And Broodings about a Christian Civilisation
Paul Gosselin 2018
In the summer I usually find an excuse to visit used bookstores. This year I indulged an interest I've had since my early teens, World War II stories. And among such books on occasion I pick up a book giving the war from the Axis perspective. This summer I picked up the following book Life and Death of the Luftwaffe by Werner Baumbach. Now Baumbach joined the Luftwaffe before the war as pilot, but soon rose up in the ranks to eventually become the general of the Luftwaffe bomber command. He saw much action during the war and in the last years of the war was in regular contact with Nazi higher ups.
Now Baumbach doesn't say much about his initial joining up with the Luftwaffe except to say that he wanted to fly a plane. He portrays himself just as a patriotic German and says nothing about carrying a Nazi party membership card... Maybe we can believe him about that...
Now this memoir was first published in 1949, a few years after the war was over and a few years into the Cold War. And in the conclusion I was rather surprised to bump into the comments below by Baumbach, which give his final perspective on the events of WWII and on the early years of the Cold War (1949/1967: 250)
It may be that only the Russians themselves can put an end to Bolshevism, as it is a Russian disease. But as a danger to humanity it can only be rooted out by a spiritual conquest of atheism and nihilism. These two are the pillars of aggressive power politics. Generally speaking, the recognized Christian religions have put up only a divided and unsystematic resistance to them. Judging by past experience, nihilism cannot be conquered solely by an economic system (socialism) or by a spiritual force (religion), but only by a complete penetration of our whole moral, intellectual and economic life by the spirit of Christ.
Will the West be capable of assimilating such a novel, awe-inspiring idea? It is certain that the next ten years will establish the mental and moral complexion of the world, for a long time to come.
Now this is a VERY unusual statement coming from someone with a VERY practical bent as an airman and one who went through such a wartime experience and, in addition, was a high ranking German officer thoroughly exposed to Nazi ideology.
I agree with Baumbach that this nihilism was the source of both Nazism and Marxist thinking. But what exactly is this "nihilism" Baumbach is talking about? Generally nihilism is understood as the annihilation of morality and, as a by-product, the annihilation of the meaning of human life itself. An excerpt from T S. Eliot’s poem, The Waste Land, gives us a glimpse of this bleak world (1922):
What are the roots that clutch, what branches grow
Out of this stony rubbish? Son of man,
You cannot say, or guess, for you know only
A heap of broken images, where the sun beats,
And the dead tree gives no shelter, the cricket no relief,
And the dry stone no sound of water. Only
There is shadow under this red rock,
(Come in under the shadow of this red rock),
And I will show you something different from either
Your shadow at morning striding behind you
Or your shadow at evening rising to meet you;
I will show you fear in a handful of dust.
And to look at things from another angle, how about the marquis de Sade? As a pre-Darwinian materialist, de Sade considered that if the gods are dead, where do humans turn to for moral standards? His solution to this dilemma was logical and simple; imitate nature. Here is how he worked out the implications of his moral system in regards to relationships between men and women. (Sade 1795/1972: 112, my comments in brackets)
If it is undisputed that we [men] have received from nature the right to express our [sexual] desires indifferently to all women, it equally true that we have the right to require them to submit to our desires, not on an exclusive basis [Sade is thinking of marriage for life here], I should be contradicting myself, but on a temporary basis. It is undeniable that we have the right to establish laws requiring her [the woman] to submit to the passion of he who desires her. Violence is one of the implications of this right and we are entitled to use it legally. But why not !? Nature itself has proven that we have this right in that it has endowed us with superior strength with which we may submit them to our desires.*
So Sade’s conclusion is quite straightforward: since Nature has made men stronger than women, this justifies men doing absolutely ANYTHING they want with/to women… This was of course a marketing disaster for Enlightenment propagandists and very astutely they kept de Sade’s writings under wraps until after WWII. Now Sade is just one of the many faces of the nihilism the West produced, but this begs the question, why did the West generate such nihilism in the 20th century? I think one of the more succinct descriptions of this stark nihilism was provided by the American biologist William Provine who dug a little deeper and linked the nihilism (that Baumbach reacted to) back to it’s ultimate source, that is to the materialistic origins myth, the theory of evolution (1990: 23):
"Let me summarize my views on what modern evolutionary biology tells us loud and clear and these are basically Darwin's views. There are no gods, no purposes of any kind. There is no life after death. When I die, I am absolutely certain that I am going to be dead. That's the end of me. There is no ultimate foundation for ethics, no ultimate meaning in life, and no free will for humans, either. What an unintelligible idea."
So clearly the theory of evolution provided the basis for what Baumbach calls "nihilism", which is basically the mature phase of the Enlightenment worldview, which attempted to erect "Science" as it's Holy Book, it's highest source of Truth and, along the way, producing a completely materialistic worldview. As a result Westerners live in a world were, in essence, we are solemnly told: “You come from Nothing and your ultimate destiny is Nothing”. Nihilism then, is to be expected. It’s part of the deal. Despite being an anthropologist heavily influenced by Darwinism (as well as being proponent of scientific racism) Sir Arthur Keith, writing shortly after World War II, connected a few ideological dots regarding the Nazi regime, connections that most Western intellectuals have since dutifully ignored (1947: 27-28):
The German Fuhrer, as I have consistently maintained, is an evolutionist; he has consciously sought to make the practice of Germany conform to the theory of evolution... To see evolutionary measures and tribal morality being applied vigorously to the affairs of a great modern nation, we must turn again to Germany of 1942. We see Hitler devoutly convinced that evolution produces the only real basis for a national policy... The means he adopted to secure the destiny of his race and people were organized slaughter, which has drenched Europe in blood... Such conduct is highly immoral as measured by every scale of ethics, yet Germany justifies it; it is consonant with tribal or evolutionary morality. Germany has reverted to the tribal past, and is demonstrating to the world, in their naked ferocity, the methods of evolution.
Even when all of Hitler’s grandiose world domination plans were being smashed to pieces in the last days of the war, Hitler stood firm in his Darwinian convictions. On March 18, 1945, Albert Speer, Minister of Armaments, visited Hitler in his bunker, attempting to convince him not to destroy Germany's infrastructure in a final total war effort. Hitler's reply was that of a ruthless and consistent Darwinist (Speer 1970: 440):
If the war is lost, the people will be lost also. It is not necessary to worry about what the German people will need for elemental survival. On the contrary, it is best for us to destroy even these things. For the nation has proved to be the weaker, and the future belongs solely to the stronger eastern nation. In any case only those who are inferior will remain after this struggle, for the good have already been killed.
Even a cynical French Enlightenment-influenced philosopher like Albert Camus, after the Second World War, managed to connect a few ideological dots regarding the repercussions of the Enlightenment (1951: 177):
All modern revolutions have ended in a reinforcement of the power of the State. 1789 brings Napoleon; 1848, Napoleon III; 1917, Stalin; the Italian disturbances of the twenties, Mussolini; the Weimar Republic, Hitler. These revolutions, particularly after the First World War had liquidated the vestiges of divine right, still proposed, with increasing audacity, to build the city of humanity and of authentic freedom. … The prophetic dream of Marx and the over-inspired predictions of Hegel or of Nietzsche ended by conjuring up, after the city of God had been razed to the ground, a rational or irrational State, which in both cases, however, was founded on terror.
Notice Camus talking about “modern revolutions”? Well that is probably as close as any French philosopher would ever come to seriously question the Enlightenment heritage and Modern worldview. Oddly enough, Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, the Russian novelist, Nobel Prize winner and Gulag survivor, in his Templeton address, reflecting on the horrors and tragedies produced by over 60 years of communism in Russia made a comment that parallels Baumbach’s observations regarding Germany (and the West generally) confirming the need to base civilizations in the Judaeo-Christian worldview (1983):
More than half a century ago, while I was still a child, I recall hearing a number of older people offer the following explanation for the great disasters that had befallen Russia: Men have forgotten God; that’s why all this has happened. Since then I have spent well-nigh fifty years working on the history of our Revolution; in the process I have read hundreds of books, collected hundreds of personal testimonies, and have already contributed eight volumes of my own toward the effort of clearing away the rubble left by that upheaval. But if I were asked today to formulate as concisely as possible the main cause of the ruinous Revolution that swallowed up some sixty million of our people, I could not put it more accurately than to repeat: Men have forgotten God; that’s why all this has happened.
One thing strikes me about this comment. Solzhenitsyn had a background in mathematics and knew that if you eliminate a critical factor in an equation, then the end result will be radically different. So in fact men did not "forget" God, rather they eliminated Him from their equation (that is their worldview)... And the adoption of the materialistic cosmos engendered by the Enlightenment has further implications as this view inevitably produces a civilisation that rejects the concept that individual man has value because he is made in God’s image (and answerable to his Creator). And once the imago dei concept is discarded, humans then become no more than a herd of cattle to be managed (or bred and culled as needed…). So Westerners find themselves in a dead end. On the one hand, emotionally they like the idea of their person having value but on the other they adhere to a worldview that undermines the imago dei concept. Within the modern or postmodern worldviews, there is no way out. That said, the philosopher Francis Schaeffer pointed out the real benefits of a civilisation that accepts what Genesis tells us about man’s origin (1976/1995: 87)
That Man is made in the image of God give many important answers intellectually, but it also has had vast practical results, both in the Reformation days and in our own age. For example, in the time of the Reformation it meant that all the vocations of life came to have dignity. The vocation of the honest merchant or housewife had as much dignity as king. This was strengthened further by the emphasis on the biblical teaching of the priesthood of all believers that is, that all Christians are priests. Thus, in a very real sense, all people are equal as persons. Moreover, the government of the church by lay elders created the potential for democratic emphasis.
But during the late 19th century, modern ideologies undermined all this. For example, the Eugenics movement, the legitimate offspring of Evolutionism and very popular with early 20th century intellectuals and anthropologists, provided support for racism and genocide. The 20th century clearly demonstrated that the rejection of the imago dei concept has real-world repercussions. As Schaeffer liked to say: Ideas have consequences…
But getting back to Baumbach’s comments about the unsystematic resistance to nihilism demonstrated by German Christians, perhaps we should call on the secular Jew Albert Einstein as a witness in this case. Baumbach is right that many German Christians, both Catholic and Protestant, threw their support behind Nazism. Taking into account his experience with interwar Germany though, Einstein observed (in Anonymous 1940: 38):
Being a lover of freedom, when the (Nazi) revolution came, I looked to the universities to defend it, knowing that they had always boasted of their devotion to the cause of truth; but no, the universities were immediately silenced. Then I looked to the great editors of the newspapers, whose flaming editorials in days gone by had proclaimed their love of freedom; but they, like the universities, were silenced in a few short weeks.… Only the Church stood squarely across the path of Hitler's campaign for suppressing truth. I never had any special interest in the Church before, but now I feel a great affection and admiration for it because the Church alone has had the courage and persistence to stand for intellectual and moral freedom. I am forced to confess that what I once despised I now praise unreservedly.
So What About a Christian Civilisation?
Now Baumbach’s comments do raise a question: What would a Christian civilisation look like? Typically the Middle Ages are regarded as the West’s archetypical “Christian era”. Most Protestants of course would reject the very close identification with the secular (political) State by the Catholic or Orthodox churches as well as much Catholic or Orthodox teaching as having no basis in Scriptures, especially the setting up Church teaching as an authority ABOVE Scripture.
But there is another angle on this as the West has never been purely Christian at any point in its history. The West has ALWAYS been schizophrenic in terms of religion with Western elites over the centuries harbouring elements of pagan Greek and Roman thinking while the masses harboured elements of European pre-Christian religions. This is compounded by the fact that in the West pagan Greek and Roman philosophy had deeper historical roots than does Christianity and that Greco-Roman philosophy has always been an alternative worldview available for those rejecting Christianity. As a result, when analysing historical events in Western civilisation, one must keep in mind the two competing worldviews influencing the West. Some attitudes and behaviours must be attributed NOT to Christianity but to the influence of pagan Greek and Roman philosophy. Case in point, Nietzsche’s rejection of Christianity was in part due to what he perceived as the otherworldliness and ascetic practices of Christianity when in fact this was due to the influence of Plato within Christianity, particularly among Catholics and Orthodox.
In my view then, the Renaissance was not just an artistic or architectural movement, but primarily an attempt by some Western elites to set up Greek (and some Roman) philosophy as the basis for civilisation (and to push aside the authority of Scripture). But then as natural (experimental) science as we know it came on the scene this movement began to erode the great prestige of Greek philosophy. It became obvious that the Western neo-pagan elites had bet on the wrong horse.
This is where the Enlightenment/Modern view comes in. Realizing that the prestige of Greek philosophy was rapidly eroding, Western neo-pagan elites needed a new horse to bet on. These elites realized that the rising prestige of science offered an opportunity too good to resist. Early scientists (then known as “natural philosophers”) generally had no intention of attacking the authority of Scripture, but in the two books view, initially proposed by Francis Bacon (1561-1626), which provides Scripture with authority in the spiritual realm and science authority in the material realm, (becoming Science, with a capital S) directly echoes a much later view proposed by SJ Gould, the NOMA concept. This view then opened the door to setting up science as a source of TRUTH. Which then leads to the ideological use of science.
This brings us inevitably to the issue of origins. While the Enlightenment/Modern view proposed a scientific/materialistic view of the world, for a long time it lacked a creditable origins myth. One could not easily get rid of God, as there was no other logical explanation for the origin of the cosmos or of life. This is where Dawkins’ famous statement comes in as he said (In The Blind Watchmaker): “Although atheism might have been logically tenable before Charles Darwin, Darwin made it possible to be an intellectually fulfilled atheist.” If Dawkins had been more honest he’d have said rather “Darwin made it possible to be an religiously fulfilled atheist”.
Now though the Enlightenment/Modern view rose to it’s most dominant position in the early twentieth century, in the later part of this century it’s influence has began to erode, opening the door to the Postmodern belief system. After WWII, many Westerners came to the conclusion that the Modern worldview was just too bleak, too meaningless and… too boring. While the Modern view rejected the authority of Scripture, it did not reject the concept of Truth. Postmoderns, on the other hand, rejected not only Scripture, but also the concept of Truth itself, even if it were based in "Science" (in modern writings "Science" with the capital S = materialism...). The only “truth” left to postmoderns is the individual, feeding his urges and desires. As the buzz-phrase goes: “Everyone has their own truth”. As a result, postmoderns reject the materialism of the modern perspective (too narrow-minded…) and are open to the spiritual, yes even to the occult. So postmodernism is slowly opening the door to a revival of paganism and all of its superstitions… A lot of superficial “Evangelical” ego-tripping, self-fulfilment, blessing theology is in fact little more than repackaged postmodernism. That said, while postmoderns reject the authority of science, Darwinism still has it’s uses for postmoderns as it excludes the Sovereign God before whom all will come before in judgement. Naturally postmoderns hate the concept of judgement with a vengeance as it violently contradicts the basis of their religion, that there is NO authority over the individual (nor tellingly, over the State).
Glimpses of Christian influence in culture, the arts and in science
Augustine of Hippo (354-430 AD: first known autobiography, theology, bishop)
Bede the Vénérable (672-735, English monk and historian)
Albrect Dürer (1471-1528: painter, engraver)
Pieter Bruegel the Elder (15251569: painter)
Johannes Kepler (1571-1630: mathematician, astronomer)
Peter Paul Rubens (1577-1640: painter)
Samuel Rutherford (1600-1661: Presbyterian minister, legal thinker)
Rembrandt (1606-1669: painter)
John Milton (16081674: poet, novelist)
Blaise Pascal (1623-1662 : philosopher, essayist, scientist, inventor, mathematician)
John Ray (1627-1705: Anglican pastor, biologist)
Robert Boyle (1627-1691: chemist, physicist, inventor, theologian)
John Bunyan (1628-1688: preacher, novelist)
Isaac Newton (16421726: physicist, mathematician)
J. S. Bach (1685-1750: composer)
George Frideric Haendel (1685-1759: composer)
John Newton (1725-1807: ex-slaver, song writer -> Amazing Grace)
Charles Babbage (1791-1871: mathematician and developer of the first computer)
Michael Faraday (1791-1867: scientist -> electromagnetism and electrochemistry)
Fyodor Dostoevsky (1821-1881: Russian novelist)
George MacDonald (1824-1905: novelist, poet, Anglican minister)
C. S. Lewis (1898-1963: professor of Renaissance literature, novelist, essayist)
Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn (1918-2008: Gulag survivor, historian, novelist)
Raymond Damadian (1936–2022: physician and inventor of the MRI scanner)
Bob Dylan (1941-: song writer, musician, poet)
Of course any close inspection of the lives or beliefs of these individuals will find some inconsistencies in their Christianity, but I think it would be dishonest to totally discount the influence of Christianity in their lives.
As to institutions, in the West, Christianity has often been the motivating factor in the foundation of many universities, hospitals, orphanages, youth organisations (YMCA), the Red Cross and the Salvation Army. Should any want to look further into the concept of a Christian civilisation, I would highly recommend Francis Schaeffer’s How Should We Then Live? and Christian Manifesto. Works by historians of science Stanley L. Jaki and Reijer Hooykaas examine the unique contribution Christianity made to the development of experimental science. C. S. Lewis, reflecting on the wider impact of Christianity, remarked in his essay Some Thoughts (1970: 147):
Let us suppose that such a person began by observing those Christian activities which are, in a sense, directed towards this present world. He would find that this religion had, as a matter of historical fact, been the agent which preserved such secular civilization as survived the fall of the Roman Empire; that to it Europe owes the salvation, in those perilous ages, of civilized agriculture, architecture, laws and literacy itself. He would find that this same religion has always been healing the sick and caring for the poor; that it has, more than any other, blessed marriage; and that arts and philosophy tend to flourish in its neighbourhood.
Regarding the broad Christian contribution to Western civilisation, the renowned philosopher of science, Karl Popper once observed (1945: 258-259):
I do not deny that it is as justifiable to interpret history from a Christian point of view as it is to interpret it from any other point of view ; and it should certainly be emphasized, for example, how much of our Western aims and ends, humanitarianism, freedom, equality, we owe to the influence of Christianity. (...) What matters to Christianity is not the historical deeds of the powerful Roman conquerors but (to use a phrase of Kierkegaard's) what a few fishermen gave the world.
Social Repercussions of Christianity: Slavery
All his life William Wilberforce campaigned vigorously against slavery. Wilberforce’s lifelong abolitionist activities in the British Parliament resulted in 1807 in the end of the transatlantic slave trade in 1807, which ultimately paved the way for the abolition of slavery itself throughout the entire British Empire in 1833. Christians (such as the so-called Clapham Sect) were at the forefront of such efforts. William Wilberforce, in a letter to Alexander, Emperor of France, lobbied for the abolition of slavery in France and, as such, justified this request by explicitly referring to Christian beliefs (1822):
It is our belief that in this crowd of exiles, and the return of peace brought to their homeland, religious sentiment should prevail, and we firmly believe that all religious and virtuous men should be favourable to our cause. This cause is indeed that of any man who has not entirely broken the moral and intellectual ties that bind him to the Supreme Being and has not renounced the doctrine of a God who rewards the just and punishes evildoers.*
Of course as was the case in the United States, there were Christians in Britain that defended slavery. Criticising the hypocritical and incoherent ‘religion’ of slave merchants, Wilberforce observed (1822):
There is something more shocking still that appears before the enlightened mind, that is a daily and practical denial of God’s providence, coldly and systematically defying his revenge, by the pursuit of a commerce recognized as the most manifest violation of his laws. While the most obstinate atheist can be enlightened, the worst criminal, repent and be forgiven, what shall we say of such men who, recognizing divine authority and the enormity of their crime, claim however that this flagrant crime, while cruel, is too lucrative to be abandoned?*
That said, in his views Wilberforce only echoed a much early fifth-century Christian, that is Patrick of Ireland, yes better known as simply Saint Patrick. The thing is that Patrick (in his Letter to Coroticus) is one of the first persons recorded in history as protesting slavery, as Coroticus, a supposedly Christian British King, had raided Ireland and carted off some of Patrick’s Irish Christians to sell them as slaves. Patrick recommended Coroticus be excommunicated if he did not return these Irish captives. While these early Christians had little power to influence the political institutions of their times (which in any case were NOT as highly centralized as they are now) the Christians who followed in Patrick's footsteps did what they could to alleviate the injustice of slavery. One such heir of Patrick was Aidan of Lindisfarne, a 7th century Irish monk and missionary. In his Ecclesiastical History of England (731 BC) Bede describes Aidan's behaviour in the following manner:
Never, through fear or respect of persons, did he keep silence with regard to the sins of the rich; but was wont to correct them with a severe rebuke. He never gave money to the powerful men of the world, but only food, if he happened to entertain them; and, on the contrary, whatsoever gifts of money he received from the rich, he either distributed, as has been said, for the use of the poor, or bestowed in ransoming such as had been wrongfully sold for slaves. Moreover, he afterwards made many of those he had ransomed his disciples, and after having taught and instructed them, advanced them to priest's orders. (chap. 5)
All this forces the conclusion that had the Renaissance, with their great admiration for the pagan Greeks and Romans, actually been successful in becoming the dominant worldview, providing the foundation of Western civilisation, then slavery, rather than being a footnote in the West’s past, would still be a fact of life in the 21st century. We would then live in a society where the bus driver would be a slave, the day-care worker would be a slave, the cashier at Wallmarts, the primary school teacher and the garbage truck driver would all be slaves… Commodities to be bought and sold.
Influencing a culture and civilisation usually comes at a price… Typically Western Christians think that influencing their culture demands massive political movements backed by massive financial backing and media presence. But in actual fact history shows that the price to be paid may be of a different kind.
One issue is that many Christians in the West have bought the modern lie that they have a “right to be happy”, yes a “right to be happy” in what Scripture clearly tells us is a Fallen World… Christians faithful to Christ in nations dominated by communism or Islam have learned the hard way that this is not true. Perhaps a 1st century pagan can teach us this lesson. Here is an excerpt from the Letters of the roman magistrate and governor of the province of Bithynia and Pontus, Pliny the Younger which provides us with one of the first recorded comments by a pagan dealing with the Christian religion.
Pliny to the Emperor Trajan
It is my practice, my lord, to refer to you all matters concerning which I am in doubt. For who can better give guidance to my hesitation or inform my ignorance? I have never participated in trials of Christians. I therefore do not know what offenses it is the practice to punish or investigate, and to what extent. And I have been not a little hesitant as to whether there should be any distinction on account of age or no difference between the very young and the more mature; whether pardon is to be granted for repentance, or, if a man has once been a Christian, it does him no good to have ceased to be one; whether the name itself, even without offenses, or only the offenses associated with the name are to be punished.
Meanwhile, in the case of those who were denounced to me as Christians, I have observed the following procedure: I interrogated these as to whether they were Christians; those who confessed I interrogated a second and a third time, threatening them with punishment; those who persisted I ordered executed. For I had no doubt that, whatever the nature of their creed, stubbornness and inflexible obstinacy surely deserve to be punished. There were others possessed of the same folly; but because they were Roman citizens, I signed an order for them to be transferred to Rome.
Soon accusations spread, as usually happens, because of the proceedings going on, and several incidents occurred. An anonymous document was published containing the names of many persons. Those who denied that they were or had been Christians, when they invoked the gods in words dictated by me, offered prayer with incense and wine to your image, which I had ordered to be brought for this purpose together with statues of the gods, and moreover cursed Christ -- none of which those who are really Christians, it is said, can be forced to do--these I thought should be discharged. Others named by the informer declared that they were Christians, but then denied it, asserting that they had been but had ceased to be, some three years before, others many years, some as much as twenty-five years. They all worshipped your image and the statues of the gods, and cursed Christ.
They asserted, however, that the sum and substance of their fault or error had been that they were accustomed to meet on a fixed day before dawn and sing responsively a hymn to Christ as to a god, and to bind themselves by oath, not to some crime, but not to commit fraud, theft, or adultery, not falsify their trust, nor to refuse to return a trust when called upon to do so. When this was over, it was their custom to depart and to assemble again to partake of food--but ordinary and innocent food. Even this, they affirmed, they had ceased to do after my edict by which, in accordance with your instructions, I had forbidden political associations. Accordingly, I judged it all the more necessary to find out what the truth was by torturing two female slaves who were called deaconesses. But I discovered nothing else but depraved, excessive superstition.
I therefore postponed the investigation and hastened to consult you. For the matter seemed to me to warrant consulting you, especially because of the number involved. For many persons of every age, every rank, and also of both sexes are and will be endangered. For the contagion of this superstition has spread not only to the cities but also to the villages and farms. But it seems possible to check and cure it. It is certainly quite clear that the temples, which had been almost deserted, have begun to be frequented, that the established religious rites, long neglected, are being resumed, and that from everywhere sacrificial animals are coming, for which until now very few purchasers could be found. Hence it is easy to imagine what a multitude of people can be reformed if an opportunity for repentance is afforded.
Pliny's Epistulae (Letters) also provide us Trajan's answer which clearly demonstrates that in the emperor's opinion it was enough to be recognized as a Christian to be punished (by death), but that Christians were not to be actively hunted down and that anonymous denunciations of Christians should be ignored. While Pliny appears to be primarily a by-the-book Roman administrator, he nevertheless seems to have understood an important point about Christians, that is to say, real Christians never accepted to compromise their principles and offer a pinch of incense to Caesar, even if it meant facing a death sentence...
While in the case of these First century Christians, their trial of faith often was very brutal and public, 21st century Christians often face a trial of faith that usually takes a more subtle form: “Compromise your faith and Christian principles or we’ll take away your reputation, career or, in the case of a Christian institutions, we’ll take away your grants, destroy your reputation or throw a monkey wrench in your plans for institutional expansion. Is it a deal?” What if being faithful to Christian principles leads to taking a BIG financial hit? In many cases Christians of this generation will fail the test, avoid the hit and take the deal. The Postmodern Cesar quickly gets his pinch of incense… And then Christians go on pretending all is well. Yes, the pressure this generation of Christians faces is more subtle than that applied by 1st century Roman administrators.
Everyone has heard the old story: Drop a frog in a pot of boiling water and it’ll immediately attempt to jump out. But put a frog in a pot of cool water and gently turn up the heat and most of the time it’ll stay put and you’ll soon have boiled frog. The situation is much the same for 21st century Christians. Our postmodern elites have clearly learned from the mistakes of the 20th century ideologues. Violent and confrontational ideologies such as Nazism or communism make things too clear. You then have a clearly identifiable adversary wedded to a clearly defined ideology. As a result, our postmodern elites rely on more subtle, more manipulative methods. For the time being coercion is set aside. So Christians are pressured with small bumps in the temperature of the pot. Many find it tempting not to bother trying to jump out of the pot. The annexe (below) provides examples of 21st century Christians resisting the postmodern pressure to conform. As the postmodern vice tightens, Christian doctors and nurses find themselves under more and more pressure to do abortions and, now, euthanasia, or at very least refer patients to those who will. Christians in science are pressured to give at least lip service to the materialistic origins myth. Christian businesses and Christian institutions are pressured to endorse gay marriage and transgenderism. Those daring to dissent are not sent to the lions, but do suffer various forms of marginalisation or legal troubles…
In my view, 21st century Christians cannot expect to influence their culture unless they accept the sacrifice of personal rights as a normal part of Christian life and also clearly reject the postmodern lies that “Everyone has their own truth” along with the “I have a right to be happy” lie.
But Christians must VERY clearly keep in mind that in the long run a Christian civilisation is only the by-product of individual Christians living out their lives faithfully, and courageously applying God’s Word to the varying circumstances of their own lives, even when there is a price to be paid... Many Christian leaders of this generation have bought the lie that they could advance God’s kingdom only if they had a new 70 foot video screen behind their pulpit, or wifi in the church washrooms or a coffee machine in the lobby or more paved parking space outside the church or a glossy magazine or a revamped web site with sermons in 4K video with aggressive search engine optimisation or a nicer private jet or... Such is the demonstration of our spiritual poverty.
But the real power of Christianity does not reside in such things. It is to be found in the true Gospel, as taught by Christ and the Apostles. This was the Gospel that rocked the brutal Roman world and caused some to say: “These that have turned the world upside down are come hither also” (Acts 17: 6). Very rarely can the same be said of 21st century Evangelicals. But in this generation, the Gospel preached by many Evangelical leaders amounts to little more than “Receive Jesus Christ as your Lord and Saviour and you will get healing and prosperity.” Or, in a less materialistic vein, it may come across as no more than “Receive Jesus Christ as your Lord and Saviour and He will give your life meaning” or again “God showed his love for the world by Christ dying on the Cross”. This is a "Gospel" that never takes it's hearers through the Narrow Gate, never calls for confession of sin or repentance.
But even a cursory examination of the New Testament exposes the fact that 21st century Evangelicals preach a compromised Gospel, a Gospel that does not dare seriously discuss our sin, God’s wrath, judgement, our need to recognize personal sins and confess our sins and repent. No, our preachers desperately want to be liked. We want to fit in. We don’t want to be ostracized or despised. We are sorely tempted to remain silent in the face of the postmodern sexual jihad, the LGBTQ propaganda machine. As a result the present generation of Evangelical leaders typically only talks about things that the spirit of the age deems acceptable, such as God’s love and grace.
That said, Evangelicals are often not so shy about talking about sin, God’s wrath, judgement, confession of sins and repentance when talking to drug addicts, alcoholics or prostitutes, but when it comes to the middle class how can you raise such issues as the middle class are such nice, good people? And seeing how the middle class is typically the Western Evangelical Church's cash-cow, you won't want to seriously offend them, would you? But Christ himself would retort: “none is good, save one, even God.” (Luke 18: 19) and the Psalmist would add “They are corrupt, they have done abominable works; There is none that doeth good. (…) They are all gone aside; They are together become filthy; There is none that doeth good, no, not one.” (Ps. 14: 1, 3) So Evangelical leaders must find the courage to raise the issues of sin, God’s wrath, judgement, confession of sins and practical repentance of sin (AND God’s grace - by means of Christ dying on the Cross - to sinners who recognize their sin) even when they are talking to their cash cow, the Western middle class. But with this generation of Evangelical leaders, too often church business comes before Truth. That’s just the way the ball bounces…
My gut instinct tells me that Western civilisation, as we know it may be nearing the end of its leash and in the 21st century the West may face a time of judgement and humiliation. Western Evangelicals should not be too smug about this as, because of the betrayal of the Gospel in our midst, I suspect that the angel is slowly writing on the walls of many of our churches, “Mene, Mene, Tekel, Upharsin.” (Daniel 5: 25). Our hope lies then not in downloadable 4K video sermons or more fancy gimmicks, but in the restoration of the true Gospel in our churches, the Gospel as preached by John the Baptist, Christ out Lord and by the Apostles. That is where real power lies, the only power that really changes lives.
Because thou sayest, I am rich, and have gotten riches, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art the wretched one and miserable and poor and blind and naked: I counsel thee to buy of me gold refined by fire, that thou mayest become rich; and white garments, that thou mayest clothe thyself, and that the shame of thy nakedness be not made manifest; and eyesalve to anoint thine eyes, that thou mayest see. (Rev. 3: 17-18)
And he said unto me, Son of man, can these bones live? And I answered, O Lord Jehovah, thou knowest. (Ez. 37: 3)
Preach the word; be urgent in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort, with all longsuffering and teaching. For the time will come when they will not endure the sound doctrine; but, having itching ears, will heap to themselves teachers after their own lusts; and will turn away their ears from the truth, and turn aside unto fables. (2Tim. 4: 2-4)
Thanks to Arend Smilde for a helping hand...
Anonymous (1940) German Martyrs. pp. 38-41 Time magazine 23 Dec., vol. 36 n° 26
Baumbach, Werner (1949/1967) Life and Death of the Luftwaffe. Ballantine Books New York 270 p.
Boivin, Raymond (1990) La contribution sociale des grand réveils. Samizdat
Camus, Albert (1951/1978) The Rebel: An Essay on Man in Revolt. (trans. Anthony Bower). Knopf New York, NY. xii - 306 p.
Eliot, T. S. (1922) The Waste Land.
Enloe, Chris (2018) Colorado is targeting Christian baker Jack Phillips again. This time, he’s going on the offensive. (The Blaze 15/8/2018)
Gosselin, Paul (1979) Myths of Origin and the Theory of Evolution. Samizdat
Gosselin, Paul (1987) The Judeo-Christian Cosmology and the Origins of Science. Samizdat
Gosselin, Paul (2012) Flight From the Absolute: Cynical Observations on the Postmodern West. Samizdat Québec ix - 412 p.
Hooykaas, Reijer (1972) Religion and the Rise of Modern Science. Scottish Academic Press Edinburgh 162 p.
Jaki, Stanley L. (1974/1986) Science and Creation. Academic Press New York 367 p.
Keith, Sir Arthur (1947) Evolution and Ethics. G. P. Putnam's Sons, New York
Lewis, C. S. (1943/1978) The Abolition of Man: Reflections on education with special reference to the teaching of English in the upper forms of schools. Collins Glasgow 63 p. [Ebook]
Lewis, C. S. (1970) God in the Dock : Essays on Theology and Ethics. Eerdmans Grand Rapids MI 346 p.
Pliny the Younger, (113 BC/1969) Letters. [translation & introduction by Betty Radice]. Penguin Classics London 320 p.
[Pliny to the Emperor Trajan, ch. X].
Popper, Karl R. (1945/1962) The Open Society and it's Enemies., v.2 Routledge & Kegan Paul London
Provine, William B. (1994) Darwinism: Science or Naturalistic Philosophy? A debate between William B. Provine and Phillip E. Johnson at Stanford University, April 30, 1994
Rookmaaker, Hendrik Roelof (1970) Modern Art and the Death of a Culture. London, Inter-Varsity Press 256 p.
Sade, Marquis de; & Blanchot, Maurice (1795/1972) Français, encore un effort si vous voulez être républicains. (extrait de La Philosophie dans le boudoir”) précédé de L'inconvenance majeure. Jean-Jacques Pauvert Paris (collection Libertés nouvelles; 23) 163 p.
Schaeffer, Francis A. (1976/1995) How Should We Then Live?: The Rise and Decline of Western Thought and Culture. Crossway Wheaton, IL 288 p.
Schaeffer, Francis A. (1982) A Christian Manifesto. Crossway Wheaton, IL 157 p.
Solzhenitsyn, Aleksandr (1983) Godlessness, the First Step to the Gulag. Templeton Prize Address, London, May 10th
Speer, Albert (1970) Inside The Third Reich: Memoirs. Macmillan New York 596 p.
Taylor, Paul F. (2006) William Wilberforce: A Leader for Biblical Equality. AiG
Wilberforce, William (1822) Lettre à l'empereur Alexandre sur la traite des Noirs. G. Schulze London
The (not-so-subtle) postmodern pressure to conform
And some 21st century Christians who resist (and others who fall).
(in chronological order)
Tim Keller's Full Endorsement of Being Gay & Christian: Speaking Out on Living Out. (Toni Brown - BTWN Blogs - August 24, 2018)
Trinity Western University to No Longer Require Students to Sign Lifestyle Covenant Saving Sex for Marriage. (Heather Clark Christian News Network 16/8/2018)
Barronelle Stutzman religious liberty case parallels Jack Phillips case. (Wintery Knight - 30/6/2018)
Canadian Bus Driver Arrested For Criticizing Homosexuality, Faces Up To 2 Years In Prison. (Jeremiah Keenan - The Federalist - 28/6/2018)
Canada Bans Christianity From The Classroom. (Baxter Dmitry - YourNewsWire - 22/6/2018)
Censoring the Darwin Skeptics. (Coppedge - By the Way - 24/6/2018)
The Supreme Court just enforced conformity... to protect diversity, of course: It used to be that Canadians had the right to go their own way provided they didn't hurt others. The Trinity Western ruling proves that's over. (John Robson - National Post - 19/6/2018)
Facebook suspends pro-family expert for criticizing LGBT [CBC produced] indoctrination video. (Calvin Freiburger - LifeSite 18/6/2018)
Canada's Supreme Court bans Christians from practicing law in Canada. (Wintery Knight - 16/6/2018)
Former Gays, Lesbians Blast Calif. for Regarding Them as 'Frauds' With Pending Therapy Ban. (Brandon Showalter - Christian Post - 21/5/2018)
Nat'l Review writer: California bill targeting gay-conversion therapy also could ban Christian books. (Dave Urbanski - The Blaze - 24/4/2018)
Democrat bill to ban public expression of Biblical morality passes California Assembly. (Wintery Knight - 22/4/2018)
Living in a country where you daren't be anything but gay friendly: These days, those who don't embrace the full spectrum of gay and transgender life are often silenced (Christie Blatchford - National Post - 4/4/2018)
Help not wanted: Sexuality | California moves to ban Bible-based therapy for sex and gender issues. (Kiley Crossland - World.org - 16/3/2018)
A Professor Learns the Price of Speaking Her Mind. (Sarah Chaffee - Evolution News - 13/3/2018)
Assisted-Suicide Pushers Want Forced MD Participation. (Wesley J. Smith - Evolution News - 11/3/2018)
The Lynching of a Darwin Skeptic: A Case of Political Correctness Run Amok. (Kevin H Wirth ed. - Leafcutter Press - 27-2/2018)
British Columbia (BC) Health Authority orders hospice to do euthanasia. (Alex Schadenberg - Euthanasia Prevention Coalition - 14/2/2018)
An Orwellian Education Law in Britain: The freedom to follow. (Sohrab Ahmari - Commentary - 9/2/2018)
University Denies Free Speech to Ken Ham and Boots Him from Speaking: AiG President Gets Tossed from Speaking in Ironically Named Constitution Hall. (Patrick Kanewske + Mark Looy - AIG - 6/2/2018)
Ontario Court decision forces doctors to refer patients to death. (Alex Schadenberg - Euthanasia Prevention Coalition - 31/1/2018)
The alarming trend of Bullying Hospitals and Hospices into doing Assisted Suicide. (Will Johnston - Euthanasia Prevention Coalition - 2/1/2018)
Big Science Condemns Blasphemy Against Darwin: There's no escape. You can't flee anywhere in the world if you doubt Darwin. (David F. Coppedge - Creation-Evolution Headlines - 26/1/2018)
Atheist orgs 'intimidate' Trump's Cabinet over Bible study see Ben Carson's defiant response. (Chris Enloe - The Blaze - 27/1/2018)
Canada's prime minister explains why pro-life groups are not eligible for job grants. (Wintery Knight - 13/1/2018)
Christian Couple Loses Appeal, must pay $135,000 for not affirming same-sex marriage. (Wintery Knight - 2/1/2018)
How We Can Restrict Free Speech and Be Just as Free as Canada. (Tom Gilson - The Stream - 31/12/2017)
Ontario government seizes foster kids from Christian couple over Santa Claus and Easter bunny. (Wintery Knight - 30/12/2017)
Supreme Court to decide whether it is legal to be a Christian after same-sex marriage. (Wintery Knight - 5/12/2017)
After settlement, academia still opposes creationist: Mark Armitage says secular scientists have "blackballed" him. (Julie Borg - World Mag - 30/11/2017)
The New Anti-Semitism at the New School: Hatred gets a respectable cap and gown. (Phyllis Chesler - Tablet - 27/11/2017)
Fascism in Canada: grad student dragged into kangaroo court for showing debate clip. (Wintery Knight - 22/11/2017)
Darwinists Concede Wikipedia Erased Bechly for Coming Out in Favor of Intelligent Design. (David Klinghoffer - Evolution News - 21/11/2017)
It's 1984 all over again for Ontario lawyers arguing against compelled speech: The Law Society is forcing its 58,000 members to create a mandatory statement of principles stating their obligation to promote equality, diversity and inclusion. (Christie Blatchford - National Post - 8/11/2017)
Ontario bans pro-life witness outside abortion centers. (Lianne Laurence - LifeSite - 25/10/2017)
What My Latest Research on Christianophobia Means: We have to think creatively about how we can economically flourish in a post-Christian society. (George Yancey - The Stream - 23/10/2017)
Documented cases of discrimination against religious people skyrocketing. (Wintery Knight - 25/9/2017)
I'm not "forcing my morality on you" ? you're forcing your immorality on me. (Matt Walsh - The Blaze - 19/9/2017)
Universities Ban Discussion of Creation by Speakers, Students. (Jerry Bergman - Creatoin/Evolution Headlines - 13/9/2017)
Another Ruthless Attack on a Pro-Family Group: Corporate America Flexes Its Muscle to Enforce Conformity. (Jennifer Roback Morse - The Stream - 4/9/2017)
When "Freethinkers" Persecute the Faithful: Soft totalitarianism. (Sohrab Ahmari - Commentary - 16/8/2017)
Evolutionist: Free Speech for Me, Not for Thee, Certainly Not for ID. (Evolution News - 13/8/2017)
Canada Forces Government Speech and Bans Bible Verses. (Avery Foley - AiG - 6/8/2017)
Yes, LGBT Activists Want to Punish Christian Conservatives: Don't take my word for it. I'm simply quoting the foremost LGBT political donor. (Michael Brown - The Stream - 20/7/2017)
Pro-life doctor fights state law forcing him to act against his religion. (Carlos Garcia - The Blaze - 25/6/2017
Canadian Christian school under attack for teaching offensive Bible verses. (Justin Haskins - The Blaze - 24/6/2017)
In Canada, Big Brother is Ready to Raid Your Home and Steal Your Child: Canada is just one step ahead of the United States. (Michael Brown - The Stream - 6/6/2017)
Democrat Bernie Sanders proposes rule barring Christians from political office. (Wintery Knight - 9/6/2017)
Christian farmers banned from city market over marriage views: Officials in East Lansing, Mich., crafted a new ordinance to keep the Tennes family from selling their local produce. (Mary Reichard - WorldMag - 6/6/2017)
East Lansing bans farmer from selling produce because he opposes gay marriage. (Wintery Knight - 2/6/2017)
Christian staffer files lawsuit after school threatens to fire her for saying: "I will pray for you". (Tré Goins-Phillips - The Blaze - 23/5/2017)
Christian student expelled from course for views on gay marriage wins right to fight the university. (Tré Goins-Phillips - The Blaze - 26/4/2017)
Vimeo voids Christian videos: The sharing site is one of multiple web platforms to censor Biblical messages. (Bonnie Pritchett - World Mag - 31/3/2017)
Here's Epic Email Suspended Christian Sent Muslim Prof: 'There's something seriously wrong and depraved about you'. (Bob Unruh - WND- 29/3/2017)
Free Speech bus vandalized by LGBT activists. (Wintery Knight - 26/3/2017)
These college students believe Muslims should have religious freedom rights - but not Christians. (Chris Enloe - The Blaze - 13/3/2017)
The Loss of Free Speech in the UK and How We Should React as Christians. (Simon Turpin - AiG - 6/3/2017)
Christian street preachers fined over Bristol shopping centre sermon. (BBC - 1/3/2017)
If your lifestyle is none of my business, stop demanding that I celebrate it. (Matt Walsh - The Blaze - 17/1/2017)
Canadian judge bans pro-life ads, because free speech makes people feel bad. (Wintery Knight - 12/1/2017)
Carmel High School censors and destroys poster from pro-life student club. (Wintery Knight - 22/12/2016)
Dean Kenyon and Academic Freedom -- A Case in Point. (Sarah Chaffee - Evolution News - 13/12/2016)
NASA on Trial: David Coppedge Fell Victim to Anti-ID Zeal at America's Space Agency. (David Klinghoffer - Evolution News - 13/12/2016)
Teacher fired for stating pro-life views that 'triggered' pro-abortion student. (Wintery Knight - 12/12/2016)
Currently Turned Against Pro-Lifers, French Totalitarian Impulse Can Easily Jump Oceans. (David Klinghoffer - Evolution News - 9/12/2016)
B.C. teacher fired for having the wrong opinion. (Christie Blatchford - National Post - 7/12/2016)
YouTube bans Prager U video of Muslim denouncing anti-semitism and promoting peace. (Brandon Morse - The Blaze - 5/12/2016)
French MPs vote to ban abortion websites that intimidate women: Government seeking to criminalise sites that pose as neutral sources of information but promote anti-abortion propaganda. (Angelique Chrisafis - The Guardian - 1/12/2016)
Public university gives credit for volunteering at Planned Parenthood, but not at church. (LifeSiteNews - 30/11/2016)
Tony Perkins: Liberal 'tolerance is a one-way street'. (Tré Goins-Phillips - The Blaze - 21/11/2016)
Canadian professor warns Americans about conflict between gay rights and free speech. (Wintery Knight - 26/10/2016)
Conservative student sues Iowa university over harassment policy: School administrators hold diploma hostage over failure to agree with speech-chilling rules. (Kiley Crossland - World Mag - 20/10/2016)
Massachusetts churches sue over 'anti-bias' law: Amended bill would force churches to abide by state s definition of gender and sexuality. (Bonnie Pritchett - WorldMag - 12/10/2016)
Ban conscientious objection by Canadian doctors, urge ethicists in volatile commentary. (Tom Blackwell - National Post - 22/9/2016)
U.S. Civil Rights Commission chairman says religious liberty is just intolerance". (Wintery Knight - 12/9/2016)
What happened to the Christian baker who declined to celebrate redefining marriage? (Wintery Knight - 8/9/2016)
Forced Reeducation for MDs Who Don't Want to Kill. (Wesley J. Smith - Evolution News - 3/9/2016)
Brendan Eich, Fired From Mozilla for Defending Marriage, Has a Brave New Web Browser. (The Stream - 26/8/2016)
Social justice training or institutionalized intolerance?: Free Speech | Critics say push for tolerance courses teaches university students that disagreement equals discrimination. (Kiley Crossland - WorldMag - 18/8/2016)
LGBTs vs. First Amendment: The Fight for Religious Freedom Ratchets. (Cheryl Chumley - The Blaze - 9/8/2016)
UPDATE on Trinity-Western University's fight against anti-Christian bigotry. (Ezra Levant - 21/6/2016 - RebelMedia)
After a fiery trial: Intelligent design proponent David Coppedge reflects on his wrongful termination lawsuit and walking through the valleys of life. (WorldMag - Sophia Lee - 13/5/2016)
Harvard professor: Start treating Christian conservatives like Nazis. (Bradford Richardson - The Washington Times - 10/5/2016)
Facebook and the Gatekeeper Code. (J. Tobin - Commentary - 10/5/2016)
Doctor fired after government hears his sermons: 'They can come after any of us for our beliefs on anything'. (Douglas Ernst - WorldMag - 20/4/2016)
University Reportedly Expels Student From Social Work Course Over Gay Marriage Comment but He’s Not Backing Down. (Billy Hallowell - The Blaze - 11/4/2016)
Keeping the faith on campus: Colleges welcome diversity, except when it comes to evangelical Christian student groups. (Stephen V. Monsma & Stanley W. Carlson-Thies - WorldMag - 9/4/2016)
University Threatens to Fire Professor for Criticizing a Faculty Member Who Allegedly Silenced Student Who Opposed Gay Marriage. (Carly Hoilman - The Blaze - 29/3/2016)
LGBT activists apply financial lever to Christian colleges. (Nick Eicher - WorldMag - 18/3/2016)
The New Yorker vs. Free Speech: America’s most prestigious weekly seems determined to express solidarity with radicals who want to silence their ideological foes by any means necessary. (James Kirchick - Commentary - 16/3/2016)
Canadian Christian wins religious discrimination case. (Laura Finch - World Mag - 8/3/2016)
Hand of God? Scientific anatomy paper citing a 'creator' retracted after furore: Paper states ?hand coordination should indicate the mystery of the Creator's invention, although the Chinese authors say a linguistic mix-up is to blame. (Nicola Davis - The Guardian - 7/3/2016)
PLOS ONE "Creator" Scandal Enters Witch-hunt Territory. (David Klinghoffer - Evolution News - 7/3/2016)
Scientific paper which says the human hand was designed by a 'Creator' sparks controversy: The paper's perceived references to intelligent design have provoked anger and calls for a boycott of the journal. (Doug Bolton - Independant - 3/3/2016)
State tries to ruin small-town florist who refused 'gay' wedding: 'No one should be faced with this choice'. (Leo Hohmann - WND - 8/2/2016)
Student punished for refusing to recite Islamic profession of faith: Lawsuit: Hands out failing grades, then threatens her father for objecting. (Bob Unruh - WorldMag - 28/1/2016)
A hit list of Christian colleges?: Higher Education | Department of Education grants LGBT lobby’s request to publish Title IX waiver recipients. (J.C. Derrick - World Mag - 25/1/2016)
Support swells for Christian family in Norway after authorities seize children. (Sarah Padbury - World Mag - 21/1/2016)
As Christianity Is Wiped Out By Islamic State, Obama Lectures Americans On Religious Tolerance. (Brad Schaeffer - The Blaze - 22/1/2016)
Christian Farm Owners Fought Back Against $13,000 Fine for Refusing to Host a Gay Wedding but Here’s What Just Happened in Court. (Billy Hallowell - The Blaze - 14/1/2016)
Prominent doc says LGBT opposition got him excised from hospital staff. (Edmund DeMarche - WND - 5/1/2016)
Lawyer for Christian Bakers Who Were Forced to Pay Nearly $137,000 to Lesbian Couple Reveals Most Shocking Element of the Case. (Billy Hallowell - The Blaze - 31/12/2015)
Harvard Professor and Physician Loses Medical Job for Voicing Objections to LGBT Practices. (Carly Hoilman - The Blaze - 31/12/2015)
Mark Regnerus on the science of families: Three years after academia rejected his research on same-sex families, the Texas professor reflects on what was gained and lost. (Warren Cole Smith - World Mag - 17/12/2015)
The campus threat to free speech. (Mary Reichard - World Mag - 1/12/2015)
'Hate Speech' Laws Are Just Another Way For Governments To Punish People They Don't Like. (TechDirt - 28/10/2015)
Forcing pro-lifers to promote abortion. (World Mag - 14/10/2015)
From gay parents to prom dates, faith-based schools face LGBT dilemmas. (WorldMag - 1/10/2015)
First Person: Is “Bible” a Dirty Word?: Does Near Eastern politics affect archaeology? Unfortunately, yes. (Biblical Archaeology Review -28/9/2015)
Persecution of Christians on rise in U.S. (WND - 17/9/2015)
SPLC dumps 'extremist' label on pro-lifers. (WND - 5/9/2015)
Sweet Cakes bakers send cakes to LGBTQ groups as 'expression of love'. (OregonLive - 20/8/2015)
Ontario court upholds Law Society’s decision not to accredit Trinity Western University. (The Star - 2/7/2015)
Private religious freedom is no freedom at all says ex-judge. (The Christian Institute - 15/5/2015)
Atheist militants who silence Christians are as bad as Tudor tyrants, says top judge. (Daily Mail - 14/5/2015)
Richard Dawkins on attack: “Children need to be protected” from religious parents. (Salon - 25/2/2015)
Censor of the Year: Neil deGrasse Tyson Broadcast His Photoshopped Narrative of Science to Millions. (David Klinghoffer - Evolution News - 12/2/2015)
Oregon Bakery Must Pay For Refusing To Make Wedding Cake For Lesbian Couple. (Huffington Post - 7/2/2015)
B.C. revokes consent for controversial law school. (Globe & Mail - 11/12/2014)
What a Texas City Is Demanding These Pastors Do With Their Sermons About Homosexuality. (The Blaze - 15/10/2014)
Scientist claims California university fired him over creationist beliefs. (FoxNews - 307/2014)
Man sues, says he was rejected by Md. college for citing "God". (The Washington Times - 29/4/2014) [educational institutiion actively filtering out non-postmodern views]
This new breed of militant atheists are as intolerant as any religious fundamentalists. (Daily Mail - 21/4/2014)
Gay Marriagea big stick to beat the church with. (CMI - 5/3/2014)
The Closing of the Scientific Mind: Reflections on the zombie-scientist problem. (David Gelernter - Commentary - 1/1/2014)
The Inquisition Strikes Very Close to Home: The case of Dr. Eric Hedin, Assistant Professor of Physics and Astronomy at Ball State University (Prosologion - 30/5/2013)
University Dean Says Creationists Should Not Be Allowed to Graduate. (The Last Resistance - 23/10/2012)
Rev. Stephen Boissoin vindicated: court upholds right to express views on homosexuality. (LifeSiteNews - 22/10/2012)
Jonathan Kay: Victory, at last: Stephen Boissoin prevails against Alberta's human-rights censors. (National Post - 19/10/2012)
Chick-Fil-A Day on Wednesday: Supporters Respond to Boycott Over Gay Marriage Comments. (Christian Post - 23/7/2012)
George Jonas: Supreme Court puts the final nail in the coffin of religious freedom. (National Post - 28/2/2012)
Quebec's new state religion: cultural relativism. (National Post - ?/12/2010)
I accuse Alberta Premier Ed Stelmach of anti-Christian bigotry, (TheRebel/Levant - 9/6/2008) [the Stephen Boissoin case]
Top 10 Reasons Why We Need to Outlaw Christmas. (Le Québécois LIbre - 16/12/2007)
Bible Publishers Sued for Anti-Gay References. (Rick Pedraza - NewsMax - 107/2008)
An Academic's Reluctant Conclusion: Fundamentalist Teachers Don't Belong in College Classrooms. Prying Open a Closed Mind. (Robert Jensen - School of Journalism, U. of Texas - 2000)
 - By necessity pilots are preoccupied by very practical issues such as ensuring one’s aircraft has sufficient fuel before take-off, sufficient air speed after take-off not to fall out of the sky and having sufficient information and know-how to navigate from point A to point B AND safely land…
 - Nihilism : derived from the Latin term nihil, meaning 'nothing'.
 - That the Enlightenment destroyed morality was a common accusation made by opponents of the Enlightenment.
 - See Gosselin 1979.
 - As well as being a convinced proponent of the Piltdown Man fossil, later demonstrated to be a hoax….
 - Especially in the Social Sciences…
 - Or pathetically played the “Hitler was a good Christian” card though never bothering ask the critical question: “Who gets to define what a “good Christian” is?”
 - But there were still a few Christian voices in Germany with the courage to dissent. Deitrich Bonhoeffer and the Confessing Church certainly dared to criticise Hitler, as just two days after Hitler became Chancellor Bonhoeffer did a radio address in which he attacked Hitler and warned Germany against slipping into an idolatrous cult of the Führer (leader), who could very well turn out to be Verführer (mis-leader, or seducer). This was at the height of Hitler’s popularity…
 - Plato viewed the material world as to be despised because it had been created by a demiurge, not by the Creator. As a result, in Christian circles sex came to be viewed as something to be despised and those who truly wished to honour God would have to abstain.
 - C. S. Lewis made some of his most telling arguments against the Modern Outlook in his brief essay Abolition of Man. It also contains some prescient observations relevant to postmodernism.
 - Cf. Lex Rex, or The Law and the Prince London 1644.
 - Post-Saved (1980).
 - And while the institution of slavery has left very deep marks on race relations in the United States, one must take into account that in the 19th century this nation did get involved in a very costly and brutal civil war to ensure slavery was abolished in all it’s States.
 - Patrick was born in England, but as a teenager he was kidnapped by Irish pirates, enslaved and taken far away from home. For several years he found himself alone in the countryside, taking care of his master's pigs (and a lazy or negligent slave could at any time be killed by his master). Under these circumstances Patrick learned to pray and trust in Christ. One day he took advantage of an opportunity to escape and returned to his family in England, but during a sleepless night he had a dream with Irish voices calling 'Come walk among us again!' Now really, to go back to those who have enslaved you and stolen several years from your life ?? !! This could be compared to a raped woman who goes back to see her rapist to have polite conversation... Incredible. Not exactly the usual human response to such an experience... But Patrick does decide to go back to Ireland, but will first get a training in theology and become a priest before returning. And once he begins preaching among the Irish, they will convert massively to Christianity and Patrick will leave a deep impression on the history of this nation.
 - As it was with the ancient Greeks and Romans.
 - In fact, the Bible says nothing about any such right…
 - The book of Acts (chap. 2) notes that on the day of Pentecost, there may very well have been converts from the province of Pontus after Peter’s sermon and who afterwards took Christianity back with them to Pontus.
 - But for some Christians the temptation may consist simply of working for years in a steady, God-honouring fashion yet being consistently ignored. And when the trial comes to a head, then the question may be asked: “Will I compromise my faith and my principles to get the attention I feel I deserve?”
 - Western Evangelical Christians have never been so wealthy, but one should consider that this economic power can also become a trap…
 - It is a fact that a conversion based on the true Gospel will, as a side effect, lead to a more meaningful life, but the true Gospel is more than just finding meaning.
 - Of course this is, by itself, a true statement, but it is an incomplete one if it is not explicitly preceded by a discussion of the Fall, of sin, of God’s wrath and judgement against our sin. If these matters are not addressed, then the unconverted may well ask if God only wanted to show us his love, then why the gruesome spectacle of a man dying on a cross ? What’s the point ? Why not just send us all birthday cakes ?
 - The mythologisation (or spiritualisation) in Evangelical theological circles of the Book of Genesis (BioLogos is a big promoter of such views) has certainly contributed to the neglect of these doctrines.
 - Even should there be economic consequences to such preaching…
 - Don’t worry. I haven’t had any visions or dreams. This is just a growing conviction in the last 25 years of my regular Bible reading. If someone else doesn’t agree, I don’t get excited…
 - Now Western Christians like bandwagons and gimmicks, especially if they will bring in more people into the church (and bump up church budgets). But preaching a pure, uncompromised Gospel is not a magic wand for church growth. Christ knew well the personal price to be paid for preaching a pure, uncompromised Gospel
The world cannot hate you; but me it hateth, because I testify of it, that its works are evil. (John 7: 7)
And he also hinted (not so subtly) at what the repercussions might be in the lives of those who chose to follow in HIs ways and teach the same pure, uncompromised Gospel.
Blessed are ye, when men shall hate you, and when they shall separate you from their company, and reproach you, and cast out your name as evil, for the Son of man’s sake. Rejoice in that day, and leap for joy: for behold, your reward is great in heaven; for in the same manner did their fathers unto the prophets. (Luke 6: 22-23)
Can this generation of Western Christians pay this price ? In my view a necessary first step in the direction of restoring the Gospel would be the public repentance of those Evangelical leaders who, over the years, have preached a compromised Gospel.