You say that the Episcopal Church is "barely even a church." Why?
Because it's become increasingly difficult to distinguish the pronouncements of the Episcopal Church from the latest Madonna video.
Are churches that don't agree with your politics or religious beliefs not really churches?
Correct: They're called “mosques.”
Actually, the answer to that question is contained in what those in the publishing industry refer to as the "title” of my book, which is: "Godless: The CHURCH of Liberalism."
In a footnote, you say: "Throughout this book I often refer to Christian and Christianity...but the term is intended to include anyone who subscribes to the Bible of the God of Abraham, including Jews and others." Isn't it odd to define "Christians" as including people who are Jewish?
Yes, that would be very odd, but I'm doing nothing of the sort. I'm not defining Christians as Jews or Jews as Christians or zebras as elephants. I'm informing the reader that when I use the term "Christian," I am using it to include anyone who believes in the God of Abraham because it got a little wordy to keep saying "Christians, Jews and anyone else who believes in the God of Abraham" throughout the book. I don't know how that could be any clearer. If everyone who believed in the God of Abraham were a Christian, I wouldn't have needed the footnote.
And don't many people whom you would classify as belonging to the Church of Liberalism define themselves as Christian or Jewish? Jim Wallis of Sojourners and Michael Lerner of Tikkun claim to be applying authentic Christian and Jewish theology to political and social questions. Are such people not really Christians or Jews?
Yes, the percentage of liberals who define themselves as practicing Christians or Jews goes up in direct proportion to their proximity to elective office.
I cannot speak to individual cases--only God knows who is truly following Him--but claiming to be Jewish or Christian doesn't immunize one from bad ideologies. Some slaveholders claimed to be Christians, too. Howard Dean, Bill and Hillary Clinton, Teddy Kennedy and John Kerry all belong to a church that believes it's okay to stick a fork in a baby's head. To the extent one is practicing liberalism, one is not practicing the religion of our Father.
Is it possible to be a good Christian and sincerely believe, as Jim Wallis does, that a bigger welfare state and higher taxes to fund it is the best way in a complex modern society for us to fulfill our Gospel obligation to help the poor?
It's possible, but not likely. Confiscatory taxation enforced by threat of imprisonment is "stealing," a practice strongly frowned upon by our Creator. If all Christians and Jews tithed their income as the Bible commands, every poor person would be cared for, every naked person clothed and every hungry person fed. Read Marvin Olasky's "The Tragedy Of American Compassion" for further discussion of this.
These are unanswerable questions--except the latter. God did not "cause" evolution because evolution doesn't exist. Thus, for example, He also didn't "cause" unicorns. My faith and reason tell me that God created the world and I'm not particularly interested in the details. I'll find out when I meet my Maker.
Can there be such a thing as "intelligent design" without a divine designer?
Yes--you should read my book! As I describe in my book, Cambridge astrophysicists Sir Fred Hoyle and Chandra Wickramasinghe, as well as Francis Crick, winner of the Nobel Prize for his co-discovery of DNA, didn't believe in God, but realized Darwin's theory was a crock. In order to explain the vast evidence of intelligence throughout the physical world while excluding God, they concocted theories about intelligence being transported from outer space to earth on comets or spaceships. Of course, some might say that begs the question: Who's the intelligent designer in outer space? Karl Lagerfeld?
Many arguments in favor of Darwinian evolution strike me as actually being arguments against the existence of God--that is, why would a creator create tapeworms, disease viruses, and other bad things? Why do you think such things exist in a world of intelligent design?