Archives For October 2017

With the downgrade of truth into absolute subjectivity, the changing of a word’s definition, and the blurring of distinctions, are we now witnessing the slow slide towards totalitarianism?

One of the key themes throughout the Pentateuch (the first five books of the bible), is that in delivering His people, Yahweh fights for His people. This homeschool term brings us into the book of Joshua where this theme continues.

Yahweh doesn’t abandon Israel rather He goes with them. He is committed to the covenant and expects the people to also remain committed.

The book of Joshua is a continuation of Yahweh’s war against the gods of the Ancient Near East.

The commands given to Israel to remember “the one who brought them out of Egypt” are to safeguard Israel from the seduction of the culture which surrounds them.

Yahweh’s actions are not without mercy. The twelve tribes face their own failings and are brought back through repentance and correction. In addition, foreigners are accepted and some adopted into Israel without overwhelming prejudice. Such as the descendents of Zipporah (the Midianite wife of Moses), Rahab (the Canaanite prostitute), her family and all who were with her.

Yahweh is at war with the gods of the Ancient Near East, He is at war with those who place these idols of clay, stick and stone at the centre of ANE culture. Yahweh is at war against the superstition that has inflamed the hearts of the people with perverted passions. Passions that include human sacrifice. Chief among them was the ritual murder of innocents.

As with Pharaoh, Yahweh reaches forth in righteous judgement against each city-state because He is righteous and is committed to His people. One of the primary messages communicated by Exodus, up to Joshua and beyond, is this:

where men or women raise themselves up as god, their human throne and the empire it represents become enemies of God.

Man provokes God to anger, and in doing so brings about his own judgement.

It is true that the Israel of today is not the Israel of Joshua’s day. The latter was made up of the twelve tribes of Israel, and it would be difficult to prove that the former is also. What exists is a remnant. It would be careless than of me to say that the history of modern Israel reflects God’s commitment to Ancient Israel, without the above qualification.

It is enough, though to say that biblical prophecy regarding the promises made to Ancient Israel, do appear from time to time to be on the front page of the news. If we cannot give a definite “yes” to this, we still do well to at least pay attention to it.

One of those examples came up today as we reached and read through Joshua 11. Once again we hear the message “Yahweh fights for His people”. If we don’t hear that as a direct word today, we can hear today echo of that message.

The 1967, Six Day War is considered by many to be a miracle. Israel was outnumbered and outgunned. It had no strategic advantage or strategic strongholds, and was threatened on three fronts by a coalition of oil producing nations who had the power, means and motivation to wipe Israel off the map. They failed.

In an excellent series of short videos Jerusalem U sums up the events and consequences of that attempt. I used these for the first time today as part of our lesson in order to show how the biblical texts parallel some events in the world around us. They’re worth checking out.

‘..It was indeed necessary that they should serve as soldiers, and fight strenuously with the enemy, but still they were to depend only on the Lord, to consider themselves strong only in his might, and to recline on him alone…Hence the saying of Psalm 20:7, “some may trust in chariots, some in horses, but we trust in the name of the LORD our God”
(John Calvin, Commentary on Joshua 11)


 

 

“The Titanic is unsinkable. Therefore we don’t need the extra lifeboats.We’ll get there faster without them.”

“But…”

“Oh. Shut up will you. You have a hidden bias. You’re bigoted and intolerant; a complete fool who doesn’t believe in ‘progress’.”

Karl Barth:
.
“There is a lie to be seen in the contrast between all the fuss and bother [the luxuries & arrogance] on board this ship and the helpless way in which it then had to submit to a very elementary force of nature.
 .
The catastrophe brought this lie to light. God will not be mocked. He certainly intends us to work and to achieve something in the world. But He does not intend us to act as though we were done with working, and could now go fooling around.
 .
…If we have to say of the Titanic and its 1500 victims today…the blame for this lies with humanity.”
 .
(On The Sinking of The Titanic, 21st April 1912)

Related reading:

A Slow Turn To Starboard

Let The Pharaohs of Our Age Also Learn: Pride Comes Before a Fall

XYZ’s David Hiscox recently posted about the XYZ team’s growing affection for the term ‘Unintentionally Hilarious’.

David then went on to define this as:

“When someone on the left is so blind to their own bias that they fail to realise that their argument exposes this bias, and reinforces a narrative counter to that of the left. One might even call this “unconscious bias”

I decided to take up his invitation and compile a list of examples characteristic of this ludicrous phenomenon, its dissonance and general drag on democracy:

1. Hate Trump, loves trumps hate

(Hmm. But Love is love right? Can’t someone love Trump? Hashtag: justsayin’)

2. “No borders!! The Right are xenophobic racist bigots. You’re not an American, stay out of American politics”

(This strange anti-Trump hypocrisy was exhibited when an Indian friend of mine came under attack for posting a pro-American, pro-Christian article in a Facebook academic discussion group, largely dominated by American liberal-protestants [theological leftist progressives]. I defended him and the wolf pack turned on me. Doing their best to pin bigot, racist, ignorant etc. on me.  Right up to throwing my contributions to the SSM debate here in Australia, in my face, by falsely accusing me of living off “bashing gays on the internet”. In a move I protested, sometime later, an admin made the unfortunate decision to delete the post. Thereby, giving vindication to their abuse and insults, which aimed at shutting down those who disagreed with them.)

3. “You’re a Nazi; anyone my political group says is or looks like a Nazi, is a Nazi, so find a Nazi and punch one…”

(But, in dehumanizing people you don’t agree with or dislike, or think you are superior to, via reckless labels, simplistic slogans and misguided hate, aren’t you doing what the Nazis actually did?)

4. “You’re a fascist scumbag. You disagree with me; I’m calling that hate speech and silencing you.”

(This one is self-evident, so no comment necessary)

5. You’re white and therefore racist. It’s in your DNA

 (Hmm. Isn’t the very definition of racism, unjustly judging someone by the colour of their skin?)

6.Capitalism is evil, white pride is not the same as other kinds of pride – it’s an evil kind, therefore it’s okay for other people to love and take pride their country, culture, skin colour and faith, but not you. “

(Huh…okay. But, you just tweeted support for #LOVEisLOVE, #pride, on the latest smartphone, shared it to Facebook while drinking a $7 decaf, latte, reading the free press before going shopping without fear of harassment by government sanctioned moral police or the government itself?)

7. Then there was the time when academics united to protest the outlawing, and removal, of Soviet & Nazi symbols in the Ukraine because it contradicts the right to freedom of speech” 

(This was the very same year the Dukes of Hazard  reruns were axed because the iconic ’69 Dodge charger was considered to be a symbol of racism.)

Although, I understand the XYZ affection for the phrase “Unintentionally Hilarious”,  not all of these are all that humorous. They’re outright dangerous.

Consider the issue of recklessly labelling someone a Nazi.  If you can pin someone down to being something as evil as a Nazi, you can justify hurting them, or worse.

The dark and twisted irony of this? The word Nazi is utilised in the way the word Jew was, by the Nazis.

This goes beyond the rhetoric of Godwin’s Law. In any debate, calling your opponent a Nazi without reasoned qualification, dehumanises your opponent. Turning that opponent, without justification, into an inhuman enemy.

The danger should be clear enough. From a psychological point of view this rampant ad hominem is recognised as emotional manipulation. Recklessly calling someone a Nazi is a shaming technique, designed to control the opponent in an attempt to discredit and silence them. The same goes for those who would paint all white people as racist.

Link both the reckless labelling of people as Nazis and the slogan “all white people are racist” together and the cocktail of hate is complete. All that’s needed are chambers filled with the pesticide Zyklon B, cyclone fencing, and all those determined by the Left as having “life unworthy of life”.

Any well informed reader who knows the history behind the genocidal rampaging in Rwanda, of the Tutsis against the Hutus, will see that there is good reason for concern.

Thankfully, I think most independent free thinkers are able to see these dangers. This, however, lasts, for as long as they are allowed to remain independent free thinkers.

Something brilliantly exemplified by the lengthy discussion hosted by Joe Rogan, between Professor of psychology, Jordan B Peterson and Jewish Evolutionary Biologist, Bret Weinstein. The latter is the subject of an ongoing dispute. He was suspended after being falsely accused of being a racist. His crime? Trying to stop Evergreen College from forcing all white people to take a day of absence, as part of an annual ritual held by the college.

I hold to the view that all of this ‘unintentional humour’ is rooted in pride. The power handed to the Left has made most of them drunk; so much so that their logic and reasoning has become incoherent and absurd.

I also believe that anything with pride in it needs serious critique. As I’ve stated in some of my work shared with XYZ, pride is the enemy of grace and will always be so.

Pride repels self-restraint, honest, free critique and authentic humility. It stops us from thinking clearly. Numbs us to the pain of others and dangerously over-inflates a healthy sense of ego.

This is as much a reality for the Right as it is for the Left.

Even XYZ is not exempt. Sure enough, it’s a fresh voice in a land of fake smiles, lies, high-fives and ignorant compliance. If it is to be taken seriously,  however, XYZ’s authors have to apply this very same self-restraint, honest, free critique and authentic humility. Attributes that are lacking in much of society today.

One example of this is in how far XYZ carry, and how well they define, what some call “pro-white nationalism”.

They need to counter the gross historical baggage of “pro-white national socialism”, countering it with a carefully communicated definition of what XYZ authors mean when they talk about ‘’pro-white nationalism”.

This isn’t an attack on XYZ’s authors. It’s an honest example of where, how and why, the Right need to be smarter, more aware, more gracious and more humble. Self reflection is a good thing.

Since the Left give us permission to do so, if a group of people calling other people Nazis, are doing exactly what Nazis did, shouldn’t those being called Nazis, have the right to punch a Nazi?

The answer is a tentative “no”. Those who stand opposed must do better than employ the same tactics used against them. Reagan, Pope John Paul II and Thatcher didn’t bring about an end to the Cold War by feeding the status quo.

If the excesses of the Left are to be responsibly countered; or if any attempt at stopping the worst that Leftist ideologies want to impose on the West is to succeed, then those countering it, will need to trust not in their own wisdom or strength, but in God’s.

Reason will win battles only if it is governed by humility. That humility starts with the recognition that we are not God. It recognises, even if it has to strain itself to do so, that God is God and we are not. Faith seeks understanding and to follow this, in our day and age, is to follow the road of cultural resistance. We have, because God gives. Out of this we in turn live and move and have our being.

Pride is not confidence, it’s an overbearing self-reliance that arrogantly trusts in flawed human structures. It ‘is a universal human problem and everyone suffers from it to some degree.‘ Pride leads us to obsess over power, and drags us into unjust conflict.

False humility is pride. False solidarity is self-seeking. It is an enemy of grace.

And it is the Achilles heel of the Left.

Solomon’s wisdom that echos down through the ages, both encourages and warns us:

‘Pride goes before destruction and an arrogant, haughty spirit comes before a fall.’
(Proverbs 16:18)

 

Here’s an important Heritage foundation panel discussion held in the United States a couple of days ago. The panel contributors include Ryan Bomberger who I have a growing admiration for, because his work through the Radiance Foundation.

The group discusses how anti-discrimination laws are being used as a sword, rather than a shield to impose an ideology and punish those who stand opposed to it.

The panel also addresses the false equivalency that is made between the abhorrent Jim Crow laws, and someone declining to serve/make/create based on a conscientious objection to gay marriage.

I’m in agreement with them.

I especially liked the reasons for a defence of traditional marriage, and the response to government involvement given by Heritage Foundation’s William E. Simon senior research fellow, Ryan T. Anderson, at the close of the discussion [see 46:25 – 47:18].

“Man-made law should recognise the natural law, which looks to human nature and what marriage is. That marriage is based on three secular truths.
First, anthropological truth, that man and woman are distinct and complimentary. Second, the biological fact that reproduction requires a man and a woman; and finally a social reality that children deserve a mum and a dad.
You put those three pieces together and you going to have a basic understanding of what marriage is and our man-made laws should reflect that.
Apart from that it’s not clear to me why the government is consenting ratification of romance business. Once we get away from the man-woman, husband and wife, mother/father understanding of what marriage is, I don’t see what role the state has in regulating consenting adults sexual or romantic relationships.”

In September, I contributed four articles to the Same-sex marriage debate in Australia. All graciously republished by the up and coming conservative/libertarian platform for free speech, edgy, online news magazine XYZ.net.au

1. Nein: Why I will be voting “No” To Same-Sex Marriage 

2. Still Nein: A Response To Janet Albrecthsen’s Libertarian Conservative “Yes” To SSM

3. Biology Is Not a Social Construct: Why “p” Cannot Equal “q” Without Perpetual Revolution

4. A “No” To SSM, is a “Yes” to Freedom, Not a Denial of it

It’s okay to vote “no”.

The general reasoning against any sizeable interest in the suffering and pain of Germans in World War Two might go along these lines:

‘’Well, the fact that some Germans suffered horribly doesn’t equal the unnecessary loss and pain their country caused to the Jewish people or the Allies.’’

For obvious reasons, this response isn’t without justification.

However, any discussion about German suffering is avoided with the vigour of a young theologian. Who once confronted with the task of unpacking Karl Barth’s complex rejection of natural theology, quietly sums it up, then stamps it with a Dante-esk ‘abandon all hope – ye who enter here!

The conversation moves on and the issue is conveniently ignored.

So it is with some difficult primary documents.

They are politely ignored or misappropriated in haste. Sometimes dangerously decontextualised in an attempt to bring the past into agreement with the present[i]. In this case the intellectual method is betrayed and history is abandoned. Either in favour of an ultra-conservative or progressive party-line. Primary documents are for a time effectively written off, partially discounted, misused or conveniently ignored.

The victim? A warts-and-all linear view of history.

Read and received rightly, primary sources show us exactly where, how and when the past can read and inform the present.

Such an undertaking allows us to carefully acknowledge the past with all the seriousness and respect that it rightly deserves.

If allowed to speak as it is, what a primary source can teach us is invaluable. Their contents will challenge comfortable opinions by dragging us into the context. Sometimes even becoming a contradiction to the self-serving and selective views of history so endemic of our time.

For example: Not all Germans were National Socialists. Some even paid the high price of active resistance.

It’s a rare occurrence for those in the English-speaking world to be granted a first-hand insight into the pain, suffering and thoughts of those few Germans who went against the stream during World War Two. Their voice is smothered by the fog of war and their sacrifice forgotten. So when we get the chance to read about it, it’s worth every penny.

Christian Puritz’s 2013: ‘Christ or Hitler?: Stories from my life and times, by Pastor Wilhelm Busch’ is anexample of such rarities:

WilhelmBusch_Family photo 1943

Pastor Busch and Family, 1943. Just before Wilhelm’s son (centre) left for the Russian front where he died a year later.

 

Busch’s recount of what resistance was like and what it cost is described by him in his diary:

When my son reached the senior classes in the grammar school he himself wanted to resist the ungodly repression of those days.
He chose his friends from the Bible Circle that I was leading. This work had already been so defamed that only a handful of young people had the courage to swim against the tide and keep coming.
His friends decided one day to disobey the command of the Hitler Youth (to which all young people without exception then had to belong) to assemble on Sundays during the time of the church service. (Church Youth Groups were forbidden by the Gestapo, the Secret State Police)
I never commanded my son to enter my youth work; he just grew into it of his own accord.
My boy decided to do a bicycle tour. He invited his friends. And in the end he said it would be nice if his father came as well…
On one of the tours we made a discovery that shocked us. My boy had a nose bleed which just would not stop. We took him to a hospital and eventually were told: ‘This boy has haemophilia; his blood can’t coagulate.’
And yet later they conscripted him for the war in Russia. I ran to see the army doctor who examined him.
But a pastor who belonged to the ‘Confessing Church’ and who was not ‘standing without reserve behind our beloved Führer’ did not get a hearing.
I can still see the little troop standing on the station. Destination Russia!
They were just children, eighteen years old. I could have screamed when I saw my child marching away, looking so pale. What did this tender artistic soul have to do with an unjust war? He had been caught in a pitiless machine.
Then somewhere in Russia he bled to death. Abandoned and alone! No! Not alone! In his wallet was found a bloodstained scrap of paper with the words:
‘The Lord is my Shepherd; I shall not want… And though I walk in the dark valley, I fear no evil; for you are with me.[ii]

It’s true enough that when compared to the suffering of millions under the Nazi reign of terror, this is of little consolation.

However, there is a uniqueness within these first-hand accounts. There is a solidarity of suffering which shows a different side to Germany during World War Two. By their resistance to National Socialist rules, they become an exception to the rule.

Not all  Germans were Nazis. There wasn’t a total alignment of Germans towards the totalitarian Fascist state.

This kind of insight is also reflected through the lives of German men and women, such as: Dietrich Bonhoeffer (Theologian), Oskar Schindler (Industrialist), Paul Schneider (Pastor), Claus von Stauffenberg (Soldier), Edith Stein (Feminist/Carmelite Nun), and Sophia Scholl (Student).  {Oskar Schindler being the only one on this list to not be murdered by the Fascist State}

.       Left to Right: Bonhoeffer, Schneider,          .      Stauffenberg, Schindler Scholl & Stein

 

In these cases and the few like them, there is a juxtaposition of those inside the Axis with those outside it.

In their resistance we witness a politics of realignment. The unavoidable and political ”nein”  to any state, political party, ideology or politician who lays claim to being a secondary messiah equal to that of the revelation of God in Jesus Christ.

We are reminded by them, that in Jesus Christ we are turned back towards freedom. In their struggle we are handed the reminder that we may stand, must stand and therefore ought to stand against any stream, scheme or masked revelation that seeks to ‘tame and control the Gospel by adapting it rather than being adapted by it’. (Karl Barth CD.II/I:163)

In 1969, Billy Graham talking with William F. Buckley Jnr. outlined the finer points of dichotomy between the Christian revolution of the heart and all Marxism revolt.

 

Under Marxist rule the first victim is religious freedom. By their very existence, the genuine Christian, the sinner saved by grace, stands in direct opposition to Communism, because society’s salvation, criticism and hope begins and ends with the freedom and authority of Jesus Christ, not Karl Marx.

The Polish people exemplified this in the early 1980’s, when ‘their hostility towards Communism was demonstrated, not by riots, but by openly showing their allegiance to God…’ [iii]

This pertains to the pursuit of truth vs. political conformity. Where the freedom that gives life to the intellectual method is maintained against any who would seek to enslave it.

Just as

…’the light of eternity shines into the sadness.’ (Pastor Busch) [iv]

insight brings hope.

 ‘It would be wrong not to lay lessons of the past before the future’[v]
– (Winston S. Churchill, 1948)

 


References:

[i] For example: the attempt to synthesise Leftism (White Rose Society) with this, (The Historical White Rose Society).

[ii] Puritz, Christian (Trans/Ed.) Christ or Hitler?: Stories from my life and times, by Pastor Wilhelm Busch (1897-1966) (First) Evangelical Press. Kindle Ed.

[iii] Wojtyla, K. cited by O’Sullivan, J. 2006  The President, The Pope & The Prime Minister: Three Who Changed The World Regnery Publishing, Inc.

[iv] Puritz, Ibid.

[iv] Churchill, W. 1948, The Gathering Storm: The Second World War, Vol.1 Houghton Mifflin Company Kindle Ed.

Billy Graham, 1969. The Decline of Christianity, Firing Line, William F. Buckley

YouTube: The Decline of Christianity

Stanford Transcript: The Decline of Christianity

Perfection: