by Al Benson Jr.
You can’t say that what the Unitarians were doing in this country in the early 1800s was totally unknown to people. By the early date of 1805 the Unitarians had taken over Harvard College, in what has been called “the most important intellectual event in American history–at least from the standpoint of education.”
Samuel Blumenfeld, in his book Is Public Education Necessary? has observed that: “Harvard became the Unitarian Vatican, so to speak, dispensing a religious and secular liberalism that was to have profound and enduing effects on the evolution of American cultural, moral, and social values. It was, in effect, the beginning of the long journey to the secular humanist world that now dominates American culture…It made Harvard not only the seat of liberalism, but also, by necessity, the seat of anti-Calvinism.” Blumenfeld wrote that back in the late 1970s. It’s even worse today.
Oddly enough, when it comes to apostasy, the church itself has been part of the problem. James Turner, in his book Without God Without Creed that I mentioned in an earlier article noted that some of the problems with apostasy were within the churches themselves. He observed that: “The church played a major role in softening up belief. Theologians had been too unwilling to allow God to be incomprehensible, too insistent on bringing Him within the compass of mundane human knowledge, too anxious to link belief with science, too insensitive to noncognitive ways of approaching reality–too forgetful, in short, of much of their own traditions as they tried to make God up to date…One might say that most theologians had lost faith long before any Victorian agnostics.” In other words, much of the theological leadership, most especially in the North, had come to embrace the heady doctrines of what is called : “the wisdom of the world.” They were going to “explain” God, first to themselves and then to everyone else, and what they could not explain and rationalize, to them, became the stuff of legends, superstition, mysticism, not to be trusted. If their “great minds” could not accept it then it must not have been real!
In that frame of mind they were easy candidates for Transcendentalism, which was kind of an offshoot of Unitarianism. Arthur R. Thompson in To the Victors Go the Myths and Monuments dealt with this when he wrote: “Transcendentalism was a rational, or reason-oriented philosophy seeking truth, but as a reality a transition from Christ to anti-Christ. The early influence came from Voltaire, Rousseau. and Diderot. It was then influenced by Victor Cousin, Fourier, and German Illuminism. Some of the American leaders early on, were George Ripley, an editor at the New York Tribune, William Ellery Channing, John S. Dwight, Margaret Fuller, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, Theodor Parker, henry Thoreau, Bret Harte, Walt Whitman, John Greenleaf Whittier, and William Henry Channing.” You may recognize some of these names as being people whose writings you had to read while in high school. Most of them were Unitarians. So if you were like me in high school you were force-fed literature produced by Christ-denying Unitarians. Of course no one bothered to tell you what those people really were. You were just made to read their stuff. If you wondered if this was a subtle form of propaganda you would have been right.
Mr. Thompson continued: “Early adherents of Transcendentalism included Ralph Waldo Emerson and George Bancroft. They were very close to Theodore Parker. He had a disbelief in the miracles of the New Testament and said that Jesus was not the Son of God but a great teacher. This belief has been propagated by many secret societies and occult organizations, but not all. Parker began to deny the traditional teachings of Christianity as a student of German liberal theologians such as Friedrich Schleiermacher, who had tremendous influence on Illuminists , a free lover who held the same basic belief about marriage as Robert Owen, that it was an unnatural bond; …Parker went further. He compares Scripture with the works of Newton, Descartes, the Veda and the Koran. He denied sin and the atonement. He summarized God as goodness, and ‘each man as his own Christ’. His sermons echoed the socialists of Europe in the 1840s.” Parker was both a Unitarian and an abolitionist. So apostasy in this country led people to the point where they embraced the sermons of the devotees of socialism.
Mr. Thompson also noted something I’d not heard before. He wrote: “It is interesting that the Christian socialists have used the doctrine of the second coming for their own purposes since the 1780s and a great deal of their teachings has permeated mainstream Christianity, without the Christian community realizing it, thereby neutralizing opposition to socialism.” Now that is something I have noticed over the years in evangelical churches–a soft peddling of Christian opposition to socialism and communism. A willingness to overlook what the Communists and socialists do while mildly castigating those that point out the sins of socialism and communism. Christians that attempt to point out those sins are told they are not “loving” enough to their adversaries.
So we live today with the results of the apostasy of the 1700 and 1800s and most fail to realize it, and what’s more, some get disturbed if you even mention it. They don’t want to hear it. Which all goes to show that their faith has been tampered with and many are quite comfortable with a tampered-with faith. And the socialists, communists, and Illuminists of our day love to have it so. The Christian Church is their main enemy and they have mostly neutralized it–something we all need to think about.