Fascism in Canada: grad student dragged into kangaroo court for showing debate clip

Criminalizing speech that makes people feel bad is illegal in Canada

Brace yourself for the most blatant infringement on a student’s rights by a secular-leftist university administration that you have ever heard with your own ears. This story comes to us from Ontario, Canada, home of the famous fascist Ontario Human Rights Commission, which prosecutes people for having thoughts that are not approved of by government elites.

A news story appeared in the National Post. (H/T Amy)

Excerpt:

During a seminar with first-year communications students, Wilfrid Laurier University teaching assistant Lindsay Shepherd screened a TVOntario debate to illustrate the sometimes-controversial politics of grammar.

The video, an episode of The Agenda with Steve Paikin, included University of Toronto professor Jordan Peterson presenting his case against the use of non-gendered pronouns. It also included panellists taking the opposite viewpoint.

Nevertheless, after an anonymous student complained, Shepherd found herself reprimanded for violating the school’s Gendered and Sexual Violence policy. In a subsequent meeting with university officials, she was accused of creating a “toxic” and “problematic” environment that constituted violence against transgendered students. She was also falsely told that she had broken the law.

Shepherd recorded the meeting. Audio and selected transcripts are below. The voices are of Shepherd, her supervising professor Nathan Rambukkana, another professor, Herbert Pimlott, as well as Adria Joel, manager of Gendered Violence Prevention and Support at the school.

Just so you know, TVOntario would be the equivalent of your local state-level PBS. This is a government-run, publicly-funded TV station. Fully licensed by the CRTC.

Here’s a clip from the transcript, where the Communication Studies professor threatens the student with criminal prosecution:

Rambukkana: …[Peterson] lectures about critiquing feminism, critiquing trans rights —

Shepherd: I’m familiar. I follow him. But can you shield people from those ideas? Am I supposed to comfort them and make sure that they are insulated away from this? Like, is that what the point of this is? Because to me, that is so against what a university is about. So against it. I was not taking sides. I was presenting both arguments.

Rambukkana: So the thing about this is, if you’re presenting something like this, you have to think about the kind of teaching climate that you’re creating. And this is actually, these arguments are counter to the Canadian Human Rights Code. Even since … C-16, ever since this passed, it is discriminatory to be targeting someone due to their gender identity or gender expression.

Debate on secular left dogma is not permitted in Canada, because it’s their state religion:

Rambukkana: Do you see how this is something that is not intellectually neutral, that is kind of “up for debate,” I mean this is the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

Shepherd: But it is up for debate.

Rambukkana: You’re perfectly welcome to your own opinion, but when you’re bringing it into the context of the classroom that can become problematic, and that can become something that is, that creates an unsafe learning environment for students.

Shepherd: But when they leave the university they’re going to be exposed to these ideas, so I don’t see how I’m doing a disservice to the class by exposing them to ideas that are really out there. And I’m sorry I’m crying, I’m stressed out because this to me is so wrong, so wrong.

That’s right – these left-wing fascists actually made her cry.

The professors tell her that being neutral and showing both sides is also a violation of the Ontario Human Rights Code:

Rambukkana: Do you understand how what happened was contrary to, sorry Adria, what was the policy?

Joel: Gendered and Sexual Violence.

Rambukkana: — Gendered and Sexual Violence Policy. Do you understand how —

Shepherd: Sorry, what did I violate in that policy.

Joel: Um, so, gender-based violence, transphobia, in that policy. Causing harm, um, to trans students by, uh, bringing their identity as invalid. Their pronouns as invalid — potentially invalid.

Shepherd: So I caused harm?

Joel: — which is, under the Ontario Human Rights Code a protected thing so something that Laurier holds as a value.

If you want to share a quick news clip on social media, here’s a quick 12 minute news report from one of Canada’s most famous free-speech warriors, the irreppressible Ezra Levant:

You can hear 10 minutes of the recording here:

The full recording is here. (42 minutes)

Imagine that this happened to you, and conducted by an institution that you paid for twice: with your taxes, and with your tuition money. You would literally be paying the thought police to make you cry for not agreeing with the politically correct approved Canadian thoughts about transgenderism. When Americans vote Democrat, we are walking along a path that will turn our entire country into a place like Ontario, Canada. There will be none of the freedoms guaranteed in the U.S. Constitution. Canada doesn’t have those freedoms, and that’s where the American left wants to take us. To be on the political left is to be a fascist. By definition. The Democrat Party simple IS the party of fascism. That’s their agenda. It doesn’t matter whether individual Democrat voters disagree with fascism, they are voting to take the country towards the fascism that we already see in Canada.

By the way, let this be a reminder to you to never drop math, and always study STEM subjects in university, with the best areas being engineering, especially petroleum engineering and computer science. Stay away from areas that are disconnected from reality. If it can’t be tested (English, Education, Communication Studies, Lesbian Dance Theory) then it shouldn’t be studied at a secular-leftist gulag. Communication Studies is what people study when they have no marketable skills, and don’t aspire to do meaningful private sector work. You need to avoid being part of the fascist big government machine, and that means having marketable skills.

How does church appear to someone raised in a non-Christian home?

Church sucks, that's why men are bored there

My friend Wes posted an article about how communication is set up in the church, and why it’s not effective at equipping Christians to defend their worldview in hostile environments. The article describes what I encountered in church, after I was raised in a non-Christian home and become a Christian on my own by reading the New Testament. The view presented in the essay is how I viewed the church, and is probably how most outsiders view church. I think it explains why young people leave the church in droves once they move out of their parents’ houses.

The author writes:

On the Internet, one soon discovers that many respected church leaders are quite unable to deal directly with opposing viewpoints. In fact, many of them can’t even manage meaningful engagement with other voices. Their tweets may be entirely one-way conversations. They talk at their audiences. They can talk about other voices, but fail to talk to them, let alone with them. Their representations of opposing viewpoints reveal little direct exposure to the viewpoints in question.

[…]Around this point, it can start to dawn on one that many church leaders have only been trained in forms of discourse such as the sermon and, to a much lesser extent, the essay. Both forms privilege a single voice—their voice—and don’t provide a natural space for response, questioning, and challenge. Their opinions have been assumed to be superior to opposing viewpoints, but have never been demonstrated to be so. While they may have spoken or written about opposing voices, they are quite unaccustomed to speaking or writing to them (not to mention listening to or being cross-examined by them). There are benefits to the fact that the sermon is a form of discourse that doesn’t invite interruption or talking back, but not when this is the only form of discourse its practitioners are adept in.

Many church leaders have been raised and trained in ideologically homogenous cultures or contexts that discouraged oppositional discourse. Many have been protected from hostile perspectives that might unsettle their faith. Throughout, their theological opinions and voices have been given a privileged status, immune from challenge. Nominal challenges could be brushed off by a reassertion of the monologue. They were safe to speak about and habitually misrepresent other voices to their hearers and readers, without needing to worry about those voices ever enjoying the power to answer them back. Many of the more widely read members of their congregations may have had an inkling of the weakness of their positions in the past: the Internet just makes it more apparent.

One of my friends who comments here as “Wintery’s Friend” actually did his M. Div, and I think it was he who told me that his seminary had dropped the lone course in apologetics that had been part of the curriculum. Now seminary grads don’t learn any opposing views. They just pre-suppose that the Bible is true in the same way that Mormons pre-suppose their Bible is true. It’s a Mormon epistemology that’s been adopted by Christian seminarians.

More:

If one’s opinion has never been subjected to and tried by rigorous cross-examination, it probably isn’t worth much. If one lacks the capacity to keep a level head when one’s views are challenged, one’s voice will be of limited use in most real world situations, where dialogue and dispute is the norm and where we have to think in conversation with people who disagree with us.

The teachers of the Church provide the members of the Church with a model for their own thinking. The teacher of the Church does not just teach others what to believe, but also how to believe, and the process by which one arrives at a theological position. This is one reason why it is crucial that teachers ‘show their working’ on a regular basis. When teaching from a biblical text, for instance, the teacher isn’t just teaching the meaning of that particular text, but how Scripture should be approached and interpreted more generally. An essential part of the teaching that the members of any church need is that of dealing with opposing viewpoints. One way or another, every church provides such teaching. However, the lesson conveyed in all too many churches is that opposing voices are to be dismissed, ignored, or ‘answered’ with a reactive reassertion of the dogmatic line, rather than a reasoned response.

You can imagine that the first questions that you’ll be asked by a non-Christian co-worker would be things like “why think God exists?” and “why think the Bible is history rather than legend?”. What I’ve learned from listening to pastors is that very few are equipped to answer those questions. Most just assume that God exists and that the Bible is inerrant. And they don’t show their work, because they haven’t done the work. Moreover, they actively oppose apologetics as “divisive” and “prideful”. And so their flocks can attend church for 20 years and never learn a single useful piece of information that can be used in a real-world discussion. If you’re wondering why kids raised in married Christian homes start getting drunk and shacking up with atheists the minute they hit college, then look at the pastors who mocked their honest questions instead of preparing to answer them with evidence.

More:

I believe that there are various problems in the Church that are exacerbated by this. Where they are led by voices that can’t cope with difference or challenge, churches will tend to become fissiparous echo chambers, where people are discouraged from thinking critically about what leaders are saying and doing. The integrity of the Church’s theological conversation will not be tested through criticism and challenge. Churches that are led by such leaders will habitually develop polarized oppositions with their critics.

The best sermon series I ever heard that took an evidential approach was by Andy Stanley. In the series, it was apparent that he had read a lot of non-Christians, and that he had thought about how to present Christianity with evidence to non-Christian seekers.

Unfortunately, he was attacked by anti-intellectual fideists, including John Piper, Denny Burk, Russell Moore and Al Mohler. These pious pastors oppose the use of evidence in apologetics, especially scientific and historical evidence. Their approach to Christian teaching is to parrot Bible verses and hope that it has a magical effect of compelling faith in unbelievers. I call this the magic-words view of the Bible. For example, these pastors would not use peer-reviewed evidence from the social sciences when discussing moral issues like premarital sex, they would just cite the Bible’s teaching on it – to non-Christians!

I don’t know about you, but I think that a peer-reviewed paper on the dangers of premarital promiscuity has far more weight than something like this from Denny Burk:

If the Bible is the word of God, then it merely needs to be proclaimed. It has intrinsic power that cannot be nullified by the most hardened of skeptics. For that reason, we can have confidence in proclaiming it to anyone. And we can say “the Bible tells me so” without blushing.

If you had to pick a single passage that explained the decline of Bible-based Christianity in America, you couldn’t find a better passage. What’s most surprising is that this fideistic view of Christianity is not even Biblical. The Biblical view of faith is that faith is trust in God, based on evidence. This is why Jesus offered his own resurrection as evidence to a generation of unbelievers. His miracles were also evidence offered to unbelievers. And the Old Testament is filled with examples of people like Isaiah presenting evidence to unbelievers. The fideist view sounds more like the Mormon “burning of the bosom” view.

I think the Mormon / fideist camp is just imposing their own man-made views onto the text in order to get out of the hard work of having to actually study and prepare to have debates with non-Christians. The motivation is laziness, and piety is just how they dress up their laziness to make it seem positive. Unfortunately, the product of this pious laziness is ignorance, and ignorance costs young people their faith. It doesn’t seem to bother these pastors at all that they can’t have meaningful engagements with non-Christians, or that they don’t equip young Christians to defend themselves. They’re oblivious to the world outside of the church doors.

In conclusion, we really need to stop giving respect to fideist pastors, if we expect to train up a generation of young Christians who are able to retain their faith and have an influence. We would never accept Mormon fideism as a sign of competence in any other real-world area of our lives, e.g. – auto repair, software engineering, surgery or tax law. We shouldn’t accept Mormon fideism as a sign of competence in teaching the Bible, either.

Positive arguments for Christian theism

Can secular leftist men find any value in women apart from sex?

Huma Abedin (left), Harvery Weinstein (center), Hillary Clinton (right)
Huma Abedin (left), Harvery Weinstein (center), Hillary Clinton (right)

So, lately we have had a lot of scandals in the media where secular leftist men have been accused of raping, sexually assaulting, and sexually harassing women. I have been getting increasingly concerned about how radical feminism’s sexual revolution agenda has destroyed romantic love and lifelong marriage for some time, and all these accusations coming out made me want to write something about it.

First of all, we can’t count on the secular left to stop this epidemic of abusing women. Secular leftists don’t care about women who are abused. As I mentioned in my previous post on the feminist defenders of Bill Clinton, feminists always circle the wagons to defend Democrat rapists and sexual criminals when they are discovered. Here’s another link for a different Democrat sexual assault apologist. This is what secular leftists do about sexual assault and rape. They make defenses for the rapists, and attack the victims’ character.

Matt Walsh has some helpful suggestions on how we can rollback the changes brought on by the secular left with their sexual revolution.

He writes: (H/T Dina)

I’m tired of talking about this sexual harassment thing. Let the victims come forward, let justice be done, but why are we spending every day talking about it? There’s no point.

There could be a point, but there isn’t. There isn’t, because we aren’t going to do anything to prevent these issues in the future. We aren’t learning anything. We aren’t coming up with solutions. We aren’t allowed to come up with solutions. The only thing we’re allowed to say is: “This is bad! So bad! Men are bad! So much badness! Very, very bad! Bad men! Bad!”

Matt’s article comes up with 3 solutions, and I’ll leave it to you to check them out. I only care about the third one for my post:

3) Emphasize chastity.

I mentioned this on Twitter and someone, who’s apparently a professional writer, asked me what the word means. That’s our culture in a nutshell. We literally don’t know what the word “chastity” means.

For anyone else who may be confused, chastity is the virtue which moderates our sexual desires. Basically, to be chaste is to practice restraint. A chaste person refrains from more than just sexual assault. He refrains, also, from pornography, vulgarity, sex outside marriage, and sex that is not in accordance with natural law. This all sounds downright archaic nowadays, I realize, but our outrage over sexual improprieties doesn’t amount to much if it isn’t rooted in a fundamental belief in the dignity of the human person.

Notice I say we should emphasize chastity, not that we are doomed unless everyone practices it perfectly. The problem is not just that people misbehave nowadays — indeed, people have misbehaved in the same ways throughout history — but that our culture has no real message and no real idea about how we ought to be behaving. We can say, “Don’t harass and assault,” but the message is not getting through because it’s insufficient on its own. People must be taught not to see each other as sex objects, but we can only teach them that if we teach them first about the sacredness of the sexual act and the inherent worth of all human beings. If we have ruled that out and abandoned chastity, then we cannot be shocked at the pigs who surround us.

First thing to say is that I don’t think that Matt’s ideas will be very attractive to a culture that is committed to an atheistic cosmos: random universe, no objective morality, purpose of life is happiness, no free will, no accountability when you die. Matt’s solutions require that people think that there is a design for human relationships with an objective right way and wrong way to handle relationships.

This sexual abuse epidemic is exactly what I would have predicted from powerful men who believe that they are machines made out of meat, living in an accidental universe with no objective moral laws, who will never have to answer to their Creator when they die. If God does not exist, then anything is permissible – so long as you can get away with it. If you want to know how secular leftist men treat women, look at how Harvey Weinstein treated women who were less powerful than he was.

On atheism, women are just animals – machines made out of meat. You can use them for your pleasure and then throw them away. There is nothing that women are “meant” to be, because there is no Designer. If you find a pretty girl who is fatherless, then by all means – take advantage of her but don’t get caught. This is rational on atheism. Atheism is the Harvey Weinstein religion. That’s what’s rational in a random, mindless universe with no free will and no accountability to an omnipotent moral lawgiver.

And if those nasty Christians disapprove of you, well you can just threaten them in court for refusing to celebrate your authentic atheist hedonism. That’s happening already – using the law to coerce Christians into approving of immorality. Weinstein himself donated millions to the Democrat party – the party that undermines sexual morality, and makes it easier for perverts to do what they want to do without being judged.

So what about Matt’s suggestion of a resurgence of chastity?

Chastity is a Judeo-Christian value that states that men and women who aren’t married to one another cannot engage in sexual activity. Chastity isn’t just abstaining from sex, though. It’s having opposite sex relationships in which you are actively seeking to set goals with a woman and help her to achieve those goals. So, let’s see what that looks like for me as a chaste man, then I’ll talk about whether this is even possible on any worldview other than orthodox Judaism or evangelical Bible-belieing Christianity.

In Christianity, women are equally made in the image of God as men, and they are made for the same purpose as men – to enter into a relationship with God through Christ. So, right away, I have a set of priorities for every woman on the planet that comes from my worldview. My goal with them is to help them to come to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ, and then after that, I want to lead and advise them to grow their skills so that they are able to live lives of influence and effectiveness. You can read all about Christian fellowship in Philippians, by the way. Fellowship in the work of the gospel is the business of Christianity and women are meant to be equal partners with men in that business. (Although they might have different roles at different times). Every woman is a potetional partner in the fellowship of the gospel, and so they all have value,

In my case, I have always tried to help women to study and find work that would prepare them to have an influence. For those who are too old to marry, I encourage them to have an influence through speaking, teaching or organizing events, for example. I have female friends who are too old to marry who I monitor. If they need support to get things done for God, then I give them encouragement and gifts to make their operations run smoother. Just today one of them e-mailed me her answer to an atheist who was trying to justify being moral on atheism. For a chaste Christian man, women don’t have to be young and pretty and sexually permissive in order to get basic care. They get care because they play for the same team as Christian men do, and they have the desire to get things done for the team.

There are other young women I mentor who are in other states, and/or are too young for me to marry. I try to get them to change their majors to STEM, to read books on apologetics and economics, to get jobs in the summer, to go to graduate school, to save their money by not wasting it on fun, and to keep an eye out for husband candidates by looking past mere appearances. The goal is to get them to have an influence, and that’s not going to be achieved with crazy emotional life choices made without any wisdom or experience. Again – they have value without having to be pretty or give in to my sexual desires. I don’t even understand what sex means outside of marriage. Sex is what married couples do in order to balance out the challenges of marriage and re-affirm the union. It’s a thing you speak about to your spouse who has committed to you for life. I wouldn’t speak about sex to someone I wasn’t married to, what sense would that even make? It makes no sense.

Is treating women well rational on atheism?

When you keep seeing stories of powerful secular leftists using their power to take what they want from women and then throw them away, remember that on atheism this is rational. If you want to get male-female relationships right, you have to get the worldview right.  Young women have a natural desire to dismiss rules and to pursue fun, without seeing the consequences of their actions in the long term.  There has to be some reason for a man to tell a woman the truth about what follows from her decisions. Men have to be willing to reason with a woman about what she should be doing today so that she reaches the goals she is aiming for tomorrow. Christian men have the capacity to put their self-interest on hold and say what needs to be said to treat women well. Atheist men don’t have any such restraint. We need to remember that ideas like atheism have consequences. It’s no use complaining about the effects when you put the causes in place yourself.

The psychological motivation of those who embrace postmodernism

Can a person be postmodern and a Christian? Not for long
Can a person be postmodern and a Christian? Not for long

Famous analytical philosopher John Searle has written a book “Mind, Language And Society: Philosophy In The Real World”, explaining what’s factually wrong with postmodernism. In the introduction, he explains what postmodernism is, and what motivates people to accept postmodernism.

He writes:

[…][W]hen we act or think or talk in the following sorts of ways we take a lot for granted: when we hammer a nail, or order a takeout meal from a restaurant, or conduct a lab experiment, or wonder where to go on vacation, we take the following for granted: there exists a real world that is totally independent of human beings and of what they think or say about it, and statements about objects and states of affairs in that world are true or false depending on whether things in the world really are the way we say they are. So, for example, if in pondering my vacation plans I wonder whether Greece is hotter in the summer than Italy, I simply take it for granted that there exists a real world containing places like Greece and Italy and that they have various temperatures. Furthermore, if I read in a travel book that the average summer temperature in Greece is hotter than in Italy, I know that what the book says will be true if and only if it really is hotter on average in the summer in Greece than in Italy. This is because I take it for granted that such statements are true only if there is something independent of the statement in virtue of which, or because of which, it is true.

[…]These two Background presuppositions have long histories and various famous names. The first, that there is a real world existing independently of us, I like to call “external realism.” “Realism,” because it asserts the existence of the real world, and “external” to distinguish it from other sorts of realism-for example, realism about mathematical objects (mathematical realism) or realism about ethical facts (ethical realism). The second view, that a statement is true if things in the world are the way the statement says they are, and false otherwise, is called “the correspondence theory of truth.” This theory comes in a lot of different versions, but the basic idea is that statements are true if they correspond to, or describe, or fit, how things really are in the world, and false if they do not.

The “correspondence theory of truth” is the view of truth assumed in books of the Bible whose genre is such that that they were intended by the authors to be taken literally, (with allowances for symbolism, figures of speech, metaphors, hyperbole, etc.).

But what about the postmodernists, who seek to deny the objectivity of external reality?

More Searle:

Thinkers who wish to deny the correspondence theory of truth or the referential theory of thought and language typically find it embarrassing to have to concede external realism. Often they would rather not talk about it at all, or they have some more or less subtle reason for rejecting it. In fact, very few thinkers come right out and say that there is no such thing as a real world existing absolutely, objectively, and totally independently of us. Some do. Some come right out and say that the so-called real world is a “social construct.”

What is behind the denial of objective reality, and statements about external reality that are warranted by evidence?

It is not easy to get a fix on what drives contemporary antirealism, but if we had to pick out a thread that runs through the wide variety of arguments, it would be what is sometimes called “perspectivism.” Perspectivism is the idea that our knowledge of reality is never “unmediated,” that it is always mediated by a point of view, by a particular set of predilections, or, worse yet by sinister political motives, such as an allegiance to a political group or ideology. And because we can never have unmediated knowledge of the world, then perhaps there is no real world, or perhaps it is useless to even talk about it, or perhaps it is not even interesting.

Searle is going to refute anti-realism in the rest of the book, but here is his guess at what is motivating the anti-realists:

I have to confess, however, that I think there is a much deeper reason for the persistent appeal of all forms of antirealism, and this has become obvious in the twentieth century: it satisfies a basic urge to power. It just seems too disgusting, somehow, that we should have to be at the mercy of the “real world.” It seems too awful that our representations should have to be answerable to anything but us. This is why people who hold contemporary versions of antirealism and reject the correspondence theory of truth typically sneer at the opposing view. 

[…]I don’t think it is the argument that is actually driving the impulse to deny realism. I think that as a matter of contemporary cultural and intellectual history, the attacks on realism are not driven by arguments, because the arguments are more or less obviously feeble, for reasons I will explain in detail in a moment. Rather, as I suggested earlier, the motivation for denying realism is a kind of will to power, and it manifests itself in a number of ways. In universities, most notably in various humanities disciplines, it is assumed that, if there is no real world, then science is on the same footing as the humanities. They both deal with social constructs, not with independent realities. From this assumption, forms of postmodernism, deconstruction, and so on, are easily developed, having been completely turned loose from the tiresome moorings and constraints of having to confront the real world. If the real world is just an invention-a social construct designed to oppress the marginalized elements of society-then let’s get rid of the real world and construct the world we want. That, I think, is the real driving psychological force behind antirealism at the end of the twentieth century.

Now, I’ll go one step further than Searle.

People, from the Fall, have had the desire to step into the place of God. It’s true that we creatures exist in a universe created and designed by God. But, there is a way to work around the fact that God made the universe and the laws that the universe runs on, including logic, mathematics and natural laws. And that way is to deny logic, mathematics and natural laws. Postmodernists simply deny that there is any way to construct rational arguments and support the premises with evidence from the real world. That way, they imagine, they are free to escape a God-designed world, including a God-designed specification for how they ought to live. The postmoderns deny the reliable methods of knowing about the God-created reality because logic and evidence can be used to point to God’s existence, God’s character, and God’s actions in history.

And that’s why there is this effort to make reality “optional” and perspectival. Everyone can be their own God, and escape any accountability to the real God – the God who is easily discovered through the use of logic and evidence. I believe that this is also behind the rise of atheists, who feign allegiance to logic and science, but then express “skepticism” about the origin of the universe, the fine-tuning of the universe, objective morality, the minimal facts concerning the historical Jesus, and other undeniables.

New study: decline in mainline church attendance linked to progressive theology

Church attendance for progressive denominations in free fall
Church attendance for progressive denominations in free fall

This study was reported in the Weekly Standard, of all places.

Excerpt:

A literal reading of scripture and faith in an interventionist God strengthen church attendance. According to a new academic study of what drives a mainline Protestant church to die out or succeed, preaching these two theological precepts makes all the difference.

The forthcoming article, entitled “Theology Matters,” confirms a truth universally acknowledged, or reasonably intuited anyway. The Christ-optional, Gospel-as-metaphor, liberal-progressive mainline Protestantism borne of our secular age keeps so loose a lock on wandering souls that they wander away—choosing boozy brunch, perhaps, over pew-sitting.

The authors, Drs. David Haskell, Kevin Flatt and Stephanie Burgoyne, used five years’ data gathered from 2,255 attendees of Anglican, Lutheran, Presbyterian and United Church of Canada parishes across the province of Ontario. (The United Church of Canada boasts an ongoing, unsurprising self-parody in an atheist minister no one seems to have ginned up the nerve to defrock.)

Approximately half of the authors’ subjects belong to growing parishes within these three mainline denominations, the other half to shrinking ones. Their most striking survey result finds churchgoers at shrinking parishes more doctrinally committed than their ministers.

That’s true about the atheist woman who is leading one of the denominations into decline:

An ordained minister with the United Church of Canada is resisting efforts to oust her from the pulpit because she is an atheist.

“I don’t believe in … the god called God,” Gretta Vosper told the Globe and Mail. “Using the word gets in the way of sharing what I want to share.”

She said that she believes the Bible is “mythology,” and denies that Jesus is the Son of God.

The United Church of Canada has majored in progressive politics . Progressive politics is more important to them than apologetics and theology. From what I’ve read, their ministers are more likely to affirm the writings of progressive atheists like John Dominic Crossan and Marcus Borg as “infallible” than the Christian Scriptures. We have similar problems in the USA with ELCA, PCUSA, ECUSA, and other far left denominations.

Church attendance by denomination, ages 23-35
Church attendance by denomination, ages 23-35

Mainline Roman Catholicism, which focuses less on the Bible and more on political goals like Obamacare, climate change alarmism and amnesty is also in decline. They are declining faster than any other denomination.

Here’s a quote from the study that breaks down the theology by change in church attendance:

When asked to agree or disagree with the statement “Jesus rose from the dead with a real, flesh-and-blood body leaving behind an empty tomb” 93% of growing church pastors agreed, 83% of growing church attendees agreed, 67% of declining church attendees agreed, and just 56% of declining church pastors agreed.

When asked if “God performs miracles in answer to prayer” 100% of the growing church pastors agreed, 90% of the growing church attendees agreed, 80% of the declining church attendees agreed, and just 44% of the declining church pastors agreed.

I think the problem is that when a minister quotes the Bible and espouses traditional theology, people can sense that this teaching is from God, because it is at odds with their selfish desires. They understand the authenticity of it, because it calls them higher. Progressives like Greta Vosper tell people that their current sinfulness is just fine, since the goal of spirituality is to look inside yourself for guidance so that you feel good. But does sinfulness really deliver results over the long term? We were designed by God for righteousness, not selfishness. I am pretty sure that Jesus knows a little more about human nature than Greta Vosper does.

Consider the words of Daniel 2:

1 In the second year of his reign, Nebuchadnezzar had dreams; his mind was troubled and he could not sleep.

2 So the king summoned the magicians, enchanters, sorcerers and astrologers to tell him what he had dreamed. When they came in and stood before the king,

3 he said to them, “I have had a dream that troubles me and I want to know what it means.”

4 Then the astrologers answered the king, “May the king live forever! Tell your servants the dream, and we will interpret it.”

5 The king replied to the astrologers, “This is what I have firmly decided: If you do not tell me what my dream was and interpret it, I will have you cut into pieces and your houses turned into piles of rubble.

6 But if you tell me the dream and explain it, you will receive from me gifts and rewards and great honor. So tell me the dream and interpret it for me.”

7 Once more they replied, “Let the king tell his servants the dream, and we will interpret it.”

8 Then the king answered, “I am certain that you are trying to gain time, because you realize that this is what I have firmly decided:

9 If you do not tell me the dream, there is only one penalty for you. You have conspired to tell me misleading and wicked things, hoping the situation will change. So then, tell me the dream, and I will know that you can interpret it for me.”

10 The astrologers answered the king, “There is no one on earth who can do what the king asks! No king, however great and mighty, has ever asked such a thing of any magician or enchanter or astrologer.

11 What the king asks is too difficult. No one can reveal it to the king except the gods, and they do not live among humans.”

12 This made the king so angry and furious that he ordered the execution of all the wise men of Babylon.

13 So the decree was issued to put the wise men to death, and men were sent to look for Daniel and his friends to put them to death.

14 When Arioch, the commander of the king’s guard, had gone out to put to death the wise men of Babylon, Daniel spoke to him with wisdom and tact.

15 He asked the king’s officer, “Why did the king issue such a harsh decree?” Arioch then explained the matter to Daniel.

16 At this, Daniel went in to the king and asked for time, so that he might interpret the dream for him.

17 Then Daniel returned to his house and explained the matter to his friends Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah.

18 He urged them to plead for mercy from the God of heaven concerning this mystery, so that he and his friends might not be executed with the rest of the wise men of Babylon.

19 During the night the mystery was revealed to Daniel in a vision. Then Daniel praised the God of heaven

20 and said:

“Praise be to the name of God for ever and ever;
wisdom and power are his.

21 He changes times and seasons;
he deposes kings and raises up others.
He gives wisdom to the wise
and knowledge to the discerning.

22 He reveals deep and hidden things;
he knows what lies in darkness,
and light dwells with him.

23 I thank and praise you, God of my ancestors:
You have given me wisdom and power,
you have made known to me what we asked of you,
you have made known to us the dream of the king.”

24Then Daniel went to Arioch, whom the king had appointed to execute the wise men of Babylon, and said to him, “Do not execute the wise men of Babylon. Take me to the king, and I will interpret his dream for him.”

25 Arioch took Daniel to the king at once and said, “I have found a man among the exiles from Judah who can tell the king what his dream means.”

26 The king asked Daniel (also called Belteshazzar), “Are you able to tell me what I saw in my dream and interpret it?”

27 Daniel replied, “No wise man, enchanter, magician or diviner can explain to the king the mystery he has asked about,

28 but there is a God in heaven who reveals mysteries. He has shown King Nebuchadnezzar what will happen in days to come. Your dream and the visions that passed through your mind as you were lying in bed are these:

29 “As Your Majesty was lying there, your mind turned to things to come, and the revealer of mysteries showed you what is going to happen.

30 As for me, this mystery has been revealed to me, not because I have greater wisdom than anyone else alive, but so that Your Majesty may know the interpretation and that you may understand what went through your mind.

People can see right through progressive “spirituality”. They see that this is man-made humanism designed to make people feel better. They know that this is just one person’s opinion, and not from God. The blind leading the blind, as the Bible says. Greta Vosper isn’t deriving her worldview from a truth-centered investigation of science, history or logic. It’s feelings all the way down, and that’s not useful to people who are looking for objective truth and purpose.

…integrating Christian faith and knowledge in the public square

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