First Church of the Radical Savior | Letters | Chicago Reader

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First Church of the Radical Savior

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To the editors:

Pat Robertson reads his Bible and finds justification for dislike of homosexuals, liberals, evolution and sex. Professor Thomas Sheehan reads his and finds the bulletin board at the Guild bookstore [April 21]. Either way you slice it, it's baloney.

Robert McClory's worshipful interview with Professor Sheehan seems to be a classic case of misplaced religious longings, a common failing among the petition-signing left. Revealed religion is obviously a tool of the ruling class, an agent of oppression, racism, insurance redlining and any number of fascist ills. The first thing to do then, should be to sign on with the atheists. However, deep in the hearts of many people, particularly those not used to critical thought, is the desire to believe, to have a personal relationship with a big, warm fuzzy father (or mother) figure that loves you no matter how many times you forget to do your homework. Marxism, a certified Christian heresy, fills that role for many. However, the stern demands of this church (you actually have to out sometimes and shoot somebody!) are a little much. What is the poor leftist to do? Why, come on over to Professor Sheehan's first church of the radical Jesus!

The religion espoused by the professor has it all. No sin, no ritual, except candlelight vigils held in Sandinista bunkers, no collections other than the occasional donation to the fund in solidarity with swarthy men in khaki shirts; and best of all, you never have to have another independent thought! Whatever this week's party line is turns out to be the will of Jehovah. One is eventually even promised an earthly paradise of liberation theology, something like Pol Pot's Cambodia with guitar masses on Sunday.

Professor Sheehan and his colleagues in theology have discovered, (about 100 years after Robert Ingersoll, the great infidel did) that most of the New Testament is made up. Have they made the next logical step and taken up honest trades, like Jiffy Lube attendants? No, they instead have gone to work on some theology that has no factual basis but is entirely dependent on faith, which can be defined as reliance on unprovable postulates. Professor Sheehan quotes a theologian as saying that one can find faith in the inner light within one's heart. I submit that you might do better by taking a Rolaid. At least the fundamentalists have consistency to their belief. If the miracles of the New Testament did not exist, what is the point of being a Christian? The liberal theologians have explained everything in the Bible away, but have faltered on the last step of the ladder, the step into human independence and reason. Maintaining a belief in God and Jesus at this late date is not a sign of faith, but of cowardice.

If Professor Sheehan had come from a state of political indifference into his current treacly socialism through his studies, one might at least respect the earnestness of his search. He has however, worked his way through philosophy, history and theology only to arrive where he was in 1968, a member of the great international leftist anthill. I see little difference between his studies and those of some West Virginia snake cultist finding proof in the Book of Revelations that God is eternally opposed to chain stores and teaching women to read. He found exactly what he was looking for, no more, no less.

Michael P. Walsh

N. Sheridan

PS: Did he really name his son after Daniel Ortega?

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