Archives For Communism

One thing we’re big on in theology is literary criticism. The scientific process of taking a statement back to its original source through questions, context, analysis, research, and faith-filled dialogue about our reasoned conclusions.

It’s a sure guard against deception, misrepresentation, and ignorance.

A good reason for our focus on this is highlighted by Eric Voegelin in his 1968 book, ‘Science, Politics & Gnosticism’:

‘The deception of the reader occurs when a text or citation is separated from its context and is used in isolation from its original intended meaning.’ [i] (paraphrased)

Context matters.

Voegelin had just gotten through explaining how Karl Marx in his doctoral dissertation of 1840–41 misrepresented the statement, “In a word, I hate all the gods”, from Prometheus in Aeschylus’ ‘Prometheus Bound.

For Voegelin, “anyone who doesn’t know Prometheus Bound must conclude that Prometheus’ “confession” sums up the meaning of the tragedy.”

Marxism’s revolt against, and hatred of God, is a product of Marx’s misunderstanding of ‘the Hellenic [Promethean] symbol.’ [ii]

Voegelin states that Prometheus is reinterpreted by Marx, ‘The revolutionary reversal of the symbol—the dethronement of the gods, the victory of Prometheus—lies beyond classical culture; it is the work of gnosticism.’

This is where, said Voegelin, the ‘young Marx presents his own attitude; under the symbol of Prometheus’ Marx wages war against God, and because they’re inseparably linked, also, man.

It could be said that Marxism uses a god, to dispose God, in order to exalt themselves as god; leaving in the wake of Promethean “wokeness,” a sea of mass graves, in exchange for the Divine seat of power.

Marx either got Prometheus horribly wrong, or deliberately manipulated the Greek myth to build a school of thought, and oppressive ideology around it.

Prometheus wasn’t a Marxist, but Marxists have forged Prometheus in their own image.

Bonhoeffer, in his lectures on Genesis, recorded in DBW3: ‘Creation and Fall,’ substantiates good reasons for discernment, and suspicion of this Marxist Promethean self-justification, better penned as Promethean wokeness.

According to Bonhoeffer, in the Garden of Eden, God’s Word was used as a weapon against God. The result was a catastrophic fallout between the creature and its benevolent Creator.

The power to decree that which is right and wrong, good and evil, is now considered to have been taken up into the hands of humanity.

Rather than a new day dawning [enlightenment], darkness descends [truth is hijacked] and humanity descends with it.

The source that determines what good and evil is relocated; reassigned by, and lowered down to a Creatorless humanity.

Humanity in its abstraction from God devours itself.

Instead of being liberated, God’s creature becomes burdened. The Promethean Marxist’s hatred of God, is powered by human lust for dominion and power. This is why I am convinced that Socialists, for all their protests to the contrary, care only about power, not people.

Marx’s Promethean wokeness seeks to overthrow God – demanding God’s kingdom, be ruled by man, without God in it [iii].

Thus, human beings, wrote Bonhoeffer, ‘renounce the word of God that approaches them again and again out of the inviolable center and boundary of life; they renounce the life that comes from this word and grab it for themselves.’

Man positions himself in God’s place; Good is called evil, and evil is called good, for ‘humanity stands in the center; disobedience in the semblance of obedience, the desire to rule in the semblance of service […]’ [iv]

We’re told in the Biblical accounts, such usurpation is the nonsense of Nothingness, it turns humans into the playthings of demons, and is ultimately destined to catastrophic failure.

The Governed become pawns, Government becomes God.

The overbearing weight of being governed by a government which has confused the Creator with the creature, is inevitably unjust, corrupt, and self-destructive.

Who, and what governs those who govern us? No one. There is no limit to Marx’s Promethean Wokeness.

Despite appearances, the Promethean self-justification, its pride filled proclamation about the “death of God,” and subsequent coronation of man as a god, doesn’t happen without a decisive response from God.

God isn’t wounded outside His own choosing [e.g.: as He does for our sakes in Jesus Christ].

Neither is He killed off.

Instead of liberation, in humanity’s exaltation of itself over against God, humans mortally wound themselves.

Despite this, God shows compassion.

In spite of the Promethean self-justification where ‘the ultimate possible rebellion, portrays the truth as a lie. [Where] the Abyss that underlies the lie lives because it poses as the truth and condemns the truth as a lie,’ [v] God doesn’t abandon His self-centred, rebellious creation.

He graciously intervenes, judge’s humanity, and in doing so saves it from itself. He then covers His creatures’ nakedness, and blesses it with posterity.

God remains God for us, even when He disagrees and takes a stand against us.

Even though His creature is so infused with, and consumed by the maddening effects of Marx’s misguided Promethean hate, God chooses to reconcile, liberate, and save the creature He loves.

God chooses not to jettison His creature, as it has jettisoned Him.

Promethean wokeness doesn’t allow any connection with this God.

It in fact, denies it. Reduces humanity to systems, and calls all questions that challenge it, “enemies,” “traitors,” and “bugs.”

Karl Marx’s big mistake was to read into the Promethean myth his own lust for power.

Promethean wokeness is a Marxist monstrosity.

What’s left behind is the butchered, and disfigured creation of an idea that prides itself as man’s true liberator, but conceals behind its mask the deep black void of the Abyss.


Sources:

[i] Voegelin, E. 1968, Science, Politics & Gnosticism: Two Essays, (paraphrased). Kindle (Loc.492)

[ii] ibid, 1968

[iii] Johnny Cash, U2 ‘The Wanderer’

[iv] Bonhoeffer, D 1937, Creation & Fall, Fortress Press (pp.109-116)

[v] ibid, 1937


First published on Caldron Pool, 8th April 2021.

©Rod Lampard, 2021.

Obscure social media accounts calling themselves “fan accounts” of Joe and Jill Biden’s dogs must have missed the “Healing and Unity” Joebama memo.

One Instagram post shows Biden’s dogs trying to tear apart a chew toy of Donald Trump with the caption claiming that the photos were from Naomi Biden who ‘took them during a Tug of War match.’

Another, which was also shared to the “Oval Pawffice” Twitter account showed Biden in sunglasses showered in radiant yellow light, resembling propaganda images of a Latin American dictator.

The Hill reported that the social media accounts were an ‘ode’ to ‘Champ and Major Biden’, which went viral on Twitter’ after a mysterious spike in voter numbers handed the November 2020 election to the 78-year-old, 44-year career politician.

The accounts boasting of Joe Biden’s apparent election “win” went live in November, and their intimate content infers that the owner of the accounts must have some strong, inside connection to the alleged President-elect.

Images celebrating physical violence towards President Donald Trump aren’t surprising, given four years of Democrats campaigning on a platform of hate, division and lies, but they do raise questions about the mangled hypocritical contrasts between the exhausting, open war of criticism against the Trump family, and the cone of protective silence being put up around Joe Biden and his son.

Noteworthy, the many intellectual class pundits, theologians and Pastors who were convinced that “Trump was literally Hitler” in 2016, are nowhere to be seen or heard from, on the blatant deification of Joebama Harris Clinton as a 2nd revelation of Christ.

Biden and the Democrats already have their Storm Detachment,  Sturmabteilung, ersatz pre-election Kristallnacht, and one party ruled states, all that’s missing here is Leni Riefenstahl’s ‘The Triumph of the Will.’


First published on Caldron Pool, 17th December 2020.

©Rod Lampard, 2020.

Technocrats at Google have silenced YouTube users and content providers, after it surrendered to an avalanche of Leftist demands for the “free speech” platform to enforce “right-think” and “right-speak” about the recent U.S election.

In early November the NBC reported that YouTube was holding firm, and staring down ‘growing criticism’ for allowing boisterous disagreement and analysis.

According to the NBC, ‘YouTube wanted to give users room for “discussion of election results,” even when that discussion is based on debunked information.’

Fast forward to December and YouTube has given in to the pressure, now determining to censure any thought, or spoken word that challenges the election result, the pure farce that is the office of “President elect,” and election fraud.

The New York Times, not without smug adulation for the ‘reversal’ noted that YouTube have decided to backflip on its steadfast decision because it wanted to stamp out ‘misleading information’ and ‘false claims.’

YouTube defended both it’s decision to hold out against criticism for so long, and for its capitulation, saying, in essence, “we’ve let people have had their say. Since a large portion of states of ‘certified their results,’ fraud or no fraud, it’s now time to move on, surrender, and acknowledge Joe Biden’s, legit or not, ascendency to the throne.” (paraphrased from the NYT)

The anti-freedom of speech about-face is a complete 180 from YouTube’s previous policy which allowed commentary on the 2016 election loss by Hilary Clinton to Donald Trump. The most notable of which was Leftist commentary, and false claims about concretely debunked Russian collusion.

With YouTube’s capitulation, Big Tech appears to be moving further towards a system of indoctrination which resembles the one used by the Chinese Communist Party, who, through the inherent Marxist culture of suspicion, with the power of mass surveillance and its Golden Shield firewall, controls how Chinese people use the internet; what citizens see, search, hear, read, or learn.

YouTube’s decision to censure the expression of dissent, analysis and information further reveals the hypocrisy and bias already entrenched in the Technocrat’s billion dollar playground.

They wanted to stop interference in the election, but played election interference for the Democrats.

They were quick to censure President Trump and block reasoned, commentary on COVID-19 treatments, but allowed the CCP’s Lijian Zhao to keep up a tweet falsely depicting an Australian soldier slicing the throat of an Afghan child.

If this image isn’t punishable under Big Tech’s Eula regarding “misleading information” or “hate speech” what is?

Zhao’s false, offensive tweet was posted in November, 30th. It’s still active, hasn’t been fact checked, or tagged. Neither has the account been suspended, and reports to Twitter about it have gone unanswered.

The lack of action taken against Lijian’s false and misleading tweet, strongly indicates that Big Tech globalists are in bed with the CCP.

And like the CCP, they’re now blocking and censuring any content which questions the ideological paradigm.

It would appear that the insidiously wealthy Technocrats of Silicon Valley don’t want you to disagree or question the narrative.

Blocking questions, analysis and opinion about the U.S election is equal to them participating in a cover-up.

It’s worth pondering:

Why would technocrats silence dissent, analysis, free and open debate, if the alleged Democrat “win” was legal?


First published on Caldron Pool, 11th December 2020.

©Rod Lampard, 2020.

Australian TR News contributor, Avi Yemini masterfully illustrated how toxic intersectionality is to mental health. If intersectionality can’t find oppression, it’ll apply cognitive distortions to “find” oppression where none existed or exists.

Yemini wrote on Twitter:

“I’m half white. Meaning half of me is responsible for the oppression of the other half. I finally grew the bollocks to confront myself. I demanded an apology from my oppressive half. He refused. Selfish prick.”

Jonathon Haidt explains in ‘The Coddling of the American Mind‘, that the concept of intersectionality follows directly on the heals of Herbert Marcuse’s 1965 essay, ‘Repressive Tolerance’.  Marcuse, ‘the father of the New Left’, was the main influence behind the traditional Left moving from standing up for worker’s rights to promoting social justice movements.

In applying the Marxist dichotomy of oppressed vs. oppressor to the ‘Left-Right dimension’, Marcuse painted the Right ‘as the party of “hate”, the Left as the party of “humanity.” His hard line polarising set one group against the other, without regard for common ground. The Right were a sinful party of hate vs. the Left a sinless party of humanity; the Right warlike, the Left peace loving.

For example:

‘Even though the Democrats controlled Washington at that time, Marcuse associated the right with the business community, the military, and other vested interests that he saw as wielding power, hoarding wealth, and working to block social change.The left referred to students, intellectuals, and minorities of all kinds. For Marcuse, there was no moral equivalence between the two sides.’ (Haidt, p.69)

The ‘end goal of Marcuse’s revolution is not equality but a reversal of power.’ From the platform of identity politics and critical theory, intersectonality entrenches the sinless side against the sinful other. According to Haidt this is exhibited by the ‘untruth of us vs. them’, and it’s powered by “…identity politics, which amplifies the human proclivity for us-versus-them thinking.’

Consequently, on many University campuses the Marcusian doctrine has ‘prepared students [and their teachers] for battle, not for learning.’ Through Marcusian’s vicious dichotomy the sinless party of humanity self-righteously justifies violence against the sinful party of hate, drawing the West into an inevitable civil war, potentially even a global one. It’s apt that Haidt references back to witch hunts, and the bloody suppression of those deemed unworthy of life during the Communist Cultural Revolution in China during the late 1960s to mid-1970s.

Hadit tracks the birth of intersectionality back to  Kimberlé Williams Crenshaw, a one time law professor at UCLA, now professor at Columbia. Her 1989 essay on the subject is considered by Haidt to be ‘important insight’ into why ‘you can’t just look at a few big “main effects” of discrimination; you have to look at interactions, or “intersections.” Citing Patricia Hill Collins and Sirma Bilge, he defines intersectionality ‘as an analytic tool that examines the impact of power relations’ between people, groups, cultures, sub-cultures and institutions.

He agrees with the premise of interesectionality because power has a tendency to be abused and ‘cruelly used’. Thus creating ‘disadvantage in ways that are often blind to others.’ The problem is that ‘certain interpreations’ of intersectionality corrupt it through misapplication, and weaponization. As a result, ‘interpretations of intersectionality teach people to see bipolar dimensions of privilege and oppression’ everywhere.

This magnifies a ‘proton pseudos; imagining oppression where none exists. Then exaggerating, or ignoring oppression where it does exist. For instance, black on black crime in the United States is overlooked for the racist cops vs. the black community narrative.

The flaw in Haidt’s affection, as he inadvertently admits, is that the road to hell is paved with good intentions. Intersectionality is an unstable, volatile concept. It’s function may intend to protect and serve the vulnerable against abuses of power, but misused (as we’re seeing examples of exploding to life everywhere), intersectonality is the source of confusion, dysfunction and violence.

Intersectionality is simply a bad idea. It’s primary use is as a weapon, not a shield. By way of instilling in people self-hatred, through guilt, shame, blame and condemnation, intersectionality is the Marcusian weapon of choice in it’s destructive quest for a ‘reversal of power’.

Through Marcuse’s sinless vs. sinful – party of hate vs. party of humanity – divide and conquer dichotomy, intersectionality justifies senseless violence, believing (without question) all kinds of accusations. As long as those accusations come from those deemed oppressed by the privileged vs. oppressed intersectional rubric.

Intersectionality is no liberator, reconciler or redeemer. It does violence to society in large part because it empowers the abuse of language and by default manipulative propaganda. This allows people to ‘label their opponents’ words [or silence] as violence, whereby they give themselves permission to engage in ideologically motivated physical violence.’

Intersectionality is a thought prison that chains people to fear and suspicion. It serves self-righteousness and encourages people to replace evidence based reasoning with emotion; charitable interpretation with a list of cognitive distortions, such as  ‘catastraphising’, ‘mind reading’, ‘dichotomous thinking’, ‘negative filtering’, ‘blame’, and ‘positive discounting’.

This joyless yardstick thinking drives a wedge into communities, families, Churches and Western governments, which explains why warmongering Western Communists are among Marcuse’s greatest admirers.

Conclusively, intersectionality raises more questions than it can answer, and raises more problems than it claims to want to solve.

Hence the still powerful relevance of these words, ‘if a blind man follows another blind man, they both fall into a pit.’ – Jesus, Matthew 15:13, ESV


References:

Haidt, J. & Lukianoff, G. 2018. The Coddling of the American Mind: How Good Intentions and Bad Ideas are Setting up a Generation for Failure,  Penguin Random House

It’s not difficult to locate video footage, or testimonials from victims who’ve come face to face with mobs in masks, wielding weapons, intimidating, threatening and harassing people in the name of their ideology. They’re a global movement, have their own flag, wear a uniform, carefully manage their image via mass media, are well organized, sizably funded, and having been openly supported, on occasion, by politician and celebrity alike, have political clout.

Their tendency towards violence is well established. As is their willingness to incite violence, or the threat of violence to silence an opponent; this is often against a person deemed by their leaders, as being unworthy of having an opinion – usually because their target’s viewpoint doesn’t support the goals of their leaders, and the ideological hegemony this masked-mob is not only trying defend, but to further establish.

If you thought that this described some ridiculous fringe-dwelling “Right-wing extremist” groups looking for validation, you’d be wrong. This is Antifa. Antifa is a mainstream Left-wing (paramilitary) unit, who tag themselves as anti-fascists. Unlike their eco-“anti-fascist” cousins, Extinction Rebellion, Antifa are better organized, and funded, often recruiting online or via University campuses.

Antifa is joined by an academic collective who pride themselves on being outspoken Nazi haters. Yet, by the way in which this “anti-fascist” organization appears to be structured – the way in which they choose to deal with people, rather than exchange ideas in civil conversation – it’s becoming more and  more obvious that their DNA  matches the DNA of those they claim to be fighting against.

Appearing to consider themselves endowed with special knowledge, or powers, it’s not hard to categorize Antifa as a dangerous esoteric group. Antifa parades itself as though its soldiers have been given a special revelation from God – a special insight – that enables them to spot a Nazi, or “right-wing extremist”, where the rest of us “plebs” are unable to do so. This presumptuous self-importance powers Antifa’s contempt for the majority of Westerners. You are a suspected Nazi, or “right-wing extremist” unless you prove you’re not, or up until Antifa chooses to clear you of all suspicion.

Left-wing groups need “right-wing extremism” and Nazism, in order to stay politically relevant. Therefore these organizations need to manufacture both in order stay solvent. For example: if there are not enough Nazis to go around, hype, funds and support fall away. Consequently, they have to manufacture some, or more profitably, expand the criteria, whereby Left-wing groups can push something like the “white supremacist crisis” narrative, and then conveniently present themselves as political messiahs, selling themselves as the only ones with the special knowledge and special power to fight this new enemy. Antifa needs fascists to stay relevant. Since “right-wing extremists” are fringe groups, and there are not enough of them to fight, the quiet quest is now on to expand the criteria for what, and who can be labeled a “right-wing extremist”.

Follow the logic, and this potentially means that anyone who supports the national anthem, national flag, biological union of man and woman, binary gender, or traditional marriage, are squeezed into the “right-wing extremist” category. Under this expanded criteria “right-wing extremist” would potentially even include Grannies who serve tea at the local CWA hall on a Tuesday, who’d find themselves face to face with Antifa  bullies, dispatched (via social media) to put-down these new “right wing extremists”, deemed so by Antifa’s Left-wing overlords and apparatchik sycophants.

By default Antifa and Left-wing groups can then try to put their own organization on par with the significance of those who stormed onto Juno, Utah, Omaha, Gold, and Sword, into what Eisenhower called a ‘Crusade’ against the National Socialist abyss that was consuming Europe during the 1940s.

Left-wing groups like Antifa don’t seem to care that the West is already deeply aware of the evil and dangers of Nazism. This is because our social awareness, knowledge of history, and its inherent anti-Nazism, is an inconvenience to their political narrative. It hinders their ability to justify their claims and existence as an organization.

Through our annual remembrance of those who went head to toe with real Nazis and defeated them; by the blood and sacrifice of our forebears; every time we commemorate events like VE day, or Anzac Day, we remind these Left-wing groups of our inherent anti-Nazism.

This isn’t just something we give lip service to; it’s written into the DNA of our consciousness – the evil and danger of Nazism is written in blood on many a family tree, but this great cost is cheapened by Left-wing groups like Antifa, who call, or suspect anyone and everyone, who isn’t a card carrying member of the Left, a Nazi. They insult the memory of our forebears when they ignore the fact that anti-Nazism is carved into the imagination and social consciousness of Westerners.

National Socialism (Nazism) isn’t the only demon out there. The social consciousness of the West is yet to include the dangers and evils present within other man-made systems of salvation and condemnation, such as Islamism and Communism. These groups remain successful in hiding from Westerners the same satanic darkness, and devouring Nothingness, that embodies them.

The ability of Left-wing groups, such as Communists to control how we view the world, through the largely inadequate, left/right metaphor, has given them the ability to distance Communism from the same criticisms applied to Nazism. As long as the concerns and imagination of the world is captivated by fear of “right-wing extremism”, and a necessary focus on the evil that is Nazism, Communists can deflect attention away from their own sins; their own atrocities.

This carefully manufactured gap in Western education and its social consciousness has created a myth of the socialist as savior. By keeping Nazis in the rubric Far-Right, or right-wing extremism, Communists have been able to paint themselves into the social consciousness of the West as a hero fighting the great Satan on the opposite side of the political metaphor. Thus, Communists have been able to shift public opinion in its favor. Anything on the Right is easily stigmatized as Nazism. Whether it is so or not doesn’t matter, as long as the image of benevolence is maintained in order to conceal the true nature of the beast. The sins of socialism are not only quickly forgiven; they’re just as quickly forgotten.

Communists can then say that only Communists can spot a real Nazi. Subsequently, only a Communist can be trusted to fight Nazis because only Communists are true anti-fascists. The Berlin Wall is one such example of Communists hijacking the term anti-fascist, in order to advance their own ideology. It was constructed by Communists and called an Anti-fascist Protection Rampart. Such is the malevolence that hides behind the veneer of what the radical Left sells as “Anti-fascism”.

Everyone who questions this falls under the suspicion of being a Nazi or a “right-wing extremist”, simply because it questioned our self-appointed political messiahs. This is why Antifa can damage property, harm people and shut down businesses, all without any real accountability. Then parade as an angel of light and garnish support, simply by appearing so.

To question anti-fascism is to be exposed as, or bring oneself under the suspicion of being a Nazi or “right-wing extremist.” There can be no questioning of this new lord-of-lords. Not without punishment, or being made to grovel in a public display of penance for doubting the benevolence of the socialist system of salvation.

Though socialism is the common ancestor of Communism and Nazism, Communism has side-stepped the same global ramifications for its criminal actions that have rightly been imposed on the National Socialist German Workers Party (Nazis). Take for instance, the infamous Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact (1939), at which very few, if any raised an eyebrow at. This Soviet pact with the Nazis allowed the Soviets to invade Finland for its resources, and justified their invasion of Poland on one side, with the Nazis invading on the other.

Other examples of immunity for the crimes committed under Communism include the hushing up of the little known and rarely taught, Holodomor (1932-1933), Gulags, brutal suppression of the Hungarian Revolution (1956), Warsaw Pact invasion of Czechoslovakia (1968), Katyn massacre, invasion & occupation of Afghanistan (1979-1989). These aren’t anomalies.

So wrote Eric Voeglin,

‘modern ideological mass movements and the dominant “philosophical” schools are in some sense continuations of the various anti-Christian, Gnostic sects, which were discredited as heretical in antiquity—there is both an historical continuity and an experiential equivalence between the ancient movements and such modern phenomena as positivism, Marxism, Freudianism, existentialism, progressivism, utopianism, revolutionary activism, fascism, communism, national socialism, and the rest of the “isms.” [i]

More pointedly stated by Roger Scruton, ‘Marxism shares the category of totality not only with traditional religion, but also with its own arch-enemy and blood brother, fascism.’[ii]

Suffice to say, Nazism and Communism are two wings on the same vicious bird.

Leftism is a crime against humanity.

As Jacques Ellul stated, ‘situating everything in Marxism is intellectual terrorism.’ [iii]


References:

[i] Voeglin, E. 1968. Science, Politics & Gnosticism: Two Essays, Regnery Publishing

[ii] Scruton, R. 2015. Fools, Frauds & Firebrands: Thinkers of the New Left, Bloomsbury

[iii] Ellul, J. 1988. Jesus & Marx, (pp.22-26)’

* Augusto Zimmerman’s 2018 article ‘Adolf Hitler’s Debt to Karl Marx‘ on Quadrant discusses in a lot more detail the subject I’ve raised about the largely false dichotomy between Communism & Nazism; and how it shows that the Left/Right metaphor is problematic.

First published on Caldron Pool, 1st March, 2020. Also featured on The Spectator Australia, 2nd March, 2020

Pic. New York Times

©Rod Lampard, 2020

 

Entitled ‘Gideon: God is my Lord’ [i] and preached in Berlin on February 26, 1933 ‘Bonhoeffer gave his first sermon’ since Hitler had been enshrined as chancellor 27 days prior.

Bonhoeffer’s decision to preach from the Old Testament was deliberate. In my opinion, he couldn’t have picked a more controversial figure, at the time, to make a political point.

Nazism, much the same as Communism, is an industry built on victimhood. These systems need a perpetual sense of victimization and sympathy in order to maintain membership and political momentum.

Bonhoeffer understood this. He chose Gideon in a deliberate attempt to preach against the imagery used in Nazi propaganda. In a way Bonhoeffer was reaching for Martin Luther’s epic treatise ‘Bondage of the Will’, to challenge Nazism’s ‘Triumph of the Will.’[ii]

For example: Larry Rasmussen suggests Bonhoeffer contrasted a ‘young [powerless] man chosen by God to save Israel from their enemies and turn them away from the worship of false gods’ with ‘Siegfried, the unconquered Germanic hero figure (of the Nibelung saga), idealised by the Nazis.’ [iii]

Expanding on this Isabel Best writes that Bonhoeffer sets out to ‘describe God’s power in contrast to human might, and finally from Martin Luther’s ‘A Might Fortress,’ to assure his hearers that even now the power, and the victory, are God’s alone.’[iv]

Gideon’s message is God’s grace to the Israelites and through the witness of Gideon this message is also about God’s graciousness towards humanity.

Bonheoffer expresses this clearly:

‘Gideon, we recognise your voice only too well; you sound just the same today as you did then…
Who would be willing to say that he or she has never heard this call and has never answered, as Gideon did: Lord, with what I am supposed to do such great things?
But Gideon is silenced; today as just in those days, he’s told to shut up. You’re asking, “With what?” Haven’t you realised what it means that this is God calling to you? Isn’t the call of God enough for you; if you listen properly, doesn’t it drown out all your “with what” questions?
“I will be with you” – that means you are not asked to do this with any other help. It is I who have called you; I will be with you; I shall be doing it too. Do you hear that, Gideon of yesterday and today?
God has called you, and that is enough. Do you hear that, individual doubting Christian, asking and doubting Christian? God has plans for you, and that does mean you.
Be ready to see to it. Never forget, even when your own powerlessness is grinding you down to the ground, that God has phenomenal, immeasurable, great plans for you. I will be with you.’ [v]

Dietrich Bonhoeffer is someone I’d heard of, yet never read with any serious interest until I started college. Since then I have made inroads into understanding his life, theology and influences.

Most Christians who’ve heard of Bonhoeffer might only know him as a an obscure martyr; others will be able to match the name in more detail with the context and images of an era when Europe was consumed by an industrial military complex, imposing new cultural laws, issuing forth blitzkrieg, euthanasia, and mass murder; inciting euphoria through the progeny of Darwinian Socialism, the false doctrines of Nazi dogma.

The latter was swarming the globe, enraging some, and finding recruits in others. All through the promise of a new dawn for humanity – one embossed in the appearance of allegiance with Christianity, when instead it was firmly based on the survival of the fittest, racial supremacy, socialism, scientism, and pagan religion.

Faced with the uncertainty of the times, Bonhoeffer reaches for a tangible example from the Biblical text.

Some of us may find the times confusing. Some are frustrated, and feel powerless in the face of new industries built up around victimhood. Those of us in this category, who have a decent amount of knowledge of history, also lament at how those new victimhood industries are fast reflecting the old.

The truth is that we are witnessing a new wave of organized chaos that has to some degree breached walls where restraint has remained the stalwart of freedom. We are dragged into a fight for freedom and the Western world. A battle that must now be fought, but one we didn’t desire, nor ask for.

In the midst of this, Bonhoeffer and Gideon’s story speaks, reminding us to carry this burden without compromise, to maintain Christ-like integrity in the heat of battle, with the knowledge that though the enemy calls our faith weakness, God calls it strength. He still reigns, and we must trust that He, in His mercy will provide the means to address the challenges of today, and the challenges of tomorrow.

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.” – (Philippians 4:6, ESV)


References:

[i] Best, I. (Ed.) 2012 The Collected Sermons of Dietrich Bonheoffer Fortress Press, p.67

[ii] Veith, G. E. 2010. The Spirituality of the Cross, Concordia Publishing House

[iii] Rasmussen, L in The Collected Sermons of Dietrich Bonheoffer, Isabel Best, (Ed.) 2012  Fortress Press, p.67

[iv] Ibid.

[v] Ibid, pp.67-74 & Stroud, D.G. (Ed.) Preaching in Hitler’s Shadow: Sermons of Resistance in the Third Reich  Wm.B Eerdmans Press, pp.51-61

An updated version of Gideon Speaks & Sounds Just The Same Today As He Did Then  from September 24, 2014.

First published on Caldron Pool, 5th November, 2019.

Photo by Pavel Nekoranec on Unsplash

©Rod Lampard, 2019.

Last weekend, ‘thugs for hire’ terrorized the town of Yuen Long, Hong Kong, beating up anti-extradition, pro-freedom, pro-Democracy protesters.

Two days ago, University of Toronto professor, Lynette H. Ong in an article for the Washington Post, noted that there were reports the “thugs for hire” were connected to organized crime, however Ong said that there was evidence to suggest ‘that the attacks were orchestrated by pro-Beijing forces, with one pro-Beijing lawmaker reportedly congratulating the attackers.’ [i]

Whether from a plausible deniability angle or open allegiance, authoritarian governments are historically known for outsourcing organized 3rd party mobs to do their bidding. The most famous being the Sturmabteilung (Nazi Storm Detachment/Troopers). According to Ong, it’s likely that “thugs for hire” offers the Communist regime an ‘expedient strategy to intimidate pro-Democracy protesters. This allows authorities to skirt responsibility for any violence that may take place.’ Ong continued, stating, ‘short of rolling in tanks, outsourced violence arguably may be the most effective means to ward of protesters.’ [ii]

Lily Kuo in the Guardian gave some geographical context, writing that Yeon long is ‘one of the more remote areas’ where pro-Democracy protesters ‘hadn’t planned to demonstrate’ against the extradition bill. This changed when ‘commuters returning from dinner, going to meet friends or some coming back from the pro-democracy rally in Central Hong Kong, were met by dozens of masked men in white T-shirts, armed with rattan rods (martial arts sticks) and other weapons’. [iii]

In the shadow of China’s incarceration of Church leaders, destruction of church buildings, and general persecution of Christians, including the Chinese Government’s reported reeducation camps where up to ‘one million Uighur Muslims’ have been detained, the concerns of pro-freedom, pro-Democracy protesters in Hong Kong appear justified.

According to Kuo, the change in law would ‘allow the extradition of suspects to mainland China [iv]; supporters say the amendments are key to ensuring the city doesn’t become a criminal refuge, but critics worry Beijing will use the law to extradite political opponents and others to China, where their legal protections cannot be guaranteed.’

The violence wasn’t just isolated to Hong Kong. On the 25th, pro-Beijing Chinese students clashed with pro-Hong Kong Chinese students during a protest on Brisbane’s, University of Queensland campus. The ABC described the clash as ‘four hour’ standoff between the two groups.

Alex Linder of Shanghaiist said that the standoff and subsequent ‘pushing and shoving’ began when pro-Beijing Chinese students ‘arrived blasting out China’s national anthem, chanting slogans, and later grabbing [anti-Communist] protesters signs and ripping them’. [v]

If Ong is right and the white shirts are “thugs hired” by the Communist regime it’s an escalation which reinforces the concerns of pro-democracy protesters. It’s doubtful that this well-worn authoritarian tactic of political intimidation will have the desired effect.

The events in Hong Kong on the weekend are also noteworthy for their similarity to Antifa. Semi-uniformed thugs wearing masks, rampaging against anyone wearing a MAGA hat, all reflect Antifa’s modus operandi – the stand out example being Antifa’s brutal assault on journalist, Andy Ngo, back in June. An event Quillette Magazine called ‘a wakeup call for authorities and journalists alike’, stating:

We are ‘hoping that our fellow journalists might awaken from the delusion that Antifa is a well-intentioned band of anti-fascists with a few bad apples sullying the cause. As Quillette reported last month, a simple statistical study serves to show that the journalists who cover Antifa most often and most energetically have turned their outlets into pro-Antifa propaganda organs. Indeed, this bias is so entrenched that some left-wing media responded to our report not with introspection, but with paranoid and maudlin claims that Quillette and its authors must be secretly in league with Antifa’s fascist enemies.’

If Antifa are true anti-fascists, where are they’re protests in solidarity with pro-Democracy Chinese demonstrators? Where is Antifa’s stand against real suffering under oppressive authoritarianism in countries such as Communist China, Venezuela, Iran, and North Korea?

As important as Ong’s tentative conclusions about pro-Beijing “white shirts” are, her conclusions also lead us to question Antifa’s origins, and backing. Are Antifa also “thugs for hire”? If so, who’s fitting the bill?


References:

[i] Ong, L.H, 2019. In Hong Kong, are ‘thugs for hire’ behind the attacks on protesters? Here’s what we know about these groups, Washington Post. Sourced 26th July, 2019

[ii] ibid, 2019

[iii] Kuo, L. 2019. All Hong Kongers are scared’: protests to widen as rural residents fight back, The Guardian, Sourced 26th July 2019

[iv] Kuo, L. & Yu, V. 2019 What are the Hong Kong protests about?’ The Guardian, Sourced 26th July, 2019

[v] Linder, A. 2019. ‘Chinese students interrupt pro-Hong Kong rally at Australian university, chaos ensues’. Shanghaiist, Sourced 26th July, 2019.

Photo credit: TYRONE SIU/REUTERS

Originally published on Caldron Pool, 27th July, 2019

©Rod Lampard, 2019