Book Plunge: The Christian Delusion Chapter 14

Was atheism the cause of the holocaust? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

In this chapter of John…..what was his name again…..oh yeah! Loftus! In this chapter, we are looking at Hector Avalos responding to Dinesh D’Souza. Again, I was not going to go through D’Souza again just to respond to Avalos which is something quite bothersome about the book. You can read several chapters responding to works that you might or might not have read but you don’t necessarily have access to. Why not just make the case on your own and tangentially touch other critics who respond?

This time, we’re talking about the holocaust. Was atheism responsible for it? I’ll say outright, no. I don’t think Hitler was an atheist. Could he have had some ideas friendly to atheism? Sure, but he was not an atheist and he was not a Christian either. He was something else entirely.

Avalos starts by talking about Stalin and saying he wasn’t killing for atheistic reasons. Of course, dynamiting churches must have been purely accidental. The thing about Stalin is what he did was entirely consistent with atheism. There is not a single tenet of atheism that Stalin violated by murdering millions of his people.

Avalos also says Communism is a collectivism that was practiced in the early church. However, this was practiced in only one community and when people sold and gave to the cause, they could keep part of what they had for themselves. It was also completely voluntary. No one forced them to give.

Avalos also talks about the couple that died for lying. What they were doing was actually more honor-grabbing. They were wanting to look like people who gave all they had without doing so, intentionally shaming the church. The judgment was swift to show that sin is still treated seriously in the early church. Note also Peter didn’t do the deed himself.

Avalos does rightly point out that Positive Christianity played a role in the Nazi regime. This Christianity was a really anti-Semitic version that made Marcion look friendly by comparison. It is in no way representative of Biblical Christianity at all.

Avalos says that this movement represents a reinterpretation of Christianity, which explains the 25,000 denominations today. Even some Roman Catholics are acknowledging that that number is a myth. However, if we have a version of Christianity show up that is far and away from any connection to the church historical, we can have just grounds for questioning it.

I really don’t plan on responding to much else in this chapter because I am not an expert on Hitler and his stance. I also don’t think it makes much of a difference in the long run. Christianity depends on the resurrection of Jesus and even if Hitler said he was a Christian, regardless of what all he did, that doesn’t change Christian truth. It could be an interesting point to discuss, but let’s not get ignore that Christianity does not depend on this.

Those interested in more should listen to my interview with J.P. Holding on his book Hitler’s Christianity.

In Christ,
Nick Peters

The Embarrassment of Christian Media

Why is it that we are not making the most of media? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

My church meets at a movie theater. Yesterday, my wife and I arrive to help set up in the auditorium. As we’re going back and forth, I see behind the counter a promotion for an upcoming movie called Four Blood Moons. I’m looking at this as one who has written on it before and I’m thinking “Please, please, say it isn’t what I think it is.” Unfortunately, if you’ve clicked the first link, you already know that this is not a joke.

As you can see by the description given by the producer of the film.

It is rare that science, history and scripture align with each other, yet the last three series of Four Blood Moons have done exactly that. Are these the “signs” that God refers to in the Bible? If they are, what do they mean? What is their significance for us today? In his riveting and highly acclaimed book, Pastor John Hagee explores the supernatural connection of certain celestial events to biblical prophecy-and to the future of God’s chosen people and to the nations of the world. In the movie “Four Blood Moons,” produced by Rick Eldridge and directed by the Academy Award Winner, Kieth Merrill; these veteran filmmakers illustrate this fascinating phenomenon in a very compelling docu-drama. Cinematic recreations of historical events from the United States, Israel and throughout the Middle East; along with expert testimonials from scientists, historians and religious scholars, are used to illustrate this story told in narrative format by a celebrity host. Just as in biblical times, perhaps God is controlling the sun, the moon, and the stars to send our generation a signal that something big is about to happen. The question is: Are we watching and listening for His message?

It is hard to say if I’m more angry or sad about this coming out.

To begin with, I happened to like D’Souza’s What’s So Great About Christianity?, but if this is the way that he’s going to be going now, then I have to ask D’Souza to please step down from doing this sort of thing. This is an embarrassment. Anyone can do some basic research and see that the blood moon phenomena just doesn’t apply. It is the kind of thing that skeptics of the Christian faith will just mock and sadly. Worse, I think nothing will really happen that is major, though it is the Middle East so anything could be construed as a fulfillment. When that happens, atheists will be able to point to something in recent history and use that to not only not take the movie seriously, but not take Christianity seriously.

I have also been disturbed to see that both Hugh Ross and Dennis Prager are in this. I fear I am hoping against hope that their only role in the movie will be showing up and saying “No.” Unfortunately, there is a strong part of me that is quite sure that they’re not being invited on to give a negative critique of the idea.

In fact, let’s consider what’s going through the minds of people behind this film at the time. “Let’s see. Easter is coming. What kind of film should we make? We could make a film that will go public where we’ll discuss the evidence for the resurrection of Jesus, the reason why we observe Easter. We would discuss with Gary Habermas, N.T. Wright, Mike Licona, William Lane Craig, and others. If Christians went to see it, they would learn about the reality of the resurrection of Jesus. If non-Christians went to see it, they would have a case made that they might never see otherwise. We could do that, or we could go with blood moons. Let’s do blood moons!”

In a recent book review, I wrote about how we Christians keep blundering in media. We make movies that only appeal to Christians. How are we going to reach the world if we stay in the circle of our own interests and make films that only those like us will want to see? Of course, there’s a place for encouraging each other, but we hardly see films pushing a Christian message, unless that message is made cheesy and explicit. Fellow Christians. Please realize this. The world makes movies that espouse a view of the world that is not in your face and that view of the world is in fact having an impact on people. Dare I say it but maybe we could learn something from our opponents? Maybe we could learn that our audiences are not supposed to be so dumb that they have to have everything spelled out for them? Why do you think a series like the Chronicles of Narnia is so enthralling? What about Lord of the Rings? The Gospel is NEVER spelled out in these and you’ll find fans of those series all across the religious spectrum.

It is my sincere hope that Four Blood Moons will be entirely neglected and that the studio will lose out on this project. If this is the way that D’Souza is going to go with jumping on bandwagons in this way, then it would do him well to just get out now. When people come and hold to theories like this, it makes me really wonder if I can take their viewpoint seriously on other matters. If that is what I can think as a Christian, what will those outside Christianity think? They already think our view is crazy enough as it is. Is there any need we have to add to that?

How about we spend this Easter focused on the resurrection and not blood moons?

In Christ,
Nick Peters

The Dinesh D’Souza Controversy

What can be said about the controversy involving D’Souza? Let’s talk about it on Deeper Waters.

What can be said in light the Dinesh D’Souza controversy (accusation) (response) (King’s College Resignation)? At the very least, Dinesh began a relationship which led to engagement with Denise Joseph while separated from his wife, Dixie. His filing for divorce was registered with the court on October 4, but he had started the process, which takes time, two weeks before that. His wife initiated their two-years separation, while Dinesh initiated the divorce process they are currently undergoing, and he claims to have biblical grounds for it. The stronger accusation, which may be false, is that he and Denise Joseph shared a Comfort Suites room together after attending the Truth for a New Generation 2012 conference September 28 in South Carolina.

I am a member of the Christian Apologetics Alliance (link) and the Apologetics Bloggers Alliance (link), where this story was brought to my attention. I was recommended, as our “pro-family” guy, to be the one to write on this. This is not an official CAA statement, and I claim full responsibility for all the words and any errors in this post.

I am a fan of Dinesh D’Souza. I have enjoyed a number of his debates, such as his against John Loftus. I did go and see the 2016 movie. I have a copy of “What’s So Great About Christianity?” and had my picture taken with D’Souza at Southern Evangelical Seminary. Readers also know that, personally, I am a strong conservative, so great bonus points to someone who worked in the Reagan administration.

Yet now, his reputation is being called into question.

There are some things that are agreed upon. It is agreed that D’Souza has been separated from his wife for two years. D’Souza says that Dixie demanded it before he went to Kings College. Unfortunately, what is not given is the reason for the separation.

It is also agreed that he had a fiancé. D’Souza presented her at a recent Christian apologetics conference as his fiancé. D’Souza says he would not have done this if he had thought he was doing anything wrong. They have decided to suspend their engagement. I think we should give him the benefit of the doubt on this one.

There is debate on whether he shared a room with his fiancé. Some people are saying, “Yes, he did.” Dinesh is saying, “No, I didn’t.” I recommend, at this point, until we have absolute certainty, that we not argue that he did or didn’t do anything. This has become a case of “He said, she said.” Reputations can be too easily destroyed, and let’s be sure of this: No one wants to do that. I have seen people attacked in the Christian community for offenses that are imagined but not real. Note that I am not saying anyone is deliberately presenting false information. We don’t know what has happened exactly, but let’s be a community of grace for the time being.

In our community, when sin comes out, before seeking to condemn, we should seek to reach the person first (Matthew 18:15-17). When we go immediately to the public, as did Marvin Olasky, we automatically begin a kind of polarization. It would be better if these kinds of matters could be discussed behind closed doors first, but that does not seem to be what happened. It’s too easy to turn others against someone, when others are not likely to read the other side.

So let’s talk about what is most concerning here in all of this to me.

Why is Dinesh filing for divorce?

There are biblical reasons for divorce, but does D’Souza have them? Has he done everything he can to make matters right? Now, if his wife, who initiated the separation, will not seek reconciliation, then there is really nothing Dinesh can do. However, even if that is the case, it would be most proper for him to wait until his divorce is finalized before getting engaged to another woman. As it is, it appears he began the relationship with her before he began filing for divorce, unless he decided he would like to begin a lifelong relationship with her the moment he decided to file. Either alternative does not seem to take marriage seriously.

Let’s suppose biblical reasons are not there. If that is the case, then what we need to do is to seek restoration for Dinesh and his wife Dixie. In our day and age, marriage is being deteriorated and if the reasons are not biblical, then we are adding to the deterioration and making matters worse for society as a whole. We should all be seeking to do what we can to uphold marriage and treat it seriously to a world that does not.

Those of us who are married know that marriage is hard work. It is also very revelatory. I find that when I have one accusation concerning my Mrs., there can be a large number coming back at me. It has been a point of mine to look at myself and ask, “How am I doing?” For we men especially who believe we are the leaders of the household (I do hold to that, although not every Christian does), we need to realize that we are to be constant examples to a watching world and especially our spouses.

Marriage is hard work, but it is worth it. We should be seeking to build one another up and constantly asking ourselves how we can do better. Men, instead of asking, “How can my wife be a better wife?” should ask, “How can I be a better husband?” Women should not be asking how their husbands can be better husbands, but how they themselves can be better wives. In your marriage, you can influence one spouse and directly change another one. Guess which one is which.

What is concerning, for those who don’t know the facts, which includes pretty much all of us, is what kind of idea of marriage D’Souza is presenting. For instance, in his 2016 movie, I am sure that D’Souza mentions he got married the same year Obama did. If someone sees that and then hears him at a conference saying “Here’s my fiancé,” then what are they to think? What if someone in the audience is not sure if he should continue being married to his wife? Could he not look at this and say, “Well, here’s a great Christian leader who doesn’t seem to have a problem. I guess I wouldn’t, either.”

Keep in mind that applies even if the reasons for the split between D’Souza and his wife are biblical. A person listening in the audience could be persuaded to think that divorce is no big deal. Hopefully, this is not the message that D’Souza would intend to share, but we must be aware that people watch for how we act.

At this point, until there is proof that a room was shared at a conference, or that it wasn’t, it needs to be discussed behind closed doors. What the Christian community needs is men who will surround D’Souza right now and ask how they can pray for him and help him out and if possible, seek what restoration could take place. If there are no biblical grounds for divorce, then D’Souza does need to be called out on it, though not publicly. The possible dirty laundry does not at this point need to be publicly aired.

Definitely until matters are cleared up, it is good that D’Souza has suspended his engagement. Again, even if the reasons for divorce are biblical, he is not divorced yet and needs to consider how people considering backing out of their marriage could consider the situation. As far as it looks right now, he had both a wife and a fiancé.

While D’Souza has said he has sought to see if it is legal for that situation, we must remember that legal does not equal moral. There are a number of practices today that are legal but would not be advisable for Christians to do. What should have been done is to make sure that D’Souza has good pastoral, not only legal, counsel. If D’Souza did not think that he could approach the Christian community with his concerns, then that is an even greater indictment on us to do better.

For the time being, be praying for D’Souza and please avoid sharing information about him that is not proven to be accurate. Words can destroy a reputation immediately even if they might be untrue. Let us remember that we seek to build up the body and not tear it down.

In Christ,
Nick Peters

Addendum: As D’Souza has stepped down from his position as president of King’s College, we do hope that this time will be used to answer the issues about which we expressed concern.