Clearly, I'm not one to unravel the philosophical strings of the "all that is, is God's plan" idea. But even on a cursory level, it creates some weird contradictions and strange logical alleyways. Kuo, mockingly, says
Well... what about those contingencies? Does Kuo think they are literally impossible? Obviously not. And yet he believes that whatever happens is God's will. So if these things happened, they would have to be God's will, and yet Kuo mocks the idea of them being God's will. It's true, these things have not happened. But they could, and the fact that we might find them unlikely seems a very strange way to justify the belief that they couldn't be God's will. Certainly, there must be things in the world that Kuo believes are wrong, things that he would change if he could. Kuo, as I understand it, is a firm believer in the Christian duty of charity, and to his credit is someone who has fought hard to bring the fight against poverty into conservative respectability. So presumably, even though it is God's will for there to be poverty now, or any other situation Kuo finds undesirable, Kuo doesn't find the fact that these situations are the way they are now proof that the idea that they could be different ridiculous. (Follow that tortured string of logic?)
I imagine I know what an evangelical Christian would say-- the things that are now true are God's will to be true now, but can be changed, and when the change comes it will be God's will that they be changed. But that still leaves the question, why does Kuo find the notion of Sharia law in America so self-evidently crazy? Is it the degree of undesirability? If the fact that something is really undesirable makes it very unlikely that it would be God's will, there are many historical events that render this reading disturbing. I say this with no desire to ridicule whatsoever, but I don't get it.
More importantly, and sadder still, is the fact that Kuo correctly says that the second commandment is to love one's neighbor as himself, but he doesn't seem to question whether, in fact, invading Iraq and directly causing the killing and exile of a significant fraction of the country's citizenry might be at odds with that second commandment.
I don't say this specifically in regards to David Kuo. But religion teaches me again and again that people can use anything to justify anything. When a guy like Joel Osteen preaches to thousands that Jesus wants them to be rich, and they believe him, it strains credulity. This isn't a question of some hazy interpretation of obscure scripture but a flat contradiction of what Jesus said again and again and again. I mean you could make the argument that, after the central notion of the divinity of God/belief in Christ=afterlife, and the need to give charitably, the wickedness of personal wealth was Jesus's most obvious and repeated position. And yet Osteen and TJ Jakes and other charlatans can directly contradict these central tenets and never really get called on it.
Jesus wasn't a liberal. He was a radical, somewhere between a socialist and a anarchist. He didn't just say to give to the poor. He said to give more than you're asked to, to give everything and expect nothing in return, to give more that you're capable of. He didn't just preach personal nonviolence. He preached nonviolence to the point of total passivity, to abandon the notion of self-defense, to aid the person who is attacking you-- turning the other cheek doesn't just mean ignoring and forgiving the slap, it means presenting the other cheek to be slapped as well, to give to the other even at the point when they least deserve it. Jesus didn't just say not to make work the only or central task of life, he said to abandon work as it was conventionally though of, to consider toil in the ordinary sense a sin, to be like the lilies of the field and neither reap nor sow.
This is probably unfair, but I often feel like many Christians believe in the divinity of Jesus but not the philosophy, whereas I believe in the philosophy but not the divinity. I don't follow all of Jesus's teachings, because no one could, or at least, I never could. But I respect, precisely for their radicalism, and precisely because they are so uncompromising. The project is what's important, and the bland stew that's made of it by too many Christians rob the religion of its poignance. I don't believe in walking on water or coming back from the dead or exorcising ghosts from pigs, but I believe in the idea of ideologies born out of impossible demands and contradictions. And I find very little of that in contemporary Christianity, evangelical or otherwise.