QED

God, Truth and Cultural Survival

There are people of goodwill who believe their non-belief in God will have no effect on our culture and its future. What they fail to grasp is that the very way they think and act and, indeed, the nature of the society in which they live, are based in and owed to Christianity

godThere might be newspaper journalists out there in woop-woop better than The Australian’s Greg Sheridan. I don’t read them. It always seems to me that he strives for the truth. Contrast him with his colleagues Paul Kelly and Phillip Adams. Kelly was at it again at the weekend, writing that Trump is “assaulting” free trade.

Free trade hey. Tariff and other artificial barriers faced by US companies exporting are markedly greater than faced by foreign companies exporting to the United States. The Obama White House reported in May 2015 that “almost 70 percent of U.S. imports crossed our borders duty-free, but many of our trading partners maintain higher tariffs that create steep barriers to U.S. exports.” Trump wants to redress the balance. How is that assaulting the prevailing fiction of ‘free trade’?

But my point is not an economic one. My point is that a journalist should put things into proper perspective not engage in tendentious Trump bashing, or any other bashing, at every opportunity. Listen up Kelly. The ‘Yuge’ US trade deficit is not sustainable. Inform your readers. Assume that they are as bright as you; even brighter.

Phillip Adams engaging in sophistry is nothing new. But here he was again, also at the weekend, intimating that Gerard Henderson was wrong in calling out the ABC’s bias. He threw in the names of some non-leftists who had been given air time on the ABC, e.g., Amanda Vanstone and Tom Switzer, to bolster his case. It doesn’t pass the pub test. Anyone with half a brain and an ounce of objectivity knows that news and public affairs on the ABC comes with an ummistable left/green bias.

Be a straight-shooter Adams, admit it, for pity’s sake. Defend it if you will. I watch Fox News. It most definitely has a conservative bias. I admit it. I celebrate it. I don’t intimate that it is balanced because Fox gives a spot to that awful lefty Juan Williams and, irritatingly, often interviews Democrat politicians and their hangers on.

Where am I going with this? Well I see that Sheridan has a book out this week titled God is Good for You: A defence of Christianity in troubled times. The book shares the faith of fourteen current and former politicians. Malcolm Turnbull features as does Bill Shorten. I didn’t know that Turnbull was a Christian. Reportedly, he avoids talking of his private beliefs in public. That is a pity in my view. There has never been a more needful time for Christians to trumpet their faith. Hold that thought for the moment. My other thought is that truth in reporting, in what is said and written, cannot but be underpinned by Christianity.

Christianity imposes rules of conduct. True they are too often found in the breach rather than in the observance. But they are there weighing on consciences. There is no get-out-of-jail card for lying. “You shall not swear falsely but shall perform to the Lord what you have sworn. But I say to you, do not take an oath at all…Let what you say be simply ‘Yes’ or ‘No’; anything more than this comes from evil.” (Matthew 5:33-37) Mind you, where truth is concerned, politicians along with salesmen occupy a corrupting profession and are given an amount of leeway, at least in this world. I can’t see that the same tolerance should be extended to journalists.

Christians think of themselves as made by God not mere products of blind evolution with no substantive moral anchor or reference point. As accidental derivates of primitive life forms (cyanobacteria or some such) atheists simply believe that telling more truths than lies benefited survival in the distant past. No morality was at play. Thus, why not lie, tell half-truths or mislead as you see advantage? Absence God, who is to say it wrong. As for Muslims, Islam positively endorses lying and deceit to gain advantage over non-believers. I have no evidence of course, but I would be surprised and disappointed if there were not a strong positive correlation between Christianity and truth telling. I present Greg Sheridan as a case in point.

Back to Turnbull keeping his Christianity close to his chest. We (those of Western heritage and outlook) live in parlous times. True times have always been parlous. But in these times material progress is disguising cultural disintegration. How many times have you read recently that people are vastly better off than they were; that poverty is very much less than it was. It is as if everything is viewed through a material prism. Sometimes you also read that never were so few people caught up in wars. How short-sighted is that? The same thing, no doubt, could have been said in 1929, with the Second World War only ten years away. It is myopic beyond belief.

Our Western progress – material, spiritual and cultural – owes everything to Christianity. Christianity freed men to reason, extolled the value of the individual as a child of God, ended slavery, led to efforts to discover the laws of nature established by God, and provided the environment within which freedom (including free speech) and enlightenment could flourish. Rodney Stark (in The Triumph of Christianity) gives an excellent account of all this and more.

You will find atheists suggesting that Christianity held societies back. This is pure ignorance. It is born of focusing on a few flimsy and ephemeral obstacles occasionally put in the way by various Church leaders rather than on the broad road towards enlightenment and progress that Christianity opened up. But here’s the rub. Atheists in the West are growing in number and with them their ignorance.

Our Western civilisation is beset on two sides. First by Godless left activists infiltrating all of our institutions. Second by Islam. Of course, these two Anti-Western forces have allied. But in the end fighting under Allah’s banner will have more conviction to it than fighting under the red and rainbow flags. Expect Islamists to prevail when they turn on each other.

In the middle, meanwhile, there are whole swathes of people of goodwill who believe that their non-belief in God will have no effect on our cultural future. They fail to understand that the very way they think and act is owed to Christianity. They believe that future generations will think and act like them even if Christianity were to fade away. We are blank canvasses when we are born. We are moulded by our culture. Christ came to ensure that we enveloped ourselves and our children in a cultural path to God.

Those of us who are Christians, particularly those of influence like Malcolm Turnbull and Bill Shorten, need to proclaim their faith – so that people are in no doubt where they stand. I am not suggesting that they should engage in crass proselytising. Its product placement advertising if you like. It must work, brands pay a lot of money for it. Our civilisation is under threat. Christianity can save it. Our leaders are Christian yet keep quiet, or relatively quiet, about it. That makes no sense to me.

25 comments
  • lloveday

    Quote: “Phillip Adams engaging in sophistry is nothing new. But here he was again, also at the weekend, intimating that Gerard Henderson was wrong in calling out the ABC’s bias. He threw in the names of some non-leftists who had been given air time on the ABC, e.g., Amanda Vanstone and Tom Switzer, to bolster his case.”

    Tim Blair’s comment on Adam’s sophistry article:

    Back in mid-2001, a pair of conservatives briefly held small roles at the ABC’s leftist Radio National.

    They presented a one-hour program once a week for just three months before Radio National management declined to renew their show (despite a ratings improvement over the timeslot’s previous program, whatever that was).

    A mere 12 hours of radio in total.

    Yet the show must have made an impression because, nearly 20 years later, Radio National’s Phillip Adams is still going on about it:

    You might recall that when asked to define what was wrong with the public broadcaster, Prime Minister John Howard simply asked, “Where’s the right-wing Phillip Adams?” This forced the Harris Street Kremlin to balance my radio program Late Night Live by hiring Tim Blair and Imre Salusinszky to double-head a conservative show, The Continuing Crisis, co-starring their pal George Pell.

    Pell was our football tipster. A remarkably accurate one, too.

    • lloveday

      “sophistic article”, or “sophistical article”

  • Rob Brighton

    Being atheistic is not a synonym for being a leftie.

    A singular feature of atheists is adherence to reason as a guide to our lives, reason is singularly absent from leftist thought.

    It is offensive to be classed as a lefty because of a tiny part of my life and I really wish you would stop conflating the two.

    Doing so only costs us on the right of support of those who agree with our worldview in all areas except religion and is just plain dumb.

    • whitelaughter

      If adherence to reason was the guide of atheists, the snowflakes would not be able to be atheists, would they? They lack the brainpower.

      If adherence to reason was the singular feature of atheists, then the greatest thinkers of history would have been atheists, rather than Christians and Jews.

      Christianity has been under constant assault because it is the bulwark of Western Civilization. Atheism is encouraged because even at its best it is no help to defending the West. It is no accident that in 1984 Winston is asked whether he believes in God: ensuring that he does not is an essential step in destroying him.

      While I don’t doubt you find it offensive to be lumped with the Lefties – no doubt it is highly offensive – how do you think Christians from groups that have been persecuted by Rome feel about being lumped with Catholics? No different.

      And if you doubt that the spread of atheism is directly the result of the left, have a look at the religious map of Germany: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Irreligion_in_Germany#/media/File:Konfessionen_Deutschland_Zensus_2011.png
      a generation after the fall of Communism, you can still trace the border of East Germany by where the church has been purged.

      • [email protected]

        The existence of a supernatural being is not subject to reason: that is, one can’t (well, I can’t) prove whether God exists or not. And that, pointedly, is why brainpower has nothing to do with the difference between those who believe and those who don’t. I don’t, as it happens, and I shared Rob’s view that atheism was being associated too directly with the left.

        I write this after Peter responded (below) to Rob, and appreciate his reply.
        [Terry]

      • Rob Brighton

        Are you sure that being a snowflake and a Christian is mutually exclusive? That’s quite a reach.

        In case you missed the point, I am a right-leaning centrist and atheistic, I and many fellow travellers are natural allies if only your ilk would cease telling me I am your enemy, for as sure as grass is green that will guarantee it to be so.

        I cannot help but notice the old dude with the whacky hat in Rome is pushing leftist policy for all its worth.

    • [email protected]

      Rob, I didn’t think I was suggesting atheists are necessarily lefties. I did refer to “Godless left activists” infiltrating our institutions. But that is not the same thing. Let me make it clear, I have a number of conservative friends who are atheists. In fact I can only think of one who isn’t, such is the sad decline in Christianity. Having said that, the next time I write about this kind of thing I will make my views clearer to avoid misunderstandings.

      • Rob Brighton

        Thanks Peter I appreciate your consideration.

      • innocuous

        I read Quadrant because I find that it is a place where genuine informed debate and discussion takes place on a wide variety of topics. Even when someone uses a put down it is generally delivered in a clever or amusing way. When it comes to views on religion it seems whatever you say whether believe or you don’t, because of the importance of the question to humanity you come of sounding arrogant. I know the answer and if you don’t think what I think you are evil. Sounds like left wing godless activists.

  • whitelaughter

    After a millennia and a half of Western Civilization being Christian culture/Jewish counter-culture, we are shifting over to Judeo Christian culture squaring off against Islamic counter culture. This is going to be a brutal shock to the morons ‘rebelling against the system’ – the alphabet soup brigade who are incapable of realising that they’ll be slaughtered by the Islamic forces.
    That said, we should see Christianity being purged clean of the trendy set as well, which is long overdue.

    we’ll know that the current era is over when instead of protests against Islamophobia, we see protests against Zionophobia and Christophobia. Could take centuries though.

    • exuberan

      Maybe sooner than you think, if the now 2500 Mosques in France are anything to go by. Get hold of ‘The Mosque of Notre Dame’ for an interesting read

      • [email protected]

        In any case, seems like way sooner than book’s 2048

  • Mcarvalho

    I’m an atheist and I think lying is wrong. Religion is not necessary to determine what is right. For example, once I could have cheated on my wife. She would never know. But I didn’t. I knew it was wrong. Not because of a sacred vow nonsesnse of the kind. But simply because by cheating on her would mean to lie to her. And this is wrong.

  • Jody

    The problems of hegemony, censorship, reputational destruction and the modern media are covered here in this interview from yesterday with two fabulously intelligent Americans:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=109agvZr1vs

  • [email protected]

    Unfortunately Mr Turnbull voted for the Abortion Pill against Prime Minister Howard and Health Minister Abbott.
    From memory he even quoted Thomas Aquinas. Aquinas followed Aristotle.
    Aristotle talked to normal people and knew that with the miscarriage of an embryo at 8 weeks, the embryo does not move.
    At 12 weeks the embryo may move: Aristotle took this as a sign of ensoulment: actually it is just the nerves connecting to muscles.
    Accordingly, it is OK to kill an embryo at 8 weeks because it has no soul. How stupid is that?
    If the embryo is meant to die, it will miscarry spontaneously.

    • [email protected]

      From memory, I was shocked to learn Aquinata’s claim about the soul entering body of a human being and
      how quickly confronted one Catholic priest about this issue. Only to hear that yes, with the advances of sciences it could be proven that the little creature reacts to impulses, smiles, feels pain etc.
      Ethics evolves with scientific discoveries, certainly, but the bases of ethics remain the same.
      Recently I read there is not such a thing as brain death (while body is still fine for transplants).
      Doctors and scientists show that humans is such a state feel pain (hence all pain killers – brain dead but somehow feels pain, yes, I am sure I would believe it when waiting for a donor for myself or someone close, but would not this be a situational ethics?).
      How much money for all the organs/tissues of an aborted baby – and Christian ethics and less and less support for the baby/mum from the society on the other side of the scale? Mary Wagner, Canadian is doing time for trying to convince mums-to-be to have the babies – sorry : for disrupting legitimate business of abortion clinics. Where are me/you in this?

  • Robinoz

    At least some of my fellow atheists probably agree that Christianity got us to where we are today in the West. We don’t deny that, but it doesn’t mean we believe medieval religious mythology is the eternal truth and that humankind can’t escape from 1,000 years of belief that is being found to be more irrational as science discovers more about our universe and ourselves.

    We don’t say that God doesn’t exist. We simply say that we don’t believe god exists. We also worry that people who believe Mohammed was the last prophet and Allah exists are progressively replacing those of us in the West. We need more than Christianity or atheism to deal with it if our culture is to survive. We need governments that will see the problem, irrespective of what individual members believe, and design ways to overcome the challenge.

    • whitelaughter

      Not sure of the point you’re trying to make for the 1st para and a half, but “We need governments that will see the problem,” – yes, obviously.
      How can you contribute to this? What can you *not* contribute that you will want other people to deal with?

    • lloveday

      “We (atheists) don’t say that God doesn’t exist”.

      You don’t, Dawkins does not, sometimes anyway, – in The God Delusion, Dawkins cites a 1-7 scale where 1 represents a probability of 1.0 (100%) that God exists and 7 represents a probability of 0.0 (0%) that God exists and classified himself as a 6, viz he thinks there is a significant possibility of God existing and the title of Chapter 4 is “Why there almost certainly is no God” (he’s no statistician if he thinks P(God)=14% means “almost certainly no God”, but at least he does not say God does not exist), but many self-identified atheists, such as Adams, and the vast majority of those I’ve heard, do deny the existence of God, a position I can’t understand, living as we do on an insignificant planet orbiting an unremarkable star, one an estimated 100,000,000,000 stars in the Milky way, which is one of an estimated 2,000,000,000,000 galaxies in the Universe, of which we know all but nothing.

      As Einstein said “I am not an atheist. The problem involved is too vast for our limited minds”. If it was too much for Einstein’s brain, it’s far too much for my brain and was even decades ago.

      • innocuous

        That is an interesting quote from Albert Einstein and interesting to dissect, he states ‘I am not an atheist’, but he makes no commitment to faith. Then he states ‘The problem is too vast for our limited minds’, so one of the greatest minds of our time is conceding we will never know the truth about god. That sounds an awful lot like atheism or at least agnostic. I’ll take speculation from evidence over speculation from faith. That said, there many fundamental and long tested truths in christianity and I’ll stand with the Christians against the leftist barbarians and the Islamists.

        • Rob Brighton

          I believe he was a deist from what I have read although many rush to claim him for their side.

        • lloveday

          There was a sentence between the 2 I cited:

          “I am not an atheist. I do not know if I can define myself as a Pantheist. The problem involved is too vast for our limited minds”.

        • exuberan

          Einstein’s idea of God–the superior reasoning power

          ‘My religion consists of a humble admiration of the illimitable superior spirit who reveals himself in the slight details we are able to perceive with our frail and feeble minds. That deeply emotional conviction of the presence of a superior reasoning power, which is revealed in the incomprehensible universe, forms my idea of God’.

          • lloveday

            The “new Einstein”, recently departed Stephen Hawking concluded “A Brief History of Time” with “… for then we should know the mind of God.”
            Maybe I’m taking “God” too literally, but how else should I take that use of the time-honoured, capitalised word than indicating Hawking believed in God at the time he finalised the book?

    • whitelaughter

      ” being found to be more irrational as science discovers more about our universe and ourselves.”

      And here we see why all atheists get lumped in with the smug SJWs. How many so-called ‘educated’ atheists are even aware that the Big Bang theory was developed by a priest, Georges Lemaître?
      Of course, that’s only one example, so let’s look wider:
      ——————————————————
      According to 100 Years of Nobel Prizes a review of Nobel prizes award between 1901 and 2000 reveals that (65.4%) of Nobel Prizes Laureates, have identified Christianity in its various forms as their religious preference.[82] Overall, Christians have won a total of 72.5% of all the Nobel Prizes in Chemistry,[83] 65.3% in Physics,[83] 62% in Medicine,[83] 54% in Economics.[83][83]

      Have look at the current crop of famous scientists who are Christian: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Christians_in_science_and_technology#2001%E2%80%93today_(21st_century)

      (Worth noting that Jews contribute out of proportion to their numbers though).
      ——————————————————————————————
      The defining characteristic of the left atm is a willingness to dish out insults, an inability to tolerate being mocked, and a determination to take offence when none was intended. Gee, I wonder why atheists are assumed to be lefties.

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