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Read Westphal Critically
on July 26, 2011
This book seeks to educate readers about what Freud, Marx, Nietzsche and Westphal have to say about the role of religion in sociological, political, economic, and psychological contexts. In terms of Christian apologetics and polemics, this book is an invaluable tool to understanding why atheists attack Christianity. No one will deny that Westphal is correct in saying that our jobs as Christian apologists should be to listen to criticisms against Christianity. However, there may be difficulty in coming to a consensus that we should support what atheists say.
Westphal, perhaps like other intellectuals I have known, may be content to relax in the shade of the "capitalist" tree while simultaneously laying an axe to the root of that which benefits him. Never mind that he has no other sapling with which to replace the one he destroys. While Westphal decries the inhumanity of capitalism, he offers no alternative. He seems to not notice that capitalism, as we find it in America, has enjoyed periods of full employment and has contributed greatly to upward mobility from poverty to wealth. Neither does Westphal consider that capitalism has enabled many Christians to earn wealth in order to give wealth, and that on a global scale. Socialism and communism, on the other hand, have proven to be surefire ways to universal poverty and misery. As of this writing, the socialism of American Democrats and President Obama have created and maintained a high unemployment level in America. Not only this, but more Americans are receiving entitlements than are actually working to provide the money for entitlement spending. So, I ask Westphal, who are the oppressed now? So much for the evils of capitalism. Perhaps the adage that Socialism spreads misery equally is correct. Westphal should spend some time researching the good capitalism has achieved.
In reading this book, one must be careful and do so with a critical eye. Question everything. What Westphal advocates politically and socially can have negative repercussions and has had negative repercussions. Although Jesus came to the poor and oppressed, it is a totally different thing to say he espoused political revolution to overthrow the system that maintained the wealthy.
Westphal's views here, though insightful, are not the only views. There are others that need to be considered. There may be, in fact, a reason that we exist in two worlds, one secular and one spiritual. No doubt we exist as Christians in both, but to claim we can achieve a utopian synthesis of the two on earth may be a bit of a reach; and if this is what Christ came to do, then this may not be clear to all.