All the Difference in the World

If anyone had a reason to be politically correct it was the deported and exiled Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah. But, confronted not with a raging Twitter feed or a riotous SJW protest but with life or death choices, they acted in full confidence in who they were.

They were the chosen people of God. They knew what they were about even when their names were changed to Babylonian names. Chosen once again out of the Jewish exiles because of their unique qualities, these four were to become advisors to Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon. It was during the start of their three-year training that Daniel balked at eating the royal food.

The food may have been offered to idols. Eating the food may have gone against their ritual purity. Most likely, saying no to the food after being given Babylonian names would have been a political statement: “We will not let you redefine us as Babylonians”.

 But Daniel resolved not to defile himself with the royal food and wine, and he asked the chief official for permission not to defile himself this way.

Daniel then said to the guard whom the chief official had appointed over Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah, “Please test your servants for ten days: Give us nothing but vegetables to eat and water to drink.  Then compare our appearance with that of the young men who eat the royal food and treat your servants in accordance with what you see.”  So he agreed to this and tested them for ten days. – Daniel chapter one

 

You know the story. Though it would have been politically correct to eat the King’s food, Daniel and the others knew that if you drink the King’s wine, you sing the King’s songs. They instead chose to be faithful to God even in this small matter. So, God gave them greater things to be faithful in. One of those greater things was a smelting furnace.

King Nebuchadnezzar made an image of gold, sixty cubits high and six cubits wide, and set it up on the plain of Dura in the province of Babylon. …the herald loudly proclaimed, “Nations and peoples of every language, this is what you are commanded to do:  As soon as you hear the sound of the horn, flute, zither, lyre, harp, pipe and all kinds of music, you must fall down and worship the image of gold that King Nebuchadnezzar has set up.  Whoever does not fall down and worship will immediately be thrown into a blazing furnace.” …you must fall down and worship the image of gold that King Nebuchadnezzar has set up.

But…there are some Jews whom you have set over the affairs of the province of Babylon—Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego—who pay no attention to you, Your Majesty. They neither serve your gods nor worship the image of gold you have set up.” Daniel chapter three

 

Though bowing to the image would have been politically correct, Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego would have nothing to do with worshiping anything other than the one true God. So, because of the decree, they were thrown into a seven-times stoked blazing furnace. This furnace is likely the oven where metals were refined to make idols like the “image of gold, sixty cubits high and six cubits wide, and set it up on the plain of Dura in the province of Babylon.” But that kind of heat is nothing to the Creator of the Big Bang, especially with regard to his faithful ones. In the heat of the moment, the true God was revealed:

Then King Nebuchadnezzar leaped to his feet in amazement and asked his advisers, “Weren’t there three men that we tied up and threw into the fire?”

They replied, “Certainly, Your Majesty.”

He said, “Look! I see four men walking around in the fire, unbound and unharmed, and the fourth looks like a son of the gods.” Daniel chapter three

 

 

In Daniel chapter six we read that Daniel, a newly appointed satrap (basically, an overseer of a district) was the focus of the other satrap’s and their social justice jealousy. The satraps didn’t like it that Daniel had qualities and favor they didn’t possess. So, they devised a devilish edict formulated to depose Daniel from King Darius’ good pleasure: “the decree that anyone who prays to any god or human being during the next thirty days, except to you, Your Majesty, shall be thrown into the lions’ den.”

You know the story. Being thrown into the lion’s den is something Daniel’s Creator God could also handle. The Lord God shut the lions’ mouths and the mouths of the ends-justifying-the-means SJWs.

By now you should be able to glimpse that the book of Daniel provides us with, among its telescoped history, its dreams and interpretations, an understanding of how God’s people are to live in this world and under its rulers. God’s chosen appear different, peculiar, to those onlookers standing outside the furnace and outside our place of prayer and outside the lion’s den. The reason the world does not know them is that it does not know the One True God.

 

 

In the Apostle Paul’s second letter to the Corinthian church (chapter 6), Paul pleads with the readers to see what he and others have suffered to bring them the good news of Jesus Christ. He lists the adversities they encountered. He tells them that the hardships and their Christian character throughout are confirmed “by speaking the truth, by God’s power”.

The Corinthians Christians certainly may have presumed that because Paul and the others faced so many adversities and challenges, that they could off in their messaging. Paul wanted them to know that their messaging, though it kicked against the goads of the Roman empire (“Jesus is Lord”) and popular opinion (“food for the stomach, the stomach for food”), was not an attempt at politically correct virtue signaling. The message cost him and others dearly. The grace of his Lord cost him the cross. At the beginning of chapter six Paul appeals to the Corinthians saying, “when you accept God’s grace, don’t let it go to waste! Paul was not talking about cheap grace. Dietrich Bonhoeffer would later sum up cheap grace:

Cheap grace is the grace we bestow on ourselves. Cheap grace is the preaching of forgiveness without requiring repentance, baptism without church discipline, Communion without confession…Cheap grace is grace without discipleship, grace without the cross, grace without Jesus Christ, living and incarnate.

 

 

Unlike many church leaders today, Paul, Apostle and pastor, made sure his message and his character were one and the same. Otherwise, the Gospel would be compromised. Again, Corinthians six:

We put no obstacles in anybody’s way, so that nobody will say abusive things about our ministry. …

We have been wide open in our speaking to you, my dear Corinthians! Our heart has been open wide! There are no restrictions at our end…

Don’t be drawn into partnerships with unbelievers. What kind of sharing can there be, after all, between justice and lawlessness? What kind of partnership can there be between light and darkness? What kind of harmony can the Messiah have with Beliar? What has a believer in common with an unbeliever? What kind of agreement can there be between God’s temple and idols? We are the temple of the living God, you see, just as God said:

I will live among them and walk about them;

I will be their God, and they will be my people.

So come out from the midst of them,

And separate yourselves, says the Lord:

No unclean thing must you touch.

Then I will receive you gladly,

And I will be to you as a father,

And you will be to me as sons and daughters,

Says the Lord, the Almighty.

 

 

So, my beloved people, with promises like these, let’s make ourselves clean from everything that defiles us, outside and inside, and let’s become completely holy in the fear of God. (2 Corinthians 6: 1-7-1)

 

Reading this passage, do you think that Paul was talking about how the church should become acculturated to better evangelize? Do you think Paul was talking about the church assimilating the Post-modern New Age Epicurean culture surrounding it?  Do you think Paul was talking here was about being inclusive? About diversity? About unleashing one’s feelings as the criteria for love?

The words Paul wrote to the Corinthian church came from the narrative God gave to his people long ago – to be a people unto himself. This is the same narrative that Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah understood and honored. In the passage Paul references the prophet Isaiah. His language is priestly temple language. Holiness is to be narrative of God’s people. Holiness separates them from an ego-centric life full of earthly desires to be a nation for God. Holiness is an upward and outward movement of the soul towards the Father, whereas narcissism, promoted in the world since the beginning of our time, is just the opposite, focusing the soul inward and downward towards the baser elements.

The Apostle Peter wrote in the same fashion (2:9-10):

But you are a “chosen race; a royal priesthood”; a holy nation; a people for God’s possession. Your purpose is to announce the virtuous deeds of the one who called you out of darkness into his amazing light. Once you were “no people; now you are “god’s people.” Once you had not received mercy; now you have received mercy.

 

 

 

There are several abhorrent notions going around in churches that rubber stamp Jesus on their narratives: all religions seek the same God and are equal in that respect; Jesus talked about loving your neighbor, so advocating for a social gospel akin to Marxism is acceptable to God; Jesus talked about loving your neighbor and not judging so you must love sinners and accept their values; America is a Christian nation; our priority as Christians is to make a just and fair world; illegal immigration is an acceptable form of lawlessness; homosexuality is just another version of human sexuality. Sex/gender are not binary; prayer doesn’t feed the thousands, Progressivism’s social gospel does; prayer is a nice sentiment but action and advocacy move mountains; democracy is the best and desired form of government for everyone; revealed values trump revealed truth, as values are based one’s sincere feelings.

That is the short list.

 

As a teenager I read Dr. Luke’s historical account The Acts of the Apostles. As I read, I encountered a living and vibrant church whose members were not politically motivated and who demanded nothing of the Roman empire other than for it to honor its laws and to maintain order. The church was the church and the state was the state. The early church was not democratic. Leaders were Godly men. Prayer, prayer, prayer, reading Scripture, prayer, the words of the Apostles, preparing for the return of the Lord, and, prayer, was the culture for the early church.

The early church did not push for Constantinianism. The church knew that governments were in place, by God’s will, to provide order. They prayed for those in authority. They had their own political reality.

The early Christians only political motivation, their only ideology came down to a personal statement: “Jesus is Lord”. Everything and everyone fell underneath his jurisdiction, since all things were created for Jesus and for his good pleasure. The early Kingdom Christians also anticipated and prepared in holiness for the Lord’s return to fully establish his kingdom on earth. Today’s Christians anxiously await the election of their candidate to establish their kingdom of values.

As the world asked, “What is truth?” the early Christians put on Christ and became Truth incarnate. The church became a community of Truth. The embodied Truth suffered persecution and martyrdom just as their Lord told them they would. The world looked on and saw that the early Christians were turning the world upside down. They were making all the difference in the world. Today’s Christians are letting the world turn them upside down and that is making all the difference in the world, too.

 

 

 

As I finished writing this post, I heard the Lord say to me, “Write these words: ‘I am with you and will never forsake you.’”

 

~~~

Here are two church position statements I came across this past week. I endorse their message.

Adapted from American Anglican Council’s “A Place to Stand

FOR TRUE INCLUSIVITY

In grateful response to Christ Jesus, in whom there is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, we will extend the welcome of the Church to every person, regardless of race, sex, social or economic status, sexual orientation, or past behavior. We will oppose prejudice in ourselves and others and renounce any false notion of inclusivity that denies that all are sinners who need to repent. (emphasis mine)

 

 

FOR HUMAN SEXUALITY

Sexuality is inherent in God’s creation of every human person in his image as male and female. All Christians are called to chastity: Husbands and wives by exclusive sexual fidelity to one another and single persons by abstinence from sexual intercourse. God intends and enables all people to live within these boundaries through a personal relationship with Jesus Christ and in the power of the Holy Spirit.

 

~~~

Here are some interesting links I came across this past week:

 

 

Wheaton Offers Scholarship Named for Former Professor Who Said Muslims, Christians Worship Same God

The World, the Flesh and the Disneyland

 

The world, the flesh and the devil…

They came for Indiana, Arizona, Arkansas, Georgia, North Carolina and New York.  They’re coming for you, too.

The world, the flesh …

Georgia strong-armed, squeezed: “The Walt Disney Company is threatening to stop filming in Georgia if the state’s governor signs a bill that would protect a pastor’s right not to perform gay marriage ceremonies. The bill would also “protect property owners which are religious organizations against infringement of religious freedom.”

Disney owns Marvel, which has shot major films at Pinewood Studios outside Atlanta. Such a boycott would be a significant loss for the state. The NFL is also threatening to bypass Atlanta as a Super Bowl destination if the religious freedom bill is passed. What does this news mean for those of us who support biblical marriage?””

Capitulation for the love of money:  [Governor] “Deal, a Republican who was re-elected in 2014, has indicated he will review the bill in April and told the Atlanta-Journal Constitution he had a tough decision to make.

In addition to generous tax credits that draw [movie] productions to the state, the city of Atlanta hopes to land a Super Bowl in the near future after its new stadium for the Atlanta Falcons is due to open in 2017. A hope that an NFL spokesperson cautioned late last week could be burst if local laws do not meet league polices that “emphasize tolerance and inclusiveness, and prohibit discrimination based on age, gender, race, religion, sexual orientation, or any other improper standard.”

The Muscle: “It sounds like a “Who’s Who” of corporate America:  Microsoft, Coca-Cola, Delta Air Lines, UPS, Time/Warner, Twitter, the Atlanta Braves, the Atlanta Falcons, the Atlanta Hawks, the National Football League, AIG, Google, Disney, Marvel Entertainment, Dell, Dow Chemical, Hilton, Intel, Intercontinental Hotels, Live Nation Entertainment, Marriott, MailChimp, Paypal, Salesforce, AMC, Square, Turner, Unilever, Virgin, Yelp, Home Depot, and Apple.

All fighting against the religious freedom of natural marriage advocates.

Four hundred companies threatened the state of Georgia with “taking our business elsewhere” if Gov. Deal signed the bill into law.

And they got what they economically coerced the governor to do.  Gov. Deal, after saying he was in no way bowing to pressure, vetoed the legislation, which sought to protect pastors and church organizations from discrimination over beliefs about natural marriage.” …

Attorney Jane Robbins, Senior Fellow with the American Principles Project, commented on the economic threats to Georgia.  “Good people are trying to live their lives according to their faith.  Are we really going to subordinate religious freedom to the love of money?”

Pastor Garland Hunt of the Fellowship of International Churches told LifeSiteNews, “There is no plausible reason for the governor to not have enthusiastically signed Georgia’s Religious Freedom Act.”

Macon’s Berean Baptist Church pastor Joe Bowker told LifeSiteNews of the legislation, “in no way is it discriminatory,” because “disagreement is not discrimination.”

Robbins characterized America’s corporations as assisting bigotry.  “Anti-religious bigots, emboldened by corporate America and the political left, are now waging all-out war on religious freedom. This crass attempt to bully people of faith is un-American.”

 

Stand fast. Don’t capitulate.

“I Won’t Back Down”

Well I won’t back down, no I won’t back down
You could stand me up at the gates of hell
But I won’t back down

Gonna stand my ground, won’t be turned around
And I’ll keep this world from draggin’ me down
Gonna stand my ground and I won’t back down…

Well I know what’s right, I got just one life
In a world that keeps on pushin’ me around
But I’ll stand my ground and I won’t back down

But I’ll stand my ground

And I won’t back down

I Won’t Back Down lyrics by Tom Petty, Jeff Lynne
 

Big biz wins, Georgians lose re: HB 757

Nathan Deal’s Craven Capitulation on Georgia’s Religious Liberty Bill

Christians Must Unite Now Against LGBT Bullies and Their Allies

No, Gays and ‘Transgenders’ Are Not Being Bullied. They Are The Bullies.

Pride and Prejudice?  Why is it OK for a person to have the conviction that they are homosexual or that they are another gender?  (There is no such rationale for such belief drawn from nature and science or even from the atheist’s social Darwinism? (Psychiatry and Psychology are NOT scientific fields.) When…

It is not OK for a Christian to hold the conviction that such LGBT convictions are irrational, not natural, not supported in evolution and hard science and, most importantly, do not conform to what has been known about God eons before the Long March of Cultural Marxism ever began?

Justice is no longer blind.  Now, under the purview of justice, a protected class of people has been created out of a tiny minority’s convictions about its sexuality.  Their convictions are now given a legal weight that morality would never counter balance in the scales of justice.  Your religious convictions have been waylaid to clear the way for the Pride Parade.

Equal protection under the law?  Why are there “anti-discrimination” laws to protect LGBT convictions acted out and not religious freedom laws to protect Christian convictions acted out? I dare someone to answer that question. And please don’t tell me that the Ruling Class social engineers said so. Please don’t tell me it is a “right” for LGBT’ers to discriminate against religious convictions and not against their own convictions.

Hypocrisy abounds: the NBA, NFL and the CEOs of major corporations proudly quote the law as prohibiting discrimination based on age, gender, race, religion and sexual orientation. But, these Pharisees do not want to include your religious convictions in their hubristic narrative.  Karl Marx would be proud of their denigration of religion, placing it beneath sexuality and society’s coddled greed. And the Evil One applauds them.

baal worship

… and the devil:

New York, London: “NEXT month [April], the Temple of Baal will come to Times Square. Reproductions of the 50-foot arch that formed the temple’s entrance are to be installed in New York and in London, a tribute to the 2,000-year-old structure that the Islamic State destroyed last year in the Syrian town of Palmyra.

Today’s Baal worshipers

Added:

Slouching towards Gomorrah:

Media: Gay Cartoon Characters Needed to Fight Bigotry of Parents

 

Roll Away the Stone from Your Mouth

 

“Take away the stone,” Jesus said.

“But, Lord,” said Martha, the sister of the dead man, “by this time there is a bad odor, for he has been there four days.”

Then Jesus said, “Did I not tell you that if you believe, you will see the glory of God?”

Is ‘t night’s predominance or day’s shame

That darkness does the face of Earth entomb

When living light should kiss it?

Ross, Act 2, Scene 4, Shakespeare’s Macbeth

~~~

In the previous post Cow Bells Are for Fellow Travellers, the link presented Alexander Solzhenitsyn’s essay Live Not By Lies prefaced as follows:

Solzhenitsyn penned this essay in 1974 and it circulated among Moscow’s intellectuals at the time. It is dated Feb. 12, the same day that secret police broke into his apartment and arrested him. The next day he was exiled to West Germany. The essay is a call to moral courage and serves as light to all who value truth.

Solzhenitsyn’s polemical speech to Harvard was also a call to moral courage.

But what happens when moral courage is eschewed and truth is not uttered?  “Darkness does the face of Earth entomb.”

There has been a long history of “night’s predominance.” And you may think that you are a modern enlightened individual who can shed light on the road before you, but check your rear view mirror to see where you have been.

Epicurean philosophy, in vogue since before 300 BC, has denied the existence of a Personal God and, alternatively, has placed a high value on sensate feelings and friendship.  As a consequence, today truth is most often considered not to be Objective – the authority of an absolute infinite-personal God, but rather subjective, what our friends let us get away with saying.  Truth now lives with its ‘friends’ in the land of “Like” on Facebook and Twitter.

Epicurean atheists and agnostics posit science – Epicurean atomism – as the beginning and end of all knowledge, declaring revelation and immortality to be romantic nonsense or the effects of too much wine.

The Long March of Cultural Marxism up to the present day disregards any absolutes and even the verities of science.  President Barack Obama declares AGW to be “settled science” when in fact Obama has no published thesis or academic record to show if he is even worthy of us contemplating such an outrageous claim.

The Long March stomps out revered traditional values and Christianity wherever such Objective Truth-based morality is found, replacing them with immediate social consciousness sound bites. And thus, subjective truth becomes a milieu of Epicurean-based malleable “truth”, worthy of Karl Marx. Marx conceived of truth (only in political-economic terms, of course) as what friends contrive when amassing social consciousness. Later, French philosopher Foucault would say the same. Thus the importance our culture now places on social media, polls and majorities, and on discrimination instead of discernment, as opposed to Objective absolute Truth.

 

What happens when moral courage is eschewed and truth shunned?   There is a loss of liberty.

“You shall know the truth and the truth will set you free.” –Jesus. But the Ruling class elites want to define truth and set the narrative.

Professor emeritus of international relations at Boston University, Angelo M. Codevilla’s National Review article Standing Up to the Ruling Class: What citizens can do to resist the ruling class’s redefinitions of moral and cultural norms speaks directly to the reality facing us, and those who have recoiled from truth-speaking:

“If you’re wondering what Americans can do as our ruling class sets about enforcing its redefinition of marriage, start by looking back at what it did to the citizens of Indiana when their legislature raised the possibility that someone might object to joining in celebrations of homosexual marriage…

Indiana’s Republicans, its churches, and conservatives in general pled for the liberty to speak and act according to religious faith. They did not and do not argue the worth of the Judeo-Christian religious beliefs that the ruling class deems odious.This has proved to be self-defeating. Appeals for tolerance of all beliefs in the name of America’s traditional freedoms fail because they concede the ruling class’s assertion of its own moral-intellectual superiority, as well as its underlying assumption that good and evil, better and worse, are just other words for its own likes and dislikes…

Consequently, if we wish to remain who we are in the face of threats and declamations meant to force us to honor intellectual and moral falsehoods, we have no alternative but clearly and loudly to distinguish between true and false, fully making the case for what we believe to be right. There is no viable alternative to confronting the ruling class’s fantasies and euphemisms substantively, in detail.

Peaceable behavior will not protect you from being hounded as a “hater.” A whiff of “offensive” attitudes is enough for the ruling class to make you as untouchable as the lepers of old. Nor is silence a refuge.” (emphasis added)

You will want to read the whole article, contemplate its message and summon moral courage.

~~~
Jesus stood before a member of the Ruling Class, Pontius Pilate:

“What is truth?” Jesus did not bear witness to what his friends wanted him to say. Jesus did not say, as French intellectual Michel Foucalt postulated, that truth is “regime” of beliefs and values linked to systems of political and economic power, a scientific, non-universal apparatus feeding into majority opinions.” 

In the days before his foretold crucifixion, Jesus told Pilate, and his disciples previously, that He came to bear witness to all that his Father does and says.  Crucifixion was invoked by the “Crucify him!” social consciousness to silence Objective Truth – what the Father does and says.  But then Objective Resurrection occurred and Truth was exalted to the highest place – God’s right hand.

 

Who is your father?  The father of lies who is the grand marshal of the Long March.  Or, is it the Father in heaven? Who do you testify about?

Have you ever seen the Father rejoice over homosexuality or homosexual marriage? Jesus at the wedding in Cana showed the Father’s blessing of his creation: male and female marriage. Never once has Objective truth ever endorsed homosexuality.

The unscientific paramours of homosexuality, psychology and psychiatry, add their voice to the loudest, angriest voices on social media so as “to raise awareness” and to alter the predominate consciousness of the natural union of male and female.

~~~

Speaking of the binary:  Truth-seekers need both reason and revelation.   Each informs the other. Both need to be declared. And, we must leave the nether land of sentimentality that keeps us entombed in darkness and ready to give up.

Start with the Objective historical facts of the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.  There were hundreds of witnesses to the resurrection. And like Paul, we have become witnesses of the Resurrection. The resurrection of Jesus revealed truth about the Father, that there is life beyond atomism. There is immortality; life is more than the body, and incredibly more than the packaging of identity politics.

A.D. The Bible Continues

Be not afraid. Roll away the stone from your mouth. Do not remain silent. And, did not Jesus say that persecutions would come when we spoke truth? Were these persecutions based on silent acquiescence so as discern whether to be “Liked”? No. Here’s what Jesus said:

“Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me.”

The Eternal Living light:

“The life appeared; we have seen it and testify to it, and we proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and has appeared to us.”  I John 1:2

~~~

 

Scripture urges us to “expose the unfruitful works of darkness” (Ephesians 5:11) and avoid becoming partners with those “who deceive with empty words” (Ephesians 5:6). Colossians implores us not to be “taken captive by deceit.” We’re warned in 2 Timothy that the time will come when people will not want to hear the truth, so they will surround themselves with frauds who tell them what their “itching ears want to hear.” I believe we have arrived at that moment, and it is now urgent that we specifically identify these frauds and false teachers. This is not a fun or polite process, but it is necessary, so we must get on with it.” (emphasis added)

Let’s Remember The Cowardly Conservative Leaders Who Betrayed Us For Trump

Cow Bells Are for Fellow Travelers

 

Therefore Pilate said to Him, “So You are a king?” Jesus answered, “You say correctly that I am a king. For this I have been born, and for this I have come into the world, to testify to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth hears My voice.” Pilate said to Him, “What is truth?”

Do not submit your humanity and your dignity to cultural Marxism and its systematic lies. The narrative of the ruling class is meant dehumanize you, to make you cattle in need of prodding: “There is no need for discussion or debate.” “Truth is what we tell you.” “Shut up and listen!” “Dissent is bigotry!” “It is settled science!”

What should those in the Kingdom of God do to stop the Long March of cultural Marxism? Stand up to the ruling class. Do not equivocate to appease or to be inclusive. Truth is not relative. Truth is Revelation sent from God: “for this I have come into the world, to testify to the truth.”

Why are you in this world? To deny Truth? To be yoked to lies?

What should those in the Kingdom of God do to stop the Long March of cultural Marxism? Like Jesus, speak truth to power.

Alexander Solzhenitsyn (1918 – 2008)

Alexander Solzhenitsyn
(1918 – 2008)

A clarion call to moral courage is required. Here is an excerpt from Alexander Solzhenitsyn’s essay Live Not By Lies (emphasis added):

~~~

Our path is to talk away from the gangrenous boundary. If we did not paste together the dead bones and scales of ideology, if we did not sew together the rotting rags, we would be astonished how quickly the lies would be rendered helpless and subside.

That which should be naked would then really appear naked before the whole world.

So in our timidity, let each of us make a choice: Whether consciously, to remain a servant of falsehood—of course, it is not out of inclination, but to feed one’s family, that one raises his children in the spirit of lies—or to shrug off the lies and become an honest man worthy of respect both by one’s children and contemporaries.

And from that day onward he:

  • Will not henceforth write, sign, or print in any way a single phrase which in his opinion distorts the truth.
  • Will utter such a phrase neither in private conversation not in the presence of many people, neither on his own behalf not at the prompting of someone else, either in the role of agitator, teacher, educator, not in a theatrical role.
  • Will not depict, foster or broadcast a single idea which he can only see is false or a distortion of the truth whether it be in painting, sculpture, photography, technical science, or music.
  • Will not cite out of context, either orally or written, a single quotation so as to please someone, to feather his own nest, to achieve success in his work, if he does not share completely the idea which is quoted, or if it does not accurately reflect the matter at issue.
  • Will not allow himself to be compelled to attend demonstrations or meetings if they are contrary to his desire or will, will neither take into hand not raise into the air a poster or slogan which he does not completely accept.
  • Will not raise his hand to vote for a proposal with which he does not sincerely sympathize, will vote neither openly nor secretly for a person whom he considers unworthy or of doubtful abilities.
  • Will not allow himself to be dragged to a meeting where there can be expected a forced or distorted discussion of a question. Will immediately talk out of a meeting, session, lecture, performance or film showing if he hears a speaker tell lies, or purvey ideological nonsense or shameless propaganda.
  • Will not subscribe to or buy a newspaper or magazine in which information is distorted and primary facts are concealed. Of course we have not listed all of the possible and necessary deviations from falsehood. But a person who purifies himself will easily distinguish other instances with his purified outlook.

No, it will not be the same for everybody at first. Some, at first, will lose their jobs. For young people who want to live with truth, this will, in the beginning, complicate their young lives very much, because the required recitations are stuffed with lies, and it is necessary to make a choice.

But there are no loopholes for anybody who wants to be honest. On any given day any one of us will be confronted with at least one of the above-mentioned choices even in the most secure of the technical sciences. Either truth or falsehood: Toward spiritual independence or toward spiritual servitude.

And he who is not sufficiently courageous even to defend his soul—don’t let him be proud of his “progressive” views, don’t let him boast that he is an academician or a people’s artist, a merited figure, or a general—let him say to himself: I am in the herd, and a coward. It’s all the same to me as long as I’m fed and warm

… You say it will not be easy? But it will be easiest of all possible resources. It will not be an easy choice for a body, but it is the only one for a soul. No, it is not an easy path. But there are already people, even dozens of them, who over the years have maintained all these points and live by the truth.

So you will not be the first to take this path, but will join those who have already taken it. This path will be easier and shorter for all of us if we take it by mutual efforts and in close rank. If there are thousands of us, they will not be able to do anything with us. If there are tens of thousands of us, then we would not even recognize our country.

 

If we are too frightened, then we should stop complaining that someone is suffocating us. We ourselves are doing it. Let us then bow down even more, let us wail, and our brothers the biologists will help to bring nearer the day when they are able to read our thoughts are worthless and hopeless.

 

And if we get cold feet, even taking this step, then we are worthless and hopeless, and the scorn of Pushkin should be directed to us:

Why should cattle have the gifts of freedom?

Their heritage from generation to generation is the belled yoke and the lash.”

Cow Bells Are for Fellow Travellers. Resurrection Day bells are for those wedded to the Truth.

Move Over Santa and “Settled Science”, the Lord Has Come…

…”let earth receive ….” the Light of the World.  religion versus science

~~~ 

“People sometimes say that science deals with facts but religion simply trades in opinion. In other words, science’s concern is with truth, understood as correspondence with reality, but the best that can be said of religion is that it might be ‘true’ for an individual, but only in the weak sense that it was helpful for that particular person to look at life in that particular way, without necessarily implying anything about the way reality actually is. Two bad mistakes lie behind this claim…” John Polkinghorne, Science and Religion in Quest of Truth

Mistake #1: When it comes down to it any scientific fact is interpreted fact, a well-motivated opinion about one-dimensional information. Scientific phenomena are comprehended within other interpreted facts and within a personal cosmology. Any discovered fact is unique to an individual until in the process of truth-seeking it is corroborated by others seeking truth. A well-motivated belief then begins to grow that what you have found is consonant with an elegant and repeatable universality. Yet,

“Belief in scientific realism is well-motivated, but one cannot claim that it is logically proved to be true beyond any possibility of question, as if it would be willfully stupid for anyone to deny….the progress of science, with the changes of understanding that can result from this, make it clear that scientific achievement cannot be claimed to constitute the attainment of complete and absolute truth. Instead, science’s exploration of reality must be seen as resulting in the creation of ‘maps’ of the physical world which are indeed reliable, but only on a particular scale.”  John Polkinghorne, Science and Religion in Quest of Truth (emphasis added)

Science ‘maps’ reality in terms of how, how much, how often, and of what terrain – matter and space-time. But a scientist’s impersonal encounter with ‘hard data’ generated from experimentation is self-limiting…

“Science’s declining to engage with the personal dimension of experience implies the limited character that it can give of reality. A scientist, speaking as a scientist, can say no more about music than it is vibrations in the air, but speaking as a person there would be much more to say about the mysterious way in which a temporal succession of sounds can give us access to a timeless realm of beauty.” -John Polkinghorne, Science and Religion in Quest of Truth

Beyond the wonderfully apparent discoveries of science, science certainly has ongoing areas of mystery. Consider that today we have a better understanding of quanta (small packets of energy) and yet scientists cannot readily explain the oxymoronic wave and particle theory of light. To unlock such mysteries inquisitive scientists as truth seekers will test their postulates using experimentation. Their theory will employ a certain amount of belief in and expectation of a supposed outcome. The final experimental data is then evaluated against theory. Science’s truth seeking process goes on in this fashion, seeking truth about a physical reality….except when ideology becomes its handler…

environmentalism is school prayer for liberals.” Harvey Mansfield, Professor of Government at Harvard University  settled science

“Settled science” happens. Though science seeks to understand and map the physical world, science can easily be channeled into populist scientism ‘maps’ where fact is rerouted with ideology meant to produce a certain political outcome. The misconstrued and falsified data behind Global Warming Alarmism is pure scientism. In fact something of religious cult has now formed around a metaphysical belief in Global Warming. And, ‘outsiders’ who do accept such a far-fetched and unverifiable belief are called “deniers”.

The Global Warming cult leaders (Al Gore, Barack Obama, John Kerry, UNFCCC) preach their scientism as “settled science” in order to discharge any further truth-seeking. The light of day was not meant to shine on their furtive agenda – their ends, world-wide redistribution of wealth, justify their means of environmental alarmism and population control (a la John Holdren).

science and religion in quest of truth

Science can be used to deny other means of truth-seeking. The New Atheists came onto the scene after the horrific 9/11 attacks. The New Atheists love to use scientific reasoning, not for truth-seeking, but for their dismissal of belief in God, a God who would allow 9/11. As such the science they comport is piecemeal and typically not readily provable, such as the (preexisting!) Quantum Foam messaged by Quantum Fluctuation equals Universe theory (Alexander Vilenkin). Then there is their use of the multiple universes theory that says that our universe is one of infinite possibilities wrought out of chaos and therefore (even so!) a Creator is not warranted.

The New Atheists, in scientific tone, try but cannot reasonably tell us how humans received a self-consciousness (Who am I? Why am I here? What about life after death?). Nor can they tell how we became intelligent, language based, moral agents and altruistic. Science cannot tell us how. Strict logical analysis fails to tell us how.

But strict logical analysis can tell us about the extreme fine-tuning found in the universe, a fine-tuning that makes earth inhabitable for life. Yet, The New Atheists, again in scientific tone and avoiding a Creator outside of themselves, will serve up the Anthropic Principle as the reason for fine-tuning – – the universe just happened to be because of us, we needed the universe to fit our needs.

“The odds against a universe such as we have are fantastically great, and so are the odds against the emergence of life and the advent of intelligence.”Dr. Amir D. Aczel, mathematician and author of Why Science Does Not Disprove God

Why science Does Not disprove God_

Something to ponder: “If Albert Einstein had not discovered general relativity, no doubt it would eventually have come to light through the labor of others, but if J.S. Bach had not composed the Mass in B Minor, that great work of art would have been lost to us forever.” John Polkinghorne, Science and Religion in Quest of Truth

Now consider a perfect circle and perfect square, Plato’s ideal forms. Consider that mathematicians accept that numbers, equations and geometry exist on their own and outside our physical universe. One would have to then ask, How do we know what is perfect? And, how do we know that an equation is simple and beautiful?

For now, in the interest of brevity, see one-dimensional interpreted science as only one of two addends in the following equation. An insufficiency of either one will cause a lower sum:  santa I dont exist gif

Science + religion = truth-seeking

~~~

“I am the Light of the World.” -Jesus

“Why is it that when we talk to God we’re said to be praying, but when God talks to us we’re schizophrenic?” Lily Tomlin

Mistake #2: Religion isn’t concerned about fact and therefore requires no reason.

True Christianity is truth-seeking. I perceive Christianity as using a microscope (natural theology), eyeglasses (systematic theology) and a telescope (philosophical theology) to seek out and record what is true. Central to true Christianity’s claim on a person is, not unlike science, a focus on truth, a truth ultimate and unchanging, an ‘atomic’ truth that you can set your soul’s machinations to. Truth, scientific truth and Christianity, is freedom.

It was Jesus who said, “You shall know the truth and the truth will set you free.” Now I don’t think Jesus was talking about the Big Bang at the start of this manifest Creation, but He certainly let fly freely both matter and a ‘hair less’ antimatter and then the requisite bosons to form elements and to later compose you and me.

Christianity seeks to know the truth about why and who and from that derived knowledge goes on to the phenomenology of altruistic behavior, something evolutionary science cannot explain or ever reproduce.

Christianity is a personal “come and see”. Science is also a personal “come and see”. And whereas a scientist’s impersonal observations becomes a universally accepted theory through experimentation and corroboration, so too a Christian’s personal observations are corroborated by Scripture and by a chorus of others singing the same tune.

Christianity is centered on the facts of a person. This person, Jesus Christ, claimed to be God, very God, the Creator. Now, imagine very God limiting himself and taking on the form of a servant in evolved flesh – once a single cell amoeba later into ape-hood and then prehistoric man and then to mankind! I cannot fathom this emptying of God but it is true.

Consider the resurrection of Jesus. The resurrection of Jesus is a historical fact witnessed by hundreds of people.

We find a record of Jesus’ life and his death and resurrection in the four Gospels. The Gospels are written by close friends and followers who would die for Jesus based on their own eye-witness testimony. Would a scientist die for any discovered truth?

Keep in mind that Pontius Pilate found no fault with Jesus and yet found no reason to keep him alive, either. He asked “What is truth?” but Truth would be put to death in order to save his reputation

Like science religion can be perverted by powerful figures or groups into false religions and death cults with a phenomenology of terrorism. Acknowledging that no one group has all truth would be a major step toward abandoning the ‘settled theology’ of Islamic terrorism and the ‘settled science’ of global warming.

 

How should science and Christianity relate?

“Fundamentally, the two disciplines of enquiry should be thought of as cousins under the skin because of their shared truthful intent. Both operate under the rubric of critical realism, claiming the attainment of well-motivated beliefs, but not asserting the achievement of absolute certainty. The religious recognition of this fact is expressed in the understanding that believers walk by faith and not by sight…Religious faith dos not demand irrational submission to some unquestionable authority, but it does involve rational commitment to well-motivated belief.” – John Polkinghorne, Science and Religion in Quest of Truth

There is simply too much information about both science and religion to fit this post and to do justice to both truth-seeking disciplines. Besides you need to get ready for Christmas.

The wisest of men still seek Him…Study hard.

~~~

Now for something completely relevant:  you could buy a book about soccer and read about the game as it is delineated (the scientific approach) or you could watch Men in Blazers for a ‘metaphysical’ explanation of the game (the religious soccer zealot approach). Actually, both approaches play the whole field and score goals.

Curiouser and Curiouser

From the Big Bang to the Black Rabbit Holes of Moral Relativism

Have you noticed that many of the well-coifed commentator’s these days now use the phrase, “The fact of the matter” to preface their comments? This is empiricism trying to counter relativism’s cynicism.

Modern day liberals, pundits of the ersatz, consider themselves open-minded individuals. They are proud of their openness to all things. So open-minded are they in fact that when truth is encountered it is immediately short-circuited bypassing their AND/OR gates, never residing in memory. Truth is discharged from their feel good capacitors. Truth, for them, is just one of many options. Truth is not the warm and fuzzy logic they want to be plugged into. Truth is electrifyingly absolute.

“As a rule, only very learned and clever men deny what is absolutely true. Common men have less brains, but more sense.” -William T Stance, an epitome found at the beginning of Roger Kimball’s book “The Fortunes of Permanence: Culture and Anarchy in an Age of Amnesia”.

These open-minded folk are so welcoming to come and go Change that they post a “For Rent” sign on their foreheads for all to see their obeisance to the gods Openness, Diversity and Equality.

House built on sandy soil.  Erosion.

Oops, there goes another foundation!

These open-minded folk are also the ones who so voraciously attack the First Amendment as a mistake-a mistake to let people speak their minds. Go figure. But this thinking works in the Rabbit Hole known as Asinine.

Let’s take a look at only some of today’s Ass-saults on Absolutes.

It is 2015 and truth and its consequences can be hard to swallow. Truth and its consequences can be abstracted into “Am I a victim of uncontrollable influences?”

Here is a portion of Vanity Fair’s May 2015 article “Civil War at NBC News” written by Bryan Burrough about NBC’s Brian William’s deliberate lack of Total Recall scandal:

“[Deborah] Turness [head of NBC] and the other executives who had gotten involved quickly became frustrated, as they would remain for days, with William’s inability to explain himself. “He couldn’t say the words ‘I lied,’ “recalls one NBC insider.

We could not force his mouth to form the words ‘I lied’. He couldn’t explain what had happened. [He said,] ‘Did something happen to [my] head? Maybe I had a brain tumor, or something in my head? He just didn’t know. We had no clear sense what had happened. We got the best apology we could get.

And that was a problem…”

Brian Williams-post truth

Brian Williams-post truth

It is 2015 and you can Tune in, toke up, smile big: Introducing The First Church of Cannabis.

(Bill) Levin, a 59-year-old carpenter, started the church on March 26, 2015, to push the limits of Indiana’s new Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA), which prohibits the government from “substantially burdening” anyone’s right to exercise his or her religion. Earlier this year, the controversial bill sparked protests from gay rights groups claiming it would allow for businesses to discriminate against gays and lesbians citing religious beliefs. (Emphasis mine)

The First Church of Cannabis is Epicurean in all in its smoke and mirror glory. Who needs a church with the living true God when the inaccessible uncaring-what-you-do god of Epicurus will do?

 

Speaking of “gay rights” it is 2015 and most Americans greatly overestimate the percentage of the LGBT self-described “queer” population. Perhaps this is due to air deprivation-the loud sucking in of all the air from the planet by the LGBT ‘community’ in order to replace it with the exhaust of revved up Epicurean narcissism:

“PRINCETON, N.J. — The American public estimates on average that 23% of Americans are gay or lesbian, little changed from Americans’ 25% estimate in 2011, and only slightly higher than separate 2002 estimates of the gay and lesbian population. These estimates are many times higher than the 3.8% of the adult population who identified themselves as lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender in Gallup Daily tracking in the first four months of this year.” (Emphasis mine)

Of course the LGBT ‘community’ will refute the accuracy of this poll by saying that another 30% of the population is still in the closet (waiting to be coaxed out of the closet and into a confused symbolism state-the LGBT ‘light’ of gay).

 

It is 2015 and moral relativism’s apotheosis is a “fundamental transformation” POTUS with a bully pulpit.

Barack Obama’s latest political foray into untruth is his national domestic and foreign policy of fatalism-“AGW, this is settled science”. This populist scientism qualification is severely lacking in the facts due diligence requires asserting “settled science”. Obama’s stipulation is meant to shunt away the requisite evocative questions inherent within a democratic political process. In Obama-speak “Settled science” means “Settled issue”: “I said IT and therefore it must be true since I have enough power and sycophantic cohorts to proclaim it to be true”.

 

It is 2015, June, and Pastor Saeed Abedini has been in an Iranian prison for three years while Obama negotiates his own legacy.

 

It is 2015 and where we once had two distinct naturally evolved sexes-“He created them male and female”- we now have the amorphous word “gender” bandied about. The political winds of “Diversity” are uprooting millennia of family trees-naturally evolved binary sex procreations and ‘recreating’ traditional marriage in its own image with a frenzy to will to power one’s self-‘right’-ness… but never righteousness.

 

It is 2015 and have you noticed that multiculturalism is all the rage? You don’t hear the word “multiculturalism” proclaimed in public but one can see its assault on America and its devastating effects under Obama’s lawless immigration fiat.

Multiculturalism insists that all cultures and all religions are of equal value. Multiculturalism insists that there is no difference between Judeo-Christian beliefs and those of radical Muslim imposed Sharia Law. Per Obama and the Progressives all groups must be co-opted in order to dilute your white European background vote and shore up non-Western Democrat votes for the next election. “Divide and conquer” is his conscious mantra.

Multiculturalism is passive-aggressive toward America. Multiculturalism genuflects to the god “Hyphen”.

It is 2015. Have you noticed that we are no longer Americans? We are now hyphenated groups: African-Americans, Asian-Americans, and Hispanic-Americans. Many of these and other groups live a hyphenated life of one foot in and one foot out, having forsaken adopting the American settler’s values. “They are coming to America” for the handouts that only Big Brother can give and know full well that American values are ‘flexible’ according to who is in power, ergo kindled ethnocentricity melts the pot holding them.

 

It is 2015 and women now have added their maiden name to their married name-one foot and in one foot out of the marriage.

 

It is 2015 and I am reminded of Alexis de Tocqueville’s prescient warning about soft despotism. I apply it now to our 2015 morally relativistic “activist” judiciary that

“extends its arm over society as a whole; it covers its surface with a network of small, complicated, painstaking, uniform rules through which the most original minds and the most vigorous souls cannot clear a way to surpass the crowd; it does not break wills, but it softens them, bends them, and directs them; it rarely forces one to act, but it constantly opposes itself to one’s acting; it does not destroy, it prevents things from being born; it does not tyrannize, it hinders, compromises, enervates, extinguishes, dazes, and finally reduces each nation to being nothing more than a herd of timid and industrious animals of which the government is the shepherd.”

 

It is 2015 and moral relativism’s tyrannical belief system has taken modern man captive and placed him in chains within a dark but fire lit cave.

As pushed in Epicurus’ time an individual’s sensory feelings, his inner sanctum response to the self-projecting chimeras on the cave wall, have become a socialism everyone must share to ease pain or else. To make this a personal reality each Atlas must shrug off the moral cornerstone with which one needs to plumb line truth and then replace it with the Objectivism of ‘rational and ethical’ egoism or, better, self-interest à la carte à la cave.

The modern listener is now tuned into the frequency, “The fact of the matter” and “This is settled science” to reassure his free-floating cave-wall derived angst. At the same time leaving the cave of self-pity is not an option and thereby Democracy in a cave is denied the daylight of truth.

We say, “if Barack Obama’s scientism can make us a victim of say AGW in a society of victims then the scientism proposed becomes ‘truth’ for me, a willing adherent to the new criterion-moral relativism. And victimization means I am therefore oppressed and in need of Big Brother to take my Whole World in His Hands”.

Moral relativism as a formula for life and not yet atheistic (atheism would come after Christianity began) was tossed around during the time (BC) of the Greek philosopher Epicurus. The “atomists’ of that era believed in a distant out-of-sight-out-of-touch god. They believed that one’s own sensory feelings and close kowtowing friends would better serve their introspective needs. Scientism, born during The Enlightenment, is moral relativism’s distant cousin.

Scientism is the politics of fact. Where science is about seeking truth in the form of verifiable fact, scientism is about seeking consensus about how you feel about the facts. These feelings are Epicurean sensory feelings superimposed onto verifiable fact-“How will this fact affect me”.

 

I could go on giving examples of this post’s rubric but it is Sunday and I must go to my church to remove the impurities of Moral Relativism from my mind, heart and soul. Come join me.

Curiouser and Curiouser, to be continued…

Some things to ponder:

When everything in life is valued by the same lowest common denominator as the Progressives would have it does value retain value? Are we not animals at the lowest common point? Ergo, isn’t socialism basically the exalted rights of certain animals on the Animal Farm to determine the rights of the others? See de Tocqueville quote above.

Is it OK for teachers groups to have seminars decrying white privilege while at the same time affirmative action denies other races (e.g., Asians trying to enter Harvard) equal opportunity? Is “white privilege” really Black on-demand-privilege projection?

“Justice: by any and all means necessary.” Is it OK to place Black-American ethnocentrism over every other race while demanding diversity, equality, egalitarianism and justice? Isn’t “Justice: By any and all means necessary” spoken by a Black-American District Attorney a call to lawlessness and anarchy under our country’s rule of law?

Isn’t the application of discrimination of one race over another called racism? Inequality?

It is 2015 and the erosion of moral relativism is washing away the sand foundation of society’s structure.

“What Americans call “liberalism” is the ideology of western suicide.” -James Burnham, Suicide of the West

***

It is 2015 and WordPress has informed me that it is my six-year anniversary blogging with WordPress. Inconceivable!

 

HOW to COMMENCE: “Fail Big; Be Grateful, Seek Wisdom, Get On Your Knees…”

Denzel Washington’s remarkable commencement speech points these graduates forward and away from, hopefully, the dead-end route of Marxist black liberation theology.

Denzel speaks of God-given human desire, of aspirations beyond one’s self, of failing big, of seeking wisdom from above out of a heart of gratefulness and a daily dependence on God. All of these characteristics, he concludes, culminate in a life that makes a difference for the good toward the graduate and to the others he or she may encounter.

Here is something else to ruminate on:

“Today, many people, especially academics, assume that intellectual work takes places in the objective world of the hard sciences, and that the more you move in the direction of the so-called arts, especially things like metaphysics and theology, the more you are simply talking nonsense about nothing. This is the function of Epicurean assumptions, not of the hard sciences themselves; many periods and cultures have developed sophisticated scientific work without assuming that you had to split off from other kinds of knowledge.

Nevertheless, many leading scientists today were brought up on the split-world viewpoint. Some have even, with unintended irony, made it an article of faith that one should not allow articles of faith into the classroom or laboratory….the mistake… of confusing science with scientism, of placing the proper and wise investigation of the natural world within the worldview of Epicureanism, which itself is unproved and indeed unprovable.

So, what’s the alternative? Here, perhaps to the surprise of some, the Christian worldview has a great deal to offer, when you trace it back to its beginnings in ancient Israel, then to Jesus and the writings of the first two or three Christian centuries. The category that emerges again and again in the scriptures and the great teachers of the faith is wisdom, sophia in Greek, Chokma in Hebrew….Wisdom (being) what you need, according to scripture, to become genuinely, fully human. And genuine, fully rounded humanity is what our culture, with its pretense of religion and its variety of unnamed but powerful gods, has been remarkably short of.” (emphasis mine) N.T. Wright, “Surprised by Scripture.”

Our ability to imagine, to intuit and to be wise has been greatly damaged by education that presupposes a fact/value split.

“What renders man an imaginative and moral being is that in society he gives new aims to his life which could not have existed in solitude: the aims of friendship, religion, science, and art.” George Santayana

Regarding “Epicurean assumptions” see my previous posts:

Aren’t You A Bit Epicurious?

Aren’t You a Bit Solipsistic?

Epicurus “High-Horse” Mal-Ware v. 2.015

One Nation Under Epicurus?

***

This post is dedicated to my nephew Joseph (Joe) who has just graduated from high school. The open house is next Saturday. Congrats Joe!

Joe, I know that you already have God-given desires in your heart. May God grant you the desires of your heart. And don’t forget. Enjoy the ride and “Every girl’s crazy about a sharp dressed” grad.

College Trigger Warnings-Nothing New Under the Hard Sun

So one day, as Plato conveyed to me over a glass of ruby-red Greek wine, he goes back into the claustrophobic cave where he once had the courage to flee. He excitedly tells his former neighbors-the self-shackled cave dwellers-that there is brilliant light outside. Everything can be seen clearly. Truth and beauty await them outside the cave.

He tells them that the large fire at the back of the cave is casting the shadowy flickering images on the walls of their cave. This is what is scaring them. He tells them that their understanding of life, their vision is veiled and distorted. “Come and see”, he tells them.

Most of the cave dwellers respond apathetically. Some had tried to read the shapes on the wall and to discern their meaning but to no avail. (The images are the cave dwellers themselves as distorted silhouettes projected onto the walls by the firelight. They cannot figure this out. Besides, they tell themselves, “Truth is what our cave dwelling friends let us get away with saying.”)

After Plato’s pleading the cave dwellers tell him that they do want anyone to stop the picture show. They know what to expect day after day. They look forward to the same known foggy reality.

Plato, my friend, was then denounced as part of a lunatic fringe element for his Ideas. He was ridiculed and banished from the cave. If the cave dwellers had been not shackled they would have killed the ‘prophet’ of a new and illuminated world. Instead they invented trigger warnings to fend off intruders.

The end.

Plato's Cave

Plato’s Cave

The video link at the bottom of this post sheds some light on the scary shadow developed skepticism of many people hunkered down in their trigger warning guarded thought caves.

Tim Keller, introduced in the video, is also a contributor to the Christian-based theistic evolution science blog Biologos.org.

After Keller’s presentation, about 44 minutes into the video, there is a question and answer period.

Several students question Keller including two philosophy students who ramble on trying to form a question that Keller can answer. It is an interesting discourse, to be sure. Kant is brought out and dusted off.

It was Kant and the thinkers of Enlightenment that brought out and dusted off the “Upper” and “Lower” storybooks stashed away on the shelves of philosophy for centuries – basically, the ‘atomistic’ philosophy promoted by the Greek philosopher Epicurus.

Once Darwin came on the scene the thought-value split quickly became the Western mindset. Man, we were told, had evolved out of his unenlightened cave to live in his new cave of Scientism. Religion was dismissed as only flickering sentimental shadows of the past. Truth had been divided into Continental and Analytical thinking, with no middle ground between.

Once I built an ivory tower

so I could worship from above

when I climb down to be set free

she took me in again

from “Hard Sun”, written by Gordon Peterson

Francis Schaeffer, the founder of L’Abri Fellowship in Switzerland, used the following diagram to describe modern man’s dualistic thinking to those who studied at L’Abri.

The Two-Story Concept of Truth

Values

Private, subjective, relative

Facts

Public, objective, universal

 

This dichotomy has grown so pervasive that most people do not even recognize they hold it. It has become part of the cultural air we breathe. Consider two prominent examples:

Martin Luther King Jr.: “Science deals mainly with facts; religion deals with mainly values.”

Albert Einstein: “Science yields facts but not “value judgments”; religion expresses values but cannot “speak of facts.”

 

Modern man, hiding behind easily tripped trigger warnings inside his cave, shackled to soulless hand-held materialism denies the existence of the whole outside world, a world brightly illuminated. It was a medievalist poet, Gerard Manley Hopkins, who understood the magnitude of the illuminated whole: “The world is charged with the grandeur of God.”

Once out of the cave, reality for man is the Hard Sun. Yet, Man will see and then, if willing, embrace both Continental and Analytical thinking. He can embrace both nature and grace, both facts and values, both Truth and Beauty.

And Man can also walk in the eternal light of God’s Son, for he said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”

The Veritas Forum: Belief in an Age of Skepticism?

Added:

If you are skeptical about the reality of the resurrection of Jesus then I have some light for you:  Jesus and the Eyewitnesses: The Gospels as Eyewitness Testimony by Richard Bauckham

Je Suis la Vérité

 

What is truth?

The satirical stylus?

The severing sword?

The signet of supremacy?

 

What is truth?

A cartoon, a caliphate, a Caesar?

 

“What is truth?”

Pilate asked.

A “thing of this world”

French philosopher Foucalt answered.

A “regime” of beliefs and values linked to systems of political and economic power,

A scientific, non-universal apparatus feeding into majority opinions.

 

“So you are a king, are you?”

Pilate, the truth of power, asked.

Jesus, the power of truth, answered,

“You are the one who’s calling me a king. I was born for this;

I’ve come into the world for this: to give evidence about the truth.

Everyone who belongs to the truth listens to my voice.”

 

“Truth!” What’s that?”

Pilate asked, but

With those words, he went back to the Foucaltians.

 

Truth is witness. Jesus said,

“We testify to what we have seen and heard from God”

 

Put down your stylus Cartoonist,

Put down your sword, Peter,

Put down your signet Freedom of Speech

And follow me.

 

For,

Je suis le Chemin, la Vérité et la Vie.

 

~~~~~~~

Sacrificial Love

 

“Without entrusting oneself to the God who judges justly, it will hardly be possible to follow the crucified Messiah and refuse to retaliate when abused. The certainty of God’s just judgment at the end of history is the presupposition for the renunciation of violence in the middle of it. The divine system of judgment is not the flip side of the human reign of terror, but a necessary correlate of human nonviolence.”

 

Miroslav Volf, Exclusion & Embrace: A Theological Exploration of Identity, Otherness, and Reconciliation

~~~~~

Poem © SallyParadise.com, 2015, All Rights Reserved; Scripture quoted:  The Kingdom New Testament quotes by N. T. Wright as translated from koine greek.

Tear Down That Anthropocentricity

 Solzhenitsyn

 

It may have been in the later 1970s that I became aware of Alexander Solzhenitsyn.  I don’t recall exactly what brought him to my attention. It may have been news reports of the Soviet Union’s exiled dissident. Solzhenitsyn had been deported from the USSR and stripped of Soviet citizenship in 1974. He later came to live in the US for almost twenty years.

 With the admixture of the Cold War, the horror stories coming out of the USSR, reports of Solzhenitsyn’s moral courage and my youthful desire to make a difference in the world I soon became enthralled by Russia and Solzhenitsyn.

 During the 1980s I read Solzhenitsyn.  I read all three volumes of The Gulag Archipelago, an eye-opening history of the Soviet police state and One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich, a novella.  These works forever etched on my mind the Stolypin cars used to resettle passenger and livestock together; Stalin’s Cult of Personality, his purges, his deportations, his gulags and his murder of tens of millions of people.

 In addition to media reports about Soviet atrocities in the 1980s I traveled to Poland for business purposes.  I used a polish translator.  It turned out that the translator, a Pole, was once a CIA agent who worked inside Russia. He told me about the atrocities done to the Poles by the USSR and the KGB.  He hated what the Soviets had done to his people. From my perspective, except for the occasional flower stands on the streets, Warsaw and Bialystok looked gray and depleted of life from the effects of Communism.

 Solzhenitsyn, an author who documented life under Stalin with short stories, novels and poems that included harsh critiques of Stalin and totalitarianism, survived prison camps – the gulags – and assassination attempts by the KGB. But, Solzhenitsyn kept writing, speaking out against the evil being done to the Russian people.  This is why Solzhenitsyn is a hero to me unlike any ‘hero’ regarded today.  This man suffered for the truth he did not hesitate to speak.

 Born the month that Dwight D. Eisenhower was elected to the presidency, I was raised during the Cold War days (1947-1991). I recall the election of John F. Kennedy and the US ‘cold shoulder’ standoffs with the Soviet Union and the Eastern Bloc.

 The two superpowers, the US and the USSR, stood diametrically opposed politically, economically and ideologically. Solzhenitsyn would speak to one of those powers when he gave his Harvard commencement address on June 8, 1978 – A World Split Apart. For some context, the speech was made the summer after Jimmy Carter was sworn in as President on January 20, 1977.

 I came across the speech again yesterday.  I reread it on the train last night, on my way home from work.

 Though I prefer shorter posts I would like to share the power of these words with you plus some poignant commentary about Solzhenitsyn’s works and words from the book The Conservative Foundations of the Liberal Order by Daniel J. Mahoney.

 First, from the book, Chapter 7, The Totalitarian Subversion of Modernity:  Solzhenitsyn on the Self-deification of Man and the Origins of the Modern Crisis are some words of warning for any democratic impulse:

 “The experience of totalitarianism, that “twentieth-century invention,” as Alexander Solzhenitsyn once called it, ought to have permanently discredited all facile or naïve progressivism. But as the previous chapter attests, too many in the West mistakenly identified the fall of Communism in the East-central Europe and the Soviet Union with “the overflowing triumph of an all-democratic bliss.”  The writings of Solzhenitsyn (1918-2008) provide unique resources for understanding both the evils of totalitarianism and the limits of democratic euphoria.”…

 Regarding Solzhenitsyn publishing of August 1914 in 1972:

“If August 1914 provided a devastating critique of the sclerotic character of the old Russian regime, of the unwillingness of its purblind bureaucrats and courtiers to adjust thoughtfully to conditions of modernity, it is also clear that Solzhenitsyn had no sympathy for those left-liberals then or in his time who flirted with nihilism, apologized for terrorism, and showed contempt for the best spiritual and cultural traditions of the Russian nation. The luminous essays by Solzhenitsyn and his collaborators in From Under the Rubble contemplate a Russian future freed from evils of ideological despotism.  At the same time, its contributors warned against the slavish imitation of the worst features of contemporary Western democracy, including its scientism, subjectivism, and rejection of the classical and Christian resources of the Western tradition.” (emphasis mine)

 The chapter then goes on to speak of Solzhenitsyn’s indictment of Marxism and collectivism, as well, his “Augustinian defense of freedom – but no special privileges – for religious believers.”

 Under the chapter’s section The Fragility of Modern Liberty:

 “Solzhenitsyn, though, remains what has always been – an eloquent and principled defender of liberty and human dignity.  Yet, Solzhenitsyn is acutely aware of the fragility of the Enlightenment principles that under gird the regime of modern liberty… Solzhenitsyn’s refusal to sever freedom from an order of truth sets him apart from every radically modern articulation of human liberty and makes him suspicious in the eyes of those who identify liberty with the rejection of all natural or divine limits.” (emphasis mine)

 There is way too much depth about Solzhenitsyn and the weakness of our modern democracy in The Conservative Foundations of the Liberal Order for me to relate here and now.  I highly recommend the book to you.

 Now to Solzhenitsyn’s words:

 Intro: The Soviet and Russian novelist, dramatist, and historian during his commencement address delivered at Harvard University, June 8, 1978, without wavering, noted that the problems of the two superpowers were not the military strengths and ideological differences of each turned against each other but rather their lack of a moral center and moral courage.

Because Solzhenitsyn was addressing a western audience, an elite Western audience at Harvard, his speech was decidedly a stinging indictment of the West – its materialism and it’s almost “unlimited freedom of choice of pleasures, its self-serving, inbred media and its disavowal of its spiritual roots:

 “However, in early democracies, as in the American democracy at the time of its birth, all individual human rights were granted because man is God’s creature. That is, freedom was given to the individual conditionally, in the assumption of his constant religious responsibility. Such was the heritage of the preceding thousand years. Two hundred or even fifty years ago, it would have seemed quite impossible, in America, that an individual could be granted boundless freedom simply for the satisfaction of his instincts or whims. Subsequently, however, all such limitations were discarded everywhere in the West; a total liberation occurred from the moral heritage of Christian centuries with their great reserves of mercy and sacrifice. … State systems were becoming increasingly and totally materialistic. The West ended up by truly enforcing human rights, sometimes even excessively, but man’s sense of responsibility to God and society grew dimmer and dimmer.” (emphasis mine)

 And…

“If humanism were right in declaring that man is born only to be happy, he would not be born to die. Since his body is doomed to die, his task on earth evidently must be of a more spiritual nature. It cannot be unrestrained enjoyment of everyday life. It cannot be the search for the best ways to obtain material goods and then cheerfully get the most of them. It has to be the fulfillment of a permanent, earnest duty so that one’s life journey may become an experience of moral growth, so that one may leave life a better human being than one started it. It is imperative to review the table of widespread human values. Its present incorrectness is astounding. It is not possible that assessment of the President’s performance be reduced to the question how much money one makes or of unlimited availability of gasoline. Only voluntary, inspired self-restraint can raise man above the world stream of materialism.” (emphasis mine)

And…

“It would be retrogression to attach oneself today to the ossified formulas of the Enlightenment. Social dogmatism leaves us completely helpless in front of the trials of our times. Even if we are spared destruction by war, our lives will have to change if we want to save life from self-destruction. We cannot avoid revising the fundamental definitions of human life and human society. Is it true that man is above everything? Is there no Superior Spirit above him? Is it right that man’s life and society’s activities have to be determined by material expansion in the first place? Is it permissible to promote such expansion to the detriment of our spiritual integrity?” (emphasis mine)

 In the speech Solzhenitsyn speaks of “…our Earth – divided against itself;” “…all of a sudden the twentieth century brought the clear realization of this society’s fragility.;” ”…the persisting blindness of superiority;” “A decline in courage may be the most striking feature that an outside observer notices in the West today.;” “…and the decline of courage, at times attaining what could be termed a lack of manhood, is ironically emphasized by the occasional outbursts and inflexibility on the part of those same functionaries when dealing with weak governments and with countries that lack support, or with doomed currents which clearly cannot offer resistance..  But they get tongue-tied and paralyzed when they deal with powerful government and threatening forces, with aggressors and international terrorists.”

Sounds familiar, doesn’t it?  Even when echoed from the distance of 1978.

 Take a look at what drives you and perhaps you will see why America is no longer a nation under God, no longer a nation of civil courage, of moral decency.  As Solzhenitsyn points out in his address the West has become humanist anthropocentric:  “the proclaimed and practiced autonomy of man from any higher force above him…with a willful denial of a “Supreme Complete Entity.”

Liberty and the rule of law is not enough to keep us right side up. “Whenever the tissue of life is woven of legalistic relationships, this creates an atmosphere of spiritual mediocrity that paralyzes man’s noblest impulses.”

And, perhaps you will now understand why people would vote for a president who uses class warfare rhetoric to promote the sands of material security as foundational to life’s happiness and not the bedrock of spiritual fortitude.

Please read the speech in its entirety. You will be better for it. Solzhenitsyn’s Harvard Address 6-8-1978