Tag Archives: religion

Evangelicals and the GOP: Who’s Driving Whom?

According to the Citizen-Times of Ashville, NC:

A Billy Graham Evangelistic Association article labeling Mormonism a cult has been removed from the group’s website following the 93-year-old televangelist’s meeting with the Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney last week.

Graham pledged to do “all I can” to help Romney get elected during the meeting

The Citizen-Times at 4:56 p.m. on Thursday captured the article, which said cults are “Jehovah’s Witnesses, Mormons, the Unification Church, Unitarians, Spiritists, Scientologists, and others.”

Graham met with Romney at his Montreat home just hours before. The article is not on the association’s Website today.

So, apparently, now that a Mormon is making a serious bid for the White House on the GOP ticket, The Latter Day Saints are totally kosher for evangelicalism. Funny how that works.

Look, I don’t care if Mitt Romney’s a Mormon. I don’t care if Barak Obama is a Muslim (like he was early in the 2008 campaign), or a Black Liberation Theologian (like he was later in that campaign). I don’t care if you’re a Hare Krishna, a Scientologist, an Atheist or a Baptimergent—if you’ll care for the poor and not drop as many bombs as the other guys would, then I’ll vote for you.

But I’m not the one saying that the POTUS should be an evangelical Christian and that Mormonism is a cult. It’s evangelicals who used to say that. Remember?

I like Billy Graham, I really do. And to be frank, the man is 93-years-old, has Parkinson’s and, as I understand it, has to have fluid drained off his brain every day. So he probably can’t be held responsible for most of the decisions made by the association. The fact that Graham’s association is literally willing to delete articles that constitue their doctrinal statement in order to relieve the cognitive dissonance of evangelicals considering voting for Romney is symptomatic of a much larger problem: Evangelicals have nuzzled up to the GOP for so long that it’s no longer their theological commitments driving them to support particular candidates, as I think it really was at the inception of the Moral Majority. Now, it seems, their unquestioned commitment to the GOP can actually drive an evangelical’s theological commitments.

Am I wrong?

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Religion, Evidence and Scientific Change

There are no mere facts.

At least that’s what New York Times opinion blogger, Stanley Fish, is arguing.

Fish got a lot of feedback after his recent post denying that science has any epistemic advantage over religion (or any other tradition of inquiry, for that matter) with respect to access to objective, unmediated evidence. 287 comments as of last count, to be exact.

So he wrote a follow up post.

This time, he takes up the problem of radical shifts in accepted scientific theory over time. Of course, advocates of scientific objectivity will say that such change “just shows that science is progressive and can correct its mistakes…because more precise and powerful techniques have given it a better purchase on the world.” Meanwhile, “religion lacks a mechanism for detecting and purging error.”

Fish rejects what he calls “this Baconian model of scientific progress” because, to quote Thomas Kelly’s article, “Evidence” in the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy: “at any given time, which theories are accepted … typically plays a crucial role in guiding the subsequent search for evidence which bears on these theories.”

Fish comments, “the very act of looking around is always and already performed within a set of fully elaborate assumptions complete with categories, definitions and rules that tell you in advance what kinds of things might be ‘discovered’ and what relationships of cause and effect, contiguity, sameness and difference, etc.”

You can read the rest here.

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