It is tragic when a son eschews the path that his father has prepared for him. At least when that path is one of godliness and of following Christ. The relationship between father and son is a sacred kinship. My father taught me about Jesus and has lived as a Christian since I was a child. One of my regrets is that my actions a few years ago brought pain to my father. I also have two sons. Both of them make me proud to be their dad. They have been wise enough to learn from both my folly and my wisdom. It would be painful for me if they made the same mistakes or if they rejected Jesus.
That is what has happened to one of the sharper Christian minds of the 20th century. Francis Schaeffer was a giant among Christian thinkers when he was alive. His writings helped shape a generation of people into thinking about a Christian Worldview. His son, Frank, began by working with his father. In recent years, he not only has left that work, he has become an outspoken critic of what his father taught.
Frank Schaeffer now is a book author and writer for The Huffington Post. His last book was titled, Crazy for God: How I Grew Up as One of the Elect, Helped Found the Religious Right and Lived to Take All (or Almost All) of it Back. The title pretty well sums up the change in his life and thought.
Now I would agree that in the Christian Right, some people and some actions are just crazy. Every group has a “crazy uncle” that has to be handled. In many things, I would not identify with the Christian Right. On other things, I do. The problem with Frank Schaeffer is that he has a pretty broad definition of the Christian Right. That is, if you believe that the Bible is true, then you are one of the crazies.
So even though I can relate to the song that goes, “Clowns to the left of me, jokers to the right” I guess to Schaeffer I will be one of the crazies. That doesn’t mean that I buy all that everybody on the right proclaims, but I do believe that the Bible is true. If one rejects this, with what are they left? Here is what Schaeffer proposes:
Put fundamentalist religion in its place — in other words in the dustbin of history — and replace it with humanism, tolerant spirituality and science and we will have gone a long way to solving many other problems.
Being a religious fundamentalist of any kind should automatically disqualify a person from political office
In Schaeffer’s most recent article, he repeatedly makes disparaging comments about the Religious Right. Here is a sample:
- Doesn’t care what is true–or even fact-based
- live life informed by self-reinforcing beliefs which are proudly non fact-based
- rooted in deep-seated resentment that can’t be cured because what is resented never actually happened.
- resist facts in particular and have a loathing of education in general
- sexual, political and social dysfunction
- hate and exclusion
- paranoid nightmare
- Religious Loony Tunes
- La La Land
- dumb religion that is the root cause of the rape of the earth and the subjugation of women
- fundamentalists share one thing in common — intolerance of others
- sanction barbarity and are fundamentally anti-democratic as well as anti-truth policies
- demand an allegiance to a “jealous God”
- fundamentalists owe allegiance (to God) over and above their country’s constitutions or the rule of law or even common decency
- no longer believes in the legitimacy of our government
- threatens violence
- American version of Iran
- Those values aren’t democratic. They aren’t patriotic. They are revolutionary and seek to impose a theocracy.
I could deal with much of this and this article would be far too long. I will simply ask, “Who sounds like they have a tolerance problem?”