Puzzling Propaganda

scattered puzzle pieces
Image by congerdesign from Pixabay

There’s an increasing number of puzzling and jumbled sentences in pieces aimed against Christianity. Let’s dissect a couple of examples.

This Publishers Weekly write-up tells how publishers are “pivoting toward” a new spiritual age. One book in the report proposes “a new, more morally robust Christianity for disillusioned post-evangelicals.” Let’s break that down.

  • If Christianity is the longstanding teachings of Jesus, per the Bible, how could that be made “new”? It is what it is. Now, if someone has taught us wrong, we need to get a new teacher. But that’s not a new Christianity.
  • It reads as if the old Christianity wasn’t “morally robust” enough. Hmm. Isn’t criticism more typically that Christianity is too strict, “just a bunch of rules”? (If you do hear someone agree with the “needs to be more morally robust” idea, ask for details.)
  • Can it really be Christianity—or even “the church,” which some people blame—that pushed evangelicals toward disillusion? What was it about God/Jesus/the Bible that did that? Or if it means “the church,” that’s not fair. The church is all believers in all places and in all eras. Surely a disillusioned person was not turned off by the millions of believers he’s never met and knows nothing about.
  • We also need to look inside the book that sentence is promoting and further note how Christianity is portrayed there.

Here’s a puzzling sample from Richard Rohr’s book From Wild Man to Wise Man:

“Enlightenment is not so much knowing as unknowing.… You cannot get yourself enlightened by any known program, ritual or moral practice. This drives the religionists crazy.… All you can do is stay on the journey… and ask that we will recognize the secret doorway that God opens out of complex consciousness.” (pg 35–36) Let’s break that down.

  • The Bible says that knowing plus obeying the Word of God, not unknowing, is what makes us wise (ex: Psalm 119). And keep in mind that Rohr’s “unknowing” has to be understood through his mysticism lens—of having some sort of experience in an altered state, empty of thought/content. Or perhaps Rohr’s idea of enlightenment is different from wisdom. Hard to tell.
  • Who are “the religionists” who go “crazy” trying to squeeze us into some mold, apparently of their own making? We should not assume, but should find out exactly who and what Rohr means.
  • “Secret” shows up routinely in writing that hints that the Lord’s path is hidden or isn’t enough.
  • “Complex consciousness” sounds very scholarly. But backing up there, doesn’t it feel as if we might miss out? What happens to us if we don’t “recognize” the door God opens?
  • But oops… If we’re supposed to “unknow,” then how would we have the brain capacity to “recognize” something?

There are more and more such jumbled statements even in Christian books. Examine such carefully. Here’s a post that deals with this general subject in a somewhat snarky way. And I’m not the least bit sorry.

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