Humanism is man-centered philosophy. Man himself, not God’s glory, is the primary concern and our world’s problems can be solved by the intelligent effort of man. They gladly point to the United Nations [or: World Economic Forum; G20; CDC, or the like] to exemplify humanistic accomplishment. Any concept of faith is generally eschewed and supernatural revelation is rejected. They seek no higher source for moral values and do not normally believe in an afterlife. Colossians 1:12-29 clearly condemns their thinking. (See more at: TRUTH & TIDINGS | GOT QUESTIONS)
These three excerpts from the videos below are related in that the New World Order has simply been people in power who want no borders and power to decide for others how they should live and eat for the betterment of the world and their egos. Control of Elections, control of lives – bigger government… the wet dream of the Left throughout history. From Lycurgus (Sparta) to Soros/Schwab. The DNC is onboard for a borderless, “world worker” collective.
The son of famous atheist, Madalyn Murray O’Hair, notes the collective nature of Sparta and man’s search to be like God since the Garden (Genesis 3:1; 5 — “…did God really say…. For God knows that in the day you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” Planning for mankind what man thinks is good/bad apart from God’s revelation.):
The Grecian city-state of Sparta and Plato’s descriptions of the supposedly perfect society in his Republic and in the Laws (a twelve-book series) have been the inspiration for utopian tyrants throughout history. Sparta was a collectivist, centrally planned city-state. Individuality was discouraged, and all were expected to live their lives in obedience to the dictates of the totalitarian leadership. Boys were raised from birth to be soldiers and not much more.
Sparta moved to utopian tyranny under the rule of Lycurgus, who imposed a series of laws on the Spartans around 800 BC. Lycurgus turned Sparta into a disciplined war machine, a country where freedom was nonexistent and where cultural creativity died. Regrettably, his influence over this nation-state lasted some five hundred years. Sparta eventually decayed from within, and outside invasions decimated its population.
Before Lycurgus imposed his draconian laws upon Spartan’s citizens, there had been art and creativity in the city-state’s culture; however, Lycurgus ordered all Spartans to disregard art (with the exception of some martial-style songs, music, and poetry). He taught them to distrust philosophy and to avoid excess in all things. Even their speech patterns were restricted to avoid pointless chatter, gossip, or too much speaking of any kind.
The historian Plutarch described how Lycurgus traveled to other parts of the known world to study various forms of government and cultures before returning to Sparta to implement his totalitarian plans. lie searched for a society based on virtue and a warrior ethos. Lycurgus then traveled to the Greek Oracle of Delphi (a priestess of the god Apollo) to obtain instructions from the “gods” on how to rule Sparta, or at least claimed that as his purpose.
According to Plutarch, the oracle taught Lycurgus that he himself was a “god” and confirmed his ruthless plans for governing Sparta as purposed by the gods.
With apparent “divine” approval through this mystical oracle, Lycurgus began to remake Sparta in the utopian image he imagined. Plutarch related how he first established a council of elders who would have an equal vote with the two kings who ruled Sparta at the time. According to Plutarch, “eight-and-twenty elders would lend the kings their support in the suppression of democracy, but would use the people to suppress any tendency to despotism.”
Long before Karl Marx, Lycurgus was the ideal collectivist and central planner. He believed that Sparta’s citizens were the property of the state and that they had no higher purpose than to obey the dictates of the rulers throughout their lives. The concept of individual liberty and of freedom of conscience and action soon became nonexistent in Sparta. The state rather than the family was the center of each person’s life.
Unlike Marx or Lenin, Lycurgus never produced an overall doctrine in writing for Sparta. Using this tactic, he could add to the rules or change them as he pleased, just as other despotic rulers over Sparta did who followed after his death.
As a good collectivist, Lycurgus hated wealth and private property, so he decided that wealthy landowners should be stripped of all their property so it could be given to the poor. He engaged in what current collectives describe as “redistributing” the wealth. In the twentieth century, Communists called this land-theft process “agrarian reform.” According to Plutarch, Lycurgus accomplished this without murder:
Lycurgus abolished all the mass of pride, envy, crime, and luxury which flowed from those old and more terrible evils of riches and poverty, by inducing all land-owners to offer their estates for redistribution, and prevailing upon them to live on equal terms one with another, and with equal incomes, striving only to surpass each other in courage and virtue, there being henceforth no social inequalities among them except such as praise or blame can create.
Lycurgus also hated the concept of money because it supposedly resulted in greed and avarice. His solution was to abolish the use of gold and silver money and to make iron money the only legal tender in his city-state. The iron money was so large that it had to be carried by a yoke of oxen. The destruction of the gold and silver standard also made it impossible for Sparta to effectively trade with other countries.
Lycurgus controlled every aspect of Spartan life. There were even precise regulations as to how a Spartan home could be roofed. The beams of each house had to be constructed with an axe, while the doors had to be built with a saw and no other tools.
Lycurgus was an advocate of infanticide, which became an institution in Sparta. Whenever a child was born, it was considered state property and, if a boy, he was destined to spend most of his life training or engaging in warfare against Sparta’s enemies. Thus, he had to be strong and indifferent to pain and privation. Babies that appeared to have defects or weakness at birth were eliminated, as they could not serve the Spartan state and thus had no value.
The manner of death of the unwanted babies was not as sterile as it is today at a Planned Parenthood clinic. Newborns were taken to a group of elders for examination. If those elders chose a child for disposal, it was taken to the top of a mountain cliff and thrown off, to be eaten by wild animals.
crops and services to the Spartan elites. To keep the Helots enslaved and in constant fear, Sparta’s leaders created a secret police much like the Soviet KGB or the Nazi Gestapo to terrorize them on a regular basis. This force was called the Krypteia.
I dug this gem out of my Microsoft Word due to a conversation on my Facebook. I was planning on going a different direction but after I found this from about 1999 via a debate in a forum on what is still SPACE BATTLES… it was late 99 or early 2000 that I cut my teeth on the Internet via Space Battles. I kept most of my debates from the 4 or so years I was on the forums there… at least my responses. This is one of those early debates — the main point here is that secularism is a religion. (I may add some media when I see fit):
SKEPTIC, YOU SAID:
I don’t know how you can say Jimmy Jones and the Branch Davidians weren’t believers in absolutism and God.
This is easy to say. Both rejected the God of the Bible, period. They were not Christians, period. They were cults who had sex with multiple partners and were power hungry and changed meanings of plain and clear scripture to get their way. This is important, because when anyone deals with a cult member, they need to realize that there is a language barrier. For instance, when a Mormon says he or she believes in Jesus, is this the same Jesus Christianity has preached for 2,000 years? How a bout the Jehovah’s Witness when they say they believe in Jesus?
Mormons believe that Jesus is not God, but a god, they are polytheists. They believe that Jesus was born first in heaven in a spiritual body via sexual relations between “Heavenly Father” (God in Mormon terms) and one of his many wives. Lucifer also was a son born by “God” sticking his dingy in one of his wives. By the way, God was once a man like us, and now resides on the planet Kolob (according to the Pearle of Great Price – one of many added Mormon scripture). And be sure that all mentioned here have to take away, change, or add scripture to get their theology to work – just like Hitler and his cronies.
Jehovah’s Witness’s believe that Jesus was the first created being, that is, Michael the Archangel. Jehovah (God) then created all things THROUGHMichael the Archangel. When Michael came to earth in bodily form he was known as Jesus. And now is not Jesus any longer, but once again under the name and title Michael the Archangel, the first-born.
Jesus, according to the historic Christian faith is God, the creator of everything in heaven and on earth. He is not bound by time-space; for unlike the two before mentioned perversions of plain scripture, Jesus is the Creator of the space-time continuum. He is God Almighty.
Both Jehovah’s Witness’ and Mormons believe that the sacrifices given on the cross by “Jesus” was only in remission of Adam’s original sin, opening the way for these sincere persons to “work” their way into heaven or “salvation.” Jehovah’s Witness’s believe that 100 hundred hours a week of going door-to-door or standing in front of donut shops handing out booklets will one of the many rules sufficient enough to allow them to be resurrected here on earth to live forever more (only 144,000 get to go to heaven). Mormons don’t drink caffeine, cuss, marry in the temple, wear special undergarments, tithe, all in the hopes of making to the “best” heaven.
Christianity teaches that we can do nothing to please God, all our good works are like leaves in the wind, they blow away. Salvation is a gift that only can be fulfilled by an immutable, perfect, gift… man can never attain this in his finite state. Salvation is through Christ alone. This is one of the many proofs that Christianity is divine, that is, if this were a man-made religion, man would have made it conquerable. So like Mormonism and Jehovah’s Witness’ religious construct of lists of items to do for salvation to be attainable, Christianity has no such list. If man had made Christianity, there would be something we could do to please God for our salvation, in fact, we cannot. Christianity is unconquerable by man. (sorry, back to the point).
So when a Jehovah’s Witness or Mormon come to your door and say, “we believe in Jesus,” or, “we believe in salvation,” and, “we are followers of Christ, therefore we are the true Christians,” you can break through the fog by understanding what is meant by terms used.
(From a debate with a J-Dub):
The main problem is that the Watchtower gives ALL truth that is to be believed by the Jehovah’s Witness. I will show an example, and I quote the founder, Charles Taze Russell:
If the six volumes of SCRIPTURE STUDIES are practically the Bible, topically arranged with Bible proof texts given, we might not improperly name the volumes THE BIBLE IN AN ARRANGED FORM. That is to say, they are not mere comments on the Bible, but they are practically the Bible itself….
Furthermore, not only do we find that people cannot see the divine plan in studying the Bible by itself, but we see, also, that if anyone lays the SCRIPTURE STUDIES aside, even after he has used them, after he has become familiar with them, after he has read them for ten years – if he then lays them aside and ignores them and goes to the Bible alone, though he has understood the Bible for ten years, our experience shows that within two years he goes into darkness. on the other hand, if he had merely read the SCRIPTURE STUDIES with their references, and not read a page of the Bible, as such, he would be in the light at the end of two years, because he would have the light of the Scriptures.
Even if you’ve read the Scripture Studies for ten years, and you lay them aside and read the Bible for two years alone, you enter into darkness?!
This is a revealing quote.
It shows how brainwashed Jehovah’s Witnesses are to the fact that the ruling council and president of the Watchtower Society dispense nothing but truth and reality while the rest of humanity who points out the misquotes and misrepresentations are shunned as devils (almost literally).
I will go out on a limb here and say, “if the devil were to create a religious group that undermines the true message in the Bible, would the devil require someone to read the Bible by itself… or would the devil want to add something to it that would interpret everything within?”
Same goes for our current discussion.
When Hitler uses the words Christians, Jesus, church, and the like, you know he had changed the Biblical absolutes to fits his relativistic pantheism/paganism that we know he believed. If Hitler came to our door today passing out tracts talking of Jesus’ non-Jewish heritage and that he was going to finish what Jesus couldn’t, namely the extermination of the Jews, then we would know that this is not Christianity, not absolutes, but fascism at it most perverted. Remember what a philosophy major once said:
“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
Mussolini, Diuturna (1924) pp. 374-77, quoted in A Refutation of Moral Relativism: Interviews with an Absolutist (Ignatius Press; 1999), by Peter Kreeft, p. 18.
This is what Hitler did, Mussolini, Joseph Smith, Charles Taze Russell, Jim Jones, David Koresh, and all others who relativize God’s plainly stated truth to fit their particular needs or situation. And in doing so, they must change, reject, or add to the Bible or the historic Christian faith in order to do so.
SKEPTIC, WHEN YOU SAID:
That I agree with! Claiming a personal revelation can hid a host of evils. But it seems like the religious are more likely to do that then a humanist…. I am also arguing that a humanist who believes he contains within himself the ultimate determination of what is moral, would not do the things that these people did without, at least, the recognition that he is being evil. These nazis, Branch Davidians, terrorists, and kool aid killers are all more dangerous because they believe they are doing good.
I almost fell out of my chair. The Communists killed many, many millions believing they were doing good? God revealing this is not mandated by Mao is it? Special revelation isn’t only from God. One needs only to read the Humanist Manifesto’s or the Communist Manifesto to see revelation without God. Huxley called evolution a religion without revelation. However, there can be revelation in non-belief. For instance, consider the following excerpt from a letter written by Charles Darwin in 1881:
“I could show fight on natural selection having done and doing more for the progress of civilization than you seem inclined to admit…. The more civilized so-called Caucasian races have beaten the Turkish hollow in the struggle for existence. Looking to the world at no very distant date, what an endless number of the lower races will have been eliminated by the higher civilized races throughout the world.”
Charles Darwin, Life and Letters, I, Letter to W. Graham, July 3, 1881, p. 316; cited in Darwin and the Darwinian Revolution, by Gertrude Himmelfarb (London: Chatto & Windus, 1959), p. 343.
“At some future period, not very distant as measured by centuries, the civilized races of man will almost certainly exterminate and replace the savage races throughout the world. At the same time the anthropomorphous apes … will no doubt be exterminated. The break between man and his nearest allies will then be wider, for it will intervene between man in a more civilized state, as we may hope, even than the Caucasian, and some ape as low as a baboon, instead of as now between the negro or Australian and the gorilla.”
Charles Darwin, The Descent of Man, 2nd ed. (New York: A. L. Burt Co., 1874), p.178.
How a bout this:
“No rational man, cognizant of the facts, believes that the average negro is the equal, still less the superior, of the white man. And if this be true, it is simply incredible that, when all his disabilities are removed, and our prognathous relative has a fair field and no favour, as well as no oppressor, he will be able to compete successfully with his bigger-brained and smaller-jawed rival, in a contest which is to be carried on by thoughts and not by bites. The highest places in the hierarchy of civilization will assuredly not be within the reach of our dusky cousins, though it is by no means necessary that they should be restricted to the lowest. But whatever the position of stable equilibrium into which the laws of social gravitation may bring the negro, all responsibility for the result will henceforward lie between Nature and him. The white man may wash his hands of it, and the Caucasian conscience be void of reproach for evermore. And this, if we look to the bottom of the matter, is the real justification for the abolition policy.”
Thomas Huxley, Lay Sermons, Addresses and Reviews (New York: Appleton, 1871), pp 20-1.
One more before I head to humanism:
“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.
These seem very revelational, just revelations from nature.
John Dewey, signer of the Humanist Manifesto I, says this regarding education:
education is the fundamental method of social progress and reform…. In this way the teacher always is the prophet of the true God and the usherer in of the true kingdom of God.
John Dewey, Education Today, “My Pedagogic Creed,” (New York: G. P. Putnam’s Sons, 1897), p. 15, 17.
You see, John Dewey argues that “scientific” education has made the notion of the supernatural “incredible,” and anticipates “the coming of a fuller and deeper religion” – Humanism. Dewey viewed public education as the vehicle to promote this “deeper religions.”
We certainly cannot teach religion as an abstract essence. We have got to teach something as religion, and that means practically some religion…. It is their business to do what they can to prevent all public educational agencies from being employed in ways which inevitably impede the recognition of the spiritual import of science ands of democracy, and hence of that type of religion which will be the fine flower of the modern spirit’s achievement.
Ibid – 1940 edition.
My point as I continue on here is that men are made for revelation, if God’s is thrown to the wayside, some other revelation will take its place. Roy Wood Sellers is also a signer of the Humanist Manifesto I, he says:
The center of gravity of religion has been openly changing for some time now from supernaturalism to what may best be called a humanistic naturalism…. There have been many steps forward in the past, for every age must process its own religion, a religion concordant with its knowledge and expressed of its problems and aims…. The coming phase of religion will reflect man’s power over nature and his moral courage in the face of the facts and possibilities of life. It will be a religion of action and passion, a social religon, a religion of goals and prospects. It will be a free man’s religion, a religion for an adult and aspiring democracy.
Roy Wood Sellers, The Next Step In Religion (New York: The Macmillan Company, 1918), foreword.
Here Sellers makes the case for atheistic, naturalistic Humanism as the next world religion, or revelation. Again:
But the humanist’s religion is the religion of one who says yea to life here and now, of one who is self-reliant and fearless, intelligent and creative. It is the religion of the will to power, of one who is hard on himself and yet joyous in himself. It is the religion of courage and purpose and transforming energy. Its motto is, “What hath man not wrought?” Its goal is the mastery of all things that they may become servants and instrumentalities to man’s spiritual comradeship. Whatever mixture of magic, fear, ritual and adoration religion may have been in man’s early days, it is now, and henceforth must be, that which concerns man’s nobilities, his discovery of, and loyalty to, the pervasive values of life. The religious man will now be he who seeks out causes to be loyal to, social mistakes to correct, wounds to heal, achievements to further. He will be constructive, fearless, loyal, sensitive to the good wherever found, a believer in mankind, a fighter for things worth while…. The religion of human possibilities needs prophets who will grip men’s souls with their description of a society in which the righteousness, wisdom and beauty will reign together…. Loyalty to such an ideal will surely constitute the heart of the humanist’s religion…. If religion is to survive, it must be human and social. It is they who insists upon a supernatural foundation and object who are its enemies. Man’s life is spiritual in its own right. So long as he shall dream of beauty and goodness and truth his life will not lack religion.
Ibid., p. 212, 215-216, 225.
Curtis W. Reese likewise signed the Humanist Manifesto I, he says quite plainly:
Within the liberal churches of America there is a religious movement which has come to be known as Humanism…. There is a large element of faith in all religion. Christianity has faith in the love of God; and Humanism in man as the measure of values…. Hypotheses, postulates, and assumptions in their proper realm are comparable to faith in the realm of religion. In this way I speak of the faith of Humanism.
Edited by Curtis W. Reese, Humanist Sermons, preface and “The Faith of Humanism,” (Chicago: Open Court Publishing Company, 1927), p. v, 39, 40
One last quote, as I could go on ad infinitum, another signer was Charles Francis Potter, he plainly states:
[Humanism] is a new type of religion altogether…. Is Humanism a religion? It is both a religion and a philosophy of culture…. Education is the most powerful ally of humanism, and every American public school is a school of humanism. What can the theistic Sunday-schools, meeting for an hour once a week, and teaching only a fraction of the children, do to stem the tide of a five-day program of humanistic teaching.
Charles Potter, HUMANISM: A New Religion (New York: Simon and Schuster, 1930), p. 3, 114, 128
You can see that one revelation, say, “God exists,” is replaced with another that says, “God does not exist.”
Here is a quote from the famous 1961 court case, Torcaso v. Watkins:
Among religions in this country which do not teach what would generally be considered a belief in the existence of God are Buddhism, Taoism, Ethical Culture, Secular Humanism and others.
See: Washington Ethical Society v. District of Columbia, 101 U.S.App.D.C. 371, 249 F.2d 127; Fellowship of Humanity v. County of Alameda, 153 Cal.App.2d 673, 315 P.2d 394; II Encyclopedia of the Social Sciences 293; 4 Encyclopedia Britannica (1957 ed.) 325-327; 21 id. at 797; Archer, Faiths Men Live By (2d ed. revised by Purinton), 120-138, 254-313; 1961 World Almanac 695, 712; Year Book of American Churches for 1961, at 29, 47.
“Secular Humanism” is official atheism… BTW. It is a religion according to law, and why there are atheist (secular humanist) chaplains in the military.
Humanism is revelation, and just as “absolute” as the other.
Paul Kurtz says, “Humanism is a philosophical, religious, and moral point of view.”
Dewey states, “Here are all the elements for a religious faith that shall not be confined to sect, class or race…. It remains to make it explicit and militant.”
“When a man ceases to believe in God he does not believe in nothing, he believes almost in anything.”
Humanism is a religion, and the Supreme Court defined it as such in 1961 (Torcasov. Watkins, 1961; the word “religion” or “religious” occurs 28 times in the first Manifesto, 1933). While the initial Manifesto is specifically religious, the subsequent humanist documents are not. However, the democratic humanism of the Secular Humanist Declaration (1980), and the “planetary” humanism of Kurtz’s Humanist Manifesto 2000, do not contradict the major premises of the first Manifesto.
The initial Manifesto most plainly declares humanism to be a religious enterprise. The very first section (or article) states: “Religious humanists regard the universe as self-existing and not created” (1933, emp. added). Religionists familiar with the goals and practices of secular humanism may be surprised at the high praise of traditional religion in this seminal treatise:
Religions have always been means for realizing the highest values of life. Their end has been accomplished through the interpretation of the total environing situation (theology or world view), the sense of values resulting therefrom (goal or ideal), and the technique (cult) established for realizing the satisfactory life…. [T]hrough all changes religion itself remains constant in its quest for abiding values, an inseparable feature of human life (Humanist…, 1933, Preface, parenthetical items in orig.).
So the secularist’s problem is not with religion per se, but with religious beliefs and practices that are antithetical to certain humanist norms and objectives. Secularists reject “salvationism,” which they regard as based on mere “affirmation” (Humanist…, 1973). Practically all religion other than humanism falls into the category of religion that humanism would oppose. So, religion must be restructured into a humanist “faith” or belief system.
The first Manifesto unveils the humanists’ desire to reshape modern religion. “The time has come for widespread recognition of the radical changes in religious beliefs throughout the modern world. The time is past for mere revision of traditional values…. Religions the world over are under the necessity of coming to terms with new conditions created by a vastly increased knowledge and experience” (1933, Preface). In a sense, humanists see themselves as saving people from theistic religion: “There is a great danger of a final, and we believe fatal, identification of the word religion with doctrines and methods which have lost their significance and which are powerless to solve the problem of human living in the Twentieth Century…. Religious humanists regard the universe as self-existing and not created” (Preface-Section 1).
Because theistic religion is so “out of date” according to secularists, a mammoth adjustment is in order. Religion of practically every kind must be eliminated or restructured.
Today man’s larger understanding of the universe, his scientific achievements, and deeper appreciation of brotherhood, have created a situation which requires a new statement of the means and purposes of religion. Such a vital, fearless, and frank religion capable of furnishing adequate social goals and personal satisfactions may appear to many people as a complete break with the past. While this age does owe a vast debt to the traditional religions, it is none the less obvious that any religion that can hope to be a synthesizing and dynamic force for today must be shaped for the needs of this age. To establish such a religion is a major necessity of the present. It is a responsibility which rests upon this generation (Humanist…, 1933, Preface).
Humanists seem to have as their primary religious activity expunging God from society and the minds of people (see “Humanists Praise…,” 2007; “‘Church Polling Place…’,” 2006). Only when God is out of the picture may humanists convert all humans to the religion of humanism (and this is precisely what they intend to do; see Ericson, 2006; Lyons and Butt, 2007).
I got a response to a Tweet that included the link to this video painting an Islamic Reformation (a future event) as different from a Protestant Reformation. The author of the video wants an Enlightenment influence and not a Reformational style influence as happened between Catholics and Protestants. Here is the video followed by my initial Tweet in response:
Here is my Tweet[s]:
You have a picture of Luther, but then talk about a Catholic invasion? Me, personally, I would like the moderate Muslims to rise up enough to cause a war where the moderates win, and influence (over a few centuries) … the radicals to reform (like the Catholic Church has, and [has] apologized for [past actions]). (edited a tad for readability)
I am going to deal with this two-fold. On the Reformation, and how Christianities understanding of contract and humanity endowed with the Image of God (Hebrew: צֶלֶם אֱלֹהִים tzelem elohim, lit. “image of God”, often appearing in Latin as Imago Dei). Secular Humanism is the Enlightenment’s fruits:
Early humanists saw no conflict between reason and their Christian faith (see Christian Humanism). They inveighed against the abuses of the Church, but not against the Church itself, much less against religion. For them, the word “secular” carried no connotations of disbelief – that would come later, in the nineteenth century. In the Renaissance to be secular meant simply to be in the world rather than in a monastery. Petrarch frequently admitted that his brother Gherardo’s life as a Carthusian monk was superior to his own (although Petrarch himself was in Minor Orders and was employed by the Church all his life). He hoped that he could do some good by winning earthly glory and praising virtue, inferior though that might be to a life devoted solely to prayer. The methods of the humanists, however, combined with their eloquence, would ultimately have a corrosive effect on established authority.
Yet it was from the Renaissance that modern Secular Humanism grew, with the development of an important split between reason and religion. This occurred as the church’s complacent authority was exposed in two vital areas. In science, Galileo’s support of the Copernican revolution upset the church’s adherence to the theories of Aristotle, exposing them as false. In theology, the Dutch scholar Erasmus with his new Greek text showed that the Roman Catholic adherence to Jerome’s Vulgate was frequently in error. A tiny wedge was thus forced between reason and authority, as both of them were then understood. (Os Guinness, The Dust of Death: A Critique of the Establishment and the Counter Culture and the Proposal for a Third Way [Intervarsity Press, 1973] p. 5.)
The later enlightenment rejected ultimately any reference to the metaphysical, which means the rejection of the Imago Dei ~ which ultimately devalues any change towards liberty.
Would I want a Protestant “type” Reformation to take place in Islam. Yes, but as you will see… I am very skeptical any reformation is possible within Islam (last comments of the post). The video brings up a specific battle. Let me talk a bit about this battle and the resultant influence of it. I will first post an excerpt from The Fabricated Luther: Refuting Nazi Connections and Other Modern Myths, with some more commentary:
A crucial role in the transmission of the theory of resistance was played by Magdeburg, which was the first city in northern Germany to claim the Reformation faith. It became a model of Lutheran resistance. In fact, it was the last pocket of military defiance in the Smalcald War, which followed the failure of a series of attempts to reconcile the differences between the Roman Catholic and the Lutheran side. In this war, two powerful Protestant princes, Hans of Kustrin and Maurice of Saxony, joined the emperor. The causes for that conflict, which are highly relevant to our subject, will be discussed below At a time when the Protestants throughout the country faced almost certain defeat, it was Magdeburg’s fierce opposition that turned the tide of the conflict and thus presumably preserved the Lutheran faith in Germany. This is how Olson describes the situation in the city in 1549 when it was under siege by the superior forces of the Saxon elector, who were fighting for the emperor’s cause:
The tense situation, in which it seemed that Luther’s movement was about to be crushed, helped form an ecclesiastical party that in one guise or other has persisted within Lutheran tradition ever since, a party claiming to preserve Luther’s true intent. Thus Melanchthon’s observation that “these absurd persons consider themselves the only gnesio [true] Lutherans” had a kernel of truth.125 Their convictions were expressed by the soldiers of the city’s garrison. Outnumbered six to one, they defended Magdeburg as the Saxon elector, in a mopping-up operation after the Schmalkaldic War, mounted a siege against the city on the emperor’s behalf. Under constant fire, they sang about themselves as the last faithful remnant of Luther’s cause—mod-ern Maccabees).126
Olson adds that “in 1550 Magdeburg theologians allied with Matthias Flacius Illyricus, the staunchest among the Gnesio-Lutherans, signed a 1550 Confession, Instruction and Warning.” It claimed not to be original but simply a rehearsal of Luther’s own thought, now stripped of its cautious, pastoral, prewar ambiguity.
A key paragraph of this Magdeburg Confession127 states clearly that subjects of authority, even children and servants, do not owe obedience to those rulers, parents, or employers “who want to lead them away from true fear of God and honorable living.” Those authorities and parents “will become an ordinance of the devil instead of God, an ordinance which everyone can and ought to resist with a good conscience.”128
The center of the lengthy document is a definition of four degrees of injustice and recommendations for appropriate responses to each of them. These are the degrees:
1. Authority, because of human weakness, has its vices and sin and often knowingly or deliberately does injustice in small mean things. At this point of the argument we do not want the lesser magistracy to use force to resist the superior magistracy… .
2. Authority does great and public violence and injustice to its subjects as when a prince, a town, the Emperor, attacks a prince who is innocent in an unjust war against his own oath, duty and law and wanted thus to deprive him of body and life, wife and child, his liberties or of his land and people… . In this case, just as we do not want to order anyone to defend themselves as in accord with God’s command… so too we do not want it to weigh on anyone’s conscience if he does do so… .
3. When the lesser magistracy is forced by superior magistracy to certain sins, and when it can not tolerate such injustice without sin so it raises opposition and also bears its sword… . We have to pay careful attention here that… in resistance to public forces some higher law or command of God is not broken which would make the resistance unjust… .
4. When tyrants become so mad and crazy that they persecute with weapons and war not only the persons of the lesser magistracy and subjects in a legitimate case, but also (attack) in these persons the highest and most necessary rights and also our Lord God himself… if say a prince or emperor were to become so reckless or mad as to suspend the law of marriage and discipline and set up another law… permitting all sorts of shameful misbehavior… we and other Christians can resist with calm confidence.
This document helped provide the theoretical basis for one of the most celebrated events in the history of resistance—the fourth Huguenot war that began after the St. Bartholomew’s Day Massacre of 1572 and ended in 1598 with the Edict of Nantes that guaranteed the French Protestants the freedom to practice their religion.
The St. Bartholomew’s Day Massacre prompted Theodore Beza, who was then Calvin’s successor as “Moderator of the Venerable Company of Pastors of Geneva,” to formulate arguments in favor of armed uprising. Beza, who had repeatedly served as chaplain to Huguenot forces in France, completed his work in June or July 1573 and first distributed it with a title page that made it appear to be the Magdeburg Confession. The title read: Of the Right of the Magistrates Over Their Subjects. A very necessary treatise in these times to advise the magistrates as well as their subjects of their duties: published by those of Magdeburg in the year 1550 and now revised and augmented by several reasons and examples. The purpose of this cover was to bypass Geneva’s municipal authorities, who feared reprisals from the king of France, according to Robert M. Kingdon.129
Beza had already shown great interest in the Magdeburgers. In his treatise De haereticis a civili magistratu puniendis (1554), he favorably mentioned their defiant attitude.130 To be sure, Du Droit des Magistrats is anything but a copy of the Magdeburg Confession. Kingdon writes: “It is longer and more elaborate; its examples stem from different sources, and finally the reasons on which he bases the treatise, are markedly different.”131
But the key phrase in Beza’s treatise has a distinctly Magdeburg flavor. Chapter 10 carries a title that reads like a summary of the fourth degree of injustice.132as described by the Gnesio-Lutherans: “Si estant persecute pour la religion, on se peat defendre par armes en bonne conscience” (“If one is persecuted because of one’s religion, one may in good conscience defend oneself with arms”).133
125. Melanchthon and the Gnesio-Lutherans opposed each other over the question whether the terms of the Augsburg Interim should be observed, e.g., whether liturgical practices demanded of the Lutherans by the other side should be considered adiaphora (indifferent) and therefore observed. Melanchthon and his followers, the Philippists, favored this. The Gnesios, led by Matthias Flacius Illyricus, opposed it. Flacius, who had come to Germany from the area formerly called Yugoslavia, coined the famous phrase “In casu confessionis et scandali nihil est adi-aphoron” (“When provocations demand an act of confession there is no such thing as an indifferent practice”).
126.Oliver K. Olson, “Matthias Flacius Illyricus,” in Shapers of Religious Traditions in Germany, Switzerland, and Poland, 1560-1600, ed. Jill Raitt (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1981), 4.
127. I used an unpublished translation by A. M. Stewart of Aberdeen University, which is in my possession.
128.Olson, “Matthias Flacius Illyricus,” 38.
129.Robert M. Kingdon, introduction to Theodore de Beze, Du Droit des Magistrats (Geneva: Droz, 1970), mi.
The book goes on to connect the confessions and evolution of Lutherian theology that came from and out of this conflict to having given Bonhoeffer theological animus (as well as other confessing Lutheran’s) to stand against Hitler. Even to the point of Bonhoeffer being involved in the plot to kill Hitler (the Bomb under his desk attempt). So, as much as we would like to package history like the Law of Excluded Middle (an either-or-scenario, no third scenario allowed) in a belief in some Utopian “goodness” within man that can guide him through an “a” or “b” choice… we know this is not the case. And our government was founded on this Reformational view of the nature of man.
Here is an understanding of just how much the Reformation influenced America’s founding, followed up by Thomas Sowell referencing this understanding implicitly. First, and exceprt from a seminary paper I wrote entitled, “Reforming America” (p. 3):
The founding of America is complicated, but one thing that is not is the influence of religion on her founding. Let us be clear about something beyond the belief that America’s founding was simply “religious,” it would have been impossible without it. Not only impossible, but the type of government and documents that were produced by the pre-American zeitgeist are unique in history. Is it possible to believe that a theological system had an effect on the founding of the United States? The answer, according to John Eidsmoe, is “A great deal:”
Calvinism, like any theological system, encompasses both a world view and a view of human nature. The way one views the world and human nature will determine one’s choice for effective government. As James Madison asked in Federalist No. 51, “What is government itself but the greatest of all reflections on human nature?”
And it is this view of mankind’s nature taken from the ideas of Luther and Calvin that paint the picture of the “total depravity of human nature — that man is by nature sinful and unable to please God.” Another author makes the point that the political circumstances of Luther and Calvin seem to have become incorporated into fundamental beliefs of their theological systems. Ergo, when the Puritans came to the New World “they brought with them not merely a religion, but a social vision, whose roots lay in a small town in modern-day Switzerland.”
 John Eidsmoe, Christianity and the Constitution: The Faith of Our Founding Fathers (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books, 1987), 19.
 Alister E. McGrath, Reformation Thought: An Introduction, 3rd ed. (Malden, MA: Blackwell Publishing, 1999), 233.
While not explicitly referencing this influence, Thomas Sowell distinguishes between progressive worldviews in their political and economic stances. Contrasting it with a more conservative worldview affecting those same areas. This comes from the first chapter of my book entitled, “Technology Junkies” (see pp. 6-8):
Christianity is closely tied to the success of capitalism, as it is the only possible ethic behind such an enterprise. How can such a thing be said? The famed economist/sociologist/historian of our day, Thomas Sowell, speaks to this in his book A Conflict of Visions: Ideological Origins of Political Struggles. He whittles down the many economic views into just two categories, the constrained view and the unconstrained view.
The constrained vision is a tragic vision of the human condition. The unconstrained vision is a moral vision of human intentions, which are viewed as ultimately decisive. The unconstrained vision promotes pursuit of the highest ideals and the best solutions. By contrast, the constrained vision sees the best as the enemy of the good— a vain attempt to reach the unattainable being seen as not only futile but often counterproductive, while the same efforts could have produced a more viable and beneficial trade-off. Adam Smith applied this reasoning not only to economics but also to morality and politics: The prudent reformer, according to Smith, will respect “the confirmed habits and prejudices of the people,” and when he cannot establish what is right, “he will not disdain to ameliorate the wrong.” His goal is not to create the ideal but to “establish the best that the people can bear.”
Dr. Sowell goes on to point out that while not “all social thinkers fit this schematic dichotomy…. the conflict of visions is no less real because everyone has not chosen sides or irrevocably committed themselves.” Continuing he points out:
Despite necessary caveats, it remains an important and remarkable phenomenon that how human nature is conceived at the outset is highly correlated with the whole conception of knowledge, morality, power, time, rationality, war, freedom, and law which defines a social vision…. The dichotomy between constrained and unconstrained visions is based on whether or not inherent limitations of man are among the key elements included in the vision.
The contribution of the nature of man by the Judeo-Christian ethic is key in this respect. One can almost say, then, that the Christian worldview demands a particular position to be taken in the socio-economic realm.* You can almost liken the constrained view of man in economics and conservatism as the Calvinist position. Pulitzer prize winning political commentator, Walter Lippmann (1889-1974), makes the above point well:
At the core of every moral code there is a picture of human nature, a map of the universe, and a version of history. To human nature (of the sort conceived), in a universe (of the kind imagined), after a history (so understood), the rules of the code apply.
A free market, then, is typically viewed through the lenses of the Christian worldview with its concrete view of the reality of man balanced with love for your neighbor…
See for instance: R.H. Tawney, Religion and the Rise of Capitalism (New Brunswick, NJ: Transaction Publishers, 2000 [originally 1926]); Max Weber, The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism (Mineola, NY: Dover Publications, 2003 [originally 1904]); Rodney Stark, The Victory of Reason: How Christianity Led to Freedom, Capitalism, and Western Success (New York, NY: Random House, 2005); Thomas E. Woods, Jr., How the Catholic Church Built Western Civilization (Washington, D.C.: Regnery, 2005).
Thomas Sowell, A Conflict of Visions: Ideological Origins of Political Struggles (New York, NY: basic Books, 2007), 27.
Ibid., 33, 34.
Walter lippmann, Public Opinion (New York, NY: Free Press, 1965), 80.
Another item worth noting is WHERE the Founders of these Great States got the bulk of their influence or philosophy from, many are surprised about this:
Where, then, did our Founding Fathers acquire the ideas that produced such longevity? Other nations certainly had access to what our Founders utilized, yet evidently chose not to. From what sources did our Founders choose their ideas?
This question was asked by political science professors at the University of Houston. They rightfully felt that they could determine the source of the Founders’ ideas if they could collect writings from the Founding Era and see whom the Founders were quoting.
The researchers assembled 15,000 writings from the Founding Era—no small sample and searched those writings. That project spanned ten years; but at the end of that time, the researchers had isolated 3,154 direct quotes made by the Founders and had identified the source of those quotes.
The researchers discovered that Baron Charles de Montesquieu was the man quoted most often by the Founding Fathers, with 8.3 percent of the Founders’ quotes being taken from his writings. Sir William Blackstone was the second most-quoted individual with 7.9 percent of the Founders’ quotes, and John Locke was third with 2.9 percent. ” Surprisingly, the researchers discovered that the Founders quoted directly out of the Bible 4 times more often than they quoted Montesquieu, 4 times more often than they quoted Blackstone, and 12 times more often than they quoted John Locke. Thirty-four percent of the Founders’ quotes came directly out of the Bible. “
The study was even more impressive when the source of the ideas used by Montesquieu, Blackstone, and Locke were identified. Consider, for example, the source of Blackstone’s ideas. Blackstone’s Commentaries on the Laws was first introduced in 1768, and for the next 100 years America’s courts quoted Blackstone to settle disputes, to define words, and to examine procedure; Blackstone’s Commentaries were the final word in the Supreme Court. So what was a significant source of Blackstone’s ideas? Perhaps the best answer to that question can be given through the life of Charles Finney.
Charles Finney is known as a famous revivalist, minister, and preacher from one of America’s greatest revivals: the Second Great Awakening in the early 1800s. Finney, in his autobiography, spoke of how he received his call to the ministry. He explained that—having determined to become a lawyer—he, like all other law students at the time, commenced the study of Blackstone’s Commentaries on the Laws. Finney observed that Blackstone’s Commentaries not only provided the laws, it also provided the Biblical concepts on which those laws were based. Finney explained that in the process of studying Blackstone’s, “he read so much of the Bible that he became a Christian and received his call to the ministry.” Finney’s personal life story clearly identifies a major source of Blackstone’s ideas for law.
So while 34 percent of the Founders’ quotes came directly out of the Bible, many of their quotes were taken from men—like Blackstone—who had used the Bible to arrive at their own conclusions.
Numerous components of our current government can be shown—through those early writings—to have their source in Biblical concepts. For example, the concept for three branches of government can be found in Isaiah 33:22; the logic for the separation of powers was based on Jeremiah 17:9;t the basis of tax exemptions for churches was found in Ezra 7:24.
In other words, the Reformation and all it’s streams of influence, weighed heavily on the Founding documents of our nation. Again, from my seminary paper and contractual understandings (pp. 11-12):
Even the idea of social contract and the implementing of such a contract is applied by Calvin [pre-Lockian]:
The theory of social contract is generally traced to seventeenth-century philosophers such as John Locke and Thomas Hobbes. But a century earlier, Calvin had asked the entire people of Geneva to accept the confession of faith and to take an oath to obey the Ten Commandments, as well as to swear loyalty to the city. People were summoned in groups by the police to participate in the covenant.
Again, without the like of Calivin, Wycliff, Luther, and others, the Bible that so stirred the political thought of our founders and whom they read in turn, America would not be here today. This public understanding of many of the precepts of the Bible caused Luther, and subsequently Calvin, to “maintain that all believers shared in the priesthood, in opposition to the Catholic understanding of the priesthood as a separate class unto itself.”
 Harold J. Berman, Law and Revolution: The Formation of the Western Legal Tradition (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1983), 564-565. The author mentions a book as well on page 565: See J. T. McNeill, The History and Character of Calvinism (New York, 1957), p. 142. See also Chapters 2 and 12 of this study, where the theory of social contract is traced to the Papal Revolution and the formation of cities as sworn communes.
 W. Andrew Hoffecker, Revolutions in Worldviews: Understanding the Flow of Western Thought (Phillipsburg, NJ: P & R, 2007), 233.
Also take note of how the Reformation influenced Locke’s philosophy versus the progressive understanding via Rousseau’s influence: Locke vs Rousseau.
Now, onto the second part of this “enlightened” critique of the opening video of this post. What about the enlightenment? What did it lead to ultimately? Did the Protestant Reformation influence the American experience versus the Enlightenment influencing another “Constitution”?… in France:
Fact: The American Revolution was not like the French Revolution
The Americans defended their traditional rights. The French revolutionaries despised French traditions and sought to make everything anew: new governing structures, new provincial boundaries, a new “religion,” a new calendar—and the guillotine awaited those who objected. The British statesman Edmund Burke, the father of modern conservatism and a man who did understand the issues at stake in both events, considered himself perfectly consistent in his sympathy for the Americans of the 1770s and his condemnation of the French revolutionaries of 1789.
In a certain sense, there was no American Revolution at all. There was, instead, an American War for Independence in which Americans threw off British authority in order to retain their liberties and self-government. In the 1760s, the colonies had, for the most part, been left alone in their internal affairs. Because the colonists had enjoyed the practice of self-government for so long, they believed it was their right under the British constitution. The British constitution was “unwritten”—it was a flexible collection of documents and traditions—but by an American conservative’s reading, the British government had acted unconstitutionally in its restrictive acts and taxation.
While Americans sought the self-government to which they believed they were constitutionally entitled, the colonists did not seek the total transformation of society that we associate with other revolutions, such as the Industrial Revolution, the French Revolution, or the Russian Revolution. They simply wished to go on enjoying self-rule when it came to their internal matters and living as they always had for so many decades before British encroachments began. The American “revolutionaries” were conservative, in the very best sense of that word
Let us quickly show a humorous take of the French Revolution, as, this is where this discussion is headed:
That quote from Jefferson is expanded on a bit by a wonderful post at What Would The Founders Think?, and deals with the animus behind the French Revolution inspired by the Enlightenment:
Marxism-Leninism is also expansionist and internationalist. One has only to look at the famous slogan “Workers of the world unite!” or Marx’s contention that the world’s proletariat has “a world to win.” In Marx’s own words:
It is our interest and our task to make the revolution permanent, until the proletariat has conquered state power and until the association of the proletarians has progressed sufficiently far — no only in one country but in all the leading countries of the world.
This international focus and quasi-religious belief in the inevitability and superiority of communism justified almost any action, and hearkens back to the events of the French Revolution. Thomas Jefferson, in a famous letter to William Short was willing to accept, if not condone, the wanton violence that marked the French Revolution:
The liberty of the whole earth was depending on the issue of the contest, and was ever such a prize won with so little innocent blood? My own affections have been deeply wounded by some of the martyrs to this cause, but rather than it should have failed, I would have seen half the earth desolated. Were there but an Adam and an Eve left in every country, and left free, it would be better than as it now is.
In 1793-1794 Maximilien Robespierre and the Jacobins beheaded 40,000 French citizens. Lenin himself made the comparison with the violence of the French Revolution. “It will be necessary to repeat the year 1793. After achieving power we’ll be considered monsters, but we couldn’t care less.” He and his cohorts described themselves as “glorious Jacobins.”
Communism has never concealed the fact that it rejects all absolute concepts of morality. It scoffs at any consideration of “good” and “evil” as indisputable categories. Communism considers morality to be relative, to be a class matter. Depending upon circumstances and the political situation, any act, including murder, even the killing of thousands, could be good or could be bad. It all depends upon class ideology.
Now, let compare the above to some Kirk’ian understanding of Burke:
That real Jacobinism never has come to Britain or America is in some considerable measure the work of Edmund Burke’s conservative genius. He first succeeded in turning the resolute might of England against French revolutionary energies; and by the time of his death, in 1797, he had established a school of politics founded upon the concepts of veneration and prudence, which ever since has opposed its talents to the appetite for innovation. “We venerate what we cannot presently understand,” he taught the rising generation. His reverence for the wisdom of our ancestors, through which works the design of Providence, is the first principle of all consistent conservative thought.
Burke knew that economics and politics are not independent sciences: they are no more than manifestations of a general order, and that order is moral. He applied his great practical intellect to a glowing delineation of this principle of order, and his work is suffused with the imagination of a poet and the keenness of a critic. Greatly though he disliked an easy familiarity with metaphysics, he saw that the struggle between order and innovation in modern times has its cause in a metaphysical and religious problem: as Basil Willey points out to us, Burke perceived that the root of evil in society “lay in the meddling instinct which presumes to interfere with the mysterious march of God in the world. Burke was of the company of those who are continually conscious of the weight of all this unintelligible world; he was more aware of the complex forces which hem us in and condition all we do, than of any power in us to act back and modify the very environment that limits us.” Men never will be gods, Burke was convinced; all their will and virtue is required if they are to attain mere genuine humanity; and (as Aristotle said) a being that can exist in isolation must be either a beast or a god. Radical innovations would cut us off from our past, destroying the immemorial bonds that join generation to generation; they would leave us isolated from memory and from aspiration; and in that condition, we would sink to the level of beasts, “We have not (as I conceive) lost the generosity and dignity of thinking of the fourteenth century; nor as yet have we subtilized ourselves into savages.” But how are we to be saved from the fierce tide of demoniac energy, the flood of unprincipled aspiring talents and ferocious envy, which is called Jacobinism?
Our hope for safety against the consequences of intellectual fallacies lies in our steadfast adherence to right opinion. Taken as a whole, Burke’s accomplishment is the definition of a principle of order; …. His system is an anticipatory refutation of utilitarianism, positivism, and pragmatism, as well as an attack on Jacobinism. Burke’s almost unparalleled talent for social prediction informed him that the Revolution in France was no simple political contest, no culmination of enlightenment, but the inception of a moral convulsion from which society would not recover until the disease, the disorder of revolt against Providence, had run its course. To check it, he adapted the reverential view of society, the idea of Aristotle, Cicero, the Schoolmen, and Hooker, to the conundrums of the modern world.
An order in society, good or evil, just or tyrannical, must always exist. We have been “marshalled by a divine tactic” to unite in a state which recognizes the true idea of justice. Men are saved from anarchy by veneration of the divine and fidelity to prescriptive wisdom. They are saved by prejudice and gradation.
One of the main points I am trying to get across is that a strict Enlightenment understanding of change makes things worse, and it is the influence on Western (esp. American) culture of the Reformation coupled with Enlightenment advances that has made the understanding of a proper “Reformation” or “Revolution.” In other words, the end result of the Enlightenment was massive death by guillotine for rejecting the new “tradition” that was secular:
With the Jacobins in control, the “de-Christianization” campaign kicked into high gear in 1793. Inspired by Rousseau’s idea of the religion civile, the revolution sought to completely destroy Christianity and replace it with a religion of the state. To honor “reason” and fulfill the promise of the Declaration of the Rights of Man and the Citizen that “no one may be questioned about his opinions, including his religious views,” Catholic priests were forced to stand before revolutionary clubs and take oaths to France’s new humanocentric religion, the Cult of Reason (which is French for “People for the American Way”).
Only a bare majority of clergy, called “nonjurors,” refused to take oaths to the republic. About 20,000 priests did so and another 20,000 left the country. Many ex-priests publicly denounced their religion, swearing they had never believed it, and “vied with each other in ribaldry and blasphemy.” Vicar Patin stood in front of a revolutionary club and said the “earmarks” of a priest were: “To bestialize humans in order to better enslave them, to make them believe that two plus one is one and a thousand other absurdities, to enter into a compact with our former tyrants to share with them spoils taken from the people.”
Revolutionaries smashed church art and statues. One explained that he had broken the noses off church statues because they were “hideous apes” that deserved to be crushed and used for pavement. At the Cathedral of Notre Dame, hundreds of medieval sculptures of prophets, priests, and kings were yanked from their pedestals and decapitated or hurled in the Seine. The cathedral’s priceless thirteenth- and fourteenth-century stained-glass windows were smashed.
Notre Dame fared better than the Third Abbey Church at Cluny, once the most magnificent monastery in the world. Revolutionaries torched the archives and sacked the Romanesque building, leaving behind nothing but a pile of rubble.
The word “vandalisme” had to be invented to describe the wanton destruction of the abbey church of Saint Denis…
The Founders knew well that the new country they were forging rejected the enlightenment, not as a whole, but in part. There would — never be a comparison like the one found in Robert Morris’s video on comparing the Reformation with the Enlightenment. History laughs at such rudimentary understandings. Like it does at the simplistic understanding in pop-culture of “religion” causing war[s]… see:
All the above being said, do I think Islam CAN BE reformed? Ultimately I do not. This reformation would require a few things, for instance, in an old discussion about Mosques, there was a Muslim man that joined the conversation. I have expanded a bit on what a truly moderate Muslim would look like (like Dr. Qanta Ahmed or Dr. Zuhdi Jasser), they would have to:
1) reject the Sīrat Rasūl Allāh (Life of the Messenger of God; Arabic: سيرة رسول الله), the biographical sketch of Muhammad’s life;
2) as well as the rejection of the Hadith (the Hadith literature was compiled from oral reports that were in circulation in society around the time of their compilation long after the death of Muhammad);
3) change positions on the Qur’an as descriptive (descriptions of historical events and battles that are not prescriptive to attitudes and modern culture ~ like Jews and Christians understand large portions of the Old Testament);
4) reject the reading of the text so that the al-Madīna suras (verses) do not supersede the Meccan suras, which are peaceful;
5) allow for manuscript and literary criticism that is allowed in Jewish and Christian discussions:
▼ For instance, manuscript evidence shows clearly that Mark 16:9-20 is known to be a later insertion into the Biblical text. Biblical critics as well as faithful believers can acces thie historical record to say this is fact. A well-known critic of the text is Bart Ehrman who notes this as well as a well known conservative Christian scholar like Daniel Wallace… as well as most Bibles noting this (for instance one of my study Bibles notes this ~ a:http://tinyurl.com/mg3oove and b:http://tinyurl.com/lx2mn2w). THIS is not allowed in any Muslim nation. I have many books written by modern and classical Greek atheists in my library. THIS is not allowed in Muslim nations. Nor is textual criticism. And when such things are noted, fatwas are put out on the heads of those who say as much about verses added to Qur’an. (Example: Salman Rushdie’s novel The Satanic Verses.)
So, we see from the following examples of how this would be a real tough road to ho:
So do I really think Reformation or Enlightenment is possible in Islam. No. I don’t. The only Reformation that can encroach on the Muslim is one of the truth of Jesus Christ being the Way.
Graham reached out to Muslims and invited them to convert to Christianity (via Gateway Pundit):
“I want to say something to all the Muslims that may be watching this that are confused and are afraid themselves. I want them to know that God loves them and that Jesus Christ died for their sins — and Christ will forgive them and heal their hearts… And they don’t have to die in a jihad, they don’t have to kill somebody else to please God. God loves them and he will accept them through faith and through his son, Jesus Christ.”
“The Hound of Heaven had pursued me and caught me—whether I liked it or not” ~ Kirsten Powers
Below, you will hear Kirsten Powers speak to the fact that she was a reluctant convert, almost brought into the faith kicking and screaming the whole way. C.S. Lewis speaks about this reluctant conversion as well:
…Lewis himself was converted “kicking and screaming” (Surprised 229). Some of the pain came because in fixing his faith on God, Lewis also discovered “ludicrous and terrible things about [his] own character” including immense pride (qtd. in Green 105). One of the pains associated with conversion involved the realization that he must repent and change. In another book, Lewis explained why he thought pain is necessary in conversion. He proposes, God [will force a Christian] to a higher level: putting him into situations where he will have to be very much braver, or more patient, or more loving, than he ever dreamed of being before. It seems to us all unnecessary: but that is because we have not yet had the slightest notion of the tremendous thing He means to make of us. (Mere 176) Suffering, for Lewis, can make a saint.
Lewis also conveys the agonies of conversion in his fiction, many times in more detail and intensity. Lewis the character feels the pains of not being prepared for Heaven as his Ghost-body is tortured by even walking on the solid, real grass. In the Dwarf episode, this pain is primarily an emotional one and results from his own twisted concept of love and the desire to solicit pity from Sarah. His pain illustrates that much of the pain we suffer is self-inflicted. Sarah tells Frank that in his attempt to use pity to “blackmail” others: “You made yourself really wretched” (Divorce 115-16). The Dwarf, through his selfishness, caused the problems that Sarah was sent to help him overcome. The pain of conversion comes from the healing of these problems…
From my early 20s on, I would waver between atheism and agnosticism, never coming close to considering that God could be real.
After college I worked as an appointee in the Clinton administration from 1992 to 1998. The White House surrounded me with intellectual people who,if they had any deep faith in God, never expressed it. Later, when I moved to New York, where I worked in Democratic politics, my world became aggressively secular. Everyone I knew was politically left-leaning, and my group of friends was overwhelmingly atheist.
To the extent that I encountered Christians, it was in the news cycle. And inevitably they were saying something about gay people or feminists. I didn’t feel I was missing much.
Speaking of going to Tim Keller‘s church with her Christian boyfriend, Miss Powers said this:
But then the pastor preached. I was fascinated. I had never heard a pastor talk about the things he did. Tim Keller’s sermon was intellectually rigorous, weaving in art and history and philosophy. I decided to come back to hear him again. Soon, hearing Keller speak on Sunday became the highlight of my week. I thought of it as just an interesting lecture—not really church. I just tolerated the rest of it in order to hear him. Any person who is familiar with Keller’s preaching knows that he usually brings Jesus in at the end of the sermon to tie his points together. For the first few months, I left feeling frustrated: Why did he have to ruin a perfectly good talk with this Jesus nonsense?
Each week, Keller made the case for Christianity. He also made the case against atheism and agnosticism. He expertly exposed the intellectual weaknesses of a purely secular worldview. I came to realize that even if Christianity wasn’t the real thing, neither was atheism.
I began to read the Bible. My boyfriend would pray with me for God to reveal himself to me. After about eight months of going to hear Keller, I concluded that the weight of evidence was on the side of Christianity. But I didn’t feel any connection to God, and frankly, I was fine with that. I continued to think that people who talked of hearing from God or experiencing God were either delusional or lying. In my most generous moments, I allowed that they were just imagining things that made them feel good.
Then one night on a trip to Taiwan, I woke up in what felt like a strange cross between a dream and reality. Jesus came to me and said, “Here I am.” It felt so real. I didn’t know what to make of it. I called my boyfriend, but before I had time to tell him about it, he told me he had been praying the night before and felt we were supposed to break up. So we did. Honestly, while I was upset, I was more traumatized by Jesus visiting me.
I tried to write off the experience as misfiring synapses, but I couldn’t shake it. When I returned to New York a few days later, I was lost. I suddenly felt God everywhere and it was terrifying. More important, it was unwelcome. It felt like an invasion. I started to fear I was going crazy.
I didn’t know what to do, so I spoke with writer Eric Metaxas, whom I had met through my boyfriend and who had talked with me quite a bit about God. “You need to be in a Bible study,” he said. “And Kathy Keller’s Bible study is the one you need to be in.” I didn’t like the sound of that, but I was desperate. My whole world was imploding. How was I going to tell my family or friends about what had happened? Nobody would understand. I didn’t understand. (It says a lot about the family in which I grew up that one of my most pressing concerns was that Christians would try to turn me into a Republican.)
I remember walking into the Bible study. I had a knot in my stomach. In my mind, only weirdoes and zealots went to Bible studies. I don’t remember what was said that day. All I know is that when I left, everything had changed. I’ll never forget standing outside that apartment on the Upper East Side and saying to myself, “It’s true. It’s completely true.”
I wish to mention that while apologetics played a roll in a person like Kirsten to come to the foot of the cross, ultimately, the Holy Spirit brings us to the point of KNOWING the truth of Christianity beyond mere probabilities:
…fundamentally, the way we know Christianity to be true is by the self-authenticating witness of God’s Holy Spirit. Now what do I mean by that? I mean that the experience of the Holy Spirit is veridical and unmistakable (though not necessarily irresistible or indubitable) for him who has it; that such a person does not need supplementary arguments or evidence in order to know and to know with confidence that he is in fact experiencing the Spirit of God; that such experience does not function in this case as a premise in any argument from religious experience to God, but rather is the immediate experiencing of God himself; that in certain contexts the experience of the Holy Spirit will imply the apprehension of certain truths of the Christian religion, such as “God exists,” “I am condemned by God,” “I am reconciled to God,” “Christ lives in me,” and so forth; that such an experience Provides one not only with a subjective assurance of Christianity’s truth, but with objective knowledge of that truth; and that arguments and evidence incompatible with that truth are overwhelmed by the experience of the Holy Spirit for him who attends fully to it.
Headed to Wine Country for the weekend… will forgo Friday Fodder, Sunday Toons will be later than usual. Sorry… sometime tomorrow afternoon I should have hit four wineries already in Paso… Ohhhhh Pooor Me!