Why Akathleptos?

Why Akathleptos? Because it means Uncontainable. God is infinite. Hence, the whole universe cannot contain Him. The term also refers to the incomprehensibility of God. No man can know everything about God. We can know Him personally but not exhaustively, not even in Heaven.

Why Patmos? Because the church is increasingly marginalized and exiled from the culture.

Why Pen-Names? So the focus is on the words and not who wrote them. We prefer to let what we say stand on its own merit. There is precedent in church history for this - i.e., the elusive identity of Ambrosiaster who wrote in the 4th century A.D.

“Truth is so obscured nowadays, and lies so well established, that unless we love the truth we shall never recognize it." Blaise Pascal

Friday, July 26, 2013

Censoring The Gospel

An Air Force Chaplain at the Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson in Alaska experienced first-hand just how hostile to the gospel the U.S. military culture is becoming.  In the land of "religious freedom", the Chaplain posted an online essay entitled, "“No Atheists in Foxholes: Chaplains Gave All in World War II.”, a common saying attributed to a Catholic priest in World War II, made famous when President Dwight D. Eisenhower said during a 1954 speech: "I am delighted that our veterans are sponsoring a movement to increase our awareness of God in our daily lives. In battle, they learned a great truth that there are no atheists in the foxholes."  His essay was published on the base's web site in the "Chaplain's Corner" section.  (For those not familiar with military chaplains, they are ordained clergyman whose duties are to provide religious instruction and spiritual counseling.)

Shortly after publication, the Military Religious Freedom Foundation (MRFF) contacted the base commander, Col. Brian Duffy, demanding he take action on Reyes’s “anti-secular diatribe.”  Incredibly, MRFF’s letter says that by Reyes’s “use of the bigoted, religious supremacist phrase, ‘no atheists in foxholes,’ he defiles the dignity of service members.” They accuse him of violating military regulations. Only five hours after MRFF’s complaint, the essay was removed from the website and the base commander profusely apologized to the MRFF for not stopping this religious leader from sharing religious thoughts.


 Here is the full text of his essay so you can decide how "bigoted" and "religious supremacist" it is:

“Chaplain’s Corner: No Atheists in Foxholes: Chaplains Gave All in World War II” 
By Lt. Col. Kenneth Reyes

Many have heard the familiar phrase, “There is no such thing as an atheist in a fox hole.”

Where did this come from?

Research I verified in an interview with former World War II prisoner of war Roy Bodine (my friend) indicates the phrase has been credited to Father William Cummings.  As the story goes, Father Cummings was a civilian missionary Catholic priest in the Philippines.  The phrase was coined during the Japanese attack at Corregidor.

During the siege, Cummings had noticed non-Catholics were attending his services.  Some he knew were not Catholic, some were not religious and some were even known atheists.  Life-and-death experiences prompt a reality check.  Even the strongest of beliefs can change, and, I may add, can go both ways – people can be drawn to or away from “faith.”

With the pending surrender of allied forces to the Japanese, Cummings uttered the famous phrase “There is no such thing as an atheist in a fox hole."  In one of my many discussions with Roy, he distinctly remembered a period on the “Hell Ships” – these were ships the Japanese used to bring POWs from the Philippines back to Japan.  They were unmarked and thus ‘fair game’ for attacks from the allies from the air and sea.

Of the 3,000-plus POWs listed on the ships, only 180 survived the journey.  “When our own planes were attacking us,” Roy said, “I remember Father Cummings calming us down by reciting the Lord’s Prayer and offering up prayers on our behalf.  For a brief moment I did not hear the yells and screams of dying men as our boat was attacked by our own men.”  He went on to say, “There was a peaceful quiet during the attack that I cannot explain nor have experienced since.”  Later on during the trip to Japan, Cummings, after giving his food to others who needed it more, succumbed to his own need and died of starvation.

Everyone expresses some form of faith every day, whether it is religious or secular.  Some express faith by believing when they get up in the morning they will arrive at work in one piece, thankful they have been given another opportunity to enjoy the majesty of the day; or express relief the doctor’s results were negative.  The real question is, “Is it important to have faith in ‘faith’ itself or is it more important to ask, ‘What is the object of my faith?’”

Roy never affirmed or expressed whether his faith was rooted in religion or not, but for a moment in time on the “Hell Ships,” he believed in Cummings’ faith.  

What is the root or object of your faith?

Is it something you can count on in times of plenty or loss; peace or chaos; joy or sorrow; success or failure?  Is it something you can count on in times of plenty or loss; peace or chaos; joy or sorrow; success or failure?

What is ‘faith’ to you?"

A "bigoted, religious supremacist" essay?

The Air Force base commander, Col. Brian Duffy, exhibited an astonishing lack of common sense and leadership.  Intimidated by a group adverse to the gospel and a Pentagon increasingly hostile to the gospel, he is the by-product of an increasingly godless culture.

Another recent example of censoring the gospel was the blocking of links to a new Christian movie ("Unstoppable") by both Facebook and YouTube.  The blocks were removed only after several hundred thousand people expressed outrage.  Ludicrously, Facebook blamed the block on "a mistake in their anti-spam system."

John 3:19-20 gives us insight on what's happening ....

"This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but people loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil.  Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that their deeds will be exposed."  (NIV)

As the culture sinks deeper into darkness, the more fierce its' hatred of the gospel will become, revealing the society's true nature.  We need to remember that as aliens in a fallen world temporarily marred by sin and ruled by Satan, Jesus calls Christians to shine like brilliant stars in an ever-darkening world living with joy and confidence, no matter the difficult circumstances.

Lord, let our light shine.

1 comment:

  1. When I strutted my stuff as a proud, intellectually 'superior,' 'scientifically' grounded atheist, I really was nothing more than an anti-Christian. Funny how I NEVER attacked Hindus, Buddhists, Muslims, etc for THEIR faith, but those 'horrible' Christians were another matter!