Wednesday, April 28, 2010

The Good Man Jesus and the Scoundrel Christ

Tim Rutten says the author of a new book of that title "probably will be recalled as the most significant of the muscular British neo-atheists who have emerged with such intellectual force [sic] over the last decade or so" but pans the novel as "a polemical fable every bit as wrong-headedly obvious as the title suggests" — Book review: ‘The Good Man Jesus and the Scoundrel Christ’ by Philip Pullman.

Says Mr. Pullman, "When you look at organized religion of whatever sort — whether it's Christianity in all its variants, or whether it's Islam or some forms of extreme Hinduism — wherever you see organized religion and priesthoods and power, you see cruelty and tyranny and repression. It's almost a universal law." What a daring and original thinker! And so brave to regurgitate such ideas in this age of secularism.

Noting Mr. Pullman's "special antipathy toward Rome," Mr. Rutten quotes him as saying of the Church, "I hope the wretched organization will vanish entirely." Imagine, an Englishman rallying against Popery! The irrational rage many Anglo-Saxons on both side of the Atlantic feel toward Rome by those who were never raised in her doctrines is, to my mind, if anything, a sign of her truth.

Mr. Rutten's subject, is, however, in another brilliantly original stance, "apparently fond — even admiring — of Jesus the defender of the poor and scourge of hypocrites" but "loath[ing of] what Jesus' followers and the generations that came after them made of his teachings in the form of an institutional church." Someone please send Mr. Pullman a copy of the Jefferson Bible.

Mr. Rutten suggests that "a committed secularist like Pullman... must be committed to historicism and factuality." Now, that is an original idea.

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Anonymous Steven P. Cornett said...

Mr. Rutten suggests that "a committed secularist like Pullman... must be committed to historicism and factuality."

Of course if he was so committed he would have to admit that the same Jesus he admires for "defending the poor and scourging the hypocrite" is the same Lord he loathes for founding the Church on the rock of Peter:

And I say to thee: That thou art Peter; and upon this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. And I will give to thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven. And whatsoever thou shalt bind upon earth, it shall be bound also in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose upon earth, it shall be loosed also in heaven.[Matt 16:18-19]

As well as the same Jesus Christ who claimed to be God and the Son of God, for which he was crucified:

But Jesus held his peace. And the high priest said to him: I adjure thee by the living God, that thou tell us if thou be the Christ the Son of God. Jesus saith to him: Thou hast said it. Nevertheless I say to you, hereafter you shall see the Son of man sitting on the right hand of the power of God, and coming in the clouds of heaven. Then the high priests rent his garments, saying: He hath blasphemed; what further need have we of witnesses? Behold, now you have heard the blasphemy:

What think you? But they answering, said: He is guilty of death. Then did they spit in his face, and buffeted him: and others struck his face with the palms of their hands, saying: Prophesy unto us, O Christ, who is he that struck thee?
[Matt 26:63-68]

But then again, even as an apostate, Pullman proves himself every bit the son of Oliver Cromwell in his hatred of the Church. He claims to think originally and have no religion, even when blurting out the core doctrinal statement of secularism.

7:51 PM  
Anonymous mcmlxix said...

What's ridiculous about so many atheists and secularists is that they fail to observe that with any very powerful institution (whether religious or secular) you see cruelty and tyranny and repression. It's almost a universal law.

11:11 PM  
Anonymous Dano said...

Mr. Pullman has purported to write books in rebuttal to the works of C.S. Lewis; evidently, he never bothered to pay attention to the "Trilemma".

3:15 PM  

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