Monday, April 25, 2016

Materialism: A Postscript (and Addendum)

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Materialism: A Postscript

Author's note: "Materialism (A Postscript)" first appeared on The "Addendum" which follows is previously unpublished.

Most of my email is positive (alas, due to time constraints I am often unable to answer most of it). When I get something critical, I spend time reading it. I am not perfect. Sometimes readers catch errors or have worthwhile suggestions. Among my favorites is an email from one Terry Hayfield, sent back in 2004 in response to my initial “The Real Matrix” series. I still have the printout. It presented itself not as a criticism but as an “offer to share research.” His results differed from mine, and he argued that my reasoning was based on a false premise. He did not launch a personal attack. He argued a rational case in a way that got my attention and led to a correspondence and mutual sharing of ideas and information that continued for several years.

I contrast this with an email from someone I’ll call RB (his initials; I’ll not use his name to save him embarrassment), received the day Part 3 of “Materialism” appeared. He labeled himself: “a secular, agnostic, non-observant liberal Jew.” This after an opening sentence not offering to share research but describing my article as “typical of NewsWithViews; utter poppycock, drivel, hogwash, bunk, tripe etc.”

Great way to win friends and influence people, dude!

But I’ve learned that debates over what is very fundamental to our thinking and our moral lives — over worldviews, that is — will sometimes invoke hostility instead of constructive dialogue. RB’s email, having begun on a bad note, went downhill from there. I wondered if he’d really read what I’d written or just scrolled up and down, saw a few words and lines he didn’t like, then took to his keyboard to bang out a long paragraph of hysterics against what he assumed I’d said.

RB “[found] it highly offensive that Christians like yourself arrogantly claim to have a monopoly on morality and virtue, and fatuously pretend that you can only be a good person if you are a believing Christian …”

Hold the bus. Did I say Christians were good people because they were Christians? Now admittedly Part 4 was still a week or so away and so unavailable, but somehow I doubt RB’s having the whole thing in front of him would have made a difference. I’d never said that Christians were “good people.” In Part 4 I was explicit about their being prone to the same weaknesses and temptations as non-Christians. Even prior to that material, I had not said we have a “monopoly on morality and virtue,” whatever that is.

My argument vis-à-vis morality was that given the failure of every secular ethical theory, Christian accounts of morality are surely no worse off!

RB then went on an extended rant about sex / sexual misconduct and promiscuity / abortion / contraceptives (which I never mentioned). The sexual revolution he called “nothing but a myth” which would astonish those who lived through it, especially parents who lost communication with their children over it. But what sketchy details RB offers about sexual peccadillos and misadventures prior to the 1960s actually lend strong support to my thesis, that we are a fallen species who cannot save ourselves. For again I’d not stated that “no one engaged in sexual misconduct and promiscuity [or that] there were no abortions or hardly any …” What I’d said was that now we had ethical theories in which these were all very much at home. RB continues: “Sexual promiscuity has existed all over the world for thousands of years and abortion has also been common all over the world for thousands of years. However, Christianity has also fostered an extremely harmful prudishness, puritanism and sexual repression for 2,000 years …”

Very Freudian sounding, Freud having been a leading “secular, agnostic, liberal Jew.” It’s the height of political incorrectness to say it, but “secular, agnostic, liberal Jews” have an obsession with sex I’ve long found puzzling. Conversations I’ve had with them (mostly academics, admittedly) tend to veer in that direction sooner or later. Since most “gentiles” do not share this fascination, at least not as a core part of their worldview, I suppose we’re “repressed.” Another feature of the “secular, agnostic, liberal Jew” is their assumption they’ve gotten inside others’ minds and psyches, divining their supposed neuroses. We’re the arrogant ones? What do they propose as the cure? A sexually “liberated” culture — which is pretty much what we have in the twenty-first century, with (e.g.) Miley Cyrus performing nearly naked, is it not?

That aside, one could just offer the obvious reductio ad absurdum that murder has “also been common all over the world for thousands of years.” Maybe we should get rid of all laws and traditions and worldviews that “repress” our hidden desires to slaughter one another in cold blood! Yeah, that’ll work!

RB’s next few lines are about poverty, perhaps unsurprisingly. As I noted — again it had to wait for Part 4 — Christians have been remiss in this area and are vulnerable to criticism. I stated specifically that Jesus did not command us to care for the poor, or offer health care, only if we can make a profit doing so.

But having conceded that much, I’d like to see what “secular, agnostic, liberal Jews” are doing about poverty. Those I’ve known tend to support the status quo, which means mindlessly supporting the leviathan banks and the bought-and-paid-for political classes whose policies bear primary responsibility for widening inequality and worsening poverty in our time. Pot, meet kettle. I wonder how many donations RB or his buddies have made, or fundraisers conducted, to alleviate poverty in places like, e.g., Haiti. (I have, incidentally.) My response: put your money where your mouth is, or shut up!

There was more to make me wonder if English is this guy’s native language: “The notion that if you are an atheist, you think there is no such thing as right and wrong and that everything should be considered permissible is abject poppycock.” Did I say atheists as a group believe there is no such thing as right and wrong? I did not. Indeed, the bulk of Part 2 takes up secular efforts to elucidate right versus wrong in a material universe — efforts which make no sense if they think there is no right or wrong. My argument is that these efforts fail, often giving breathtakingly bad advice in the process. That’s hugely different from saying those making them don’t believe in right or wrong. (Maybe RB did not read Part 2. Not my problem.)

Finally there is that now-familiar canard about a “Christian Taliban” trying to take over the U.S., an “extremely dangerous” conspiracy that “must be stopped before they get power in America” and “some of its members are contributors to News With Views” [sic.].

I am sure my fellow contributors will be surprised to hear of their cultural influence! By the way, I often see this Taliban reference in atheist-leftist rants. Perhaps RB can point to Christians who practice some equivalent of Sharia law, kill apostates, mutilate women’s genitals, burn villages, etc. I’ve never seen them. Am I blind or is he hallucinating? I don’t think it’s the former.

There is no Christian Taliban! The idea is absurd! As I noted in my very brief private reply to RB, there are no Christian groups with the resources, even if they had the will. Most have been effectively marginalized in the present culture of materialism, hedonism, and multiculturalism. No Christian I know of has the deep pockets of, e.g., a George Soros (another “secular, agnostic, liberal Jew”) who has been bankrolling leftist causes for decades, or of those running the leviathan banks, other corporations, the political class, or the Hollywood culture where “secular, agnostic, liberal Jews” predominate whether anyone cares to admit it or not.

No doubt RB and perhaps others will interpret such remarks as “antisemitic.” This, too, has gotten to be a tiresome canard, made by some Jews in response to someone outside their orbit noting their economic and cultural power. It usually comes prior to their honoring Godwin’s Law and invoking the specter of Adolf Hitler who, in RB’s words, “was NOT an atheist and never renounced his Catholic faith.” Take that, Catholics! By the way, do Catholics or any other Christian denominations have special organizations such as B’nai B’rith or the Anti-Defamation League to function as attack dogs to destroy the reputations of their critics? The late Joe Sobran once said, “An anti-semite used to be someone who hated Jews. Now it’s someone Jews hate.”

Why bother with a “Postscript” such as this? Because it offers an interesting case study. Most of the issues raised are only indirectly related to my central claim, which is that materialism as a worldview (its premises and reasoning laid out in Part 1) does not offer a viable account of the way reality is put together, nor a moral backbone to support a large civilization. The past hundred years show this conclusively. We’ve illuminated the ties between materialism and leftism, ties going back at least 250 years. Both reject original sin and instead follow, e.g., Jean-Jacques Rousseau (1712 – 1778), arguably the founding father of modern progressivist leftism, holding that our institutions are to blame for moral turpitude and modern corruption (Rousseau singled out private property, the family, and unsurprisingly, the church). Both believe that the right kind of technocratic and sexual tinkering can save us and build a global, hedonist Utopia. Responses to critics of materialism and leftism tend to be either as incompetent as RB’s, intellectually dishonest, or both. Leftists especially are threatened by the avalanche of evidence against their dearest assumptions — to the point where some of their number will set out with efficiency and enthusiasm to destroy the careers of scientists who offer detailed exemplars of said evidence. Thus perhaps it should be unsurprising that leftist keyboard commandos, Jewish or not, go into attack mode when some of us take aim at their false premises and absurd canards.


RB sent me a extended reply indicating a number of things. First, his follow-up email was refreshingly free of insults and far more constructive. I was pleased to see this. He insisted (1) I’d misunderstood him, and responded based on my misunderstandings, thus attacking a straw man; (2) secular materialism survives my criticisms of it via its effects on culture; and (3) the real dangers to Western civilization are extreme right-wing Christians, which he was careful to distinguish from “mainstream” Christians of Protestant denominations.

Let me take these up in reverse order.

First, it’s a given that Christians are not all of a single type. No one says otherwise. Some are among the most systematic of thinkers (Notre Dame philosopher of religion Alvin Plantinga comes to mind). At the other end of a long continuum you will find raving dispensationalists who think the Rapture will happen any day now, or crazies whose answer to the problem of abortion is to bomb a clinic or shoot a doctor. Any worldview has a lot of intelligent and decent people supporting it as well as a few lunatics. I take this to be RB’s view of actual Christians.

He offers a term for (I presume) one school of extremists: Dominionism (or Dominion Theology). It’s a term I’ve encountered before. The idea has a Biblical basis. In Genesis 1:28 we read, referring to Adam and Eve, “And God blessed them, and God said unto them, “Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth.” So the idea of there being such a group is not crazy.

As a guy with a substantial library on Christian sects, movements, cults, etc., though, I’ve not encountered such a group. To make sure I hadn’t missed anything, I Google searched the Web once again. There is no single group calling itself that. There are, however, schools of thought who believe what RB and others who use the term Dominionism or Dominion Theology say they believe. One example is the school that followed R.J. Rushdoony which calls itself Christian Reconstructionism, which is authoritarian and ultimately theocratic at least by implication. Another group is the New Apostolic Reformation movement which promotes Christians reclaiming “the seven mountains of culture”: government, religion, media, family, business, education, and arts and entertainment, and who claim among their leaders author and church-growth guru C. Peter Wagner. One might also cite folks like Pat Robertson, I suppose, or the Moral Majority founded by the late Jerry Falwell.

I do not know, of course, if any of these are who RB had in mind. This is the problem when one makes broadsides about “right wingers” which do not include supporting links or specifics. I have no evidence that any of the above is a threat to the body politic; Robertson and Falwell's group lost their influence long ago. What you see with the others are groups of bookish older men who wouldn’t have the slightest idea how to acquire power in today’s environment, even within Christian circles, for (as RB himself notes) they are well outside the main line of Christian denominations. The handful of people who have bombed abortion clinics, moreover, have not had provable ties to organized groups. Whatever noises the latter make about, e.g., “stoning adulterers” according to Old Testament law, actually doing something violent would probably not occur to them.

Now I’m as open to a good “conspiracy” claim as anyone, as I’ve written about such claims at length, but I prefer claims for which there is evidence — often in the form of admissions by the “conspirators” themselves (writings of David Rockefeller Sr., Zbigniew Brzezinski, Henry Kissinger, Carroll Quigley, and so on), especially when combined with the deep pockets and extensive networks necessary to put their plans in motion. With the secular globalists I just listed, there is abundant evidence of a long term plan to establish a world government that would service global corporations: an arrangement variously called Corporatism or technofeudalism, or sometimes just the New World Order (although that term has been sullied by overuse).

There is no credible evidence of a Dominionist conspiracy pushing something like this. RB cited just one author in support of his views: a rabbi named James Rudin, author of a book entitled The Baptizing of America (2006). He couldn’t have known that I was already aware of the book and unimpressed by it. Rudin’s views, in addition to being dated (I seem to recall, he rants on and on about the Moral Majority), have many of the same problems as RB’s, adding slipshod Biblical exegesis and a blind support for Israel that is surely as fanatical as anything ascribable to “fundamentalists.” In the interests of full disclosure, I didn’t finish the book. It seemed as hypocritical as it was silly, and I have better uses of my time.

If secular Jews want to avoid charges of hypocrisy, they will condemn the Zionist theocracy run out of Tel Aviv that has “dominion” over Israel and demand justice for Palestinians in places such as Gaza who have been driven from their land and brutalized by the ongoing Israeli occupation. That’s another essay, obviously (this report drawing from boots-on-the-ground information will do for a start, however; the author, incidentally, is an atheist, not a Christian, if that means anything).

Overall, I’m inclined to dismiss claims of a Dominionist conspiracy that threatens the American body politic as a product of left-leaning secularists’ imaginations.

A second element of RB’s response denies that secularism has failed, ethically and culturally. To my astonishment he held out Europe as an exemplar of secularist success: to quote: “The supposedly Godless, wicked, hedonistic and permissive European countries are in fact in many ways much better off than much of America. Secularism has brought prosperity, progress, equality, freedom and happiness to Europe....” Those keeping up with current events know that au contraire, Europe is disintegrating. Native populations are dropping as people do not have children; the inequality leftists once cared about has skyrocketed especially since the EU elites gained power. The various countries are being overrun by unassimilable and often violent immigrants, nearly all of them Muslims. Perhaps RB should travel to Greece or in other southern European nations who have been strongarmed into embracing “austerity,” or cities in France or Germany being colonized by Muslims whose violence and sex crimes have grown legendary. As political correctness (PC) dominates national conversations there at least as much as in the U.S., no one is supposed to raise such issues. The truth remains, however: it is not the few remaining Christians in Europe who are gang-raping women and blowing things up.

RB points out — correctly, insofar as it goes — that we are talking about “only a tiny fraction of all the world’s more than a billion Muslims.” Unfortunately, the presumed silent majority have remained silent about the atrocities of that violent few, be they the terrorist attacks in Paris and Brussels; or about ISIS beheading Christians and apostates among their own, or burning people alive. Muslim atrocities include mutilating women and throwing homosexuals off the tops of tall buildings.

How can anyone with a functioning brain believe these people can assimilate into Western culture?

Even evangelical atheist and hard materialist Richard Dawkins recently observed, “There are no Christians, as far as I know, blowing up buildings…. I am not aware of any Christian suicide bombers. I am not aware of any major Christian denomination that believes the penalty for apostasy is death….” He added, “I have mixed feelings about the decline of Christianity, in so far as Christianity might be a bulwark against something worse.”

I must therefore reject RB’s embrace of secular Europe and defense of the idea of a “Christian Taliban” implying a cultural equivalence between the two worldviews: Christianity and Islam, because they share opposition to abortion, homosexuality, and gender-equivalence (which becomes “women’s rights and equality for women” in PC terminology); have a desire to teach their young their own traditions (“indoctrination” is the leftist term for this, as if what leftists are doing, e.g., in universities, is different); and reject Darwinism.

Europe’s secular materialism has proven defenseless against incursions by violent Muslims who have no reason to love the West (see below). Should secular materialism become even more the reigning worldview in the U.S. than it is now, the U.S. will be equally defenseless. This is crucial to understand, given the calls among the PC elements in the U.S. including the Obama administration to “resettle” Muslims in American communities without vetting to determine who is who, and who is likely to turn violent. Add to this the insinuation that anyone who questions this ongoing set of arrangements is a “racist.” Small wonder so many Americans are supporting Donald Trump, the only presidential candidate who unequivocally rejects the open borders mindset that got Europe into this mess.

Remember San Bernardino, Calif.? If such events become monthly or weekly occurrences, just remember, PC types and secularist exponents of "diversity," you were warned!

So did I misrepresent RB’s views or didn’t I? Without my reproducing the entire email he sent (it was quite long) readers are not really able to decide, of course, and that might seem to make this conversation a bit one-sided. RB is, of course, within his rights to publish articles on a blog of his own, including criticisms of me. Let me therefore just make a few scattered concluding remarks. RB contends that “the sexual revolution … did not cause mass debauchery in society as so many right-wingers seem to make it out to have done.” Well … people aren’t having sex in the streets, of course (although you’ll likely see some lurid sights in college bars following football victories). North Carolina, however, is presently under fire for a state law refusing “transgendered” (i.e., sexually confused and/or PC-addled) males access to women’s bathrooms. Christian businesses have been slammed with fines of such severity for refusing to bake wedding cakes for gay couples that it is clear that the intent is destruction of livelihood. People are being deprived of employment and income, moreover, for preaching against homosexuality and gay marriage. Pastors are being threatened with arrest and fines for refusing to perform same-sex marriages.

Should we believe nothing is amiss with secularism when, to enforce PC, the legal system openly sets out to destroy Christian businesses and ruin the lives of Christians exercising what used to be First Amendment rights (which included the right to practice their religion openly)? Should we lose sleep over claims of a Christian “right wing conspiracy” when pastors lose control over their own churches?

You be the judge.

RB tells me, “There are far worse things in America than Miley Cyrus performing nearly naked, and no one is being forced to watch her do this….” Following is a brief dissertation on the “beauty” of nudity. It can be beautiful, as in art, or lurid and degrading, as with someone spreading her legs on stage. It’s a matter of intent, and of context. RB does not appear to grasp this.

Nor did Alfred C. Kinsey (1894 – 1956), whose Kinsey Reports, studies of both male and female sexuality published in 1948 and 1953 respectively, did much to unleash the sexual revolution. Kinsey’s Institute for Sex Research, based at Indiana University and funded through the Rockefeller Foundation’s deep pockets, purposefully set out to destroy the ties between sexuality and morality. Kinsey and his team also manipulated statistics on the supposed variety of sexual practices by interviewing imprisoned pedophiles and not disclosing this to readers, as well as very likely engaging in criminal sexual conduct with children. Judith Reisman argued in her Kinsey: Crimes and Consequences (1998) that data on alleged child sexuality made public for the first time by Kinsey’s team could not have been obtained any other way.

The hard-left Southern Poverty Law Center labeled Reisman a “conspiracy theorist.” So it goes.

Kinsey was a materialist, of course, and he knew who was buttering his bread. There are good reasons for thinking the sexual revolution was not a mere accident or cultural misstep. The issue is not specific persons or political figures pushing “Communist” agendas. For the Corporatist world government mentioned above to ascend over the West, both the Christian worldview and Constitutionally limited government have to be discredited among intellectuals and in the political-economic centers. This worldview values, in addition to sexual responsibility, the family unit, a work ethic, acceptance of the fact that actions have consequences, a balance between self-reliance and community involvement, a disdain for laziness, respect for the rule of law as something more than what politicians decree or what judges and bureaucrats hand down, and the idea that concentrations of power are dangerous. It rejects Utopianism. It recognizes that traditions, Christian or otherwise, are not simply arbitrary intellectual products, able to be changed at will, but organic entities shaped by generations of effective practice. They reflect who we are as human beings, and what renders our communities stable, if imperfect. These are the only things that make a mostly free society with Constitutional controls on government possible.

But again, this is another, lengthier essay.

In sum, one can agree, there are worse things than public near-nudity and displays of debauchery. But it dawns on me that with the global reach of today’s technology, especially the Internet now easily accessible via hand-held devices, there is absolutely nothing to prevent Muslim children from accessing Miley Cyrus’s (or other Western celebrities’) performances. Or the children of Hindus or Buddhists or other faiths.

No one is “being forced to watch,” some will say. True, and irrelevant. Not every “free choice” is a good one. There are reasons Anglo-European culture is distrusted elsewhere in the world. Some go beyond U.S. militarism and control in the name of extracting other nations’ natural resources, although those have been sufficient to make us enemies (Iran is an example). Perhaps the wiser of other faiths sense the destructive potential of materialism and secularism to unleash a pleasure-über-Alles mindset. Do parents or other adults in non-Western, non-secular cultures have a right to protect their children from this if that is their choice, or do they not? If not, then who makes that choice for them? Western secularists? By what standard, and on whose authority?

Sunday, April 24, 2016





Al Cronkrite

“We shall have World Government, whether or not we like it. The only question is whether World Government will be achieved by conquest or consent.” -James Paul Warburg whose family co-founded the Federal Reserve at the United States Senate, February 17, 1950. 

It is difficult for most Americans to understand and accept that there are clandestine forces in the world that are so powerful that their word can drastically change the status of nations and the lives of men and women throughout the world.

Hitler was defeated by WWII and the United States gained hegemony over Germany and Japan, a control that has been maintained. 

On January 17, 1961 President Eisenhower in his farewell address said the following:

“We face a hostile ideology — global in scope, atheistic in character, ruthless in purpose, and insidious in method. Unhappily the danger it poses promises to be of indefinite duration. To meet it successfully, there is called for, not so much the emotional and transitory sacrifices of crisis, but rather those which enable us to carry forward steadily, surely, and without complaint the burdens of a prolonged and complex struggle — with liberty the stake. Only thus shall we remain, despite every provocation, on our charted course toward permanent peace and human betterment…

“Until the latest of our world conflicts, the United States had no armaments industry. American makers of plowshares could, with time and as required, make swords as well. But now we can no longer risk emergency improvisation of national defense; we have been compelled to create a permanent armaments industry of vast proportions. Added to this, three and a half million men and women are directly engaged in the defense establishment. We annually spend on military security more than the net income of all United States corporations…

“In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist…

Read the entire address here

Slightly over three months later on April 27, 1961 newly elected President John F. Kennedy offered a more eloquent statement on the same subject which I wrote about a few weeks ago

Think what has happened in the United States of America during the past six and a half decades, from the time that both President Eisenhower and President Kennedy warned us of future dangers:

President Kennedy and his brother Robert were assassinated; international trade treaties were approved by our elected representatives in the Senate and Congress; our markets were opened to all foreign manufactures; our borders were opened to unlimited illegal immigration; manufacturing jobs slowly moved overseas where labor costs were a fraction of ours.

First, the Japanese began to dominate the automobile industry making billions of dollars by undercutting prices in our markets.  The manufacture of televisions and radios moved to Japan and large chunk of our industrial might was sacrificed to the Japanese.  

China was next with labor costs less than a quarter of our own they became wealthy by putting our workers on the public dole.  Soon it became difficult to find an American made products in our retail stores: all clothing was imported, all appliances come from foreign workers, textiles are made overseas, there is nothing left that was exclusively make in the USA.  Labor intensive industries began to leave in droves and manufacturing jobs disappeared devastating the status of middle class Americans. 

American industrial might is either gone or has been harnessed to support the wars of our Imperial Empire.

After our newly elected President George W. Bush visited Mexican President Vincent Fox Mexican citizens began to pour over our borders.  Though countless efforts have been made to stem the invasion it has continued and shows no sign of abating.

There has been a steady decline in moral standards that were in place in 1950.  Marriage has been redefined. Torture has been approved.  Aggressive offense military actions have become common.  Christianity has been barred from the public square.  Our courts and those that are unlucky enough to use them have become bastions of humanism where an unelected judge can arbitrarily pronounce an edict that drastically changes the lives of our citizens.  What was immoral in 1950 is now legally mandated by our own government.

The Christian culture of America has been destroyed by termites from within coupled with its own stupidity. Immigrants from foreign nations are moving here like vultures to pick at the carcass of our dying nation.

The government now employs more people than industry.  Our debt is expressed in a score of trillions of dollars.  Eventually all of our citizens will be debt slaves whose lives will be spent working to repay the dollars being spent to bomb, rape, murder, and enslave nations that are thousands of miles away and that should be of no major interest to us or to our government.  Though we have had little to say about our imperial stance and hardly even realize a war is going on the cost of the devastation of foreign nations is being charged to us, the people.

We have now obligated every man, woman, and child in the United States to repay over $40,000 dollars each.  It goes up by millions of dollars each day.

United States is being used as a tool by the clandestine power brokers who are intent on creating world government.  The wars it fights are not for the benefit of the nation but for the enhancement of world government.  It has been gutted of it wealth.  The last drop of blood is being extracted by working toward another world war which may ultimately destroy the monster America has become.

We live in a sea of propaganda.  Lie upon lie is foisted on our people.  TV shows are propaganda instruments, newspapers and books are now totally controlled by satanic forces that hate and ostracize the Caucasians Christians whose benevolence provided their ancestors with asylum.

Our Constitution is in shambles.  The Bill of Rights has been overridden with a slew of laws that destroy our freedom and allow the imposition of a tyrannical police state.

Since President George W. Bush allowed the destruction of the World Trade Centers and used it to begin perennial war what was once a free and prosperous nation has become a decaying police state that threatens to create additional no-mans-lands like Detroit.  With manufacturing gone the tax base has been devastated and cities are beginning to collapse.

The faceless demons whose extraordinary power is behind this worldwide earthquake do not care about peace and order.  They seek chaos because chaos is easier to control.  Orderly, peaceful nations can gain consensus and consensus can bring the strength to resist.  Order in the United States is being maintained by a cruel police force that has filled our jails to overflowing with a larger percentage of our people than any other major nation (including China and Russia).  Peace and order are being maintained by policemen and women who have become as cruel as the people they police.

Truth has been overridden by political correct restrictions that make the solution to social problems impossible.  When feelings become more important than truth, lies become common.   We have a race problem because the power structure forbids honest discussions and they continue to do this because they want the race problem to continue–chaos is easier to control than peace and order.  

Everything possible is being done to create chaos.  Black crimes on White citizens are overlooked while white crimes on Black citizens are over publicized.  White citizens are purposely barred from the public stage. Read about White hate here

 R. J. Rushdoony writes, “When law is transferred from God to man, the tyrants are able to prevail over the religiously disarmed peoples”.  He continues, “In all revolutions, however, the people become only more savagely oppressed.  The new power-group oppresses more savagely than any would have imagined possible, and the people are its primary victims”.

Getting the government and the citizens it oppresses back under the control of God’s Law would solve our problem and if His people would wake up and begin an effort to bring this about the all-powerful God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob would join their fight.  Christians hold the key to peace and freedom but they continue to miss the promised land preferring to reside in the wilderness.

I am constantly showered with prophecies that the end times are coming, that the signs are everywhere.  And when I reject this heresy (it is a heresy) I am condemned for disagreeing.  The fact that only God knows when the end times will come is ignored and the Second Coming is used as an excuse to remain in a relaxed state of inertia; useless to God and to the battle that is being waged against Him and His Kingdom.

America is dying because Christians have been duped into paralyzing religious heresy. The name of Christ is being used as an excuse for lethargy. 

God rejected the people He originally chose because of their continued disobedience.  When in an act of unimaginable mercy He sent His only Son as propitiation He was crucified.  Now, He seems to be rejecting Christians who like their predecessors refuse to obey His Commandments.

Our God wants evangelists and Holy Spirit filled followers but both are an abomination if they refuse to obey His Commandments.

Wake up folks – we are sinking!   
There are answers if you know where to look for them Faith in Christ Lives JOIN the Faith in Jesus Network

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Like Unto the Beast: National ID System Poses Threat to Liberty

In A Tale of Two Cities, Dickens says of the days of the French Revolution, "It was the best if times, it was the worst of times..." The same could be said of the policies and proposals being considered in response to the kamikaze attack upon the United States by fanatical Islamic terrorists.

While the Bush administration is to be commended for taking steps to address the oozing international threats allowed to fester over the course of the past several presidencies, the President would be wise to gauge with a degree of skepticism the crackpot schemes crawling out of the woodwork in the rush to formulate a response to this profound tragedy befalling the nation.

Often the shackles of tyranny do not initially appear as binding chains, but rather as a comforting blanket designed to take the chill out of the concerns of the moment. It is only after more careful reflection that they are revealed for what they really are.

One proposal being bantered about to placate fears regarding terrorism is the possibility of implementing a national ID card. Such a system could result in concealed repercussions those calling for this system are reluctant to discuss.

Before Americans could find the time to organize their thoughts and feelings regarding the nature and meaning of this profound calamity, a ream of so-called policy analysts and technology experts burst onto the national scene endeavoring to convince the American people as to our need for a national ID system.

Michael Cherkasky, president of Kroll, Inc. Security Consultants, told the New York Times that each American could be issued a computerized smart card allowing authorities to immediately ascertain the identity of individuals at specified security checkpoints. It's argued these cards could cut down on crime and possibly prevent another terrorist attack.

What those clamoring for the implementation of this technology often fail to point out is that the drawbacks of the program likely outweigh any potential benefits.

These cards would provide more than name, address, and mugshot of their respective holders. The New York Times notes these computerized cards would collect information as to one's location, financial activity, and just about any other kind of electronic information you could possibly imagine --- including the speed at which you are traveling down the highway, according to the September 19th report.

Some of this stuff is none of the government's business, even if there is a need to conduct a rigorous campaign against the threat of terrorism. Such a card would end up penalizing perfectly legitimate activities by bringing them to the attention of authorities.

For example, what's going to happen to armchair scholars and researchers interested in the study of violent revolutionary phenomena from an academic social science perspective when these otherwise harmless bookworms check out a library book on terrorism or weapons of mass destruction? I should not be sent to jail for investigating a Tom Clancy novel detailing acts similar to those perpetrated by the September 11th terrorists.

Some may dismiss this as an overreaction, but it is not a farfetched scenario. During the late 1980's, the FBI operated an intelligence program targeting the library records of readers daring to express a bibliographic interest in Eastern Europe. And as recently as the Clinton/Lewinsky scandal, prosecutors sought to subpoena a list of the reading materials purchased by that particular bawdy intern.

Just think how much more widespread and incriminating such a program would be in an environment of heightened security with the information readily available in a single database. Frankly, if the stuff has been deemed appropriate enough to sit on a library shelf, it's nobody's business who checks it out, whether it's the Pope and Billy Graham or Bin Ladin and Hussein themselves.

The problem is not so much that this information alone would be used to nab terrorists, saboteurs or other murderous malcontents, but rather that it would be used in pursuit of other liberty-inhibiting agendas aimed at social engineering.

For example, if all commercial transactions and economic exchanges are to be cataloged in a gargantuan database, what's to stop the government from penalizing those of us who eat too many Big Macs or who buy more sugary snacks than we should at the local supermarket? What's to stop the government from rationing gas or denying a car loan to individuals who bureaucrats deem to go on too many extraneous daytrips? Even worse, what's to prevent this information from being used by employers and insurance companies against overweight or sickly employees or beneficiaries?

Of course, in the eyes of some, such concerns don't really matter. Representative Mary Bono (whose primary qualification for office was having been married to Sonny) told on September 20, 2001, "When we consider ourselves to be at war, people are going to have to recognize that some of our freedoms are going to be gone."

You can rest assured though that, as with most of the statutory impositions it inflicts upon the American people, Congress will no doubt weasel its way into exempting itself from many of the proposed counter-terrorism measures, since (in its own eyes at least) our representatives are too important to be confined by such rigors. Bet the likes of Ted Kennedy or Barney Frank will never endure the humiliation of being tossed in a jail cell and body cavity searched (something Frank might enjoy, on second thought) or have their life savings confiscated thanks to a glitch occurring in this technology, which some will no doubt imbue with near-religious infallibility and reverence.

This proposed system of ID has very little to do with preventing terrorism and everything to do with imposing yet another layer of bureaucratic control upon the lives of the American people. Such a conclusion is borne out by the positions taken by House Minority Leader Dick Gephardt regarding specific proposals designed to stem the tide of terrorist violence.

Enthusiastically endorsing the need for a national ID system, this Congressional leader is reported by Matt Drudge as saying, "We are in a new world. This event will change the balance between freedom and security." Yet this Missouri Democrat has no intention of tipping the scales in favor of security when it comes to saving lives, as Gephardt vociferously opposes plans to arm pilots to defend against highjackers.

The attitude of the British government regarding the ID issue is particularly revealing. While at one time standing as one of the few defenders of liberty in the world, Great Britain now speaks with a duplicity that would make the Soviet Union cringe.

While purporting to be a totally voluntary program, the British Sunday Mirror reports that without an ID, its subjects there cannot board an airplane, buy gasoline (as if that will do anything to stop terrorism), open a bank account, or get a job. Such draconian stipulations remind us of that chilling passage in Revelation 13:17 foreboding: " man might buy or sell, save he have the mark."

Matt Drudge also quotes British Home Secretary David Blunkett as saying on the BBC that we cannot be hamstrung by an excessively "legalistic" interpretation of human rights. In other words, we are going to end up losing our most fundamental constitutional axioms when "Congress shall make no law" no longer means Congress shall make no law.

All that said, the blame does not lie solely with those holding public office or employed in the allied policy professions such as media or public interest research. At present, President Bush wisely concluded that a national ID would have negligible impact in curbing terrorism. However, such discernment stands in marked contrast to the nearly 70% of those polled by the Pew Research Center for the People and the Press clamoring for this technology, ready to trade away their birthright of liberty like Esau for a pottage of illusory security.

What do the panic stricken think will be solved by electronic security cards? How is it going to prevent another round of mass murders? Most of the attackers and those aiding in this atrocity were foreigners of dubious moral backgrounds to begin with and should have never been let in in the first place.

It's also argued that a national ID would produce the spin-off benefit of curbing all forms of illegal immigration, not just those with a propensity towards suicidal martyrdom. With the concessions made to multiculturalism over the past several years and the obsequious praise lavished upon certain immigrant groups for undermining traditional American culture, does anyone honestly believe that the U.S. government will use these ID's as a catalyst to deport illicit émigrés?

As is being done at certain banks that waive documentation requirements to allow illegals to open special accounts and in states granting them drivers' licenses, the Federal Government will probably grant the ID's willy-nilly, without any proof of legality whatsoever, to members of certain ethnic groups with whom politicians of either party are rushing to curry favor. Just don't get caught on an airplane if you happen to belong to a group without the same degree of clout in the voting booth.

To put it bluntly, the World Trade Center and Pentagon attacks were partly the fault of a number of government agencies and certain components of the travel industry in the sense of their failing to exercise proper vigilance against threats they very well knew existed. Immigration authorities should have barred this human slime from desecrating the sovereign soil of the United States. A number of other reports emphasized that traditional antagonisms between the FBI and the CIA might have prevented the flow of intelligence needed to foil such a plot and prevent such a cataclysmic loss of life. Other than tightening security at transportation centers, certain government buildings, and clamping down on the riffraff crossing the borders, there is no reason to punish the American people for a shortcoming not their own.

Benjamin Franklin once noted that those who would trade freedom for security deserve neither freedom nor security. The terrorists have succeeded in taking away our sense of security. Now there are those within the government and among the people who would take away our freedom as well.

By Frederick Meekins

There are answers if you know where to look for them Faith in Christ Lives JOIN the Faith in Jesus Network

Monday, April 18, 2016

Headline Potpourri #85

In an oration before the National Press Club, head Episcopal Bishop Michael Curry denounced individualism as a kind of golden calf. However, this was euphemistic praise of collectivism and an assault against economic liberty. For in this tirade against consumerism, the free market, and individual rights, it seems nary a word was articulate against some of the ultimate forms of self-centeredness such as gay marriage and abortion on demand. Bishop Curry warned that selfishness is such a blight that, left unchecked, it could apparently destroy the planet. Yet apparently he himself has not yet evolved into a perfected communal state. For this ecclesiastical hierarch has not yet announced that he will forgo the extensive travel characteristic of his position if the church is to emphasize the perspective that certain persons are no more distinctive than any other.

It is being asked would it be appropriate for Melanie Trump to be First Lady despite her past of questionable photo spreads in which she appeared particularly immodest. While worthy of criticism, seems this is less offensive than the depravity alleged to take place at Bohemian Grove, John Kennedy defiling staff members in the White House pool, or Bill Clinton getting a blow job from underneath the desk in the Oval Office. Apparently these kinds of acts don't disqualify an individual from a position of high honor but whether or not polaroids commemorating such instances apparently do.

Hillary Clinton insists that, instead of building walls, the nation needs to tear down barriers. Should she be elected, will a priority of her administration be the elimination of the assorted barriers and traffic obstructions erected throughout Washington, DC in the name of the pervasive national security state?

The same filthy beatniks jacked out of shape over Donald Trump tweeting a Mussolini quotation probably regularly peruse Mao's Little Red Book while wearing their cruddy Che t-shirts.

If Donald Trump is expected to repudiate the endorsement of controversialist of David Duke, is Bernie Sanders expected to repudiate himself for being an avowed socialist? Did President Obama repudiate the endorsement he received from the Communist Party, USA?

In a podcast rant posted at SermonAudio, Jason Cooley insisted that Internet ministry does not count as a church. Given that his is a ministry that claims it holds to no position that cannot be backed up by the warrant of divine revelation, from what passage is this prohibition derives? If the Cooleyites want to contend that the only valid churches are those operating from the sanction of historically authorized churches to the extent that any good works done as a result of unauthorized Internet will be burned up on the Day of Judgment like hay and stubble, does Pastor Cooley intend to bring his church and ministry under the direct control of the Vatican?

In his condemnation of Internet ministries, Pastor Jason Cooley in a SermonAudio podcast (itself an Internet ministry) insisted that, if you as a mere pewfilling Christian have a question or a problem, you are obligated to seek the answers from sanctioned Christian authorities rather than dare to research the concern on your own over the Internet. Don't the acolytes of the Watchtower (the weirdos that just happen to know to knock on the door Saturday mornings when you are either sitting on the can or romping in the sack with your spouse) make nearly the same threat to those ensnared by that particular variety of spiritual deception? And who is one to turn to if the power structure of your particular church is what is giving you troubles or raising your doubts? Wouldn't that particular chain of command be insufficiently removed from the situation in order to render impartial counsel?

The podcast Standing For The Truth posted an episode pondering the role played by sports in the life of the believer. In Wisconsin from where the program originates, it was noted that, on the days of Green Bay Packer games, churches offering two services would have a higher attendance at the earlier. So long as folks showed up that week, does it really matter at what time they attended?

The Pentagon insists that parents and schools must cut junk food so that the armed services can muster a sufficient number of recruits. And what if parents refuse to comply? The American people don't breed children for the greater glory of the Fatherland.

Mitt Romney emphasized that Donald Trump did not build his own business but instead inherited his fortune. That's what we call an example of the dye job calling the toupee black.

House Speaker Paul Ryan forcefully condemned the supposed endorsement of Donald Trump by alleged White supremacists such as David Duke. Was the Speaker as emphatic in his repudiation of past remarks by Jeb Bush insisting that the wanton violation of America's borders was an act of love and that the racially mixed are superior to those whose parents procreated with those of their own breed.

A pastor remarked that accumulating facts about the Bible is not learning. He insisted that one can only learn by doing. Does that mean one cannot learn about what the Israelites endured to take the Holy Land from the indigenous pagans unless one goes out and kills a few?

The cover story of an issue of the Nation magazine boldly warns “Donald Trump Is Dangerous”. And Barack Obama was not in his threats to fundamentally transform America? At least Trump wants to make America great again and not essentially destroy everything that we know and love. Was this propaganda outlet as blunt and forthright in regards to the Occupy Movement and Black Lives Matter? As shocking as some of Donald Trumps outbursts are, I don't believe that there have been reports of Trump supporters defecating on the sides of police cruisers or (perhaps even more interesting) looting the same wig shop on multiple occasions.

A number of celebrities are threatening to leave if Donald Trump is elected. But isn't that an incentive to actually vote for the mouthy mogul?

Cogitating upon what might transpire if Trump is denied the Republican nomination at a brokered convention, Clinton flak Paul Begala fretted on CNN that violence might erupt. For unlike Democrats, these activists are supposedly armed. And what about in cities such as Baltimore, Oakland, or Ferguson that are Democratic strongholds were welfare leeches and their subversive handlers rampaged in the streets and laid waste to private property in the path of looting mobs?

Father Jonathan Morris in a Fox News interview remarked how he thinks churches are better off without armed security. Does this Roman Catholic intend to call upon the Pope to disband the Swiss Guard (often toting submachine guns) as a display of the Pontiff's reliance upon divine protection?

According to an article titled “Biobots, Roll Out” published in the April 2016 issue of Discover Magazine, scientists are attaching an assortment of wires and WiFi receptors to insects such as moths and roaches for the purposes of controlling these creatures for an assortment of surveillance and intelligence missions. Perhaps an even more important question to ask is what to prevent this from being done to human beings?

In his condemnation of Internet ministry, Pastor Jason Cooley insisted that such efforts are undertaken from the perspective of despising the local church. Maybe so in certain cases. But can't it also be done to protect the flock from those imposing their own idiosyncrasies on others as if such preferences were revealed doctrine?

In a SermonAudio podcast, Pastor Jason Cooley categorized the universal invisible church as a dangerous heresy. For apparently the believer is much more edified and protected by being conditioned to believe that the only acceptable Christians free from error in the eyes of God are a minuscule percentage of Baptists and that, no matter how bad a particular congregation one might find oneself trapped in in terms of belittlement or even abuse, one ought not want to escape for fear of being cast out into uttermost darkness.

In his condemnation of the concept of the universal invisible church, Pastor Jason Cooley insisted that the doctrine was Catholic and Protestant but not Baptist. As someone that positions himself in the camp of Sola Scriptura, shouldn't he instead concern himself as to whether or not a doctrine is instead Biblical or Christian? For the Baptist church is nowhere explicitly referenced by name in the pages of divine revelation just as in the case of that form of ecclesiology's Protestant or Catholic counterparts.

In expounding on the superiority of the physicalized church over the universal invisible church as manifested in the form of Internet ministries, Pastor Jason Cooley insisted that, unlike Internet ministries which are accountable to no one, in the context of a local church such as his own that he would be required to answer to the men of his church if he got out of line in terms of deed or doctrine. Maybe so in terms of theory. However, in a church such as his own, as characterized by his SermonAudio podcasts, where those that disagree with him on secondary matters of opinion are dealt with by shouting down and verbalized ridicule, would a man that was not in jackbooted lockstep with this pastor be granted a position of authority or even allowed to accrue any influence before being kicked out? For in these kinds of churches, most are usually manipulated into being afraid of the pastor.

On International WOMMMMENNNN's Day (said with political incorrect intonation and syllabic emphasis) wonder how many will have the guts to point out that the majority misery celebrated during this festive occasion is the fault of radical Islam.

Isn't insisting Donald Trump's own rhetoric is at fault for the near riot breaking out in Chicago akin to blaming a scantily clad woman that she got raped?

Too bad the leftist media is not as outraged by the "Knock Out Game" perpetuated by ghetto youth usually upon unsuspecting Whites as they are about the few punches thrown at Donald Trump events.

So I guess if Marco Rubio has his way not only should protesters be allowed to disrupt candidate events but they should be thanked by lavishing such human detritus with increased welfare handouts.

Apparently CHIPs is to be remade as an action/comedy. If the series was considered a serious police procedural in the 70s, shouldn't the source material be similarly respected today?

If Hillary is so against "bullies", wonder if she has anything to say about what her husband and Butch Reno did to the Branch Davidians.

Rubio says conservatism cannot be about anger and division. But aren't there things you are supposed to be angry about and not want to be a part of?

If you disrupt any candidate's rally beyond asking a question during the designated question and answer period, why shouldn't you expect the possibility of being whacked by a billy club?

On National Geographic's “The Boonies”, it was pointed out that only American Indians are allowed to fish with gill nets on Lake Michigan. If this is a concession to preserving an ancient culture, why is it allowed to take place from a motorized watercraft designed by the White man? Such technologies were not part of an alleged way of life stretching back centuries. Are Indians so dimwitted that they are not capable of learning how to fish with other techniques? So apparently color of skin ought to be taken into consideration when law is applied after all.

Sally Fields admits she did not like the film “The Amazing Spider-Man”. She should be assured that, regarding certain aspects, that feeling is mutual. Her depiction had to have been the worst casting and portrayal of Aunt May in the history of the character.

So why is Lindsay Graham's remarks regarding violence being done to Ted Cruz more acceptable to milksop Republicans than Donald Trump wanting to bop a protesting Beatnik?

If Jorge Ramos is so concerned about "hatred" on the part of Trump, does that propagandist ever condemn La Raza (an Hispanosupremacist hatre group)?

Donald Trump is blamed for the disturbances that erupt in response to his rallies. Applying similar logic, is Belgium at fault for the terrorist attack because authorities there arrested a jihadist in connection to the attack on Paris?

It is exclaimed that, without a brokered Republican convention, we would not have not had President Lincoln. You either think he was the greatest president of them all or the spawn of the Devil himself. However, one has to admit that that phase of American history wasn't exactly the most enjoyable that this nation has ever endured.

Hilary Clinton insisted that America needs a president to defend the country and not embarrass it. This from a woman whose husband got a blow job from an intern beneath the desk in the Oval Office. Some will respond that Hillary should be considered on her own merits. Fair enough. Are we to consider her drunken bar hopping in Columbia the pinnacle of American foreign policy?

Chumlee of History Channel's “Pawnstars” has been arrested in connection with a number of sexual assault, firearms, and controlled substance violations. As such, shouldn't the series he is a cast member of have been yanked from the programming rotation by now? After all, Dog the Bounty Hunter, Duck Dynasty, and Paula Deen were tossed off television for a period for mere verbal formulations that in no way violated any duly authorized statute. The Dukes Of Hazard was banished from television entirely with the majority of its cast either now dead or living in post-celebrity obscurity.

Bowing to threats by environmentalists and animal rights raconteurs, Sea World has announced an end to its killer whale breeding programs and ultimately theatrical performances involving these particular cetaceans. Given that for decades Sea World served as a front for the Aneheuser-Busch Corporation, does that mean that should the temperance lobby become sufficiently agitated, booze peddlers ought to cease the distribution of noxious beverages despite a desire for them by a larger percentage of the population. Moral libertines will likely retort that, unlike orcas in captivity, no one is harmed as a result of intoxicating libations. Battered spouses, neglected children, and those mangled in a variety of automobile accidents might argue otherwise.

If Panerra Bread is now emphasizing in an advertising campaign that their food is clean, the concerned consumer really needs to ask how many times have these victuals been dropped on the floor.

A commercial mentioned that there are something like 28 flavors of Poptarts. Yet when goes to a supermarket, there is usually only one or two kinds there on the shelf.

In a sermon, prosperity minster Chuck Pierce confessed that “Tomorrow booty is coming to my house.” Does he mean as in wealth or something else? Given the number of sex scandals that plague churches these days, it can never hurt to ask or clarification.

If WOMENNNNN (the term said with its politically correct intonations) are so dimwitted that they should not be held responsible for the decision to slaughter their unborn children, why should such WOMENNNNN be trusted with the right to vote?

If women that have had abortions should not be charged because the act was not criminal at the time the act was committed, neither should specific Germans be held accountable for what they did at the time of the Holocaust because those deeds were also legal under German law. Some might respond how there is a natural law transcending temporal statutory law. If you are unwilling to apply that in the case of the unborn and the mother, you still do not fully embrace the idea of the unborn being a fully alive human.

Albert Mohler, on an episode of his Daily Briefing, said that the guilty party in a abortion is the one actually taking the life of the unborn child and not the woman seeking it. Extrapolating from such logic, the best way for a man to get rid of a wife he no longer desires is to contract with an underworld hitman. That way, only the mercenary gangster would be guilty of murder.

If women that have had abortions shouldn't be punished, neither should men negligent in paying their child support. At least in the case of such fathers, the children are still alive and not shishcabobbed.

If preachers are going to raise a fuss about folks coming to worship service but not Sunday school, they shouldn't be surprised when these targets of their articulated ire eventually drop the worship service as well.

Geraldo is still tossing a hissy that Ted Cruz's remarks concerning New York values are a veiled form of anti-Semitism. So apparently it is not enough that we must allow establishmentarian elites to destroy the culture. We are also not allowed to say anything about it either. And are we to assume that those dwelling in New York City articulate nothing but positive support in regards to rural Christians?

During episodes of the drama Quantico, isn't it racist for the Indian gal to advertise “The Jungle Book”? If color doesn't matter and we aren't to notice it under threats of ostracism, why not yet the blond chick so pale that it looks like she's never seen the sun introduce the commercial?

The radicals jacked out of shape at Duck Dynasty's Phil Robertson for praying as he felt led by the Holy Spirit at the NASCAR race he sponsored out of his own pocket are the same ones all in favor of biological men urinating in the same restroom at the same time as your underage daughter.

By Frederick Meekins

There are answers if you know where to look for them Faith in Christ Lives JOIN the Faith in Jesus Network

There are answers if you know where to look for them Faith in Christ Lives JOIN the Faith in Jesus Network

Materialism (Part Three) Steven Yates

Author's note: these are the third and fourth parts of a four-part (plus postscript) essay that first appeared on the commentary site I have corrected a couple of typos and put in a few new links but otherwise kept substantive changes to an absolute minimum.

“Turn off your mind, relax and float downstream

It is not dying, it is not dying.

Lay down all thought, surrender to the void

It is shining, it is shining.

That you may see, the meaning of within

It is being, it is being.

That love is all, and love is everyone

It is knowing, it is knowing.” ~The Beatles, “Tomorrow Never Knows” (1966)

The upshot, so far, is that in our moral lives in a material world, everything is up for grabs.

Reactions to this varied. One was the turn to mind-altering drugs, led by such writers as Aldous Huxley (1894 – 1963) whose The Doors of Perception (1954) was the source of a different 1960s rock group’s name, and of course Timothy Leary (“Tune in, turn on, drop out”). Transcendent reality and values may not exist in the material world but can be found in your head! The 1960s hippies began to “drop acid” (LSD, lysergic acid diethylamide). Some would claim to “see God.” Acid rock was its musical expression, proclaiming mystical revelations of peace and love. Others, of course, experienced sometimes terrifying hallucinations caused by the drug’s radical altering of their perceptions. I recall from my graduate student days a past user telling me how he’d seen his stereo grow a mouth, as the music coming from his speakers took the form of two arms reaching his way as it tried to eat him. People with latent personality disorders, or just the anxiety-prone, were especially susceptible to bad experiences with LSD. Some users ended up with psychoses, or simply “burned out” from repeated usages with permanent brain damage: “acid casualties.” All of which makes the values-are-in-your-head route a risky one to travel down!

Many of that generation’s parents, however, had turned away from the problem, leaving them vulnerable to criticisms of them as morally shallow, having sold their souls to the corporate system. “If it feels good, do it” is a phrase associated with the hippies, but there was a sense in which the prevailing ethos was closer to this sort of phrase than their elders cared to admit. Convenience reigned. This was true in business, in government, in academia. If it’s convenient, do it. Consider abortion, which had become an issue well before Roe v. Wade (1973). Sexual license (also a problem in some communities before the liberation movements of the 1960s) led to unwanted pregnancies; simple as that. Despite the prattling about those cases when “the mother’s life is in danger,” over 99% of abortions are abortions of convenience. Abortion’s legal acceptability has led to the killing of over 50 million unborn babies and counting. I will not torture readers with the bizarre rationalizations feminist philosophy professors have produced (it is hard to call them philosophers with a straight face), except to note that the linguistic sleight of hand used has been intended to deprive the unborn and sometimes even the newly born of moral standing, and hence any claim on life that others are obligated to respect. The Nazis and other totalitarians did the same thing, removing those to be eliminated from the moral community.

But then again, if Benedict, Dewey, Rorty, and others are correct, then the only moral standing anyone has is what their society, or the state, gives them. What the state and social approval give, the state and social approval can take away, whether its targets are Jews, Gypsies, homosexuals, etc., under the Nazis; those who resisted collectivized farming under Stalin; or the unborn in our own culture. It is possible, by this reading, that a future Christian civilization might regard this last as one of the largest and most insidious holocausts of all.

The tendency, as we have seen, has been to evade the issues, or to simply stop thinking about them. Many theologians would succumb fully to the “death of God” by the 1960s, even as their children were “finding Him” in recreational chemistry. Secularization was one of the manifestations of materialism having captured Western culture. Harvey Cox (1929 – ), one of the leaders of the “death of God” movement, wrote in his The Secular City (1965) that secularization “bypasses and undercuts religion and goes on to other things…. The world looks less and less to religious rules and rituals for its morality or its meanings.”

I recently finished one of the most comprehensive accounts I have seen of the modern, secular attempt “to live after the death of God”: The Age of Atheists: How We Have Sought to Live since the Death of God (2014) by British intellectual historian Peter Watson (1943 – ). Watson’s account ranges across philosophy, art, poetry, literature, and science — or, more exactly, science-promotion, as he includes evangelical atheists such as Richard Dawkins, Daniel Dennett, and Sam Harris, which is materialism promotion in my sense of that term. Watson is a reasonably honest thinker, and those who maintain (as I do) that materialism has no hope of providing society with a sound moral foundation and direction will find support for their views in his work. So despite the title and themes (and tediousness at times), the book merits study. At the end, Watson does not endorse mere science-promotion but rather seeks to explain why many credible authors, writers, poets and artists have found the “scientific worldview” too narrow. His answer isn’t especially satisfying.

It comes down to the idea that, given God’s absence, the “central sane activity” (title of the book’s meandering closing chapter) is “sheer wondering inquiry,” and a grasping for those lonely moments of meaningfulness and life-affirmation. Different authors have given them different names. Abraham Maslow, for example, called them “peak experiences”; James Joyce spoke of “epiphanies”; Malroux, of “temporary refuges”; Yeats, of “brief moments of ecstatic affirmation”; Ibsen, of “flashes of spiritual value.” These moments, Watson insists, can be had in loving relationships, the satisfaction of various desires, the experience of hearing an especially moving piece of music or seeing a work of art or reading poetry, or in any number of other ways including just the mundane satisfaction of a job well done.

Even if you are a secularist, are you really satisfied with this?

Study them closely, and you see that these experiences, real though they may be, are private and personal; one comes away sensing the difficulty the writers have in communicating their content to others. They are more the stuff of poetry than philosophy. They are, however, pleasant — momentary “highs” — and we are inching our way back to the possibility that psychoactive drugs can be used to trigger such experiences artificially and expand them indefinitely if the results are satisfying enough to outweigh the dangers.

All this seems like denial to me. Of the obvious. By turning away from the larger picture, the one both Nietzsche and Russell were courageous enough to face, to focus on those nice little particulars we experience or arrange for ourselves, whether in our private lives or by using recreational chemicals, we evade the important consequence of materialism:

That once you’ve removed God and transcendence from your worldview, there are no binding moral values, binding in the sense of being definitive and authoritative, and suggesting a lasting, inescapable, personal penalty for their violation. There is only state authority, popularity, physical pleasure, and these ephemeral on-top-of-the-world moments — all of which end in death, which the materialist understands as the permanent extinction of consciousness and personality. You cease to exist as completely as the nonexistence that preceded your conception. Presumably after those final anxious moments before you wink out, you won’t be worried about it.

Watson correctly observes that many people in secular society seem to have no problem with this. They have either rejected “religion” without further thought, or simply grew up without it. He writes:

“We need to remind ourselves … that many people — and perhaps the quieter souls among us — see no problem in God being dead. For them his death is no source of anxiety or perplexity…. [S]uch individuals are not “metaphysical types” and seek no “deep” meaning in existence. They just get on with their lives, making ends meet, living from day to day and season to season, enjoying themselves where they can, untroubled by matters that so perplex their neighbors. They have no great expectations that the big questions will ever be settled, so devote no time to their elucidation. In some ways, they are the most secular people of all and perhaps the most content” (The Age of Atheists, pp. 532-33).

Such folks blend smoothly into the majority, the masses of humanity in advanced civilization, meeting its demands on them, and no more thinking independently today than the third or so who were content with British rule in the 1770s and another third who didn’t care so long as they had food on the table. If asked, they will say they have no time for such matters as these. They will vote for mainstream candidates without question, and only start asking questions when their supposed leaders send their kids off to die in foreign wars as cannon fodder, if even then. They are first veilers. While many are nice people and good at what they do, should we trust their collective judgment with matters as far from everyday experience, and as important, as whether or not one should believe in God as the source of moral valuation?

Materialism (Part Four) Steven Yates

“Jesus, help me find my proper place

Jesus, help me find my proper place

Help me in my weakness

Cause I'm falling out of grace.

Jesus. Jesus.” ~The Velvet Underground, “Jesus” (1968)

I confess I had a difficult time choosing an open song lyric for this final segment, if only because explicit Christian themes are rare in rock music (it does happen, however). Yet that world contains many artists who have engaged in intense self-exploration often reaching out to a spiritual reality even if by accident. Lou Reed (1942 – 2013), author of the above lyrics, is an example. He had clearly seen the seamy side of human existence including from the standpoint of a heroin addiction when he was in his early 20s. The song cited above sounds surprisingly like a prayer for someone who was not a Christian (I am assuming). Reed’s music has always struck me as that of an observer and seeker, someone commenting on the dark side of human life as if from a vantage point somewhere above.

According to materialists, there is no “vantage point somewhere above,” of course. There is just this world, and whatever neural synapses are firing in your brain. The New Atheism (Dawkins, et al) has reiterated Nietzsche’s “God is dead” by proclaiming the impending death of Christianity.

I wouldn’t hold my breath. The Soviets spent over 70 years trying to eradicate Christianity by force; the Maoists, in China, also tried to wipe it out. It is true that, e.g., church attendance is dropping on the part of millennials, a source of commentary on Christianity losing ground in the U.S. It is incompatible with the political correctness that dominates the mindset of millennial students, for sure. But Christianity is the fastest growing religion elsewhere in the world, such as (ironically) in Russia and China. Why would anyone think Christianity is going away voluntarily? What we should be thinking about is where the Christian worldview stands in the present, and what its future might be.

What is the Christian worldview? It stands, as I argue in Four Cardinal Errors, in sharp contrast to the materialist worldview. Here are some proposals.

(1) God exists, as a Being who transcends space, time, and causality. The things of God, including morality, transcend space, time, and causality. God created the world of space, time, and causality. Logos and Ethos (logicality and morality) are inseparable aspects of God’s eternal nature. God’s existence is a starting point, not a conclusion of our reasoning.

(2) There is therefore the world of space, time, and causality — the world of human experience and of science — and whatever noumenal realm exists “beyond” these, outside possible human experience. Neither reality nor God are limited to space, time, and causality. The philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein (1889 – 1951) would say we are pushing at the limits of language. In a sense, he was correct. But limits to human language and understanding do not limit reality. In the last analysis, God’s nature as both one God and as “three persons” (the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit) are mysteries, as is how Creation was accomplished, how our free will operates, and possibly how consciousness itself works. Positivism and scientism disliked and distrusted mysteries. Materialists believed they had explained them. Rorty, who also admired Wittgenstein, believed the problems were artifacts of our insistence on “mentalistic” language. But some recent philosophers of mind — Colin McGinn (1950 – ) is an example — now sound very Kantian in concluding that consciousness has remained fundamentally mysterious despite decades of hard, patient, sustained inquiry and analysis … because our reason just isn’t structured so as to fathom its mysteries. If materialism is false, the mysteriousness of consciousness makes perfect sense! It just can’t be forced-fitted into the materialist conceptual straitjacket!

(3) What science does it does reasonably well, when not corrupted by politics or other sources of dollars. Again, though, science is designed to answer questions and solve problems in this world. Again as Kant showed, it cannot address metaphysical problems, any more than can reason itself. Reason, though its starting point is Logos, is human, all too human, is finite therefore, and not designed to reach or grasp an eternal God. From what successes science has enjoyed it does not follow logically that this world, the world of space, time, and causality where science and technology operate, exhausts reality.

(4) According to Christianity human beings were created in God’s image. Hence the fundamental ontological and moral differences between us and the rest of the Creation. As St. Thomas Aquinas (1225 – 1274) put it, our reason is an imprint of God’s eternal nature within us. Thus we have the finite capacity to acquire knowledge of the Creation, whether through science or rational insight.

(5) The Christian worldview’s diagnosis of the human condition is not ignorance but sin: the fact that the first humans (whether we read Genesis literally or not) turned away from God. They believed they could do better on their own, autonomously. They were wrong. Sin corrupts everything, including the quest for truth. Most thinkers have sought to avoid any frank discussion of sin. The idea flies in the face of the idea of human perfectibility, or at least of indefinite improvability by our own efforts, legacies of the Enlightenment. But any honest, empirical look at ourselves ought to suggest that we cannot save ourselves, or improve ourselves wholesale as ethical beings. We can make small improvements here and there, akin to learning to bathe; most of us tend to behave better when we are comfortable and when our stomachs are full. But morality is simply not our “default setting”; it should be obvious that even children can be hideously cruel to classmates who do not “fit in.” While many of us adults doubtless mean well because we have internalized moral principles to some degree, others among us remain pretty much untouched by these niceties. We try to device systems of rules that operate under the assumption that the desire to do good should be a primary motivator, when it usually isn’t. Most of us have little interest in what does not affect us directly, or bring us benefits. All of us have our lapses, some of which are truly breathtaking! Secularists believe we can be autonomous, but absent an external moral compass, we often just act as destroyers, of others if not ourselves, whether on the grand scale of the wars of choice in the Middle East or the small but from the victim’s standpoint all-too-real one of the teenager who is bullied or cyberbullied until she commits suicide. Unless such things happen to one of our own, we drift with the herd, with the quiet secularists Peter Watson noted.

(6) Christian ethics are found in the Ten Commandments, the Sermon on the Mount, and elsewhere in the Old and New Testaments. Yes, there are often problems interpreting what we perceive God’s will to be, and religious communities are bound to disagree over specifics. But the problems understanding what Christianity requires of us surely pale next to the failure of secular ethical theories, and of secularism more broadly. One thing is crystal clear: Christian salvation is to be found in Jesus Christ who alone promises salvation from the consequences of sin (Romans 3:23; Romans 6:23; John 3:16; elsewhere), something we cannot do ourselves (Ephesians 2:8–9; elsewhere). Recognizing that if we try to start with ourselves we get nowhere, and that our ability to get nowhere on our own is entirely consistent with what we observe in history and society, are good places to begin one’s appreciation of Christian ethics, or of the Christian worldview generally.

Christians do not get everything right, of course. The Christian does not cease to sin nor even to suffer the consequences of sin; the most he can do is confess sins, and turn away gratefully acknowledging God’s forgiveness. What Christians get wrong could fill a separate article: failure in their families; failure to care for their neighbors and fellow citizens as God commands (Jesus did not say to treat the sick only if you can make a profit doing so); failure to care for the Creation itself, over which God gave humanity dominion, which means assuming moral responsibility, not destructive plundering; and more besides.

But these human failures do not give us an argument against Christianity and for materialism, which in the end gives us no basis for condemning any of these failures other than expedient ones.

What of other faiths? some might ask. I was born in the U.S. (grew up in Atlanta), and have been surrounded by Christians for much of my life (except for time spent in universities surrounded by materialists). Suppose I’d been born in, say Baghdad. Would I not be writing my condemnations of Western materialism as part of my submission to Allah, as a devout Muslim scholar (the word Islam means submission)? Would I not be a Hindu or possibly a Buddhist, had I been born in, say, India? Or a Confucian, had I been born in Tibet?

There are no easy answers to such questions. I do not know if Christians can have the best answers to them, as those answers (obviously) presuppose Christianity and to a logical mind, will sound circular. The fact that everyone considers his/her religion to be “the right one” is a given; no one would believe in his/her faith otherwise. Other faiths stand at the center of other worldviews, of course, non-Western ones in most cases. That means (by definition) they are not widely represented in those regions of the world identified as “the West.” High or low representation has no logical implications for truth or falsity, however.

Technology, a product of the West, has brought these different worldviews into the same meeting space as never before, however: cyberspace, which transcends the fact that some of us are able to travel anywhere and experience the cultural embodiments of other worldviews firsthand. The thing to do, it seems to me, is to encourage interfaith dialogue as never before, conducted respectfully and with an eye to seeing what is similar, and not being so eager to focus on what is different. And looking to the future rather than dwelling on the errors of the past. The world needs people both able and willing to communicate, especially with divisive and destructive personalities everywhere. We can then show how the world looks to Christians, and present what we believe is true in Christianity.

This, we must add, goes along with acting as Jesus Christ would have as act, in accordance with His words during the Sermon on the Mount and elsewhere: for example, working to ensure that impoverished peoples here and afar have food to eat, whatever their beliefs, and to help them learn those practices that will help them feed themselves. Words without deeds, after all, are idle chatter. Having attended to such matters, the most constructive thing we can do is to step aside and trust God to do His work.