Sunday, August 07, 2005

More on the secular

The Times remembers Kennedy's speech at the Greater Houston Ministerial Association (my emphasis):
"I believe in an America where the separation of church and state is absolute–where no Catholic prelate would tell the President (should he be Catholic) how to act, and no Protestant minister would tell his parishioners for whom to vote–where no church or church school is granted any public funds or political preference–and where no man is denied public office merely because his religion differs from the President who might appoint him or the people who might elect him.

"I believe in an America that is officially neither Catholic, Protestant nor Jewish–where no public official either requests or accepts instructions on public policy from the Pope, the National Council of Churches or any other ecclesiastical source–where no religious body seeks to impose its will directly or indirectly upon the general populace or the public acts of its officials–and where religious liberty is so indivisible that an act against one church is treated as an act against all.

"For while this year it may be a Catholic against whom the finger of suspicion is pointed, in other years it has been, and may someday be again, a Jew–or a Quaker–or a Unitarian–or a Baptist. It was Virginia's harassment of Baptist preachers, for example, that helped lead to Jefferson's statute of religious freedom. Today I may be the victim–but tomorrow it may be you–until the whole fabric of our harmonious society is ripped at a time of great national peril."

Compare that to the position of the Student Ambassadors of Jim Ryun, discussed yesterday: "the shrinking religious influence in the U.S. and Europe is empowering the terrorists."

So, who do you want to believe? A guy who could run fast a few decades ago, or the war hero and President who stared down Castro and Khrushchev?

It's not just Ryun's people who seem oddly unaware of our nation's history or the secular tradition that has guided the West
since the 1500s. The Discovery Institute's famous Wedge Document states (my emphasis):

The proposition that human beings are created in the image of God is one of the bedrock principles on which Western civilization was built. Its influence can be detected in most, if not all, of the West's greatest achievements, including representative democracy, human rights, free enterprise, and progress in the arts and sciences.

Yet a little over a century ago, this cardinal idea came under wholesale attack by intellectuals drawing on the discoveries of modern science. Debunking the traditional conceptions of both God and man, thinkers such as Charles Darwin, Karl Marx, and Sigmund Freud portrayed humans not as moral and spiritual beings, but as animals or machines who inhabited a universe ruled by purely impersonal forces and whose behavior and very thoughts were dictated by the unbending forces of biology, chemistry, and environment. This materialistic conception of reality eventually infected virtually every area of our culture, from politics and economics to literature and art.
The same rhetoric was a staple of the Board of Education "hearings" last spring.

Again, this idea that a secular society is a novel development of the 20th Century. Ignore the fact that people said these same things of Galileo. If the planets had moons orbiting them, what would become of the celestial spheres? Were these divinely created structures perforated with holes, so that moons could pass through? Impossible. Undoubtedly, the three popes who specifically endorsed geocentrism all said that teaching heliocentrism would lead to a decline in morality, victory of the Moors, and a materialistic society unconcerned with morality.

Some people
even say that today:

As we know, modern man has continually used the Copernican model and its variant forms (Galileo, Kepler, et al) in an effort to weaken both the authority of Scripture and the authority of the Church to hold them accountable for the way they live their lives. If I've heard it once, I've heard it a thousand times: "We don't have to take the Bible literally because, as we all know, the sun doesn't go around the earth, but Scripture says it does. So why should I trust the Bible?"

If Scripture can be dismissed by claiming that it is mostly a collection of myths and fables from ignorant and primitive people; and if the Church can be faulted for siding with an aberrant view of cosmology; then modern man thinks he has found the ultimate excuse for relieving himself of being bound by either Scripture or the Church.

Scripture is very clear that the earth is stationary and that the sun, moon and stars revolve around it. (By the way, in case you're wondering, "flat-earthers" are not accepted here, since Scripture does not teach a flat earth, nor did the Fathers teach it). If there was only one or two places where the Geocentric teaching appeared in Scripture, one might have the license to say that those passages were just incidental and really didn't reflect the teaching of Scripture at large. But the fact is that Geocentrism permeates Scripture. Here are some of the more salient passages (Sirach 43:2-5; 43:9-10; 46:4; Psalm 19:5-7; 104:5; 104:19; 119:90; Ecclesiastes 1:5; 2 Kings 20:9-11; 2 Chronicles 32:24; Isaiah 38:7-8; Joshua 10:12-14; Judges 5:31; Job 9:7; Habakkuk 3:11; (1 Esdras 4:12); James 1:12). I could list many more, but I think these will suffice.
Isn't there also something in the Bible about the truth setting something free?