Saturday, December 24, 2011

Barren Old Women: The Contrast Between Christmas and the Culture of Death

Christmas is a Christian holiday that celebrates life. No wonder leftists hate it so much - babies, hope, God - all the stuff they detest. But Christians love it: the wonder of new life, the joy of fertility, the hope for the future represented by all babies, but especially this one.

Mark Steyn has a wonderful column in the National Review today. Here is how it begins:
"Our lesson today comes from the Gospel according to Luke. No, no, not the manger, the shepherds, the wise men, any of that stuff, but the other birth: “But the angel said unto him, Fear not, Zacharias: for thy prayer is heard; and thy wife Elisabeth shall bear thee a son, and thou shalt call his name John.”

That bit of the Christmas story doesn’t get a lot of attention, but it’s in there — Luke 1:13, part of what he’d have called the backstory, if he’d been a Hollywood screenwriter rather than a physician. Of the four gospels, only two bother with the tale of Christ’s birth, and only Luke begins with the tale of two pregnancies. Zacharias is surprised by his impending paternity — “for I am an old man and my wife well stricken in years.” Nonetheless, an aged, barren woman conceives and, in the sixth month of Elisabeth’s pregnancy, the angel visits her cousin Mary and tells her that she, too, will conceive. If you read Luke, the virgin birth seems a logical extension of the earlier miracle — the pregnancy of an elderly lady. The physician-author had no difficulty accepting both. For Matthew, Jesus’s birth is the miracle; Luke leaves you with the impression that all birth — all life — is to a degree miraculous and God-given."
Steyn goes on to talk about how contemporary Western culture is old, barren and increasingly concerned with managing its own decline rather than building culture. It is striking how derivative and decadent so much of our own culture is today. The best music, architecture, theology and poetry are centuries old. And economic decline is our current lived reality. Steyn writes:
"The problem with the advanced West is not that it’s broke but that it’s old and barren. Which explains why it’s broke. Take Greece, which has now become the most convenient shorthand for sovereign insolvency — “America’s heading for the same fate as Greece if we don’t change course,” etc. So Greece has a spending problem, a revenue problem, something along those lines, right? At a superficial level, yes. But the underlying issue is more primal: It has one of the lowest fertility rates on the planet. In Greece, 100 grandparents have 42 grandchildren — i.e., the family tree is upside down. In a social-democratic state where workers in “hazardous” professions (such as, er, hairdressing) retire at 50, there aren’t enough young people around to pay for your three-decade retirement. And there are unlikely ever to be again."
During the centuries of European colonial expansion the main export of Europe to the rest of the world was people; the excess population of Europe spread across the globe. But now:
As Angela Merkel pointed out in 2009, for Germany an Obama-sized stimulus was out of the question simply because its foreign creditors know there are not enough young Germans around ever to repay it. The Continent’s economic “powerhouse” has the highest proportion of childless women in Europe: One in three fräulein have checked out of the motherhood business entirely. “Germany’s working-age population is likely to decrease 30 percent over the next few decades,” says Steffen Kröhnert of the Berlin Institute for Population Development. “Rural areas will see a massive population decline and some villages will simply disappear.”

If the problem with socialism is, as Mrs. Thatcher says, that eventually you run out of other people’s money, much of the West has advanced to the next stage: It’s run out of other people, period.

In the Bible, children are a precious gift from God. The human race is commanded to be fruitful and multiply in Gen. 1 and Israel joyfully obeyed this command. But now, selfishness gets in the way of the most obedience to God of all: reproduction.

In Italy, the home of the Church, the birthrate’s somewhere around 1.2, 1.3 children per couple — or about half “replacement rate.” Japan, Germany, and Russia are already in net population decline. Fifty percent of Japanese women born in the Seventies are childless. Between 1990 and 2000, the percentage of Spanish women childless at the age of 30 almost doubled, from just over 30 percent to just shy of 60 percent. In Sweden, Finland, Austria, Switzerland, the Netherlands, and the United Kingdom, 20 percent of 40-year-old women are childless. In a recent poll, invited to state the “ideal” number of children, 16.6 percent of Germans answered “None.” We are living in Zacharias and Elisabeth’s world — by choice.

What was for Elizabeth and Zacharias a tragedy and sorrow is for us a lifestyle choice made by so many people today that the very existence of our people is threatened.

The fact is that as societies cast off the Christian beliefs of their ancestors and embrace selfish hedonism as the meaning of life, those societies die. This is not an argument for the "usefulness" of Christianity, however. One thing is clear: people cannot believe in Christianity just because it is useful. You either believe it or you don't.

But it is also clear that when a culture or a country or a nation decides to reject Christianity, the only alternative is the culture of death. The truth of Christianity can be seen in the fact that those who reject it do not find life, vigor and joy, but long, slow, economic and demographic decline into extinction.

There is a way that seems right to a man; but the end thereof is the way of death.

Christmas is the festival of those who have chosen life. Merry Christmas!

Monday, December 19, 2011

Is There Too Much Government in Our Lives?

If you are interested in a civil, extended debate on the issue of how big government should be between articulate representatives of both the Left and the Right today, you should check out this 40 minute debate between George Will and Paul Ryan, for the Right, and Barney Frank and Robert Reich, for the Left, moderated by Christiane Amanpour of ABC.

I thought that Ryan and Will were good, but not able to articulate some key points that would have enabled them to put the real issues on the table. Barney Frank is a good debater (a true Sophist) and was able to frame the debate in such a way as to disguise his support for big government control of the lives of ordinary people. For him, citizens are reduced to clients of government. Yet, by harping on conservative support for basic sexual morality, he was able to portray liberals as the libertarians. This is a major point on which people generally are confused today.

If you want to get to the section on individual liberties, go to the third segment. About a third of the way in or so, Frank starts ranting about anti-drug laws, marriage laws etc. and puts the conservatives on the defensive as defenders of intrusive "big government," which clearly makes them very uncomfortable.

You can check out the debate here.

What Will and Ryan Should Have Said

Will and Ryan missed the chance to say something like this to Frank after his big rant about how libertarian the socialists like him are:
"What you are doing is expressing the new view of liberals, which is "Libertarian Socialism." The classical liberalism of the 19th century depended on Christianity to uphold a social consensus on personal morality, which allowed for the extension of liberty in more and more areas of life. Anarchy and social breakdown was prevented by the existence of church and family and the morality inculcated through these institutions. But now, contemporary liberals have broken with Christianity and its traditional support for the defense of human life, traditional marriage and the family and have thrown in their lot with the cultural Marxism that seeks to destroy private property, the family and the church as obstacles to the Socialist Revolution. So an alliance has arisen between individual libertarianism in matters deemed private - sex, drugs, the family, etc. - and intrusive, big-government socialism in all matters deemed public - money, taxes, education, the military, etc.. This is a new phenomenon in the second half of the 20th century to the present: Libertarian Socialism.

What Libertarian Socialism does is to provide cover for the collectivists who want a ruling class of "experts" to have totalitarian control over the lives of everyone else. It does so by creating the illusion of freedom. When people are told they can have as much sex as they want with whomever they want any time they want, they can fall into the trap of believing they are, therefore, free. But this is not true freedom. It is a lie. It is an illusion of freedom, a parody of true freedom. True freedom is the ability to achieve one's telos, the end for which one was created. It is to become what one was created with the potential to become. Just as the telos of an acorn is to grow into a mighty oak tree, so the telos of the human being is to grow into a mature, responsible, moral agent who consistently chooses what is objectively good instead of being distracted into making choices that prevent one from attaining the good.

Libertarian Socialism prevents humans from becoming fully human in two ways. It infantilizes people and it removes their ability to make moral choices. It infantilizes them by assuming that the government take care of them. So we have socialized medicine in Canada, socialized education, government welfare cheques to replace fathers in the home and so on. Socialism creates a permanent, dependent class of clients who gradually lose the ability to govern themselves and, as that happens, they become happy to be governed from above. A good example of this is the massive intrusion of "family court judges" into the minute details of the lives of families down to determining their daily and weekly schedules as a result of granting the so-called "freedom to divorce easily." This is freedom? It looks more like a government take-over of the family.

Libertarian Socialism removes the ability of people to make good moral choices in two ways. First, it encourages them to make bad choices. Today government makes money out of encouraging gambling, drunkenness, pornography and, soon, prostitution. Libertarian Socialism professes to regard the individual freedom to commit consequence-free adultery as sacrosanct, but thinks it is only right to take money away from the middle-class tax payer to give to its cronies in socially-approved industries such as wind power.

If the goal of socialists is to have a ruling class of "experts" control every aspect of life in order to create a Utopian society free of poverty, crime and inequality, then libertarianism in the area of personal sexual morality is a double benefit to their cause. For one thing, it breaks down personal responsibility and encourages people to simply give in to their appetites, which makes them dependent clients without the personal discipline to demand freedom in other areas. For another, it destroys the family, which is the main bulwark against the tyranny of the total state.

The real agenda of Libertarian Socialism is not individual freedom at all, but rather a government so big, so intrusive, so controlling and so pervasive that individual freedom is destroyed forever. The logical and inevitable outcome of Libertarian Socialism is portrayed in Aldous Huxley's prophetic novel: Brave New World. In this horrifying portrait of the society of the future, our humanity has been all but erased and people are but children, wards of the state. The family has been abolished, promiscuity is a social duty and drug-taking is a way of life for all." In pursuit of Utopia, our basic humanity is diminished and our status as responsible moral agents is destroyed. Libertarian Socialists ought to understand that in the long run the Socialism will swallow up whatever libertarian ideas are embraced today.
Contemporary liberalism does not deserve to be called "Liberalism" because it is not about liberty any more; it is a movement designed to destroy liberty. This is what Ryan and Will should have said.

Friday, December 16, 2011

The Last Superstition

If there is one book I wish everybody would read, it is Edward Feser's The Last Superstition: A Refutation of the New Atheism. It is about much more than the annoying zit on the face of modernity known as the "new atheism." It is actually a history of Western philosophy that explains how some a movement as intellecually vacuous as the "new atheism" could become so popular in our society.

This book shows how it is that most of what are usually known as "the problems of philosophy" are actually the result of modern philosophers' rejection of the classical synthesis of philosophy that developed from the early church fathers through Augustine to Aquinas. It shows that the problem of atheism is a result of nihilistic tendencies built into the founding assumptions of modern philosophy and how classical philosophy had already provided answers to these problems.

If you read this book, you will not be able to take modern and postmodern philosophy seriously again as superior to ancient and medieval philosophy. Which, of course, is a good reason to avoid books like this one if you do not wish to be convinced of the truth of Christianity. As C. S. Lewis said, a young atheist cannot be too careful in his choice of reading material. But if you don't fear the truth and you have an open mind, read this book.

A terrific, short precis of the book has been published in the Montreal Review here.

Defending Calvinism

There is not much time for posting these days: I'm heavily into marking and my grandchildren have now arrived from Alberta for Christmas. So I'll try to post the odd thing here and there.

You can read my response to my colleague Dr. Richard Davis's attack on Calvinism here on the Bayview Review. It was just posted today. It is called "In Defense of Calvinism."

A Review of "Nearing Home" by Billy Graham

Billy Graham has my vote for "Man of the Century." When we think of the many iconic figures of the past century, it is astounding how many of them are negative: Hitler, Lenin, Stalin, Mao come to mind immediately. Others are mixed in their impact: FDR and John Kennedy for example. In science one cannot help but think of Albert Einstein. In business many great entrepreneurs and inventors come to mind including Bill Gates and Steve Jobs. An unlikely trio of allies conspired to overthrow the "Evil Empire" and deserve honorable mention: Ronald Reagan, Margaret Thatcher and Pope John Paul II. History may judge the latter to have saved the Roman Catholic Church from becoming just another declining liberal denomination.

But my vote goes to Billy Graham. He preached the Gospel to more people face to face than anyone else in history. He preached faithfully for an entire (long) lifetime without so much as a whiff of financial or sexual scandal. His biggest failing was allowing himself to be used by US presidents who loved his coattails but did not always take his message seriously. But that is surely a minor flaw.

He integrated his crusades early on and he proved that he, at least, could work with a diverse group of Christian sponsors in his crusades without compromising the Gospel of Jesus Christ. He was the closest thing Evangelicals have had to a pope and many Evangelicals would agree that if you could guarantee that all future popes would be like him they would gladly become papists!

Billy Graham, like the Apostle Paul, used every possible medium for getting his message out: city-wide crusades, radio, TV, books, magazines, the internet etc. But now, at age 92, Graham has written yet another book and once again he preaches the Gospel of Jesus Christ in every way possible.

Nearing Home: Life, Faith and Finishing Well is a book sure to appeal to a wide audience, but especially senior citizens and those contemplating retirement. In it, Graham reflects on his own experience and consults Scripture on how to develop godly attitudes toward the challenges of growing old. He begins by writing: "I never expected to live this long." But of course none of us control how old we get; that is in the hands of our Creator.

In ten chapters, Graham discusses such topics as not retiring from life just because you retire from a job and how to cope with a decline in physical vitality and strength. He finds aging humiliating, but at the same time character-building for learning to accept our weakness and rely on God's strength is near the heart of the Christian life.

Graham also discusses death, something most people prefer not to think about too much. But his living and vital faith shines through as he is able to look death in the eye and know it will not have the last word. In many ways, more so that his other books, this book is Billy Graham's personal testimony to the grace of God in his life. As he ages he still finds that he believes what he has preached all his life and that, after all, is the real test of authenticity is it not?

Billy Graham is a great man whose greatness lies in the fact that he views himself as an ordinary man who serves an extraordinary God. His genuine humility, faith and love for Jesus Christ come through in this unusual book. What a great Christmas present it would make for anyone who expects to grow older.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

A Glimpse into the Future of the Episcopal Church

For over 40 years Episcopalian Bishop John Spong has been on the cutting edge of the development of theological thought in the Anglican Communion. He has always been a controversial figure simply because he is always out in front proclaiming the heresies that will be taken as conventional wisdom a decade later by the mainstream of the Episcopal Church. He has been on a journey in which the boundaries of what is tolerated within the Church are ever expanded outward in a never-ending movement toward paganism.

Of course, it is taxing to find enough outrageous things to state so that one can stay ahead of the wild and whacky world of Anglican thought and practice. But to give the man credit, he has never been confronted with an envelope he could not push. Creativity is his strength and he never seems to run out of ways to upset even the most left-leaning mainstream leaders of his church.

So if you want to see what the Episcopal Church (and whatever is left of the Anglican Communion) will be saying in 10 or 20 years, you should listen to John Spong today. Several decades ago he was denying the authority of Bible and Creeds when it was not taken for granted in liberal circles. And three decades ago he was pushing homosexuality when it was still controversial among liberals. And he was unitarian before unitarianism was cool. So it pays to note where "the cutting edge of progressivism" is going in the future.

Bryan Owen has a report on a recent lecture by Spong over at Virtue Online:
I see from the Episcopal Divinity School Fall 2011 newsletter that Bishop Spong gave a lecture in St. John's Memorial Chapel back on October 21 entitled, "Shifting the Paradigm - From Rescue to Expanded Life." Here's some of what the newsletter article reports: In his address, Spong declared Christianity's "old symbols increasingly are bankrupt ... [and] the new symbols have not yet fully arisen so that they are recognized." He compared the present day with that of Augustine, Aquinas, or the 16th-century Reformers - a moment of "paradigm shift" that "calls for the death of what has been and the birth of what is to be - and that is never a comfortable time." In particular, he said, the titles "savior," "redeemer," and "rescuer" applied to Jesus in liturgies, hymns, and sermons have "become bankrupt, useless, and even distorted ... I think all of them have got to go."

"What is the problem with these titles?" Spong asked. "They all imply a particular definition of human life, which I think is false. ... [W]e are constantly insulting our humanity out of a particular theological frame of reference. We are beggars approaching God. We are telling God how unworthy we are." Such a theological construct, said Spong, is "simply not true. ... It is therefore bad anthropology, and no one can build good theology on bad anthropology."

"Our problem is not a fall into sin," maintained Spong. "It is that we have not yet achieved our full humanity."

The source of acts of evil, said Spong, is found in humanity's survival instinct, "the evolutionary baggage that every one of us carries." Because it is part of human nature, "our only hope is that we are lifted beyond it. We have to be called, we have to be merged into a humanity that somehow finally escapes survival as our driving force."

Words like savior and redeemer and rescuer "simply lock us into the old paradigm," Spong argued. Instead, telling the story of Jesus "as the source of love calling us to love beyond every boundary, to love wastefully, to give it away, to never stop and count the cost: that's a new image of what it means to be human."
Spong is always good for a laugh: "no one can build good theology on bad anthropology." Why is he still interested in theology again?

But he has a point about "redeemer" and "saviour" language. Why liberal Protestants would hang on to that sort of language is hard to understand. If they are going to be consistent, they need to join the Humanist Association and wind up the whole church things altogether. But that would be too big a step to take all at once. First, deny the authority of Scripture. Second, deny miracles. Third, deny the deity of Christ and the doctrine of the Trinity. Fourth, focus on the social gospel and dismiss the soul, heaven and hell as "out-dated." Fifth, start turning Christian morality upside down and affirm everything Christianity says is sinful and condemn everything Christianity says is good. [This is where liberal Protestantism is now.] Clearly, the future is to eliminate every trace of a religion of redemption from sin by the grace of God in Christ. Then Pelagius can become a saint, Augustine a heretic and the Bible-burning can commence.

Don't try dismissing Spong as a crank or an extremist. That used to work back in the days when nobody thought an actual church accepting the goodness of homosexuality was even worth talking about as a possibility. Now he must be regarded as a barometer of liberal Protestantism. He is not crazy; he can just see over the next hill.

The only fresh horizon he won't share with you is the one consisting of a vast lake of fire which burns eternally but never burns out. He will keep that one to himself until it is too late for you to turn back.

This Christmas: Pray for Christians Under the Boot of Islamic Oppression

Latma TV is a satirical site with a serious message. Here is their take on Christmas in Bethlehem.

(Thanks to Scott Masson for pointing out this video for me.)

All over the Western world, we allow Muslims to enter our countries, build mosques, stay in cliques speaking a foreign language and remain under the malign influence of fire-breathing, fundamentalists leaders funded by Saudi Arabia.

In the Middle East, Christians are being persecuted, hounded out and ethnically cleansed. In Iraq the ancient Church (which pre-dates the rise of the Muslim heresy) is nearly extinct. In Egypt (which was a Christian country until being taken over by violent jihadists) Christians are struggling to hang on against persecution and violence. In Judea and Samaria the Palestinian Authority is gradually pushing Christians out. And we send them foreign aid.

I think we should take no more immigrants from and send no more foreign aid to countries that do not offer complete freedom of religion to Christians. Instead we should place them under a trade embargo and seek to isolate them in the court of world opinion.

Islam opposes freedom of religion categorically; Islam therefore is a totalitarian political system which must be opposed by all who love freedom. Islam must change; we must resist.

Pray for our brothers and sisters under the heel of Islam this Christmas. May this be the last Christmas that Muslims rule over Christians anywhere on earth.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Machen Foresaw Dawkins Clearly in 1923

J. G. Machen's little book, Christianity and Liberalism, written in 1923, was prophetic in that it predicted accurately the course liberalism would take in the future. It ends with Richard Dawkins wanting to make belief in God illegal - or at least handing on that faith to the children of believers.

Here is Machen:
"Admitting that scientific objections may arise against the particularities of the Christian religion - against the Christian doctrines of the person of Christ, and of redemption through his death and resurrection - the liberal theologian seeks to rescue certain of the general principles of religion, of which these particularities are thought to be mere temporary symbols, and these general principles he regards as constituting 'the essence of Christianity.'

It may well be questioned, however, whether this method of defence will really prove to be efficacious; for after the apologist has abandoned his outer defences to the enemy and withdrawn into some inner citidal, he will probably discover that the enemy pursues him even there. Modern materialism . . . is not content with occupying the lower quarters of the Christian city, but pushes its way into all the higher reaches of life; it is just as much opposed to the philosophical idealism of the liberal preacher as to the Biblical doctrines that the liberal preacher has abandoned in the interests of peace. Mere concessiveness, therefore, will never succeed in avoiding the intellectual conflict. In the intellectual battle of the present day there can be no 'peace without victory;' one side or the other must win. (p. 6)
How can anyone deny that things have played out just as Machen predicted in the 90 or so years since he wrote this book?

Islam and Communism are great threats to the survival of our culture, yet the materialism of a Dawkins is a greater threat still - mainly because it emanates from within the heart of the culture rather than from the outside. And if Machen is right, only one side will emerge victorious in the culture wars. If the conservative side loses - as it very well might - then the bright flame of liberty and justice that has flashed across the sky in the West will dim and burn out.

In that case, God and His Church will stand forever, but in Africa and Asia, not in the West.

Friday, December 9, 2011

More Evidence that Atheism Makes You Stupid

Richard Dawkins is a fool. If you don't believe me, see Psalm 53:1. It is a scandal that such a willful ignoramus should hold a chair is a prestigious university such as Oxford. Only a decadent, declining society could honour such a man.

There is no excuse for treating him with kid gloves. He is actually a totalitarian who would love to make it illegal for Christians to raise their own children in their own faith and he deserves to be marginalized and ignored by the media. That his books sell well and he gets rich throwing bombs at Christians is more of an indictment of the low level of education in our society than a reliable gauge of anti-Christian sentiment in our society.

In his Daily Telegraph blog today, Rev. Peter Mullens has this to say about the Elmer Gantry of atheists:

Richard Dawkins says that David Cameron is “not really a Christian”. The fact is that it is only God to whom all hearts be open, all desires known and from whom no secrets are hid. So Dawkins has no means of telling whether Cameron is a genuine Christian or not.

We can, however, know that Dawkins is not a proper atheist – that is an intelligent atheist – from his own puerile writing and pathetic attempts at philosophical theology. For example, he writes: “Either God exists or he doesn’t. It is a scientific question. The existence of God is a scientific question, like any other.”

This is idiotic. Science investigates material phenomena, observable entities in the universe. No competent theologians or philosophers – not even the atheist ones – have ever declared that God (if he exists) is an object in his own universe. Perhaps there is no God, and intelligent Christians readily admit that there may be some legitimate doubt. But if the Judaeo-Christian God exists, then he is the maker of the universe and not an entity within it

It may be that Christians are tragically misled and that there is no God. But before you rush into atheism, you have to know something about philosophical reasoning and how theology works. In other words you have to know what it is about and what it is not about. When he discusses religious belief, Dawkins does not know what he is talking about. And to fire off ignorant opinions is only the first mark of a fool.

To say that the existence of God is a scientific question (in the narrow sense of science as the investigation of empirical reality by experimental methods), is the worst sort of scientism. Scientism is the elevation of science to the status of a religion by saying that only empirical science can discover truth and any truth not within range of empirical science is not important and unreal. Scientism is a heavily freighted philosophy which depends on highly controversial and not empirically demonstrable axioms. In other words, it rests on a foundation of what Richard Dawkins wishes were true.

Dawkins cannot tell the difference between metaphysics, science and religion and so he simply asserts that they all come out to the same thing. In his atheist tract, The God Delusion, he treats the metaphysical arguments of St. Thomas Aquinas in 2.5 pages and actually imagines he has debunked the arguments for the existence of God. In an age of low educational standards but almost universal literacy, he gets away with it so long as he is not called on his stupidity. So it is necessary for those who know how much he does not know to say so openly and loudly.

Mullens goes on to compare Dawkins to David Hume, who was an atheist but not a bitter, old, hate-fulled campaigner against Christians. Anthony Flew was an atheist for most of his life, but he never descended to the hatefulness and spite of a Dawkins. There just is no need of it.

Atheists and Christians alike should join in denouncing Dawkins for his bigotry and stupidity. This intellectual charlatan is merely a poorly-educated, angry, old man with an ax to grind and little intellectual firepower with which to grind. It is very sad to watch.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Liberal Government Puts Political Correctness Ahead of the Welfare of Ontario's Children

Unfortunately, the Liberal government here in Ontario is resuming its radical, sexual revolution indoctrination program for children in Ontario schools against the will of Christian parents. Why? Because the election is over. We had our chance to vote them out and we didn't.

The Globe and Mail reports:

Ontario's Liberal government says it is not prepared to abandon the sex-ed component of a pending anti-bullying law, despite criticism by some religious leaders Tuesday that it is an affront to traditional family values.

Christian, Jewish and Muslim representatives say they agree school bullies must be stopped, but they can't condone a requirement under the legislation proposed to deal with it that schools promote sexual tolerance through gay clubs.

“To force, especially Christian classrooms or schools, to have homosexual clubs would of course be an affront to their family values,” Charles McVety, of the Institute for Canadian Values, told a joint news conference.

“And what does this have to do with bullying? Nothing.”

Mr. McVety, who led the fight against the Liberals' last attempt to update the province's sex-ed curriculum, says Premier Dalton McGuinty is using the problem of bullying to advance “his radical sex education agenda.”

The religious leaders say that agenda is driven by gay activists.

“When you are forcing teachers, Christian teachers, Jewish teachers, Muslim teachers, to teach things that are contrary to the values that they hold, to teach that there are six genders and that you are not attached to the gender of your anatomy, do you not find that that may be an offence to a lot of Ontarians?” asked Mr. McVety.

Rabbi Mendel Kaplan of Chabad Flamingo Synagogue in Toronto said he also believes that parts of the anti-bullying bill aimed at making schools inclusive and tolerant of gay lifestyles are offensive to many families.

“This legislation proposes that children be indoctrinated to reject their parents' faith and their parents' family values, and that's an affront,” said Mr. Kaplan.

“What nobody here in good conscience can support is a law that calls on people of faith to abandon the beliefs that we consider sacred, all in the name of political correctness.”

Let us be clear: the issue is not really bullying. This is a poll-tested bit of emotional manipulation used by the radical, sexual revolutionists used by them to slip radical changes past the public and to intimidate the conservative opposition.

The result of this policy is going to be our schools basically doing what the schools in the old Soviet Union did: indoctrinating the children with anti-family, anti-religious propaganda so as to turn them against their parents' belief systems.

This is evil and dispicible. Dalton McGuinty is a cynical, compromised, venal politician who should be disciplined by his Church. Only the cowardice of Roman Catholic bishops allows such a man to trawl for votes by subtly flaunting his Catholicism at election time and then turn against the Church (and all religious people) when it suits his political agenda.

Protestant leaders are no better. Where is the EFC? Where are leading Evangelical pastors and leaders of major Evangelical institutions? I'd say that we get the government we deserve, but our children do not deserve to be authority figures in positions of trust.

Vulnerable, confused children will be encouraged to be "gay" through this program and, as a result, we will see increases in depression, sexual experimentation, vulnerability to adult sexual predators, drug abuse and suicide. The children are collateral damage in the Revolution.

The Marxists are winning without firing a shot.

What I Can't Believe

I believe in God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Ghost. But there are a lot of things in which I simply cannot bring myself to believe.

I wonder at the credulousness of people today. As literacy and critical thinking skills decline due to "progressive education" it seems to me that most people are more gullible and less inclined to reject that which is incoherent and implausible. There is more of a herd mentality and the most astonishing things are taken for granted by the "in crowd" of new class knowledge professionals that form the core of the modern bureaucratic state.

Here are some things relating to Marxism that I find silly, dumb, unworthy of serious intellectual consideration by thinking people and, yet, which many people apparently endorse with a straight face. It is just about impossible to take seriously anyone who believes, or acts as if he believes, in the things on this list.

1. The myth of primitive communism.
2. The "iron laws of history."
3. Marx's failed predictions about the collapse of capitalism.
4. The labor theory of value.
5. The Marxist concept of ideology.
6. The withering away of the state.
7. The oppressiveness of the traditional family.
8. The coming classless society.
9. That the state is evil.
10. That private property is morally wrong.
11. That private property protects the rich more than it protects the poor.
12. The ideal of income equality.
13. The existence of rigidly fixed classes.
14. The human nature of socialism.
15. The benign intentions of socialist agitators.
16. That communism has never really been tried yet.
17. That the state can be trusted as the overwhelmingly dominant power center in society.
18. That capitalism is an immoral system.
19. That religion keeps people down and prevents progress.
20. that the Party can be trusted to act in our best interests.
21. The perfectibility of man.
22. The humane nature of socialism.
23. The moral imperative of rewarding sloth.
24. That the welfare state is good for poor people in good health.
25. That there is enough money in the world for government to use to replace the family.

My two questions to any actual Marxists who might happen to read this list are:

(1) Which of the items on this list would you care to defend and how on earth would you do it?

(2) If we can't believe in the items on this list, what is left of Marxism and other forms of socialism? Why not adopt a free market, limited government, liberal political economy?

I'm just wondering - seriously.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

"The End is Near" - C. S. Lewis

You know the cartoon with the guy in the robe holding a placard that says "The End is Near"? You can view a selection of cartoons of this type here.

Well, here is a quote from C. S. Lewis's The Abolition of Man in which he sounds just like the guy in the cartoon.

"The practical result of the education in the spirit of "The Green Book"
must be the destruction of the society which accepts it."
(C. S. Lewis, The Abolition of Man, p. 27)

Yes, you read that right: C. S. Lewis is saying that any society which educates its young people by debunking the notion of objective value will thereby destroy itself. Lewis argues in this prophetic book that there is such a thing as value (goodness, truth, beauty) in objects themselves totally apart from our subjective evaluations of those objects. What he calls "The Green Book" is a high school English textbook that teaches relativism in the course of teaching English composition. He actually thinks that such books are destroying our culture.

But then, he is an Augustinian who accepts the Platonist-Christian synthesis that dominated the church for well over a millennium until the decline in realist metaphysics and the rise of nominalism in the later part of the high middle ages (Christendom) prepared the way for the rise of Modernity. He believes that the Divine Logos which created the world left the imprint of his rationality upon it and, since we bear the Divine image, we can rationally understand some of the truth about reality and we can discern the good and the beautiful, despite our having fallen into nature and the consequent loss of some of our rational capacity.

Lewis believed that value is not merely subjective. In The Abolition of Man he talked about the Tao, the common core of moral value held in common by Plato, Aristotle, Confucianism, Hinduism, Christianity and Judaism. The lectures published in this book were delivered to a secular audience so he avoided excessive reliance on terms usually associated with one religious tradition. But he is clearly talking about what the Western tradition has referred to as "natural law." Lewis ends chapter 2 by raising the question as to whether or not traditional morality can be retained by a society that rejects all supernatural bases for it.

Lewis does not answer this question due to the context of his lectures but it is clear that he thinks it cannot - at least not in Europe. Europe has been Christian for two millennia and it has no other soul or religion. It is either Christianity or secularism for Europe and Lewis argues that the relativistic, subjectivist secularism of mid-twentieth century Britain is an insufficient basis for traditional morality.

But to say it is an "insufficient basis" is not strong enough. Lewis is literally predicting the fall of Western civilization if it does not regain its soul, that is, if it does not experience a widespread and profoundly deep revival of the Christian religion in the near future. One senses without difficulty that the hour is much later than when he wrote these words in 1944 and that his prediction is coming true rapidly. A widespread and sincere acceptance of relativism spells the doom of the society that sinks to this state.

When a mild-mannered, Oxford don pulls on the burlap and digs out his "The End is Near" sign, it might be time to sit up and take notice.