by Al Benson Jr.
You can not say what the Unitarians were doing was totally unknown to people. By 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 enduring 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 view that now dominates American culture...It made Harvard not only the seat of liberalism but also, by nesessity, the seat of anti-Calvinism."
In my own booklet "The Original Gurus Of The Public School Movement" published in 1999, I noted that: "Many writers in both this century and the last have sought to protray early New England Calvinism as something about two steps removed from an ond Frankenstein movie. They seem to go out of their way to picture Calvinism, or Reformed Christianity, and its adherents as mean-spirited, vicious, lacking in compassion, and the list goes on. Undoubtedly there may have been Calvinists like this, just as there have been such people in all doctrinal persuastions under Heaven. Was there never a vicious or mean-spirited Unitarian or Arminian? Are all liberal theologians fuzzy and warm-hearted? Hardly! Every religious group has members that are less than happy or easy to get along with. There seems to have been, for the past 150 years or so, an over-riding effort to dwell on the 'sins' of Calvinism, while conveniently overlooking those same shortcomings in other groups." Such an attitude is one of the fruits of apostasy.
Turner, in "Without God, Without Creed" noted that some of the problems were within the churches themselves. He stated 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 the rest of the population, completely in terms of human understanding. And what could not be totally understood and rationalized by them became, to them, superstition, mysticism, the stuff of legends, not to be trusted, because if their "great minds" could not comprehend it and accept it, then it must not have been real.
The Apostle Paul, in his First Epistle to the Corinthians (1:20) asked "Where is the wise? where is the disputer of this world? hath not God made foolish the wisdom of this world." Paul went on to state that the world, by wisdom, did not know God and that therefore it pleased God by "the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe," But, the Northern theological elite, whose grandparents had once believed in the "foolishness of preaching" for salvation no longer believed. They had Holy Scripture for their guide and then apostatized and sought a more "relevant" faith. Pastor Steve Wilkins of Monroe, Louisiana has said that "The apostate is the chief of fools because he ceases to fear the Lord. God said this is what happened to Israel (Jeremiah 2:19).
To be continued.