Jesus is in real trouble. He has had a rough ride in the last half-century in western civilization—which He actually founded. Europeans have, for the most part, only some sort of vague memory of Him, like the dusty attic picture of a great-grandfather. Church attendance, among Catholics and Protestants, has dropped dramatically. Articles about “Europe losing her faith” are common. It is not unusual for Catholic countries, say Spain, Belgium or Italy, to have something like 98% “non-communicants.”
As in all things, much of European religious disinterest has floated westward across the Atlantic, and has become, in certain circles, more than mere disinterest. Perhaps an “inflection point” (to use millennial patois) occurred recently when a female, an ex-White House employee of sorts, named Omorosa Newman, observed, in a television interview, that the American vice-president was an odd-ball of the first order, even going so far to say that if he were president, she averred, we’d all be begging for the despised Donald Trump. Why? Because Mr. Pence actually believes that Jesus speaks to people, including himself. And says so. Joy Behar, the modern equivalent of Mother Teresa among the leftist elite, responded, saying that people who “hear voices in their head” had to be mentally ill, as she declared Mr. Pence to be “if I am not wrong.”
It reminded me of an interview, years ago, between Barbara Walters and Marilyn Quayle (wife of then veep candidate Dan Quayle). Ms Walters, in a subdued voice, obviously hesitant to evoke—and that before a national television audience—the stunning truth about a “little secret” of Ms Quayle’s: was it true that she actually had “communication with God every morning?”
My answer would have been brief: “Yes, like many of the leading lights of western civilization for over two millennia, and multiplied millions of fellow Americans today, it is true. Next question?”
To say that members of the Holy Trinity do not speak to people today is demonstrable of a lot of things:
- It is illogical. Why would God create man for fellowship with Him—which He did—and then not speak to him?
- It is ahistorical. No mature, serious Christian has not heard—by a wide range of means—God speak to them.
- It is inconsistent. What if the women had called the local imam mentally ill for believing that Allah revealed himself to them?
- It is unbiblical. The pages of the Bible are literally filled with “And God said…,” “The word of the Lord came to….,” “God spoke to….”, etc., etc., literally hundreds of times. Both to Christians and non-Christians! (For a rich tutorial, read, slowly, Romans 1.)
- It is intolerant bigotry.
- It is political. Imagine the response to such a remark about Barack Obama’s religion. But you can’t imagine it because the remark would never have been made.
- It is sad. If it is possible that God speaks to humans today and we miss His voice and direction thereby, the loss is immeasurable, and puts us on a plane with the great apes. Or earthworms.
- It makes prayer boring. For hundreds of millions of Christians, prayer becomes monotonous monologue instead of dramatic dialogue. (Actually, it defines biblical prayer out of existence.)
- It shuts humans off from direction which we all sorely need. Most moral decisions can be made in the light of God’s objective word—the Bible, but many other decisions call for a specific subjective word—do I marry this woman, do I purchase this house, do I move to (or from!) California, do I take this job, do I go on this trip, do I go out in this weather, do I enter this university, or that, etc., etc., ad infinitum. To say that God does not care about such things constitutes blasphemy, and leaves us with “rat-choice,” i.e., rational choice, meaning little more—given our famous incapacity for cold logic—than reading tea-leaves or bird-entrails.
I am not through, but I desist. I also resist the easy satire, like picturing moles teaching aeronautics at the Air Force Academy. I will say, gently and kindly: “Joy, you obviously meant to conclude by saying ‘If I am not wrong,’ but it came out ‘If I am wrong.’ The answer is yes. Seriously.