A Tale of Two Conversations w/Younger Persons On FaceBook (updated 9-24-2012)

I wanted to share my back-to-back experiences after being invited to two conversations by my Son on FaceBook. Almost the same attacks were used against Mitt Romeny, and almost the exact same information was used in my response. Yet, you had two different outcomes. The youngsters in the first example unfriended my son. The person in the second example admitted to hearing new information/positions he had not previously thought of, and as a result he said he will step-back and re-evaluate his own positions. Mind-you, he did not acquiesce fully, and I do not expect anyone to immediately change a long held belief about a position. All I can expect is that when new information is presented, these previously held positions are re-examined… and often times as one aligns oneself to new ideas that are true or closer to truth, they will overtime reject these previously held positions via reflection and introducing new ideals to one’s viewpoint. This is not how people work — immediate changes of thinking — even when accepting the free gift offered by God we still go through a maturing process and evolution of thought, as B.B. Warfield so aptly points out:

We are assured, indeed, that the leaven of truth, thus brought into the world and applied by the Spirit in a long process, shall in the end leaven the whole lump. Meanwhile, what is presented to observation is a conflict between the true and the false. This conflict goes on in each individual’s mind and heart. The Spirit of God does not at once so purify the hearts of those whom he visits that they may come to the knowledge of the truth, that they at once embrace the whole truth in perfect Comprehension, and live by it in perfect obedience. Their minds remain for long in partial darkness; their hearts only slowly acquire the powers of the new life brought to them. They need to cry over and over again, “0 wretched men that we are, who shall deliver us from the body of this death?” What has been implanted in them, however, is life, and it grows onward to the end appointed to it. As in the individual, so in the race the progress to the goal is slow, though sure. Little parties of those to whom the new life has come, spring up here, there, elsewhere. They see the truth more or less purely, and hold it more or less firmly, and cast it with more or less confidence into the caldron of the world’s seething thought, that it may join issue with falsehood, and in the end conquer. So we perceive a new humanity rising in the world, and by faith may see the day looming on the horizon when the whole world shall live in the full enjoyment of the true religion, practising in its completeness the true morality, which have been restored to man by God his Savior. Over this whole process, of course, God is presiding.

Below I will recreate both conversations and may even add to it as the second continues… if it goes in a congenial manner. This first conversation is the one that went sour (the graphics are enlargeable just a bit if you click them):

I was recently — today in fact, called by extension to a posting of one of my blog-posts, a “racist” and “homophobic.” So I wanted to know why and politely explained my thinking on the matter. Here is the first set of responses after my son linked to my blog:

So this is my response to the above:

(Papa Giorgio here… I will always put “(PG)” do designate my post.)

I just wanted to point out how easy it is for people to label (what is called S.I.X.H.I.R.B. ~ sexist, intolerant, xenophobic, homophobic, Islamophobic, racist, and bigoted), rather that engage in dialogue. A really good documentary made on this in academia is uploaded on my MRCTV account.

However, I do wish to ask you thoughtfully read my post and tell me your thoughts. Okay, so are you aware that monogamous/long-term homosexual couples would consider same-sex marriage a travesty for America. They stand either institution it, or want to be done on the state level, like almost every conservative I know. For instance, just today Well-known gay actor, Rupert Everett (“My Best Friend’s Wedding” and “Shakespeare in Love”), says he “can’t think of anything worse than being brought up by two gay dads.” Is his opinion racist? Homophobic?

Or another pro-choice/lesbian (and one of my favorite authors/columnists), Tammy Bruce is against same-sex marriage being rammed down our throats by the judiciary. She would agree with well respected gay sociologist and scholar, Paul Nathanson, who says this:

[Paul Nathanson] writes that there are at least five functions that marriage serves–things that every culture must do in order to survive and thrive. They are:

  • Foster the bonding between men and women
  • Foster the birth and rearing of children
  • Foster the bonding between men and children
  • Foster some form of healthy masculine identity
  • Foster the transformation of adolescents into sexually responsible adults

Note that Nathanson considers these points critical to the continued survival of any culture. He continues “Because heterosexuality is directly related to both reproduction and survival, … every human societ[y] has had to promote it actively . … Heterosexuality is always fostered by a cultural norm” that limits marriage to unions of men and women. He adds that people “are wrong in assuming that any society can do without it.” Going further he stated that “same sex marriage is a bad idea” …[he] only opposed “gay marriage, not gay relationships.”

PINK TRIANGLES

The above are marking — a pink triangle — that was given to homosexuals put into concentration camps. You see, when God is removed as the “Life giver” ~ the Founder of our human worth (as our Declaration posits) ~ then human worth is relegated to societal definition. Hitler stated as much in his book, this is what conservative homosexuals understand:

“The stronger must dominate and not mate with the weaker, which would signify the sacrifice of its own higher nature. Only the born weakling can look upon this principle as cruel, and if he does so it is merely because he is of a feebler nature and narrower mind; for if such a law [natural selection] did not direct the process of evolution then the higher development of organic life would not be conceivable at all…. If Nature does not wish that weaker individuals should mate with the stronger, she wishes even less that a superior race should intermingle with an inferior one; because in such a case all her efforts, throughout hundreds of thousands of years, to establish an evolutionary higher stage of being, may thus be rendered futile.”

(Adolf Hitler, Mein Kampf, translator/annotator, James Murphy [New York: Hurst and Blackett, 1942], pp. 161-162.)

By definition homosexuals cannot “mate.” So these “special rights” are shown to be just that, not equal, with a simple question:

“If homosexuality is really genetic, we may soon be able to tell if a fetus is predisposed to homosexuality, in which case many parents might choose to abort it. Will gay rights activists continue to support abortion rights if this occurs?”

(Dale A. Berryhill, The Assault: Liberalism’s Attack on Religion, Freedom, and Democracy)

Again, Tammy Bruce understands that rights do not come from government, but from something Bigger, and government only protects these rights. If government produces rights, then it can take them away. She says:

★ Even if one does not necessarily accept the institutional structure of “organized religion,” the “Judeo-Christian ethic and the personal standards it encourages do not impinge on the quality of life, but enhance it. They also give one a basic moral template that is not relative,” which is why the legal positivists of the Left are so threatened by the Natural Law aspect of the Judeo-Christian ethic. (Tammy Bruce, The Death of Right and Wrong: Exposing the Left’s Assault on Our Culture and Values, 35.)

Why would she posit such a thing. She is a student of history, that is one reason. For instance, people think fascism lived in Germany… it did not. It did however live in Italy, and Mussolini wrote what fascism was/is:

★ “Everything I have said and done in these last years is relativism by intuition…. If relativism signifies contempt for fixed categories and men who claim to be bearers of an objective, immortal truth… then there is nothing more relativistic than fascistic attitudes and activity…. From the fact that all ideologies are of equal value, that all ideologies are mere fictions, the modern relativist infers that everybody has the right to create for himself his own ideology and to attempt to enforce it with all the energy of which he is capable.” (Mussolini, Diuturna pp. 374-77, quoted in A Refutation of Moral Relativism: Interviews with an Absolutist, by Peter Kreeft, p. 18.)

Some sort of ethic is needed to counter relativism, otherwise it is very easy for government to usurp rights that theism (the ethos that founded our countries documents). Here Hitler makes the point that “I freed Germany from the stupid and degrading fallacies of conscience and morality…. We will train young people before whom the world will tremble. I want young people capable of violence — imperious, relentless and cruel” (Hitler, hung on the wall at Auschwitz; Ravi Zacharias, Can Man Live Without God, p. 23). So this is known well to many homosexuals… because as the government gets bigger, people’s rights get smaller.

I am curious, have you ever heard of gay people who stand against same-sex marriage? If not, the next question is, why not? Do you insulate your thinking/opinions to like minded people, books, and the like? Have you gone out of your way to ask yourself, “I believe “a” — a lot! Have I ever gone out and found a cogent, well-thought out book or person to discuss these deeper thoughts with… or should I just label them?” Granted, the latter is easier, but the former is worth it, even if the travel is a couple of years.

Take note as well that not only would the label “racist” and “homophobic” apply to a large portion of the gay community, but this type of tolerant thinking that infects the left would also apply to Buddha, Muhammad, Zoroaster, Confucius, Moses, Jesus, Plato, Socrates (i.e. the major religious founders and great secular and moral thinkers throughout time) are all wrong and bigoted. Only this generation is benighted to rise above the rest in a meta-narrative and judge absolutely the rest of history and their fellow compatriots. Just an after-thought.

These are the follow-up comments. Facts, reason, and humor got the best of them and they unfriended my son. Without an apology to me, or realizing that great dialogue/conversation could have taken place. What did happen however, is ingrained thinking that prefers “mini-me’s” surrounding themselves (with themselves) instead of being open-minded and tolerant. Here is the last posts:

(An “unfriend” soon followed that last posting.) Now, in the second conversation a young man intimated that Romney was a bigot. Not as harsh a use of language as “racist,” but, still part of the S.I.X.H.I.R.B. ~ sexist, intolerant, xenophobic, homophobic, Islamophobic, racist, and bigoted ~ that Dennis Prager so rightly talks about. Now, I used the above main response after Connor posted the following, with additional thoughts on his particular points. Which are that he is writing in on his ballot in November — Ron Paul — undermines his claim. Here is part of Connors post:

[T]he point being argued, is that I said [R]omney is a bigot. the retort was an example of the bigotry of other people, irrelevant to the topic, and a very good documentary about academia (which [I] agree with, mostly). [I] see [R]omney as a bigot because he opposes a woman’s right to choose, he opposes gay marriage, he wants to blend church and state, and he has stated that he is not concerned with the poor….

To which I responded with a translation, trying to stay on one topic rather than the many that followed his above except:

Translation for those that need it. Connor basically just called a majority of women (a higher percentage polled are pro-life than not — this number is growing by-the-way) and homosexuals (as well as every major religious founder and moral thinker) bigoted. This is the modern progressive thinking. If someone disagrees with your point, paint them as one of the SIXHIRBs… why debate the issues.

In other words… to belabor the point… calling more than half of the women in America, and about a third of the homosexual population, and every founder of the worlds great religions and moral as well as secular thinkers bigots… is a form … of… bigotry. You do not even have to be religious (for instance) to be pro-life (or against same-sex marriage):

If [to quote Connor] “opposing a women’s right to choose” makes one a bigot, then writing in Ron Paul’s name makes one a bigot as well. Why? Because Romney and Ron Paul have the same view of the issue. That is, returning the choice of the matter to the states.

I see many inconsistencies in these positions with the youth of today, and I wish they would look to some better argued positions that do not violate the laws of reason/logic — e.g., are internally self-consistent instead of self-deleting. Decisions based in our long history of of legal and moral thinking, etc., etc. I realize that Connor and the audience here is young and has some time to mature in their voting and thinking. But for God-Sakes, do not go around calling people names… because if Romney’s a bigot, then I am being called a bigot, my son is, as are others here (or their parents or family/friends, so is over half of America, as well as people who write in Ron Paul’s name. There is no way faster to lose friends and/or respect than by calling people names.

And much to the young man’s credit he responded thusly, and I will clarify a bit for him offering sincerity in my benefit of doubt:

Although I do not agree [on all your points], I retract my statement that Romney is a bigot. I feel very differently on these moral issues, but I will avoid sixhirb-ing in the future, thank you for pointing it out. Good video, but this issue hits too close to home for me to continue this discussion.

Id like to have more conversations with you in the future, it’s not often someone makes me rethink my entire approach to a topic. Caught me a bit off guard, because I usually talk circles around people. I’ve been hearing so much idiocy from people with opposing view points, that I’ve lost a bit of my receptiveness. Paul still has my vote, but thanks for opening my mind a bit more.

WOW! I was floored. This simple response showed a level of maturity I was getting use to not seeing in the younger generation. Here is my response to Connor:

Connor, you are a good man. You are head-and-shoulder above many! I do not say that because you complimented me, rather, I say it because in the face of a public dialogue you showed some humility when new evidence was presented. Kudos.

I would love to talk with you on any subject you wish in the future. I am always up for a cup-of-Joe at Starbucks (on me) or messaging me is fine as well. I did write a book that I would recommend reading the first chapter of when you get an urge to read something. I explain some crucial thinking that many do not learn about anymore.

http://tinyurl.com/3pck3pl

The first chapter is entitled, “Introduction – Technology Junkies.” You should note that this years platform for the GOP has been called the most libertarian in decades, and many libertarians have switched over or back to being Republicans. One example is the Libertarian Party’s Veeep choice from 2008, Wayne Allyn Root. If you want, I can upload his interview by Michael Medved about this switch back before November for you.

Also, a site, two actually, that I will recommend for you. One is Libertarian Republican. The blogger/owner was Ron Paul’s top aid for a decade:

http://www.libertarianrepublican.net/

And another site is by a conservative homosexual, a great guy, called The Gay Patriot:

http://www.gaypatriot.net/

To his credit, he has already read my chapter. And although this is my busy season, I hope to share some coffee and conversation with this young man.

Changing Subjects a Bit In the Same Strain of Conversation

Continuing on in conversation with another gentleman in regards to the Ron Paul issue, Brett stepped into the end of the conversation and said this:

  • staying out of this one, go ron paul (waves flag)

To which I responded in my Religio-Political fashion:

@Brett How could you wave a flag for a guy [Ron Paul] who sent his voters to vote for a pro-Marxist/pro-Gaddafi candidate? Just a question. You are waving a flag in your statement but how can you reconcile your apparent patriotism, love of country and its ideals, with someone [Ron Paul] who sends his voters to Cynthia McKinney who hates everything about other races, this country, and would rather see Marxist ideals over our Founding ideals?

@Reader — a side-note. In my many discussions over time I have noticed something, which is this, people do not realize what someone stands for in total. They like one item, example, Ron Paul wanting to legalize marijuana. What he really wants to do is return this policing power to the states. He [RP] cannot by fiat make it so… but Ron Paul has a long history of making his politics known and there is a lot that would make any liberal young man cringe.

Another example is that often times people do not understand what one position stands for in total. So, a great example of this are people rioting in the streets of Greece, or the occupiers and their violence in our streets… many saying they are “anarchists,” but being violent for socialized health care, more benefits from the government so they [like in Greece] can continue to retire and collect benefits from the government at 55-years old, or more government control of private financial institutions, etc. etc. (A-minute-and-a-half)

What people need to do is really look inward and see if they are being consistent with what they profess. So when I took a philosophy class at COC — as a real life example — and the very first day the professor of philosophy wrote on the eraser board “There are no absolute truths,” I merely rose my hand and asked, “is that an absolute statement, if so, is it true?” She had a masters degree in poli-sci, and a masters in philosophy, and yet still showed that her particular take on things couldn’t stand its own test.

Whether in religious views or political, one needs to UNDERSTAND (caps for *emphasis*) what they are saying. People like buffet religion and politics and often conflate opposing ideas/ideals to make themselves feel good. Which is understandable… we are human and fail even meeting our own goals and ideals in life, let alone others. But this human frailty shouldn’t stop us from learning to know what WE believe, and to see if IT is able to stand on its own two feet.

This goes for my fellow Christians as well. You should be 1 Peter 3:15 believers (“…always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you…”), and not in a “Blue Like Jazz” mindset.

“He who has ears to hear, let him hear.”

Take note that Brett’s response is low on substance and high in ad hominem attacks, name calling, non-sequiturs, and the like. Not only this, but many people will talk differently on line than they would with meeting a stranger, say, in a check-out line at a store, or in a bar… it is as if politeness and reasonable thinking is “checked” at the keyboard. Its the split-personality of the 21st century:

you have your views on his policy’s and i have mine – obviously they conflict; in parting, this is what’s going to happen – Romney is going to lose because he’s too far right wing and no Mormon has ever been president, Obama will win again and then everyone will complain for about 3 months afterwards and say they’re moving to Canada which is a crock of shit because no one ever does. Then people will forget about Romney and move on and just wait it out as the country slips further down the shitter. What should have happen is Collin Pall should have ran but he didn’t want – this election is all wrong – people are too vested in themselves and not the greater good of the country and are looking too much into what they can get out of their candidate; i.e. legalize marijuana, abortion, gay rights, and health care – while that shouldn’t be the focus of the election at all. it should be the current economic status of america – which isn’t really getting better and the fed is just printing money and creating inflation that is screwing us down to nothing. but our media is too good at distracting us with smaller minded issues such as the ones i stated before; those issues in due time will come to terms and i’m not worried about them – nor do i feel anyone else should be at this point in time either. R-money is another douche fag and Obezy is just pretty preempted puppet for everyone to look at.

Now, this is where the conversation currently ends, and I will only continue it if need be. But I think my response is adequate to all the “paulistinians” out there and instructive to Libertarians considering making their vote count:

@ BRETT pleased read and watch/listen to the following and again tell me how Ron Paul will get done what you say he wants to.

I agree 100% with you when you say “while that shouldn’t be the focus of the election at all. it should be the current economic status of [A]merica…” I agree, and Romney/Ryan have a deep understanding of our fiscal problems, more than “shutting down the Fed” could solve. The Republican platform calls for an audit of the Fed, which would be the first, ever, if this happens — as well as leaning heavily on Jack Kemp’s understanding of returning to the gold standard (http://tinyurl.com/965tbzn). Which is why this has been called one of the most libertarian platforms (for the Republicans) in decades, and why many Libertarians are switching their status to GOP. One example is the former Vice Presidential candidate for the Libertarian Party in 2008, Wayne Allen Root.

Here is his interview via Michael Medved:

Scrubbing the Fed is too conspiratorial… a viewpoint I use to wholeheartedly endorse years ago. But having a party in power with young libertarian minded conservative who have the best chance at really auditing the fed, and having Ron Paul’s son head up the venture is a chance you may not get again (at least 4-years more).

I do beg to differ on Romney losing. You should be aware of the media bias and how this is working towards a narrative that fits the worldview of this same media. For instance, I deal with this a bit in my post on why Republicans should be optimistic.

Again, Ron Paul’s take on history is woefully wrong (as is yours)… something his son understands. Between 1800 and 1934, U.S. Marines staged 180 landings abroad. For instance, from the description of a book I highly recommend, “The Savage Wars Of Peace: Small Wars And The Rise Of American Power”:

★ From 1800 to the present day, such undeclared wars have made up the vast majority of our military engagements. Yet the military has often resisted preparing itself for small wars, preferring instead to train for big conflicts that seldom come. Boot re-examines the tragedy of Vietnam through a “small war” prism. He concludes with a devastating critique of the Powell Doctrine and a convincing argument that the armed forces must reorient themselves to better handle small-war missions, because such clashes are an inevitable result of America’s far-flung imperial responsibilities. (see also my post on the beginning of our NAVY)

Brett still hasn’t clicked yet with how he is tearing down his own arguments. Since he is a Ron Paul fan I presumed that he might be into the conspiratorial take on history and a secret cabal of financiers running the world. So I shared a bit on my past thinking on this matter:

…and my affinity to such theories even going as far as involving myself with the John Birch Society in the mid to late 90′s. Continuing, I explained three “events” that caused me to question these beliefs and spurred me to really investigate these claims, references, and quotes so often used with these theories. My eventual shidt in thinking were spurred by an article in the New American article (the magazine of the John Birch Society) blaming the Oklahoma bombing on the U.S. Government; the failure of predictions made about Y2K from many I listened to; and listening to radio talk show host Michael Medved’s “Conspiracy Show” where for one day each month he takes calls only from those who believe in conspiracies. These three things caused me to compare and contrast the positions previously accepted as fact. After a couple of years of wrestling with position after position, I eventually gave up my thinking on the NWO and embraced true history….

To which Brett replied:

  • …you are a fucking nut-job for believing that

To which I pointed out his flaw in saying this:

Okay, you made it seem like this when you said: “R-money is another douche fag and Obezy is just pretty preempted puppet for everyone to look at.” But you should really watch how you talk to people, You should talk to someone as if you are in a public place, politely — which you are, FB is a public place.

But, yes, I was not using all my faculties in looking at all the evidence years ago. But the problem is — for you — that Ron Paul believes these things (Bilderbergers, a Jewish banker $$ cabal, that America did 9/11, etc.). I looked at the evidence and changed my mind. Ron Paul has not… instead he tells voters to go vote for an avowed Marxist, black panther/racist [past Democrat Representative]. CRAZY HUH? But write in Ron Paul.

Ron Paul… attracting all the nuts.

Oooops!

B.B. Warfield ~ GOD AND HUMAN RELIGION AND MORALS

GOD AND HUMAN RELIGION AND MORALS

How much better,” our Savior exclaims, “is a man than a sheep!” But why, we may ask, is a man better than a sheep? Precisely what is it in man which distinguishes him from all the other creatures which inhabit the world with him, and raises him above them all? The answer might be given, perhaps, in terms of self-consciousness or in terms of freedom. But the discussion of it on those— lines would lead us into many abstractions, and might possibly leave us still with some sense of dissatisfaction. There seems to be a more direct and more vital mode of approach to the answer which in any case we should ultimately reach. There are two outstanding endowments of human nature which separate it fundamentally from all other earthly natures, and form the foundations of its immeasurable superiority to them. Man is endowed as no other creature is, with an irresistible sense of dependence and an ineradicable sense of obligation.

Of course, all other creatures are just as dependent and just as obliged as man is. A pure automaton would be absolutely dependent upon, and absolutely obliged by its maker. It lies in the very nature of creatureship that the creature should be dependent upon, and obliged by its creator. Every creator is by the necessity of the case also the sustainer and governor of his creatures. Man does not differ in this from other creatures. What he differs from other earthly creatures in, is that he is constantly and profoundly sensible of his dependence and obligation, and they are not. And in this difference is rooted all his superiority to them.

It is because man is conscious of his dependence that he is a religious being. And it is because he is conscious of his obligation that he is a moral being. And it is precisely in these two characteristics — that he is a religious and that he is a moral being — that his superiority to other earthly creatures consists. Religion is not only the natural, but the necessary, product of man’s sense of dependence, which always abides as the innermost essence of the whole crowd of emotions which we speak of as religious, the lowest and also the highest. As Oswald Dykes eloquently puts it: “Gratitude for God’s gifts, adoration of his goodness, submission to his appointments, re­liance on his succour [help or assistance], devotion to his service, prayer for his guidance, hope in his mercy,” are but “variants, every one of them, on this keynote of entire dependence”; and yet they “together range the gamut of religious experience.” Similarly man’s fundamental sense of obligation gives its character to the whole range of his activities which we speak of as moral, up to the most lofty and complicated of them all.

Had man remained in the integrity in which he was created, the natural and necessary working of his fundamental sense of dependence and obligation would have provided him, in the presence of his approving Creator, with all the religion and morality which he needed. The entrance of sin, however, while it could not eradicate either the sense of dependence or that of obligation, profoundly affected their working. The image of God was no longer truly reflected in the heart of sinful man, but was deflected into an object of distrust, fear, and hate. Sinful man did not wish to be dependent on God; guilty man was thrown into terror by his sense of responsibility to him.

Refusing to have God in his knowledge, he was given over to his own reprobate mind; and developed, now, out of his sense of dependence and obligation, not religion and morality, but religions and moralities. There is an infinite variety of them, worked out in parallel series, reflecting much less what God is as the author, sustainer and governor of his creatures, than what these creatures had become in their sin.

Clearly, there was no exit from this terrible situation ex­cept by an intervention from God. This intervention, to be effective, could not confine itself to publishing, on the authority of God, the elements of a true religion and a true morality, to supplant the false religious and moral conceptions which had been evolved by sinful man. Such a publication was necessary; but it was not enough. Sinful man, fearing God because guilty, and hating him because corrupt, would inevitably  reject this revelation or distort it to his own mind. It was necessary to cure man’s sin, which had “held down the truth in unrighteousness,” and that, by delivering him from both its penalties, causing fear of God, and its corruption, causing dislike of God. Only thus could a hospitable reception in the human mind and heart be secured for the elements of true religion and morality published in God’s intervening revelation.

All this God has undertaken to do. But it has pleased him to accomplish it only in the course of a process which extends through ages. He has first, in a progressive revelation, running through many generations, published the elements of a true religion and morality on his own authority, and embodied them c’ in an authoritative record, which should stand for all time as the source and norm of the truth. He has then, in the fullness of the times, sent his own Son to be the propitiation for the sins of the world. And he has then sent his Spirit into the 4. world to work upon the hearts of men, framing in them faith in the sacrifice of the Son of God through which they might ‘5 receive forgiveness of their sins; and cleansing their hearts, that they might understand and obey the truth as it had been delivered to them. This, too, he does. However, not all at once, but in a process extending through ages. Thus it comes about that true religion and morality is only slowly made the possession of man. Objectively in the world in an authoritative revelation, it is subjectively assimilated by the world only as the Kingdom of God is built up, step by step, slowly to the end.

We are assured, indeed, that the leaven of truth, thus brought into the world and applied by the Spirit in a long process, shall in the end leaven the whole lump. Meanwhile, what is presented to observation is a conflict between the true and the false. This conflict goes on in each individual’s mind and heart. The Spirit of God does not at once so purify the hearts of those whom he visits that they may come to the knowledge of the truth, that they at once embrace the whole truth in perfect Comprehension, and live by it in perfect obedience. Their minds remain for long in partial darkness; their hearts only slowly acquire the powers of the new life brought to them. They need to cry over and over again, “0 wretched men that we are, who shall deliver us from the body of this death?” What has been implanted in them, however, is life, and it grows onward to the end appointed to it. As in the individual, so in the race the progress to the goal is slow, though sure. Little parties of those to whom the new life has come, spring up here, there, elsewhere. They see the truth more or less purely, and hold it more or less firmly, and cast it with more or less confidence into the caldron of the world’s seething thought, that it may join issue with falsehood, and in the end conquer. So we perceive a new humanity rising in the world, and by faith may see the day looming on the horizon when the whole world shall live in the full enjoyment of the true religion, practising in its completeness the true morality, which have been restored to man by God his Savior.

Over this whole process, of course, God is presiding. It was he who made man and implanted in him that sense of dependence which is the seed of religion, that sense of obligation which is the root of morality. And when, by his sin, man lost the power to explicate his sense of dependence and his sense of obligation on right lines, and fell into hideous corruptions both of thought and conduct, it was God who intervened to restore him to himself, and to communicate to him richer and fuller religion and morality.

For the religion of redeemed man is a deeper and richer religion than that of unfallen man could ever have been. The sad experiences through which he has passed; the glorious experiences into which by redemptive grace he has been brought; have not only deepened and enriched his religious nature, but have also deepened and enriched the contents of his religious understanding and his religious experience. There are aspects of the divine nature, there are whole regions of religious experience, to the apprehension and enjoyment of which only the redeemed soul has access.

And the morality of the redeemed man is equally fuller and richer than the morality of unfallen man could ever have become. There are obligations of gratitude, for example, which fall on him — obligations on the one hand to a humility of quite distinctive character, and on the other hand to love of an absolutely peculiar quality — to which unfallen man must have remained a stranger.

We may be sure, then, that the actual course of human history by which the natural religion and natural morality which alone were accessible to unfallen man have been transformed and transfigured into the supernatural religion and supernatural morality which shall be the glorious attainment of redeemed mankind, has not, at any point, been in conflict with the divine will or in contravention of the divine appointment. There is a sense — a sense which requires, of course, very careful guarding lest we seem to make evil good and good evil — in which it is right to say, O beata culpa. God’s universe has never for one moment escaped from his governing hand. The event to which it is journeying may seem to us sometimes to be very far off; but it is purely divine. And it runs to this best — we do not say merely possible but also — conceivable end, through the best — we do not say merely possible, but also — conceivable course. To acknowledge that much, we owe to the God who has made it, and who, having made it, upholds and governs it.

It seems, then, quite clear that all the religion and all the morality which has ever been in the world is of God. Whether natural or revealed, it is he who has given it; and it is he alone who has maintained it, yea, and will maintain it, enlarged and enriched to meet sinful man’s clamant needs and renewed man’s deeper desires. Both religion and morality are rooted in God, live in God, and in all the stages of their development, and phases of their manifestation alike reflect man’s essential relations to God– relations of dependence and obligation, in which again, as when he was unfallen, he shall, now that he is redeemed and in process of sanctification and in prospect of glorification, ever find his chief joy.

B.B. Warfield ~ CHRISTIANITY AND OUR TIMES

CHRISTIANITY AND OUR TIMES

When we are asked why it is that there are so many persons who are indifferent to the claims of the Church, no doubt the safest answer to give is that it is for reasons best known to themselves. It seems, however, only a voluntary humility to profess to be ignorant of the fundamental basis of this indifference; an indifference, let it be well borne in mind, which is in no sense “modern,” but has characterized ever greater numbers as we go back in the history of the Church to the very beginning. It lies in a weak sense of sin and the natural unconcern of men who do not feel themselves sinners with respect to salvation from sin. For Christianity addresses itself only to sinners. Its Founder himself declared that he did not come to call the righteous but sinners; and its chief expounder declared with energetic emphasis that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners. When Sir Oliver Lodge announces, in words the truth of which is sufficiently avouched by the chorus of approval with which they have been greeted by those presumedly spoken of, that “as a matter of fact the higher man of today is not worrying about his sins at all, still less about their punishment,” he has uncovered the whole explanation of the current indifference to Christianity. He might have extended his remark, indeed, to cover the lower as well as the higher man, of other days as well as this: there have always been men in sufficient abundance, both higher and lower, who have not bothered themselves about their sins. The open secret of the indifference of men of all classes in all ages to Christianity, so far as that indifference has existed, lies in the indifference of men to sin, and their consequent indifference to salvation from sin. Christianity makes no appeal to men who do not feel the burden of sin.

And here we have already exposed the reason why no Christian Church can take up the position recommended to it on the strength of a declaration attributed to Abraham Lincoln. This declaration is to the effect that a simple requirement of love to God and our neighbor constitutes a sufficient foundation for a church, and the churches would profit by making the profession of such love, or of the wish or purpose to cherish such love, their sole qualification for membership. The moment a church took up such a position, however, it would cease to be a Christian Church: the core of Christianity is its provision for salvation from sin. No doubt by the adoption of such a platform many would be recovered to the Church who now stand aloof from it. But this would be not because the world had been brought into the Church, but because the Church had been merged into the world. The offense of Christianity has always been the cross; as of old, so still today, Christ crucified is to Jews a stumbling-block and to Greeks foolishness. It would be easy to remove the offense by abolishing the cross. But that would be to abolish Christianity. Christianity is the cross; and he who makes the cross of Christ of none effect eviscerates Christianity. What Christianity brings to the world is not the bare command to love God and our neighbor. The world needs no such command; nature itself teaches the duty. What the world needs is the power to perform this duty, with respect to which it is impotent. And this power Christianity brings it in the redemption of the Son of God and the renewal of the Holy Ghost. Christianity is not merely a program of conduct: it is the power of a new life.

It is a matter of complete indifference how much debated the constitutive doctrines of Christianity are, or how “controversial” they may be. Everything important is debated, and everything that is precious will certainly be dragged into controversy. If we are to hold to nothing that is questioned, we shall hold to nothing at all: we shall be as the beasts which are beyond good and evil. The very “brief statement” which is proposed – as a sufficient creed bristles with questions which are sharply debated and are in the highest degree controversial. If any one thinks it does not, let him ask Friedrich Nietzsche, or if that seems going too far afield, even J. M. E. McTaggart; or let him ask merely the man in the street whom he may haply find in some doubt whether it is better to do righteousness or to “do” his neighbor. What is important with respect to the doctrines which we lay at the basis of our church life and make the animating principles of our church organizations, is not that they shall be incapable of being debated and cannot raise “controversial” questions, but that they are sound, “wholesome,” for the soul’s health, the indispensable foundations for a life of service here to the God whose very name is holy and of communion with him and of rejoicing in him forever. Of course, they must be true. But that does not mean that they must be nothing but rational axioms which are intrinsically incapable of being denied, or ethical commonplaces to which all moral beings must assent, however far they may be from obeying them. They may — or, rather, they must — embody the great historical occurrences in which the God of grace has intervened in the life of sinful men for the purpose of redeeming men from their sins and restoring in their dead hearts the love of God and of their neighbor.

Since these great historical verities are constitutive of Christianity, wherever they are rejected or neglected Christianity has ceased to exist. This used to be well understood and candidly acknowledged. When a David Friedrich Strauss, for example, had drifted away from these great historical verities and sought the support of his religious life elsewhere, he asked himself straightforwardly, “Are we still Christians,” and frankly answered, “No.” Nowadays this seems to be all changed. Men cheerfully abandon the whole substance of Christianity, but will hardly be persuaded to surrender the name. Thus, Rudolf Eucken asks, “Can we still be Christians?” and answers with emphasis, Of course we can; providing only that by Christianity we do not mean — Christianity. Thus also Ernst Troeltsch declares himself still a Christian (a “free Christian”) , though his “Christianity” has been so “refashioned” that it has become nothing more than an “immanent theism,” the quintessential extract of the religious development of mankind, still holding to the name of Jesus only because it needs a rallying point for its worship and a name to conjure with. It is no doubt a tribute to the significance of Christianity in the world that men who are quite out of harmony with it should manifest such reluctance to surrender the name. But it certainly is very misleading to insist on calling by this name, which should have a definite content, the various congeries of notions each several man has picked up from the surface of the stream of modern thought as it flows by him and wishes to substitute for the thing itself to which the name really belongs as the substance of his religion.

If the term “Christianity” is to be as fluid as this, it has become in the strictest sense of the words an empty name. It no longer has any content of its own. It has become a purely formal designation for whatever may chance, in any age or company, to be thought the sum of the conclusions commended by the science, philosophy, or scholarship of the day. This is what it really comes to when it is demanded, as it so frequently is, that theology shall be kept in harmony with what are for the moment called “the assured results” of science, philosophy, and scholarship. The thing is, of course, impossible. Science, philosophy, scholarship, represent not stable but constantly changing entities. And nothing is more certain than that the theology which is in close harmony with the science, philosophy, and scholarship of today will be much out of harmony with the science, philosophy, and scholarship of tomorrow. A theology which is to be kept in harmony with a growing science and philosophy and scholarship, breaking their way onward by a process of trial and correction, must be a veritable nose of wax which can be twisted in any direction as it may serve our temporary purpose. If it be asked, therefore, in what way “the fundamental theology of the Church” “is to be related to the literary, scientific, and philosophical certainties of our time,” the answer certainly cannot be that it is to be subordinated to them and made their slave, tremblingly following their every variation as they zigzag their devious way onward toward the certainties, not “of our time,” but of all time. Theology is itself a science, with its own proper object, method and content: it has its own certainties to contribute to the sum of ascertained truth; and it dare not do other than place these certainties, established by their own appropriate evidence, by the side of any other certainties which may exist, as equally entitled with the best attested of them all to the acceptance of men. And if seeming inconsistencies appear, then there is nothing for it but patiently to await the coming of the better day when trial and correction have done their perfect work and the unity of all truth shall be vindicated by its realized harmony.

By “the fundamental theology of the Church” is meant especially the Church’s confession of that series of the redemptive acts of God, by which he has supernaturally intervened in human history for the salvation of sinful man, as interpreted and given their full meaning in the revelation which he has made to his people in time past at sundry times and in divers manners through his servants the prophets, and in these last times in his Son speaking through the apostles whom he appointed as his representatives in founding his Church. This is not a mass of cunningly devised fables, but the substance of saving truth. And no message can be effective for the salvation of a lost world which does not stand for and teach in the face of all hesitation and unbelief, denial and opposition, those things which constitute the sum-total of this saving truth, as it has been set down for us in Holy Scripture. The message of Christianity concerns, not “the values of human life,” but the grace of the saving God in Christ Jesus. And in proportion as the grace of the saving God in Christ Jesus is obscured or passes into the background, in that proportion does Christianity slip from our grasp. Christianity is summed up in the phrase: “God was in Christ, reconciling the world with himself.” Where this great confession is contradicted or neglected, there is no Christianity.