Maresca rings hollow
Editor, Gettysburg Times
More Christians = Better Society? I enjoy all of Greg Maresca’s op-eds, but his most recent – on the decline of Christianity and how it’s linked to the decline of society, including the decline of volunteering – is one of his best.
His op-ed is missing only two things: a proof that religious belief in the “God of the Bible” was nearly universal, and a proof that there’s any linkage between being a Christian and being good.
His first assertion is that a recent Pew poll found that the declining number who still believe in the God of the Bible “find him to be far more relevant in their lives than those who do not.” Well, it’s hard to argue against a tautology, but “Christians are more likely to believe in the Bible” doesn’t take Greg’s argument anywhere. Did believing in the Bible make Dylann Roof or David Duke better persons?
The core of his argument is: “as religion – Christianity in particular – declines, the fabric of American society will continue to fade and deteriorate.” The reader can read every word of the next 2 1/3 columns and not read a single word bearing on the point.
First, he tells us that “From well before 1776 to the middle of the 20th century, 98 percent of Americans believed the nation’s moral values were rooted in the Bible.” What utter nonsense! He ignores the impacts of the various Great Awakenings, which expanded religious fervor and affiliation everywhere – if 98 percent were already devout Christians, where did the new ones come from? He ignores that fact that the dominant religious faith around the time of the Founding was Deism – a belief that our world had been set in motion by some non-physical Creator, who had moved on and had no interest in the affairs of man. Even the favorite quote used to “prove” that the founders were all Christians – Jefferson’s “all men are endowed by their Creator …” is a Deist statement and in no way a reference to “the God of the Bible.”
Greg then writes six paragraphs pointing that volunteerism is also down. Not once does he suggest there’s a correlation between these two facts.
In a country where virtually all our mass murders are committed by people who “believe in Jesus,” the argument about Christians being uniquely virtuous rings pretty hollow.