Got this idea after I saw the reblog. Decided to go for longer versions.
Got this idea after I saw the reblog. Decided to go for longer versions.
Last week, when I posted “Scientists of faith” from THE NAKED TRUTH 2, I received several excellent comments in response. One particular I thought quite good. In his comment, James Atticus Bowden sought to explain the developments that lead to an explosion of knowledge in the West and Christianity role in that explosion.
To enable as many people as possible to see ‘s comment as possible, I have posted it below.
CT: This is a favorite topic of mine to research.
Refer folks to Moises Maimodes to reconcile the Torah and Aristotelian rational empiricism.
Refer folks to Gerard Schroeder to reconcile the Torah with the Big Bang and evolution.
Let’s look at this through time. From Adam and Eve through the end of the last Ice Age to 500 BC many native peoples and the emergent civilizations – Egypt, Mesopotamia, Mediterranean, China, India, Aztec and Inca – there were many discoveries and inventions.
Enter Greek Civilization and human thought and testing of ideas. Rational Empiricism. This is a big deal. This way of thinking goes with the Greek – Western – way of war and conquest to cover 3 of the first civilizations (Egypt, Med and Mesopotamia). Rome builds upon the Greeks until roughly 400 AD.
Then, several things happen. Rome becomes Christian. Rome in the West falls. The Roman imperial civil service is ‘essentially’ transformed to serve the Roman Catholic Church and the Holy Roman Empire (which isn’t) for the 500 year fight against the barbarian invasions.
Western Europe and Rome in the East defended against the invading Muslims from the 600s until Orthodox Rome, the Byzantine Empire, falls with Constantinople (1453) and the last armed invasion is defeated at the gates of Vienna (1683).
Muslim Civilization, like the library in Alexandria, built upon what the Romans-Greeks had done. They did well enough in a few centers of learn until it all came to crashing halt when the Imams decided all knowledge had been revealed by Mohammed (approx. 1250)
Western Civilization was hampered by Augustinian thinking that one had to know God through the Church to know knowledge. Thomas Aquinas sewed a seed for the Reformation when he said one knows knowledge and then chooses to know God or not.
In 1000 AD the Chinese are tops in science and technology. Islam is second. And, the West is third. But, events are in motion – based on ideas. While there are a handful of centers of learning across Islam, there are 40 universities in the West. The Renaissance is an explosion in learning – base on the rational empiricism of the Greeks. Rational empiricism teaches experimentation to test ideas.
Since the Muslims stop learning, the West moves forward. It moves beyond China because the Chinese believe the unseen world is made up of spirits which influence, willy nilly, the physical world. The Christians believe in a created world from an unseen Creator – who established a natural order and laws which can be discovered.
The Reformation puts this learning on steroids. A Created order to the universe is begging men to learn and reveal God’s compelling order throughout the sciences. If a ploughboy can know the Lord of the Universe through the Bible, so can any peasant learn to know any knowledge – and test it through rational empiricism instead bowing to priestly pronouncements.
The Enlightenment adds more energy. The French Enlightenment may be anti-Catholic cleric – in part, but the American and British Enlightenment is enthusiastically Christian (Protestant) because of the unity of Biblical created world and rational empiricism – and the freedom to find out what is what.
From 1000 to 1500 the West gains the advantage. From 1500 until 1975 (ending of colonialism) the West rocks. Christian thinking – improved by Renaissance, Reformation, Enlightenment – and 3 Great Awakenings in US and UK – provides the cultural world view under the scientific society.
This is the fifth post in a series.
In this post we will look at our last line of defense.
When we consider America, many Christians see a nation drifting towards paganism, and we wonder what is store for the future. What problems will our children and grandchildren face? Will they face any? Even if our society gives up on Christianity, don’t we live in a tolerant society? Won’t those who remain Christians still be allowed to go their own way? Unfortunately, the answer is no.
When people do not worship the One True God, they worship idols, gods of their own creation. Why would we create a god? We each want to think we exist for our own sake, but we look ahead. We see what seems inevitable, and we do not know what to do about it. Without God, our lives are meaningless. Everything sinks into empty oblivion. Thus, we fixate on whatever seems to offer hope or a momentary diversion.
What might give us the power to control our own fate? In pagan societies some leaders will inevitably offer up government — and themselves — as idols. They will suggest that if we all work together we can control our fate. Somehow, if we offer all we have to a great leader (guess who), he can bring us to together in one peaceful and powerful union. Through the GREAT LEADER we can solve the problems of this life.
Idols never work, of course. If we examine His Creation with even just a little curiosity, is it that difficult to see why? What the One True God has made is just too wonderful in its infinite size, minute detail, and startling complexity for any mere man to appreciate, much less understand. Unless we go to our The Creator for our answers, we have no hope of understanding the riddles of life, but we do not want to do that. Pride demands otherwise.
In WHAT ARE THE SIGNS THAT OUR REPUBLIC IS ABOUT TO FALL? — PART 3, we considered the wisdom of Aristotle. In THE ETHICS OF ARISTOTLE, Aristotle observed that in order to become happy we must become virtuous. Unfortunately, in spite of this profound bit of wisdom, Aristotle was a pagan. So Aristotle, as we might have expected, decided that the people would become virtuous only if their government forced them to become virtuous.
Can you imagine how our government, our politicians, would behave if we gave them the power to force us to become virtuous? Yet isn’t that exactly what we have begun to expect from them? The buzz words are “character education.” We have put our government in charge of our schools, and we actually expect secularized public schools — run by politicians — to educate the character of our children.
Check out the following:
Character education teaches the habits of thought and deed that help people live and work together as families, friends, neighbors, communities and nations.
Character education is a learning process that enables students and adults in a school community to understand, care about and act on core ethical values such as respect, justice, civic virtue and citizenship, and responsibility for self and others. Upon such core values, we form the attitudes and actions that are the hallmark of safe, healthy and informed communities that serve as the foundation of our society.
That we would allow the Federal Government to promote character education is especially ironic. That’s because Congress has absolutely no constitutional authority to spend money on the public school system. Thus, we have made politicians who have broken their oath of office responsible for instructing the character of our children. But perhaps we need not worry. After all, we now have modern scientific approaches to character education.
So what is the point? When we allow our government to instruct the character of our children, we give politicians the opportunity to turn our children into pagans. We teach our children to believe might makes right.
It is an old debate now, but because of it, Martin Luther initiated the Protestant Revolution (check out ELUSIVE WISDOM). Here is the Bible passage that started it.
Galatians 3:10-14 New American Standard Bible (NASB)
10 For as many as are of the works of the Law are under a curse; for it is written, “Cursed is everyone who does not abide by all things written in the book of the law, to perform them.” 11 Now that no one is justified by the Law before God is evident; for, “The righteous man shall live by faith.” 12 However, the Law is not of faith; on the contrary, “He who practices them shall live by them.” 13 Christ redeemed us from the curse of the Law, having become a curse for us—for it is written, “Cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree”— 14 in order that in Christ Jesus the blessing of Abraham might come to the Gentiles, so that we would receive the promise of the Spirit through faith.
Instead of looking to idols, Christians believe in salvation by faith in Christ Jesus. When we put our faith in Christ, we are made right with God, and we receive His promise — His might — through the gift of the Holy Spirit.
Christians do not believe the works or the might of men makes right. On the contrary, because the works of men are filthy rags (Isaiah 64:6) in God’s eyes, Christians look solely to God for salvation. That belief puts Christians and pagans in direct opposition. Whereas pagans will accept the power of men to rule without restriction, Christians put obedience to God first. Jesus put it this way in a now familiar verse.
Matthew 22:21 Authorized (King James) Version (AKJV)
21 They say unto him, Cæsar’s. Then saith he unto them, Render therefore unto Cæsar the things which are Cæsar’s; and unto God the things that are God’s.
Thus, whenever government demands unlimited loyalty, the Bible stands in direct opposition. If we allow the creeping secularism of our society to continue unopposed, in order to remain obedient to God, Christians will have to refuse Caesar. Eventually, some will pay with their lives.
Christian persecution is probably already more commonplace than most of us realize. Consider the following:
Important as the fight for religious freedom is in the US–in the face of the government requiring that employers cover birth control, for example–the Cardinal said, such battles “pale in comparison” to the suffering of Christians in countries such as China, Egypt, Syria, Pakistan and Nigeria. “If our common membership in the mystical body of Christ is to mean anything, then their suffering must be ours as well,” the archbishop said.
If we do not take a determined stand for religious freedom now, our children and grandchildren will in fact share the persecution and suffering of Christians in other parts of the world. That sounds ridiculous? Then consider the irony of this article: Persecuted North Koreans pray for American Christians.
Here is my belated commentary on a post at The Mason Conservative.
Elections aren’t won or lost by the means of nomination but rather by the quality of the candidate, their campaigns, and the mood of the electorate. Whether its 15,000 activists are a paltry 1% of the electorate in a primary, there is no guarantee one way or another. Let me go back to 2001 and work our way forward:
- 2001 (convention): Earley (loss), Katzen (loss), Kilgore (win)
- 2002 (primary): Warner (win, unopposed)
- 2005 (primary): Kilgore (loss), Bolling (win), McDonnell (win)
- 2006 (primary): Allen (loss, unoppsoed)
- 2008 (convention): Gilmore (loss)
- 2009 (convention): McDonnell (win), Bolling (win), Cuccinelli (win)
- 2012 (primary): Allen (loss)
- 2013 (convention): Cuccinelli (loss), Jackson (loss), Obenshain (undecided)
In one respect, the The Mason Conservative is spot on. That is, if the argument is solely about selecting which Republican nominee can win, then it makes sense to look at the statistics and see what works. However, it is not the viewpoint of the Republican Party that matters. When we speak about politics and the political process, we need to first look at which processes best protect the liberty of our people. Which method of nomination comports best with a constitutional republic and best protects our rights?
Why do Establishment Republicans like primary elections? Primary elections favor the status quo, the people already in power. Effectively, when we have primary elections, we put The Establishment in charge of how political parties select their nominees.
Consider that Democrats and Republican politicians control the government. Establishment Democrats and Republicans like primary elections because they help to ensure their reelection and make third party movements next to impossible. Thus, primary elections help to make it difficult to throw the bums out, and that makes primary elections decidedly unhealthy for a constitutional republic.
On the other hand, when we have a convention, political activists retain full control of the process, and that is the way it should be. Why? Anybody can be a political activist. If we don’t like what the political activists in one political party are doing, we can always join a different party — so long as the government permits it.
Political parties exist to implement this part of the First Amendment: “the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.” That’s why government should have no say in how a political party selects its nominees. To protect those in power — if allowed to interfere — government can and will only corrupt the process.
Instead of holding primaries, we should allow for the possibility of at least two rounds in the general election. Why two rounds? Consider what can happen in an election with more than two candidates on the ballot. What if no candidate gets 50 percent or more of the vote? Do we actually know which candidate is the most popular? No. However, if we have a runoff between the two top vote getters, we can solve that problem.
With a runoff election, we could have avoided the mess we had in Virginia’s last gubernatorial election. Without a third party candidate in this race, the Republican candidate may have won, but without a runoff election we have no certain way of knowing. We just know that many Republicans feel cheated because they believe that the third party candidate, Robert Sarvis, pealed off votes that might have gone to Ken Cuccinelli, the Republican candidate.
In addition, with the possibility of a runoff election, more people would risk giving third party candidates a second look. Thus, the Republicans and the Democrats might have to pay more serious attention to voters and party activists and less attention to their campaign donors.