As an atheist, I do critique various religious belief systems. So, I’m trying to apply my thinking on that to the Josh Hawley case.
In the case of fervent political or religious believers, it’s important to distinguish between the belief system that has a hold on a believer, and the person who holds the beliefs.
For practical reasons, we should do our best to understand how the belief system works, which is what this article on Josh Hawley is about. And, we may indeed need to critique the belief system forcefully. Further, we may need to actively but peacefully protest. Then it may also be necessary to call in law enforcement.
However, despite all of this, we should try to love the believer. But, in some cases, this can be very hard.
Also, as many of you already know, my views are almost 180 degrees the opposite of Hawleys. Mine are the secular atheist beliefs that Hawley’s brand of Christianity wants to overthrow.
For those of you who cannot access this NYT article, here are a couple of key paragraphs.
In multiple speeches, an interview and a widely shared article for Christianity Today, Mr. Hawley has explained that the blame for society’s ills traces all the way back to Pelagius — a British-born monk who lived 17 centuries ago. In a 2019 commencement address at The King’s College, a small conservative Christian college devoted to “a biblical worldview,” Mr. Hawley denounced Pelagius for teaching that human beings have the freedom to choose how they live their lives and that grace comes to those who do good things, as opposed to those who believe the right doctrines.
In other words, Mr. Hawley’s idea of freedom is the freedom to conform to what he and his preferred religious authorities know to be right. Mr. Hawley is not shy about making the point explicit. In a 2017 speech to the American Renewal Project, he declared — paraphrasing the Dutch Reformed theologian and onetime prime minister Abraham Kuyper — “There is not one square inch of all creation over which Jesus Christ is not Lord.” Mr. Kuyper is perhaps best known for his claim that Christianity has sole legitimate authority over all aspects of human life.
“We are called to take that message into every sphere of life that we touch, including the political realm,” Mr. Hawley said. “That is our charge. To take the Lordship of Christ, that message, into the public realm, and to seek the obedience of the nations. Of our nation!”
Criticize the belief system, but love the believer.
A Christian Insurrection
Many of those who mobbed the Capitol on Wednesday claimed to be enacting God’s will.
8 January 2021
The Roots of Josh Hawley’s Rage
Why do so many Republicans appear to be at war with both truth and democracy?
By Katherine Stewart
11 January 2021