Frank Schaeffer - Crazy for God
Posted: 14 December 2009 12:03 AM   [ Ignore ]
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Frank Schaeffer is New York Times best selling author whose books include three semi-biographical novels about life in a strict, fundamentalist household: Portofino, Zermatt, and Saving Grandma, and also the memoir 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, which is now out in paper back.  His latest book is Patience with God: Faith for People Who Don’t Like Religion (or Atheism).

In this conversation with D.J. Grothe, Frank Schaeffer discusses Crazy for God, describing how he grew up in fundamentalist Christianity with his famous father, Francis Schaeffer, a leading founder of the Religious Right, and recounts his role in his father’s career. He details how his relationships were affected by his leaving the movement. He explains exactly how fundamentalist Christianity took over the Republican Party. He describes the anti-democratic and anti-American elements within Evangelical Christianity. He draws a direct line from the worldview promoted by the Religious Right to the Tea Party movement, the rise of Glen Beck and Sarah Palin, the recent murder or Dr. George Tiller, and the use of biblical passages calling for the assassination of President Obama.

He shows how the Religious Right actively wants America to fail, in order to prove that it has taken the wrong path in adopting secular, democratic and humanist values. He explores how evangelical “foot soldiers” are often used by secular neoconservatives to advance political aims seemingly unrelated to Christianity, such as energy deregulation and public policies in support of the insurance lobby. He defines secular humanism, and tells how his father at once opposed humanism in his writings such as The Christian Manifesto, even while living a complex, and sometimes deeply humanistic life. Finally, he contrasts and compares the New Atheists, such as Richard Dawkins and Sam Harris, to leaders of the Religious Right, arguing that they are both not only extreme in their views, but also absolutist in their views of fundamental truth.

http://www.pointofiquiry.org/frank_schaeffer_crazy_for_god

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Posted: 14 December 2009 03:40 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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One of my favorite books as an evangelical is Schaeffer’s Addicted to Mediocrity.  However, he is correct in that he has very low visibility in evangelicalism, either positively or negatively.  I personally have written him off, not as some wayward sinner, but someone who has gone off the deep end in his own search for whatever he is trying to find or get away from.

His negativity towards the ‘christian right’ seems like his own personal imbalance, and none of us really take him seriously.  Leftist evangelicals are a typical spinoff of biblical Christianity which happens over time in every generation - with some valid beefs, they shy away from the gospel and favor a humanistic approach, abandoning the cross in the process.  No surprise.

The fact that he favors Obama shows that he has fiercely abandoned Biblical mores and perspectives - that is, he’s not any kind of real Christian in thought, economically, ethically, or politically.  For those of us on the spiritual path, rather than the path towards moral cowardice that he thinks he is fighting, he is a causality of his own issues which have caused him to go astray.  He’s now a humanist.  He’s drunk the liberal cool aid, now unable to distinguish between religious Christians and jihadists, and sees personal danger in the xian movement.  His dumbed down rhetoric regarding conservative talk show hosts shows how much he has relegated himself to the liberal talking points.  Tell him to say hi to Rosey for me.

You are right - he is a turncoat, not only from Christ and Christianity, but he’s gone so far to the left that he’s now part of the other extreme problem.  He has marginalized himself with empty philosophy.  I no longer care to even listen to him, it’s a waste of time.  Not just because I disagree with him, but because he is wrong on many issues, not the least of which is the character of Christianity, evangelicals, is full of half-truths and bitterness that he never got over.

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Posted: 14 December 2009 06:11 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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Please do not let an interviewee with a comment implying that RIchard Dawkins is the secular equivalent of Rush Limbaugh get away with it again without rebuttal.

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Posted: 15 December 2009 07:57 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
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Toby,
I had the same reaction.  DJ seemed to imply he wanted to challenge that but didn’t have enough time to get into it.  Maybe there’s a part 2 coming?  Also Schaeffer comparing Sam Harris to Rush Limbaugh as the Atheist polar opposite.  Sigh…this crap again? Haven’t we been over and over this in the media and Blogosphere?  This whole Militant or Fundamentalist Atheist garbage has been destroyed.  Here are a few links (not to mention endless discussion on the topic by the likes of Jerry Coyne and PZ).
http://www.atheistrev.com/2008/06/militant-atheism.html
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H74ckoCYq3c
http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2006/may/03/cananatheistbeafundamenta
Sad to have such an interesting and thoughtful talk end on a note that.  Maybe Schaeffer is just another Faithiest?

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Posted: 16 December 2009 08:22 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
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To me, Mr. Schaeffer has through personal integrity and courage managed to get one eye fairly wide open, at least to the extent he recognizes how god beliefs and religion - Christianity in the U.S. - have in recent decades been used for evil and destructive political ends.

It may or may not be the case that he’ll eventually get that other eye open by realizing that underneath their veneer of benevolence, god beliefs and religion have always, and always will, generate vast dishonesty, evil, and destruction, and that this is so because they depend at their very root upon ignorance, lies, and manipulation of people.

Then Mr. Schaeffer might realize that he’s not remotely as “moderate” as he now thinks himself to be.  True moderation and humility, not to mention truly conservative thinking, all begin with a requirement for current and historical facts and evidence before one holds or espouses beliefs of any kind.
Not only in his apparent religious views, but in his grossly uninformed and reactionary remarks regarding Harris, Hitchens, and Dawkins, Mr. Schaeffer reveals himself as someone who doesn’t qualify as a careful and thoughtful moderate at all.

Nevertheless, perhaps we should be grateful that he’s come as far as he has.  Most of the ilk from which he sprang keep both eyes squeezed shut throughout their lives.  See a post above for an excellent example.

I’d love it if DJ or Thomas could drum up Sam or Christopher or Richard to have a group discussion on POI with Mr. Schaeffer in response to some of the allegations the latter made toward the end of the program.

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Brad

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Posted: 16 December 2009 11:37 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]
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What can I say? Brilliant interview! I like Schaeffer’s expression, the “lumpen troops” of the Christian right. On the whole, a mature, articulate, and cogent analysis. I’m looking forward to reading Crazy for God!

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Posted: 18 December 2009 02:56 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]
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Just listened to this interview with Schaeffer and have to say that while I had some of the same initial reaction as previous posters, overall I think he hit the nail on the head regarding the horrid danger that the religious right poses to American freedom.  His book is on my wish list and now I’m feeling more compelled to read it so I can gather some context on his views; I’m thinking he is a “faithiest” and still worships.  This doesn’t bother me in the slightest.  What does bother me is that he is written off as an extremist by people of faith and in the freethought community for hanging on to some element of religion, or because he has rejected the mission of American Xtianity (taking over the country) and fights against it.  So he passes no one’s litmus test for being a “true” member of any group… without going too far into generalizations, IMO that makes one a viable humanist and freethinker.

I was reared under the shadow of Frank Schaeffer’s influence in the homeschooling movement of the 80s.  My family slowly migrated into the deep darkness of religious fundamentalism on a path that ended with my attending a fundamentalist college where I finally began giving it up to my higher-minded common sense.  (Ironically, Ayn Rand is the one who started that whole thing.)  When Frank Schaeffer speaks adamantly and with conviction about the right’s plans for America, I’m right here backing him up.  This is not a game to them, and for the most part, even secular institutions are content to let it happen in the name of political correctness and tolerance.  I just left a public elementary school where Good News Club posters announced an evangelical meeting after school.  Is this right?  No, but the receptionist sure thinks it’s grand, and apparently no one has objected.  Things like this happen constantly here in the Bible Belt, or as I call it, the Fruit Loop.  The average person here thinks that they can believe in Constitutional liberty and hold—to the dying breath—belief in biblical inerrancy, apocalyptic visions of Jesus blowing up the rest of us for our nonbelief, and still get patted on the back for being the better-thans.  I will paraphrase Rand here, who stated that those who do not understand the nature of their beliefs are truly broken.  As Frank noted, this goes unchecked, and the right fights to get broken minds to keep on voting—and eventually have total sway over public policy.  The fiercest of them really are hoping to bring about their “end times” wet dream.  Perhaps I sound as “extremist” as Schaeffer.  But when you’ve been to the churches, attended the conferences, read the curriculum, sat in their college classrooms and sat at your own parents’ dinner table year after year, you get the picture loud and clear.

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Posted: 25 December 2009 07:18 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]
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Toby - 14 December 2009 06:11 PM

Please do not let an interviewee with a comment implying that RIchard Dawkins is the secular equivalent of Rush Limbaugh get away with it again without rebuttal.


I agree with this sentiment. Frank Schaeffer impresses me to no end, and then he has to equate Limbaugh with Dawkins and MSNBC (Olbermann and Maddow) with Fox News. They may represent the two ends of the political spectrum, but Fox and Limbaugh are batsh*t conservative deceivers while O and M are just liberal and show it.
I did like Schaeffer’s philosophy on it all – that there’s not much to be done about it and, in time, things will get better as they always have - but there is value in making a point of what is real (naturalism) and what is not (god) as The New Atheists are doing, isn’t there? Not according to Schaeffer it seems.

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Posted: 29 December 2009 07:31 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 8 ]
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As a past member of his church many years ago and a Californian against prop H8, I have to correct DJ’s statement of Rick Warren “not talking about homosexuality.” Warren has been on Fox news multiple times begging and lying to convince people to vote yes on 8 and he has also been on fox multiple times denying it. I know this because I recall Maddow, Olberman, and/or John Stewart (my favorite shows) calling him out on this. Warren is and has always been politically involved behind the scenes as well as inconsistent with his preachings and his claims. I ask that you please correct this mistake DJ, because Warren does not deserve any more false or meaningless credibility than he already has.

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Posted: 29 December 2009 09:23 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 9 ]
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What is the Xian movement?

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“Authenticity involves living your life as if you’re actually interested in it.” ~Charles D. Hayes

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Posted: 29 December 2009 12:13 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 10 ]
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rcrase - 29 December 2009 09:23 AM

What is the Xian movement?

I believe Xian is just short for christian.

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Row row row your boat gently down the stream.  Merrily Merrily merrily merrily life is but a dream!

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Posted: 30 December 2009 07:49 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 11 ]
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VYAZMA - 29 December 2009 12:13 PM
rcrase - 29 December 2009 09:23 AM

What is the Xian movement?

I believe Xian is just short for christian.

Thank you VYAZMA

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“Authenticity involves living your life as if you’re actually interested in it.” ~Charles D. Hayes

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Posted: 30 December 2009 08:10 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 12 ]
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rcrase - 30 December 2009 07:49 AM
VYAZMA - 29 December 2009 12:13 PM
rcrase - 29 December 2009 09:23 AM

What is the Xian movement?

I believe Xian is just short for christian.

Thank you VYAZMA

No problem Bro. That one fooled me when I first got here. It’s a Mriana favorite. She’s heavily into Sci-Fi so the Xian thing works for her sensibilities.  I thought it was a reference to an alien race myself at first.

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Row row row your boat gently down the stream.  Merrily Merrily merrily merrily life is but a dream!

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Posted: 02 January 2010 01:25 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 13 ]
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VYAZMA - 30 December 2009 08:10 AM
rcrase - 30 December 2009 07:49 AM
VYAZMA - 29 December 2009 12:13 PM
rcrase - 29 December 2009 09:23 AM

What is the Xian movement?

I believe Xian is just short for christian.

Thank you VYAZMA

No problem Bro. That one fooled me when I first got here. It’s a Mriana favorite. She’s heavily into Sci-Fi so the Xian thing works for her sensibilities.  I thought it was a reference to an alien race myself at first.

Not to be be confused with the Ixians in the Dune saga…

http://dune.wikia.com/wiki/Ixian

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Posted: 02 January 2010 05:26 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 14 ]
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Jackson - 02 January 2010 01:25 PM
VYAZMA - 30 December 2009 08:10 AM
rcrase - 30 December 2009 07:49 AM
VYAZMA - 29 December 2009 12:13 PM
rcrase - 29 December 2009 09:23 AM

What is the Xian movement?

I believe Xian is just short for christian.

Thank you VYAZMA

No problem Bro. That one fooled me when I first got here. It’s a Mriana favorite. She’s heavily into Sci-Fi so the Xian thing works for her sensibilities.  I thought it was a reference to an alien race myself at first.

Not to be be confused with the Ixians in the Dune saga…

http://dune.wikia.com/wiki/Ixian

So….maybe it is a reference to an alien race….?

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Row row row your boat gently down the stream.  Merrily Merrily merrily merrily life is but a dream!

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Posted: 02 January 2010 09:41 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 15 ]
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VYAZMA - 02 January 2010 05:26 PM
Jackson - 02 January 2010 01:25 PM
VYAZMA - 30 December 2009 08:10 AM
rcrase - 30 December 2009 07:49 AM
VYAZMA - 29 December 2009 12:13 PM
rcrase - 29 December 2009 09:23 AM

What is the Xian movement?

I believe Xian is just short for christian.

Thank you VYAZMA

No problem Bro. That one fooled me when I first got here. It’s a Mriana favorite. She’s heavily into Sci-Fi so the Xian thing works for her sensibilities.  I thought it was a reference to an alien race myself at first.

Not to be be confused with the Ixians in the Dune saga…

http://dune.wikia.com/wiki/Ixian

So….maybe it is a reference to an alien race….?

just like you said— Xian is like Xmas and refers to Christian…

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