Culture > Q&A

Aliens and strangers

"Aliens and strangers" Continued...

Issue: "Terrific and timely," June 29, 2013

You’re saying it’s clearly over? Nothing that can be done to bring back the West? It could be, but we don’t see the signs of leadership. Nothing in America’s current predicament could not be resolved to an incredible degree by returning to a deep understanding of the first principles of the republic—but that’s what we don’t have at the moment.

So you’re not suggesting that these students should move to isolated places and become survivalists? No. Not at all. I’m reading now about people who lived at an age when the world they knew had gone. Daniel—after centuries in the Promised Land, living as the chosen people, Israelites are in a pagan empire with Jerusalem destroyed. Daniel serves God even in that pagan empire. We’ve got to engage with faithfulness at the very heart of power, still.

You quote Thomas Jefferson saying, “It does me no injury for my neighbor to say that there are twenty gods or no god; it neither picks my pocket nor breaks my leg.” Does it do us no injury for our neighbors to become polytheists or atheists? I think Jefferson is dead wrong on that. He could say that because most people in his day were Christian; whereas today, some of the worldviews have no place for human dignity—and the notion that ideas don’t have consequences is utterly foolish. 

How then shall we live in this society where people have ideologies and theologies that, in essence, say it is OK to pick our pockets and break the legs of unborn children? If you read the last essay of Immanuel Kant, he talked of perpetual peace. If you read the last book of Nietzsche, one hundred years later, he talked about a war of spirits. We’re much closer to Nietzsche than Kant. Kant was wrong. In this age of a war of spirits, it’s not just little private religious preferences, but entire ways of life elbow to elbow with other ways of life. That requires of us as Christians that we really know how to wage spiritual warfare, not just have intellectual arguments. So many different positions now, and we need to know them, what the consequences are likely to be, and how to argue with them persuasively. 

Sowing seeds, like your father. Today, almost nothing can be taken for granted. The foundations have to be put back into everything.

Watch Marvin Olasky’s complete interview with Os Guinness:

Marvin Olasky
Marvin Olasky

Marvin is editor in chief of WORLD News Group and the author of more than 20 books, including The Tragedy of American Compassion. Follow Marvin on Twitter @MarvinOlasky.


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