The NY Times showed how clueless they are about Christianity and basic logic when doing a puff piece on Bart Campolo, the son of “Christian” Leftist / “red letter” Christian Tony Campolo, who was a pastor who became an atheist. One important takeaway is that at this point the atheist son is more honest and consistent — although still horribly wrong — than his father.
Not surprisingly, they never pointed to 1 John 2:19 (“They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would have continued with us. But they went out, that it might become plain that they all are not of us.”). After all, it is one of the passages pointing to how Bart never was a true Christian – even though he had a job as a pastor. That seems to be the real story here, namely that many people become pastors for false reasons.
For most of his life, Campolo had gone from success to success. His father, Tony, was one of the most important evangelical Christian preachers of the last 50 years, a prolific author and an erstwhile spiritual adviser to Bill Clinton.
That’s a key point here, as Tony has masqueraded as some sort of orthodox guy in the past. But he was a poser, and being acceptable to Clinton was evidence of that. I remember a Sunday School class that covered a “hot potato” sort of book that allegedly had a Liberal (Brian McLaren) and a Conservative (Campolo) debating issues. But it was really an extreme “Christian” Leftist debating a typical “Christian” Leftist. And Tony’s wife is a long-time pro-LGBTQX “Christian” Leftist who put a lot of pressure on Tony (according to a source of mine).
The younger Campolo had developed a reputation of his own, running successful inner-city missions in Philadelphia and Ohio and traveling widely as a guest preacher. An extreme extrovert, he was brilliant before a crowd and also at ease in private conversations, connecting with everyone from country-club suburbanites to the destitute souls he often fed in his own house. He was a role model for younger Christians looking to move beyond the culture wars over abortion or homosexuality and get back to Jesus’ original teachings. Now, lying in a hospital bed, he wasn’t sure what he believed any more.
That should be a tip-off, as true Christians know that the entire Bible contains the original teachings of Jesus, not just the “red letters” as Tony claims.
Though Marty, his wife, had long entertained doubts about Christianity, Campolo had always done his job and, in his words, “brought her back.” But the truth was, he had been breaking up with God for a long time. “When I took off on the bicycle that day,” Campolo says, “the supernaturalism in my faith was dialed so far down you could barely notice it.” It had been years since he made God or Jesus or the resurrection the centerpiece of the frequent fellowship dinners he and Marty hosted. Talk instead was always about love and friendship. In 2004, he performed a wedding for two close lesbian friends, and in 2006, he began teaching that everybody could be saved, that nobody would go to hell. To evangelicals, he already sounded more like a Unitarian Universalist than like any of them.
So we see that he was already a wolf in sheep’s clothing who had married a non-believer and was actively rebelling against God. It is actually a good thing that he renounced his “Christian” Leftism and came out as an atheist. I wish more “Christian” Leftists would do the same!
Now, after his near-death experience, his wife told him — more bluntly than she ever had — what she thought was going on. “You know,” Marty said, “I think you ought to stop being a professional Christian, since you don’t believe in God, and you don’t believe in heaven, and you don’t believe Jesus rose from the dead three days after dying — and neither do I.” He knew that she was right, and he began telling friends that he was a “post-Christian.” They treated him like an obviously gay man coming out of the closet. “People were like, ‘Yeah, we’ve known this a long time,’ ” he says. “ ‘Why did it take you so long to figure it out?’ ”
Good to see that some people can see that “Christian” Leftism is virtually indistinguishable from atheism.
For Campolo, admitting that he had totally lost his faith was oddly comforting — he could stop living a lie — but also confusing. He loved talking to people, caring for them, helping them. He loved everything about Christian ministry except the Christianity. Now that he had crossed the bridge to apostasy, he needed a new vocation.
What’s new about that? Lots of people love living off the fumes of Christianity — until they die, at least.
But as he took stock of the rest of his life, Campolo decided that there was no reason an atheist couldn’t still be a minister too. Instead of comforting people with the good news of Jesus, he’d preach secular humanism, a kinder cousin of atheism. He’d help them accept that we’re all going to die, that this life is all there is and that therefore we have to make the most of our brief, glorious time on earth. And he would spread this message using the best evangelical techniques — the same ones he had mastered as a Christian.
So he went to a different type of professional lying.
To this day, atheist gatherings remain overwhelmingly male, and public perception of the movement has been tainted by a steady drip of misogynistic episodes: harassment of female attendees at the conventions; online trolling of those who have spoken out against the sexism . . .
Glad they pointed that out!
. . . Their project is to talk about leading a good life without God.
Yeah, but they can never ground that philosophically.
This is just another reason you need to use good discernment when following these “Christian” leaders. Find a solid local church and focus on that.