Wednesday, April 29, 2020
Tuesday, April 28, 2020
Commissar Cuomo Doesn’t Give A Damn If You Starve To Death. Does He Tell Welfare Breeding Sows To Also Take Dangerous Jobs?
Thursday, April 23, 2020
Astonishingly, the elites of the mainstream media insist that the way to resolve this crisis is not by returning to at least the rudiments of the principles that usually lay the foundations of both personal success and cultural vitality. Instead, what such technocrats seem to counsel is how those still holding to that foundation are in large part responsible for the widespread decay. To such minds, the only way to restore a semblance of social tranquility is to for the most part eliminate the Judeo-Christian influence with an inordinate amount of that effort directed against the conservative Christian component.
The first step in neutralizing the Christian influence in order the bring about what Barack Obama categorized as a fundamental transformation of the American way of life is to coerce, cajole, and manipulate conservative believers across the various interpretations of Christianity into altering their foundational conceptions of the Afterlife. At the most basic, the faithful contend that those believing in Christ after enduring the struggles and vicissitudes of this world marred by sin will be welcomed into their reward of unending bliss in a perfect realm referred to as Heaven. Those having come to the end of their earthly lives without coming to faith in Jesus Christ will be punished in unending torment likened unto interminable darkness and fire understood to be Hell.
This approach is evident in a April 16, 2012 “Time Magazine” article by Jon Meacham titled “Heaven Can Wait: Why Rethinking The Hereafter Could Make The World A Better Place”. In his analysis, Meacham does not believe that the concept of Heaven should be taught necessarily as an objective doctrine that provides comfort to those realizing that whatever personal suffering with which they are afflicted is likely not to be resolved this side of the grave. Rather, the validity of the concept of the Afterlife is to be determined in terms of its temporal utility. In other words, what value can we (or rather the elites that run society) get from it now in terms of manipulating mere commoners into complying with prevailing ideologies and revolutionary fads.
Borrowing from the interpretation of Anglican Bishop and New Testament scholar N.T. Wright, Meacham writes, “What if Christianity is not about enduring this sinful, fallen world in search of a reward of eternal rest? What if the authors of the New Testament were actually talking about a bodily resurrection in which God brings together the heavens and the earth in a wholly new, wholly redeemed creation?” To most, this sounds a whole lot like a distinction without a difference.
Most that have studied the End Times know that there will indeed be a new Heaven and a new Earth with the likelihood of there being travel back and forth between the two. Those residing in what has traditionally been thought of as Heaven or the New Jerusalem that will be floating above the Earth sort of like a gigantic extraterrestrial mothership will most likely be believers that died prior to the Resurrection. On Earth will likely dwell those that, through the grace of God, survived the Great Tribulation or the descendants of such born during the Millennial reign of Christ with its focus upon Israel, a remnant of which will come to faith in Christ upon realizing the error of that nation's rejection of the Messiah inherent to systematized Judaism.
Of course many Christians are not aware of these truths. Hardly any theologies teach these things boldly with the exception of a handful of dispensational or premillennial theologians concentrated in Fundamentalist, Charismatic, or conservative Evangelical circles. Most such as mainline Protestants such as the Episcopalians and Roman Catholics undermine interest in these passages of Scripture by teaching that these are not to be taken literally but are merely a convoluted literary metaphor regarding the ongoing struggle between good evil. Devout yet hardline Reformed and Presbyterian types insist that the events detailed in the prophetic passages of Scripture haver already taken place on what seems to our contemporary times the distant past.
Interestingly, in the version of Heaven that we are to be allowed to retain as a result of the graciousness of the ruling technocrats and their religious functionaries that they have apparently co-opted, the notion of the Resurrection seems to be little more than an unconnected holdover. For this description of what might still be called the Afterlife (for lack of a better term) doesn't really sound all that different than what we are already experiencing as business as usual.
Meachem writes, “But if you believe the world will be destroyed at the very last day while the blessed look down from a disembodied heaven, then you are most likely going to view things of this world in a different light than someone who believes there will be a bodily resurrection or an earth that is to be ..'our eternal home'.” From this difference, Meachem concludes, “Accepting the latter can mean different priorities, conceivably putting issues like saving the environment up their with saving souls.”
Perhaps there is some truth to the old adage that some are so focused on Heaven that they are no earthly good. However, from the eschatological expectation as articulated by Jon Meachem, those focusing on the terrestrial counterpart of a new Heaven and a new Earth don't seem to fully take to the implications of the concept of “new”.
For as articulated here, Meachem seems to assume that these glorified bodies will simply continue to exist in the same old world that we have always known subject to the all-to-familiar ravages of entropy and decay. He does not seem to take into account II Peter 3:10 how the present elements will melt away in a fervent heat. So why shouldn't the new Earth be as free from death and disease as our new bodies unless Meachem believes that once we die physically we will be plagued with having to endure this process yet again?
Interestingly, this desire on the part of otherwise secular progressives such as Meacham articulating their subdued spirituality is not so that the world we inhabit at the moment might be made a better reflection of the goodness and righteousness conceptualized in its most undiluted form in the presence of God. If anything, the motifs and symbols of belief are only being invoked in a last ditch effort to be do away with the adherents of traditional religious perspectives once and for all.
In his analysis, Meachem observes that these differing understandings of Heaven are in part responsible for the profound division characterizing contemporary American society and politics. But instead of admonishing those with their minds in this world to instead look up so that they might elevate their decorum and character, it is those holding to traditional understandings of virtue that are being asked --- and in certain instances even threatened and commanded --- to take a back seat and assume a posture of silence.
For example, an article published in December 2012 at Yahoo News was titled “Does the GOP need a religious retreat?'. In the analysis, it was pointed out that America is growing increasingly secular and perhaps even antagonistic towards viewpoints that could be categorized as traditionally religious in their orientation towards concepts such as family and morality. But Evangelicals were not applauded for standing by their beliefs in the face of overwhelming societal pressure the way contemporary media and culture for the most part in the celebratory manner often lavished upon the Amish.
George Mason University Professor of Public Policy Mark Rozell is quoted as saying, “The way Republicans speak is turning off the youngest, fastest growing groups in the country --- Latinos and significantly the unchurched, those with no religious affiliation. To them, the Republicans are proselytizing.”
But at least proselytizing denotes an effort to get someone to change their beliefs through rational persuasion or a verbally articulated appeal. These secularists and their radical progressivist allies simply demand immediate acquiescence to their ultimatums or else, with that often up to and including threats of violence.
Reflecting upon the tendency of the rising generation of believers not to stand for their beliefs and to simply cave to the demands of the encroaching culture, George Mason University Professor of Political Science James Wilcox is quoted in the same article as saying, “Young evangelicals don't look at the country as a battlefield...They see the 'War and Religion' narrative as nonsense; they see churches thriving ... and the extent of religious pluralism in this country.”
If this is how young evangelicals see the world, America is worse off than we think. For it means these individuals are not aware of what is going on around them or have incorporated into their own perspective a number of presuppositions that do not belong to a Christian worldview.
It has been said that, if fish could talk, they would still not be able to explain how it feels to be wet. By that, it means those that know nothing else are not usually the best ones to rely upon to explain a particular situation.
The youth and young adults of today have know nothing but overwhelming theological compromise, social decline, and cultural degeneracy. For example, even the Southern Baptist Convention, despite experiencing what many scholars of religious history would categorize as a conservative resurgence commencing in the closing decades of the twentieth century, is now publishing a gender neutral “linguistically inclusive” version of the Bible. And even that is apparently not enough capitulation to the advocates of political correctness.
At the 2017 annual meeting, a resolution was ultimately passed condemning the alleged racial superiority of the so-called “Alt Right”. But while some organizations and ideologies classified under that particular designation indeed peddle a number of questionable assumptions regarding race and ethnicity, the Alt Right is much broader and more complex for the Southern Baptist Convention to dismiss the spokesman of such a broad category outrightly so quickly.
After all, the Southern Baptist Convention did not come out as forcefully against Black Lives Matter and the accompanying protests resulting in upheaval leading to the considerable destruction of private property of individuals and businesses in no way directly responsible for the questionable police actions and ensuing judicial verdicts that led to this palpable outage.
An op-ed published in the 10/25/10 edition of USA Today titled “In God-fearing USA, Where Is The Decency?” blames the lack of civility in American politics on Evangelicals. The essay goes on to provide a couple of examples of this phenomena as well as figures attempting to slowly turn around the ship of state.
As a foremost example, the column's author Tom Krattenmaker details the outrages of Senator David Vitter of Louisiana. For a campaign ad categorized as “punching below the belt” against public benefits for illegal aliens, Vitter is condemned for utilizing images of “dark skinned” Mexicans pouring through a hole in the fence. Would it have been more accurate to have filmed the piece with the buxom fair-skinned actresses from the Telemundo telenovellas who, though Hispanic, have a significant European heritage if they were to submit their samples to one of those fly by night DNA registries constantly advertised on TV?
The column pointed at Senator Vitter's hypocrisy of basing many of his public policy pronouncements on a Judeo-Christian foundation despite Vitter having been caught in an affair with a prostitute. Fair enough.
But ironically, unless one wants to base sexual morality on a Biblical foundation rather than a slippery slope of everyone determining that which is right in their own eyes, aren't those outraged at Vitter's alleged hypocrisy actually the biggest hypocrites of them all? For if we really shouldn't get involved in between of what goes on between two consenting adults, what is so wrong with prostitution so long as the adults involved aren't forced into against their will if the Ten Commandments have been eliminated as the overarching behavioral guideline? After all, it is doubtful Senator Vitter selected the toothless meth addict in the alley behind a local convenience store or in the parking lot of a fleabag motel.
If our bodies really are ours to do with as we please, what's so wrong with what Senator Vitter did? Under the paradigm of radical existentialist bodily autonomy allowed to fester in other sectors of social policy and culture, the only thing Senator Vitter and his lady of the evening really are guilty of are failing to comply with technically obtuse and nearly impossible to understand taxation and labor laws.
The USA Today article that goes on from an incident that is only wrong ultimately if one buys into the exact traditionalist morality that these radical secularists are actually calling for the elimination of to suggest that the real reason America finds itself in the tumult that the nation is mired in today is because of the failure of politically active Christians and conservatives to compromise on a number of fundamental beliefs in favor of a nebulous “civility” that attempts to emphasize the decorum found among a variety of often disparate worldviews and ideologies. These principles have been apparently elaborated more fully in a document known as the “Contract For Civility”.
Of such lofty-sounding endeavors, the discerning are often cautious as more often than not they are little more than mechanisms by which to box in or handcuff those coming closest to abiding by the standards of righteousness. The Civility Project was conceived of by a number of Evangelical Christians and Jew Lanny Davis. That's right, politically astute observer of current affairs, THAT Lanny Davis.
For those that might not be as familiar, about the only reason anyone knows about Lanny Davis is because he has pretty much made a career of publicly defending the Clinton's no matter what. Because of the hypocrisy of having such a celebrity promoting an effort lecturing the rest of us on how we are and are not to behave in terms of how we express our innermost thoughts and beliefs, many have refused to get on board or even reneged over having signed the document to begin with following additional reflection.
Because of the reluctance to bind oneself to the civility covenant, Krattenmaker further laments, “Speaking of those hardball rules, another seems to require that thou shalt not acknowledge anything good about anyone or anything on the other side of the figurative aisle.” If Lanny Davis is to be upheld as the sterling example to which we troglodytes and peons are expected to aspire in terms of public deportment, since his notoriety is owed for his links to the Clintons, did he denounce Hillary Clinton for her categorization of those that simply voted for Donald Trump as “deplorables”. Interesting, isn't it, how all of the compromise is expected from those on the right side of the aisle while those on the left are applauded for looting and prancing down the streets in costumes depicting the unmentionables of the female anatomy?
Praised as a religious leader courageously championing civility in these uncouth times is Jim Wallis of Sojourner''s Magazine. Krattenmaker applauds the numerous Bible verses soaking through his own civility campaign such as Ephesians 4:31 (“Put off falsehood and speak truthfully”), Ephesians 4:31 (“Get rid of all bitterness, rage, anger, brawling, and slander, along with every form of malice”) and James 1:19 (“Be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to become angry”).
Considering these Scriptures in relation to Sojourners Magazine, the discerning cannot help but feel a little bit conflicted. On the one hand, it is almost touching that Sojourners is taking God's Holy Word seriously for a change in light of the publication's endorsement of wanton carnality such as gay marriage as well as providing a forum for those that regularly undermine orthodox theology such as Brian McLaren. On the other hand, one is almost overcome with a sense of profound disappointment upon realizing that Sojourners has no intentions whatsoever of holding its allies to these behavioral guidelines but merely inclined to invoke them to curtail the liberties of religious traditionalists duped into these sorts of agreements.
For example, during the 1980's, “Sojourners Magazine” backed the Sandinistas of Nicaragua. As avowed Marxists, did these insurrectionists “get rid of all bitterness, rage, anger, brawling and slander”? Most certainly not as each of these are intrinsic strategies from the Communist playbook on the way to seize power.
It must be granted that picking sides in Third World political conflicts is difficult. In terms of upholding human rights, the Contras backed by a number on the political right such as Oliver North were little better. However, “Sojourners Magazine” doesn't even apply the standards of civility the publication is calling for in the contemporary early twenty-first century American context not yet irrevocably marred by upheaval or bloodshed that could be characterized as widespread or pervasive.
Of political conservatives, voices at Sojourners such as Jim Wallis would ask that the tone and exaggeration of vocalized outrage be downplayed and pulled back. Therefore, to be consistent, shouldn't this prominent organ of the press also admonish leftist protest movements similarly?
“Sojourners” did nothing of the sort. If anything, the exact opposite strategy was pursued.
For example, “Sojourners” did not condemn Occupy Wall Street as radical extremists given over to inexcusable violence directed at the private property of commercial enterprises or even churches. Instead the magazine extolled Occupy hooligans as prophetic voices and counseled churches susceptible to this form of propaganda to aide and abet the flagrant subversion and vandalism by bestowing items of charity upon these wanton insurgents and even opening up their sanctuaries as places of respite. It would probably take a miracle of God to get the body funk out of the carpet and off the pews should any church heed such a call given that many Occupy activists aren't exactly renowned for their adherence to conventional grooming practices.
As part of the call for civility, the social engineers behind this manipulation campaign insists that we are to downplay our differences in the attempt to emphasize instead what we have in common. It is hoped that the result will be a bland pluralism in which we will surrender to the realized stupor that most viewpoints and systems are pretty much the same with no one's values really better than anyone else's. Yet the end result, as usual, is that traditional religionists and those of an allied conservative mindset are the ones expected to adopt affirmative quiescence for the sake of sociopolitical cohesion or face the consequences.
One such article embodying the spirit of “all values are equal except those questioning the secularist hegemony” is titled “Of Course Evangelicals Are Backing Trump: Their Beliefs Are Illogical And Contradictory”. While focusing primarily upon the initially perplexing incongruity of many deeply devout Evangelical conservatives politically backing Donald Trump who rather matter of factly lived life as an existential reprobate, the article also highlighted a number of policy areas Christian Conservatives are expected to compromise over if any sense of social harmony is to be restored to American politics and culture. Of Christians willing to betray a variety of the faith's most basic assumptions, the author gushes, “Luckily, these sorts of doctrinally orthodox, thoughtful, tolerant and compassionate Christians are growing within evangelical groups. I think it's even fair to say they''ll make up most of the next generation of Christians. They're among the most intelligent and wonderful people I know.”
Now lets take a moment to consider what his author is saying. In civic pronouncements, the resident of the twenty-first century is indoctrinated that it is no longer sufficient to begrudgingly put up with those with whom you disagree. Instead one is obligated to explicitly affirm the way and by what creeds everybody else decides to live their lives.
Yet in his essay, Mack Hayden says that these allegedly orthodox, thoughtful, and compassionate Christians that find Donald Trump “politically reprehensible” are the most wonderful people that he knows. And what is it exactly that makes these people so wonderful?
Why believing, in terms of politics, almost identically with Mack Hayden of course! But by making this sort of judgment, how is he fundamentally different than any other absolutist that insists that not all values or ideas are equal and in terms of how this impacts close relationships it is the proverbial my way or the highway?
And just what is it that makes the Evangelicals that go along with a considerable degree of Trump's initial agenda if not the glaring personal shortcomings of the President so “deplorable” in the words of Hilary Clinton and echoed in the sentiments of the Mack Hayden article?
Hayden writes, “If evangelicals want to reduce the size of government, they must argue with Paul about whether Christians should rebel against government at all. If they want to try to influence government with levitical commands against homosexuality, they must ask themselves why they aren't similarly trying to influence it to legislate morality when it comes to charitable giving.”
Hayden carries on, “If they want the redistribution of wealth, to be considered anathema, they must disagree with both the Old and New Testaments. If they believe God created the heavens and the earth, they must answer why they don't want to protect it. If they want to cry out for the rights of the unborn, they must be able to answer YHWH's admonitions and Christ's questions about why they tried to keep the refugee, and the immigrant, or the disadvantaged from assistance.”
Of these typical conservative Evangelical policy positions, Hayden characterizes these as marked by “illogicality and contradiction”. But instead the situation would be better characterized as one of profound worldview differences.
For example, if Evangelicals want to reduce the size of government, what does that have to do with failure to heed Paul's admonition about rebelling against government? More disturbingly, is Mark Hayden saying that the only legitimate government is a totalitarian one large enough to control all aspects of existence?
The injunction Hayden is probably referring to is Romans 13. Though Mr. Hayden would probably have few qualms about turning the United States into a comprehensive bureaucratic regime along the lines of the Soviet Union and what Americans are likely to end up with if religious conservatives adopt the kind of political pacifism he is apparently calling for, at the moment the United States is not the sort of regime where ultimate authority rests in an office held by a single human being or even a plurality of archons.
Rather, the distinction of the highest temporal authority governing America is instead the U.S. Constitution. The legitimacy of that particular document, in turn, is derived from “We the people.”
As such, the people calling for limited government are not the ones in a state of rebellion. That transgression is being committed by the elected officials and assisting bureaucrats extending the power that they have been vested with into areas over which they have not been granted an explicit foundational mandate.
Next Hayden conjectured that if Trumpist Evangelicals want to influence government with Levitical commands against homosexuality, they must also legislate morality in regards to charitable giving. Once again, Hayden proves that Scriptures cannot be correctly understood unless one has the wisdom of the Holy Spirit.
With the exception of hardline theocrats of whom it must be admitted have a disturbing degree of influence beyond their number, very few Evangelicals advocating a social philosophy inspired by the Bible are advocating a position regarding homosexuality based solely upon the Book of Leviticus (from which the adjective “levitical” utilized by Mr. Hayden is derived). For although the New Testament punishments against physical pleasure beyond the bounds of heterosexual marriage are not as extreme or as explicit as those of the Old Testament, the condemnation of such cannot be denied unless the theologian or exegete is deliberately going out of their way in order to contradict a plane reading of the text. It says in Romans 1: 26-27, “Because of this God gave them over to shameful lusts... In the same waythe men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another . Men committed indecent acts with one another, and received in themselves the due penalty for their perversion ”. This disapproval is further emphasized in I Corinthians where it says, “Do you not know that the wicked will not inherent the Kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral, nor adulterers, nor male prostitutes, nor homosexual offenders, nor thieves, nor the greedy, now swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God.”.
As such, given the nature of this revelation, the Christian holding that God does indeed offer forgiveness to anyone willing to confess that they are a sinner and that nothing can be done to wash away the stain of sin but to claim that one has been washed in the shed blood of Christ does not necessarily want to see the same penalty imposed as that under the Old Covenant with Israel. However, it does not follow that these sorts of relationships should then therefore be allowed with all of society then compelled to celebrate them for fear of the retribution likely to follow from exhibiting an insufficient degree of enthusiasm.
Mr. Hayden then adds to his snide remark incorporating charitable giving into those aspects of morality that can be legislated. He writes, “If they want the redistribution of wealth to be considered anathema, they must disagree with both Old and New Testaments.” Once again, he proves what a dangerous thing incomplete knowledge can be.
Both the Old and New Testaments do teach the importance of charitable giving. However, nowhere is this admonishment to be construed in a coercive manner.
The smart alack critic might respond that, in Old Testament Israel, Deuteronomy 14:22 orders those living under the Covenant to give give a tenth of what they have to the Lord. So is that the premise they really wish to argue from?
Alrighty then. What the text is calling for is for donation into the centralized storehouse of the Lord.
In other words, the contribution was to go directly into the coffers of the centralized institutional religious authority. So would Mr. Hayden like to call for the establishment of a national church that he would be required to give to irrespective of whether or not he agreed with the organization in terms of doctrine and theology.
In the New Testament in particular (that portion of Christian Scripture the reprobates like to invoke when they want to insist that God is really no longer into punishing that which used to be categorized as sin), the model extolled tends to be more voluntary in nature. II Corinthians 9:7 assures that God loveth a cheerful giver.
That means God wants us to give what we want to give. Seldom is anything done under the compulsion of the threat of violence (which in essence what every law is) done cheerfully. God realizes that, in this so-called Dispensation of Grace, He will have more flowing into His coffers by allowing believers to do so on their own than if He fires and brimstones the faithful into coughing up what they owe like the proverbial mafia goon twisting the arm of a resentful shopkeeper.
Apostates advocating the idea of compulsory collection and redistribution of resources love nothing more than the account from the Book of Acts detailing how many in the early church pooled together what they did happen to have for common benefit. These textual critics that any other time go out of their way to downplay or even poo poo the Biblical narratives describing supernatural intervention in this particular instances amazingly don't seem to mind pointing out how Ananais and Saphira were struck dead by the Holy Spirit for retaining for themselves a portion of the proceeds from selling a piece of property.
About the only correct conclusion liberals draw from that account is that Ananais and Saphira died. The rest of the interpretative argument they make is entirely incorrect.
For starters, Ananais and Saphira were not struck dead for refusing to submit fully to what those advocating assorted varieties of liberation theology would insist was a primitive form of Communism or for keeping some of this profit for themselves. What they were struck dead for was lying about the matter.
If anything, the Apostle Peter confirms a position very pro-private property in its underlying orientation. In Acts Acts 5:1-11, he affirms that the property was their's to do with as they pleased and that, if they did not want to, Ananais and Saphira were not obligated to give the church a single cent if they did not want to.
What the couple did not have a right to do is get up there before the congregation and tell everyone that they were handing everything they had made from the sale of the property under consideration. So much for Mack Hayden's insinuation that the Scriptures endorse a systematic redistribution of wealth to the point of taxation being punitive in nature rather than to simply provide needed services.
Mr Hayden continues in his diatribe, “If they believe that God created the heavens and the earth, they must answer why they don't want to protect it?” Once again, Mr. Hayden has revealed just how little he knows about conservative Evangelicals as well as most areas of public policy.
Granted, one might find a few nut job preachers that insist that, since Jesus is to return soon, there is little reason to be good stewards of the natural resources God has blessed humanity with. What Christians, conservatives, nationalists and populists disposed towards Trump have a problem with is just how broad the scope of environmental preservation has become in terms of regulatory intrusion.
For example, there are instances where a transient puddle on private property has come under government purview as a wetland or navigable waterway. Some of the very first pieces I ever published in the mid 90's were about a municipal ordinance that forbade homeowners from removing trees from their own property.
Mack Hayden finishes his litany exposing just how ignorant he is regarding a variety of public policy issues with the following statement. “If they want to cry out for the rights of the unborn, they must be able to answer YHWH's admonitions and Christ's questions about why they tried to keep the refugee, the immigrant, or the disadvantaged from assistance.” Oh where do we begin with this one.
For starters, in speaking out for the rights of the unborn, what is being called for is the most basic right of them all. That is, of course, namely the right to life itself or, to put it more bluntly, the right not to be murdered.
Individuals profoundly motivated by their religious convictions to speak out on public policy issues who are opposed to unlimited immigration such as Pat Buchanan have never called for the execution of illegals whose primary crime was the violation of U.S. border law. It is because all people are made in the image of God that all people --- irrespective of their nation of origin – must be made to abide by these sorts of regulations for the benefit of all people.
Since at least the development of different languages at the Tower of Babel, it has been part of God's creation plan in terms of social organization for people groups of assorted commonalities such as language, culture, and even physical characteristics to conglomerate together usually in definable geographical territories. As a result, governments --- for good or ill is not the purpose of this observational analysis at the moment --- are instituted to protect those dwelling within a particular jurisdiction.
Throughout the course of history, the state, kingdom, or empire administering a respective territory can either be hostile to those arising from beyond its borders or it can be for the most part welcoming or at the least benignly indifferent. In either case, the purpose of government is to foremostly protect those with a recognized status or those outsiders that have not violated objectively established criteria for the purposes of being extended welcome.
Requiring those that wish to enter to abide by a set of preestablished laws and procedures, if anything, is both an affirmation of the basic underlying humanity of the migrant as well as protection of it. For to overlook this sort of transgression is to assume that the violator is not much more than an animal unable to abide by civilized standards. And a monitored border and ports of entry selective as to whom may pass beyond such scrutiny are a deterrent to the kinds of human trafficking and resultant exploitation that turn the American dream into a nightmare for those victimized by the deliberately nefarious concerned with advancing their own benefit even at the expense of violating the image of God in one of the most egregious ways possible.
Apparently, Mr. Hayden upholds as the ideal by which the migrant and the destitute are to be treated the Mosaic law of the Old Testament. Does that include those aspects that the unregenerate such as himself would categorize as harsh by twenty-first century American standards?
For example, even if Old Testament Israel did allow sanctuary to outsiders, it is doubtful such sojourners would have been allowed to propagate alien beliefs and ideologies in opposition to those held by the Chosen People. Of the suspicion of outsiders holding to worldviews at variance with Biblical revelation the Mosaic law advocates according to Deuteronomy 7:3-4, “Do not intermarry with them. Do not give your daughters to their sons or take their daughters for your sons, for they will turn your sons away from following me to serve other gods, and the Lord's anger will burn against you and quickly destroy you.”
If we as Americans are to grant the refugee and others in need assistance because that is how we are admonished by Scripture, does Mr. Hayden intend to embody the sort of consistency he is calling for by modifying this nation's public assistance programs to mirror those described in the Bible? As such, does Mr. Hayden intend to call for the elimination of most benefit transfer payments? Don't worry, the needy and unemployed will be able to eat.
Using the example of Ruth and Naomi, the truly needy would be more than welcome to gleen the leftovers dropped in the fields or even from those crops that the government provides subsidies for farmers are to destroy or don't quite meet some arbitrary aesthetic standard regarding appearance but have little to do with nutritional quality.
If that is still deemed too cruel by assorted twenty-first century standards, those wanting more contemporary prepackaged meals could be required to put in labor at an establishment something akin to a food bank. For if these individuals have vitality enough to piddle away on smartphones or the carnal gyrations that result in the conception of additional children,, there is no reason they cannot at least stock shelves and sort through boxes a couple hours per month at minimum.
In the clash of values, the discerning observer of civic events cannot help but notice that it is always the conservatives that are ordered to compromise or to be held responsible for the pending societal collapse. This tone is evident in an Associated Press story published on 2/15/2013 titled, “Unyiedling GOP Politicians Doing What Voters Ask”. Of what the article categorizes as “those who stubbornly refuse to compromise”, such a strategy is seen as a “tactic that some see as damaging the GOP brand and pushing the nation repeatedly to the brink of fiscal chaos.”
So did the journalist composing this piece also publish a companion essay detailing how Democratic recalcitrance is just as much gumming up the work of government? If anything, would it not be the Democrats pushing the nation at an even faster rate towards financial ruination?
After all, at least in theory anyways, the assorted streams of conservatism that tend to galvanize around the Republican Party usually urge an approach towards governance extolling a degree of financial restraint when possible. The liberals that usually gravitate towards the Democratic party are the ones that seldom ever met a spending program that they did not like and often in the forms of programs and policies that the government of a free people ought not to be involved with in the first place.
By Frederick Meekins
Wednesday, April 22, 2020
Tuesday, April 21, 2020
Monday, April 20, 2020
Sunday, April 19, 2020
Saturday, April 18, 2020
Friday, April 17, 2020
Thursday, April 16, 2020
Gospel Coalition Elites Hope Christians Suffer From Plague As Punishment For That Organization’s Excess
Wednesday, April 15, 2020
Tuesday, April 14, 2020
Sunday, April 12, 2020
Saturday, April 11, 2020
Friday, April 10, 2020
Thursday, April 09, 2020
The West's fascination with End Times speculation can be traced to the tumultuous religious melting pot and crossroads of the Mediterranean world. Though steeped more in a cyclical philosophy of history than their monotheistic Hebrew counterparts, a number of Greek thinkers such as the Stoic Zeno believed that the world would be violently destroyed and begun anew. The Zoroastrians of Persia adhered to an eschatology similar in its broad outline (even if not in specifics) to that of Christianity in that this dualistic system believed that the god of light would remove the good people from the world before it was destroyed with molten metal and restored to sinless perfection.
It is argued by scholars of textual higher criticism that the Israelites did not possess a detailed cosmology of the Afterlife until coming into contact with the Zoroastrians during the time of the Babylonian captivity. Exposure to these ideas coupled with the despair of such a national calamity inspired the development of Jewish apocalyptic literature such as the Books of Ezekiel and Daniel. Those holding to Scripture as divinely inspired would respond that the Israelites should not be accused of cultural misappropriation for allegedly co-opting the eschatology of the Zoroastrians. Such an interpretation would rather consider it a coincidence of divine fortuitousness for the Zoroastrian mystics and contemplatives to have come so close to the truth without the benefit of direct inspirational revelation.
Perhaps the most detailed portion of the Old Testament considered apocalyptic in nature is found in the Book of Daniel. Beginning in chapter 7 and onward through 12, a number of interpretations have been developed by theologians and Bible scholars in the attempt to understand the potentially confusing and most certainly disturbing imagery. Those of a liberal persuasion tend to view the text as more historical in nature. The narrative, such scholars contend, was not written towards the end of the Babylonian exile. Instead the author was actually writing following the desolation of the Temple by Antiochus Epiphanes in such a way so as to make those events sound as if they were yet to transpire within the context of the passage (Thompson, 17).
The futurist interpretation of the Book of Daniel, to which a significant number of Evangelical eschatological theologians adhere, contends that the events described in the text were yet to have taken place at the time they were actually written about by the eponymous Daniel. These prophecies in large part pertain to a series of empires that were yet to come. The empires were in turn symbolically depicted as a series of beasts as well as to what segment and metal they corresponded to on a great statue in a vision by Nebuchadnezzar as interpreted by Daniel. Of particular interest to students of the End Times is the description of the fourth beast. For adorning the fourth beast was a living horn representing a fierce king that would speak blasphemous things against God and make war against the saints. Historicists have traditionally interpreted this to be Antiochus Epiphanes. However, a number holding to the futurist school of interpretation believe this also to be a warning regarding the Antichrist foretold to appear slightly before the Second Advent.
The academic elite might attempt to downplay the apocalyptic nature of the Old Testament by insisting that what appear to be predicted events actually transpired prior to being written down. However, the prophetic nature of the New Testament cannot be as easily denied. Beginning in the Gospels (particularly in the Olivet Discourse of Matthew 24-25), Christ Himself warns of signs such as the kingdoms that will rise against kingdoms and the earthquakes that will take place in diverse places. The message continues well into the Epistles that establish the doctrinal parameters of the church that formed shortly after Christ's resurrection.
Paul warns in the Epistles to the Thessalonians of the man of sin to be revealed and in I Corinthians 15 that Christ will appear in the twinkling of an eye. However, this emphasis upon the End Times was not particularly confined to a single Apostle. In II Peter 3, the believer is told that the present Earth will be consumed in a fervent heat.
The Apostle that perhaps dealt the most extensively with the End Times was none other than John the Beloved. It is in his epistles that the enigmatic Son of Perdition is referred to openly as the Antichrist. John went on to reveal the demonic nature of that figure as well as describe other aspects of the End Times in the Book of Revelation (interestingly enough also known as “the Apocalypse”). Like its counterpart the Book of Daniel in the Old Testament, the symbolism depicted within Revelation is so overwhelming for the human mind to grasp that the attempt to understand the text has spawned a number of conflicting interpretations. Similar to the interpretations of the Book of Daniel, these viewpoints are the historist, the idealist, the futurist and the preterist (Kyle, 37).
The idealist interprets the Book of Revelation as merely an allegory of the struggle between good and evil intended to comfort the believer irrespective of their circumstances by reminding that Christ is ultimately triumphant. The preterist believes that Revelation was intended for the first century church undergoing persecution at the hands of the Roman Empire, assuring believers in that day that their persecution would come to an end. The historist is somewhat more eschatological in its interpretation in that the viewpoint sees Revelation as predicting the broad forecast of church history rather than focused upon events immediately preceding Christ's return. The futurist is the interpretative viewpoint the most eschatologically apocalyptic in that those holding to the perspective contend that the symbolic descriptions contained within the narrative are prophecies regarding events to take place during a time of judgment immediately prior to Christ's return.
All of the prophecies to be considered divinely inspired are found within the corpus of the canonical Old and New Testaments. However, since the earliest days of the church, that has not stopped those gripped with a fascination for the events predicted to take place towards the end of the age from elaborating upon these in the hopes of better understanding what are admittedly complicated texts. Sometimes this speculation has proven helpful. More often than not, such has resulted in additional confusion, even occasionally crossing the theological line into outright error.
With Jesus expected to return shortly and in light of the sporadic yet brutal persecution of Christians on the part of the Roman Empire, one of the earliest (and perhaps most prominent) temptations in regards to eschatological studies was date setting. Extrapolating from II Peter 3:8 that a thousand years are as a day with the Lord and in light of the seven days of creation detailed in the Book of Genesis, it became a popular belief that Jesus would return around the year 6,000 which was believed to be around the time theologians such as Hippolytus and Irenaeus of Lyons were making such predictions (Abanes, 283).
Unfortunately, such apocalyptic speculation did not confine itself to the theologian's study. The self-proclaimed prophet Montanus exuded such enthusiasm that he spawned his own movement, Montanism (of course). It was his message that the return of Christ was so imminent that believers no longer found themselves in the Church Age but rather in the Age of the Spirit. As such, no longer were intermediary institutions such as the organized church or even Scripture necessary for the faithful to discern the will of God. Rather, such knowledge was available through the direct imputation of the Holy Spirit to any that believed.
Those overseeing the Bride of Christ realized that they needed to get the situation under control. Belief in Christ's return was no doubt an indisputable component of the Christian message. However, with the rise of Constantine, the empire had declared a truce with the church to the point where widespread persecution not only came to an end but Christianity ended up becoming the official state religion. That ended up opening another can of worms as to what was to be done with those that did not believe as those in authority thought they ought.
As the church grew more comfortable and came to the conclusion that this life was not so bad after all with the hope that Jesus would still one day come but just not right now, the foremost thinkers in all of Christianity were charged with devising ways to subtly shift establishment theologies underlying eschatological speculation. This new outlook tended to favor the allegorical interpretation of the Alexandrian theologians such as Origen over the more literalist scholars of Ephesus and Antioch (Kyle, 38). For example, Eusebius of Caesarea denied that Christ would return to establish an earthly kingdom. Instead, he argued in his Ecclesiastical History that history up until that point had been working to establish a truly Christian empire not so much under Christ but rather directly governed by Constantine.
The thinker doing the most to divert the church away from its premillennial footing was Augustine of Hippo. As an admirer of Plato, Augustine was repulsed by the idea of a materialist millennium where a variety of carnal pleasures could be enjoyed. Instead in The City Of God, Augustine held that what the millennium symbolized in the Book of Revelation was actually the period of history following Christ's Resurrection as the teaching of this miraculous event spread throughout the world. Such a doctrine that downplayed the notion of a literal millennium but not denying the implications of the Scriptural text outright came to be known as amillennialism.
By Frederick Meekins
Abanes, Richard. “End-Times Visions: The Doomsday Obsession.” Nashville, Tennessee: Broadman and Holman Publishers, 1988.
Kirsch, Jonathan. “A History Of The End Of The World: How The Most Controversial Book In The Bible Changed The Course Of Western Civilization.” San Francisco, California: Harper Collins Publishers, 2006.
Kagan, Donald, Ozment, Steven and Turner, Frank. “The Western Heritage Since 1789 (Fourth Edition).” New York: Macmillan Publishing Company, 1991.
Kyle, Richard. “The Last Days Are Here Again: A History Of The End Times.” Grand Rapids, Michigan: Baker Books, 1988. Hanover, New Hampshire: University Press of New England, 1996.
Ladd, George. “The Blessed Hope: A Biblical Study of The Second Advent and The Rapture.” Grand Rapids, Michigan: WM. B. Eerdmans Publishing, 1956.
Thompson, Damian. “The End Of Time: Faith ans Fear in the Shadow of the Millennium.”
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