Note: Republished from March 3, 2018
"At some point, there's going to be enough pressure that it is just going to be too embarrassing to believe in God." – Samuel Harris ("Letter to a Christian Nation")
JOHN STUART MILL wrote about the tyranny of prevailing opinion. Conventional 'wisdom.' "Consensus" versus last century's "outdated" values and mores. Like, when the Lord comes, "will He find Faith on the earth?"
"The Puritan heritage distilled through the 18th century patriots without, however, loss of its original religious strength explains many features in Lincoln's thought." – William Wolf, "The Religion of Abraham Lincoln" (1963) Further excerpts:
"The prophetic note of a God of mercy Who punishes the sins of men in the judgments of history with a view to reformation would become a dominant theme in [Lincoln's] later religious utterances, especially in his presidential proclamations [such as his Thanksgiving proclamations].
"Here Lincoln saw much more clearly than most of the parsons of his day that there is an unbiblical preaching of pardon of sin that, by extricating the individual man from his historical and social setting, gives him illusions about punishment in this world and the next.
"Lincoln understood the gospel to mean the salvation of men in both a this-worldly and a next-worldly framework. Many ministers had reduced Christianity to a message of escape for individuals in the NEXT world."
TO PUT THIS IN MODERN CONTEXT:
"Lincoln's religion cannot be hermetically sealed off from his social, economic, and political attitudes. His political action, as revealed by his own words, was ultimately the social expression of an understanding of God and of man that demanded responsible activity. This is contrary to a widespread modern opinion that religion should be a separate interest OR EVEN A HOBBY IN LIFE and should not be ALLOWED to influence fields like politics.
"No person as deeply immersed as Lincoln in the biblical faith could possibly take such a view. His criticism of the churches of his day was that they neglected this fundamental love of God and of neighbor by too much introverted attention upon correctness in theological opinion . . . "
IN ADDITION TO LINCOLN'S WRITTEN WORDS, Wolf mentions an anecdotal conversation that Lincoln had with a personal friend or two:
"Isaac Cogdal, who had known Lincoln from the time of the New Salem period, recalled a discussion on religion in Lincoln's office in 1859; Herndon was in the office at the time. Lincoln expressed himself in about these words:
"He did not nor could not believe in the endless punishment of any one of the human race. He understood punishment was parental in its object, aim, and design, and intended for the good of the offender; hence it must cease when justice is satisfied.
"He added this remark, that punishment being 'a provision of the gospel system,' he was not sure but the world would be better off if a little more punishment was preached by our ministers and NOT SO MUCH PARDON OF SIN. This last comment has all the earmarks of an authentic Lincoln utterance." [my caps]
In 1860, 20 of 23 ministers in Springfield voted against Lincoln for President, probably because he never joined one of their churches. But as someone said, some people are "buttresses" of the Church; they support it from the outside.
In 1962 DECISION magazine published an article by Richard Nixon in which he said he had heard some of the 20th century's great theologians speak, but he sort of wished they would do more preaching from the Bible rather than just about the Bible. That's what it's going to take for the 21st century's Witnesses to stand up to the coming withering attacks from the Christian-hating and Israel-hating Left!
Someone said that "the search for truth" is a delight to modern theologians, more important than the Truth itself, because the "search" allows them to avoid taking a firm stand on anything. Their "Faith" is more like religious Nihilism than that of the Lord they profess to be working for; "nihilism" being a belief in "nothing at all," or "NIL."
P.S. As I write, it's "Oscar" weekend (big whoop). In the USA TODAY the other day, there was a page one article in which 94 percent of women in the film business responding to a survey said that they had been harassed or assaulted sexually. Surprise, surprise! Didn't they know that the men who run that business are creeps? And if you take off your clothes and pretend to have sex with a man who isn't your husband in front of three or four cameras all day, do you expect to be treated like Mother Theresa the rest of the day?
"Hollywood's a place where they'll pay you a thousand dollars for a kiss, and fifty cents for your soul." – Marilyn Monroe
"If you ask me to play myself, I will not know what to do. I do not know who or what I am." – Peter Sellers
"They have great respect for the dead in Hollywood, but none for the living." – Errol Flynn© Curtis Dahlgren
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