There has been a lot happening with evangelical author Eric Metaxas which this blog will write about shortly. One of those items is Metaxas offering to die for Donald Trump and his cause. Michael Gerson in the Washington Post writes about Metaxas and about evangelicals who support Trump continually. As always this blog enocurages people to subscribe and support their newspaper.
“There is a cult of ignorance in the United States, and there has always been. The strain of anti-intellectualism has been a constant thread winding its way through our political and cultural life, nurtured by the false notion that democracy means that ‘my ignorance is just as good as your knowledge.”
and assembling all the chief priests and scribes of the people, he inquired of them where the Christ was to be born. They told him, “In Bethlehem of Judea, for so it is written by the prophet: “‘And you, O Bethlehem, in the land of Judah, are by no means least among the rulers of Judah; for from you shall come a ruler who will shepherd my people Israel.’”
Matthew 2:4-6 ESV
This blog is still working on what is a complex post on the Liberty University’s Board of Trustees. But its getting closer to being completed. In the meantime while I work on that post I want to put up a couple of other articles to drive this blog forward. There has been a lot happening with evangelical author Eric Metaxas. I have been putting aside material to write about him. So expect a couple of posts in the near future. But in the meantime I saw an op-ed in the Washington Post by Michael Gerson that is interesting on Eric Metaxas. As always this blog encourages you to support your local newspaper and subscribe. The original article can be read in, “Prominent evangelicals are directing Trump’s sinking ship. That feeds doubts about religion.”
Elsewhere Metaxas predicted, “Trump will be inaugurated. For the high crimes of trying to throw a U.S. presidential election, many will go to jail. The swamp will be drained. And Lincoln’s prophetic words of ‘a new birth of freedom’ will be fulfilled. Pray.”
Just to be clear, Metaxas has publicly committed his life to Donald Trump, claimed that at least two members of the Trinity favor a coup against the constitutional order, endorsed the widespread jailing of Trump’s political enemies for imaginary crimes, claimed Abraham Lincoln’s blessing for the advance of authoritarianism and urged Christians to pray to God for the effective death of American democracy. This is seditious and sacrilegious in equal measure.
There is something pathetic about Metaxas’s panting desire to be cruise director on Trump’s sinking ship. But I don’t think his attitude is merely the result of ambition or hero worship. Metaxas seems to be a man in the grip of a powerful delusion. And this ends up feeding doubts about religion itself.
When prominent Christians affirm absurd political lies with religious fervor, nonbelievers have every reason to think: “Maybe Christians are prone to swallowing absurd religious lies as well. Maybe they are simply credulous about everything.” If we should encounter someone who believes — honestly and adamantly believes — in both the existence of the Easter Bunny and in the resurrection of Christ, it would naturally raise questions about the quality of his or her believing faculties. It would call into question the standard of evidence being applied and muddy the meaning of faith itself.
Dedicating your life to Trump is in the same category. If a Christian leader believes — honestly and adamantly believes — that Trump is a fount of truth, a defender of the faithful, a Lincolnian guardian of liberty and a victim of a nationwide electoral conspiracy, he or she is likely to fall for anything. People like this — people like Metaxas — make the critical intelligence of Christians seem limited. And what these leaders say about religion loses in credibility.
It is easy to laugh at a figure such as Metaxas. But this plays down the true stakes of faith and doubt, which could hardly be higher. For me, doubt is like staring into an abyss. The triumph of doubt involves a downward spiral of consequences. Without a transcendent moral order, ideas such as good and evil, noble and ignoble, are pegged in mid-air. Yes, it is possible to live honorably in revolt against a meaningless universe. But it is also possible to live dishonorably with the same justification. If raw matter is all that is, ideals such as justice are ultimately rootless. Consciousness would be a brief gap between oblivions. And death would always win in the end.
Needing faith in some higher order does not make that faith true. But needing it does not make it false either. So how do we decide? If Christianity were judged entirely by the quality of Christians, it would be a tough sell — and I include myself in the judgment. Most of us are a jumble of resentments and fears. Most of us can be proud, cruel, foolish and self-deluding.
The best response is found in Advent. The most reassuring message of the season is that the existence of hope does not depend on us. It does not rely on our virtue or wisdom. It is a delivery from elsewhere. The German theologian Dietrich Bonhoeffer — who knew something of the subject — compared Advent to a prison cell “in which one waits and hopes and does various unessential things . . . but is completely dependent on the fact that the door of freedom has to be opened from the outside.”
The Advent narratives are filled with waiting people: Mary, Zechariah, Elizabeth, Simeon, Anna. They lived in patient expectation and were receptive to the Good News when it arrived. Their hope did not come as the result of a battle. It came like a seed planted in the ground. Like the sun rising in defiance of night. Like a child growing within his mother.
We are not the heroes of the story. Our contribution is to be watchful and open. But hope arrives in awesome humility. God is with us. Jesus is with us. This is everything.