Monday, 16 August 2010

Who's to blame?

It's amazing how clever people can say such foolish things.  I will write about some of these things over the next wee while but the issue that has got me writing now is something that Christopher Hitchens said in a written debate with a Christian, Doug Wilson.  He said,
"if Christianity is to claim credit for the work of outstanding Christians or for the labors of famous charities, then it must in all honesty accept responsibility for the opposite." 
 What he was saying was that Christians can't point to all the good done by Christians in the name of Christianity, and then wash their hands of all the evil done by Christians in the name of Christianity.  My question is, "Why not?"  Why should Christianity take the blame for people who violate its teachings?  How can Christianity be culpable for people who disobey it?  Doug Wilson's response is worth quoting,
"you say that if “Christianity is to claim credit for the work of outstanding Christians or for the labors of famous charities, then it must in all honesty accept responsibility for the opposite.” In short, if we point to our saints, you are going to demand that we point also to our charlatans, persecutors, shysters, slave-traders, inquisitors, hucksters, televangelists, and so on. Now allow me the privilege of pointing out the structure of your argument here. If a professor takes credit for the student who mastered the material, aced his finals, and went on to a career that was a benefit to himself and the university he graduated from, the professor must (fairness dictates) be upbraided for the dope-smoking slacker that he kicked out of class in the second week. They were both formally enrolled, is that not correct? They were both students, were they not?
"What you are doing is saying that Christianity must be judged not only on the basis of those who believe the gospel in truth and live accordingly but also on the basis of those baptized Christians [I think there ought to be quotes here around "Christians" - PMcC] who cannot listen to the Sermon on the Mount without a horse laugh and a life to match. You are saying that those who excel in the course and those who flunk out of it are all the same. This seems to me to be a curious way of proceeding."
Curious indeed, but that is the irrationality of people who fight against God.  Listen to Hitchens' moral outrage about the evil of certain people, but he seeks to demolish the foundation upon which such moral judgments can be made.  Without God you set your own standards, make your own rules, and have nothing you can point to or appeal to in telling others that their actions are evil, and no reason to give them why they should care.

People can't attack the Christian worldview without borrowing from it.  It's the only worldview that fits reality.  I pray Christopher Hitchens (who is getting treatment for cancer) acknowledges that soon, and bows the knee to the God against whom he is rebelling and from whom he is running.