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Ep. 138 Why the Left Hates Christianity

Bob first observes that the Left (institutionally) hates Christianity, and that standard explanations, such as its alleged bigotry, don’t explain why the Left gives Islam a pass. Christianity stands in the way of the Leftist agenda. Moreover, if the Devil exists, he would favor not just the “false religion” of environmentalism and Marxism, but also postmodernism, for Jesus is the Logos. Ultimately, the gospel reconciles God and man, which is not what the Devil wants.

Mentioned in the Episode and Other Links of Interest:

The audio production for this episode was provided by Podsworth Media.

About the author, Robert

Christian and economist, Research Assistant Professor with the Free Market Institute at Texas Tech, Senior Fellow with the Mises Institute, and co-host with Tom Woods of the podcast "Contra Krugman."

18 Comments

  1. Bob on 08/13/2020 at 6:08 PM

    As a former default-liberal Christian-hater who was not raised Christian, I have some direct insight into this world. If you’ve ever wanted to ask questions of such a person, ask away. Some of the Christian-hatred comes from people who used to be Christians and feel duped by it for so long. It’s a kind of immature anger response. I was never a Christian and this is true for many other atheists too. Independent of the theological aspect of atheism, there are numerous partially overlapping atheist subcultures that have social gatherings, online forums, live-streams, etc. Almost all of those subcultures are politically left. A lot of political left ideas seem like they make good sense if you don’t know economics and don’t have a very fine-tuned ethical analysis of the implications of your support for various policy choices. So it’s not as simple as Christian hatred, it’s often also republican hatred, constitutionalism hatred, capitalism hatred, etc, all bundled together into a package of a “them” that’s the enemy holding back progress in society toward greater material prosperity and ethical harmony. A *lot* of the atheist community is politically left for various reasons, and it’s this leftism, not the atheism, that drives the hatred.

    I’m still an atheist but many years ago I gave up on the hate. I have nothing but love for you Dr. Murphy, I wish you and yours all the best and don’t care whether you believe in zero or more gods, it’s all good. Cheers!

    • Michael Ares on 09/01/2020 at 8:08 AM

      I feel so sorry for you with your twisted hated. It’s all about you and your hatred all
      Things normal and righteous. Promiscuity
      Drugs , homosexuality, selfishness. Is this you Evil and your sin

  2. Bob on 08/13/2020 at 6:18 PM

    BTW, I was part of the atheist wing that hated Christianity and Islam. I studied Islam too much to deny how bad that can be. Though for a long while I still hated Christianity domestically because they had all the power, relatively speaking. I would speak out against Islam domestically too, and draw Mohamed, and argue against anyone who denied Islam’s bad aspects, at home and abroad, currently, in history, and potentially in the future. Though at home Christianity still dominated the focus because there are a lot more Christians holding levers of power than Muslims. The hatred comes from the political will that Christians can and do exert over governance. Even if it’s ever-dwindling, it’s not fast enough. That’s the mindset.

  3. clort27 on 08/14/2020 at 12:34 PM

    One of the most provocative (in the Russ Roberts sense) BMS episodes yet! Bravo. I valued it and will contribute again thanks to content like this.

    I agree with Bob that the attack of the left against Christianity is being sold with the language of guilt and penance, motivated by resentment against not only Man’s physical creations, but our logos as an echo of The Creator.

    To help people recognize this anti-spirit I think it is most useful to reveal it in its absurd attacks on language and meaning.

    Sometimes meanings of words are subverted by coordinated action: The word ‘liberalism’ represented laissez-Faire non-interventionism, yet was inverted to mean the opposite, at least in the USA. The word ‘gay’ once meant ‘joyous’ but was usurped in a coordinated campaign to be synonymous with ‘homosexual’. The Department of War was rebranded the department of ‘Defense’. To my mind, these are intentional subversions of the meanings of words and must be pointed-out as such.

    A less intentional source of confusion was described brilliantly in a Mises.org lecture around the turn of the century, by a professor whose name I don’t recall (maybe other readers do?)
    He explained that many people believe that, since progress in the sciences involves revising or upending some previous consensus, that all they have to do personally, is take the opposite position to something commonly taken to be true, and that this alone makes them an instant intellectual. It’s a simplistic, egotistic grab at self-aggrandizement. I think this motivates, for example, people who argue on Twitter whether 2+2=5. In Christianity, this is called the sin of pride.

    Bob’s discussion on the nature of truth in the Christian context will have me re-listening, but I would like to add that even the secular/pagan Greek scholars understood the value of meanings and definitions. They said (paraphrased), “The meanings of words should be agreed-upon such that the subject matter is better illuminated and understood than by other definitions.” (Again my memory fails as to the attribution)

    It is inescapably obvious that we need to agree upon the meanings of terms, quantities, measures and relationships to be able to trade, transact, and innovate with a tolerably low level of misunderstanding and error. An apocryphal tale is the Mars Lander that crashed because one group had used Imperial units for some software variables while another group assumed metric units were being used. If our use of a term will be disputable or unclear, the responsible thing to do is to explain the definition we will use before continuing.

    When talking to a non-Christian, I think Jordan Peterson’s critique of postmodernism is very helpful:

    “The error in postmodernism is the failure to recognize that there are a finite number of credible interpretations of phenomena and also a refusal to engage with the intellectual problem of determining what that finite set might actulally consist of.
    We do this partly biologically because we inhabit a biological framework that’s been developed over the course of about 3.5 million years, that severely constrains the manner in which we interpret the world. And it constrains it such that we tend to only manifest interpretations of the world that don’t result in undue suffering and our demise.
    There are many ways to suffer and to perish, but not many ways to live properly and carefully for a long period of time.”

    True scientists and intellectual pioneers can not make progress by rigidly clinging to prior interpretations of the world, but the work of making actual progress does not consist of blithely and irresponsibly throwing-out all that which has lifted us out of the intellectual and spiritual poverty that characterized most of human existence.

    The tie to Christianity may be harder for many to understand today, but a large part of what lifted us up — what gave birth to a common law, what freed us from arbitrary tyranny, what set aside scarce resources for universities, scholarship and literacy, what motivated charity, humility and sacrifice to others and the group — was in historical fact the Christian faith.

  4. Paul Binder on 08/14/2020 at 12:44 PM

    Perhaps the explanation can be found in the fundamental difference in what conscience means. To a Christian, conscience is what compels one to right action in a very personal sense. Compare that to “The Conscience of a Liberal”. A liberal abuses the definition of conscience and uses it to speak of right collective action. A liberal’s conscience might require nothing of him. Is concern for the poor to be attacked on an individual level or a collective level. The liberal is able to pretend he is expressing conscience while in fact doing nothing of the sort. I think the ease of being a liberal is its appeal and explains the antipathy toward the more difficult Christian way that actually requires personal action.

  5. Marko on 08/14/2020 at 4:09 PM

    Bob,

    I think you are reading too much into it and your explanations are way too complex. What is more likely is that Left does not hate Christians, but the Left finds Christians as a weak enemy. If Muslims did not throw leftists from the roofs of their buildings, the Left would strongly attack even Muslims. In the past, when the Catholic church was burning the witches and when it was the theological backbone of the kings, the Left would not have dreamed to attack them like it is attacking them right now. I think this explains much more. They hate anybody who opposes their goal, and when and if Muslims will become weaker, the Left will attack them as well.

    All these super complex theories about the Logos, Word, Trinity are way beyond an average Christian that follows the commandments, avoids the deadly sins and is spending 99% of his energy on fearing God and his punishment. Christians are decreasing in number and in intensity because they see Pope running to a hospital when he is shot, Pope defending socialism or Muslim immigrants flooding the Europe, because churches are mostly commercial enterprises instead of spirit training houses, because there is more focus on rituals than on being strong on commandments, because there is a lot of hypocrisy, children see their Christian parents say certain things, but do others and so on. That is much more important than the language deconstruction games. At best, these serve to fool the theologians and other Christian intellectuals.

    May be you can make an episode of poly-logism. This is something I learned from you in this episode, but what is it exactly? Does it mean the marxist have different premises that put into the same logic as we know it or they actually devised a different logic? By different logic I mean, for example, in marxist logic something can be both A and B, instead of either A or B like in the official logic. Or in marxist logic something can be both A and not A, instead of only A in the official logic. I would say that you are probably referring to different premises, instead of different logics. For example, marxist starting point is that the good of collective is more important than the good of the individual, therefore the tax is not a theft, but the fulfillment of the good of the collective. The real problem here is not the post-modernism, but that neither side proved anything, neither marxist, nor us. The natural rights idea as the defender of the private property model is so weak, that nobody today takes it very seriously. Neither Rothbard, and he was very happy when he heard Hoppe’s contribution with the argumentation ethics approach. But you tried to dismantle Hoppe’s approach. May be you are right, may be not, but you are not convinced of that either. What else does remain? In the rational ethics realm, the only other thing I am aware of is Stefan Molyneux’s UPB, and we never heard your opinion about it. I honestly hope your position is not that God gave us ethics and that this solves the private property problem. If this was even true, I think you can not base this claim on Christian God, because as you said today, Bible is the source of the Christian truth, and this book has some important contradictions inside about what is good and what is bad. In the best case, you might refer to some Deist God, with some theology still to be formulated, with some book that will look much more as the math textbook, instead of collection of stories. But, we do not have this yet. So, you are attacking the post-modernism that is very strong on relativism, skepticism, not certainty etc. as if you had something certain, where actually you don’t. So, yes I agree, there are exaggerations of the post-modernism, especially in the fields that are solid, like math. The attempts to prove 2+2 is not equal 4 is the intellectual perversion. Here, there is no space for any doubt, but in natural sciences, and especially in social sciences, things are completely different. So, I am advising you friendly. You are a very smart person. Do you think it is more profitable for you to spend your intellect on fighting the post-modernism or to find the good defense of the libertarianism? We do not have a good defense, regardless of the opinion of the post-modernists. There is no agreement even between us, a very small group. Post-modernism is a very far away obstacle for us in this moment, if at all. For me, the UPB is a very good candidate, but I am not sure. The fact that there is no serious discussion among the libertarians about it is very problematic. Why there was never a UPB review from Tom Woods, you, Hoppe, Walter Block, Bryan Caplan or David Friedman? If you all think UPB is bad, you should destroy it, so we can make a better proof. As I see the situation now, all of you are traveling on the safe distance from the important topics.

    Because without that, without the proof that NAP and private property are true, not just more practical than the alternatives as David Friedman is suggesting, but true, we are as arrogant as marxists. And at that point, we can win only with rhetorical tricks. And what if we are wrong? What if we are the new communists that will send the humanity to the slaughter?

    Now, I know a bit of history of sciences. We knew about the numbers way, way before we formulated the correct number theory. And today, only a small fraction even of the mathematicians can really understand the very complex formal definitions of the numbers. Still, this does not stop most of mathematicians and the rest of us, the practitioners to use both numbers and the theorems around them and we know that there is some book in some shop where we can see even the core definitions, but we do not care. Math cares, because numbers have been defined. Libertarianism is not. Even when it will be defined and defended, one day, most of the libertarians will spend their days only in applying it. Now, if we will figure out it is not defendeble, than, we need to embrace David Friedman’s approach, the consequentialism, but at this point, we are still inner-fighting between the deontology and conseqentialism. Which is quite bad.

    Even if you are personally convinced that Christian God is the right defense, you must be aware that big chunks of libertarians, not to mention the rest of the world are not faith oriented people, so I do not think it will be productive to go in that direction. From your latest episode it seems you are approaching the God by reason, instead of faith, which is much better, but before you use reason defined God to defend the libertarianism, you first need to convince us that Christian God can be defended by reason, instead of the faith. So, that’s a long road. You must be aware that some truths, can be proven in various ways. There are at least 10 ways to prove Pythagorean theorem, so if there are at least 2 ways to prove libertarianism, I advise not to use the Christian way.

    • Bob on 08/15/2020 at 3:54 AM

      @Marco

      What is more likely is that Left does not hate Christians, but the Left finds Christians as a weak enemy.

      As someone who spent years hanging out in the leftist atheist circles I can assure you a great many leftist atheists really do hate Christians — I was one of them. For misguided reasons, usually, but the hate is very real. Christians are hated mostly for their strength as a cultural and political force because they slow leftist atheist agendas. Even though Christianity is a declining cultural force, it’s much more powerful than any leftist atheist movement at this time. I know to many Christians it sounds weird to hear Christianity talked about as strong today given the massive decline in church attendance and the precipitous fall-off on the influence of religion over public life. Though even as attenuated as Christianity is today in the US, it’s still quite strong compared to Buddhism or Islam or atheism or Scientology, etc. If you have to pick just one religious enemy to fight, you pick the one you see most. In the US that’s Christianity by far.

    • Stefano Rondelli on 08/15/2020 at 12:06 PM

      I’m not gonna tackle the entirety of the post, but I wish to point out three things:
      1. The underlying theology is relevant, because even if it is not expressely thematized, it is internalized. You absorb the worldview, and these concept bleed through and color what you see and how you see. Take the idea of being created in the image of God, or God being essentially in relation, foremost with Himself, through love. You don’t need to be able to have a philosphical discussion about these things, the priest/pastor/whoever referring to these concepts is enough.
      2. Bob had an episode with Kinsella to try and clarify what their respective positions are, and Bob does recognize that his and Callahan’s critique was misguided and predicated on a misunderstanding. In a later episode, he does offer some more criticisms, but even then he doesn’t seem to have fully appreciated what AE actually is. This isn’t to say that Bob is a big dummy, it also took me multiple readings and the aid of Kinsella and Frank van Dun to actually understand what Hoppe was getting at.
      3. David Gordon engaged Molyneux, and also responded to his rebuttal. I don’t know what Molyneux’s exact position is, but judging from what David wrote it isn’t very impressive, and starkly different from Hoppe’s take on the ultimate justification of ethics.
      https://mises.org/library/molyneux-problem
      https://mises.org/library/mr-molyneux-responds

  6. Will on 08/15/2020 at 12:02 AM

    Now you need to do one about how the Right hates Christianity as well, perhaps mentioning that Ron Paul was booed in South Carolina for quoting Jesus.

    The State is a Cult isn’t just a quip.

    https://thelatterdayliberator.com/the-modern-moloch-part-3-the-religion-of-statism-section-a/

  7. Not bob on 08/15/2020 at 12:40 AM

    Hey Bob,

    Interesting to hear that Nick Gillespie is also a post-modernist. I think in all honesty I’d have to consider myself a post-modernist in some sense, though I usually don’t agree with anything “real” post-modernists say.

    I think there’s more subtlety to “are facts real or knowable” and “does reality exist” than the way you mention it in this episode.

    I’d argue that it is CLEARLY unknowable is “reality exists,” by definition. Just as I won’t convince you with objective facts that god doesn’t exist. It’s not something you deduced from measuring objective facts, it is a core part of your belief system. Clearly if there was a big sign in the sky that said “God is dead,” god himself could have put it there to test us. Or whatever. Same w/ simulation theory and all that “does reality exist” stuff.

    I think it is also CLEARLY unknowable if any of our perceived facts are “true” in a metaphysical sense. Maybe we’re being spoon-fed crappy information by a malevolent demon or simulator, and pi is really 4 in his dimension/universe.

    That doesn’t mean that men and women are not distinct or that you should start marrying goats.

    I find Kant’s thoughts on the limits and mechanisms of human understanding interesting, though I admit I don’t fully understand them (this being Kant): https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Immanuel_Kant#Theory_of_perception

    Regarding the 2+2=5 thing, that’s not an objective fact in the sense that you’d try to prove it in a laboratory. It follows logically from the axioms of some sort of mathematics. What does 2 even mean? What is a number? That’s not “in nature,” that’s a paradigm. In that paradigm, it leads to 4.

    It can still be very useful in reality, because we can use this math to build bridges and cars and go to space and stuff. Just as the collective fiction that “driving on x side of the road is correct” can help us not crash into each other.

    In this sense, I would call myself a post-modernist, but I’d accuse most official post-modernists to be quacks that don’t really understand post-modernism or what follows from it.

    They strike me as similar to those new-age types that argue “We don’t fully understand quantum mechanics, therefore you should magnetize your water and use these homeopathic powders.” That simply doesn’t follow. “We don’t fully understand everything” doesn’t lead to “Everything we know is wrong and we can’t know anything.”

    Similarly, saying “2+2=5 if you pick the right mathematical axioms” doesn’t mean bridges fall down and we can’t go to space any more. There might even be niches where that particular axiom is very helpful in solving some real-world problem.

    Certainly it doesn’t follow that if “2+2=5 if you pick the right mathematical axioms” it follows that “men and women are exactly equal and gender is a social construct.” The male/female distinction is very much an empirical fact you can observe in the lab. For sure we pack some axiom-type things on top of that, but it doesn’t mean the empirical parts aren’t true.

  8. Baus on 08/16/2020 at 6:11 PM

    Bob, I may have mentioned this once before, but I think you’d be very interested in _The Myth of Religious Neutrality_ by Roy Clouser: https://undpress.nd.edu/9780268023669/the-myth-of-religious-neutrality-revised-edition/

    • Michael Ares on 09/01/2020 at 8:10 AM

      You know people like yourself are so selfish
      So
      Small in the grand scheme of thing. You a small
      Man who
      Builds himself up
      That your some kind of intellect , when
      Your
      Not at all

  9. Tel on 08/17/2020 at 4:16 AM

    Tenth Commandment!

    I was driving while listening to this show … did I simply miss that part about the commandments? Or was there no mention at all?

    Totally agree with the section on Christian forgiveness, the “Cancel Culture” is about digging back through decades of old comments and then finding something they can twist (i.e. tell lies about) to attack the person over some tiny violation of their stupid constantly shifting political correctness codes.

    https://www.theredhandfiles.com/what-is-mercy-for-you/

    Frances, you’ve asked about cancel culture. As far as I can see, cancel culture is mercy’s antithesis. Political correctness has grown to become the unhappiest religion in the world. Its once honourable attempt to reimagine our society in a more equitable way now embodies all the worst aspects that religion has to offer (and none of the beauty) — moral certainty and self-righteousness shorn even of the capacity for redemption. It has become quite literally, bad religion run amuck.

    Personally I never liked Nick Cave’s music all that much … he had a long battle with alcoholism and emerged healthier, more philosophical … but also rather normal. He had to make that choice I suppose … could have been the next Jim Morrison but decided he didn’t want that. Anyhow, on the topic quoted above he is perfectly correct, and most musicians are way to gutless to say that, even though they all know it for sure.

  10. Mark on 08/18/2020 at 8:21 PM

    The left is evil. And I mean that word – it is evil.

    From abortion to euthanasia they promote death. Everything they do, whether it is murder, destruction of society (BLM, e.g.), theft, rape, sexual perversion including LGBTXYZ crap, etc., they are following the bidding of their father – a murderer from the beginning and the father of lies. While not all leftists even believe the devil exists, as you mentioned, they are doing his bidding. Read John 8 from verse 39 to the end of the chapter. That is why the left hates Christ – not Christianity, but Jesus Himself.

    I’m not talking about the average democrat that has been duped by political slogans (and the republicans are no better), I’m talking about the people like Hillary Clinton. I could rattle off a bunch of names (lots in the news lately), but you get the idea – those that manipulate people to achieve domination over them and their ultimate destruction. Those that would manipulate others to doing their evil bidding as their father has done to them. Whether they are outright Satan worshipers or just believe what has been whispered into their ears, they are evil people and we shouldn’t be afraid to say it.

  11. Nick Watts on 08/19/2020 at 3:16 AM

    I chuckled at the stuff about Jesus being the word of God as opposed to the Bible.Of course Jesus is the Word of God (as per John 1:1), but it pays to use careful terminology around that. If you’re not careful, you can sleepwalk towards a Barthian Christology.

    And because this is Bob Murphy’s website, I’ll make a nerdy comparison. Barthian Christology is the MMT of theology!

    If you say “I think Barth was basically a Nestorian”, you will get the same reaction you get when you say “MMT policies are inflationary”. Within seconds, predictable as the tide, someone will stand up to argue. But they won’t say “you’re wrong because of X”. They will say “You just haven’t understood what our position really is.”

    There you go, obscure theology + obscure economics = the ultimate ivory-tower anecdote!

  12. Tate on 08/20/2020 at 7:20 PM

    “Bob first observes that the Left (institutionally) hates Christianity, and that standard explanations, such as its alleged bigotry, don’t explain why the Left gives Islam a pass.”

    But why does Islam get a pass from the Left?

    • clort27 on 08/30/2020 at 3:34 AM

      @Tate: Because it’s another tool to be used against Christian nations.

      Within Islamic countries, the leftist elements subvert Islam.

      Their goal is atomized multi-kulti, globo-homo, and that means subverting whatever dominant religion and culture serves to unite the people in the respective nation.

  13. Mel on 08/24/2020 at 4:15 AM

    Bob,

    Great show, I enjoy your clarity on this subject but I do have a simple objection. You take the words of the Bible very literally. I know you were once a Catholic, and I can only assume, now that you’re Protestant, that you disbelieve transubstantiation. When Christ clearly says “this is my body/blood” how else can that be interpreted other than literally? There weren’t any caveats. I think that is a way more concrete example than focusing on the word “said” in Genesis.

    Great show, love the content

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