Now, Religion in the News, a report and comment on religious trends and events being covered by the media. This item is from the Orange County California Register under the headline: “No Pews, No Crucifix, No Icons”. Chapman University’s future chapel is innovative, not for what it will have, but for what it won’t. The school’s planned Wallace All Faiths Chapel, represents the latest spiritual trend. Genuinely interfaith structures that reflect growing religious diversity nationwide. During a preconstruction ceremony about a dozen groups gathered at the end of Sycamore Avenue off Glassel Street to pray for the chapel. Some read scriptures from the Bible, Torah, Qur’an, and Hindu texts. Others gave voice to religious songs and still others burned incense, performed Wiccan rituals or beat drums during an American Indian dance. Their invocations laid the bedrock for a house of worship that every faith tradition can call it’s own. Interdenominational churches are increasingly part of the public landscape and most colleges nationwide have long owned interfaith chapels. However, both formats have traditionally retained Christian features. Chapman’s five million dollar chapel will depart from that tradition.
“The students, faculty, trustees and community members on our planning committees emphasized neutral functionality,” said Ronald Lynn Farmer, a religion professor and Chapman’s first dean of the chapel. “This layout will allow Buddhists to meditate on their cushions and Muslims to spread out their prayer rugs.”
In the University’s early years nearly every Chapman student was white and Christian. In fact, the institution is affiliated with First Christian Church Disciples of Christ a progressive denomination. Today, the school is home to a religious kaleidoscope.
“The first All Faiths worship during orientation in August convinced me that we could do more than dialogue,” said sophomore Leslie Elliott, student director of spiritual programming. “People were so excited about learning from their peers. That day was the first time I saw clearly the many faces of God.”
In a TBC update of the Orange County Register story, I recently spoke with Ronald Farmer. He stated that the chapel is still under construction, but Chapman’s religious program is in full operation using temporary facilities. He informed me that the school has been recognized by the John Templeton Foundation for its accomplishments in spiritual growth.
Tom: You know Dave, it seems to me that this institution has not only taken leave of its Christian origins, but its taken leave of its senses as well. I mean how do they get past the fact that many of the religions they want to feature are not only different, they clearly reject each other’s foundational beliefs? I mean for example, Judaism is monotheistic, declaring that there is only one God who is personal and transcendent. That is separate from His creation. Whereas, Hinduism is pantheistic, claiming that God is an impersonal force and is in everything. Of course both views can be rejected, but how can they both be considered true?
Dave: Well they can. It goes beyond that. Buddhism is basically atheistic. Buddha never talked about God. You see Paul said to Timothy the time would come when they would not endure sound doctrine. It’s popular today to say I’m spiritual, but I’m not religious, because religion has some kind of guide lines. It’s a belief system. And as you’re pointing out, these various religions have contradictory belief systems. So they can’t possibly work in harmony with one another. So what you have to do is throw it out. Well it doesn’t really matter. What does it matter whether you say God is everything or God is nothing, or God is personal or in the Qur’an God is unknowable, but the God of the Bible wants you to know Him. Well it doesn’t really matter, there’s no such thing as truth any more, doctrine is meaningless. And then Paul said they will be turned to myths and that’s the big thing today. The meaning is in the myth. And you pick any meaning you want.
Tom, I’m sorry, but I don’t have much patience for that. It just seems to me to be as you’ve said, they’ve taken leave of their senses. There’s no way that you can reconcile this. In order for these people to supposedly get along together and worship together, they just have to abandon any thought of meaning, any truth, any doctrine to their beliefs.
Now I noticed that it also said that this Christian church that is behind Chapman College is progressive. Again, that’s contrary to the Bible. Human thought may progress, science may progress, but God doesn’t progress. The gospel doesn’t progress. The Bible says that Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today and forever and that we are to earnestly contend for the faith. THE faith once for all delivered to the saints. So the Bible doesn’t change, truth doesn’t change, the gospel doesn’t change, Jesus Christ doesn’t change, you couldn’t possibly associate this with Christianity in any form whatsoever. In fact, the God of the Bible says that all the other gods are false.
Tom: Right. Actually in another program we talked about the delusion of in academia and higher education of evolution. And we quoted one evolutionist that said this is really metaphysics.
My point here is that if higher education is moving into myth and delusion and calling it science, now we have the religious side of higher education steeped in delusion.
Dave: Going right along with it.
Dave: Yeah. Well it’s tragic because this is the atmosphere today. Ecumenism. And it doesn’t really matter what you believe, let’s just love one another and we’ll get along. We’ll pretend that we’re all somehow in contact with some power, some God out there, but it doesn’t really matter what it is.
Look, the God of the Bible is not going to tolerate that kind of nonsense. The true God who created this universe is a personal being. Just to say that it doesn’t matter whether he’s monkey or an eel, or whether he’s nothing. I mean you wouldn’t tolerate that when it comes to human beings and we’ve got people here who if you insult their race they get very upset! But they think that God is not going to be upset when you attribute all kinds of folly to him and you’re not willing to accept him for who he is. It doesn’t make sense and actually I think the judgment of God is going to have to come upon this world because of this sort of thing. But tragically, these are the leaders in academia, in the church, in religion, and our young people are looking up to them for leadership and are being deceived by them and that’s what really concerns me and one of the reasons we would have a program like this.