Saturday, July 02, 2016

Free-thinking Puritans

When a Delta passenger went into cardiac arrest on a plane, Tim Tebow stepped in to pray for him. But many are saying he did the wrong thing. The Delta crew immediately went to work to try to save a passenger's life after he suffered a major heart attack on board. But while a physician assistant stepped in to administer CPR, Tim Tebow left his own seat to pray for the man. Tebow bent over the man's distraught wife, hugging and praying with her and her friend. When the plane landed the man was rushed to the hospital. Tebow took the stricken man's wife to the hospital and stayed with her until she got the devastating news that her husband died from the attack. One of the passengers on board posted about the experience on Facebook. "I watched Tim pray with the entire section of the plane for this man. He made a stand for God in a difficult situation," the post said. But many do not share the same sentiment. Even though Tebow prayed with the man's wife, took her to the hospital, and stayed with her until the doctor told them the sad news, many are criticizing him for praying in public. "Tim Tebow was getting in the way while trying to be a missionary on a plane? What a putz!" said one commenter on an Orlando Sentinel article. "Prayed? Give me a break. Get out of the way and let modern medicine take care of the sick. Idiot," wrote another. Some are even claiming he was only being selfish by praying for the man's wife. "Tim Tebow did nothing, because prayer does nothing. The young medical professional who attempted CPR and actually tried to save the man's life actually DID something. What Tebow did was engage in a narcissistic ritual," said one commenter on a People magazine blog. Many say the negative comments show first hand the problems of living in a culture that is increasingly becoming more antagonistic to Christianity. "Tim Tebow did what any caring person would/should do," one commentator fired back. "He provided what the family needed most at the time-someone to show compassion and caring."
Here is Eberstadt:

"Contrary to what is sometimes argued among Christians themselves, secularist progressivism is not a nihilistic worldview. To the contrary: it embraces an alternative orthodoxy and a well-developed (and still developing) body of beliefs. The fundamental impulse leading to the penalizing of Christian believers today is not libertarian. It is instead neo-puritanical— that is, it is aimed at safeguarding its own body of revealed and developed truths, and at marginalizing, silencing, and punishing its traditional competitors."

Eberstadt, Mary. It's Dangerous to Believe: Religious Freedom and Its Enemies (Kindle Locations 718-722). HarperCollins. Kindle Edition.


"In England— which is now a virtual assembly line of such cases— a gardener who volunteered in a prison chapel was disciplined for quoting from the New Testament. 18 Several street preachers in the sceptred isle have lately been jailed for reading passages from the Bible aloud in public. 19 In one such case, a judge lectured the preacher on which exact passages in Leviticus could be read without penalty (the judge explained that Leviticus 20: 13 was out of bounds, because it uses the word abomination). A representative from the preacher’s defense team, Christian Legal Centre, responded, “The judge is effectively censoring the Bible and saying that certain verses aren’t fit for public consumption.” 20 In another case, a teacher in Somerset asked a sick student if she would like a prayer. The student declined, and the teacher did not pray— upon which the student’s parents complained and the school fired her, with the authorities defining a prayer offer as “bullying.”
Step back for a moment to consult reality. In what possible, imaginable way does it harm anyone if someone else is praying for them? If you are secularist, and believe that prayer itself shares the empirical status of magic wands and unicorns, what possible grief could come of it? At least since Diagoras of Melos in the fifth century BC, unbelievers have charged religious devotees with irrationality, for believing in things unseen. But is it not commensurately irrational to believe you are being injured by someone talking to something that you don’t believe exists in the first place? Who is harmed?

Eberstadt, Mary. It's Dangerous to Believe: Religious Freedom and Its Enemies (Kindle Locations 791-804). HarperCollins. Kindle Edition.

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