Out of the Mouth of H.L. Meinken Wannabes

In search of an eye witness account of the Kitzmiller v. Dover trial, the landmark intelligent design case whereby it was deemed unconstitutional to teach in public school, Matthew Chapman’s 40 Days and 40 Nights came up first in the public library search engine. The book was a quick and entertaining read that was full of obnoxious commentary, self-serving rhetoric, theological ignorance, uninformative interviews, lame jokes, biased observations, and… profound insight.

The author is a descendant of Charles Darwin himself and works as a journalist and filmmaker, so naturally he was the perfect candidate to fill the shoes of H.L. Mencken, the infamous reporter who covered the Scopes “Monkey Trial.” Though there are more than a few grains of salt needed to digest this book, I did find some wisdom in the following remarks he made when introducing a rather miserable sounding minister:

If I believe that someone was watching over me and that when life ended, death would be a joyous reunion with everyone I loved, I would be ecstatic. Why, then, are so many true believers so often consumed with rage and bitterness?

A fair question and one that has stuck with me for days. Hats off to Chapman for asking it.

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2 thoughts on “Out of the Mouth of H.L. Meinken Wannabes

  1. Myself, I find irony in this reasoning, which is as follows:

    I make false and disingenuous remarks about a set of people, and they become perturbed.

    There are two responses:

    1) People are people. When we are unfairly attacked, as Christians usually are, even by our own, we are inclined to respond in a manner consistent with our humanity.

    2) If we are unfairly attacked, we are called to clarify our position, and to do so directly. The passive-aggressive tact, though (very, very, very) popular amongst many Christians finds no support in scripture.

    While I do not doubt the existence of Christians who defend their faith out of a bitterness arising from personal offense, I find little challenge in this generalized rebuke. Moreso, I think the author wishes to pre-empt reasonable criticism.

  2. The book is positively bad, so don’t worry about it being free from criticism. I could have listed a number of idiotic things the author said, but this I actually found to be the most interesting. Moreover, I don’t think it is right for Christians to respond out of our “humanity” as we are enjoined to bless those who curse and not repay evil with evil. After reading Chapman’s book I realized how easy it is to be above such low-blow hit piece journalism and how it shouldn’t bother any person of faith too much to be represented by it.

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