To Tell Truth From Error: The Church’s Teaching Responsibility
by Tom Gilson
We don’t know how to tell truth from error, and it’s time for the church to take responsibility.
The Roman Catholic Church in New York is promoting Jesus Christ as “The Original Hipster.” I saw that on yesterday’s news, just a day after I found out an online poll by Prospect magazine had Richard Dawkins being named the world’s top thinker.
Neither of these speaks well for the state of thinking in our world.
Richard Dawkins is a prolific popularizer, which is hardly the same as being a great thinker. My co-authors and I have argued in True Reason that he and the New Atheist movement he leads are beset with irrationality (see here for an excerpt from the book.) I am no world-class thinker, and yet I find Dawkins to be almost embarrassingly easy to refute, on almost everything he says about Christianity. Still he was voted to the top of the list among thinkers in the world.
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Meanwhile a church puts forth a campaign to attract people to Jesus based on identifying him with hipsters. Now, one evidence of my non-hipsterness is that I had to look up “hipster.” Urban Dictionary’s take on it includes a strong emphasis on “fashion sensibilities” along with a “bohemian lifestyle.” Hipsters are apparently responsible for/represented by VICE Magazine, which you do not want to google: the name is descriptive enough. Jesus was no hipster, original or otherwise.
This is not so much an indictment on New York Catholics — other churches have made similar errors, and the secular world has made false-image-based selling a science. Instead it underscores the same conclusion I draw from Dawkins’s being voted a top world thinker. He has crafted an image for himself as a thinker in spite of all reality. Meanwhile the Church in New York is marketing an image. In J.P. Moreland’s memorable phrase, the make-up artist is more important than the speech writer…
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