The New Enlightenment, Part 9: Something To Die For

Hitchens tortured I did make it to the Landmark in L.A. for the premier of Collision.  A good deal into the movie, Hitchens was asked the leading question:

 ”What are you willing to die for?”

 Hitchens needed no pause for the riposte:


As you watch Hitchens put upside down on a cross, you might want to play this music (update: the Kirker who authored this video, Daniel Foucachon, permits downloads for embedding from his site, but soon after signing up as a registered user of Pooh’s Think, he removed your ability to watch it here. But just click below and you can listen to the nice music on Daniel’s page):

New Saint Andrews Choir from Daniel Foucachon on Vimeo.

(Picture is of Hitchens discovering what it is like to be him while water boarded; although the aftermath was an important element as well.)


The conclusion of Collision is a tired Hitchens in the back seat of a not so large car casually recounting a personal conversation with the atheist pontifex Richard Dawkins. The context was this question: would Hitchens, if he could “convert”, or, ahem, “convince” every last theist of atheism, would he decide to do it? Hitchens would not.

Would Hitchens “drive religion out of the world”?

Hitchens soberly recounts his words to Dawkins: “I would not drive it out.”

Hitchens continues, “The incredulity with which he [Dawkins] looked at me [pause] stays with me to this day.”

Music hits and the screen goes black.  Not a bad ending.


Since I have made myself clear about Amy Miller’s recent hate-the-white-man silliness, I will let you know that while waiting for Collision to begin, I bought Miller’s suggested alternative: Doubt by Jennifer Michael Hecht.  You should see the picture on the back of the book guys; Hecht is hot! What an Object to write about such a fascinating, linear, logical Subject.

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  1. Michael,
    I’m not particularly keen on having my media on your site. I would be glad for you to provide a link to my website or Vimeo account if you so desire, but please don’t post my full name or media on this site.

    I don’t appreciate the goals of your site, and therefore would prefer that my media not contribute to it.



    Comment by Daniel F — November 8, 2009 @ 1:10 am


  2. Daniel,

    The reason you have offered in full the very small amount of banning, shunning, and censoring that is in your particular power to currently express is, thankfully, no longer a mystery to myself and others who update themselves over the years on your small community: you are a genuine Kirker. Traditionally, acts of shunning have worked against the prestige of the Kirk and New Saint Andrews, as I think is mildly true with regards to this public action from you. You do not want my readership to have direct access to one of the most lovely corporate expressions of life in the Kirk, i.e. the entire student body of New Saint Andrews performing? What is the rational goal-seeking objective in this?

    As for the goals of this site: this is primarily a database for my own future research in philosophy of law, the mind sciences, faith and reason, consciousness, enlightenment, interdisciplinary humanism, and investigative journalism. The association between Hitchens and Wilson has also provided me opportunity to continue my analysis for my book The Kirk: Mother of War. In doing this, I am obliged to work for better accuracy than the current media might set on record, such as my recent defense of Douglas Wilson on the Southern Poverty Law Center’s report and my expansion and corrections on Molly Worthen’s article for Christianity Today.

    Your request not to post your full name is, if I may comment here, less than intelligent. It is imbedded in the very video you have made publically available for imbedding on the internet, which is the only reason it is now here on my site.

    Michael Metzler


    Comment by metzler — November 8, 2009 @ 11:12 am


  3. Michael,

    Satan quoted scripture to Jesus.
    He didn’t do it because he loved scripture, but because he hated it.

    You are posting beautiful music from a Christian community.
    You are not doing it because you love the community, but because you hate it.

    I am very happy for people to view the video (as well as my other videos) on my site:



    Comment by Daniel F — November 8, 2009 @ 11:57 pm


  4. Daniel,

    To reply to my last post, you had to liken me to Satan. You have never met me, and you are a grown, married man, who I believe received a college degree. This is a typical form of dehumanization that must occur in order for successful shunning of the Other – those “unreasonable outgroup members that are attacking us, our beliefs, and the things we value.”

    I do not hate the Kirk. Only love cuts wounds this deep. That I was even so much as offering criticism of your church and your community – at the time our church and our community – was one of the first lies that your ‘pastor’ fed to you, using you as a human shield. After a year of abuse, shunning, ridicule, and attack on every level (including financial) and after giving the Kirk every opportunity to treat me like a human being, I gave up. It has therefore been my task to simply try to understand what happened and to tell the story. I have a cordial relationship with the president of New Saint Andrews, and it was he that informed me of the new music instructor. Your pulling this video off my site is little different from the church secretary telling my wife that she is no longer allowed to receive church emails – which is “just what happens”, my wife was told. Although, in this case, it also has something to do with me being Satan.

    Please see the next post on its way.

    Michael Metzler


    Comment by metzler — November 9, 2009 @ 11:13 am


  5. Michael,
    I’m sorry if you understood my comment as comparing you so Satan – I wasn’t. What I was doing was saying that just because something is beautiful (which you agree it is), does not mean that you are promoting it or loving it by having it on your site.

    I offered to have this conversation off-list. You wanted it public. If you really are only using this site to organize your thoughts for your book, why is it a public site?

    Again, I am very happy for people to view the videos – I would simply prefer that they be on my site.

    You mention that I am “dehumanizing you.” I’m not sure where you get that. I have been very cordial to you, and would very much enjoy your friendship if we lived in the same town.



    Comment by Daniel F — November 9, 2009 @ 11:56 am


  6. Daniel,

    The mind is a mysterious thing. I by no means wish to hold you to the confession that you likening me to Satan with full conscious intent. But I think it would be helpful – in continuing the warm friendship you here hold out to me – for you to admit that you did in fact decide to send a comment to Pooh’s Think with an opening line that drew an analogy between myself and Satan (analogical mapping can be unconscious). The meaning was clear and your analogy was a very good one. You pulled my rights to imbed your video and also requested I remove your name from this site. The reason? I provided a movie of the New Saint Andrews choir because I hate the Kirk community.

    The music of your Christian community holds an individual beauty for you because it stems from the life of the Triune God; the beauty of voices raised in the ecclesia are beautiful because they are good, and they are good because they reflect the righteousness of God. Seeing the truly beautiful displayed on my web site is naturally execrable to you, since I represent the opposite: bitterness, lies, hate, and darkness. You do not want your lovely pearl to be boasted about in a pig’s snout. There is no friendship between light and darkness, and so the only reason I would link to the New Saint Andrew’s choir singing is out of pure hate. There is no other explanation, just as, I suppose, there is no other explanation for my introduction to the Kirk at the top right of this site. You are what they call a dispostionalist, as well as, I hope, a poor judge of character.

    The analogy is therefore perfect: I am Satan; my display of your video is the quotation of the beautiful words of scripture; I hate your video as Satan hates the beautiful words of scripture (or I hate the Kirk as Satan hates Jesus); I am willing to display your video even though I hate it (or the Kirk) just as Satan was willing the quote scripture even though he hates it (or Jesus); this willingness stems from my natural desire to lead other righteous people astray as Satan was attempting to lead Jesus, the Son of God, astray. This would be consistent with your post of Friday, December 05, 2008. This post was called ‘The Pagan’s Intellect’, and contains nothing but a quotation from C.S. Lewis’ A Preface to Paradise Lost (99): “What we see in Satan is the horrible co-existence of a subtle and incessant intellectual activity with an incapacity to understand anything.” Here you seem very comfortable drawing analogy between Satan and those intelligent people with whom you disagree.

    It would be a shame for you to abandon this excellent analogy for the drab idea that I was simply not displaying your video because I love it (the reference moves from the Kirk to the movie here). There would be no need to bring forth ancient texts and mythological demons to make this alternative point. This is so drab that I do not think I could find the energy to disagree with it. Further, this would hardly be a good reason for you to ask me to remove your name and remove my right to embed this video. Finally, you now grant that I find the music beautiful; but if I find the music intrinsically beautiful, then we now have a second explanation for why I would post it, in addition to the fact that I just hate your community. The context, of course, was the movie Collision, which your community has touted, albeit a bit deceptively (e.g. Nate’s comments in Christianity Today), as Wilson and Hitchens becoming grand friends. I also made some positive remarks about Collision in this very post. Thus, this alternative to the Satan analogy is therefore boring, ineffectual, and incoherent. But this is a decision that ultimately you will have to make.

    Your question regarding my motives for authoring this site is curious. Are you attempting to find some inconsistency in my explanation to you? I could say a good deal more about the goals of this web site, but I thought that a paragraph of explanation was sufficient for now. Given that this site is clearly public, it would seem redundant to explain that my goal was “primarily a [public] database for my own future research.” I would also think it redundant to point you to the four pages listed at the top right: Introduction, The Kirk, Who I am – A Brief Bio, and Personal Narrative. In this last page I concluded with the following:

    Now that I have re-launched Pooh’s Think, Part 2, and now that our economy is crumbling as I write, I can only guess at what comes next; but I take pleasure in knowing that I will share the living of future history, whatever that history may be, with you, my reader.

    But much of this is implicit in my original explanation, since my research is in part investigative and anthropological. It is also natural for scholars to want to have their work accessible to others who might share some of the same interests. For example, the academic blog Neuroanthropology recently recommended ‘The New Enlightenment, Part 3: Mind Science and the Humanism of Christopher Hitchens, Flannery O’Conner, and C.S. Lewis’ and others have commented on the value of my site. Just today someone sent me a kind note: “Your last two posts (the one on the Bayly brothers, and the one contrasting Clement’s and Foucachon’s treatment of you) were really well done.” I am a little insulted that you do not perceive enough value in what you find here to warrant its public display. This is somewhat like being asked why I show my face in public if my hope is to be a recluse.

    I encourage you to be a regular visitor and particularly follow the excellent work at Harvard Law’s The Situationist. I extend a warm invitation. But, of course, this would be the second invitation. My first, which I extended to you around February, was met with disapproval. You wrote:

    I’m not some young gullible student who has sopped up the “moscow culture.” I am the son of a PCA minister, and have seen Christendom (particularly the reformed and evangelical flavor) in many of its forms: east, west, north, south, France, South Africa, Hungary, and Quebec. etc. I grew up in France as an MTW missionary with the PCA. This is not to say “I know better” but rather to say “I know more than just Moscow.” I could just as easily fall into sin or heresy as any Christian, but it wouldn’t be completely blind.

    You seem shy here about the fact that you are at least “some young student who has sopped up the ‘moscow culture’.” This fact is disguised by the insertion of ‘gullible’ into the proposition you deny. Correct me if I am wrong, but as I understand it, you were just entering college when you moved to North Idaho – a fairly young mammal at the time, at least for our species. Molly Worthen has already documented the reason why your family was attracted to the particular frozen mud pit you have found yourself in:

    N.S.A. education impressed her French brother-in-law, who “is an extremely cultured, educated man who worked in government and ate with the shah. He’s not of the same [religious] persuasion as us, but he looks at what they’re studying, and he says, This is true education.”

    Your uncle ate with the shah, and so I am not one to suggest what sorts of things you might still be “blind” to. Although I would want to remind you that blindness and arrogance are often two peas found in the same cozy pod. With that said, I did a little research on you, and from what I can tell, you are a peace-loving kind of guy. However, the situation you are in is more powerful than your natural disposition and your connections to French government, which brings me to the point about dehumanizing.

    I appreciate your kind offer of friendship, but I do not share your optimism. We did live in the same town three years ago and you had every reason not to befriend me. It is slightly possible that this is why you chose not to. In any case, it is good that you were not my friend – for your sake. You were a beginning student at New Saint Andrews, and Professor Merkle informed me over a beer at the Kirk pub that “all” the students at New Saint Andrews “knew” that I was “loosing it”, i.e. going crazy in a bad sort of way. You were one of those students, and even if Merkle misrepresented you in saying this, it is clear what Merkle would have expected from you as a young student at New Saint Andrews.

    Another one of your professors, Dr. Stokes (fresh out of the doctoral program of Notre Dame), went so low as to shun my young daughter; his daughter, who my daughter adored, was not even allowed to associate with my daughter (age 7 I believe). Please also consider your history professor and dean Mr. Schlect. Mr. Schlect, the Kirk’s resident expert on ecclesiastical justice, agreed to help me formulate charges against Douglas Wilson, but at the last moment Mr. Schlect confessed that he had for a number of years found me to be “creepy”. Two other instructors of yours where long term friends of mine: Jonathon McIntosh and Jason Grieser. Both McIntosh and Grieser, while politicking for their faculty positions they now enjoy, sent a comment to my newly born blog that was filled with nothing but insulting ridicule. Their ridicule likely provided the idea for Credenda Agenda’s later response to me: the front cover was a picture of a dirty, commercial toilet stall, and the issue’s title was ‘Stinkers in the Church.’

    And there is always the right hand man, Douglas Jones, co-founder of New Saint Andrews. Jones graciously informed me two weeks after I launched Pooh’s Think, Part 1 – by which time I had done nothing beyond critiquing Wilson’s lashing of Brian McClaren – that Nate Wilson had nothing to apologize for, that the elders had determined they had nothing to hear from me, and that if I did not forget everything and go on quietly there would “be a nasty fight” – which Jones really did not want to see given his affection for me. Yes, Nate Wilson is yet another instructor of yours at New Saint Andrews. Well before Douglas Wilson eternally banned me from his blog, Nate decided to hop into the comment section and inform his father’s expansive readership – with his inside information as fellow Kirker, son of my pastor, and brother in law to my employee – that I was just a poseur, attempting to look smart and scholarly, when in fact I was not. Nate went on and alleged that I had attempted to earn an M.A. degree at two separate times and failed each time (when Kirker’s don’t have an argument, they just pick up the nearest stick). In context, this was a lie; it was based on information most Kirkers did not even know and inconsistent with what I personally informed Nate about while a dinner guest in his father’s home. This is what, Doug Jones informed me, required no apology.

    At the time of this public slander and ridicule from Nate I was a faithful member of the Kirk, a ministerial student under Wilson and Mike Lawyer, a regular contributor to Credenda Agenda, a blameless husband and father of four, and a reputable businessman in the local community. Two months later I was a despised, ridiculed Other who new on-lookers would have never guessed once belonged to the Kirk.

    Douglas Wilson was also your instructor at New Saint Andrews and he thought it important to inform the Kirk that I suffered from Father Hunger, could not read a book, was spiritually imploding, and all around loosing it. The Southern Poverty Law Center reported Wilson’s public denouncement of me, his former student and parishioner, as “a sucking chest wound.” Wilson offered encouragement to another mentally unstable Kirker who threatened to file a law suit against me, called one of my employees while on the job to investigate a complaint about me from another Kirker, and publicly accused me to be a liar on his blog based on nothing but an irrelevant statement taken out of context from a statement that one of his political buddies had censored from the internet. At all times, Wilson encouraged the growing violence to me while not once seeking to mitigate cruel action from his parishioners. The watching world already knows much of this, which is why the next Kirk plan has been to put on a gentle Jesus smile and pretend to actually be nice (Although, it appears that Wilson, hungry for some more civilization eroding attention, is now setting himself up to be America’s leading fanatical fundamentalist non-revolutionary revolutionary).

    My friend from Florida moved to Moscow because of my encouragement and was in both of my weddings – in the Kirk wedding he was my best man. But after Pooh’s Think Part 1, and after I had moved to San Diego, I was not even informed of his wedding.

    In sum, given the nature of the situation, I do not think we would have been close friends. Although, I do appreciate your expression of affection here. If I did move back to Moscow and we became friends, would you then be fine if I typed your name on my personal blog?

    Michael Metzler


    Comment by metzler — November 9, 2009 @ 9:03 pm


  7. Michael, I had never heard someone describe you as “creepy,” until you mentioned it here, but I must say that, though you flatter me, for my being such a “young mammal,” you sure did your research, and I just might find that a tad creepy.


    Comment by Daniel F — November 9, 2009 @ 10:28 pm


  8. Daniel,

    1) Do you deny being a young mammal? This suggestion was formally offered once at the Monkey Trial. Given yet another one of your professors, the Creation ‘scientist’ Dr. Gordon, you might be a bit blinded here as well.

    2) You misrepresent my comment about doing research. You apparently need to identify with your powerful local situation, but you needed to offer deceit in order to do it. My statement again: “With that said, I did a little research on you, and from what I can tell, you are a peace-loving kind of guy.” The only research I did in response to your shunning of me was about 20 minutes on Google, so that I could conclude that “you are a peace-loving kind of guy.” During that quick scan, I found the quote from C.S Lewis. What is apparently ‘creepy’ for you is that I know more about your community and your situation than you do – but this is natural, since I was more ingrained in that community and for much longer than you.

    3) I appreciate your words about my reputation in Moscow. Indeed, I was not known as being creepy, until your professor Chris Schlect decided he had found me – one of his former students at New Saint Andrews – to have been creepy for a number of years. At least, this is what Schlect decided to say once the time had come to help me formulate formal charges against Douglas Wilson.



    Comment by metzler — November 10, 2009 @ 10:58 am


  9. On the topic of the instructors of New Saint Andrews, President Dr. Roy Atwood publically states the following. I found it interesting that he only gives the specific names of Gordon Wilson, John Schwant, and Peter Leithart; it is only these three instructors, as well as Roy Atwood himself, that escaped my brief summary above about my relations with New Saint faculty (and soon to be faculty) during my journalism of Pooh’s Think, Part 1:

    Rediscover Our Classical Christian Heritage
    In an age when college choice often boils down to majors and money, the words of Jesus should awaken all college-bound Christians and their families from their academic slumbers: “student, when he is mature, will be like his teacher” (Luke 6:40). Contrary to the dominant collegiate mythology, majors and career choices come and go. Grand halls and ivied walls make no promises. High rankings and venerable traditions guarantee nothing. The most important question Christians must ask when considering college, according to Jesus, is, “Who will be my teachers?”

    Our Professors are the College
    New Saint Andrews believes that its professors are the College. That ’s true of our graduate programs as well as our undergraduate level. Because our teachers are the ones who will shape the hearts, minds, and lives of our students, nothing is more important than ensuring the unimpeachable character and quality of our professors. We limit enrollment because we limit the size of our faculty. Genuine accountability means, at minimum, that I, as the College’s president, must be able to say before God and our students that I know my colleagues, their spouses and children, their character and manner of life. I know their dedication to Christ, their passion for teaching, and their love of wisdom, beauty, and virtue–and most importantly, their students. To be able to say that honestly, the faculty must be of a size that I can know personally and deeply. And knowing them that well, allows me to evaluate accurately their academic excellence, spiritual faithfulness, and personal integrity. And I can honestly say that I want my own children and grandchildren, when mature, to be like these teachers. True education is never impersonal. New Saint Andrews students don’t just study theology, but Peter Leithart. They don’t just take biology, but Gordon Wilson. They don’t just learn Greek, but John Schwandt. And it’s not just about what they say or do in the classroom, but it’s seeing up-close and personally how they nurture their spouses and children, how they worship God and
    love their neighbors, how they see the world with Trinitarian eyes, and how they model Christ in every thing they do every day. Everything else is secondary or dross.

    Learning to be Truly Human
    The relationship between teacher and student is important biblically speaking because it is one of the glorious ways we reflect the Triune character of our Creator. The joyful, ceaselessly creative unity-in-diversity of the Father, S on and Holy Spirit is not only reflected in creation and revealed in the mutual love and sacrifice found in the church and marriage (Eph. 5), but also in the nurturing of our children (Eph. 6:4). The ways we rear our children, including how we educate them, are actions done as unto the Lord Himself. As Jesus said, “Truly, …as you did to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me” (Matt. 2 5:40). God’s covenant offspring, our children, are precious because “to such belong the kingdom of heaven” (Matt. 19:14 ). From the first universities in the Middle Ages, Christian higher education’s primary purpose has been largely the same as education in the younger years: to carefully guide the next generation, our students, through the paideia of the Lord to Christian maturity and adulthood by illuminating God’s Triune character through His works of truth, beauty, and goodness across the ages. Educators did not train their students merely to do tasks, but educated them to be someone: a man or woman of unimpeachable Christian character equipped for every good work (Eph. 2 :10), prepared in the art of living well “before the Lord in His inhabited world” (Prov. 8). Higher education, then, like all teaching, is not a “data dump” from one brain to another or a transfer of job skills from one worker to the next. Rather, it is an enculturation into what it means to be truly human. To study in the classical Christian liberal arts tradition is to rediscover our cultural heritage, to hear anew the historical, philosophical, theological, scientific and poetic voices that, in God’s kind providence, framed the great conversations and imaginative worlds explored throughout the ages we are now privileged to join.

    An Invitation
    “A student, when he is mature, will be like his teacher.” Jesus’s words clash with the many impersonal approaches in higher education today. But they resonate well with the personal pedagogy of the classical Christian tradition followed at New Saint Andrews. Our College is our teachers and we are dedicated to nurturing our students’ souls, intellects and imaginations in the endless Trinitarian adventure. Come join us on this remarkable personal journey.

    Been there. Done that. No thanks!


    Comment by metzler — November 14, 2009 @ 8:43 pm


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