QED

A Good Word For Christian Certainty

church crumblingTo date, the West’s response to resurgent Islam has been to focus on defeating its obvious manifestations: ISIS, al-Qaida, Boko Haram and other related terrorist groups. Peter Leahy, the ex-Chief of Army, has said the conflict could go on for 100 years. If he is correct, this is both impractical and unacceptable. We must find a better answer.

For the moment, let us assume that we were able to eliminate all terrorists, including those in Australia. Have we solved the problem? Should we congratulate ourselves? The answer to each is no. The Islamist objective of a worldwide caliphate will remain, driven by the directives and precepts of the Qur’an’s more aggressive and expansionist sentiments. Bombs and bullets alone cannot succeed. Where do we go from here?

Might we appeal to Australia’s Muslim population along the following lines: Can we persuade you to set aside the primacy of religion and, like Buddhist, Hindus, Christians and so many other creeds, accept that all are equal and it is the state, not Allah, which is sovereign on this temporal plain. Would we put a persuasive case?  Let’s look at what we would be offering, starting with our lifestyle.

Australia offers a smorgasbord of pastimes to choose from: unlimited sport, drugs, alcohol, sex, and gambling, to name a few.  We have a highly developed desire for material pleasure and a financial debt structure to support this: cars, houses, exotic holidays, consumer technology, and unnecessary gadgets, to name a few more. We model our personas on transient idols: sports heroes, media personalities, movie stars and make-believe robotic heroes to name a few. Our entertainment is corny reality shows where the contestants, audience and judges try to outdo each other’s inanities. When we work, those of us who do work,  it tends dominate our lives. Unfortunately, all these pleasures and preoccupations often leave little time for family pleasures and social relationships. As for quiet reflection, it is a seldom luxury.

Spiritually we have changed over the past 60 years. The God of the Bible has been de-throned, leaving only a small segment of the population with any investment in Christianity and theological understanding across the general population is low. It is a surprising change when one considers that the secular democracy on which Australia was founded, is so proud of, and has fought so hard to retain, is based on the foundation of the Christianity it has abandoned. Until the middle of the last century the majority of Australians would have called themselves Christian; now, those who do, more than likely announce that designation with a shrug. Religion played an important role in defining the fabric of our parents’ society, but that umbrella of belief and the cultural cohesion it fostered has folded. There is no God in our heaven.  But are we all right with our world?

In abandoning God and the precepts of the Bible we have taken away the moral and spiritual floor that underpinned the three strands of secular democracy to emerge with the Enlightenment: liberalism, modernity, and the advancement of science. Without belief there is no longer a platform from which to view and identify what is true, noble, pure, good and right, that which is always in the long run best for mankind. Where faith and firm conviction once stood there swirl the secular creeds of political correctness and multiculturalism. Where once religion called upon us to judge, to determine right from wrong most of all,  we now eschew making judgements of any kind. The twin ideologies of multiculturalism and political correctness have had a devastating impact on truth. Whilst seemingly prosperous, Australia has become a nation that, morally and spiritually, is weak and flabby.

Muslims are not interested in such a society, at least not the ardent sort who get carried away and cause trouble. The articles of the faith run counter to those we have enumerated above. So, where does that leave Australia? Our offer will be of no interest. Why would those fortified with actual, palpable faith surrender their god for a pottage of emptiness, amusements and hollow pleasures?

Our government emphasizes that its primary responsibility is the safety of the nation. I suggest that that safety is not solely territorial; it must extend also to concern for moral and spiritual health. For that reason, in a recent article (Kidding Ourselves About Islam) I suggested that Australia’s leaders should encourage individuals to re-engage with the God of the Bible to strengthen Australia while lovingly demonstrating by example to Muslims that freedom and faith can comfortably co-exist.

But wait, I hear latte cups rattling with nervous concern. Won’t that approach uproot liberalism, send us back to the Middle Ages? Might this not mark the re-introduction of theocracy?  The ideas of the Reformation and Enlightenment, surely they will be trumped, their impact on Christianity lost? Let me conclude by putting these old chestnuts to bed.

First, the view that the Reformation and the Enlightenment were responsible for defining Christianity is a furphy. True, they did rescue Christianity from the designs of men who had hijacked Christianity for their own benefit. But — and it’s a big but — the Reformation and the Enlightenment did not change one word of the Bible or the theology of Christianity. But having considered Christianity ‘fixed’, we lost sight of seeing what the Bible was really telling us.

In suggesting a return to the God of the Bible I am not proposing a form of theocracy and abandoning the separation of church and state: far from it. Jesus, when answering a question from the Jewish leaders, made it quite clear that there is to be that separation (“Render unto Caesar….“) The concept is further emphasized in Peter’s first pastoral letter in which he instructs Christians to submit to every authority instituted by men. In a slightly tangential but still relevant way Jesus instructed his followers to make disciples from all nations not to make all nations His disciples. Christianity is big enough to look after itself: it does not need the state to do so, as Islam does.  And note, Christianity is an opt-in deal and my call to leaders, and that includes political, spiritual, and community leaders, is to encourage Australians to opt-in, not to ignore it as is presently happening.

On the question of the dumbing down of liberalism, modernity and scientific enlightenment and a reversion to the Middle Ages: again, far from it. You could hardly find a more liberal person than Jesus. In the Gospels we see him constantly upbraiding, and in dispute with, the Jewish authorities over their nitpicking laws and hypocrisy. He constantly said he was the truth and the truth would liberate people. And, Jesus’ life was a model of modernity demonstrated by his relationships with others, his compassion, his understanding, and his empathy. In his interaction with women he was ahead of his time. In regard to scientific enlightenment, Jesus demonstrated by miraculous means that it is violation of Divine will to heal the ill and prolong life. The Bible is awash with liberalism, modernity and scientific enlightenment.

Today we look back to Easter and forward to Anzac Day, two events that are indelibly associated with the blood of sacrifice. Perhaps it is time for all Australians to sacrifice our own self-centeredness and consider that unless, as individuals, we are prepared to re-engage with the God of the Bible we will, over the next 50 years, fade into our self-constructed oblivion — or resurgent Islam will do the job for us.

Jim Campbell, an engineer and consultant, is the author of The Logic of the Qur’an

23 comments
  • Keith Kennelly

    Jim

    Religion is not the answer.

    Our ultimate defense from All religion is our growing knowledge and the things that produces.

    The greater the knowledge the greater the truth.

    Islam will wither as it’s shortcomings become more and more apparent.

    To understand those shortcomings, and why they will lead to the Islamic implosion read Churchill and Chesterton.

    My view is not only are we seeing and experiencing the death throes of Islam but also of religion.

    I’d debate with you that only religion can give a moral and spiritual floor to our community.

    Goodness comes from within.

    Cheers

    • Jim Campbell

      Keith – thank you for reading and your comments – much appreciated.
      It is interesting that you mention Churchill and Chesterton. The former was by my reading rather ambivalent about Islam but he did not favour its precepts. The latter, if we are thinking of the same man, was a Christian and again my reading shows him to be very wary of Islam. Mind you they were of an era when resurgent Islam was somewhat dormant in comparison to today. Nevertheless Chesterton, to quote the words of a review of The Flying Inn, the Islamisation of England, ‘Chesterton foresaw that an Islamic takeover would be facilitated by cultural elites eager to show their tolerance for new ideas and fashions and their corresponding disdain for traditional culture. In Chesterton’s day, the cultural elites were referred to as the smart set; today they are the multicultural and media elites. And, as in Chesterton’s story, they are quite willing to believe that Muslims discovered or invented just about everything under the sun.’ Hmm. You won’t be surprised that my favourite item from a Chesterton character is, ‘the first effect of not believing in God is that you lose your common sense’: we could certainly use a lot more of that today at all levels of government and society.
      Your suggestion that ‘goodness comes from within’ is a lovely idea but relying on our own self-sufficiency is not working out too well today as we scan the daily news. In this regard two good books I find helpful to put things in perspective are Ecclesiastics and Proverbs.
      Cheers

  • [email protected]

    Jim Campbell writes:

    “For the moment, let us assume that we were able to eliminate all terrorists, including those in Australia. Have we solved the problem? Should we congratulate ourselves? The answer to each is no. The Islamist objective of a worldwide caliphate will remain, driven by the directives and precepts of the Qur’an’s more aggressive and expansionist sentiments. Bombs and bullets alone cannot succeed. Where do we go from here?”

    Might not it be equally as valid to say:

    For the moment, let us assume that we were able to revive the Christian values and traditions once prominent in Australian society. Have we solved the problem? Should we congratulate ourselves? The answer to each is no. The Islamist objective of a worldwide caliphate will remain, driven by the directives and precepts of the Qur’an’s more aggressive and expansionist sentiments. Christian values and traditions alone cannot succeed. Where do we go from here?

    Those values and traditions are sorely missing from our lives which would be greatly improved by reviving them. That, however, would make absolutely no difference to “The Islamist objective of a worldwide caliphate” … driven by the directives and precepts of the Qur’an’s more aggressive and expansionist sentiments.”

    Try as we may, with the best of civilised intentions, there is no way of avoiding the stark and grim reality concerning Islam and the rest of the world: Islam must be destroyed, completely eliminated, extirpated root and branch. How and when that might be achieved – if indeed it is achievable – is the daunting question.

    We could and should begin by acknowledging the reality of the situation and accepting the validity of the question.

    • Jim Campbell

      Bill – thanks for reading and your comments – much appreciated.
      Your mirror image of my proposition is neat and raises good points. Why would the God of the Bible play any useful role in the whole Islamic imbroglio?
      As the article notes, ‘Until the middle of the last century the majority of Australians would have called themselves Christian; now, those who do, more than likely announce that designation with a shrug. Christianity played an important role in defining the fabric of our parents’ society, but that umbrella of belief and the cultural cohesion it fostered has folded.’ At that time the phrase ‘God is in his heaven and all’s right with the world’ had some validity. Since then major shifts have occurred: atheism and a host of other spiritual beliefs have overtaken society, the God of the Bible has been sidelined by the majority of Australians (see en passant, below), allowing the twin destroyers of truth – political correctness and multiculturalism – to neuter our ability to perform with firmness and rigour. Our ability to mount a WW2 level response must be seriously in doubt. Most worrying is that our society has little of real substance to offer Muslims. If it did it is possible that many Muslims would, as I suggest, consider becoming atheists, Buddhists, Hindus or Christians.
      Joining the dots between the 1960s and today the link that has gone missing is the Christian faith. Make no mistake, I fully realise the reality of resurgent Islam and the state of our society. However, to go forward as a cogent and cohesive society, to give Muslims an alternative, and to have the strength and fortitude to counter and neutralise physical threats, as a nation we need more in our kitbag than is currently the case.
      Cheers

    • [email protected]

      Bill,
      The main problem is that our society and culture have been spiritually disarmed. Could you imagine that we would be discussing the Islamisation of Australia and the slow implementation of Sharia law if people’s attitude to Christianity was as it was 60 years ago.

      With the increasing problems with Muslims in our communities, do you believe that the immigration department would still be importing more Muslims if attitudes about us being a Christian nation were as they were then. Cultural and religious relativity are a modern invention that can only exist because of the decline in our belief in Christianity and our understanding of how it supported our culture and society.

  • Matt Brazier

    Jim,

    Excellent portrayal of Jesus and how his life, teachings and opt-in invitation apply to our modern world. Great work.

  • en passant

    “Jim,
    You continue to repeat the myth that somehow we need a god and a Christian god at that if we are to be other than brutish barbarians. You are right only if you think the alternative is Islam. Buddhism, Confucianism and the Hari Krishnas are all more peaceful and civilised than the dying radical church of the Christian.
    I agree that Islam is so incompatible with civilised behaviour that we should keep them out of our society (PC Alert Level 5). I have lived in the M.E. and it is intellectually and culturally stifling, yet the relativists are hell-bent on bringing that trouble here. We can defeat them militarily, but that is just a setback for them and they will try again until eternity. The answer is: them there-us here. Just ask Japan or Angola for the formula.
    Have you had a look at the state of the Christian church lately? Open borders, support for their (and our) enemies who want us all dead and a Pope in dire need of recall by the sky-dragon that moved the hands of the Cardinals who elected him to be the fool on the hill.
    You make so many false assumptions that you invalidate your arguments for a return to a dreamland of a Christian god-worshipping world.
    I have NEVER watched a ‘reality’ show on TV, nor have I sacrificed my ‘god for a pottage of emptiness, amusements and hollow pleasures.’ I gave up on all gods half a century ago when I realised no god existed and the monster was just a creation of psychopathic men who heard voices in their heads. Asylums are full of the religious, just like them. Do you know that more people have been killed by beliefs in a god than all other reasons combined?
    You exaggerate when you say ‘The God of the Bible has been de-throned …’. He never ruled in the first place, never took any rational or positive action to save his followers, to remove pain and disease or to make the world a better place.
    The ultimate in psychopathic delusion is to support a god who sent his only illiterate son to Earth to preach verbally to a few people (without the internet) and then be tortured slowly to death. Thanks Dad! If that is not irrational enough to stretch your credulity then do not worry as it gets worse. The disciples and the next generations then mess up the message, yet the all-powerful one does not interfere to make corrections when it is misinterpreted and hijacked by earthly psychopaths. Can I ask why any god needs to send the message via interpreters when we have the internet, Facebook and we can all just as easily hear our own voices. When it was first invented, the radio must have sounded god-like.
    I have maybe ten years at most left on this Earth, but I do not fear either death, nor Hell – but I do fear an eternal heaven where every day forever is boringly perfect. I could achieve that now with a lobotomy.
    We do need a narrative promoting social cohesion, but it is not going to be provided by any mythical god.”

    • Mark Smith

      An eternal heaven where everyday is boringly perfect? Yeah, I’d have to agree. Definitely to be feared: apparently they don’t need law enforcement there, because there are no cheats, thieves, murderers, rapists… no disease? No biggy. Also who’d want a mansion in the New Jerusalem, a city apparently so beautiful it makes history’s cities of greatest splendour dull. Oh, and surely conversing with the creator of the universe would hold no fascination whatsoever!

    • Jim Campbell

      en (presume your surname is passant!) – thankyou for reading and your comments.
      I’m glad that you got all that out of your system. Let me see if I can pluck something out of it.
      Re your comment that we can defeat them militarily, perhaps you would like to let us know how you would handle the roughly 600,000 Australian Muslims within our society.
      And yes, you are right to take the Christian church to task on many issues including the stance on Muslims and immigration: I am with you.
      As for the rest of it, enjoy your ten years.
      Cheers

      • Jim Campbell

        Sorry Mark, this was meant to be for en – sees above. en – hope you get this. Jim

  • Andrew Campbell

    G’day en passant,

    What? ‘more people have been killed by beliefs in a god than all other reasons combined’ More than Hitler, Stalin, Mao Tse Tung, Pol Pot … and that’s just last century. You have to be kidding.

    Andrew Campbell

  • iain

    The church/bride of jesus christ is a far different turnout than the institutionalised church created by men – it has no walls and is founded on repentance from sin and a belief that jesus’ crucifiction on a roman cross atoned for that sin, and that his resurrection gave to believers the power to live a new life – double dutch i know to an unbeliever – only apprehended by faith.

  • en passant

    No, I am not. The Tai’ping wars killed 60M (more than WW2), the 30 years war, the Aztec sacrifices, the jihads for 1,400 years, etc, etc.
    I stand by my statement

  • ian.macdougall

    With few exceptions, the pews in many Australian churches were lightly populated this weekend, those empty seats testifying that the faith of our fathers has been bleached pallid by the bright lights of empty amusements and the unmoored vacuity of relativism. A rival faith has no such distractions
    To date, the West’s response to resurgent Islam has been to focus on defeating its obvious manifestations: ISIS, al-Qaida, Boko Haram and other related terrorist groups. …. the conflict could go on for 100 years…. We must find a better answer.

    Perhaps that “better answer” rests in looking at what the clerics of Islam oppose, are manifestly afraid of, and ban outright wherever they have the power and political clout to do so. Plenty on this can be found at http://www.thereligionofpeace.com and also at http://www.butterfliesandwheels.org, a site run by Ophelia Benson, IMHO one of the sharpest minds on the Internet. (See http://www.butterfliesandwheels.org/?s=Islam%2C+oppression ). But it includes apostasy, heresy, blasphemy (including saying derogatory things about Mohammad) freethinking and education of women and their liberation from institutionalised repression. And as most modern Islamic clerics are at heart bigoted, intolerant Torquemadas, doing whatever they specifically oppose should be easy.
    All Abrahamic religions (ie Judaism, Christianity and Islam, and their various extreme derivatives) divide humanity into two major classes: 1. the saved and 2. The damned. Call that divide insiders/outsiders, worthy/unworthy, brothers/others, or whatever you like. The effect is to set a large number of people up individually or collectively as a target (in some minds anyway) whose removal from the Earth can only improve things.
    Christianity and Judaism, based as they are on that multifarious library known as The Bible, hold many views on this simultaneously. The Koran however, originated as a one-author manual for the warriors of a conquering militarised religion. If Mohammad was alive today, he would probably be an Islamist. Opinion polls of Muslims show that a significant minority, consisting of millions of people, support Islamism, want Sharia Law and all the rest of it. http://www.thereligionofpeace.com/pages/articles/opinion-polls.aspx
    However, in their manifest-in-behavior beliefs, most Muslims show that they just want to get along with the infidels of whatever society they happen to live in: all the Muslims I personally encounter included. They all cherry-pick their Koran in order to do this.

    • Jim Campbell

      Ian – thanks for reading and commenting – appreciated.
      Actually Ian my concern is not what Islamic clerics oppose but the precepts they follow that are diametrically opposed to Christianity’s precepts and, by default, our secular democracy. I noted this gulf in a previous article (Kidding Ourselves About Islam) as follows:
      ‘Islam pits Muslims against non-Muslims; Christianity instructs followers to love their neighbors as themselves. Islam’s aim is the subjugation of all to the God of the Qur’an; Christianity asks people to consider the claims of the God of the Bible and make personal decisions. Islam offers salvation through the coercive performance of “good deeds”; Christianity’s salvation comes through faith in promises of the God of the Bible.’
      And those are the real issues: all the matters the clerics oppose stem from this dogma. And it is this dogma that drives resurgent Islam however nice the individual Muslims we know may be.
      And no, the Bible does not mandate two groups or classes of people. There is one group and you and I are in it. To quote Jesus when he was teaching one of the Pharisees:
      ‘For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.’
      The phrase ‘the world’ is everyone from the dawn of time to the end of earthly time. Have a look at the whole interaction – John 3:1-21.
      Jesus, in summarising the Ten Commandments said to love God and to love our neighbours as ourselves. It is not the Bible that prescribes: it is purely an individual’s choice.
      By the way, the God of the Bible is the author of the Bible and the God of the Qur’an is the author of the Qur’an: they are not the same.
      Cheers

  • en passant

    Mark,
    Eternity is the problem with heaven. I would have no work, would always win ever game I played, no highs, no lows, and would soon run out of things to chat to god about after hearing his answer to why the world is such a mess, why there are 5,000 gods and … and … Given that we have eternity boredom is a huge problem.
    Still, there are interesting questions that should take the first hour. For instance, what age is my wife, do I get to meet all the people I ever knew, or just those that made it to heaven? Do I get to meet the prematurely dead children (and do they ever grow up), the mad, the people I never liked.
    What an irrational crock heaven must be, more Politically Correct than a Socialist Left convention. Safe spaces for all, no debates or contradictory opinions.
    Yuk! Hell looks like fun by comparison.

  • Andrew Campbell

    G’day en passant,

    Wikipedia says 20 to 70 million deaths for the Taiping Rebellion; 40-70 million deaths for Mao Tse Tung alone. The Aztecs? Who knows. 1400 years of jihad? Difficult to estimate. And more than all other reasons combined (wars of conquest, colonialism and more?) You may stand by your statement. I think I’m on more solid ground. But what’s a few million deaths between friends?

    Andrew Campbell

  • pgang

    Jesus advocated the separation of church and state? For heavens’ sake, surely you jest. Apart from the very concept being unthinkable at the time, Jesus was claiming the Lordship of all things, and the resurrection would be the ratification of that claim. He despised everything Rome stood for. Caesar’s image was on the coin, which in those times was a form of worship – Caesar was claiming the status of a god – the god of all his dominions. So does anyone really think Jesus was saying, ‘sure, pay tribute to this god.’ Of course not – he was counter-challenging those Jews who were taking sides with Rome to try to trap him and strengthen their own political position. They could either side with Rome and the world (worship the emperor), or they could side with God. That was the counter-challenge, and it was the same challenge the Jews had always faced.

    And to confuse the reformation with the Endarkenment is another almighty furphy. The endarkenment brought us the reductionist nonsense of Hume and Darwin and their mates on the continent – God is dead and all the associated -ism rubbish that has brought us to the low place we are now in. Bacon, Newton and Luther were not cut from that cloth.

    Otherwise I agree whole-heartedly with the thrust of this article. Our Christian capital is rapidly depleting and a revival is essential for our survival. But we need to get our history correct in the first place, particularly in regard to that dark dawn of the Enlightenment philosophers. Yes, they had some interesting things to say, but let’s stop pretending that it was something it wasn’t. It did not make the world a better place. It is strangling scientific inquiry with naturalism and scientism, and it has resulted in unimaginable death and misery.

  • ian.macdougall

    pgang:

    The endarkenment brought us the reductionist nonsense of Hume and Darwin and their mates on the continent…

    Please explain?
    BUT ALSO you appear to me to be something of a theological high-flyer. So I hope you will understand if I turn to you in desperation over a little theological matter that has bugged me all my life: well, so far at least.
    What was the precise act of ‘Original Sin’ on the part of Eve and Adam?
    I have heard explanations from parsons and priests, of course, but none have seemed to me to be satisfactory. Also visited a number of websites. Given that the whole of Christianity (and probably each of the other Abrahamic creeds as well) rests on it, it is no trivial matter.
    And I am keeping this post as brief as possible lest it wind up in that purgatorial limbo of “awaiting moderation”, like my previous one today (at April 11, 2016 at 11:12 am.)

    • Mark Smith

      Hi Ian, I know you’re addressing your question to pgang but I thought I might have a crack at the original sin part. As a Christian I agree that the sin of Adam and Eve was no trivial matter.

      The term ‘original sin’ never appears in the bible and having visited only non-catholic church congregations such as baptist, anglican, pentocostal, church of christ, independant etc., I’ve never heard it once referenced explicitly. U

      The term is usually applied in the general sense of man’s disposition to slide toward sin, but regardless of when that disposition takes affect it inevitably leaves none blameless. However, a broader context provided by, most likely, Solomon words shouldn’t be ignored: ‘God made man upright, but they have sought out many schemes’ (Ecc 7:29). So at least in the sense of original intention of design man was not programmed to be evil absolving him of culpability toward God. Man’s evil involved man’s choice. Endless books have been written on this.

      But it seems the real thrust of your question comes from a scepticism over the seriousness of Adam and Eve’s transgression that ‘originated’ sin into our world. Priests may have explained to you that the root of the transgression was pride, lust for knowledge or whatever, but the point to be taken is that it protested that the creator should not have the right to set the terms of engagement with the creature. That should be the starting point of honest inquiry. As for this notoriously hard-to-quantify entity called sin it’s worth considering what God said to Cain after he murdered Abel: “…if you do not do well, sin is crouching at the door and it’s desire is for you, but you must rule over it” (Gen4:7).

  • ian.macdougall

    Ian MacDougall
    Your comment is [STILL] awaiting moderation.
    April 11, 2016 at 11:12 am

  • pgang

    Original sin was described by Augustine. It is the concept that Adam’s sin of idolatry (he decided to be his own god) affected all of creation and that all mankind is fallen as a result. Thus we are all under the original sin. This is quite clearly enunciated throughout the Bible; Augustine just gave it definition. Adam was the ‘ruler’ of the creation, therefore when he fell, all of creation fell with him. Paul described Jesus as a type of Adam, in that he is the new ruler of creation. He is a man, yet God, and able to reverse the damage done by Adam.

    Augustine and his ilk over the next thousand years or so were trying to deal with the anthropological effects of this fall and what it meant for humanity, particularly during this uncertain period between the resurrection and the final coming of Christ. There was also an epistemological element to their thinking in relation to how or whether we can reliably know anything in our fallen state. Aquinas became strongly influenced by the recent rediscovery of Aristotle and injected some pagan elements into Christian doctrine, believing that mankind still held within it an essential goodness that could be realised through good works. Thus the reformation, restoring Christian theology to its Jesus/Pauline roots.

    The rise of science and modernity was therefore an anthropological venture, trying to work out the best ways for we humans to get through life in our blinded, fallen condition; the best ways to handle social situations and the best ways (if any) to attain accurate knowledge of nature. Bacon made the big breakthrough with his experimentations and from then on the dominoes fell pretty quickly. So modernity was fathered by Christian anthropology – a great venture that has provided humanity with all sorts of advantages and breakthroughs in our understanding of the world. It has removed at least some of our blindness and provided us with vastly improved social systems such as representative democracy.

    Step in the the new idolaters – Hume et al, men who thought they could compete with God and write him out of the picture. They came up with propositions that described a part of reality, such as rationalism, and they were well made, capturing the essence of their subject quite well. But they erred, quite seriously, in replacing the totality of reality with their own drastically reduced version of reality, which eventually became the philosophical -isms of today. Most of them have some worth in their own right as contributing to knowledge but they became the object of worship, trying to distill all of reality into their tiny little universes. And they have been the source of endless horrors because they all reduce the intrinsic worth of humanity and distort the reality of the created order. Today in the west we are the victims primarily of Darwinism, which reduces humanity to meaningless pond scum. Darwinism has infiltrated many of the -isms because it provides a natural explanation (albeit a very poor one) for removing God from reality.

    So to get back onto the path of modernity means swallowing our pride and getting real about the so-called enlightenment. Sure, let’s take the best of the enlightenment philosophies and make something useful out of them. But let’s stop pretending that it has been anything but a serious roadblock to real progress in the human condition.

  • ian.macdougall

    Jim Campbell, Mark Smith and pgang:
    .
    Many thanks, and much food for thought in all your posts.

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