Last week Mars Hill Church in Seattle hosted a Nightline Faceoff where four panelists (philosopher Deepak Chopra & Bishop Carlton Pearson against Pastor Mark Driscoll & Annie Lobert, founder of the Christian ministry “Hookers for Jesus” ). You can see the debate here.
Considering the variety of viewpoints, it was surprising how much progress was made in the discussion. Pearson is a liberal bishop still in the ministry but rethinking the Christian message now that he is decidedly against the existence of Satan. Deepak Chopra is a new age philosopher essentially embracing the idea that everything is one, good and evil are both parts of us existing in the soul where we must understand it and move on. Driscoll and Lobert are Christians who hold to the separation between creator and creation, believing that Adam and Eve sinned through the influence of Satan though all people are responsible for their own sinful actions.
The discussion was well moderated (and finally edited) by Nightline. This is a good example of what it’s like to watch postmoderns try to stand up for what they believe, insist that religion is primitive and evolution contradicts biblical conviction, and yet still say that something can be true in someone’s experience and ought not to be contradicted. Apparently making the Oprah book club doesn’t guarantee you can think straight. This schizophrenia of insisting on being right and saying there is no one path came out wonderfully when an audience member rephrased something that Chopra or Pearson had said: “You said all belief is a cover up for insecurity: do you believe that?” I think Chopra and Pearson answer “Yes” without irony. All beliefs except theirs.
Driscoll does a good job of pointing out the pretensiousness of labeling some beliefs primitive while holding to a higher consciousness. Deepak would like to be detached and sagely sure of himself, but his inability to account for evil (and therefore disprove Satan) and the faux-humility of his way of thinking come out clear. Before hearing this, my hunch was that with so many people and not much time, the argument wouldn’t go anywhere or at least not far enough to convince anyone who wasn’t convinced already. But I’m encouraged. There are a couple of revealing moments that really ought to shake any new ager or moral relativist. Most importantly, the name and work of Jesus are exalted.