Looks like my liberal blogger buddy Cory Heidelberger is busy bashing the Truth Project again (have you attended a Truth Project yet, Cory?). This time, Cory treats us to a link to a piece entitled "The Christian Right Goes Back to Bible Boot Camp" by Alexander Zaitchik at a website called AlterNet.
The Truth Project is a 12-week DVD and discussion course on Biblical worldview, or seeing the world through God's eyes as revealed by the Scriptures. It's led by Dr. Del Tackett, who holds several degrees, served more than 20 years as an officer with the U.S. Air Force, and is an adjunct professor at New Geneva Theological Seminary.
If you look to this liberal cesspool called AlterNet, you'll get what you pay for: a lot of anchor-less liberalism. This article oozes with it.
About the only thing the author was correct on is that not only is our culture woefully ignorant of the Bible and the Christian worldview, so is the church. I sadly couldn't dispute that for a second.
The author says the Truth Project seminar contains "more than a whiff of a Holiday Inn get-rich-quick seminar." Really? I haven't seen a single bit of money-hungry talk, or money talk at all, in the Truth Project. I guess the author just pulled that one out of the air to make it sound bad. He does admit that the Truth Project isn't about "financial independence," but the quick mention is enough (he hopes) to taint the Truth Project in the reader's mind.
He calls Tackett "energetic yet predictably dull." That's odd, since I've always found Tackett and the material he presents to be very exciting. I get pretty worked up by things that are intellectually stimulating, logical, insightful, and increase understanding of life. Maybe those things are just dull to Zaitchik.
The cheap shots continue:
Sitting on stage next to Tackett during the length of the seminar is a serious question of adolescent construction: "Do you really believe that what you believe is really real?"
Or, as a secular humanist might put it: In your heart of hearts, do you guys honestly buy, or even understand, all this Bible crap?
In case the author or a reader of this post misses the meaning of Tackett's statement, what it means is that if we truly "owned" our beliefs, had such faith in those truths that it was like the faith we exercise when we sit in a chair or drive across a bridge, then we would be acting differently (more boldly, more like Christ) than we actually are. But I understand that such concepts are hard to grasp when one is busy mocking truth.
This might be as close as the author comes to actually forming a coherent criticism rather than crass ad hominem attacks:
This text analysis is often ridiculous, with Tackett probing the possible double meanings of Biblical diction, as if the King James Bible had been transcribed directly from the mouth of God, and was not an artistic creation of a team of 17th-century scholars in Oxford and Cambridge.
If Zaitchik knew anything about the Book for which he holds such disdain, he'd know (like Tackett) that the King James Version wasn't "transcribed directly from the mouth of God," and no serious student of the Bible believes that (though the original Scriptures themselves were inspired by God). He might know that the Old Testament was written thousands of years ago, originally in Hebrew. He might also know that the New Testament was written shortly after Christ ascended into Heaven, and was written in Greek and Aramaic. He might know that many copies of the Scriptures were made in the years after the time of the apostles, many of which were translated into Latin. He might also know that the translators of the King James Version looked back to hundreds of these manuscripts, translating them from their original language into the English of the time. He might also know that since the time of the King James translation in 1611, many more manuscripts have been found, providing even more insight into the original meanings of these ancient languages.
He might know these things...if he took more time to learn and less time to mock God.
Even more striking than the production values, though, is how little knowledge Tackett assumes on the part of his committed born-again audience. Even John 3:16 is reviewed as if for the first time.
Well, if surveys have revealed that only 4% of the American population has a Biblical worldview (meaning they understand what the Bible says, and are trying to apply it to their lives), and if only 9% of born-again Christians hold a Biblical worldview, then I think it is quite in order to assume a broad lack of knowledge and conduct a review of the basics. If the basics were better understood, most Christians would have progressed beyond an elementary, pop-definition of Christianity to the "meat" of Christian theology. But they haven't; as Paul points out in 1 Corinthians 3, they're still stuck on the milk.
Zaitchik is predictably critical of the lesson on "The State," but beyond charges that Tackett "rambl[es]," Zaitchik doesn't explain why he thinks Tackett is wrong here. He doesn't say so, but that seems to be the implication. If Tackett is wrong, why not explain why so from a Biblical basis?
Zaitchik also seems critical that Tackett finds a Biblical basis for contending that our current tax rates are too high (if God only demanded 10%, doesn't 39% to the government seem a little outrageous?), a lack of Biblical justification for the welfare state, and the Bible's clear statements that homosexuality is wrong. Again, if Zaitchik believes Tackett is in error, why doesn't he point out the contrary evidence in the Bible?
The author then attempts the predictable and obligatory effort to rewrite history and claim that America was not founded by Christians on Christian principles:
He also provides an orgy of selective quotation from America's overwhelmingly Deist founding fathers, as well as genuinely Christian revolutionary B-listers like Benjamin Rush and Noah Webster.
This might just be the biggest lie in the whole article (most of the others are couched in ambiguity and veiled insinuations).
While there were a handful of deists among the founders, and Tom Paine did pretty much walk away from the faith later in life (and Benjamin Franklin took him to the woodshed for some of his anti-Christian writings during this time), all the rest were committed Christians beyond a shadow of a doubt. This includes George Washington, John Adams, Patrick Henry, James Madison, and a host of others. Even the lesser-religious ones such as Thomas Jefferson and Ben Franklin at the very least recognized the Christian religion and worldview as the best one and paid it every respect.
Anyone who says the Founders were not overwhelmingly Christian in their faith and worldview is either profoundly ignorant or a brazen liar.
We also receive the obligatory bashing of business and the free market from Zaitchik:
The Truth Project devotes much energy to warnings about the greedy state becoming a monster, but the modern corporation makes not even the briefest cameo.
As I have endeavored to point out to a number of socialists who never miss an opportunity to bash the free market while singing the praises of the "Government God," the Bible does not condemn business or the free market, and you will find businessmen and entrepreneurs spoken of favorably throughout the Bible--not because they are entrepreneurs, but because they were men of character. God condemns evil business practices, but not business. The Bible does warn about oppressive governments, though. And the Founders, who had a solidly Christian worldview, had much to say about the dangers of powerful government, but little to say about the dangers of business. Maybe because business do not make the law and exercise police authority, but governments do?
The author gets in a jab at opposition to unionism and minimum wage laws. The Bible clearly indicates that God recognizes and honors property rights and authority. When the state forces a business owner to negotiate with a group of workers against his will, or forces him to pay more than the labor may be worth, property rights and authority go out the door. The Bible admonishes bosses to be fair with their employees, but it does not does not advocate using the power of the state to extort property from the business owner. After all, the employee is free to go find another job if the wages aren't to his satisfaction.
Again, Zaitchik somehow misses the opportunity to tell us where Tackett has departed from the Bible in this view of market and state. I wonder why?
You know what I find most humorous (and sad, at the same time) about this writer's tirade, and Cory's apparent embrace of it? He spends 2,141 words telling us he doesn't like the Truth Project. Not a single time does he explain where Tackett and the Truth Project have gone astray theologically or Biblically.
Zaitchik is entitled to his opinion, of course. But if an opinion can't be backed up with some kind of evidence, it's pretty much worthless. And if a theological opinion can't be backed up by Scripture, it's not only worthless, it's heresy, which is dangerous to one's life here on earth and to one's eternal soul.
If I told you I'd been elected King of America, you'd want some evidence before you'd believe me, right? Without evidence to back up my claim, I'm either a monumental liar or a nut. Zaitchik doesn't present any evidence whatsoever that the Truth Project is not in harmony with Biblical teaching. What does that say about him?
Could it be that there is really nothing amiss in Tackett's presentation or the Truth Project itself? It seems that the only thing really wrong with the Truth Project, from Zaitchik's perspective, is that it doesn't fit very well with his secular, socialist worldview.
But that's the whole point of the Truth Project: helping Christians develop the discernment to tell the truth from the lies.
It looks like the author badly needs to sit through the whole Truth Project, with an open mind instead of one struggling to justify his hate of what God has to say. He might need to sit through it a few times in order to get it, but it'd be worth it.
As a wise man once said, "What good is it for a man to gain the whole world, yet forfeit his soul?" (But He was a little more than just a "wise man," wasn't he?)