Dear Dr. Stratton,
I have a bone to pick with you.
But first let me express my gratitude. I have benefited greatly from your work in theology and apologetics. You have a unique ability to take deep philosophical and academic concepts and make them accessible to the average Joe. Thank you!
Here’s my problem: You seem to have left your field of expertise to publish multiple articles and videos ranging from COVID-19 to Black Lives Matter and Critical Theory. You seem to be more focused on current events than apologetics these days. You have a PhD in theology, don’t you think it might be wise to stay in your lane? You are a gladiator fighting for the truth of Christianity, not against so-called “social justice.” Why are you doing this?
Anyway, I’m looking forward to the day when you get back into your arena of expertise.
Thank you for beginning your criticism with some encouraging words, Shane. That tactic makes it much easier to deal with criticism. Indeed, I am thankful that you have benefitted from my work in theology, philosophy, and apologetics. I do plan to renew my focus on these specific topics soon.
To tell you the truth, I never wanted to take this detour. I see all of these current events as a huge frustrating distraction. I want to discuss the existence of God, how we should think about God, and share the Gospel of Jesus Christ — along with the evidence we have supporting the veracity of the Gospel. That is my passion. Coronavirus, Karl Marx, Critical Theory, and violent mobs in the streets, however, are demanding our attention!
These are the issues of our culture today. The mission of FreeThinking Ministries is “Equipping the Church to engage the culture.” With that in mind, we must discuss these cultural issues — including “cultural Marxism.” FreeThinking Ministries has been uniquely prepared to lead these discussions for at least three reasons:
1- God and Man
My PhD in theology is primarily focused on the nature of God and the nature of man. This field of expertise includes how Christians ought to think about the nature of man. The nature of man includes racial issues.
In a recent article entitled “An Important Message to White People,” I reiterated something that I have made clear in many other articles — not to mention my doctoral dissertation:
“The objective truth of the matter is that each and every human — independent of skin color — was created by God, in the image of God, on purpose, and for the specific purpose to know, love, and enjoy a personal relationship with the Creator of the universe and all humans for eternity . . . It follows that if we are always supposed to love each other, then there are certain ways in which we ought to always view each other and treat each other. This provides a logical foundation for objective and unalienable human rights (how humans ought to be treated).”
Now, these equal and unalienable rights — which are biblically grounded — were affirmed by Thomas Jefferson (who was inspired by John Locke) in America’s philosophical foundations of the Declaration of Independence. Abraham Lincoln referenced this philosophical proposition in his Gettysburg Address. The first line of Lincoln’s speech is key:
“Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent, a new nation, conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.”
Lincoln appealed to America’s philosophical foundations — dedicated to freedom and equal human rights — to justify violent war in order to free slaves.
In my theological studies, I discovered the objective purpose of life: It is all about LOVE! How do we know this? Well, Jesus put us in an epistemic position to know these things. Consider the article, “Atheism Is Un-American”:
“. . . we would need to have some kind of divine revelation of this sort of thing. I suppose this could occur in several ways. For example, God could “write the law on our hearts” (Romans 2:15; Hebrews 10:16) or He could enter into the universe to reveal exactly why He created the universe and all the people within (John 18:37). Perhaps God would do both!”
The article goes on to discuss the objective purpose of human existence:
“Jesus went out of his way to teach all people to love all people. In fact, Jesus made it clear that if one does not understand anything else about the Law of God — make sure you get this one part right and everything else will fall into place. One thing we must get right is that life is all about LOVE. Jesus summarized the entire purpose of human existence in two simple and easy to remember commands in Matthew 5:44; 22:37-39:
1- Love God first.
2- Everybody love everybody (from your neighbors to your enemies).
Jesus even hammered his second command home by offering the parable of the Good Samaritan (Luke 10:25-37) as an example of how humans ought to make sure an individual of a different “people group” thrives and flourishes (even though these different people groups were previously hostile to each other).
The salient point is this: If Jesus was right, then humans have rights! Humans should always be treated with LOVE.”
These theological truths seem quite pertinent to circumstances and prevalent thought today. Moreover, as a theologian who has studied the nature of God and man, I am in a position to answer other philosophical questions about the nature of humanity. For example: What is it about the nature of man that logically grounds these objectively equal and unalienable rights? The answer is found in the fact that we all share the same “image of God” — the Creator of the Universe. The same immaterial God who created the universe also created humanity in His image — in His likeness. That is to say, we are LIKE God. This is what Christians refer to as the immaterial soul.
With that said, and as many people know, the same FreeThinking Argument logically concluding that humans possess libertarian freedom, is also the same argument deductively demonstrating that humans possess a soul — an immaterial aspect of our existence. Consider an abbreviated version of the argument:
- If naturalism is true, the immaterial human soul does not exist.
- If the soul does not exist, libertarian freedom does not exist.
- If libertarian freedom does not exist, then it is impossible to either rationally infer or rationally affirm knowledge claims.
- It is possible to rationally infer and rationally affirm knowledge claims.
- Therefore, libertarian freedom exists.
- Therefore, the soul exists.
Think about the challenge of logically grounding “equal human rights” if naturalism were true. Objective human unalienable rights would not make much sense. That is to say, if naturalism is true, humanity is not “equal.” If naturalism is true, “human equality” is a fairy tale.
Indeed, Nick Cannon has made some recent comments demonstrating that he rejects the idea of “equality.” Read Cannon’s (an African American) own words as he pontificates about the value and significance of “melanin”:
“Our melanin is so powerful and it connects us in a way that the reason why [white people] fear us is because of the lack that they have of it. . . When you have a person that has the lack of pigment, the lack of melanin, they know that they will be annihilated. So, therefore, however they got the power, they have the lack of compassion — melanin comes with compassion, melanin comes with soul.”
I am sorry to inform Nick Cannon that an immaterial soul — by definition — cannot possess melanin. Melanin is a property of a physical substance. The soul, by definition, is an immaterial/supernatural substance.
Nick Cannon continued:
“The people that don’t have [melanin] are a little less. They may not have had the compassion when they were sent to the mountains of Caucasus when they didn’t have the power of the sun. The sun then started to deteriorate them so then, they’re acting out of fear, they’re acting out of low self-esteem, they’re acting out of a deficiency. So, therefore, the only way that they can act is evil. They HAVE TO — [note his apparent denial of libertarian freedom] — They HAVE TO rob, steal, rape, kill in order to survive. So then, these people that didn’t have what we have — and when I say we, I speak of the melanated people — [white people] had to be savages. They had to be barbaric because they’re in these Nordic mountains. They’re acting as animals so they’re the ones that are actually closer to animals. They’re the ones that are actually the true savages.”
It must be pointed out that Cannon’s comments are naive, ignorant, false, dangerous, and just plain evil. He is incorrectly finding human value — or a lack of value — in levels of melanin. Even going as far as to say that those who have low levels of melanin are “soulless and savage animals.”
This is evil — it is the epitome of racism!
When humans want to persecute and kill other humans, the first thing they do is not recognize them as a fellow human being. Hitler did it to Jews, the KKK did it blacks, those who fight for abortion rights today are doing it to babies (an overwhelming majority of whom are black babies), and now Nick Cannon is doing it to white people (and he is not alone). Every single instance is pure satanic evil!
The TRUTH of the matter is that each and every human being has been created in the image of God and each of us are equal in value before Him and because of Him. The problem is not “levels of melanin” — this is a sin issue. Sin infects the heart, mind, and soul of every man no matter how much melanin each person may or may not possess.
We cannot fight injustice with more injustice! We cannot make a deal with the devil to make things more “equal.” When one abandons the gospel, one can only respond to sin with more sin. One can only respond to injustice with more injustice. This is exactly what is happening in this instance. As one of my friends said, “Compassion isn’t a result of melanin. It is a result of turning to Jesus as Lord.”
Non-Christians literally have no solution to these problems facing the culture today. However, Christian theologians and philosophers are different — we have the answers. The sad thing is that our nation seeks to silence our voices.
But there’s more…
2- I’m a Libertarian Freedom Fighter
As you know, Shane, I have argued ad nauseam that God created humanity with libertarian freedom. Thus, I believe God has created humanity to live in freedom as stated in Galatians 5:13
13 For you have been called to live in freedom, my brothers and sisters. But don’t use your freedom to satisfy your sinful nature. Instead, use your freedom to serve one another in love.
This seems to be the epitome of LIBERTARIAN freedom Paul is discussing as he notes a range of alternative options from which to choose each compatible with one’s nature. We can either be selfish, or we can do otherwise and love.
Consider the following verses:
14 For the whole law can be summed up in this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” 15 But if you are always biting and devouring one another, watch out! Beware of destroying one another.
Does that sound familiar? Our culture needs to heed Paul’s warning today. The Church needs to be reminded of his words.
Bottom line: God has called us to live in freedom! Therefore, I believe we ought to oppose evil forces in the world that threaten the freedom God created humanity to experience, the evil forces that threaten the freedom America currently enjoys, and the the evil forces threatening the freedom that stands as an example for the rest of the world to aspire — the same freedom that Marxists hate!
As a libertarian freedom fighter, this particular battle is one that I am equipped to fight, and one that I will happily engage.
There is one more reason I choose to fight this battle. . .
3- For the sake of the Gospel
This is a good reason to take this “theological detour.” If Americans lose liberty and freedom — which I believe is the ultimate goal of this Marxist revolution — then I will not have the freedom to share the Gospel or do apologetics in the public square or on social media.
Indeed, when Marxists gain power, the first people to be silenced — or worse — are the philosophically-minded theologians (See, China, Cuba, Venezuela, North Korea, the “Great Purge” of the Soviet Union, and the staggering Communist body count). With that in mind, if you like FreeThinking Ministries and are benefiting from our content, then taking this “break” to fight an evil that will ultimately silence our message — along with William Lane Craig’s Reasonable Faith, Mike Licona’s Risen Jesus, Frank Turek’s Cross Examined, Greg Koukl’s Stand to Reason, Cameron Bertuzzi’s Capturing Christianity, and many other awesome apologetic organizations — is vital.
Consider the famous saying from a Lutheran pastor who lived through Nazi Germany:
First they came for the socialists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a socialist.
Then they came for the trade unionists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a trade unionist.
Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Jew.
Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me.
Christians, if we do not speak out and fight this good fight now, we may never be able to speak out or fight for anything ever again! I am not just fighting this fight merely for the sake of FreeThinking Ministries. I’m fighting on behalf of the Church at large as well as for the sake of all these other apologetics organizations. (I would hope that they would join me — I invite them to join me.)
I am fighting for the right of freethinkers to freely speak — even if they disagree with FreeThinking Ministries.
With these three reasons in mind, it quickly becomes apparent that I have not left my “arena of expertise.” Indeed, my expertise has prepared me to fight this good fight (1 Timothy 6:12) along side my FreeThinking colleagues.
With that said, I agree with you — I am also “looking forward to the day” when I get “back into the arena” of apologetics and engage in reasonable argumentation with atheists about the existence of God and the historical evidence of the Resurrection of Jesus. Those were the good ol’ days.
Stay reasonable (Isaiah 1:18),
Dr. Tim Stratton