This is from National Review.
This afternoon, during a confirmation hearing for 7th Circuit Court of Appeals nominee Amy Coney Barrett, Democratic senator Dianne Feinstein attacked the nominee for her Roman Catholic faith.
Barrett is a law professor at the University of Notre Dame who has written about the role of religion in public life and delivered academic lectures to Christian legal groups. Drawing on some of these materials, Feinstein launched a thinly veiled attack on Barrett’s Catholic faith, asserting that her religious views will prevent her from judging fairly.
“When you read your speeches, the conclusion one draws is that the dogma lives loudly within you,” Feinstein said. “And that’s of concern when you come to big issues that large numbers of people have fought for for years in this country.” Feinstein is clearly hinting here at the Supreme Court decision in Roe v. Wade, a ruling that Feinstein supports so vociferously that she has even called it a “super-precedent.”
[…]Other Democratic senators took issue with Barrett over her faith as well. Senate minority whip Dick Durbin criticized Barrett’s use of the term “orthodox Catholic,” insisting that it unfairly maligns Catholics who do not hold certain positions about abortion or the death penalty. (Durbin himself is a Catholic who abandoned his previous pro-life position.) “Do you consider yourself an orthodox Catholic?” he later asked Barrett point blank.
And Hawaii senator Mazie Hirono snarked, “I think your article is very plain in your perspective about the role of religion for judges, and particularly with regard to Catholic judges.”
It was reported that Feinstein actually said “The dogma lives loudly within you, and that’s of concern“. Think about that.
To me, the more important thing about this story is how comfortable secular people are about forcing their secular convictions down the throats of others. What they’re essentially saying is this: “I can use power to push my worldview onto you, and I can use power to stop you from living according to your convictions”. You can be certain that Diane Feinstein has answers to all of the same big questions that theists have answers to: “does God exist?” “did Jesus rise from the dead?” “is there a purpose to suffering and evil?” “is there life after death?”, etc. She has different answers to those same questions, but she wouldn’t accuse herself of having dogma. She feels very comfortable pushing her worldview through political power, but doesn’t think that theists ought to be able to do the same.
And this provides an interesting lesson for Christians: how did it come to be the case that Christian convictions are automatically perceived by secular leftist elites to be irrational and dangerous? Why is it that Christians shouldn’t be allowed to participate in politics, but atheists should, since they answer the same big questions with their respective worldviews? The answer is simple. Atheists perceive Christians as having a worldview that is not based on fact. And they perceive themselves as having a worldview that is based on fact. How did this happen?
Well, simply put, Christian leaders made it happen, by refusing to focus on apologetics and evangelism. For better or worse, Christian churches (from fundamentalist Pentecostal to conservative Presbyterian) have decided that evangelism and apologetics are not important enough to focus on at church. And the result of this is that as non-Christians work their way through school and into the workplace, they never encounter any intelligent Christians who have reasons and evidence for their beliefs. Not just Christian beliefs, but policy beliefs, too. The church has failed to teach their members and adherents the importance of having answers, and this (along with the Sexual Revolution) is one of the main reasons why America has gone secular.
Even if you spend your childhood and teen years in church, you will never hear serious discussion of whether God really exists or whether the Bible is historically reliable. These things will be assumed to be true. You will be shamed if you ask questions, and you will even be shamed if you study apologetics to know how to answer these questions. This is considered pious by most church leaders, no matter what denomination you’re in. Atheists are not blind to the fact that most people who profess Christ are ignorant of competing views, and cannot explain why they hold their views using reason and evidence. And this is where the perception that Christians are too dangerous to be allowed to participate in politics comes from.
This past week, I had a conversation with a senior engineer about his beliefs. He had attended Christian schools K through 12, and Christian churches his entire life. It all ended for him the minute he hit college. I perceived that he had questions that had gone unanswered, and asked him if he had ever seen any formal debates on Christianity. His answer? “I did not know that such a thing even existed”. I sent him a couple of debates to watch, and we are going to have lunch to discuss his background, because he was open to a rational discussion of the evidence. It doesn’t matter what church you are in, you will almost certainly never see a formal debate on Christianity. Because of this lack of emphasis on open debate, we lose a lot of intelligent people the minute they hit the university campus.
Things have gotten so bad, that it is now dangerous to even come out as a Christian in the education system, although there is still space to do it in the workplace, if you are careful who you speak to, and when. Most Christians I know, though, have no interest in jeopardizing their careers by being perceived as stupid at work. And yet there is this tremendous need for every Christian to reset the perceptions on ultimate questions. We must do this, or we are finished.
Anyway, it’s interesting to take a look at two of the nominees that Democrat senators opposed. Are they even qualified? Or are they anti-intellectual dingbats with no experience at all?
The Daily Signal has a helpful article about them. It turns out that they are exquisitely well-educated and have solid resumes, as well. That’s something else that Christians should not neglect if we want to be respected by secular elites.
We should all be very serious about our educations, careers and finances. Finances are important because it is an immediate signal to others that you have a wisdom about how to live. If we marry, then our marriage and children also sends a signal about competence. My view is that Christians should be learning much more than just the Bible in church. A little basic economics, basic apologetics, basic New Testament, and basic philosophy of religion would definitely help to correct the perceptions that others have of Christianity. And the study of those areas would make the average rank-and-file Christian much more confident about discussing those things in school and at work.
Positive arguments for Christian theism
- The kalam cosmological argument and the Big Bang theory
- The fine-tuning argument from cosmological constants and quantities
- The origin of life, part 1 of 2: the building blocks of life
- The origin of life, part 2 of 2: biological information
- The sudden origin of phyla in the Cambrian explosion
- Galactic habitable zones and circumstellar habitable zones
- Irreducible complexity in molecular machines
- The creative limits of natural selection and random mutation
- Angus Menuge’s ontological argument from reason
- Alvin Plantinga’s epistemological argument from reason
- William Lane Craig’s moral argument
- The unexpected applicability of mathematics to nature