There appears some irony in last week's Beacon, where the "theologicaphobia" challenged Phillip Hammes (having fear of READING about religion) himself commits theologica (activity WRITING about religion). I also appreciated his addition of "Hostess Twinkies" to the evidence of "grand design."
Yet, being witty necessitates wit. Contrary to his suggestion, religion is not about a "purposeful universe," but about exclusive claims of WHAT that purpose is (plus HOW to get eternal life). Perhaps Hammes might join me in church... to add a bit of wit to his witty.
I did shudder (along with, I suspect, many of the religious) when Phillip Hammes asked "Can't people be satisfied with personal preference?" Associating Christianity to "personal preference" seems to mock a sermon staple - that God judges us eternally "guilty" for not accepting Jesus (as I heard, last Sunday, at St. Ansgar's). And no - I doubt someone taking commands from scripture will also accept their religion as mere preference. There's that sticky commandment, "Do not worship any other god, for the Lord, is a jealous God" or Matthew's verse (also heard last Sunday), "go and make disciples of all nations... teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you" or the 14th Psalm (from the Cannon Community Church) that only vile, corrupt, fools believe there is no god.
Last week I found a card placed in the city parking lot titled "ABCs of American Exceptionalism" which included "A: Keeping God in the Public Arena" and "B: Defending the Constitution." Ironic, I thought, considering the Constitution, as passed, made no mention of God what-so-ever... nor Christianity or even religion - except once (in an exclusionary sense), "no religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office." But citizens seem (again answering Hammes' question) unable to resist religious tests. Half would not vote for an otherwise qualified presidential candidate who was non-religious. And brace yourself when you find love - half of family members say they would be disappointed if the person you love and choose to marry also happens to be... an atheist.