So You’re a Conservative? Why Do You Hate Poor People?

“Every time we object to a thing being done by government, the socialists conclude that we object to its being done at all.”

- Frederic Bastiat

“There is an almost universal tendency, perhaps an inborn tendency, to suspect the good faith of a man who holds opinions that differ from our own opinions.” 

-Karl Popper

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Poisoning the well” isn’t something unique to political progressives. Lately, though, it seems to have become standard practice among Those On The Left to assume that anyone disagreeing with their policy positions is acting out of bad faith. Consider, for example, President Obama’s recent remarks on the Affordable Care Act:

“[Republicans have] spent the last few years so obsessed with denying [people] access to health insurance that they just shut down the government and threatened default over it.”

According to this narrative, opponents of Progressivism don’t simply have different ideas about how to make the world a better place. Opponents of Progressivism are actually just mean, spiteful people who want to harm others. Because they’re mean. Here’s another shining example from the College Democrats of America:

college dems

In other words, if you don’t support the Democrat Party’s specific plan for organizing the American healthcare system, you don’t care about human life. Because you’re trying to take away people’s healthcare. Meanie. Yet another example from left-leaning news site Slate:

“When we talk of cutting food stamps or gutting education, we shouldn’t just call it greed. We should call it a sin.”

Translation: “If I think the government should set aside X% of the federal budget for education, and you only think it should set aside Y% of the budget for education, YOU’RE A SINNER.”

When someone has the audacity to oppose re-defining society’s definition of marriage, the progressive is unable to comprehend that his opponent could be motivated by anything other than ill will toward homosexuals. Hence, the labels “bigot” and “homophobe” are swiftly handed down to anyone who disagrees with the progressive’s viewpoint.

When someone questions why businesses should be forced to offer their employees free birth control pills (but not free allergy pills, or free pain pills), the progressive indignantly asks why that person is “anti-women”.

buckley

Such rhetorical tactics are deeply authoritarian. “Agree with me, or you’re a bad person.” “Stay silent, or I’ll drag your name through the mud.”

It seems especially ironic, then, that this approach has been embraced by self-described crusaders of “tolerance” and “diversity”.

Tarkovsky Films and Christian Allegory

I’m an enthusiastic fan of foreign film – from the works of Andrei Tarkovsky to those of Akira Kurosawa. Tarkovsky’s films are especially noteworthy for their religious imagery, so I wasn’t at all surprised to come across this article on Christianity Today.

“The most revered Russian filmmaker since Sergei Eisenstein, Tarkovsky offers an unabashedly religious worldview, without which, he wrote, ‘people cease to feel any need for the beautiful or the spiritual, and consume films like bottles of Coca-Cola.’”

(Aside: For more on the relationship between art, beauty, and religion, I strongly recommend Roger Scruton’s documentary, “Why Beauty Matters“.)

tarkovsky

Andrei Tarkovsky

The article goes on,

“The influence of Russian religious history is also evident in his use of the Holy Fool, an archetype of Russian literature—often characters of deep faith, seen as fools by the world, yet who see God’s reality as it truly is.

All his films deal with apocalyptic scenarios; indeed, one film idea he had was titled ‘The End of the World,’ yet he refused the label ‘pessimist.’ Indeed, he said of apocalyptic literature, ‘It would be wrong to consider that the Book of Revelation only contains within itself a concept of punishment, of retribution; it seems to me that what it contains above all, is hope.’”

For anyone interested, most of Tarkovsky’s films can be found free online. I’d recommend starting with my personal favorite, “The Stalker”. Gregory Schreck provides some fascinating historical context:

“Andrei Tarkovsky’s last film made in the Soviet Union, The Stalker (1977), illustrates the difficulty of properly interpreting his work, and rightly understood, underscores his Christian perception of life and struggle…[The] script approved by censors included a clear indictment of the United States and, seemingly, of capitalism. Yet the finished film, with obvious religious overtones, and with a protagonist who looks like a political prisoner right out of the Gulag, infuriated Soviet authorities. The Stalker turned out to be a condemnation of materialism, both East and West, and ultimately caused Tarkovsky to leave the Soviet Union to finish his career in exile.”

The Drowning Stranger: A Problem for Secular Humanists

Here’s a thought experiment.

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Imagine that you’re a healthy, athletic, 20-year-old male. It’s the morning after a thunderstorm, and you’re standing on the banks of a flooded, violently churning river.

You notice an object floating downstream.

whitewater

As it moves closer, you suddenly realize that this object is a person. The head breaks the surface, and you see a panic-stricken elderly woman gasping for air. You’ve never met her before, but vaguely recognize her as an impoverished widow from a neighboring village.

You look around for help, but there’s no one in sight. You have only seconds to decide whether or not to jump in after her – recognizing that doing so will put your own life in significant peril.

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Is it rational for you to risk your life to save this stranger? Is it morally good to do so?

For the Christian, both of these questions can be answered with an emphatic “yes”.

The Christian is called to emulate the example set forth by Jesus, who not only risked, but sacrificed his life for the sake of others. The Christian believes that the soul is eternal, and that one’s existence doesn’t come to an abrupt end with death.  Additionally, he can point to the examples of countless Christian martyrs who have willingly sacrificed their own lives.

For the secular humanist, the answers to these questions are much more subjective. When I previously asked 23 self-identifying atheists, “Is it rational for you to risk your life to save a stranger?” only 4 of them responded with an unqualified “yes”.

Biologically speaking, the young man in our scenario has nothing to gain by jumping after the drowning woman. Since she’s poor and elderly, there are no conceivable financial or reproductive advantages involved. Evolutionary biologists often speak of “benefit to the tribe” as a motivation for self-sacrifice…yet the young man’s community would certainly place greater practical value on his life than that of a widow from a neighboring village.

Secular humanists argue that people are capable of making ethical decisions without any deity to serve as Moral Lawgiver. On a day-to-day basis, this is undeniably true. We all have non-religious friends and neighbors who live extremely moral and admirable lives.

In the scenario above, however, secular ethics break down. The secular humanist might recognize, intuitively, that diving into the river is a morally good action. But he has no rational basis for saying so. The young man’s decision is between empathy for a stranger (on the one hand) and utilitarian self-interest & community-interest (on the other).

In the end, there can be no binding moral imperatives in the absence of a Moral Lawgiver. If the young man decides to sit back and watch the woman drown, the secular humanist cannot criticize him. He’s only acting rationally.

Pro-Life Quotes from Famous Women

“The rights of children as individuals begin while yet they remain the foetus…Whoever has read the ‘Weekly’ knows I hold abortion (except to save the life of the mother) to be just as much murder as the killing of a person after birth is murder.
- Victoria Woodhull (first female candidate for President of the United States)

“The gross perversion and destruction of motherhood by the abortionist filled me with indignation, and awakened active antagonism. That the honorable term ‘female physician’ should be exclusively applied to those women who carried on this shocking trade seemed to me a horror. It was an utter degradation of what might and should become a noble position for women.”
- Dr. Elizabeth Blackwell (first woman to receive a medical degree in the United States)

Elizabeth Blackwell

Elizabeth Blackwell

“Dr. Oaks made the remark that, according to the best estimate he could make, there were four hundred murders annually produced by abortion in that county alone….There must be a remedy for such a crying evil as this.”
- Elizabeth Cady Stanton

“When we consider that women are treated as property, it is degrading to women that we should treat our children as property to be disposed of as we wish.”
- Elizabeth Cady Stanton

“I deplore the horrible crime of child-murder…We want prevention, not merely punishment. We must reach the root of the evil, and destroy it.”
- Susan B. Anthony

“Guilty? Yes, no matter what the motive, love of ease, or a desire to save from suffering the unborn innocent, the woman is awfully guilty who commits the deed. It will burden her conscience in life, it will burden her soul in death; but oh! thrice guilty is he who, for selfish gratification, heedless of her prayers, indifferent to her fate, drove her to the desperation which impels her to the crime.”
- Susan B. Anthony

“We must not be surprised when we hear of murders, of killings, of wars, of hatred. If a mother can kill her own child, what is left but for us to kill each other.”
- Mother Teresa

Mother Teresa

Mother Teresa

“It is a poverty to decide that a child must die so that you may live as you wish.”
- Mother Teresa

“Abortion kills twice. It kills the body of the baby and it kills the conscience of the mother. Abortion is profoundly anti-women. Three quarters of its victims are women: Half the babies and all the mothers.”
- Mother Teresa

“Abortion is the ultimate exploitation of women.”
- Alice Paul (author of the 1923 U.S. Equal Rights Amendment)

Alice Paul

Alice Paul

“My case was wrongfully decided, and has caused great harm to the women and children of our nation.”
- Norma McCorvey (former plaintiff in Roe v. Wade)

“Child murderers practice their profession without let or hindrance, and open infant butcheries unquestioned…Is there no remedy for all this ante-natal child murder?”
- Caroline Elizabeth Sarah Norton (early feminist)

Why Do So Many Christians Favor “Small Government”?

“Of all tyrannies, a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It would be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron’s cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end, for they do so with the approval of their own conscience.”

- C.S. Lewis

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Anyone who tries to claim that the Bible prescribes his or her specific political opinions should be met with a certain degree of skepticism. The Bible does, however, hint at how Christians should interact with the societies in which they live (go read Acts 5:29 and Luke 20:25). It also provides strong caution against placing one’s confidence in Earthly governments (go read I Samuel 8 and Judges 8:22-23).

My purpose here is to address the common (and erroneous) claim that Christians who favor “small government” are, by definition, being hypocritical. Or as Jimmy Carter puts it,

jimmy carter

For one thing, I only know of maybe 2 or 3 people who oppose tax dollars going to help the poor. All of them are anarchists. So it’s not entirely clear who, exactly, Carter is addressing. But I’m pretty sure he’s just addressing anyone who favors a more limited welfare system than he does.

The real debate, if we’re being honest, is the extent to which – and the means by which – public assistance should be directed to the poor. The question is whether primary responsibility for assisting the poor should rest with government, or with individuals, churches, and private charities.

To many on the Left, conservatives who attempt to reduce the size of the welfare state are either acting out of greed, malice, or a lack of empathy for the poor. In reality, the conservative’s goal is to limit and decentralize power. The conservative understands that power leads to corruption, and that powerful, centralized governments have a long history of abusing human rights.

The conservative also recognizes the importance of individual responsibility and the dignity of providing for oneself and one’s family. In this sense, the conservative is concerned not only with the poor man’s physical needs, but also with his spiritual, non-material needs. Any form of government assistance should therefore have the aim of making the recipient self-sufficient, rather than perpetually reliant on public assistance.

Unfortunately, there’s an epidemic of young, progressive, “enlightened” individuals in this country who eagerly vote to expand the welfare state, and conclude that this makes them champions of the poor. Yet when asked, directly, what they’ve personally done for the poor, the only things they can come up with are Holding Benevolent Opinions, paying taxes, and maybe attending a charity walk.

I realize that sounds a tad anecdotal…but as it turns out, there’s solid data to back it up. According to research out of Syracuse University, “people who reject the idea that ‘government has a responsibility to reduce income inequality’ give an average of four times more than people who accept that proposition.” In the U.S., conservative states consistently see higher levels of charitable giving than liberal states.

In short: when a person considers his taxes to be a legitimate form of charity, he becomes less charitable.

The modern progressive, unwilling to recognize mankind’s fallen condition, sincerely believes that the State provides the means of realizing his egalitarian utopia. The Christian should know better. Those who place their faith in the strong arm of government walk a fine line between folly and idolatry.

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See also:

“Why Christians Make Great Libertarians” (part 1, part 2, part 3)

Dietrich Bonhoeffer Quotes

“Destruction of the embryo in the mother’s womb is a violation of the right to live which God has bestowed upon this nascent life. To raise the question whether we are here concerned already with a human being or not is merely to confuse the issue. The simple fact is that God certainly intended to create a human being and that this nascent human being has been deliberately deprived of his life. And that is nothing but murder.”

“There are things for which an uncompromising stand is worthwhile.”

“We are not to simply bandage the wounds of victims beneath the wheels of injustice, we are to drive a spoke into the wheel itself.”

“In the New Testament our enemies are those who harbour hostility against us, not those against whom we cherish hostility, for Jesus refuses to reckon with such a possibility.”

“When all is said and done, the life of faith is nothing if not an unending struggle of the spirit with every available weapon against the flesh.”

“Silence in the face of evil is itself evil: God will not hold us guiltless. Not to speak is to speak. Not to act is to act.”

“As high as God is above man, so high are the sanctity, the rights, and the promise of marriage above the sanctity, the rights, and the promise of love. It is not your love that sustains the marriage, but from now on, the marriage that sustains your love. God makes your marriage indissoluble.”

“It is much easier for me to imagine a praying murderer, a praying prostitute, than a vain person praying. Nothing is so at odds with prayer as vanity.”

“Primum non Nocere” and the Affordable Care Act

I recently wrote an article for Liberty Without Apologies, and thought I’d share it here as well. (If you haven’t already, you should bookmark the site and follow Liberty Without Apologies on Facebook. I have several friends who are regular contributors, and they’ve got some great political content from a right-libertarian perspective.)

I wrote the article because I believe that a law addressing medical care should be held to the same standard as medical care itself: “first, do no harm”. Too many progressives are anxious to overlook the harm caused by the Affordable Care Act, saying things like, “we had to do something” or “it might be flawed, but it was a step in the right direction”. They want to judge the law by its motives, rather than by the impact it’s having on people.

I see real people suffering, and I think it’s a shame that the country had to settle for reforms that were rammed through on a party-line vote, without being thoughtfully considered or even read by the law’s supporters prior to passage. If a doctor approved a treatment plan in the same haphazard manner that Congress approved the ACA, he’d be rightfully sued for malpractice.

I’ve copied the article below:

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A typical physician begins her career as a thirty-year-old with six figures of debt. While her peers have spent the last decade accumulating income and work experience, she’s been pulling all-nighters in the library – living on coffee, Ramen noodles, and student loans. She enjoys what she does, but the hours are brutal. After 8+ years of post-secondary education (plus another 3-6 years of residency) and tremendous personal and financial sacrifice, she has finally scaled the summit. She’s a doctor. In the meantime, changes in the U.S. healthcare system leave her feeling more like a glorified bureaucrat – trying to navigate the mountains of paperwork and ever-changing federal guidelines that stand between herself and her patients.

Most of the medical students and young physicians that I interact with are growing increasingly disillusioned with the future of our profession. The outlook is especially bleak for those considering primary care – the dwindling supply of “front line” doctors expected to accommodate an exploding demand for office visits. In their great wisdom, the architects of Obamacare sought to extend health insurance to 32 million new Americans without taking any steps to increase the number of practicing physicians.

I'm no economist, but this doesn't look like a recipe for "affordable healthcare".

I’m no economist, but this doesn’t look like a recipe for “affordable healthcare”.

Supporters of the Affordable Care Act are quick to point out that the law was endorsed by the American Medical Association. What they won’t tell you is that only 15% of America’s physicians are members of the AMA (compared with 85% of American’s dentists who belong to the ADA). In fact, individual physicians oppose the Affordable Care Act by a wide margin, and believe it will ultimately increase the cost of healthcare.

In a recent interview with MSNBC host Chris Matthews (may the thrill run ever up his leg), the president characteristically deflected blame for the Obamacare website debacle. Yet along with the usual finger-pointing at House Republicans, he actually suggested that the problem might lie with overly bloated government agencies, “some of which are outdated, some of which are not designed properly.”

"If you like your health care plan..."

“If you like your health care plan…”

This kind of schizophrenic assessment – blaming, in the same breath, both government bureaucracy and those who opposed the law’s reliance on government bureaucracy – seems strangely befitting. The Affordable Care Act is a stamp collection of such paradoxes.

Most of us in the medical field aren’t policy wonks. Our primary interest is fixing sick people – preferably with as little interference from third parties as possible. There are, however, a number of sensible and liberty-minded proposals that receive widespread head-bobbing in hospital break rooms. Physicians are generally receptive to the very solutions that were conspicuously absent from the ACA: tort reform, health savings accounts, conscience protections for healthcare providers, and market-based reforms to Medicare and Medicaid. John Mackey, CEO of Whole Foods, proposed some very workable (but largely ignored) reforms back in 2009.

Returning control of medical decisions to patients and their doctors would go a long way toward controlling costs and reversing the damage done by the ACA. The U.S. healthcare system has a fever, and the only prescription is less government.

An Ultrarunning Bucket List

I recently ran my first 50-miler, and am signed up to run another 50-mile race in April. Even better than races, though, are what I refer to as “destination runs” – basically just traveling somewhere scenic and then running really far.

This list includes a mix of ultras, adventure races, and fun-looking routes for solo runs and fastpacks. I’ve only included destinations in the United States (for now). I’m always looking for new ideas though…so drop me a comment if you have one!

Runs I’ve Done:

1. Great Smoky Mountains National Park, via the Appalachian Trail

Last spring, I ran the ~32 mile section between Newfound Gap and Davenport. There had been a winter storm the previous week, so the snow and ice made for slow going in some of the higher mountain passes.

Descending into a valley during my run through GSMNP

Descending into a valley during my run through GSMNP

Future goal: run the full 72 mile length of the park (like this guy).

2. The Grand Canyon, rim-to-rim

My brother and I ran the South Kaibab – North Kaibab route last summer (a little shy of marathon distance, but with all sorts of elevation change). We started at 3:30am to avoid the heat, but still ended up getting badly roasted as we climbed the north rim.

Descending the South Kaibab Trail

The South Kaibab Trail, just before sunrise

Future goal: Complete the “rim-to-rim-to-rim” double traverse (like these guys).

Runs I Plan to Do:

3. Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore

Scenic, remote, long enough to pose a challenge, and short enough to tackle over a weekend. I’d like to knock this one off my list within the next year. The ~41 mile length of Pictured Rocks can either be run or completed as an overnight fastpack. Here’s a great trip report.

(photo from Wikipedia)

Pictured Rocks (photo from Wikipedia)

4. The Superior Sawtooth 100

I’ve been eyeing this race for awhile. It looks like a fun time, and I’ve heard great things about that stretch of the Superior Hiking Trail. From the website: “103.3 mile point-to-point 100% trail ultramarathon…net elevation change 42,000 ft…38 hour cutoff…”

5. The World Rogaining Championships

From the website: “The World’s is a 24-hour long-distance cross-country navigation race for teams traveling on foot by map and compass. The object is to score points by finding checkpoints (orienteering flags) within the allotted time.”

The Black Hills (photo from Wikipedia)

The Black Hills (photo from Wikipedia)

Runs I Dream of Doing:

6. The Joshua Tree Traverse

I’m not a big fan of hot weather, so this desert run would probably need to be done over the winter. The route follows the California Riding and Hiking Trail for 38 miles through Joshua Tree National Park. Here’s a trip report.

Joshua Tree (photo from Wikipedia)

Joshua Tree (photo from Wikipedia)

7. The Rut 50k

A 50 kilometer Alps-style mountain race? In Montana?

This looks awesome.

8. The Wonderland Trail

This 93-mile hiking trail completely encircles Mt. Rainier and features ~44,000 ft of elevation change. It would make for an awesome multi-day section run. Here’s a trip report.

The Wonderland Trail (photo from Wikipedia)

The Wonderland Trail (photo from Wikipedia)

9. The Maah Daah Hey Trail

My wife and I ran a small section of this trail after visiting Glacier National Park a couple years ago. Some day I’d like to run or fastpack the full 96-mile length. There’s something unique and surreal about the badlands of North Dakota (and also, lots of prairie dogs and bison poop).

A picture we took while running on the Maah Daah Hey in 2012

A picture we took while running on the Maah Daah Hey Trail in 2012

Runs I Dream of Being Able to Do:

10. Nolan’s 14

This is maybe something I could do piecemeal, but never all at once. The route is approximately 100 miles on foot, connecting 14 summits over 14,000 feet in Colorado’s Sawatch Range. Several superhuman athletes have completed the route in under 60 hours. Check out this site for more details.

11. The Alaska Mountain Wilderness Classic

From Wikipedia: “The Alaska Mountain Wilderness Classic [is] an adventure race that espouses purity of style. Started in 1982 as a 150-mile (240 km) wilderness footrace, the Classic has crossed various mountain ranges throughout Alaska with some routes covering nearly 250 miles (400 km). Traditionally, the same route has been used for three years in a row. The rules are simple: start to finish with no outside support, requiring that racers carry all food and equipment…”

Backpacking in Alaska last summer

Backpacking in Alaska last summer. We covered considerably less than 250 miles.

Opposition to Stem Cell Research Doesn’t Make You “Anti-Science”

Religious conservatives are often accused of being “anti-science” because of our objection to human embryonic stem cell research.

Two quick thoughts:

1) It’s not religious conservatives, but secular progressives, who most frequently reject the biological definition of when human life begins, perpetuate the myth that casual sex is harmless, consult horoscopes, deny the biological differences between males and females, oppose genetically modified crops (which have the potential to save millions of lives in developing countries), deny the sociological benefits of religious belief, and refuse to vaccinate children against preventable diseases (a decision that sometimes, you know, kills people). It’s ironic that the same people who insist that science should replace religion as the authoritative source of human knowledge, meaning, and morality are the quickest to dismiss or dispute scientific findings that clash with their own opinions.

2) It isn’t “anti-science” to have ethical objections to the use of human embryonic stem cells any more than it’s “anti-science” to have ethical objections to experiments done on prisoners in Nazi death camps. Disagreements over the ethical boundaries of science are not the same thing as disagreements over the value of science itself.

Atheism and Fatherhood

“It is easier for a father to have children than for children to have a real father.” 

- Pope John XXIII

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I posted the following on Facebook the other day:

OWS

Someone responded by suggesting that the lack of a godly father might leave certain individuals searching for a substitute – in the form of government.

This immediately brought to mind previous studies that I’ve read showing a link between fatherlessness and atheism. (Atheism and statism often overlap, but that’s a topic for another day. It’s interesting to note, however, that political liberals are far less likely than political conservatives [55% versus 82%] to accept the statement, “God is the all-knowing, all-powerful creator of the world who still rules the universe today.”)

According to a large-scale Swiss study published in 2000, “It is the religious practice of the father of the family that, above all, determines the future attendance at or absence from church of the children.” The statistics are pretty eye-opening. In families where both parents were regular churchgoers, 33% of children grew up to become regular churchgoers. In families where the mother was a regular churchgoer and the father was nonpracticing, only 2% of children grew up to become regular churchgoers. In families where the father was a regular churchgoer and the mother was nonpracticing, 44% of children grew up to become regular churchgoers.

In “Faith of the Fatherless: The Psychology of Atheism,” Dr. Paul Vitz (a professor of psychology at NYU, with a Ph.D. from Stanford) makes a case for the “defective father hypothesis”. He begins by looking at the biographical information of the world’s most influential atheists – past and present – essentially asking what they have in common. What he finds is that nearly all of them experienced broken relationships with their biological fathers (whether through death, conflict, abandonment, or abuse). Furthermore, “a survey of the leading intellectual defenders of Christianity over the same period confirms the hypothesis, finding few defective fathers.”

faith of the fatherless

This observation isn’t limited to famous atheists, either. The following excerpt is taken from the chapter “Atheists: A Psychological Profile” in The Cambridge Companion to Atheism (HT Triablogue and Wintery Knight):

“In representative surveys of the U.S. population in the 1970s and 1980s, the unaffiliated were found to be younger, mostly male, with higher levels of education and income, more liberal, but also more unhappy and more alienated in terms of the larger society (Hadaway and Roof 1988; Feigelman, Gorman, and Varacalli 1992)…

Findings regarding those who come from religious homes and then give up religion show that they have had more distant relations with their parents (Hunsberger 1980, 1983; Hunsberger and Brown 1984). Caplovitz and Sherrow (1977) found that the quality of relations with parents was a crucial variable…

Does losing a parent early in life lead one to atheism? Vetter and Green (1932–33) surveyed 350 members of the American Association for the Advancement of Atheism, 325 of whom were men. Among those who became atheists before age twenty, half lost one or both parents before that age. A large number in the group reported unhappy childhood and adolescence experiences.”

atheism

While these statistics are sobering and saddening, they shouldn’t be surprising.

Many of the basic claims of Christianity (the existence of God, original sin, etc.) can be deduced and defended using reason alone. However, as Thomas Aquinas argues in Summa contra Gentiles, there remain certain Christian teachings (the doctrine of the Trinity, for example) which must be accepted by placing faith in the authority of Scripture. On an even more basic level, accepting Christianity entails having faith (that is, confidence) in the authority of God the Father.

For obvious reasons, this sort of confidence might come less naturally to someone who grows up without a trustworthy father figure.

And this is exactly why Christians need to engage in – rather than withdraw from – shaping our culture. This is why we need to defend the institution of marriage by opposing no-fault divorce laws. Put bluntly, a country where only 64% of children live with married parents is going to be less receptive to evangelism than it otherwise could be.