Frank Schaeffer on how Evangelical Christianity is ruining this country

September 18, 2009

In an excellent discussion on the Rachel Maddow Show about the harm that Evangelical Christian thinking has done to the United States, Frank Schaeffer, the son of the prominent Christian thinker Francis Schaeffer, speaks out about how extremist views in religion have led a third of our population to reject facts in favor of faith. As examples, he mentions young earth creationism, and how economic news, and world politics all seem to prove end-time Bible prophecy to Evangelicals. He contrasts this know-nothing version of Christianity with "authentic, historic Christianity." Among other culprits, he zeroes-in on Christian homeschooling, and Tim LaHaye’s   Left Behind book series. And he has a great line, something like:

You can’t reorganize the village to cater to the idiocies of the village idiot.

FYI, he’s the author of   Crazy for God: How I Grew Up as One of the Elect, Helped Found the Religious Right, and Lived to Take All (or Almost All) of It Back. Also FYI, his father, Francis Schaeffer, is author of the influential   A Christian Manifesto , which is seen to be a call-to-arms in direct response to   The Humanist Manifesto I and II , at least in part.


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#1 Angela Lindstrom (Guest) on Friday September 18, 2009 at 8:58am

Loved this interview and applaud Schaeffer for being brave enough to slough off our too-dearly-held political correctness to speak this truth. 

Really, the demise of thoughtful, intellectual Christian discourse seems to begin with the rise of evangelicalism and fundamentalism in the past 70 years.  This is the only major religion which one does not need to study to join, but may become “devout” in one emotional moment, return to the megachurch (which supplies needed community) and neglect all other intellectual pursuit in favor of taking the bible literally.  Education seems to be the enemy.. I should know, I was homeschooled and attended a fundamentalist college for 4 years.  While it’s true that I received a pretty good run-down of accepted facts, critical thinking was frowned upon, to say the least.

I’ve taken to explaining my own departure from Christianity and biblical literalism by saying that when your god does not evolve, your conscience is not free to do so, either.  This way of life simple was not good enough, and frankly, goes against the spirit of the religion I was reared to believe was true.

#2 Rhology on Friday September 18, 2009 at 9:16am

I’ve read his “Dancing In the Dark” book.  This is one angry man.  Dang near everything is the product of Western enlightenment Protestant thinking.  Including atheism.  He’s not your friend, BTW.

#3 gray1 on Friday September 18, 2009 at 2:26pm

At some point any rational person will recognize that the TV evangelists/faith healers in particular are self-serving, total frauds.  The biblical literalists on the other hand, although well meaning within what they have been misdirected into, need only be asked, “So how do the Jewish scholars feel about that?” since the basis for their Christian faith can be summed up with “Ye worship ye know not what: we know what we worship: for Salvation is of the Jews” (the words of Jesus)(John 4:22).

#4 ckoproske on Friday September 18, 2009 at 4:27pm

This guy was good, but perhaps a bit over the top.  Liked his response to what we should do with Evangelical crazies - Leave them behind!  Let’s stop acting like they run the place and tend to our real estate in ‘reality land.’

#5 DagoRed on Friday September 18, 2009 at 5:16pm

In a world where ideological caricatures are the driving force behind mainstream conservatives, Frank Schaeffer stands a part simply by not being a clown—a rare talent indeed from his side of the aisle. 

Frank Schaeffer may not be someone from my camp of thought (despite his support for Obama, he is still a pro-religious pro-Reagan/Goldwater Republican in his heart) but only a simpleton would think he cannot not be my ally. Schaeffer is the rare religious-conservative “progressive” left in America—a mentality that died out in this country, perhaps, around the time of Lincoln.  He does not define his ‘enemies’ simply using black-and-white, “for-us-or-against-us” dichotomies, which modern conservatism foolishly depends upon today.  Instead, he understands that most things are gray.  And, its only in the rare cases when one side is entirely wrong and the other side entirely right, regardless of political or religious ideologies, in which he stands his ground firmly and defiantly.  In this sense, I often disagree with his POV on the many gray issues, but when he does put his foot down, he is often very right on target.  The case in point which DJ talks about above, is a prime example of this rare trait he possesses.  He is worthy of respect regardless how we may differ over the grayness of life.

#6 Rhology on Wednesday September 23, 2009 at 11:13am

He does not define his ‘enemies’ simply using black-and-white, “for-us-or-against-us” dichotomies

Um, you apparently haven’t paid much attention to how he treats inerrantist evangelical Protestants.

#7 DagoRed on Wednesday September 23, 2009 at 3:46pm


Wrong, as always.  If you would stop quote mining other people’s comments in order to twist their point of view, perhaps people would respect you more.

I also said,  “its only in the rare cases when one side is entirely wrong and the other side entirely right…he stands his ground firmly and defiantly.”

and being “entirely wrong” clearly applies to any group so ignorant as to believe their dogma can be called inerrant.

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