Table of Contents
Religion Must Die 1
Roots of the War 13
Radical Faith 27
Christian America 37
Prayer in the Schools 47
The War Begins 63
Moving the World 75
Battle Lines 93
A Radical Epidemic 109
Obama’s Arc 127
Religious Liberty 137
Civil War 159
Chapter 1: Religion Must Die
On Sunday morning, November 5, 2017, a gunman walked into the First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs, Texas. He wore tactical gear and a black face mask marked with a white skull, and he carried a semiautomatic rifle. He shot and killed two people outside the church, then went inside, walking up and down the aisle, cursing and shooting people in the pews. He reloaded again and again, emptying fifteen magazines of ammunition.
When the gunman emerged from the church, he found an armed citizen facing him from across the street—a former NRA firearms instructor named Stephen Willeford. The two men exchanged fire, and Willeford hit the gunman in the leg and upper body. The wounded shooter limped to his car and sped away. He was later found at the wheel of his crashed car, killed by a self-inflicted gunshot to the head.
The attack killed twenty-six people, ages five to seventy-two, and wounded twenty. The killer had been courtmartialed in the Air Force for domestic violence (he had beaten his wife and cracked the skull of his infant stepson).
The Air Force failed to report his conviction to the FBI’s crime information database. The slaughter of unarmed Christians in a church sanctuary was a cowardly attack on one church. But what happened after the church shooting was part of a wider war by the political left against Christians and Christianity. As news of the shooting broke, prominent Christians took to Twitter and urged fellow believers to pray. Speaker of the House Paul Ryan, a devout Roman Catholic, tweeted, “Reports out of Texas are devastating. The people of Sutherland Springs need our prayers right now.”
From Hollywood to New York and Washington, the left responded with a chorus of jeers and insults. Former MSNBC political commentator Keith Olbermann suggested in a tweet
that Speaker Ryan should proctologize himself with his prayers. Seattle Democrat, Representative Pramila Jayapal, tweeted, “They were praying when it happened. They don’t need our prayers. They need us to address gun violence . . . .”
Comedian Paula Poundstone sneered: “If prayers were the answer” to mass shootings, “wouldn’t people at a church service be safe?” Actor Wil Wheaton tweeted, “The murdered victims were in a church. If prayers did anything, they’d still be alive, you worthless sack of . . . .”
These and other comments from the secular left displayed not only a smug disdain for Christians but an amazing ignorance of how religious Christians view prayer. Christians don’t view prayer as a magic incantation to make themselves bulletproof. Christians believe in the teachings of Christ who warned them: “In the world ye shall have tribulation.” In the Garden of Gethsemane Christ prayed to be delivered from the
agony of the cross, but he ended his prayer, “nevertheless not my will, but thine, be done.” The answer to Christ’s prayer was silence—and he was later crucified on a Roman cross.
In her commentary on the church shooting, MSNBC host Joy-Ann Reid tweeted that “when Jesus of Nazareth came upon thousands of hungry people,” he didn’t pray; he fed the people. She’s simply wrong. Matthew 14:19 records that, before Jesus fed the people, he looked heavenward and prayed. Jesus prayed and he acted. That’s how his followers still view prayer. They pray and they act. At around the same time JoyAnn Reid was tweeting, the Billy Graham Rapid Response Team was already in action, rolling into Sutherland Springs with sixteen chaplains to comfort grieving families and help meet their material needs. Two days after the shooting, the Southern Baptist Convention announced it would pay all funeral expenses for the twenty-six slain churchgoers. Because this is a world made by flawed human beings, it will continue to be a world of tribulations. There will be more
shootings, attacks, fires, floods, earthquakes, and other tragedies. Christians will call for prayer, and leftists will mock them for it, imagining there are solutions that can perfect this life, and regarding Christians as the enemies of that perfection.
Since its birth in the fires of the French Revolution, the political left has been at war with religion, and with the Christian religion in particular. In a symbolic revolutionary act, the
Jacobin leaders of the French Revolution changed the name of the Cathedral of Notre Dame to the “Temple of Reason.” Then, in the name of “reason,” they proceeded to massacre the inhabitants of the Vendée region of west central France because its citizens were Catholics.
This has been called the first modern genocide, but it was far from the last. Karl Marx famously described religion as “the opium of the people” and “the sigh of the oppressed.”
Inspired by his hatred ever since, revolutionaries have regarded religion as the enemy of progress and the mask of oppression. In Russia, Marx’s disciples removed religious teaching from the schools, outlawed criticism of atheists and agnostics, and burned 100,000 churches. When priests demanded freedom of religion, they were sentenced to death. Between 1917 and 1935, 130,000 Russian Orthodox priests were arrested, 95,000 of whom were executed by firing squad.
Radicals in America today don’t have the political power to execute religious people and destroy their houses of worship. Yet they openly declare their desire to obliterate religion. In their own minds, their intentions are noble—they want to save the human race from the social injustice and oppression that religion allegedly inflicts on humanity.
“Religion must die in order for mankind to live,” proclaimed left-wing commentator and comedian Bill Maher in Religulous, the most-watched documentary feature of 2008. Both title and script were transparent attempts to stigmatize religious people as dangerous morons whose views could not be taken seriously. Throughout the film, Maher travels to
Jerusalem, the Vatican, and Salt Lake City, as well as other centers of religion, interviewing believers and making them appear foolish. How did he gain interviews with his victims? He lied to them, saying he was making a film called A Spiritual Journey.
According to Maher, “The irony of religion is that because of its power to divert man to destructive courses, the world could actually come to an end.” He predicts the destruction of the human race as a result of “religion-inspired nuclear terrorism.” Hence the need for religion to die if mankind is to live. Maher’s views accurately reflect the attitudes of a movement called the “New Atheism,” whose leaders are prominent scientists and best-selling authors, far superior in intellect to Maher but equally contemptuous of religion and religious believers. Like Maher’s film, the New Atheism movement seeks to discredit all religious belief by caricaturing its adherents as simpletons, and worse. The stated goal of the New Atheism is to delegitimize and extinguish the religious point of view.
Maher’s suggestion that religion—and evidently religion alone—threatens the existence of the human race is simply malicious. Both he and the New Atheists are blind to all the positive influences religion has had on human behavior, and they ignore all the atheist inspired genocides of the last 250 years. In the twentieth century alone, Communist atheists slaughtered more than 100 million people in Russia, China, and Indochina. Not even the bloodthirsty jihadists of radical Islam have killed innocents on anything close to such a scale.
It’s striking that Maher and the New Atheists ignore the appalling body count of Marxism—an ideology that is explicitly atheistic, whose atrocities were committed in the name of social justice. According to Maher it is religious people who are “irrationalists,” and dangerous because they “steer the ship of state not by a compass, but by the equivalent of reading the entrails of a chicken.” Yet civilization was built and improved by such irrationalists—believers like Locke, Newton, Washington, Wilberforce, Sojourner Truth, and
Abraham Lincoln. For the five millennia of recorded history, with few exceptions the most rational, compassionate, and successful decision makers, both military and civilian, have
been people guided by a belief in God, including some whose spiritual compass took the form of reading the entrails of a chicken.
Near the end of Maher’s rant, he pauses to address any religionist who may have unwittingly strayed into the cinema where Religulous was playing: “Look in the mirror and realize that the solace and comfort that religion brings you actually comes at a terrible price. If you belonged to a political party or a social club that was tied to as much bigotry, misogyny, homophobia, violence, and sheer ignorance as religion is, you’d resign in protest.”
How myopic! And the crimes and horrors committed by atheism? From the French Revolution to the Bolshevik, from the Vendée to Vietnam, the bigotries and atrocities committed by the forces of godlessness match and even outweigh those committed by the forces of godliness. If a history of violence, persecution, and murder serves to discredit an ideology, why hasn’t Maher resigned in protest from the party of atheism?
The New Atheists
The New Atheism arose in response to the attacks of 9/11, when Islamist jihadists, crying “Allah is great,” murdered 3,000 innocents in the World Trade Center. The 9/11 attacks were indeed a case of religious fanaticism leading to heinous results. In their wake, the New Atheists to their credit, and virtually alone among progressives, did not shrink from connecting the attacks to Islamic beliefs. They did not, however, limit their attacks to Islamic fanaticism, but maliciously included modern Christianity and Judaism in their screeds about religious terrorism. They did so despite the fact that Jews and Christians are the primary targets and victims of the Islamic jihadists. Moreover, Judaism and Christianity have undergone reformations and, as a result, have not prosecuted religious wars since the time of the Crusades.
The principal manifesto of the New Atheist movement was published in 2006. Written by evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkins, The God Delusion maintains that post-Darwinian scientific advances have rendered any belief in God irrational and unnecessary. To make the case, Dawkins’s argument drastically narrows the compass of religious teachings, viewing them as crude and fallacy-ridden attempts to provide nonscientific accounts of natural forces and phenomena.
But how many Jews and Christians today actually cling to a literal reading of the Bible? How many go to church or synagogue to challenge the knowledge that science has provided of the workings of the universe? Dr. Jennifer Wiseman is a devout Christian and the senior astrophysicist (with degrees from MIT and Harvard) at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center. She said, “You have to look at biblical literature from the perspective of when it was written, the original audiences, the original languages, the original purposes . . . the message that was meant to be conveyed by it. The Bible’s not a science text.”
In attacking religious people for their ignorance of science, Richard Dawkins fails to account for the many scientists who, like Wiseman, are religious, who believe in a Divinity, and who see no conflict between faith and science. He also dismisses the spiritual and moral dimensions of religion—perhaps its most important features. Do the profound moral
lessons of Genesis depend on thinking the world was created 6,000 years ago, in six 24-hour days? If Genesis were a work of fiction, it would still provide believers and nonbelievers with guides to a better life.
The most telling aspect of Dawkins’s argument is the unscientific animus with which it is pursued. The vitriol that infuses his book suggests an agenda that is not wholly, or even primarily, intellectual: “The God of the Old Testament is arguably the most unpleasant character in all fiction: jealous and proud of it; a petty, unjust, unforgiving controlfreak; a vindictive, bloodthirsty ethnic cleanser; a misogynistic, homophobic, racist, infanticidal, genocidal, filicidal, pestilential, megalomaniacal, sadomasochistic, capriciously
Only a fool would worship such a God. But consider, for a moment, the particulars of Dawkins’s indictment. “Megalomaniacal” means to have delusions of grandeur. If
God is God, then His grandeur is hardly a delusion. “Control freak”? If God is the Author of everything, then isn’t “control” implicit in His job description? And how can “control freak”
be applied to Him except by a comedian in search of a laugh line? “Pestilential”? Can Dawkins be referring to the locusts, which Exodus describes as a plague designed to free His people from slavery in Egypt? Is Dawkins siding with the Egyptian slave masters? Or is he misreading a story that might be metaphorical or that actually contains some historical facts?
Dawkins’s writing oozes contempt for people of faith:
Do we know of any . . . examples where stupid ideas have been known to spread like an epidemic? Yes, by God! Religion. Religious ideas are irrational. Religious beliefs are dumb and dumber: super dumb. Religion drives otherwise sensible people into celibate monasteries, or crashing into New York skyscrapers. Religion motivates people to whip their own backs, to set fire to themselves or their daughters, to denounce their own grandmothers as witches, or, in less extreme cases, simply to stand or kneel, week after week, through ceremonies of stupefying boredom.
The idea that all religious people are stupid is, well, stupid. Of course there are dumb religious people, just as there are dumb nonreligious people. However, both Isaac Newton and Galileo were devout Christians, as were virtually all the geniuses who created the scientific revolutions we associate with the Enlightenment, from Galileo to Pascal. In fact, they were inspired to look for order in the universe precisely because they believed it was the work of a Divine designer.
A Dialogue Between Science and Faith
A contemporary example of a devoutly believing scientist is Dr. Francis Collins, who headed the Human Genome Project from 1993 to 2008 and is currently the director of the National Institutes of Health (NIH). He once wrote, “I have found there is a wonderful harmony in the complementary truths of science and faith. The God of the Bible is also the God of the genome. God can be found in the cathedral or in the laboratory. By investigating God’s majestic and awesome creation, science can actually be a means of worship.”
Dr. Collins is not only a believer, but a former atheist who converted to Christianity as an adult. In 2006, the same year Dawkins’s book appeared, Collins published The Language of
God: A Scientist’s Evidence for Belief, which explains the compatibility of science and religious conviction. To mark the publication of both men’s works, Time International organized a debate between them.
In their discussion, Collins maintained that if God is a being outside nature, then God—along with the questions pertaining to God—is outside the scope of science as well, including the question of whether God exists or not.
Collins pointed out that believers have varying views on the Genesis account of creation:
“There are sincere believers who interpret Genesis 1 and 2 in a very literal way that is inconsistent, frankly, with our knowledge of the universe’s age or of how living organisms are related to each other. St. Augustine wrote that basically it is not possible to understand what was being described in Genesis. It was not intended as a science textbook. It was intended as a description of who God was, who we are and what our relationship is supposed to be with God. Augustine explicitly warns against a very narrow perspective that will put our faith at risk of looking ridiculous. If you step back from that one narrow interpretation, what the Bible describes is very consistent with the Big Bang.”
Dawkins and Collins did agree that science is the only valid way to explain the processes, laws, and phenomena of the natural world. “The difference,” Collins said, “is that my presumption of the possibility of God and therefore the supernatural is not zero, and yours is.”
Another difference between the two scientists was Dawkins’s ill-concealed contempt for religious people. In response to Collins’s comments about those who interpret
Genesis literally, Dawkins remarked that Collins would “save himself an awful lot of trouble if he just simply ceased to give them the time of day. Why bother with these clowns?”
“Richard,” Collins replied, “I think we don’t do a service to dialogue between science and faith to characterize sincere people by calling them names. . . . Atheists sometimes come across as a bit arrogant in this regard, and characterizing faith as something only an idiot would attach themselves to is not likely to help your case.”
So why do Richard Dawkins and his fellow New Atheists demonstrate such hatred and loathing toward religious people? It’s because they have a faith of their own. They see themselves as liberators—pioneers of a new millennium for the human race. They envision a future in which religion has been vanquished and rationality prevails. They want a world in which humanity is finally free from myths and superstitions. They believe in a vision of a world of “new men and women,” liberated from the chains of the past. Science will usher in a utopian age of reason, enlightenment, and social justice.
This is the vision of an earthly redemption. It’s a fantasy in which human beings aspire to act as gods and create new worlds—and it is nothing new. It is the faith of Marxists and Communists who set out to transform the world from the one we know into one that is entirely different—liberated. It is the essence of the original sin recorded in Genesis, when Satan tempted the first man and woman, saying, “Then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods.” And it is the source of the monstrous catastrophes of the twentieth century, which were engineered by socialists in Germany and the Communist bloc.