Fighting Popeye with Spinach

I’m a little late getting the news, but the fact that there is going to be a “Reason Rally” at the National Mall this weekend deserves at least a comment. DC isn’t in our parish, so to speak, but it is in our backyard, and so we should be paying attention.

We find God’s attitude toward the event in Psalm 2: He sits up on His throne in heaven, and gets a good chuckle out of the situation. As His people, we shouldn’t feel threatened, but rather join in His laughter, with good reasons.

Our God is a superior God. Running a basic comparison of the different gods involved, Christian fare pretty well. Here’s what’s going on: followers of the petty god reason are grumpy that the great god Political Power hasn’t seen fit to grant them boons, and so they march onto his lawn. When your god needs to petition another god for respectability, that should be a clue that you might not have chosen well. The prophets of Baal tried the whole rally for respectability thing one time, but Baal never showed up. Yahweh did, and it didn’t end well for His detractors. However, those false prophets were such a threat that Yahweh sent fire from heaven down to earth. Evidently, the only response our current false prophets merit from heaven is a light drizzle.

Our God is a superior God because He has true power. The symbolic significance of the fact that they chose DC should encourage us that we have nothing to worry about. The only thing unbelief knows how to fight with is the power of the sword, and having rejected the self-sacrificing power, the “Deeper Magic”, of the Triune God, they run after political power. As Christians, we take great comfort knowing that God removes kings, and sets up kings (Dan. 2:21). Instead of worrying about what kings or presidents do, we take our concerns to the control room of heaven and earth, and talk to the One whose plans actually come about. The Reasonites have buttonholed one of the pages that scurry about the Capitol, and are asking him to change the world in their favor, when his responsibilities are more along the lines of changing the printer cartridges. Our God has promised the nations of the earth, along with respect, glory, and honor, to Jesus Christ, and He gladly turns His ear to hear and answer the prayers of those who are united to Christ, and come in His name. The simplest Christian changes the world more through one prayer to the True God than a whole flock of Reasonians and their appeals for respect to DC.

Our God is a superior God because logic is one of His attributes. Keep a reverent mind, but imagine for a moment that God were Popeye the Sailor Man. This rally, then, represents a mob of attackers armed with spinach. Pastor Douglas Wilson has been interacting with the writings of a number of the New Atheists, including the headliner of the Reason Rally, Richard Dawkins, and critiques the atheistic attempt to claim reason:

Reason, being a quaint and superstitious name we give to random neuron firings in the brain, wields no power at all. On atheist principles, expecting to find a correlation called “truth” between the chemical activities of the cerebral cortex in some people and the outside world is more than a little bit like astrology — or tying the bulls and bears of the stock market to the batting averages of professional baseball players. Can be done, I suppose, but why would we ever think that this random dance of atoms had anything whatever to do with that random dance of atoms? (For more, click here)

Christians, on the other hand, recognize that reason and logic have their source in God Himself, and work as tools of thought in this world because it’s His world. More clear thinking from Pastor Wilson can help us here. Reason is on our side, and can’t be otherwise, as long as we are on the Lord’s side, because reason belongs to Him. He sets the limits for logic, shows us the proper use of reason, and His very nature provides the basis for it. When atheists try to use it, Cornelius Van Til’s famous image applies: they are little children who have to to sit in their father’s lap in order to slap him in the face.

Which brings us to the rest of Psalm 2. God doesn’t just laugh and mock. He has put Jesus  in charge of the world, and gets very angry at those who disrespect His Son. He rebukes all those who oppose the Lord Jesus, and terrifies them with His words. Unbelief may be wryly funny, but it is also wicked. God’s majesty and His justice both require that He destroy such sinners, but His loving mercy sends a warning before the hammer of justice drops. And this is the message we would have every attender of the “Reason Rally” hear: “Kiss the Son, lest He be angry, and you perish in the way, for His wrath is quickly kindled.” But the last line of the psalm offers something that cannot be found in all the reasonable rallyings or political power plays of the world: the offer of grace, grace that has been extended to each of us who believe, and grace that is offered even to the most foolish of atheists. Blessed are all those who take refuge in Him.

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One Response to Fighting Popeye with Spinach

  1. Rachel Bowen says:

    Enjoyed reading this! Love your writing style and of course your wit.

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