- The Washington Times - Monday, August 22, 2005

‘True Believer’

“Somewhere, a True Believer is planning to kill you. He is training with minimum food or water, in austere conditions, day and night. The only thing clean on him is his weapon. He doesn’t worry about what workout to do. His rucksack weighs what it weighs, and he runs until the enemy stops chasing him.

“The True Believer doesn’t care ‘how hard it is’; he knows he either wins or he dies. He doesn’t go home at 1700 hours; he is home. He knows only the Cause.

“Now, who wants to quit?”

—From the indoctrination lecture at the U.S. Army Special Forces School, as reported in the September issue of the American Enterprise

Generic faith

“[T]oday, one can go into a church (especially a megachurch) of nearly any denomination — Baptist, Presbyterian, Pentecostal, Wesleyan, Lutheran — and be unable to notice any difference among them. They all are likely to use the same praise songs and contemporary worship style. The sermons will tend to be about practical biblical tips for successful living, and go light on doctrine and sin. Also, all of these different denominations tend to use Sunday-school curriculum and other material from the same nondenominational publishers. …

“As a result, ‘generic Christianity’ is erasing denominational differences and giving churches a brand-new theological framework. …

“Since some Christians today make up their own theology and practices as they go along, oblivious to the time-tested, battle-tested experiences of the church through the ages, their spirituality can seem shallow or ‘empty.’ …

“Many megachurches have grown not by making new converts to Christianity but at the expense of small congregations, doing to small churches what Wal-Mart does to small businesses. But in congregations that are so big the pastor does not know his own members and the members do not know each other, it is difficult to give people the pastoral care — and the discipline — that they often need to be spiritually ‘full.’

—Gene Edward Veith, writing on “Packed, but still empty,” in the Aug. 20 issue of World

Campus ‘crooks’

“People are feeling empty. There’s a vacuum. There really is a spiritual vacuum right now. People on the left don’t want the Bible. They don’t want religion. But there is something — a craving for something. A reorientation. So I am saying, ‘Back to basics. Let’s begin again, get the big broom.’ …

“Sweep out all this stuff, this post-modernist, structuralism stuff which hasn’t led to anything but a lot of very successful, tenure and promotion and salaries. This naivete of the alternative press about the academy. … Some of these people I knew in grad school. These people are crass materialists, OK? …

“They boast about having two houses and they mouth leftist platitudes. There was a financial reward to mouthing leftism in this period. …

“What I am saying is they think that’s leftism and [they say] ‘I don’t want to join the chorus of people on the right who are decrying what’s going on in academe,’ so the entire two generations of embezzlers and crooks, as far as I am concerned, took over the universities … and destroyed the humanities.”

—Camille Paglia, interviewed by Robert Birnbaum Aug. 3 in the Morning News at www.themorningnews.org

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