. Those who remained, while not
totally abandoning their faith, began to have a belief
system which was an admixture of conflicting worldviews.
Absolute truth was replaced by relative truth.
Indeed, the belief in no absolutes has remained the
greatest challenge to faith because it totally
undermines any basis for belief in a God, His Word, His
Law or His salvation. As a matter of fact, if there are
no absolutes, how can we know anything
absolutely? How is it possible to even say absolutely
there are no absolutes if nothing can be known
absolutely? It's an absurdity. Nevertheless, millions of
Christians have adopted this into their belief systems.
New voices, like Dr. Francis Schaeffer, sounded the
alarm and took up the banner but few took up the fight.
Even today, few youth pastors have read Schaeffer or
understand the nature of the battle in which they are
engaged. Indeed, they are facing the challenge that
today's students do not believe in absolute fact and
consider it arrogant that anyone should claim to have an
absolute truth. Unfortunately, they don't see the
contradiction when they state that absolutely.
Nevertheless, this belief alone makes evangelism
difficult, because the worldview basis for discussion
between Christians and non-believers has become so wide
that bridging it is difficult.
The most urgent call for an attitude change in youth
pastoring today is to begin training church youth to
grapple with the worldviews, which they will encounter
in schools and colleges, and to have a strong countering
response using the Christian worldview. A number of
ministries are attempting to achieve this, but until it
becomes a top priority for all churches, several things
1) The Church will continue to lose large numbers of
youth to other worldviews, despite all the Biblical
training. Bible study must stop being taught in a vacuum
and begin to have a functional objective in the world.
This includes the basis for belief, the basis for
believing why God's Word is His Word, etc.
2) Churches themselves will continue to grow in
numbers but decline in believers because those churches
will have adopted the prevailing worldviews, while
calling it Christianity. As Francis Schaeffer predicted,
many churches are beginning to look more and more like
the world because they are unable to stand against the
humanistic spirit of the age. Already many mainline
churches have been knocked totally off a Biblical base
and have wholeheartedly adopted the new humanist
worldview while retaining only a patina of Christian
language and belief in God. Their worldview systems are
amalgams of atheism and Christianity, similar to some of
the heresies the Church experienced in its infancy.
3) Because of having allowed itself to be chased out
of the political arena in the name of separation of
church and state or the "work of the Kingdom,"
the Church will find a new challenge from a totally
"atheized" secular government, which is now
poised to begin telling the Church what it will say and
do and what it must not say and do; what it can believe
and what it cannot believe. Moreover, the governments of
the West will continue their deterioration towards
increased authoritarianism as the chaos caused by the
new relative values continues to unravel the bonds that
held society together under the Christian paradigm.
We are simply following in the footsteps of those
countries of the past, which embraced the humanist,
socialist worldview; from Rousseau and the French
Revolution to the Bolsheviks in Russia, to Nazi Germany,
to Chairman Mao, to Castro's Cuba. In each case, the
holders of the new worldview knew they had to co-opt or
defeat the Church in order to put their value system in
place in the hearts and minds of the people, especially
the children. Typically, the churches of those countries
never saw it coming and in many cases actually
participated in their own demise. In essence, been
there, done that - but few of the churches see the
There is still time to meet the challenge in the
West, but the window is closing rapidly. One thing is
certain: western Christians in the first half of the
21st century will increasingly face a brave new world of
unexpected pressures on their faith, mainly as a result
of having abandoned the field of battle in education and
politics almost 50 years ago. They are still having
trouble remembering that the practice of one's faith is
a battle, not a picnic.
Copyright © 1996-2001 by Koinonia
House Inc., P.O. Box D, Coeur d'Alene, ID 83816
For a more in-depth study:
Wars - 4 Audio Tape Set - John
Loeffler / Audio Book
The religion of humanism
has been rebaptized in our society as 'secular'
science or philosophy. This teaching exposes the
campaign to eliminate the reality of God and Truth
from our lives.
Perhaps there is
still time to meet the challenge of SECULAR humanism in the West.
But indeed the window is closing rapidly. In fact, there are signs the
window is about to be slammed shut by that latest chess move now in
progress. The church, in its sudden wakefulness to the devastation already
wrought by materialistic secularism, is in danger of being blindsided by the
current - and I believe, final - move on the chessboard: COSMIC
Rushing into the
spiritual vacuum, purposely devised, of unstable atheism and agnosticism will be
the original plu-potent lie spoken in Eden: "You will not surely
will be like God." Reincarnation and Self-realization in ten easy
words - ten delicious words! It's all there: "evolution's" manifest goal:
the breathing, becoming Goddess - the Self! the One!
The old sea-level
fallen humanity: pantheism.
The seed planted
by Vivekananda in the late 1800's, the seed watered by Yogananda in the mid
1900's - the seed scattered into 100 million heads by the Beatles in the latter
quarter of the past century- have produced a crop of "born again
pagans" who don't need to be convinced the "supernatural" is
real. "My Sweet Lord - Hare Krishna!" O sweet deliverance
(many sighed) from pale atheism!
The Greek word
translated antichrist in the New Testament can mean "in
place of Christ" as well as "against Christ." The religion of the
counterfeit who will declare himself to be God is already being practiced, and
not exactly in a corner. Before God's Messiah and His "New Age"
appear, the superhuman chessplayer seeks to activate and validate decoys of
both. The new gloss on the original lie is that any path pursued fervently
enough will lead to the same mountaintop - even the path where
"truth" and "lie" alike dissolve in an ocean of subjective
Postmodernism and You:
Jim Leffel and Dennis McCallum,
Religion has sustained over a century of attack from modernists.
Yet, people today are as interested in spiritual things as ever.
Recently, sociologists have shown that 95% of adults believe in God or
a Universal Spirit. Books on angels, near death experiences, New Age,
Christianity and the occult top the best seller lists. While people
are still interested in spiritual things today, the kind of
spirituality commanding interest has changed vastly in recent years.
Today spirituality means mystical experience, not truth. We
can seek and savor any experience we please, as long as we remain
inclusive and tolerant.
The Two Cardinal Sins of Postmodern Religious Culture
Sin #1. Intolerance
Not too long ago, intolerance meant rejecting or even persecuting
practitioners of other religions. Not any more. Now, intolerance means
questioning the validity of any aspect of another's religion. To the
majority of Americans below fifty today, questioning the
truthfulness of another's religious views is intolerant and morally
offensive. This prohibition against differing with other's
viewpoints is postmodern.
Strangely, it turns out that one exception is allowed to this
universal prohibition against intolerance. For some reason, it's okay
to question and even denounce religious views when dealing with what
is pejoratively labeled "fundamentalism." Today, when people
refer to "fundamentalists" they no longer mean just
religious extremists like the Shiites waging holy war against the
West. Today, fundamentalism may refer to anyone who claims to know
truth or who charges another religion with falsehood. Fundamentalists are in the wrong because they subscribe to universal
truth claims (metanarratives), and are therefore
"totalistic," or "logocentric," in their thinking.
Sin #2. Objectivity
Postmodernists argue that modernists use reason to exclude people.
When people apply reason to religion, before long, someone's reality
is being branded "false." This is not inclusive, and it is
also harsh and naive, because:
|First, questioning another's beliefs implies that we can refer
to an external objective reality, when in fact, reality is a
social construct. By trying to apply rationality to religion, we
are really trying to impose enlightenment European culture onto
|Also, by challenging the truth claims of another's religion, we
devalue the person who is the source of his or her own truth.|
Thus, under the banner of inclusiveness postmodern thinkers
actually include all but one group -- those of us who are committed to
biblical authority. According to postmodernists, fundamentalists are
those who believe religious teachings are true or false, not just
within their own paradigm, but over all paradigms.
"Fundamentalists" view religious truth as objectively true,
and therefore subject to rational scrutiny. Evangelicals certainly
fall within this circle because we believe that if something is true,
its opposite cannot be true at the same time, regardless of what
paradigm a person holds.
Postmodernism and Eastern Mysticism
Borrowing or Coincidence?
Observers of religion are aware of an intrinsic relativism in
eastern mystical traditions such as Hinduism, Buddhism and Taoism.
Monistic faiths, these religions teach that everything is part of one
essence. All these traditions not only reject reason as tool for
discovering truth, they even utilize contradiction on the rational
level to drive learners to a deeper or higher plane of understanding.
For instance, Buddhism describes the Tao as the sound of one hand
clapping. The Hindu Brahman is "always and never."
paradoxical thinking, with its rejection of rationality, is naturally
compatible with postmodernism.
Also, neither eastern religion nor postmodernism accept the
reality of the world we observe in an objective sense. In
Hinduism, the material world is Maya, which means illusion.
What seems real to us (the material world) is an illusion. We have
already seen how postmodernism holds that reality is a social
Although it is tempting to think these two outlooks have borrowed,
one from the other, this is apparently not the case. Instead, they are
compatible outlooks which have made common cause in popular
culture, often blended with native spiritualities and New Age
consciousness. Remember, tribal nature religions also make no use of
reason in their paths to knowledge of the world. These religions rely
on tradition and intuition for know spiritual things, none of which
can be tested in any way by reason.
Other contemporary movements have proven to be compatible with
postmodernism as well. Some aspects of the recovery movement are
strongly suggestive of postmodern thought:
What do we suggest when we urge group members to give themselves to
"God as you understand him" or to their "higher
power?" Ultimately such vague and subjective formulas suggest
that the content of belief is irrelevant. A higher power could
be the God of the Bible, but it could also be anything from the
recovery group itself (which is often encouraged) to a New Age concept
of "the god within" to the gods of Buddhism. [AA's
cofounder, Bill W., states, " . . .the designation 'God' [does
not] refer to a particular being, force or concept, but only to 'God'
as each of us understands that term." (AlAnon's Twelve Steps
and Twelve Traditions, New York: Al-Anon Family Group
Headquarters, 1981, p. ix). Alcoholics Anonymous doctrine also teaches
explicitly that the support group can act as one's "higher
power." (See Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions, p.
People might have a religious experience with such a higher power,
but one thing is discounted: The importance of propositional truth.
Or, to put it differently, postmodern worshipers are like postmodern
readers; they are the source of truth, not the discoverers
The literature of the recovery movement teaches that it is
inappropriate to question another person's higher power, because
recovery is tied to their belief in the power of the God of their
understanding. When you think about it, Twelve Step spirituality is
distinctly postmodern in the way personal interpretation or
experience and personal empowerment are substituted for
truth about God.
Consciousness and Reality
Postmodern thought also dovetails neatly another feature of New Age
Consciousness: The way consciousness can create or alter reality.
New Age religion, mental imaging can create new realities, not unlike
the way affirmative postmodernists hope to create new realities.
Although New Age thinkers have not thus far demonstrated the
fascination with political power seen in postmodern circles, they also
favor oppressed tribal peoples as more pure than western culture.
Experience and Authority in Religion
Of the several religious leaders we profile in The Death of
Truth, most explicitly say that personal experience is the key to
understanding religion. Most also call for dissociation as a
preface to the religious experience. Dissociation is the loss of
conscious awareness of the real world. Specifically, postmodern
religionists call for people to leave all rational categories
behind before ascending to the godhead. Thus, they see one thing
as the supreme barrier to deep religion: Reason, and its handmaiden,
Whether it's Joseph Campbell, John Bradshaw or Fredrick Turner, all
agree that we must first take leave of our senses before trying to
know spiritual things. How similar they are to some calls within the
The Rest of the Story
In The Death of Truth,
our chapters on Religion and
Evangelical Imperatives, and Practical Communication Ideas cover:
|How specific leading postmodern religionists think in their own
|How postmodernism has also crept into the evangelical church
|Practical ways we can communicate with our postmodern culture
without losing our grip on truth|
Copyright © 1996 Xenos Christian
All Rights Reserved.
September 11 attacks on the World Trade Center, Larry King Live
spectrum of spiritual/religious guests to focus on "The Tragedy and
God." This show, broadcast September 29, 2001, could serve as a
case study of the radical divergence in world-views outlined in the above
article on postmodernism. The following is a condensed transcript from the
call-in portion of the interview. The five guests were:
(new age author of How to Know God), Harold Kushner (liberal
"Rabbi" and author of Living a Life That Matters), Maher
Hathout ("moderate" Muslim cleric), Bruce Wilkinson (Christian
author of The Prayer of Jabez), and John MacArthur (evangelical
pastor and author of numerous books, including The Gospel According to Jesus).
The gist of the first call-in question was:
the hijackers in heaven or hell?"
Hathout: "Well, we never second-guess God… What we can say is that
God told us in the Koran that those who kill innocent people will be punished…absolutely.
[Larry asks John to respond to that.]
MacArthur: "Well, I believe there's only one way to go to
heaven and that's through faith in Jesus Christ, and obviously their faith was
not in Christ. That's evident -- not because I know their religious background
-- but because if you know Christ, your life is transformed and you don't do
things like that."
[Larry calls on Rabbi Kushner.]
Kushner: "Well, I feel a little bit excluded by that last statement.
But, you know, I've got problems with hell. I have trouble believing in a God
who would send people to eternal damnation. I might be prepared to do it; I
rather think God is beyond that. I think they're not in heaven; I think heaven
is reserved for people who've lived a good life. I think they have simply
disappeared. They had dreams of an afterlife; they had dreams of pleasure and
praise and being welcomed and all that, and I don't think they are anywhere --
they are non-existent and that's the best thing that could have happened to
[Larry invites Bruce's response.]
Wilkinson: "They stand before the Lord, God Himself… [The issue
is] how they had planned on handling the problem of their sin… [Their
disobedience to God's laws merits the death penalty.] "Jesus Christ came up
to bat…" [Their destiny depends on their response to Christ.]
[Larry asks Deepak where he thinks they are.]
Chopra: "Larry, I don't know where they are. Only God knows where
they are. But I have a problem with some of your panelists. Because I don't
think Christ was a Christian, I don't think Buddha was a Buddhist, and I don't
think Mohammed was a Mohammedan. I think it's just that kind of thing that says
only the way of Jesus is right, then the others say only the way of Mohammed is
right, only the way of Buddha is right, only the way of Krishna is right. We
have sacrificed a Universal Being and created a tribal chief with our gods, and that's
Larry: "Would you like to counter that, John?"
MacArthur: "Yeah, I just don't think -- all due respect -- that
Deepak is the authority on that. I don't think Rabbi Kushner is the authority
either. I don't think I'm the authority. Where are you gonna go?
to go to an authoritative book -- "
Larry: "And that is?"
MacArthur: "The Bible."
Larry: "Which Bible? The Koran?"
MacArthur: "The holy Bible."
Larry: "Well the Koran is a Bible. He believes in the Koran."
MacArthur: "Yes, I know he does, I know he believes in the
Koran. I don't believe in the Koran. I don't believe that is the holy book
written by God."
Larry: "But why is your belief better than his belief? It's
different, but why is it better?"
MacArthur: "It's not a question of comparing people's beliefs.
It's a question of what is the authority. And the Word of God, the
Bible, has stood the test of time and been affirmed, ever since Moses, as a
divine word from God."
Larry: "But then any person who doesn't believe in Christ is doomed
to hell, whether he has lived a wonderful life?"
MacArthur: [Nodding] "This is what the Bible teaches."
[Next Larry takes a call-in question about
whether we should forgive the hijackers, to which there are various responses.
Kushner says that because he was not personally injured, it's not his job to
forgive; he says that, without excusing what the hijackers did, he can
contemplate "letting go" all thoughts about the hijackers because they
don't deserve a place in his mind. Mr. Hathout agrees, but adds, "Justice
has to be rectified -- there must be a just retribution," though not
necessarily revenge. Wilkinson says God commands us to forgive, that forgiveness
is a gift made possible by Christ's atonement. MacArthur says that the essence
of Christianity is forgiveness, and that he does forgive, but God's holiness is
on another level and will demand a holy justice. Deepak's comment follows:]
Chopra: "I think I agree with the Rabbi. I think also that justice
and forgiveness are ultimately God's prerogative. And I keep listening to
everybody referring to God as a 'he' -- which gives him a male sexist
orientation. I think God is the absolute power of the universe and is neither a
he or a she. The best we can do in this situation is to make sure that
every thought of ours, every word of ours, every act of ours, has a nurturing
effect on our loved ones and then we extend that love to our extended family and
ultimately all of humanity."
Larry [to John]: "You don't agree with that"
MacArthur: "The bigger question is, why do people die?" [John
goes on to say that we are more comfortable with the fact of death when people
around us die singly, but in truth thousands die every day -- just not usually
in bunches of hundreds or thousands. He then recalls Jesus' words concerning
those "eighteen on whom the tower in Siloam fell," when the Lord
asserted that they were by no means greater sinners than his listeners and that
unless they repent they will likewise perish. The World Trade Center attack
should be a wake-up call to repentance, an instance of God's "severe
mercy." Kushner and Hathout react negatively to this view, the latter
calling it a "trivialization of human life." Deepak counters that
Americans have been "caught up in the melodrama of triviality" and the
attack underscores the importance of "raising our consciousness" to include
awareness of the needs and inequities within humanity as a whole.]
[The next question comes from a caller exasperated that these "men of
God" can't seem to agree on anything. He asks,
can't we just agree in a broader sense that God is God?"]
Larry [to John]: "Couldn't you agree with that?"
MacArthur: "Yes, back to the question about God. Again, I hear all
these responses, but we have to go back to some authority outside of
ourselves. I mean, I can't define "God" for the universe
starting with me. God in the Scripture is the Creator and Sustainer of the
universe. He's the Sovereign over everything, who was incarnated in Jesus
Christ, came down to die on a cross to provide atonement so that the sins of
those who repent were paid for in full and therefore heaven was open to them.
That is the God revealed in Scripture."
Larry: "A two-year-old baby down at the bottom of the Trade Center
wasn't a sinner."
MacArthur [snapping fingers]: "Instant heaven. Instant heaven."
[Larry turns to Hathout for response. The Muslim says he agrees with
"everything John said except the incarnation part -- because we don't
believe in that." Hathout says God is too transcendent to ever be
imprisoned in matter: "To [John], Christ is God. To me, Christ is a
Larry: "Deepak, you began the program by saying that God is
Chopra: "God is love."
Larry: "Mathematically, everything is nothing."
Chopra: "God is love. God is the source of all that was, all that
is, all that will be. Let's not give God a brand name."
[As a final wrap-up, Larry asks where was God in this tragedy?
MacArthur asserts that God, being omnipresent, was there as well, and the attack
should be viewed as His wake-up call. With programming time running out,
Kushner takes his final seconds to laud the encouraging overlap he has just
observed between his and Hathout's views. The show ends with images from
Ground Zero and a stirring female rendition of "God Bless America."]
Despite the fact that Deepak
had adapted his rhetoric to make inroads with a mass audience, it is rare for
the media to allow such a stark display of mutually exclusive world-views
dancing this close to root issues. Those issues involve both the nature of
and proper touchstone of "truth." The opposing champions, like
jousting knights, were clearly Chopra and MacArthur. One champion
rearing from the east rides under the banner of relative "truth"
derived from subjective experience (higher consciousness). In the opposing
lists, from his
tattered western tent, the outnumbered upstart from a history thought already
buried gallops beneath the flag of absolute truth derived, incredibly, from one
specific "verbal deposit" originated by a Creator who is objectively
Recall the words from the Successful Quest for Understanding
article above: "Fundamentalists are in the wrong because they subscribe
to universal truth claims... Questioning another's beliefs implies that we
can refer to an external objective reality... Fundamentalists are those
who believe religious teachings are true or false, not just within their own
paradigm, but over all paradigms." Horrors alive!
MacArthur is so shockingly
embarrassing (and disturbing) to some of the other panelists because in our
postmodern environment he seems a throwback to a discarded concept of truth that
is simply laughable to the intelligentsia. The very suggestion that God
has spoken to our race through one particular book threatens to reopen that
Pandora's Box of saved and lost, God and the devil,
Israel and non-Israel, heaven and hell! This is the one
thing the omni-tolerant must not tolerate! Perhaps the man has learned to
speak somewhere, but he must be a lowbrow! Who let him in
here? Trip his horse, Larry!
One final note concerning the
interview. When Deepak says, "The best thing we can do in this
situation is to make sure that every thought of ours, every word of ours, every
act of ours, has a nurturing effect on our loved ones and then we extend that
love to our extended family and ultimately all of humanity," his platitudes
come loaded with prior, but concealed, assumptions. Again quoting from the
article above: "In New Age religion, mental imaging can create new
realities." If there is no external objective reality (so that
even our loved ones are part of the illusion of the Impersonal forgetting
itself!) this tactic of monitoring our thoughts, words and actions is what, of
itself, produces the restructuring of our surroundings. In Deepak's
worldview, human beings can create their reality from within.
please visualize re-socialized suicide bombers!
Visualize whirled peas.
Coming soon: the storm's
storm, there is
indeed a New Age coming , and, however incredibly, it will open with a literal 1000
year "Reich" - one long Sabbath's rest - in dusty old Jerusalem!
See Revelation 20:3, Daniel 2:44, Isaiah 9:6-7, Zechariah 14:9, Hosea 3:5, Ezekiel 43:7,
Isaiah 66:23, Habakkuk 2:14, Luke 1:32-33 for starters.