The Christian Propaganda that Inspires Michele Bachmann

Jason Pitzl-Waters —  August 9, 2011 — 162 Comments

Republican presidential candidate Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann is performing strongly in Iowa polls, and while some are skeptical that she has the momentum necessary to win the Republican nomination, we are often told to not underestimate her. So until such time as it becomes clear that Bachmann won’t be able to grab the brass ring and face off against President Obama in 2012, or perhaps get the nod as a Vice Presidential candidate, we should take her potential rise to the executive branch of the United States government seriously. In the past I have pointed out that Bachmann funneled tainted campaign money into an anti-Pagan Christian charity (which they later returned), has had a long friendship with pseudo-historian David “paganism and witchcraft were never intended to receive the protections of the Religion Clauses” Barton (Bachmann wanted Barton to teach the 2010 freshmen House Republicans about the Constitution), and has been a longtime supporter of virulently anti-gay Christian musician/activist Bradlee Dean. Any one of those instances is enough to give any Pagan pause, but a recent in-depth profile of Bachmann by Ryan Lizza in the New Yorker provides one more. In the New Yorker piece, Lizza recounts how Bachmann tells an audience in Iowa how the 1970s evangelical Christian documentary “How Should We Then Live” had a “profound influence” on her life.

“[“How Should We Then Live”] also was another profound influence on Marcus’s life and my life, because we understood that the God of the Bible isn’t just about Bible stories and about Bible knowledge, or about just church on Sunday. He is the Lord of all of life. Every bit of life, including sociology, theology, biology, politics. You name the area and walk of life. He is the Lord of life. And so, as we went back to our studies, we looked at studying in a completely different light. Not for the purpose of a career but for a purpose of wondering, How does this fit into creation? How does this fit into the code and all of life that is about to come in front of us? And so we had new eyes that were opened up as we understood life now from a Biblical world view.”

This documentary showcased the ideas of influential evangelical theologian Francis Schaeffer, a man whom Bachmann calls “very inspirational” and “a tremendous philosopher.” These opinions aren’t that controversial within evangelical circles, where Schaeffer is widely credited as inspiring the politically engaged “Religious Right,” but I think few outside evangelical and conservative Christian circles know or understand the message Schaeffer was sending. Let’s look at two excerpts from the first part of his ten-part documentary series.

Aside from peddling misinformation about pre-Christian religion (and the fall of Rome), he delves into conspiracy theory in later episodes, insinuating that perhaps the government is trying to control us by spiking our drinking water.

At the end of his life, Schaeffer penned “A Christian Manifesto” in which he railed against pluralism, secular humanism, and advocates for Christian civil disobedience in the face of secular “tyranny.” In a sermon given after the book was published, Schaeffer said that “we must absolutely set out to smash the lie of the new and novel concept of the separation of religion from the state” and that  “Christ must be the final Lord and not society and not Ceasar.” Bachmann’s admiration of Schaeffer isn’t some inch-deep put-on for conservative Christians in Iowa, Lizza points out that Bachmann is also of fan of Nancy Pearcey (her book “Total Truth” is “wonderful”), a student of Schaeffer’s who has worked to continue his message. Pearcey is something of a creationist superstar among conservative Christians (she co-authored the infamous “Of Pandas and People”), and believes that only monotheist Christianity could have created the scientific advances we enjoy today.

“Why didn’t polytheistic religions produce modern science? The answer is that finite gods do not create the universe. Indeed, the universe creates them. They are generally said to arise out of some pre-existing, primordial “stuff.” For example, in the genealogy of the gods of Greece, the fundamental forces such as Chaos gave rise to Gaia, the great mother, who created and then mated with the heavens (Ouranos) and the sea (Pontos) to give birth to the gods. Hence, in a polytheistic worldview, the universe itself is not the creation of a rational Mind, and is therefore not thought to have a rational order. The universe has some kind of order, of course, but one that is inscrutable to the human mind. And if you do not expect to find rational laws, you will not even look for them, and science will not get off the ground.”

Frank Schaeffer, the son of Francis Schaeffer, who helped his father make those films back in the 1970s, has since recanted much of his evangelical past, and now categorizes politicians like Michele Bachmann as “religious fanatics,” noting that “she got into politics because of reading my father’s work. And she is one of his extremist followers.” When Michele Bachmann says that she “will have doors locked and lights turned off” at the Environmental Protection Agency, that isn’t simply conservative populist economic rhetoric, it’s a stance that is synergistically merged with and informed by the strains of conservative Christianity that formed her worldview, many of which see environmentalism as a false religion.

Bachmann is the embodiment of what the Christian Broadcasting Network calls the “Teavangelical Movement,” further blurring the lines between economic and religious conservatism. Whether or not you agree with Bachmann on some issues, what is clear is that her commitment to Francis Schaeffer’s idea of a “Christian consensus” American government runs deep throughout her history, she’s no late-arriving cynical opportunist. The question we need to ask Michele Bachmann is what place religious minorities have in her vision for the United States, and how she would govern a secular nation with millions of non-Christians living in it.

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  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Valerie-Bobincheck/1714020397 Valerie Bobincheck

    I think rather than ask that question, I just may update my passport.

    • Anonymous

      You’ve got me thinking… I am eligible for EU citizenship because my grandfather was born in Portugal. Perhaps I should seriously start studying Portuguese so I can pass the test.

      • Thelettuceman

        With the way the economy is over there, I don’t think Portugal is one of the better entrances into Europe.

        • Anonymous

          Oh, I realize that but it’s the one I’ve got. It’s about being a citizen of the EU and being able to work in Europe, not about a dream of living in Portugal specifically. I realize there were reasons my great-grandparents left. :)

        • Crystal Kendrick

          I would do it just for the EU membership.

          • Anonymous

            Exactly! Although, come to think of it, there is an up-and-coming food culture in Portugal. Mayhap they could use an english-language food blogger.

          • Norse Alchemist

            Actually, I’m not sure Europe is much better. Instead of the Radical Christians here, you’d be dealing with the Radical Muslims over there. And if you think the Christians are bad…you should see what the Muslims are doing over there. -shudders-

          • Merofled Ing

            Most Muslims in Europe are doing what most people in Europe are doing what most people in the US are doing: going to work, sending their kids to school and getting by.
            There is a radicalisation of mostly young male Muslims which doesn’t help, and which is like the radicalisation of a lot of other mostly young men, and that needs to be addressed, but any kind of phobia is not the way to go about that kind of phenomenon. A reason to be pagan is that pagans usually understand that. It’s people who believe that any kind of colour or of creed gives them special rights who are a problem.

      • Crystal Kendrick

        Unfortunately for me, my family has been off the boat for too long. I missed Irish dual citizenship by a fraction.

        • Thelettuceman

          I missed Italian citizenship because they hop generations. My mum’s family has been in the country since Jamestown, so that boat’s long since sailed.

        • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100001741042586 Gabriel Lorquet

          Yea same thing for me, mother is elligible, I miss the cut :(

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1127101530 Alan J Sheridan

    Bachmann is a danger to this country, and our planet – whether she gets into office or not. With regard to the question “Why didn’t polytheistic religions produce modern science? ” isn’t the answer – because monotheists killed a lot of polytheists and scared others into converting?

    If the midwives and herbmen weren’t killed/persecuted etc., they might have created a medical system that was more effective than we have today. Who knows?

    • kenneth

      To your last point, look to one of the world’s oldest traditional healing systems: traditional Chinese medicine. In the old times at least, the healers only got paid when their patients got or stayed well, not based on how many “billable procedures” were done.

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100001321892479 Kate Dennis

      Bachman is a special kind of crazy all it’s own…the kind that seems logical and all-American because she uses the right buzz words and appeals to the public in a’Baseball,hot dogs, Apple pie and Chevrolet’ kind of way ( think about why this ad campaign became so wildly popular back in the day!) She gains false credibility because she projects an educated, put-together Ameri-Christian image of success that is acceptable in our polite, PC society. You don’t see many Pagans in three piece suits, and those who actually have contributed to scientific discoveries ( and I know some who have) are quiet about their religious beliefs because they’re afraid or just want to be left alone.

      Let’s face it, not many Pagans can pass themselves off as mainstream and that’s very threatening to a huge segment of the population, especially those who buy into the Hollywood image of ignorant heathens running rampant and pillaging (sorry, no insult intended to those who follow a Heather tradition). While I believe alternative medicine is a viable and necessary option to the health care system and can indeed exist as a parallel form of treatment, it’s been made less than trustworthy by those who spout silliness that cannot be backed by science or measured by success and effectiveness. The midwives and naturopathic doctors are still being persecuted today.

    • Hotstreak12

      Watch the film Agora. It is about a “female” teacher and philosopher in ancient Rome named Apatia, who was a pagan scientist and astronomer who was killed by early Christians due to her scientific views and religion. Pagans were the first scientists. Remember Aristotle, Plato Et. All. How long must we choke on Christian Hypocrisy?

  • Baruch Dreamstalker

    Before somone complains that The Wild Hunt is once again attacking a potential Republican candidate I want to thank Jason for pulling off the cover on the background of another GOP nominee-wannabe.

    • Anonymous

      That’s just it, I don’t see it as an attack on a Republican candidate, I see it as “outing” the viewpoints of a candidate that are dangerous and against the Constitution, who happens to be a Republican.
      The fact that numerous similar viewpoints happen to come from one particular Political Party is another discussion altogether.

    • http://www.patheos.com Star Foster

      I know! With all the free press the Republicans are getting on TWH, I almost want to hear a Democrat go off on Pagans in the military just for equal time! No publicity is bad publicity, after all…

      • Crystal Kendrick

        These days, for whatever reason, the Dem party simply doesn’t appeal to ideological zealots. Why aren’t there more moderate Repubs publically decrying the crazier members of their party? I know some are disapproving but they haven’t been as vocal about it as one would think- ya know for having the party taken over by loonies.

        • Rebecca Fouts

          One might ask why more moderate Muslims didn’t (and don’t) speak out against those who have hijacked their own faith and use it blasphemously for terror. These folks are no different, really. They’ve hijacked the Christian faith, the Republican party — and the moderates of both groups are (too stunned? afraid? apathetic? too busy to be bothered?) to speak out against them and say “these people DO NOT SPEAK FOR US!!!!”

          • Norse Alchemist

            I can answer that, Rebecca.

            It’s because the radical muslims will kill them or worse. And they have the power to do so, because our own governments won’t even stop them.

          • Adfuidte

            And those left over by radical muslims will then be killed by …. anyone comes to mind? Pure-blooded norsemen?
            There are a number of moderate muslim organisations, and there’s the fact that most citizens and cities across the continent are not busy with Muslim-Non Muslim warfare. Swallow that. I like any kind of conservative monotheist as little as the next person around here, but Norse Alchemist – aren’t you happier on knight templar pages? the non racially mixed pure ones? There are a lot of Christians (Frank Schaeffer type) and Muslims (the ones running the baker’s shop down the street) I’d rather have as neighbours than some of the guys going northern gods for all the wrong reasons.

        • http://www.magickal-media.com Alice C. “A.C.” Fisher Aldag

          Why aren’t there more moderate Repubs publically decrying the crazier members of their party?

          We are. My guess is that the liberal media can’t use moderate voices to sell advertising.

          • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100001321892479 Kate Dennis

            And the fact is that some uber-liberal Democrats cannot bring themselves to be aligned with the ‘other guy’ no matter what the issue. It’s all about ego and who’s on the correct path.

        • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100001321892479 Kate Dennis

          The moderate Republicans won’t ostracize the crazies in their own party because they’re terrified of being ostracized themselves. It would effect their ranking in the GOP and they’re afraid of being accused of splitting the party or not being a team player. Instead they’re sitting back and hoping the crazies self-destruct or the public deconstructs them.

    • http://www.magickal-media.com Alice C. “A.C.” Fisher Aldag

      This post seems to adequately delineate the line between political party and religious conviction, and its potential to affect national policy. There are specific quotes and references. And perhaps the most commendably, there isn’t any covert inference that all Republicans or conservatives favor dominionism. I’m happy.

      “The question we need to ask Michele Bachmann is what place religious minorities have in her vision for the United States, and how she would govern a secular nation with millions of non-Christians living in it” is a very valid question.

    • http://heathenhall.blogspot.com Joseph

      You certainly won’t get any such complaints for me. The record regarding Michele Bachmann as someone with an explicitly anti-Pagan agenda is clear and unequivocal. She has donated money to “ministries” that perpetrate the worst sort of vile fabrications about witches and Halloween. She has explicitly praised authors and their specific books that call for the subjugation of non-Christians and the establishment of a Christian theocracy. She is a Christian Supremacist, which I use in the same way and with the same intended association as White Supremacist.

      Unlike others mentioned on the Wild Hunt in relation to this subject, Michele Bachmann’s record on this subject has a lot more to it than mere guilt-by-association, and I for one wouldn’t vote for her under any circumstances, either in a primary or a general election. Fortunately, it seems unlikely that I will be presented with that particular choice in November 2012…

  • Anonymous

    Teavangelical is probably the scariest word that I have ever heard.

    • Guest

      It sounds like the worst kind of VD imaginable.

    • Norse Alchemist

      Clearly, you’ve never heard of Jihad. It’s the same thing, with blades and bombs.

      • Adfuidte

        So, you’re going to support Bachmann, then? To save us from Jihad?

  • http://egregores.wordpress.com Apuleius Platonicus

    Michelle Bachmann’s views are perfectly in line both with the teachings found in the Christian Bible, and with the most influential writers of the Christian religious tradition over the last 2000 years, including the early Church fathers, medieval theologians, and Protestant “reformers”. And it must be emphasized that those teachings (indistinguishable from Bachmanns’ ideas) are the accepted, authoritative basis for the ideology of virtually all of the Christian denominations to which the world’s 2B+ Christians belong.

    It is especially important for Pagans to come to grips with the fact that the so-called Protestant “Reformation” was really the birth of modern day fundamentalist Christianity. And nowhere is the violent intolerance of Protestantism more clearly displayed than in the bloody, intolerant history of the Church of England and its various offshoots, which are the origin of all of the major (and minor) Evangelical groups in the US.

    The problem isn’t that Bachmann follows some some strange, previously unknown variety of Christianity invented only recently by shadowy figures lurking in the background. The problem is that she is proudly and openly following the pattern established by mainstream Christianity for the last 2000 years. And as far as Bachmann’s own particular brand of Christianity goes, it accounts for about 1/4 of all Christians and is the fastest growing sector of that religion. And many varieties of Pentecostalist/Charismatic Christianity make Bachmann look like a San Francisco liberal.

    • Anonymous

      Apuleius wrote:
      nd nowhere is the violent intolerance of Protestantism more clearly displayed than in the bloody, intolerant history of the Church of England and its various offshoots, which are the origin of all of the major (and minor) Evangelical groups in the US.

      Oh, I’d have to disagree – for me, it’s the Thirty Years War, Calvin’s Geneva, and most of the 17th century in Europe really.

      • http://egregores.wordpress.com Apuleius Platonicus

        Well, it certainly is a race to the bottom. I’ll grant that much.

        Recently I have been doing some research on the writings of the English Calvinist theologian William Perkins (1558-1602), especially his views with respect to people who engage in traditional healing arts and other forms of beneficial magic. Over and over and over again Perkins demands that these practitioners of beneficial magic are the greatest enemies of Christendom and must all be put to death without mercy:

        “For matter of practise; Hence we learne our dutie, to abhorre the Wizzard, as the most pernicious enemie of our salvation, the most effectuall instrument of destroying our soules, and of building up the devils kingdome: yea, as the greatest enemie to Gods name, worship, and glorie, that is in the world next to Sathan himselfe. Of this sort was Simon Magus, who by doing strange cures and workes, made the people of Samaria to take him for some great man, who wrought by the mighty power of God, whereas he did all by the devil. He therefore beeing a good Witch, did more hurt in seducing the people of God, then Balaam a bad one could with all his curses. And we must remember that the Lord hath set a lawe upon the Witches head, he must not live, and if death be due to any, then a thousand deaths of right belong to the good Witch.” (click on link for sourcing and a longer quote)

        • Anonymous

          I was going to mention Perkins in my list, but trimmed him for brevity – The only good (philosophical) thing to come from that time period was the advent of the Enlightenment (Bacon, Locke, Hume et al.), brought about in part because of the devastation caused by the Protestant vs. Catholic wars of the previous century.

          • http://egregores.wordpress.com Apuleius Platonicus

            There is a school of thought which claims that the Reformation was the progenitor of the Enlightenment, and this is one of the main reasons why I am so hard on the early Protestants. The idea that the likes of Luther and Calvin were an essential part of the seamless “progress” of modern western civilization toward reason and tolerance is truly obscene, especially when the advent of Protestantism is cast as the missing-link between the Renaissance and the Enlightenment.

            That kind of thinking comes from people who are so blinded by their (largely understandable) hatred for Catholicism that they unthinkingly assume that Protestantism just had to be some kind of improvement. And that leads directly to the bizarre claim that not only were Luther and Calvin “progressives”, but that Girolamo Savonarola was a key figure in this modern march of progress, because it cannot be denied that he prefigured Luther and Calvin. The only problem, of course, is that Savonarola was in fact the quintessential modern totalitarian fanatic.

          • Anonymous

            Hm. While I’d certainly never argue about Calvin and Savonarola, I think I need to think a bit more on Luther. The only contribution that I can posit is the idea that each person is capable of their own interpretation of a text (which, while certainly proclaimed before, never saw as-widespread of an adoption as during the Reformation). I need to think about this more before posting an adequate response.

          • http://egregores.wordpress.com Apuleius Platonicus

            Although Luther, in theory, claimed to support the right of the individual Christian to directly interpret the Bible, he also believed that interpreting the Bible incorrectly amounted to damnable heresy. The Roman Catholics, after all, claim that their Church is completely compatible with scripture, and that the authority of the Church in Rome is scripturally sanctioned. In the “Augsburg Confession”, Luther (and friends) also codified their acceptance of such intellectual monstrosities as trinitarianism and original sin, and also insisted that there is only One True Church (theirs), and that all those who are not baptized (properly, by the One True Church) are Damned. And so forth. Oh, and he was also a flaming anti-Semite.

    • RivaWitch

      No one is saying that her views are out there. Fine they are backed up by history. I don’t think folks want this type of Christianity in The US Government in the 21st century.

      • http://egregores.wordpress.com Apuleius Platonicus

        Oh, her views are “out there”. For sure.

        I’m just saying that the ideology of Catholicism and mainline Protestantism is “out there”, too. Modern, mainline Protestant theology has been found to be quite serviceable by the good Christians who brought us Jim Crow, Apartheid, and even National Socialism.

      • http://paosirdjhutmosu.wordpress.com Djhutmosu Si-Hathor

        I don’t think any sane or good folks, Pagan or otherwise want this type of Christianity anywhere in this universe EVER.

    • Rebecca Fouts

      So basically you’re saying there are a lot more crazies out there to worry about then just Bachmann. Well that’s a cherry thought.

  • http://thehouseofvines.wordpress.com/ thehouseofvines

    Why didn’t polytheistic religions produce modern science?

    Oh, the irony of this statement.

    Science, physics, mathematics, medicine, astronomy, evolution, theorem, hypothesis – these and all the other disciplines and concepts we take for granted today are derived from Greek and Latin – not Hebrew or Aramaic. I suppose that Pearcey and their ilk have never heard of Anaximander, Democritus, Aristarchus, Galen, Hieron, Strato, Euclid, etc. ad infinitum.

    • Crystal Kendrick

      “I suppose that Pearcey and their ilk have never heard of Anaximander, Democritus, Aristarchus, Galen, Hieron, Strato, Euclid, etc. ad infinitum.” No, they haven’t. Their history starts in the Dark Ages. Sadly, this is a really mainstream Christian view. Even many of the more tolerant ones believe this.

    • http://egregores.wordpress.com Apuleius Platonicus

      There has been some fascinating recent research on Ptolemy’s development of what is now commonly referred to as the “scientific method” in his work on the science of Harmonics (for example here). Ptolemy’s thinking, in turn, was based on an already centuries long experimental tradition dating back to Pythagoras in the 6th century B.C. Not only that, but Galileo Galilei’s father, Vincenzo, was himself a student of the ancient Pythagorean science of harmonics, and it was the elder Galileo who first wrote that “experiment is the teacher of all things”, and so there is a direct link between the so-called “scientific revolution” and the recovery/rediscovery of ancient Pagan science and mathematics.

      • http://thehouseofvines.wordpress.com/ thehouseofvines

        The ancient Greeks were truly amazing. I mean, after finding a fossil on top of a mountain Anaximander conjectured that the whole area had been underwater at some point which further led him to speculate on the origin of mammal life from fishes and similar aquatic creatures. I just don’t understand how their minds worked, how they were able to put so much together with so little, make these massive leaps and understand things that it took the rest of the world centuries and sometimes millenia to arrive at. It’s a good thing the world is not full of people like me. :)

        But yes, there has definitely been this golden chain of continuity in the sciences. The Renaissance and Enlightenment were only made possible through the reintroduction of Greek knowledge in the West thanks to the Arabs and the Byzantine disapora. And Newton himself, “the father of modern science” was intensely interested in antiquity and the magical arts.

        • kenneth

          Eratosthenes calculated the circumference of the Earth to within 2% of its true distance almost 250 years before the birth date assigned to Christ.

          • http://egregores.wordpress.com Apuleius Platonicus

            Around the same time other ancient scientists devised ways of calculating the distance between the earth and the moon and also the size of the moon, based on observational data. Like Eratosthenes, their methodology was sound, but unlike him the errors in their measurements were such that accurate results were not obtained.

            And in 51 BC, Cicero wrote “De Re Publica”, which ends with the famous “Dream of Scipio”, in which Cicero describes how the earth would appear from a vantage point in outer space. He even describes the way that the northern and southern hemispheres of the earth are separated into symmetric tropical, temperate and polar climactic zones. In addition, Cicero also describes how our sun, if viewed from a sufficient distance in outer space, is seen to be just another star.

        • http://paosirdjhutmosu.wordpress.com Djhutmosu Si-Hathor

          Anyone else thinking of the science and technology we could have had without the…hiccup of Christianization?

      • http://paosirdjhutmosu.wordpress.com Djhutmosu Si-Hathor

        That is fracking awesome, right there.

    • Anonymous

      As I recall, the Renaissance began in the Crusades, when the backward culture of Medieval Christendom came into contact with the more-enlightened Islamic culture, which had not burned all the Classical Pagan learning as the Christians had done. As the (Pagan) Greek and Roman learning re-entered Medieval Christian Europe, it sparked a new interest in the world, which led to the Renaissance.

      This branch of Evangelicalism is big on historical revision.

      • http://egregores.wordpress.com Apuleius Platonicus

        What this narrative overlooks is the central role of Byzantium as a repository of ancient Pagan learning. Also overlooked is the survival of Latin Pagan literature in the West. The Muslim world (in spite of itself) did play a part in the preservation of ancient Greek learning, but there is far more to it than that.

        • Anonymous

          Tell me more.

          I know that Rome split with Constantinople at about the same time as the First Crusade, so how did the Pagan learning of Byzantium travel back to the West, since the Roman See wasn’t on speaking terms with the other four Sees?

          I didn’t know about any substantial amount of surviving Latin Pagan literature in the West — I was always told it was “rediscovered” through contact with the Muslims, and that most of it was lost in the late 400’s and early 500’s as the Roman Christians went about destroying the Pagan temples, priesthood, and libraries.

          Tell me more.

          • http://egregores.wordpress.com Apuleius Platonicus

            There was always a great deal of contact between the Greek speaking Christian East and the Latin speaking Christian West. Much of that contact was at the religious and political level, as negotiations of various kinds were always going on (and are still going on to this day) to heal the east/west split in Christendom. But there was also trade, including in books. And warfare, which is another kind of “contact”, often leading to the capture of prisoners, and so forth.

            But as the Byzantine “Empire” shrank, and as the Turks advanced, these contacts not only stepped up, but there was a steady trickle of Easterners who found one way or another to relocate to points West, mostly to Italy. Any Orthodox churchman who was willing to kiss the Pope’s ring was likely to receive a very warm reception, and some of them took that path. The most famous of these was Cardinal Bessarion, one of George Gemisthos Plethon’s star students, and one of the key patrons of the Renaissance in Rome (there is even reason to speculate that Bessarion may have been a convert to Plethon’s secret Pagan cult, but that is another story). Anyway, this trickle became a flood by the last 1440’s by which time the writing was writ large on the wall, and in Arabic.

          • Anonymous

            That makes a whole lot more sense than what I was taught. The Byzantine Empire spoke primarily Greek, so they would not only have HAD the (Greek) Pagan books and scrolls, they’d have READ them.

            There was a huge Pagan revival in Renaissance Italy in the late 1400’s. You see it in the writings of Lorenzo di Medici, paintings by Botticelli, etc. None of that would have made any sense without a major influx of Pagan literature around that time, not four centuries earlier.

            Thank you!

          • http://egregores.wordpress.com Apuleius Platonicus

            As to surviving Pagan literature in Latin, this was quite substantial. First and foremost is Vergil’s Aeneid, which one modern historian of note, Peter Brown, has referred to as an “inexhaustible source of precise religious information” concerning classical Paganism, that is, a basic “how-to” book for anyone who wants to be a Pagan. But there’s much more than that. there is Apuleius’ famous novel (The Golden Ass), which contains a fairly extensive description of the cult of Isis, as well as a nice assortment of “naughty bits” that helped to ensure it’s survival. There’s also the philosophical writings of Cicero, including his masterwork of Pagan theology, “On the Nature of the Gods”. There’s Lucretius’ didactic poem on Epicurean philosophy, which begins with a beautiful prayer/hymn to the Goddess Venus. There is Ovid’s famous “Metamorphoses”, which includes a long speech by the Pagan philosopher Pythagoras on the doctrine of metempsychosis. There is the “Asclepius”, a key work of the Hermetica (and the only part of the Hermetica in Latin). Less well known today, but of great importance even in the darkest of the Dark Ages, were Macrobius’ works, both his “Saturnalia” and his “Commentary on the Dream of Scipio”, which together contain a great bounty of detailed information about Pagan religion.

            And Vergil was not just of interest to the well-heeled elites. “The Poet” was also a figure of popular religious devotion, despite, or perhaps precisely because of, his undeniable Pagan identity. Common people prayed to Vergil, and he often answered these prayers with miraculous healings, visions, dream visitations, etc. There were also pilgrimage sites at places claiming to be associated with his life. This popular cult of Vergil is described in Domenico Comparreti’s classic “Vergil in the Middle Ages“.

          • Anonymous

            Interesting. So let me ask the hard question: just how Pagan was Medieval Europe?

            Certainly it had a Christian face. But in reading about the politics of the late 1400’s — the Medici in Florence, the Sforza in Milan, the Venetians and the Neopolitans, as well as such popes as Sixtus IV or Alexander VI (Rodrigo Borgia) — it seems that the Monolithic Roman Church of popular imagination is pure myth. If anything, the Rome of 1500 was quite provincial, politically, and places like Luther’s Saxony were very, very, very remote.

            How thin was the Christian veneer? Was it ever as thick as mythology paints it?

          • Anonymous

            @ThemonTheBard:

            It wasn’t so much that it was (necessarily) Pagan, but it was certainly Balkanized. There never was a monolithic Church, for any period of time. Look at the Cathars, Hugenots, Celtic Christians, etc etc. There were plenty of schisms and heretical groups…it is just that the Reformation was large enough to actually schism the Church itself (in much the same way as the Schism between the Eastern Orthodox and Roman Catholics).

            And the veneer has never been very thick…look a the number of ‘folk practices’ that resemble/are based on/ are Pagan in origin that survived the entire span of Christian history.

          • http://egregores.wordpress.com Apuleius Platonicus

            “just how Pagan was Medieval Europe?”

            Estimates vary. The one thing we know for sure is that the answer to the question “just how Christian was Medieval Europe” is somewhere south of 100%.

            It is a myth (and not in the good sense) that the Christianization of Europe was either (a) complete, or (b) irreversible.

      • Guest

        This branch of Evangelicalism is big on historical revision.

        Absolutely. According to their stories they became Protestants and received their Bible and their religion through spontaneous generation and deity just sort of handed those only to their faiths. Despite historical sources and common evidence they are not going to believe they hold a common root with the Catholic Church.

        • http://paosirdjhutmosu.wordpress.com Djhutmosu Si-Hathor

          Which makes them drive me up a wall when Protestants try to weasel themselves of the excesses of Christianity by saying, in effect, “Not us, it was those awful Roman Catholics!”

    • http://kauko-niskala.blogspot.com Kauko

      The ancient world was amazingly advanced when it came to science (as I’m sure most of us already know), and significant scientific progress didn’t appear again the West until the Renaissance when people began to more freely question Christianity and the Church. Any cursory look at Western History will tell these people that knowledge of science always progressed in opposition to Christianity and never because of it.
      It reminds me of a comment here on TWH weeks back from some Christian troll who suggested that the entire concept of ‘freedom of religion’ is dependent on Christianity and Paganism could never develop such a concept. It kind of makes it hard to have a rational discussion with these people when they insist on constantly re-writing history to make themselves the authors of all things good.

      • Pagan Puff Pieces

        I’ve been reading up a little on Medieval science, and… it’s a lot more than we give it credit for. It seems to me it’s a lot more occultist than the modern Christian would like.

        • http://kauko-niskala.blogspot.com Kauko

          Oh I don’t deny that the medieval period could be more advanced than people generally know, but I still think that it is a low point between the way things were in the ancient Roman period and the Renaissance.

    • http://paosirdjhutmosu.wordpress.com Djhutmosu Si-Hathor

      Clearly, those evil pagans, pagan-sympathizers, and atheists must have translated all the Aramaic and Hebrew scientific terms into Greek and then destroyed all the Aramaic/Hebrew originals. Or…Satandiddit.

  • kenneth

    If we can hang on that long, the polling data suggests that Christianity will become a minority religion by mid-century or so….

    • http://paosirdjhutmosu.wordpress.com Djhutmosu Si-Hathor

      I might actually live to see that. I’ll have to remember to throw a party when the first census results come out. Assuming the country doesn’t turn into some blasted and barren post-apocalyptic wasteland or something by then.

  • Crystal Kendrick

    “The question we need to ask Michele Bachmann is what place religious minorities have in her vision for the United States, and how she would govern a secular nation with millions of non-Christians living in it.” I don’t think we really want to know the answer to that question. Pagans and polytheists in favor of sanity: Vote!

    • http://www.magickal-media.com Alice C. “A.C.” Fisher Aldag

      … for a third party, because our current choice seems to be dominionism or total economic collapse.

      • Scott

        Actually, I think our current choices are better characterized as “total economic collapse” or “dominionism AND total economic collapse” – the Democratic weakness on the economy appears to be largely the result of buying into conservative economic narrative, as there are plenty of liberal economists (including at least one Nobel Prize winner) whose models consistently represent the current reality better than the ones being used by policymakers, and who have been consistently demonized and marginalized in the debates of the past few years.

  • Merofled Ing

    How can anyone get from saying: “Nobody cared who worshipped whom as long as the state of the union was maintained, the senate and the worship of the emperor” and denounce Rome for all of that, to ““we must absolutely set out to smash the lie of the new and novel concept of the separation of religion from the state”? All that Schaeffer is saying seems to scream for a separation of church / religion and state. I don’t get it.
    As for EU citizenship: welcome and all !! and thanks for the compliment ! but you might want to consider moving up north, or staying – the EU seems to be crumbling faster than those shoddy 2000+ year old Roman unscientific bridges under a ten ton truck ….

    • Crystal Kendrick

      I’m not sure that’s an appropriate comparison given that those Roman bridges are indeed 2000 years old ; ) Just sayin’.

      • Merofled Ing

        Thanks, you’re right of course. There’s probably a flicker of hope lurking in me somewhere that things may not be quite so bad…
        Anyway, you all can be proud of yourselves – really – for having this site, and this type of well informed, and informative pagan discussions. I wish I could find anything like it, European-wide, to address the more pressing issues here – religious identity and tolerance, certainly, but above all nationalism in all its uglyness, which is what the European version of the Bachmanns dabble in … but I’m still looking.

        • http://paosirdjhutmosu.wordpress.com Djhutmosu Si-Hathor

          Maybe you or someone else should make it, if that niche in Europe needs to be filled. :) I’m not trying to be a smart-aleck, and I know it is hard to actually go out and make things, especially in these difficult times (there are things /I/ want to make, but lack the resources for) , but that’s where the good things seem to come from, by people finding empty niches and filling them. :)

          • Merofled Ing

            True, all of it … sigh. Sometime in the next 15 years or so…

    • P. Sufenas Virius Lupus

      Precisely…that boggles the mind, amongst several other things in these clips…

  • Pagan Puff Pieces

    Isn’t it kind of weird to ask why ancient (I’m assuming because she’s talking about Greece) religions didn’t produce modern science? The answer should be right there in the modifiers. It’s not a fair question. I suppose you could ask why other modern polytheisms didn’t produce western modern science, but I think their mythologies may work a little differently and not illustrate the point.

    Besides, we really do take ancient and not-modern sciences for granted. Often we’re just taught they were inferior and superstitious, but there really is a whole world of fascinating stuff there.

    • kenneth

      The supreme irony is that evangelicals don’t believe in the premise or methods of science at all. They embrace “creation science” which says the world was created in six solar days no more than 6,000 years ago, and that every species was handmade and bears no genetic relation to each other.

      To defend this in the face of overwhelming evidence to the contrary, they assert that the fundamental laws of the universe fluctuate randomly and that ultimately nothing can be known by observation of the natural world. The science of the ancients fell short in many areas, but it was science. Where they failed, they failed out of ignorance. Evangelicals embrace willful ignorance as a virtue.

    • http://paosirdjhutmosu.wordpress.com Djhutmosu Si-Hathor

      The whole thing gives me the mental image of a fox sitting in a chicken coop, devoid of chickens, but strewn with feathers. The fox asks “Why haven’t any chickens laid eggs here?” and the burps loudly and coughs up a feather.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Devin-Hunter/100000168453308 Devin Hunter

    I read this and my skin just crawls. I grew up in two homes, one that was Pagan, and the other that was evangelical. I talked a little bit about this on the last show, however Bachman represents a group of people, most who are home schooled, spend hours in-front of biblical television and radio, and receive messages from clergy twice and sometimes three times a week (depending on denomination) of ‘spiritual warfare.’ Within the evangelical movement there is a large amount of people who have been raised to believe they have to be the spiritual warrior for their religion, and this war must be fought at all costs.

    I couldn’t agree more with you on following this until we know it is not going to happen. Pagan values are being threatened by all of this and we must keep abreast of how this is playing out on the home front, but also the world front.

    After speaking with close friends who live in Europe I found out (to no surprise) that the European media is following all of this and continually refers to the government blocks and the Republican party as ‘infantile’ and ‘childish.’ One thing I fear we forget living this far away from other major players such as the UK is that we simply have become detached from the values of western civilization and have become something of a nation following intolerant and uncompromising views of life, liberty, and advancements in civil society.

    Our country has become the laughing stock of the world. We can’t pay our bills so the stock markets plummet all over the world, we can’t pass legislation that will support equal health coverage for those who are in desperate need of it, gay marriage, nor legislation to support our own country’s ecological investments- all of this because we have a population where almost half believe God (Jesus) will return within their lifetime and no-one will have to worry about it. I mean c’mon not even a plan B?

    Again, Jason, Thanks for covering this and bringing this to our pagan collective mind.

    • http://www.facebook.com/kim.steffey Kim Steffey

      What got me was the assumption that Christianity advanced science. The Church all but put us back to ground zero in the Dark Ages. I fear with people like this seeking power, that we may not be far from a second Dark Age. It makes me nervous…

      • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100001321892479 Kate Dennis

        Ever read “A Canticle for Lebowitz”? It’s uncomfortably close to what we’re spiraling toward.

        • http://paosirdjhutmosu.wordpress.com Djhutmosu Si-Hathor

          I’ve been meaning to read that.

        • Rua Lupa

          Yeah, great book. So many parallels that are quite creepy.

    • Rebecca Fouts

      That’s always the problem when there are those who think they’ve always got a ‘get out of jail free’ card in their pocket — and live more for the next life then this one. When those two things occur, you have someone who doesn’t believe in consequences, and that all of this is but a dream to be endured a little longer — so they can basically do whatever they want.

  • Kilmrnock

    Bachman and her ilk scare the shyte out of me . if she gets into office i will strongly consider moving to nova scotia. her getting into office isn’t that far fetched, Bush, aka dubya, got elected twice. that nutball in texas , their governor is just as bad . atleast i hope the country would be leary of another cowboy from texas . theres a fair amount of scots in nova scotia , and they do speak gealic there .cooler weather too, that suits my celt heritage .as i’m getting older the heat takes a greater toll on me .i may just have to stay to offer resistance to the xtian right/teabagger types . as long as the fools don’t get to powerful and try to re-right our constitution to fit thier ideas of what america should be . i’m hoping thier right wing/ultra coonservative adgenda will back fire on them and cooler more centrist ideals will prevail, the pendulum will swing back in the other direction. if these folks get their way, it’ll be rather difficult the live in the US as a pagan or anyone not judio-christian. time will tell otherwise i’ll probly become a canadian citizen . Kilm

    • Rua Lupa

      Join the Northside Muahahaha, yeah we’re cool ;P

  • http://thepaperwitch.blogspot.com/ Bekah

    “[…] many of which see environmentalism as a false religion.”

    Even their own Bible says to take care of the Earth because it and the plants, land, and animals are of God’s creation. “Ezekiel 34:2 – […] ‘This is what the Sovereign LORD says: Woe to you shepherds of Israel who only take care of yourselves! Should not shepherds take care of the flock? You eat the curds, clothe yourselves with the wool and slaughter the choice animals, but you do not take care of the flock.”

    Apart from The Song of Solomon, this is my favorite quote of the Bible:
    “Job 12:7-10 – But ask the animals, and they will teach you, or the birds of the air, and they will tell you; or speak to the earth, and it will teach you, or let the fish of the sea inform you. Which of all these does not know that the hand of the LORD has done this? In his hand is the life of every creature and the breath of all mankind.”

    In this sense, Pagans take care of the Earth more in line with the Bible than its own Christians.

  • Obsidia

    Jason wrote:

    “The question we need to ask Michele Bachmann is what place religious minorities have in her vision for the United States, and how she would govern a secular nation with millions of non-Christians living in it.”

    Agreed. We have to get out there and ASK THOSE QUESTIONS!!! Another question to ask is, “If you make Abortion illegal again, what will you do to the women who have abortions? Will you put them in jail for murder?”

    We must ask the hard questions and hold them until they answer. If you cannot ask these questions yourself, let the journalists and reporters know, so they can ask the questions.

    Also, just to keep things in perspective, here’s an article about the founding of the Tea Party. The people who consider themselves Tea Party adherents have themselves been used by the Corporatists. On one level, they could be our allies. I do believe many of them are sincere and want to “serve God,” however they define that.

    http://www.cognitivepolicyworks.com/blog/2010/11/05/responding-to-the-conservative-propaganda-machine/

    But I believe we (as Pagans and alternate religionists) have an advantage: We are a “wild card.” They don’t know much about us. They assume they know, but they don’t. So we can really SURPRISE them and THRILL the WORLD!

  • http://www.facebook.com/Sincerely.Goofy Maggie Ahrens

    “Why didn’t polytheistic religions produce modern science?”

    Well, the Greeks and Romans had a really GOOD start on it, until your asshole religion took over. The Arabs were ahead of us as well; when we were talking about the humors and evils spirits, they were doing surgery and some really sophisticated healing.

    Stupid people really really piss me off.

  • Anonymous

    I think your stepping on some toes by suggesting that there is NOT a conspiracy to spike our drinking water. If you want to pick a fight about Nationalism vs. Statism I will keep reading and waiting for you to open up to it.

  • http://godsrbored.blogspot.com anne johnson

    Did he not see the irony of calling the Romans unscientific? It would have been a snap for them to build bridges that could support a ten-ton truck. I wonder how many of our modern bridges will still be standing 2000 years from now.

    I applaud you, Jason, for your reporting of this candidate’s extreme views.

    • http://paosirdjhutmosu.wordpress.com Djhutmosu Si-Hathor

      anne, I think I can answer that question about our modern bridges: Almost none. I remember having read more or less the following: We really don’t build things like we used to. The reason for this is before, people weren’t sure of the tolerances of their structures, and as a result built them heavy and strong. Nowadays, we know the tolerances of our structures, and so build them so they just achieve enough strength.

      Probably also cheaper that way. I prefer things that last though. It seems a lot of the way things work nowadays is just-enough-strength and just-in-time shipping and planned obsolescence. *shrug*

  • Rebecca Fouts

    Does anyone know if anyone at anytime deconstructed that ridiculous documentary? (Be it in a rebuttle book, paper, or film?)

    Any of pagans here have problems with their blood pressure rising just watching those few bits? The hypocrisy. I thought it funny that they go on and on about Roman tyranny contributing in part (along with all those finite gods) — but isn’t that what they would like to build again? A christian tyranny? Or how they go on about how the Christians were persecuted for being a rebel group going against the religious and society norms of the time — and yet, are they not trying to do similar things to ‘rebel religious groups’ (non-Christians/their brand of Christian)? They clearly didn’t learn their lesson under the whip — instead of learning the idiocy of the whip — they just want to be the one holding it.

  • Rebecca Fouts

    I would also suggest that they DID create technology. Fabulous technology that we still don’t give them credit today for knowing how to build – we dig the stuff up every day. Blame the Dark Ages for the ‘reset’….and I would then ask WHICH religious group was prevalent during THAT time? It wasn’t polytheistic religions. And it was only those renegades who broke away from ‘Mother Church’s’ totalitarian tyranny — and relearned those old sciences that had long been known and forgotten — that progress was made once again. they go on and on here about totalitarian rule in Rome, but they would have the same system in place, (but it’s okay because it’s the ‘right’ god)

  • Charles Cosimano

    That does it! I’m definitely voting for her. After four years of boredom we need a good laugh.

  • Baruch Dreamstalker

    Jason the Lion-Hearted has done it again. Go to GetReligion(dot)org and check out the comments to the post “Bachmann & Associates.”

  • P. Sufenas Virius Lupus

    Wow…those videos are so wrong in so many different ways. But, here’s two that are incontrovertibly and most certainly false, which none but a completely uninformed fool could argue with:

    1) The “viciousness” of pagan culture exhibited by the “statue of a gladiator” is actually “The Dying Gaul,” not a gladiator at all.

    2) The crappy fourth-century sculpture that showed the decadence of culture at that time was a production of Constantine and his successors himself, i.e. (ostensible) Christians, whereas the elegant second-century sculptures taken from earlier monuments on the Arch of Constantine is not Traianic in period, but Hadrianic, and is specifically the hunting tondi which feature his eromenos and god, Antinous! So, without realizing it, they were just supporting another deified mortal’s cult! Origen, Justin Martyr, and a great many other patristic authors are turning over in their graves at that, I’m sure…

  • richard.pratt

    The teaching of Jesus Christ are the most dynanic and revolutionary that Mankind has ever received. They affect and give guidance for every department of human life. Why should not a Politician embrace and practice them just because some object? People are not compelled to accept them and Jesus himself did not enforce belief, nor do modern Christians.
    But they reserve the right and duty to uphold the better way of life that Jesus demonstrated Hojesuawever, .

    • http://www.wildhunt.org/blog/ Jason Pitzl-Waters

      Richard, I almost feel sorry for you.

      • http://www.wildhunt.org/blog/ Jason Pitzl-Waters

        Almost.

    • http://heathenhall.blogspot.com Joseph

      “People are not compelled to accept them”

      Except, of course, that in the America that Bachmann, Rushdoony, et al. would create, people would be.

      • Merofled Ing

        Yes, and given a it’s about “a guidance for every department (?? department??) of human life” this would hold true not only for the straight and narrow path and gate to heaven but to their even straighter and narrower views of family, nation, economy, health, science…
        Which brings me back to your first comment, the Christian supremacist one. Obviously, most Christians (and most Muslims, Jews, Buddhists, Pagans, people) are decent people, and some are very decent people, and most cringe at these evangelical movements, but when you come to the core of the matter of this type of monotheism, isn’t “Christian supremacist” a sort of tautology? Like “a winged Pegasus” or “a spiky hedgehog”? At the end of the day, Christians can advocate a separation of church and state (as they did, while the minority) and they can advocate decent behaviour and rational thought, and a large number do, but when it comes to religion, there isn’t room for equality. The others are wrong and will not go to heaven. Full stop. So a kind Christian will want to convert others. (Okay, that only goes so far. White supremacists do not want to ‘convert’…, still.)

    • Rebecca Fouts

      First, that ‘better way of life” Christ supposedly demonstrated is subjective; and your opinion. Personally it’s NOT the better way for me.
      Second, I don’t believe the article inferred ALL modern Christians want to enforce belief. BUT there is plenty of evidence (and many will even admit it when asked) of a subset of Christians who DO wish to enforce belief. Who would invalidate our right to CHOOSE NOT to follow Christ or the one god. Who are actively trying to reconstruct the government into a Christian theocracy.
      So, using your own argument: Just as they reserve the right and duty to follow their religion — most of us are simply asking for the right to do our own duty, and follow our own (or not to follow any religion, if that is our belief). And these people would demand their morals, their religion, their beliefs be the dictator of the land.

    • Robert Mathiesen

      No, Richard. Just no!

      Quite apart from any comparison one might make between Christianity and, say, Buddhism, there are too many insurmountable historical problems in the way of your position.

      First of all, a couple of centuries of good critical scholarship have shown that Jesus was not simply a Jewish rabbi, and not simply a moral or theological teacher, but that he had an inner, secret, esoteric (perhaps even magical) teaching that he reserved for his closest disciples, and for them alone. (It is also plausible, though much less certain, that the source of this secret teaching of his were alternative high-priestly traditions from the time of the First Temple, which utterly denied any legitimacy to the Second Temple, its priesthood and its rituals.)

      Now it is absolutely certain. and beyond any significant doubt, that this inner teaching of his has *not* been preserved in its entirety by any surviving branch of Christianity (not even by Eastern Orthodoxy, which does preserve for us more hints than any other branch as to what that teaching might have been). It has not been preserved in the New Testament, or in any of the so-called New Testament pseudepigrapha and apocrypha that have come down to our times. Nor can it be recovered from the surviving evidence in sufficient detail that some modern-day Christian reformer might hope to reconstruct or restore the inner teachings of Jesus. They are gone forever, lost without recourse.

      If you are really interested in looking into this whole complex of problems, you could start by reading various works by Margaret Barker on the subject of what she calls “temple theology.” They are hard going for a non-scholar, but worth the effort. Barker is a past president of the Society for Old Testament Study, a Methodist preacher, a proponent of what she calls “Christian Environmental Theology,” and she is involved with progressive women’s concerns.

      (Astute Pagans will also note here and there in the footnotes to her earliest books a few references to a few excellent books by some of the best 20th-century practitioners of magic, which she seems to have read with considerable understanding. She mentions them only in passing, in footnotes, in such a way that a Christian reader who fears magic will barely realize that her scholarship extends so far.)

      Once you have worked through several of Barker’s works on “temple theology,” then you will be in a better position to appreciate the (somewhat problematic) work of the late Morton Smith on Jesus as a magician in the Late Antique sense of the term. Morton Smith may prove too much for any Christian to take. But he was one of the best scholars of his day, and absolutely fearless in taking on even the very most sacred of all sacred cows.

      If Smith is too much, that’s OK, just so long as you take this one thing away from Margaret Barker and those scholars on whose work she builds: the “Christ of Faith” cannot possibly have been anything like the actual Jesus (whose real name was Joshua ben Joseph, or perhaps Joshua ben Mariam) of history.

      The only way one can still regard the “Christ of Faith” as a real person who lived at a specific time and place is by ignoring almost all Biblical scholarship of the last two centuries and the evidence that it has uncovered, or by placing no value whatever on critical judgement and intellectual integrity.

      Sorry to be so blunt, but there you have it.

    • http://paosirdjhutmosu.wordpress.com Djhutmosu Si-Hathor

      The ancient religions did too. So much so they weren’t even called religions most of the time. They were just part of the culture. Frankly, the world would have been a better place if the Galileans had stayed in Galilee.

    • http://paosirdjhutmosu.wordpress.com Djhutmosu Si-Hathor

      The ancient religions did too. So much so they weren’t even called religions most of the time. They were just part of the culture. Frankly, the world would have been a better place if the Galileans had stayed in Galilee.

  • Todd

    What worries me here isn’t just her connections. It’s that she seems to have the sort of character that will ACT on these nutty beliefs.

  • http://www.myspace.com/kadynastar Khryseis_Astra

    From the first video…
    “All their gods put together could not give them a solid base for values, morals or life decisions. The Romans made their own gods, depending on their society and when their society tumbled, their gods tumbled with them.”

    Um, no. Just no. But as others have already said, even the non-crazy Christians are taught this and accept it as matter of a fact. Most pre-Christian societies could have advanced quite well were it not for the violent takeovers of Christianity! They were the starting point for all our scientific advances, and it was only their revival in the Renaissance that got the ball rolling again. The entire video was littered with revisionist history, all too commonly accepted as fact among the Far Right, and repeated often enough to make your average Joe think it must be true.

    It also never ceases to amaze me the cognitive dissonance required to call our gods “made-up characters in a story book” when they are taught (from their own “story book”) to believe in a literal 6-day creation, a 6,000 year old Earth and that all humanity is cursed because a *talking snake* gave the first woman an apple from the wrong tree! Not to mention I think this guy overemphasizes the emperor worship in ancient Rome, coming from a religion who worships either a demigod or deified human by their own descriptions.

  • Mr Willow

    Hi, Jason. Frank Shaeffer just put up an article over at AlterNet detailing why it is a bad thing that Michelle Bachmann is so heavily influenced by his father.

    http://www.alternet.org/teaparty/151960/michele_bachmann_was_inspired_by_my_dad_and_his_christian_reconstructionist_friends_–_here%27s_why_that%27s_terrifying/?page=entire

    Interesting, read, if not utterly horrifying in places.

    Blessings.

  • Peter Dybing

    If we allow the marriage of faith and authority, we bind our children to be solders in the fight to resist the tyranny that will surly be born of the union.

    • Peter Dybing

      Need coffee, con’t spell

  • http://egregores.wordpress.com Apuleius Platonicus

    The idea that “only monotheist Christianity could have created the scientific advances we enjoy today,” might sound like something that only a semi-literate young-earth creationist would ever say, but it is actually the considered opinion of Rodney Stark, whom even his critics concede is a “brilliant and important figure” in the field of the sociology of religion. Stark has spent the last 15 years churning out books that promote the view that “monotheism led to science and the end of slavery” and “Christianity led to freedom and western success” and so forth (those quotes are from subtitles of two of his books).

    • Robert Mathiesen

      There’s a certain amount of this nonsense going around. Valerie Flint, in her book _The Rise of Magic in Early Medieval Europe_ (1994), repeatedly stated (IIRC) that the rise of Christianity in the early Middle Ages improved the position of women and enhanced their power enormously (!). This is just not true, at least for the northern, Germanic part of Medieval Europe (which I know better than the Mediterranean part).

      I never met Stark, not that I remember, but I took a course on the sociology of religion with Stark’s early collaborator, mentor and co-author, Charles Y. Glock, at UC Berkeley in the very early ’60s. I remember that course as unconvincing and annoying precisely because Glock’s frame of reference seemed to me to be that only Christianity and Judaism were “real” religions that merited academic study as institutions by Western sociologists of religion.

      Glock had a schema for analyzing what he called “religious commitment” along several parameters, but it simply didn’t work for the alternative religions that I was familiar with (even back then) in the SF Bay Area. His schema was built on a model in which any one person could belong (or commit) to just one religion at a time, and only one’s own religion’s one god could possibly be regarded by such a committed person as having any reality. The monotheistic bias of this model hardly needs pointing out on this blog.

      However, I think that Glock’s view of Christianity and Judaism as the only “real” religions in the West was the prevailing opinion among sociologists of religion back then.

      To his credit, Glock also did some good work on the roots of anti-Semitism in Christian doctrine and indoctrination.

      • http://egregores.wordpress.com Apuleius Platonicus

        A couple of years ago I actually forced myself to read Stark’s “Rise of Christianity”. I still find it extremely difficult to believe that Stark is taken seriously. And I honestly doubt that he actually is taken seriously, except by people who are motivated by a combination of Christian triumphalism and Eurocentrism.

        Reading Stark gives me some sense of what it was like in the early 20th century when “racial science” was socially acceptable even to those who strongly disagreed with it. Stark is promoting an openly supremacist point of view, and getting away with it. How?

        • Robert Mathiesen

          I grew up at the end of those bad old days. In Berkeley, boys in elementary school still had weekly military drills under the command of policemen to teach obedience to authority, and gay men still lived in fear of being murdered if their orientation was known.

          Around 1961 a young woman who was a neighbor of a friend of mine was raped by an intruder. They did (IIRC) catch the rapist, but the real penalties fell on the victim. Hardly anyone would let their daughters socialize with her and she wasn’t allowed to finish her last year of high school (probably for fear she would talk about the rape with her girl friends and give them too much information about genitalia). About a month later the father quit his job and moved the entire family far away. The cut off all ties with their former neighbors and friends and started over under entirely new names. The last thing I heard about all this from my friend — I did not know the family myself — was that a neighbor of theirs was publicly saying to the neighborhood that he didn’t see why they had bothered. It would have been simpler just to throw the victim out of the house: since it was a girl, it shouldn’t matter to the family what became of her.

          Another young woman who was in my high school class was abducted and imprisoned by her former boy-friend, with whom she had wanted to break up, toward the end of their senior year. They were found a few weeks later. He was a science nerd, thought to have something of a promising future. Her family pressured her to marry him, so that there would be no charges for the abduction, and she eventually did so. I never heard whether the marriage lasted very long. I suppose it might have, the social pressures being what they were back in those days; but I hope it ended better than that for her.

          This was in “liberal” Berkeley — which wasn’t all that liberal back then, compared to now! — before the cultural revolution of the middle ’60s. Things changed enormously after that, and many of the changes were very much for the better.

          So if anyone wonders whether young “Boomers” the ’60s and ’70s changed anything for the better, actually they did. I’m too old to be a “Boomer,” and I can’t take credit for the cultural revolution that they made; but I was affected by that revolution and aspects of it made me a better person.

    • Robert Mathiesen

      PS After more thsan 30 years at the University of Washington, Stark moved to Baylor University in 2004, where he still hangs his academic hat.

  • Kilmrnock

    i quess 0ur crazy extremist xtain friends have ignores the work of the great greek minds , such as pathagurus, socrates , etc Kilm

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_3C5X3OFKC3OTXQC4KDVWJGLTNI Tom Bates

    I paid $22.85 for an iPhone 4-32GB and my girlfriend loves her Panasonic Lumix GF 1 Camera that we got for $38.76 there arriving tomorrow by UPS. I will never pay such expensive retail prices in stores again. Especially when I also sold a 40 inch LED TV to my boss for $674 which only cost me $62.81 to buy. Here is the website we use to get it all from, CentHub.com

  • Mindfulsearcher

    I wonder how Plato, Aristotle, Pythagoras, et al, could have developed from the polytheistic culture that Pearcey belittles?

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_QQFBUSALD677EKQQMSJQKOQWQE Ronald

    I simply view these conservative, evangel Christians as a problem. They constantly seek to rewrite history to support their historical view on how the U.S. is a Christian nation. Many evangel preachers talk about taking the U.S. “back” and some have even suggested that people may die in bringing the country “back to god”. Basically, these people want and push for a Christian theocracy. A theocracy, by nature, is completely anti-Democracy. Instead of allowing our laws to dictate how our Country, Government and laws run, they insist that everything should be governed by “gods” rules and of course, they are the ones who decide what is acceptable and what is not acceptable.
    I was surprised what happened in Norway in the fact that it didn’t happen in the U.S. first. I’ve been anticipating such actions by these people for some time. I view them as religious terrorists, plain and simple. They are the flip side of the same coin as the Taliban. Only the reasoning and justification is different.

  • http://dianarajchel.com Diana Rajchel

    I’m from Bachman’s state. She’s… frightening. She plays dumb, and makes the opposition think she’s just a Palin knock-off, but she’s got a plan, and it’s bad news for anybody with a uterus, dark-toned skin, or who simply doesn’t want to live exactly the way she does.

  • http://www.independent.org/ David Theroux

    Contrary to the claims here, please note the following:

    1. As the renowned sociologist/historian Rodney Stark has shown in his book, “The Victory of Reason: How Christianity Led to Freedom, Capitalism, and Western Success” (Random House: http://www.independent.org/store/book_detail.asp?bookID=89), many have erroneously believed that science is incompatible with religion, but Western science developed from the Thomist (i.e., Christian) “commonsense” view that the universe is orderly and rationally intelligible. Stark shows that the scientific revolution was not the result of an alleged Enlightenment battle of “secular forces of reason” against the “irrational religious dogma” of the Middle Ages, but “the culmination of many centuries of systematic progress by medieval Scholastics, sustained by that uniquely Christian twelfth-century invention, the university. Not only were science and religion compatible, they were inseparable – the rise of science was achieved by deeply religious Christian scholars” (2005, p.12).

    2. The ancient Greeks and Romans’ polytheistic system did not include a creator who was not subject to the same universe of continuous cycles of progress and decline affecting mortals. According to this system, inanimate objects were living beings with personal aims and foibles and thus were not subject strictly to physical laws. Major Greek thinkers, including Plato and Aristotle, also rejected the notion of progress. Indeed, Aristotle believed that the same ideas recur to men without end (Stark, 2005, p.18–20). Michael Rea notes that “Paramenides threatened to bring natural sciences to a standstill with his powerful arguments for the conclusion that the world is unchanging, unmoving, ungenerated, and indestructible. . . . [And Plato] share[d] the Parmenidean view that the most fundamentally real things in the world are unchanging” (2002, p.23–24). Because of such views, science was unable to develop in the Greek and Roman worlds.

    Christian theologians believed that by using reason, man can achieve a greater understanding of God’s will (Stark, 2005, p.9). This Christian understanding of reason, free will, and the idea of progress was unique in the world and gave birth to scientific study in the West because “of the enthusiastic conviction that the human intellect can penetrate nature’s secrets” (Stark, 2005, p.16–17).

    3. Stark further notes that real science arose only in Christian Europe (2005, p.13). Virtually all of the founders of the various scientific fields were Christian theists, including Nicolaus Copernicus, Johannes Kepler, Galileo Galilei, Robert Boyle, Isaac Newton, and Gregor Mendel. The philosopher and mathematician Alfred North Whitehead maintained that science arose only because the Christian theistic beliefs of medieval European scientists led them to consider the universe to be a systematic realm of objective reality and that non-Christian beliefs hindered or prevented science.

    Please also see the following:

    “How Christianity Led to Freedom, Capitalism, and the Success of the West.” By Rodney Stark (Chronicle of Higher Education)
    http://www.independent.org/newsroom/article.asp?id=1809

    “Galileo Goes to Jail and Other Myths about Science and Religion,” by Ronald Numbers (Harvard University Press)
    http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0674033272/qid=1146954305/theindepeende-20/002-6508816-9461647

    “Economic Science and the Poverty of Naturalism: C. S. Lewis’s ‘Argument from Reason’,” by David Theroux (Journal of Private Enterprise, Spring 2008)
    http://www.independent.org/publications/article.asp?id=2278

    • Anonymous
      • http://paosirdjhutmosu.wordpress.com Djhutmosu Si-Hathor

        Thank you for posting that. Just finished reading it. Certain Christians seem to have this annoying habit of thinking Christianity invented everything, when really, they’re the Johnny-come-latelies of things like science and civilization, standing on the shoulders of the Greek giants whose achievements they deny or diminish.

    • http://kauko-niskala.blogspot.com Kauko

      Ah, you have to love the I-read-a-book-that-completely-validates-my-already-held-beliefs-and-so-I-now-have-all-the-answers type.

    • Don

      The irony is that Christian theology and metaphysics are indebted to paganism. Were there no Aristotle, there would be no Scholasticism.

      “The ancient Greeks and Romans’ polytheistic system did not include a creator who was not subject to the same universe of continuous cycles of progress and decline affecting mortals.”

      This shows a stunning ignorance of classical philosophy, particularly Platonism.

      “Virtually all of the founders of the various scientific fields were Christian theists, including Nicolaus Copernicus, Johannes Kepler, Galileo Galilei, Robert Boyle, Isaac Newton, and Gregor Mendel.”

      They all also received a classical (viz. pagan) education.

    • Merofled Ing

      You need a few more sources on Aristotle, or Plato, or ancient Greek thought than just one, irrespective of your arguments. In addition, Christian theologists masquerading as scholars of ancient philosophy or of history are prime sources for Christian thought, and nothing but. Aside from lumping Aristotle and Plato together – you need a very rough and superficial approach to do that – you seem to think that Christianity as a belief system just dropped from the skies without any roots or interaction with prior and then contemporary thought. That is an intellectual insult even early Christian writers don’t deserve.

      As for Johannes Kepler, early 17th century astronomer and Christian through lack of choice: His discoveries and his work and his finances took a severe hit in the years 1615-1621, when he had to use his time, his money, and his connections to save his mother from being burned at the stake. From all acounts she was loud and outspoken,and so she saw herself accused of WITCHCRAFT together with six other women from her place, Leonberg. Kepler intervened, and it took him six years to finally clear her (Linz, Austria, Sep 28, 1621). (This kind of “history” means archives, and study, and texts, – not praying and believing.) Kepler’s Weltharmonie (`Worldharmony`), his major work on the planets, could have appeared years earlier but for Christian intervention.

      Oh – I’ll hand you a point on a platter: persecuting scientists for their thoughts is not solely Christian, even the Greek did that (Socrates), but all this proves is: use brains, don’t kill, use brains.

      • Merofled Ing

        aaargh, language problem: should read: “intellectual insult early Christian writers, even though monotheist/Christian, don’t deserve.” Early Christian writers, obviously, were intellectuals. Bah, whu cares ’bout spelling, much beter mishtakes you can make….

    • Anonymous

      I’m sorry, but by quoting Stark you just lost any credibility you had.

    • http://egregores.wordpress.com Apuleius Platonicus

      It is far more important to take note of serious academics, like the ones cited by David Theroux, than to waste time focussing on the “thought leaders” admired by the Michelle Bachmann crowd.

      Of course, brazenly self-serving Christian supremacist propaganda is just that no matter how highly educated the source is from which it is spewed forth. Many otherwise worthy intellectuals, writers, artists and social activists supported Stalinism for much of the 20th century, but the credentials of those fellow-travelers in no way validated the evil ideology at whose service they placed themselves.

      The irony is that Christian apologetics originates from a time when Christians simply could not get themselves taken seriously by anyone with the slightest amount of education. Those few Christians who possessed any learning themselves had no choice but to try to express themselves with reference to Pagan philosophy, Pagan rhetoric, and Pagan literature. The result was that Christians produced discourses on their childish superstitions that were very much like their “churches”, which (from the time of Constantine) they adorned with bits and pieces of rubble left over from looting the temples of the old Gods (which were systematiclly destroyed by Christian mob violence).

      Today vanishingly few Pagans, or anyone else, for that matter, understand anything whatsoever about the period of history from the 2nd to the 6th centuries, without which it is impossible to understand even the broad outlines of Pagan history. This deficiency exists in spite of the fact that reliable information is readily available from mainstream academics, including highly respected figures such as the following:
      Ramsay MacMullen: Christianity and Paganism in the Fourth to Eighth Centuries
      James B. Rives: Christian Expansion and Christian Ideology; (also find some excerpts from this paper here)
      Perez Zagorin: How the Idea of Religious Toleration Came to the West
      Charles Freeman: The Closing of the Western Mind: The Rise of Faith and the Fall of Reason; (and here is a review from The Leftist Review)
      R.I. Moore: The Formation of a Persecuting Society
      Pierre Hadot: What Is Ancient Philosophy?; Also see this review by a Christian complaining about the fact that Hadot “confidently identifies Christianity as the agent of philosophy’s decline.”
      Geoffrey de Ste. Croix: Christian Persecution, Martyrdom, and Orthodoxy (see especially Chapter Four on the subject of “Voluntary Martyrdom”)
      J.B. Bury: History of the Later Roman Empire; (also look here for excerpts from Bury and from many of the other authors listed above)

  • http://www.independent.org/ David Theroux

    The scholarship on the Christian roots of modern science (as opposed to pre-Christian trial-and-error technique and engineering) and is extensive for anyone who objectively wishes to examine it. Furthermore, hate, intolerance and bigotry are hostile to the scientific enterprise. Here is a small further sampling of scholarly references:

    “God and Nature: Historical Essays on the Encounter between Christianity and Science,” edited with Ronald L. Numbers (University of California Press)http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0520056922/theindepeende-20/002-6508816-9461647

    “Science in the Middle Ages,” by Ronald Numbers (University of Chicago Press)
    http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0226482332/theindepeende-20/002-6508816-9461647

    “When Science and Christianity Meet,” edited by Ronald Numbers and Ronald L. Numbers (University of Chicago Press)
    http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0226482162/theindepeende-20/002-6508816-9461647

    “Christianity and the Nature of Science: A Philosophical Examination,” by J.P. Moreland (Baker Book House)
    http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0801062497/theindepeende-20/002-6508816-9461647

    “Where the Conflict Really Lies: Science, Religion, and Naturalism,” by Alvin Plantinga (Oxford University Press)
    http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0199812098/theindepeende-20/002-6508816-9461647

    “Exploring Reality: The Intertwining of Science and Religion,” by John Polkinghorne (Yale University Press)
    http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0300110146/theindepeende-20/002-6508816-9461647

    “Science and Religion in Quest of Truth,” by John Polkinghorne (Yale University Press)
    http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0300174780/theindepeende-20/002-6508816-9461647

    “For the Glory of God: How Monotheism Led to Reformations, Science, Witch-Hunts, and the End of Slavery,” by Rodney Stark (Princeton University Press)
    http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0691119503/theindepeende-20/002-6508816-9461647

    • BlackCat

      Uh… I’m pretty sure modern science IS trial-and-error. The scientific method just gives the experimentation some uniform, repeatable structure.

      • http://egregores.wordpress.com Apuleius Platonicus

        There’s more to it than that. In particular there is the assumption that physical laws can be expressed precisely with mathematics (which is essential both for the proper formulation of hypotheses and for evaluating experimental results). A priori there is no reason to assume that this is so, nor is there any conceivable way of actually “proving” that this is so. This idea is due to Pythagoras, or to whoever Pythagoras got it from.

        • Baruch Dreamstalker

          It’s easy to summarize the cycle of experiment and theory in science as trial and error, but miss the deep nature of the cycle: Theories explain experiments and experiments test theories. That we can use mathematics to state experiemental results and compose new theories is an enormously important feature that probably makes the whole thing possible.

    • deerwoman

      “Furthermore, hate, intolerance and bigotry are hostile to the scientific enterprise.”

      This is exactly why Christianity has been (and often continues to be) at odds with science. If one’s religion is based upon the authority of a single text, anything that is construed to challenge or contradict that text is in error (to put it mildly). The scientific method is based on the premise of forming and testing hypotheses, and when one’s ultimate base is something that will not or cannot be tested, it severely limits scientific inquiry.

      In an earlier post you mentioned Galileo as an early Christian scientist, but you seemed to have ignored the fact that during his time, the Church denounced and prosecuted him for supporting a heliocentric model of the universe. It was only fairly recently (1992 I believe) that the Pope officially “forgave” Galileo for his heresy.

      You also mentioned that the Greeks and Romans could not have advanced science due to their views (or technically the views of a couple of specific philosophers, not of the entirely of Classical thought) that the universe was static and unchangeable, but that was the same argument used against the heliocentric model since several locations in the Bible mention the unmovable nature of the universe. This same Christian idea of an unchanging universe is also one of the reasons why some Christians reject evolution: God created each species individually therefore it is not possible for one species to have generated from another.

      • http://www.facebook.com/people/Rafi-Cate/600717825 Rafi Cate

        The idea of an unchanging universe can be linked to the idea of perfection as a divine trait. Or to Platonic ideals. But that also equates the universe with God. And it implies that creation no longer occurs. Which would place limits on any infinite omnipotent divine.

        But the idea of stasis is comforting. It is belief in an order where not only the cosmos is set, but so is one’s place in it. Notice where fundamentalists are the strongest. I don’t mean politically avaricious “leaders”who use such movements for their own purposes. I mean the rank and file humans for the most part invisible to the economic and educated elites.

        The people most impacted by trickle up econopathies, the de facto economic draft, and the outsourcing of jobs and deskilling of labor. The majority– the white underclass alone is now about 55 million and growing. The privilege of whiteness isn’t even skin deep, no matter what racists want to believe.

        The theoretical basis of our economic system can be seen simply as bad theology. An omnipotent “invisible hand.” Ministered to by mostly older white males who interpret the rules for us. And who urge obedience. Talk about heresies! Look at any city. Or any college campus. The biggest buildings reveal what the real object of worship is.

        To build successful progressive political alliances means giving up the easy castigation of people who are desperate. It means having compassion for the economically downtrodden. To see them as potential allies rather than as inferior enemies.

        Reforms in North America which restrained the Robber Barons came about through a coalition. Including the Social Gospel movement, the Populists (who also were predominantly religious,) labor, and the Grange. The Progressives were later allies as well. They all understood that the common good meant working with what we have in common.
        http://www.thesteampunkpopulist.weebly.com

        • http://egregores.wordpress.com Apuleius Platonicus

          Rafi Cate: “The idea of an unchanging universe can be linked to the idea of perfection as a divine trait. Or to Platonic ideals. But that also equates the universe with God. And it implies that creation no longer occurs. Which would place limits on any infinite omnipotent divine.”

          Plato’s cosmology actually posited that the physical Cosmos is in a state of constant change. Also central to Platonic cosmology is that this Cosmos is uncreated, that is, eternally existent.

          Also, Plato did conceive of the Cosmos as divine, but he did not “equate the universe with God”, for Plato was clear that there were many Gods, including Gods “higher” (in some sense) than the God that is the living, conscious, rational, benevolent Cosmos.

          On the topic of “change” in general, the idea that species change (“evolve”) over time did not originate with Charles Darwin. Both Charles’ father and grandfather were also proponents of the idea. Erasmus Darwin (his grandfather) specifically cited both Vergil and Ovid as important influences for his ideas on the subject. Erasmus Darwin’s most thorough explanation of his own conception of evolution comes in his didactic poem The Temple of Nature, or, The Origin of Society, which begins with a direct reference to the Eleusinian Mysteries, “which gave rise to the machinery of this poem.”

          For a nice overview of Erasmus Darwin’s contribution to the theory of evolution, check out this article by Thomas E. Hart. Sadly, Hart (a Catholic) completely ignores the influence of classical Paganism on Erasmus, so for that part of the story I have no choice but to humbly call attention to my own writings on that subject:
          The Eleusinian Mysteries & The Evolution of Species, &
          Six Degrees of Charles Darwin

          • http://www.facebook.com/people/Rafi-Cate/600717825 Rafi Cate

            I did not say that Plato held to an unchanging physical universe or that he equated the universe with “God.” I’m saying the opposite. In contrast to the fundamentalist notion of God as omnipotent, yet the source of a one-time only creation. Which is contradictory,since it places limits on the divine: God can create nothing further.

            Plato did, however, use the concept of Forms. The Ideal: the non-physical non-temporal perfect pattern of which physical objects are but reflections. The source of Forms is the Mind of God. Related to the early Cappadocian Christian (Greek) differentiation between the human ability to understand God’s energies and God in its/his/her own essences. The former is known through effects; the latter unknowable to a finite human mind.

        • Baruch Dreamstalker

          Rafi, it’s an error to place addressing the plight of the white underclass in an either/or frame with addressing the persistence of unearned privilege. Great leaders such as Martin Luther King have put them in a both/and frame.

          • http://www.facebook.com/people/Rafi-Cate/600717825 Rafi Cate

            Yes, I realize MLK was an activist concerned with labor in general. But to what either/or frame do you refer? Of course the universe contains a “maybe.” There’s those nand/nor gates as well.

            The rise of religious fundamentalism is not an American phenomenon alone. With a global economic system increasingly in the hands of an untouchable elite, ordinary people have little say in the forces affecting their lives. Insecurity means intolerable fear. No wonder “leaders” who can direct blame elsewhere or who promise security get attention.

            Go over to Huffpo or other progressive news sites and check out the tone of discussion when the subject is working class whites. Very little empathy for them or their religious beliefs. Then ask why it is so difficult to build a winning progressive political movement.

            As for the US Democrats, they abandoned labor as of the late 1970s. Which was, in constant $$, the peak of income for the non 4 yr college educated. (Still around 76% of the population.) Who decried the Rust Belt? Or the outsourcing of blue collar jobs? So now that the once solid middle class is falling apart, there are few left to protest. We did not heed Pastor Niemoeller.

          • Baruch Dreamstalker

            I meant what I said: We need not choose between either exposing unearned privilege or helping the white underclass/building a new center-left coalition. We can choose both.

  • http://www.independent.org/ David Theroux

    Don, Your point is an excellent one and there is certainly an immense amount of wisdom in both Plato and Aristotle. For example, naturalism (atheism) as a religious creed is a very old one. A number of the pre-Socratic philosophers (e.g., Thales, Empedocles, Anaxagoras, and Democritus) were probably the first to propose an early version of naturalism. Plato, Paramenides, and Aristotle discredited these pre-Socratic naturalists and showed their view to be incoherent and self-refuting.

    But this hardly contradicts the point that Christian insights were superior, and this is exactly what Aquinas noted and developed based on Christian teachings. Denying this great advance is pointless.

    An example of a scholar who firmly recognized and defended the insights of pagan writings was C.S. Lewis, but he also understood the failings of paganism and that Christianity answered these failings and as a result, the progress of the West resulted. A key book by Lewis in this regard is the following:

    “The Discarded Image: An Introduction to Medieval and Renaissance Literature,” by C.S. Lewis (Cambridge University Press)
    http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0521477352/qid=1146954305/theindepeende-20/002-6508816-9461647

    • Anonymous

      “Christian insights were superior,” “failings of paganism” Blah…Blah…Blah…

      Please go back to your Ku Klux Klan meeting with your Christian Supremacist, hate-filled bigotry.

      • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_PMTLR3IIGKPHZ2YNU3PDXWK4WA Kenneth

        Well, look Bryon, we have to give the Christians their due on some accounts: They DID manage to employ a sort of scientific efficiency to genocide, slavery and colonialism. Their convictions and their “insights” enabled them to rape and enslave four continents in as many centuries.

  • Anonymous

    The next time you Conservative Pagans start defending someone like Bachmann, Palin, Huckabee, Perry, etc. on this page…remember this article. Remember the Christian Taliban weltanschauung that they come from. Remember the comments that the Christian Supremacist trolls defending them post here. We’re not talking about issues that can be DEBATED, like say…whether “progressive taxation” or “entitlement reform” is the best solution to America’s debt problem…

    We are talking about people who view Non-Christians as a plague to be wiped out. We are second-class citizens to them, and their warped version of “history” places them as the “good guys,” while they murder, rape, pillage, and forcefully convert everyone in the name of their “god.” These are the people who applaud Bryan Fischer when he claims that Christians had a “moral” imperative to commit genocide against the Native Americans. These are the people that make excuses for the Massacre of Werden, the Theodosian laws punishing Polytheism with death, the Northern Crusade, and yes…even Anders Breivik’s Christian Terrorist day of death and destruction.

    Look at their words…their Newspeak version of history…where Christianity is the “champion of science,” America was founded as a Theocracy, and Freedom only applies to those who worship the idol of the divine corpse. They hate scholars, scientists, and most certainly Non-Christians with the same zeal as Charlemagne had as he beheaded anyone who would not convert.

    Voting for a Christian Conservative is like a Jew voting for a Nazi. If you put economic concerns above that of our religious freedom, then you commit treason…not just against your faith, but also against the concepts of Freedom, Liberty, and Equality upon which this country was founded.

  • 21centkid

    Jason, you may not want to take Lizza’s word for it… The New Yorker’s treatment of Schaeffer was terrible:

    http://www.firstthings.com/onthesquare/2011/08/a-journalism-lesson-for-the-new-yorker

  • 21centkid

    Jason, you may not want to take Lizza’s word for it… The New Yorker’s treatment of Schaeffer was terrible:

    http://www.firstthings.com/onthesquare/2011/08/a-journalism-lesson-for-the-new-yorker

    • http://www.wildhunt.org/blog/ Jason Pitzl-Waters

      According to someone who thinks Francis Schaeffer is his “intellectual hero.” Further, all I used Lizza’s article for is to make the connection between Schaeffer and Bachmann, which even critics admit is there. Bachmann is on record praising him, and talking about how influential he was. In my post, I use Schaeffer’s own words to point out that he’s no thinker that is friendly to modern Pagan interests.

      As for Schaeffer not advocating violence, I think the record is far hazier on that account than his defenders would like to admit. Here’s a quote from a sermon given by Schaeffer:

      “I would now repeat again the word I used before. There is no other word we can use for our present situation that I have just been describing, except the word TYRANNY! TYRANNY! That’s what we face! We face a world view which never would have given us our freedoms. It has been forced upon us by the courts and the government — the men holding this other world view, whether we want it or not, even though it’s destroying the very freedoms which give the freedoms for the excesses and for the things which are wrong.

      We, who are Christians, and others who love liberty, should be acting in our day as the founding fathers acted in their day. Those who founded this country believed that they were facing tyranny. All you have to do is read their writings. That’s why the war was fought. That’s why this country was founded. They believed that God never, never, never wanted people to be under tyrannical governments. They did it not as a pragmatic or economic thing, though that was involved too, I guess, but for principle. They were against tyranny, and if the founding fathers stood against tyranny, we ought to recognize, in this year 1982, if they were back here and one of them was standing right here, he would say the same thing — what you are facing is tyranny. The very kind of tyranny we fought, he would say, in order that we might escape.”

      That’s from the sermon version of his Christian Manifesto.

      Correct me if I’m wrong, but didn’t the Founding Fathers start a revolutionary war? So while it’s apt for Schaeffer’s defenders to point out that he advocated civil disobedience, he also used some rhetoric that could easily be interpreted as calling for violent overthrow as a last resort.

      I also think it’s hilarious that everyone quickly attacks Frank Schaeffer as an unreliable source, even though he only grew up, was raised by, and helped produce some of his most famous works. Now, whenever he says anything critical of his father, he’s simply a bitter crank who lies. Convenient.

  • http://egregores.wordpress.com Apuleius Platonicus

    This thread now includes two links to articles at the Christian journal “First Things”. (One of those links was from me.)

    Anyone who is interested in knowing where the good folks at First Things are coming from, should read the fascinating article by the journal’s founder, Father Richard John Neuhaus on the question: “Is Mormonism Christian?

    Father Neuhaus’ answer is that Mormonism is so far removed from what he considers actual Christianity, that it cannot even be accepted as a Christian heresy! This provides an excellent example of modern Christian revisionism, because Neuhaus claims that “heresy is typically a deviation within the story of the Great Tradition” of Christianity. The truth, of course, is that Christians (and the Roman Catholic Church in particular) have historically defined Heresy as the most poisonous form of Error. Far from being viewed broad-mindedly as “within the story of the Great Tradition”, heresy (from Irenaeus until quite recently) has been consistently viewed by mainstream Christianity as Satanic in its origin, and punishable not just by death, but specifically by burning (in order to deprive the heretic of any possibility of resurrection).

    When Neuhaus died in 2009, his obituary in Newsweek hailed him as “an honorable Christian soldier” and claimed that the journal he founded “quickly became, under his leadership and inspiration, the most important vehicle for exploring the tangled web of religion and society in the English-speaking world.”

    Nice religion ya got there.

  • Todd Jackson

    Let’s walk through this rationally. A President with Dominionist intentions is something none of us want to see. But all this talk about moving to the EU or Canada seems a little premature. Even Hitler didn’t just walk into the Chancellorship and start gassing the Jews.

    Let’s spell this out. What could a Dominionist President actually do? What would we have to watch out for? What could even a Dominionist President NOT get away with?

    See, I’m a little skeptical. I remember Pagans fretting, as though listening for The Knock On The Door through eight years of George W. Bush.

    • http://www.facebook.com/winged.writer Kate Jackson

      I just don’t think I’d be able to live in the same country as such a massive idiot. Being American carries a lot of connotations. If she’s going to drag that name into the mud, then I want off before I get splashed.
      If I had been of legal age and had the financial means when Bush was around, I would have up and left right then and there.

      • Todd Jackson

        Not that it matters, but to my mind, that’s a much better reason to leave than “I’m afraid! The boogeyman’s gonna ketch me!”

        I took the time to watch Francis Schaeffer’s series, “How Should We Then Live?”

        http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-1998035952933796581

        He’s obviously a smart fellow; the level of discussion improves markedly once you leave the Roman Age behind. Where he gets the idea of the Olympians being “limited,” I have no idea. He’s no Proclus scholar, that’s for sure. He’s as ignorant about Hinduism, which he briefly examines near the end of the series, as he is about the Olympians.

        He doesn’t strike me as a theocrat. This does not necessarily mean that his admirers don’t so aspire; and there’s much in his work that could inspire such a temperament. His political argument, which starts in section 5, is that Protestantism naturally fostered a separation of powers, and limited government, and that only a “Christian consensus” can maintain limited government. But he’s so wildly off-base about any religion that isn’t Christianity that his judgement can’t be respected.

  • Todd Jackson

    Put yourself in the position of a Dominionist President. You know the country, generally, isn’t going to be on your side when it comes to turning this place into a theocracy. The opponents wouldn’t just be the usual suspects. You’d have serious problems with large elements of the Right. I could run off the names: John McCain, William Kristol, Ron Paul…most important, none of the big radio guys, Limbaugh, Hannity, Levin, are Dominionist.

    Pagans, Hindus, Buddhists, Atheists and Agnostics, Muslims, Mormons, and liberal Jews would be pushed into one political bloc. You’d have to tread very lightly not to be opposed by the Catholic Church.

    The big networks, the New York Times, Bill Maher, Hollywood, they’d all be poised to raise the roof at the first sign of any funny business.

    There would be the problem of imposing something upon liberal States like California, Massachussetts…

    How would Europe and Canada react to an Anerican theocracy-in-the-making? Not to mention India and Japan.

    I’m thinking, a President might actually be limited to acting through the very uncertain device of judicial appointments.

  • Todd Jackson

    That’s a serious question.

    What do you expect a Dominionist President to actually DO?

    I take it that this long silence means that none of us can envisage a likely scenario that’s worthy of all this consternation.

    The simple insult involved toward our faiths is enough reason not to vote for such a President. So we won’t vote for her. We might actively campaign against her. But let’s not pee our pants over it, okay?

    Doing so turns an external political problem into an internal spiritual problem.

  • Joij

    Ignorant article

  • http://www.facebook.com/winged.writer Kate Jackson

    Muslims: algebra
    Ancient Greeks: geometry and philosophy
    “heathen witches”: herbal medicine

    Dark Age Christianity: “burn some red candles and God will either save you or damn you for your subconscious doubt of His power”

    If Bachmann gets on the ticket, I’m checking into the family records to see if I’d be eligible for Irish citizenship. If somehow she wins, I’m moving.

  • Krystal H.

    Hi, Canadian here, so sometimes I’m not up to speed with U.S. politics, but is it just me, or does every photograph I’ve seen of Bachmann make her look crazy?

    …Or maybe she just is crazy. I’ve read some of her quotes and seriously, WTF?

  • Anonymous

    Sorry.I was under the impression that this site was dedicated to the things that bring us together in all religions .The story and comments are obviously politically motavated,well it is always safe to bash a Christian,after all the same thing was done to Palin.See YA

    • http://www.wildhunt.org/blog/ Jason Pitzl-Waters

      The Wild Hunt is dedicated to news and opinions of interest to modern Pagans. I’d be happy to not mention political candidate if they didn’t keep involving themselves with anti-Pagan extremists. Maybe you should take the plank from your own eye before you start looking for specks here.

      • Anonymous

        Yes I see it now, The Wild hunt ,My apologies. I will now unsubscribe.Cheers