While the whole world was glued to James Comey’s testimony, Senator Bernie Sanders was grilling Mr. Russell Vought, a Wheaton alumnus and President Trump’s pick for deputy director of the Office of Management and Budget, for his belief that Muslims “do not know God” and “because they have rejected Jesus Christ, His Son…they stand condemned.” Bernie gave a thumbs down to his confirmation, arguing that Mr. Vought’s belief made him an Islamophobe. It is an irrational connection which exposed the liberal hypocrisy, and it’s unavoidable self-contradiction: their tolerance’s intolerance.
Sander’s attack shows a lack of historical nuance and self-awareness. I say this with sorrow because I voted for Sanders over Hillary, and if he was the Democratic candidate, I would have voted him and not Jill Stein, a mere statement vote against Trump. This feels like correcting a generous uncle blind about his own prejudices, his ignorance is part of the charm, but only to an extent.
At first, Mr. Vought’s belief of Christ’s exclusivity is not the only idea in town. Though Evangelicals claim it as the orthodox belief, Evangelicals and secularists forget that the Church is older than the Evangelical movement, i.e., they are not the best representative of the orthodox Christian belief no matter the size of their voting bloc. Right from the start, Christians wrestled with the fate of those who did not know Christ, whether they were Old Testament patriarchs or Greek pagans. How could Abraham burn in hell when he was the progenitor of Christ? And Socrates calmly gulped poison and sacrificed his life over either compromising his ideals or fleeing judgment, much like how Christ gave himself to be executed when he could have riled the zealots or hid out in Galilee.
The uniqueness of Christ didn’t logically lead to damnation of those who never got baptized in Christ’s name. In the letter to the Corinthians, you hear of people getting baptized for their ancestors. Honest theologians left it a mystery, saying yes, one is saved by Christ alone, and yes, one doesn’t know what happens to those who do not know Christ, and yes, that judgment belongs to Christ alone. Not only salvation but judgment belongs to Christ alone. In the “Divine Comedy,” Dante travels through the typical medieval typology of judgment, the three hierarchical layers: hell, purgatory, and heaven. There is lot more Christians in the sulfuric lake than pagans in Dante’s Hell; and his tour guide justifying God’s perfect judgment is nonother than Virgil, a pagan author. Both Vought and Sanders could use historical lessons and learn to embrace nuances.
Secondly, we are totally missing the tone of Christ’s claim to exclusivity. For before Christ…