OF TWISTED WORDS => SECULAR

freedomconscienceIt was only after I posted it I realized I had made a mistake. When I posted BECOMING SECULAR, I should have added it to the series I had started, OF TWISTED WORDS.

How have we twisted the word “secular?” Well, according to the dictionary the word secular pertains “to worldly things or to things that are not regarded as religious, spiritual, or sacred.” However, as the examples given in BECOMING SECULAR demonstrate, “becoming secular” is a religious choice. When we hear so and so is “becoming more secular,” don’t we know that means?

Fortunately, two commenters wanted to debate.  So they gave me an excuse to add the word “secular” to the OF TWISTED WORDS series.

Atheism

hessianwithteeth has two problems with BECOMING SECULAR (his comments are here, here, here, here and here).

  • He takes issue with the fact that I supposedly called him a fool.
  • As an atheist, he does not believe the Bible. That is, there is no God, and the Bible is not His Word.

Did I Call  A Fool?

Did I call  a fool? No. What I said in BECOMING SECULAR is that becoming secular through indifference, ignoring God, is foolish.   says he has studied the matter carefully and determined that God does not exist. That is not the same thing as “becoming secular.” Instead of ignoring God,  has deliberately turned his back to God, saying He does not exist.  calls himself an atheist, and an atheist is someone who has made a conscious decision that God does not exist. God, not me, calls atheists fools.

Psalm 14:1 New King James Version (NKJV)

14 The fool has said in his heart,

There is no God.”
They are corrupt,
They have done abominable works,
There is none who does good.

In fact, both Psalms 14 and 53 make it quite clear that God has a low opinion of those who turn away from Him. Nevertheless, I have no idea what is in ‘s heart, and it is not my place to judge anyone.  I can only look at a man’s deeds, and I know next to nothing of ‘s deeds.

Does God Exist?

Can I prove the Bible is the Word of God? To some people? Maybe. To ? That depends upon him.

As a practical matter, we each allow the Bible either prove or disprove itself. If we study the Bible carefully and objectively, I think most of us will accept the Bible as true. Nothing else besides the Bible provides an explanation for why we exist and why we are as we are that makes any real sense. Unfortunately, we are lazy. Relative few actively study the Bible, and no one who has studied the Bible remains objective.

In this comment lists some of his objections. They illustrate some knowledge of the Bible, enough knowledge that he has lost his objectivity.

  •  wants independent proof, a report from somebody who is neither christian/jewish nor roman (stipulated in a latter comment).  That sounds reasonable, but it is not. Luke was a Greek. He wrote one of the four Gospels and Acts, and he believed. So he became a Christian. Thus, because Luke believed,   disqualifies him.
  •  does not find it odd that people converted to Christianity. He compares Christians to the Jewish Zealots. Yet any historian, which  claims to be, should able to observe just how unique Jewish history is and that there is something incredible about the spread of Christianity. In spite every attempt to destroy the Jewish people, they remain, and Christianity spreads through the blood of martyrs, not the sword.
  •  offers as argument that morality existed long before the Bible (and he considers the subject further on his blog, Do We Require Religion to be Moral?). It is true that morality existed before the Bible. God existed long before the Bible. As the Apostle Paul observed:

    Romans 2:14-15 English Standard Version (ESV)

    14 For when Gentiles, who do not have the law, by nature do what the law requires, they are a law to themselves, even though they do not have the law. 15 They show that the work of the law is written on their hearts, while their conscience also bears witness, and their conflicting thoughts accuse or even excuse them

    What is relevant about Christianity is how much people’s morality improves when they become devout Christians. Consider, for example, that it was in Christian lands that governments first abolished slavery. In the 1850’s who other than a Christian writer could have written this paragraph and been taken seriously by millions?

    “My view of Christianity is such,” he added, “that I think no man can consistently profess it without throwing the whole weight of his being against this monstrous system of injustice that lies at the foundation of all our society; and, if need be, sacrificing himself in the battle. That is, I mean that I could not be a Christian otherwise, though I have certainly had intercourse with a great many enlightened and Christian people who did no such thing; and I confess that the apathy of religious people on this subject, their want of perception of wrongs that filled me with horror, have engendered in me more skepticism than any other thing.” (from UNCLE TOM’S CABIN or Life among the Lowly by Harriet Beecher Stowe)

    Because we live in a large nation where almost everyone has a Christian heritage, we don’t understand the significance of that heritage. Because those people are far away, few appreciate the reason for the relative lawlessness in other lands. Those people don’t share our Christian heritage. And fewer still have studied our ancestors well enough to appreciate the civilizing influence of Jesus Christ’s teachings. Through Jesus, we learned just how much God loves us.

Compartmentalization

scout objected to my observation that we have twisted the meaning of the word “secular.” Instead, he said the dictionary definition of the word remains true. He also said that we can easily distinguish the religious from the secular (his relevant comments are hereherehere, and here). The second paragraph in ‘s first comment probably best summarizes his argument.

But the post seems to go off the rails (for me, at any rate), where it equates secular content with an active decision to ignore religious issues (or God Himself, as you appear to say). At that point, I think you begin to mis-use the term “secular” and are confusing it with concepts such as atheism or agnosticism. There are many religious people (I count myself among them) who view the religious/secular distinction as an extremely important protection of religious life. Keep the base and the worldly in their appropriate context. Let spiritual issues, issues that are not of this world prosper in their appropriate sphere. I view this distinction as important, as a practical matter, to protect religion and religious expression. In this country, it was part of the great genius of the Founders that they permitted that distinction to take root and thrive, thus avoiding the debasement of religion by political leaders such as had occurred in Europe in their times and continues in many places today. The distinction also has strong Scriptural foundation for Christians, although other religions also benefit from observing clear distinctions between secular and religious activities.

Did I misused the term “secular?” Read the post BECOMING SECULAR, and judge for yourself. Let’s consider here ‘s effort to divide Creation into distinct secular and religious spheres or compartments. To the Christian, that should make no sense. As a practical matter, we do not even have what the dictionary would describe as a secular government. We have a government that is suppose to recognize the fact that our rights are God-given. Unfortunately, due to the fact that our parents allowed politicians to supervise our education, we have forgotten the intent behind the First Amendment, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof “(from here). That means no one should use the power of the government to either to establish a religion or stop anybody from practicing their religion.

Why such an attitude towards government power? Why such a deliberate effort to keep government from interfering with religion? Christians believe in glorifying God in all things.  Depending upon the translation, that phrase “all things” occurs often, 201 times in the Authorized (King James) Version (AKJV). Sometimes that phrase says we should glorify God in “all things.”

1 Peter 4:11 Authorized (King James) Version (AKJV)

11 If any man speak, let him speak as the oracles of God; if any man minister, let him do it as of the ability which God giveth: that God in all things may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom be praise and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.

What do numerous passages tell us what should be our primary occupation? Consider this one.

Matthew 6:19-21 Authorized (King James) Version (AKJV)

19 Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal: 20 but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal: 21 for where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.

Hence, the Founders structured our government to prevent it from interfering with religion, not to use secularism or some other excuse to suppress it.

Why would someone want to suppress Christianity? The Bible reminds us of just how awful we can be. In one of his complaints about the Bible,  observed that God seems to approve of some very bad things. Oddly, considering he says he is a historian,   forgets that the Bible records quite a bit of history, often just saying what happened. Much of the Bible is also a Book of Law. Making laws appropriate for the ancient Jews, trying to civilize a stiff-necked people — like us — sometimes forced God to compensate for our hard hearts. So He allowed the Jews to divorce their wives, keep slaves, and have a king to rule over them, but He did not approve of any of these things. He simply made laws that softened the affects of our sins.

Civilizing human beings is very difficult. We too often want to do very bad things, and sometime we revert to savagery. Consider how far back to our savage nature we have already gone.

In the following passage, G.K. Chesterton talks about the religion practice by the ancient Carthaginians. Carthage was a Phoenician colony. The Phoenicians, the folks who gave us our alphabet, are apparently one of the Canaanite Peoples the Hebrews should have destroyed when they took over the Holy Land.

In a previous chapter I have hinted at something of the psychology that lies behind a certain type of religion. There was a tendency in those hungry for practical results, apart from poetical results, to call upon spirits of terror and compulsion; to move Acheron in despair of bending the Gods. There is always a sort of dim idea that these darker powers will really do things, with no nonsense about it. In the interior psychology of the Punic peoples this strange sort of pessimistic practicality had grown to great proportions. In the New Town, which the Romans called Carthage, as in the parent cities of Phoenicia, the god who got things done bore the name of Moloch, who was perhaps identical with the other deity whom we know as Baal, the Lord. The Romans did not at first quite know what to call him or what to make of him; they had to go back to the grossest myth of Greek or Roman origins and compare him to Saturn devouring his children. But the worshippers of Moloch were not gross or primitive. They were members of a mature and polished civilisation, abounding in refinements and luxuries; they were probably far more civilised than the Romans. And Moloch was not a myth; or at any rate his meal was not a myth. These highly civilised people really met together to invoke the blessing of heaven on their empire by throwing hundreds of their infants into a large furnace. We can only realise the combination by imagining a number of Manchester merchants with chimney-pot hats and mutton-chop whiskers, going to church every Sunday at eleven o’clock to see a baby roasted alive. (from Everlasting Man (1925) by Chesterton, Gilbert Keith (1874-1936))

The ancient Romans utterly destroyed Carthage.

Referring to it as a secular practice, denying the humanity of the unborn, we sacrifice infants today. We don’t overtly call an abortion a sacrificial offering; we deny the practice might have any entertainment value. Nonetheless, trying to elevate the practice — making every taxpayer an accomplice — abortion supporters fight tooth and nail for public funding. Hence, to satisfy the demands of our “secular” government, abortion supporters deny the possibility that an unborn baby — a miracle of life — has any religious significance.

 

42 thoughts on “OF TWISTED WORDS => SECULAR

  1. You suggest that “you should simply ask me to explain what you did not understand.” I think that’s exactly what I was doing. I think I have posed the question, exactly as you now suggest, several times. I have no idea what “others” understand or don’t understand. My curiosity was based on my own personal lack of understanding of the reference to “feigned ignorance”. It had nothing to do with “agreement” or “disagreement”.

    I made three or four points in my 30 May 0023 comment. Your response suggested my comment “feigned ignorance”. I went back, looked at my comment, and couldn’t find what you were talking about. I then simply asked, several times without a response, what you were referring to.

    Your answer is no answer.

    BTW, I am rarely tongue-tied. Perhaps you’ve noticed.

    Like

  2. First of all, I saw nothing offensive whatsoever in the poem. Keith is sometimes given over to harsh personal attacks, but the poem itself was lovely. I’ll give him the benefit of the doubt that he simply enjoyed the poem as much as I did. I liked it and said so. The fool in that poem was actually wise, so if you, unlike me, thought Keith was calling me a fool (he has shown himself capable of that and worse), then you probably should have assumed he was flattering me. I didn’t really take it too seriously that way, however, because the poem had so little to do with anything else going on.

    The poem is neutral in the context of the post and comment thread. I saw nothing in it that had anything to do with me (or you) or anything else that had gone on in the thread. But it is a poem of an old style rarely visited these days. These types of poems (Robert Service’s works are other good examples) were very popular in their day and we just don’t see these any more. They are fast becoming forgotten. So, for that reason, I’m pleased that Keith put it up, even though it had no obvious relevance to anything else going on in the thread. It could be enjoyed for its own sake. I still don’t quite understand why you felt you had to subject it to computer analysis. I hope you don’t do that in all your aesthetic undertakings. There are things, Tom, that can be enjoyed for their surface meaning.

    To the extent one really wants to extrapolate from the poem to other subjects, maybe one can strain to say that wisdom often comes from unexpected sources. There were two wise men in the poem – the fool, whose job description tended to mask his inner wisdom, and the King, who recognized the fool’s wisdom at the end of the poem. This medium offers people a chance to test and exchange ideas. Sometimes wisdom results. Perhaps not often, but sometimes.

    By the way, getting back to my earlier inquiry (and the comments) – you posted that one of my earlier comments was “feigned ignorance.” I was curious about what you referred to, given that I saw nothing in the particular comment that I had submitted that would have given rise to that charge (one that echoes one of Keith’s attacks when he gets into his personal rant mode). I remain curious, but since you have evaded the query thus far, I doubt that you are going to clear that up now. I think it was just a phrase that you lobbed out rather than address any particular part of my 30 May 0023 comment.

    Like

    1. The poetry you chanced to see here wasn’t aimed at you
      Such fools, and kings, and other things, have oft appeared here too
      The king’s great plan to shame the man backfired to his shame
      To criticize and then chastise, the “fool” played one good game

      And as for you and me, it’s true: I’ve pointed out some quirks
      That you have shown, and I will own, you class me with the jerks
      Your writing style I’ve watched a while, ‘spite other things to do
      But you and I share “poet’s eye”: I’m fond of Service, too

      ===|==============/ Keith DeHavelle

      Like

    2. Keith – Love the poetry. I wish I could do that, but it seems whatever talent I have for writing extends only to plainest prose. Nonetheless, I am pleased that some do have the talent for poetry. Otherwise, there would be none to enjoy reading.

      Scout – It seems the logic of your behavior either escapes you or you expect no one else to notice. Yet some have noticed. What does it mean when someone rightly points out you are feigning ignorance? It means you are engaging in a form of denial.

      If you actually did not understand a portion of one of my posts or comments, you would simply ask me to explain what you did not understand. If you thought what I said illogical, I expect you would be quite pleased to explain why that was so. Instead, even when others have no trouble understanding, you quite often just brush off what I have written as incomprehensible. That is because you have no other response. Since you don’t want to agree, and you cannot think of any good reason not to agree, all you can do is brush off what I have said as nonsense. That’s not rational. That’s just denying what you don’t want to believe.

      Effectively, when you feign ignorance, you are tongue-tied, and the act is just a cover-up. Silence would work better.

      Anyway, that’s my answer to your “query.”

      Like

  3. I appreciate your persevering struggle to avoid the perpetual appearance of ignorance, Tom. We should all so strive. Good luck with that. One way to avoid the appearance of ignorance is to have the patience and ability to explain our more turgid utterances (we all have them from time to time, but those who put up prolix blog posts are perhaps more vulnerable than others).

    The remainder of your last comment, particularly re the poem so nicely provided by Keith, is impenetrable to me. The poem’s ironic meaning is quite clear. Sorry it confused you. I hope you’re not now trying to say that there is some obscure hidden meaning to it that only a computer expert can tease out. Take it for its surface meaning, man. That’s plenty good enough.

    My remaining question on this thread is very simple: on 30 May @ 2319 you made a reference to my preceding comment with the phrase “feigned ignorance”. To what were you referring? It is not apparent from my preceding comment.

    Like

    1. So now you don’t know how to find text on a web page?

      The only reason I bothered explaining Keith’s reference to a poem is that I feared you would think he posted it to insult you personally. For your information, there are 15 uses of a certain word on this post and its comments, nobody applied the word to anybody except perhaps themselves. That poem reminds us to consider the fact that compared to our Lord we are all fools (and that makes 16 uses), not just you.

      Anyway, verbal oneupmanship is pointless. When compared to maker we have no worth. So what is the point of anyone trying to prove themselves better than any other? What an empty victory! When only the Almighty knows our merit, and He judges us as we judge others, why take such a foolish (17 uses) risk?

      So it is I prefer to discuss issues, not you or me. If you don’t like people saying you are feigning ignorance, then stop doing it. If you actually don’t understand something, instead pretending the larger part of a post is generally inscrutable, try asking a specific question for clarification.

      Like

  4. That was very sweet, Keith. Thank you. I hadn’t visited that poem since boyhood. It was one of my grandfather’s favorites. He was much given to memorization and recitation (as was customary in his day). I had virtually forgotten the poem. I also appreciate the atypical flattering reference, but I’m not sure it fully applies.

    In any event, I don’t see what it has to do with the post or previous comments. Tom, you indicated that you thought I was feigning ignorance about something. Could you be a bit less opaque? I’m rather curious. As mentioned before, my ignorance if profound on many subjects, but I would think it difficult to “feign” either ignorance or knowledge. My ignorance is generally very sincere.

    Like

    1. scout – Why ask me to explain? I have no extraordinary ability. To the extent I have succeeded (whatever that means), I have done so by persevering. Perseverance (some would call it stubbornness) is the only reliable way I know to make up for all my other deficits. Based upon my experiences with the virtue of perseverance, I don’t see much to gain by perpetually appear ignorant. Honest humility? Yes. A silly effort to look dumb? What’s the point?

      Frankly, when I first read THE FOOL’S PRAYER, I was confused. So this time I concede the possibility. Maybe you can’t figure it out. So how did I do it? Being a computer worker, I use a computer tool.

      Here is a clue.
      Key word => fool
      Computer tool => the “find” function
      As strange as it may seem, the word “fool” is all over this post and its comments. Must have something to do the twisting of the word “secular,” I guess.

      Like

  5. Tom – what is it about which you suspect me of feigning ignorance? I couldn’t make sense of that. Clue me in.

    Like

  6. Secular, non-secular, to be or not to be, that is the question? There is a link between morals and rituals, same as there is a link between morals and government.
    Check out this thought about a link. You don’t have to understand the beliefs mentioned to obtain the gist of the story in relation to your post. Can’t have one without the other in my humble opinion.
    http://www.jewishpress.com/judaism/halacha-hashkafa/ritual-without-morality/2014/05/29/
    Regards and good will blogging.

    Like

  7. You owe me nothing, Tom. This medium is just one where people can wander in and out and say what they think. No apologies are necessary. However, I think Joe was agreeing with me on the “proof” issue. He and I are both saying that acceptance of Scripture as the Word of God is a matter of faith, not proof.

    Beyond that, however, I think I am closer to Keith’s point in this thread than to Joe and Phadde – I believe one can have a complete and effective moral and ethical code without resort to religion. I believe that that code is, in people who have devoted effort to thinking things through, very similar to the code that most major religions champion. One can reach similar conclusions about the necessity of certain kinds of conduct towards others with or without the overlay of a religious construction to guide one. And, as you mention, there are many nominally religious people who, in fact, are operating opportunistically in the world and who run amok, just as there are many non-theistic people who lead exemplary lives. I come at it from a different perspective than Keith, because I am a Christian, but I know many non-religious people whose morals and ethics are of the highest calibre and who find their bearings from their study of humanity and history and have made judgements about how they should behave in society that bring them very close to the judgements that would be made by members of most of the major religious groups. St. Paul kind of alludes to this in Romans 2, although the passage is not without ambiguity.

    Like

Comments are closed.

Blog at WordPress.com.

Up ↑

Because The Bible Wasn't Written In English

Welcome to Conservative commentary and Christian prayers from Gainesville, Virginia. That's OUTSIDE the Beltway.

Fr. Pietraszko's Corner

Discovering Truth and Love

Victory Girls Blog

Welcome to Conservative commentary and Christian prayers from Gainesville, Virginia. That's OUTSIDE the Beltway.

Through Ink & Image

...Pursuing a God Inspired Life

The Wesleyan Tribe

A lifelong United Methodist Speaking Into The Chaos Of Today

D. Patrick Collins

liberating christian thought

Healthy Mind Ministry

A Ministry Devoted To Mental Wellness Through Jesus Christ

Conservative Government

Welcome to Conservative commentary and Christian prayers from Gainesville, Virginia. That's OUTSIDE the Beltway.

The Night Wind

Welcome to Conservative commentary and Christian prayers from Gainesville, Virginia. That's OUTSIDE the Beltway.

Reclaim Our Republic

Knowledge Is Power

John Branyan

something funny is occurring

In Saner Thought

"It is the duty of every man, as far as his ability extends, to detect and expose delusion and error"..Thomas Paine

Christians in Motion

Why be stagnant?

SGM

Faithful servants never retire. You can retire from your career, but you will never retire from serving God. – Rick Warren

Communio

"Behold, I have come to do your will, O God." Heb. 10:7

All Along the Watchtower

A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you ... John 13:34

The Bull Elephant

Conservative and libertarian news, analysis, and entertainment

Always On Watch: Semper Vigilans

Welcome to Conservative commentary and Christian prayers from Gainesville, Virginia. That's OUTSIDE the Beltway.

The Family Foundation Blog - The Family Foundation

Welcome to Conservative commentary and Christian prayers from Gainesville, Virginia. That's OUTSIDE the Beltway.

Cry and Howl

Let not him that girdeth on his harness boast himself as he that putteth it off. I Kings 20:11

praythroughhistory

Heal the past. Free the present. Bless the future.

Dr. Lloyd Stebbins

Deliberate Joy

Lillie-Put

The place where you can find out what Lillie thinks

He Hath Said

is the source of all wisdom, and the fountain of all comfort; let it dwell in you richly, as a well of living water, springing up unto everlasting life

partneringwitheagles

WHENEVER ANY FORM OF GOVERNMENT BECOMES DESTRUCTIVE OF THESE ENDS (LIFE,LIBERTY,AND THE PURSUIT OF HAPPINESS) IT IS THE RIGHT OF THE PEOPLE TO ALTER OR ABOLISH IT, AND TO INSTITUTE A NEW GOVERNMENT...

PUMABydesign001's Blog

“I hope we once again have reminded people that man is not free unless government is limited. There’s a clear cause and effect here that is as neat and predictable as a law of physics: as government expands, liberty contracts.” Ronald Reagan.

nebraskaenergyobserver

The view from the Anglosphere

Freedom Through Empowerment

Taking ownership of your life brings power to make needed changes. True freedom begins with reliance on God to guide this process and provide what you need.

bluebird of bitterness

The opinions expressed are those of the author. You go get your own opinions.

Pacific Paratrooper

This WordPress.com site is Pacific War era information

The Isaiah 53:5 Project

Life: the time God gives you to determine how you spend eternity

THE RIVER WALK

Daily Thoughts and Meditations as we journey together with our Lord.

My Daily Musing

With God we will gain the victory, and he will trample our enemies. Psalms 109:13

atimetoshare.me

My Walk, His Way - daily inspiration

Rudy u Martinka

What the world needs now in addition to love is wisdom

Truth in Palmyra

By Wally Fry

Kingdom Pastor

Living Freely In God's Kingdom

TLP

Finding Clear and Simple Faith

In My Father's House

"...that where I am you may be also." Jn.14:3

cookiecrumbstoliveby

Life through the eyes of "cookie"

The Lions Den

"Blending the colorful issues of life with the unapologetic truth of scripture." ColorStorm

%d bloggers like this: