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Carpathian vs. the sword, blindfold and scales of justice

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Justice, blindfolded, with scales and sword (HT: Washington State)

Justice, classically, is often portrayed as a blindfolded lady carrying scales and a sword.

This represents the challenge of impartiality and responsible and fair evaluation of cases in light of facts, rights, value and values that must consistently lie behind the unfortunate reality that the state and its officers must wield the sword in defence of the civil peace of justice.

Otherwise, the state descends into incompetence or even the dark night of tyranny and its consequences: injustice, undermining of rights (especially for the weak) and loss of legitimacy that justifies a demand for reformation.

Thus, justice is inevitably a moral issue and therefore inevitably raises the question of the status of OUGHT in light of the IS-OUGHT gap. Thence — given that rights are binding morally grounded expectations that we be respected in terms of our lives, liberty, innocent reputation and more — we face the challenge that in the end there is but one truly solid answer as to the IS that grounds OUGHT.

An answer that was aptly summed up by the fifty-odd US Founders in the 1776 US Declaration of Independence:

When . . . it becomes necessary for one people . . . to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, [cf Rom 1:18 – 21, 2:14 – 15, 13:1 – 10], that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. –That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, –That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security . . . .

We, therefore, the Representatives of the united States of America, in General Congress, Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions [Cf. Judges 11:27 and discussion in Locke], do, in the Name, and by the Authority of the good People of these Colonies, solemnly publish and declare, That these United Colonies are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States; that they are Absolved from all Allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as Free and Independent States, they have full Power to levy War, conclude Peace, contract Alliances, establish Commerce, and to do all other Acts and Things which Independent States may of right do. And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor.

All of this becomes highly relevant when we see how Carpathian reacted to Anthropic commenting on Rom 12 – 13 in a recent thread:

>>A, 17: I’d also point out that Romans 12 states that we are to leave revenge up to God, which is usually taken to mean in the afterlife. However, Romans 13 goes on to say that the government has been given the sword to act as God’s servant in punishing evil and rewarding good. Thus, leaving it up to God does not mean doing nothing. Rather, it means leaving the punishment on this Earth to those who have God given authority to punish on this Earth, plus God in the life to come.

C, 23:

[Citing A:] Rather, it means leaving the punishment on this Earth to those who have God given authority to punish on this Earth, plus God in the life to come.

This is a very frightening statement.

This is the type of thinking that leads fundamentalist groups to believe they have a right to kill infidels.

No one has a right from God to punish anyone.

No one has a right from God to tell anyone else what to do.

This instant leap to an invidious comparison of the Rom 13:4 principle that :

. . . [the civil authority] is God’s servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword in vain. For he is the servant of God, an avenger who carries out God’s wrath on the wrongdoer.

. . . to the depredations of Islamist terrorists and the like reflects an unfortunately common secularist indoctrination in our day that instantly associates religious views with utter irrationality, inclination to violent oppression and worse.

Such fear-mongering blind prejudice, hostile (or in some cases even bigoted . . . ) contempt and projection, already need to be corrected. (Cf here, earlier at UD in reply to AS.)

But the matter gets deeper, as C kept on going in reaction to remonstrance:

>>No one has a right from God to punish anyone.

No one has a right from God to tell anyone else what to do.

This includes Christians, Muslims and anyone who believes God chooses sides in the affairs of humans . . . .

It is simply not acceptable to take any teachings from any specific holy book and claim that they are applicable to those who do not hold that specific holy book as being a true representation of God’s intent.

I do not bow to the authority of any religion and no one should be expected to . . . .

Religion should stay in churches and in the minds of men and women. It has no business in the laws of man.

Freedom of religion allows people to believe anything they want, not to act on those beliefs.>>

And, on and on.

For telling instance (and the reason this post is titled as above):

>>Do you not understand what the term “might makes right” means?

It means if that if I don’t agree with the wielder of that sword, it is completely irrelevant what I think or whether or not I am right.

If a Christian in a land where the laws are derived from a non-Christian holy book has problems with a law, and the Christians do not wield the sword, then that law is going to apply, regardless of whether it flies in the face of Christian teachings.

The same applies to non-Christians here.

Religion has no business in law-making.>>

The first problem here is that the instant leaping to the most extreme fear-mongering and demand for a lockout of the religious already speaks volumes.

But also, it is worth the while to note a key distinction between philosophy and worldviews-rooted analysis on the one hand (which can and does profitably discuss what we may term the God of the philosophers), and religions and their particular traditions on the other. In particular, it is a serious argument that we are morally governed, under the compelling force of OUGHT in recognition of our duties one to the other, and that this is rooted in our common human nature thus the dignity and rights that that common humanity confers, based on the Eternal One, our Creator who endowed us with that dignity and rights.

Indeed, that is exactly the stand of the US Founders in 1776.

So too, it is not surprising that — and this was cited at no. 2 in the very same thread of discussion (before C’s outburst) —  we saw from Locke citing Hooker using Aristotle, in his second treatise on civil government, Ch 2:

>>. . . if I cannot but wish to receive good, even as much at every man’s hands, as any man can wish unto his own soul, how should I look to have any part of my desire herein satisfied, unless myself be careful to satisfy the like desire which is undoubtedly in other men . . . my desire, therefore, to be loved of my equals in Nature, as much as possible may be, imposeth upon me a natural duty of bearing to themward fully the like affection. [–> Thus, we most easily perceive and regard this duty when owed to us, now we must see that others of like duty are owed the same . . . where our evident natural constitution, our surrounding world and our interior life join together in speaking to us through heart, mind and conscience, but are we inclined to listen?] From which relation of equality between ourselves and them that are as ourselves, what several rules and canons natural reason hath drawn for direction of life no man is ignorant . . . [[Hooker then continues, citing Aristotle in The Nicomachean Ethics, Bk 8:] as namely, That because we would take no harm, we must therefore do none; That since we would not be in any thing extremely dealt with, we must ourselves avoid all extremity in our dealings; That from all violence and wrong we are utterly to abstain, with such-like . . . ] [[Eccl. Polity,preface, Bk I, “ch.” 8, p.80]>>

And, even more relevantly [ cf. no 4 in the thread], Blackstone’s 1765 Commentaries on the Laws of England, famously observes:

>>Man, considered as a creature, must necessarily be subject to the laws of his creator, for he is entirely a dependent being . . . consequently, as man depends absolutely upon his maker for every thing, it is necessary that he should in all points conform to his maker’s will. This will of his maker is called the law of nature. For as God, when he created matter, and endued it with a principle of mobility, established certain rules for the perpetual direction of that motion; so, when he created man, and endued him with freewill to conduct himself in all parts of life, he laid down certain immutable laws of human nature, whereby that freewill is in some degree regulated and restrained, and gave him also the faculty of reason to discover the purport of those laws . . . These are the eternal, immutable laws of good and evil, to which the creator himself in all his dispensations conforms; and which he has enabled human reason to discover, so far as they are necessary for the conduct of human actions. Such among others are these principles: that we should live honestly [NB: cf. Exod. 20:15 – 16], should hurt nobody [NB: cf. Rom 13:8 – 10], and should render to every one his due [NB: cf. Rom 13:6 – 7 & Exod. 20:15]; to which three general precepts Justinian[1: a Juris praecepta sunt hace, honeste vivere. alterum non laedere, suum cuique tribuere. Inst, 1. 1. 3] has reduced the whole doctrine of law [and, Corpus Juris, Justinian’s Christianised precis and pruning of perhaps 1,000 years of Roman jurisprudence, in turn is the foundation of law for much of Europe].>>

Why was all of this brushed aside in such an urgent fury to lash out at and lock out the religious from the public square?

First, because of a now deeply ingrained, indoctrinated ignorance about and/or distortion of the major contribution of the Judaeo-Christian tradition to the rise of modern liberty.

Second, there is a deep rooted ignorance of the inevitability of the roots of rights, justice and law being moral, putting the IS-OUGHT GAP and its resolution in the IS that grounds OUGHT at the centre of reflection on law. (Those who ignore, denigrate or undermine that connexion undercut the foundations of the very justice they claim to advocate.)

Third, in our day, there is a linked failure to properly appreciate the significance of natural moral law for the foundations of justice, which is intelligible to the reasonable and responsible man Hooker and Aristotle discussed.

SB picked that thread of thought up aptly, at No 41:

>>Carpathian,

Do you not understand what the term “might makes right” means?

Yes, and it should be avoided at all costs. In keeping with that point, the role of religion can be overplayed or underplayed. Both radical theocracy, which you rightly fear, and radical secularism, which you don’t seem to fear enough, are to be avoided.

The Declaration of Independence explained it in just the right proportions: Natural rights come from the “Laws of Nature” and “Nature’s God.” Not from any individual expression of religious beliefs, at one extreme, and not from a secular state, at the other extreme

With that standard, everyone, including leaders of the state are bound to, and accountable to, the “natural moral law,” which defines which laws are just and unjust. Accordingly, the civil laws are supposed to be informed by that same natural moral law, which holds everyone accountable, including the lawmakers.>>

Anthropic adds, just as aptly, at No. 43:

>>C 23

“No one has a right from God to tell anyone else what to do.”

This isn’t a college dorm bull session, C, where you try to justify cheating on an exam — or a girlfriend.

As any grownup knows, society absolutely depends upon people respecting the laws. Yes, those funny things that tell people what to do. Don’t steal, don’t lie, don’t murder, for instance. They apply to everyone, including those who don’t believe that God gave the Ten Commandments — that’s where they came from.

Yes, our society historically does claim a right from God to prohibit people from doing these things. Plus slavery, rape, and child abuse.

If these prohibitions are simply man-made constructions, then they can be changed willy-nilly, as they have no basis that must be respected. As the late Yale Law Prof Arthur Leff put it, man-made law is always subject to the grand “Sez who?” Divine law is not.

Professor Leff, an agnostic, had no theological ax to grind. He just pointed out that, without an ultimate Lawgiver, laws have no basis beyond the cultural consensus of the moment. We might feel that torturing babies for entertainment is wrong, but that’s just our opinion.

Leff ultimately concludes that good and evil really do exist. However, he is frustrated because, without an “unevaluated Evaluator”, there is no ultimate basis for that knowledge.

Ironically, you end up sawing off the branch you are sitting on. Your claim to individual freedom to do as you please only has traction in a society that has a high regard for human dignity & worth. Historically that’s pretty rare.

In fact, historically it has arisen only in Judeo-Christian cultures which regard mankind as being made in the image of God. Without that God-based idea, no one has any reason to honor your choices.

Just ask any North Korean.>>

This brings us to the background but highly relevant issue that evolutionary materialist scientism and secularism undermine recognition of responsible, reasonable freedom, and force the conclusion that might and manipulation make ‘right.” So, it is quite natural for those whose thought is in thralldom to such, to equate the sword with raw force, and (having missed the point of justice) build agendas of manipulation, control and domination.

If you doubt me, note here the implications of Prof Provine’s keynote remarks at the U Tenn 1998 Darwin Day celebration:

>>

Naturalistic evolution has clear consequences that Charles Darwin understood perfectly. 1) No gods worth having exist; 2) no life after death exists; 3) no ultimate foundation for ethics exists; 4) no ultimate meaning in life exists; and 5) human free will is nonexistent . . . . 
 
The first 4 implications are so obvious to modern naturalistic evolutionists that I will spend little time defending them. Human free will, however, is another matter. Even evolutionists have trouble swallowing that implication. I will argue that humans are locally determined systems that make choices. They have, however, no free will . . . . Without free will, justification for revenge disappears [–> notice, the fallacious equation of justice with revenge] and rehabilitation is the main job of judicial systems and prisons. [NB: As C. S Lewis warned, in the end, this means: reprogramming through new conditioning determined by the power groups controlling the society and its prisons. On where that may all too easily end up, ask the ghosts of the Gulag Archipelago.] We will all live in a better society when the myth of free will is dispelled . . .>>

On the contrary, when responsible, rational freedom informed by natural moral law is undermined, reason and justice will increasingly be driven out of the public square by those whose credo implies that might and manipulation make ‘right’ or ‘truth’ or ‘justice.’

As, is patently happening all around us.

We must wake up and seek sound reformation, before it is too late. END

103 Replies to “Carpathian vs. the sword, blindfold and scales of justice

  1. 1
    kairosfocus says:

    Leff’s Sez who vs the premise of justice. (And in this case, the diagram is very important.)

  2. 2
    sean samis says:

    Only a few comments are worth saying here:

    1. I suspect Carpathian will acknowledge that his comment was overbroad. You make a mountain out of a mole-hill.

    2. Even if #1 turns out to be wrong, Carpathian can only write for himself. Other non-believers are free to repudiate or ignore Carpathian’s outburst.

    3. In concert with #2; non-believers have no popes or prophets. Neither Carpathian nor Professor Provine nor any other has the authority to speak for other non-believers. Rational people simply do not recognize Proof from Authority. Rationalists happily correct Newton, Einstein, Hawking, et al. when they think them wrong about their areas of expertise. When a Scopes or Provine or some other offers their opinions on the moral implications of science or materialism, the rest of us freely roll our eyes.

    But of course, you are preaching to the converted, who DO believe in Proof from Authority and probably assume everyone does.

    4. Carpathian is wrong. Religious Liberty must include the free exercise and expression of religious beliefs. But NO RIGHT IS ABSOLUTE. When one person’s religious exercises causes harms to others, that religious exercise is properly prohibited.

    We also cannot keep religious exercises “private” because some religious exercises are necessarily public (ex: evangelization). The controlling factor must be harms to others, not public versus private.

    sean s.

  3. 3
    Carpathian says:

    kairosfocus:

    –That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed,

    I think this a key statement here.

    The right to govern comes from the people not any faith-based group or their particular version of God.

  4. 4
    Carpathian says:

    kairosfocus:

    In particular, it is a serious argument that we are morally governed, under the compelling force of OUGHT in recognition of our duties one to the other, and that this is rooted in our common human nature thus the dignity and rights that that common humanity confers, based on the Eternal One, our Creator who endowed us with that dignity and rights.

    I don’t accept your creator.

    What do we do now?

    Do you write faith based legislation and force me to accept what you couldn’t convince me to accept?

    What if in a few generations a government is formed that decides to implement a non-Christian view of law?

    Would you accept the influence of a religion you don’t adhere to?

    Why should I do that now with Christianity?

  5. 5
    Carpathian says:

    sean samis:

    We also cannot keep religious exercises “private” because some religious exercises are necessarily public (ex: evangelization). The controlling factor must be harms to others, not public versus private.

    Religious activities should all be private.

    Any prospects for religious conversion should be invited to listen to the message from that faith but the message itself should be a private affair.

    There are parents who may not want their children exposed to certain religions or religious teachings and that barrier to religion should be considered a fundamental right and honored by all faiths.

  6. 6

    There is a very simple logic to subjectivity. The agency of a decision chooses the way the decision turns out, and one can only reach a conclusion about the identity of the agency of a decision by choosing the conclusion.

    It is the freedom of opinion and religion, interpreted as a validation of subjectivity, which establishes morality in the US constitution, not God.

    Expressions by people of utter emptiness of their own heart, and the spiritual domain entirely, are valid by the freedom of opinion. Those expressions would be ruled invalid if God were construed by the government as a “neccessary” being. And then everybody would feel they are forced to smile, and not express emptiness, like in some commie country.

    Atheists, evolutionists, don’t do subjectivity. That is the whole problem here. In stead of the freedom of opinion and religion, they have the first amendment saying; your statements shall be forced by evidence to their conclusion, or else! That is how historically atheists have always been inclined to nazism, communism and the like.

  7. 7
    kairosfocus says:

    SS:

    There are billions of theists in the world, and in our civilisation — as outlined with references above — the Judaeo-Christian tradition has made pivotal contributions to the rise of modern liberty and democracy.

    In that context, Harry and anthropic spoke to the point that the state bears the sword in defence of the civil peace of justice; specifically referencing a text written to Christians living under the rule of Nero c 57 Ad when he was under the tutelage of Seneca and Burris; a period of good gov’t (before Nero took full charge and set out on a demonically mad path that led to uprising and his ultimate suicide).

    And, as the prophets before spoke of pagan kings as God’s servants to do good, that is how Paul spoke of pagan Roman rulers.

    That, is what he decided to use as an occasion to spew forth destructive invidious associations and to put forward proposals that would rob us of key freedoms.

    When the context was pointed out to him, he acted as though nothing had been pointed out.

    Now, in that context, what do we find, but Carpathian insistently indulging in fear-mongering, projecting invidious association with Islamist terrorists or the like and making several statements tantamount to that we should have sharply restricted freedoms because of the perceived taint of being religious.

    This, at a time when Christians in some parts of the world are routinely being cruelly murdered for their faith, and where in our civilisation steps are being taken that would ghettoise, persecute and criminalise serious Christian faith.

    Sorry, I did not risk my life to stand up to Communists in my youth to turn around and not sound a loud warning and take a stout stand in the face of ugly behaviour by today’s evolutionary materialist secularists and their fellow travellers.

    Carpathian, has tripped serious warning signs and when corrected continues to insist on much the same, refusing to heed key lessons from history.

    Those are not good signs, and he needs to wake up real fast and recognise what he has done.

    And, he would be well advised to begin by addressing the inherently moral nature of justice, the implication of the significance of OUGHT, the IS-OUGHT gap and the grounding of OUGHT, as has been put on the table in the OP.

    For, that is where liberty begins.

    Indeed, let me begin from Webster in his 1828 dictionary, as a place to begin a sound understanding of key terms in the relevant time frame . . . and in that light, an understanding of the worldview involved:

    LIB’ERTY, noun [Latin libertas, from liber, free.]

    1. Freedom from restraint, in a general sense, and applicable to the body, or to the will or mind. The body is at liberty when not confined; the will or mind is at liberty when not checked or controlled. A man enjoys liberty when no physical force operates to restrain his actions or volitions.

    2. Natural liberty consists in the power of acting as one thinks fit, without any restraint or control, except from the laws of nature. It is a state of exemption from the control of others, and from positive laws and the institutions of social life. This liberty is abridged by the establishment of government.

    3. Civil liberty is the liberty of men in a state of society, or natural liberty so far only abridged and restrained, as is necessary and expedient for the safety and interest of the society, state or nation. A restraint of natural liberty not necessary or expedient for the public, is tyranny or oppression. civil liberty is an exemption from the arbitrary will of others, which exemption is secured by established laws, which restrain every man from injuring or controlling another. Hence the restraints of law are essential to civil liberty

    The liberty of one depends not so much on the removal of all restraint from him, as on the due restraint upon the liberty of others.

    In this sentence, the latter word liberty denotes natural liberty

    4. Political liberty is sometimes used as synonymous with civil liberty But it more properly designates the liberty of a nation, the freedom of a nation or state from all unjust abridgment of its rights and independence by another nation. Hence we often speak of the political liberties of Europe, or the nations of Europe.

    5. Religious liberty is the free right of adopting and enjoying opinions on religious subjects, and of worshiping the Supreme Being according to the dictates of conscience, without external control.

    6. liberty in metaphysics, as opposed to necessity, is the power of an agent to do or forbear any particular action, according to the determination or thought of the mind, by which either is preferred to the other.

    Freedom of the will; exemption from compulsion or restraint in willing or volition.

    LI’CENSE, noun [Latin licentia, from liceo, to be permitted.]

    1. Leave; permission; authority or liberty given to do or forbear any act. A license may be verbal or written; when written, the paper containing the authority is called a license A man is not permitted to retail spirituous liquors till he has obtained a license

    2. Excess of liberty; exorbitant freedom; freedom abused, or used in contempt of law or decorum.

    License they mean, when they cry liberty.

    Libertinism

    LIB’ERTINISM, noun

    1. State of a freedman. [Little used.]

    2. Licentiousness of opinion and practice; an unrestrained indulgence of lust; debauchery; lewdness.

    RIGHT, noun

    1. Conformity to the will of God, or to his law, the perfect standard of truth and justice. In the literal sense, right is a straight line of conduct, and wrong a crooked one. right therefore is rectitude or straightness, and perfect rectitude is found only in an infinite Being and his will.

    2. Conformity to human laws, or to other human standard of truth, propriety or justice. When laws are definite, right and wrong are easily ascertained and understood. In arts, there are some principles and rules which determine what is right In many things indifferent, or left without positive law, we are to judge what is right by fitness or propriety, by custom, civility or other circumstances.

    3. Justice; that which is due or proper; as, to do right to every man.

    Long love to her has borne the faithful knight, and well deserv’d had fortune done him right

    4. Freedom from error; conformity with truth or fact.

    Seldom your opinions err, your eyes are always in the right

    5. Just claim; legal title; ownership; the legal power of exclusive possession and enjoyment. In hereditary monarchies, a right to the throne vests in the heir on the decease of the king. A deed vests the right of possession in the purchaser of land. right and possession are very different things. We often have occasion to demand and sue for rights not in possession.

    6. Just claim by courtesy, customs, or the principles of civility and decorum. Every man has a right to civil treatment. The magistrate has a right to respect.

    7. Just claim by sovereignty; prerogative. God, as the author of all things, has a right to govern and dispose of them at his pleasure.

    8. That which justly belongs to one.

    Born free, he sought his right

    9. Property; interest.

    A subject in his prince may claim a right

    10. Just claim; immunity; privilege. All men have a right to the secure enjoyment of life, personal safety, liberty and property. We deem the right of trial by jury invaluable, particularly in the case of crimes. Rights are natural, civil, political, religious, personal, and public.

    11. Authority; legal power. We have no right to disturb others in the enjoyment of their religious opinions.

    JUST’ICE, noun [Latin justitia, from justus, just.]

    1. The virtue which consists in giving to every one what is his due; practical conformity to the laws and to principles of rectitude in the dealings of men with each other; honesty; integrity in commerce or mutual intercourse. justice is distributive or commutative. Distributive justice belongs to magistrates or rulers, and consists in distributing to every man that right or equity which the laws and the principles of equity require; or in deciding controversies according to the laws and to principles of equity. Commutative justice consists in fair dealing in trade and mutual intercourse between man and man.

    2. Impartiality; equal distribution of right in expressing opinions; fair representation of facts respecting merit or demerit. In criticisms, narrations, history or discourse, it is a duty to do justice to every man, whether friend or foe.

    3. Equity; agreeableness to right; as, he proved the justice of his claim. This should, in strictness, be justness.

    4. Vindictive retribution; merited punishment. Sooner or later, justice overtakes the criminal.

    5. Right; application of equity. His arm will do him justice

    6. [Low Latin justiciarius.] A person commissioned to hold courts, or to try and decide controversies and administer justice to individuals; as the Chief justice of the king’s bench, or of the common pleas, in England; the Chief justice of the supreme court in the United States, etc. and justices of the peace.

    KF

  8. 8
    kairosfocus says:

    Carpathian:

    Do you realise the implications of this:

    Religious activities should all be private.

    Any prospects for religious conversion should be invited to listen to the message from that faith but the message itself should be a private affair.

    There are parents who may not want their children exposed to certain religions or religious teachings and that barrier to religion should be considered a fundamental right and honored by all faiths

    . . . in terms of its patent likely impacts on freedom of conscience, freedom of speech and expression, freedom of the press and media, also freedom of association?

    All of which are classic core freedoms constitutive of a free, democratic society?

    The message you are sending, is that you wish to monopolise the public, common space for those whose views you approve and to censor , stigmatise and ghettoise those whose views you disapprove.

    This is of course a typical illustration of the sort of domineering, oppressive spirit of radical anti-theistic secularists, their fellow travellers and dupes.

    By contrast, civil society protects the rights to conscience, expression, the press and association, respecting the delineation outlined so aptly by Webster in his 1828 dictionary:

    LIB’ERTY, noun [Latin libertas, from liber, free.]

    1. Freedom from restraint, in a general sense, and applicable to the body, or to the will or mind. The body is at liberty when not confined; the will or mind is at liberty when not checked or controlled. A man enjoys liberty when no physical force operates to restrain his actions or volitions.

    2. Natural liberty consists in the power of acting as one thinks fit, without any restraint or control, except from the laws of nature. It is a state of exemption from the control of others, and from positive laws and the institutions of social life. This liberty is abridged by the establishment of government.

    3. Civil liberty is the liberty of men in a state of society, or natural liberty so far only abridged and restrained, as is necessary and expedient for the safety and interest of the society, state or nation. A restraint of natural liberty not necessary or expedient for the public, is tyranny or oppression. civil liberty is an exemption from the arbitrary will of others, which exemption is secured by established laws, which restrain every man from injuring or controlling another. Hence the restraints of law are essential to civil liberty

    The liberty of one depends not so much on the removal of all restraint from him, as on the due restraint upon the liberty of others.

    In this sentence, the latter word liberty denotes natural liberty

    4. Political liberty is sometimes used as synonymous with civil liberty But it more properly designates the liberty of a nation, the freedom of a nation or state from all unjust abridgment of its rights and independence by another nation. Hence we often speak of the political liberties of Europe, or the nations of Europe.

    5. Religious liberty is the free right of adopting and enjoying opinions on religious subjects, and of worshiping the Supreme Being according to the dictates of conscience, without external control.

    6. liberty in metaphysics, as opposed to necessity, is the power of an agent to do or forbear any particular action, according to the determination or thought of the mind, by which either is preferred to the other.

    Freedom of the will; exemption from compulsion or restraint in willing or volition.

    I suggest that a careful reflection on just this definition will go a long way to helping you.

    Please, think again.

    KF

  9. 9
    kairosfocus says:

    F/N: This, from Plato in The Laws Bk X, will also be helpful:

    Ath. . . .[The avant garde philosophers and poets, c. 360 BC] say that fire and water, and earth and air [i.e the classical “material” elements of the cosmos], all exist by nature and chance, and none of them by art . . . [such that] all that is in the heaven, as well as animals and all plants, and all the seasons come from these elements, not by the action of mind, as they say, or of any God, or from art, but as I was saying, by nature and chance only [ –> that is, evolutionary materialism is ancient and would trace all things to blind chance and mechanical necessity] . . . .

    [Thus, they hold] that the principles of justice have no existence at all in nature, but that mankind are always disputing about them and altering them; and that the alterations which are made by art and by law have no basis in nature, but are of authority for the moment and at the time at which they are made.-

    [ –> Relativism, too, is not new; complete with its radical amorality rooted in a worldview that has no foundational IS that can ground OUGHT, leading to an effectively arbitrary foundation only for morality, ethics and law: accident of personal preference, the ebbs and flows of power politics, accidents of history and and the shifting sands of manipulated community opinion driven by “winds and waves of doctrine and the cunning craftiness of men in their deceitful scheming . . . ” cf a video on Plato’s parable of the cave; from the perspective of pondering who set up the manipulative shadow-shows, why.]

    These, my friends, are the sayings of wise men, poets and prose writers, which find a way into the minds of youth. They are told by them that the highest right is might,

    [ –> Evolutionary materialism — having no IS that can properly ground OUGHT — leads to the promotion of amorality on which the only basis for “OUGHT” is seen to be might (and manipulation: might in “spin”) . . . ]

    and in this way the young fall into impieties, under the idea that the Gods are not such as the law bids them imagine; and hence arise factions [ –> Evolutionary materialism-motivated amorality “naturally” leads to continual contentions and power struggles influenced by that amorality at the hands of ruthless power hungry nihilistic agendas], these philosophers inviting them to lead a true life according to nature, that is,to live in real dominion over others [ –> such amoral and/or nihilistic factions, if they gain power, “naturally” tend towards ruthless abuse and arbitrariness . . . they have not learned the habits nor accepted the principles of mutual respect, justice, fairness and keeping the civil peace of justice, so they will want to deceive, manipulate and crush — as the consistent history of radical revolutions over the past 250 years so plainly shows again and again], and not in legal subjection to them.

    KF

  10. 10
    Mung says:

    KF: There are billions of theists in the world

    Billions and billions. Brave SS, swimming against the tide.

  11. 11
    kairosfocus says:

    Mung, SS is not the real problem just now, C is. And it seems C is oblivious to the implications of some very reckless and dangerous things he has been advocating. Unfortunately, this is not just an isolated crank, we are seeing the parrotting of a view that is being stridently promoted all across our civilisation by those caught up in a type of march of folly that has a long, horrific track record. KF

  12. 12

    Carpathian
    “Religious activities should all be private.”

    Private employers should be able to hire and fire based on employee’s knowledge about free will. Unfortunately no school teaches how choosing works, due to evolutionists having demolished education about the mechanism of creation, choosing.

    But research shows that belief in free will predicts better job performance. Employers should be able to require a creationist diploma, which diploma affirms that they understand how choosing works, and how subjectivity works.

    So that is a way to keep atheistic garbage out of our lives. It would be freaking awesome to work in an environment where your emotions are acknowledged on a properly subjective basis. It is my dream.

  13. 13
    anthropic says:

    KF, excellent posts on a very crucial topic. Thanks especially for the historical references; we too often ignore the wisdom of those who came before us.

    Re your quotation from Plato: “These, my friends, are the sayings of wise men, poets and prose writers, which find a way into the minds of youth. They are told by them that the highest right is might,”

    I’d like to point out that it is not only card-carrying materialists who end up here, but also Islam. Since Allah dictates all outcomes, the stronger, winning side must be favored by Allah. Might not only makes right, might IS right.

    Thus, democracy, human rights, and limited government have not arisen in the Muslim world, contrary to the fond hopes of Presidents Bush and Obama. Clearing out one dictator only means making space for the next one.

    They have theistic nihilism, we have atheistic nihilism. Either way, in the end no sense of justice or morality can restrain sheer power.

  14. 14
    kairosfocus says:

    A,

    Thanks.

    You are right to highlight two cultural, intellectual, geo-strategic and even spiritual tidal waves that have come upon our civilisation. Thus, by implication, our need to understand and respond appropriately.

    For coming on 300 years, we have seen a rising tide of autonomous secularist skeptical thought that has come to dominate the academy, media, professional institutions and guilds, law, now increasingly the state and society. This has led to the kind of deep-seated ill advised hostility to the Judaeo-Christian frame and its natural fruit, a softened heart and genuinely en-lightened mind (not one where the light as we imagine it within is actually darkness . . . ) that opens the way to genuine and genuinely progressive reformation. Reformation leading to genuine liberty under the umbrella of the civil peace of justice.

    Francis Schaeffer’s line of despair analysis, with some adjustments [e.g. there were some key errors regarding Aquinas], is helpful.

    Now too, the recently retired Pope Benedict, in his much criticised Regensburg address (he once lectured in theology there), highlighted a debate between a Byzantine Emperor facing Islamist aggression and a Muslim spokesman; during which he contrasted key facets of the views of God.

    Yes, there are hard words there spoken with enemy armies literally approaching the gate, but there are truths to be heeded and perspectives to be pondered also:

    ______________

    >> . . . It is a moving experience for me to be back again in the university and to be able once again to give a lecture at this podium. I think back to those years when, after a pleasant period at the Freisinger Hochschule, I began teaching at the University of Bonn. That was in 1959, in the days of the old university made up of ordinary professors. The various chairs had neither assistants nor secretaries, but in recompense there was much direct contact with students and in particular among the professors themselves. We would meet before and after lessons in the rooms of the teaching staff. There was a lively exchange with historians, philosophers, philologists and, naturally, between the two theological faculties. Once a semester there was a dies academicus, when professors from every faculty appeared before the students of the entire university, making possible a genuine experience of universitas – something that you too, Magnificent Rector, just mentioned – the experience, in other words, of the fact that despite our specializations which at times make it difficult to communicate with each other, we made up a whole, working in everything on the basis of a single rationality with its various aspects and sharing responsibility for the right use of reason – this reality became a lived experience. The university was also very proud of its two theological faculties. It was clear that, by inquiring about the reasonableness of faith, they too carried out a work which is necessarily part of the “whole” of the universitas scientiarum, even if not everyone could share the faith which theologians seek to correlate with reason as a whole. This profound sense of coherence within the universe of reason was not troubled, even when it was once reported that a colleague had said there was something odd about our university: it had two faculties devoted to something that did not exist: God. That even in the face of such radical scepticism it is still necessary and reasonable to raise the question of God through the use of reason, and to do so in the context of the tradition of the Christian faith: this, within the university as a whole, was accepted without question.

    I was reminded of all this recently, when I read the edition by Professor Theodore Khoury (Münster) of part of the dialogue carried on – perhaps in 1391 in the winter barracks near Ankara – by the erudite Byzantine emperor Manuel II Paleologus and an educated Persian on the subject of Christianity and Islam, and the truth of both.[1] It was presumably the emperor himself who set down this dialogue, during the siege of Constantinople between 1394 and 1402; and this would explain why his arguments are given in greater detail than those of his Persian interlocutor.[2] The dialogue ranges widely over the structures of faith contained in the Bible and in the Qur’an, and deals especially with the image of God and of man, while necessarily returning repeatedly to the relationship between – as they were called – three “Laws” or “rules of life”: the Old Testament, the New Testament and the Qur’an. It is not my intention to discuss this question in the present lecture; here I would like to discuss only one point – itself rather marginal to the dialogue as a whole – which, in the context of the issue of “faith and reason”, I found interesting and which can serve as the starting-point for my reflections on this issue.

    In the seventh conversation (???????? – controversy) edited by Professor Khoury, the emperor touches on the theme of the holy war. The emperor must have known that surah 2, 256 reads: “There is no compulsion in religion”. According to some of the experts, this is probably one of the suras of the early period, when Mohammed was still powerless and under threat. But naturally the emperor also knew the instructions, developed later and recorded in the Qur’an, concerning holy war. Without descending to details, such as the difference in treatment accorded to those who have the “Book” and the “infidels”, he addresses his interlocutor with a startling brusqueness, a brusqueness that we find unacceptable, on the central question about the relationship between religion and violence in general, saying: “Show me just what Mohammed brought that was new, and there you will find things only evil and inhuman, such as his command to spread by the sword the faith he preached.”[3] The emperor, after having expressed himself so forcefully, goes on to explain in detail the reasons why spreading the faith through violence is something unreasonable. Violence is incompatible with the nature of God and the nature of the soul. “God”, he says, “is not pleased by blood – and not acting reasonably (???? ???? [oun logo]) is contrary to God’s nature. Faith is born of the soul, not the body. Whoever would lead someone to faith needs the ability to speak well and to reason properly, without violence and threats… To convince a reasonable soul, one does not need a strong arm, or weapons of any kind, or any other means of threatening a person with death…”.[4]

    The decisive statement in this argument against violent conversion is this: not to act in accordance with reason is contrary to God’s nature.[5] The editor, Theodore Khoury, observes: For the emperor, as a Byzantine shaped by Greek philosophy, this statement is self-evident. But for Muslim teaching, God is absolutely transcendent. His will is not bound up with any of our categories, even that of rationality.[6] Here Khoury quotes a work of the noted French Islamist R. Arnaldez, who points out that Ibn Hazm went so far as to state that God is not bound even by his own word, and that nothing would oblige him to reveal the truth to us. Were it God’s will, we would even have to practise idolatry.[7]

    At this point, as far as understanding of God and thus the concrete practice of religion is concerned, we are faced with an unavoidable dilemma. Is the conviction that acting unreasonably contradicts God’s nature merely a Greek idea, or is it always and intrinsically true? I believe that here we can see the profound harmony between what is Greek in the best sense of the word and the biblical understanding of faith in God. Modifying the first verse of the Book of Genesis, the first verse of the whole Bible, John began the prologue of his Gospel with the words: “In the beginning was the ?????”[logos]. This is the very word used by the emperor: God acts, ???? ???? [sun logo], with logos. Logos means both reason and word – a reason which is creative and capable of self-communication, precisely as reason. John thus spoke the final word on the biblical concept of God, and in this word all the often toilsome and tortuous threads of biblical faith find their culmination and synthesis. In the beginning was the logos, and the logos is God, says the Evangelist. The encounter between the Biblical message and Greek thought did not happen by chance. The vision of Saint Paul, who saw the roads to Asia barred and in a dream saw a Macedonian man plead with him: “Come over to Macedonia and help us!” (cf. Acts 16:6-10) – this vision can be interpreted as a “distillation” of the intrinsic necessity of a rapprochement between Biblical faith and Greek inquiry.

    In point of fact, this rapprochement had been going on for some time. The mysterious name of God, revealed from the burning bush, a name which separates this God from all other divinities with their many names and simply asserts being, “I am”, already presents a challenge to the notion of myth, to which Socrates’ attempt to vanquish and transcend myth stands in close analogy.[8] Within the Old Testament, the process which started at the burning bush came to new maturity at the time of the Exile, when the God of Israel, an Israel now deprived of its land and worship, was proclaimed as the God of heaven and earth and described in a simple formula which echoes the words uttered at the burning bush: “I am”. This new understanding of God is accompanied by a kind of enlightenment, which finds stark expression in the mockery of gods who are merely the work of human hands (cf. Ps 115). Thus, despite the bitter conflict with those Hellenistic rulers who sought to accommodate it forcibly to the customs and idolatrous cult of the Greeks, biblical faith, in the Hellenistic period, encountered the best of Greek thought at a deep level, resulting in a mutual enrichment evident especially in the later wisdom literature . . . .

    In all honesty, one must observe that in the late Middle Ages we find trends in theology which would sunder this synthesis between the Greek spirit and the Christian spirit. In contrast with the so-called intellectualism of Augustine and Thomas, there arose with Duns Scotus a voluntarism which, in its later developments, led to the claim that we can only know God’s voluntas ordinata. Beyond this is the realm of God’s freedom, in virtue of which he could have done the opposite of everything he has actually done. This gives rise to positions which clearly approach those of Ibn Hazm and might even lead to the image of a capricious God, who is not even bound to truth and goodness. God’s transcendence and otherness are so exalted that our reason, our sense of the true and good, are no longer an authentic mirror of God, whose deepest possibilities remain eternally unattainable and hidden behind his actual decisions. As opposed to this, the faith of the Church has always insisted that between God and us, between his eternal Creator Spirit and our created reason there exists a real analogy, in which – as the Fourth Lateran Council in 1215 stated – unlikeness remains infinitely greater than likeness, yet not to the point of abolishing analogy and its language. God does not become more divine when we push him away from us in a sheer, impenetrable voluntarism; rather, the truly divine God is the God who has revealed himself as logos and, as logos, has acted and continues to act lovingly on our behalf. Certainly, love, as Saint Paul says, “transcends” knowledge and is thereby capable of perceiving more than thought alone (cf. Eph 3:19); nonetheless it continues to be love of the God who is Logos. Consequently, Christian worship is, again to quote Paul – “?????? ???????” [logike latreia], worship in harmony with the eternal Word and with our reason (cf. Rom 12:1).[10]

    This inner rapprochement between Biblical faith and Greek philosophical inquiry was an event of decisive importance not only from the standpoint of the history of religions, but also from that of world history – it is an event which concerns us even today. Given this convergence, it is not surprising that Christianity, despite its origins and some significant developments in the East, finally took on its historically decisive character in Europe. We can also express this the other way around: this convergence, with the subsequent addition of the Roman heritage, created Europe and remains the foundation of what can rightly be called Europe . . . >>
    ______________

    Now, obviously, there are debate points all around (and there was a hot and distractive controversy stirred by masters of the arts of dismissive spin), but it is decisively plain that in the light of the Judaeo-Christian worldview God our common Creator who loves the world, is both the ultimate, inherently good, necessary and maximally great being and Reason Himself viewed as an inextricable facet of that greatness. In that context, God is worthy of ultimate respect and loyalty, expressed by the reasonable service — it is not unreasonable or unduly burdensome or imposed arbitrarily at all — of doing the good in accordance with our evident nature.

    Where, justice rooted in truth and the courage to defend the right is and has always been a pivotal aspect of doing the good.

    Hence, we see that perfect gem, Micah 6:8:

    He has told you, O man, what is good;
    and what does the Lord require of you
    but to do justice,
    and to love kindness,[b]
    and to walk humbly with your God?

    And again, Paul echoes the Sermon on the Mount, the prophets and Moshe:

    Rom 13:8 Owe no one anything, except to love each other, for the one who loves another has fulfilled the law. 9 For the commandments, “You shall not commit adultery, You shall not murder, You shall not steal, You shall not covet,” and any other commandment, are summed up in this word: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” 10 Love does no wrong [–> or, harm] to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfilling of the law.

    It is our reasonable service to act under our common human nature with neighbour-love [as opposed to envy, jealousy, lust, selfish ambition etc], building the civil peace of justice and a community of concern, compassion and caring. Thus, we respect and protect life, family, legitimate property, truth and more. (And, those who dispute the truth-basis and reasonableness of the Judaeo-Christian tradition are directed here for a start.)

    This, is the soil of genuine liberty in genuinely civil society.

    KF

  15. 15
    kairosfocus says:

    F/N: On the 1st Amdt US Const, starting with what Congress submitted:

    Transcription of the 1789 Joint Resolution of Congress Proposing 12 Amendments to the U.S. Constitution

    Congress of the United States
    begun and held at the City of New-York, on
    Wednesday the fourth of March, one thousand seven hundred and eighty nine.

    THE Conventions of a number of the States, having at the time of their adopting the Constitution, expressed a desire, in order to prevent misconstruction or abuse of its powers, that further declaratory and restrictive clauses should be added: And as extending the ground of public confidence in the Government, will best ensure the beneficent ends of its institution.

    RESOLVED by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America, in Congress assembled, two thirds of both Houses concurring, that the following Articles be proposed to the Legislatures of the several States, as amendments to the Constitution of the United States, all, or any of which Articles, when ratified by three fourths of the said Legislatures, to be valid to all intents and purposes, as part of the said Constitution; viz.

    ARTICLES in addition to, and Amendment of the Constitution of the United States of America, proposed by Congress, and ratified by the Legislatures of the several States, pursuant to the fifth Article of the original Constitution . . . .

    Article the third… Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances . . . .

    ATTEST,

    Frederick Augustus Muhlenberg, Speaker of the House of Representatives

    John Adams, Vice-President of the United States, and President of the Senate

    John Beckley, Clerk of the House of Representatives.

    Sam. A Otis Secretary of the Senate

    Thus, we see the same grand statement style that structures the Constitution as a whole:

    We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America . . . . [Main Body, Arts I – VII] . . . . Done in Convention by the Unanimous Consent of the States present the Seventeenth Day of September in the Year of our Lord one thousand seven hundred and Eighty seven and of the Independence of the United States of America the Twelfth. In Witness whereof We have hereunto subscribed our Names. . . . . [AMENDMENTS].

    Such a style, of course, underscores that the part be interpreted in light of the whole in its context.

    Instantly, we see an emphasis on the blessings of liberty, a theological, covenantal reference that points to the Reformation era biblically rooted understanding of the double covenant of nationhood under God and good government of the nation with the consent of the governed, equally under God. (The modern secularist notion of splitting apart God and People is alien to the frame at work, and it leads to pernicious misunderstandings.)

    If there is doubt as to what Blessings of Liberty refers to, observe the Congessional proclammation of a national call to penitent prayer in May 1776, on the eve of the Declaration as already cited, which in the context of the double-covenant view is a clear acknowledgement of the emerging USA being founded under God:

    May 1776 [over the name of John Hancock, first signer of the US Declaration of Indpependence] : In times of impending calamity and distress; when the liberties of America are imminently endangered by the secret machinations and open assaults of an insidious and vindictive administration, it becomes the indispensable duty of these hitherto free and happy colonies, with true penitence of heart, and the most reverent devotion, publickly to acknowledge the over ruling providence of God; to confess and deplore our offences against him; and to supplicate his interposition for averting the threatened danger, and prospering our strenuous efforts in the cause of freedom, virtue, and posterity.. . . Desirous, at the same time, to have people of all ranks and degrees duly impressed with a solemn sense of God’s superintending providence, and of their duty, devoutly to rely, in all their lawful enterprizes, on his aid and direction, Do earnestly recommend, that Friday, the Seventeenth day of May next, be observed by the said colonies as a day of humiliation, fasting, and prayer; that we may, with united hearts, confess and bewail our manifold sins and transgressions, and, by a sincere repentance and amendment of life, appease his righteous displeasure, and, through the merits and mediation of Jesus Christ, obtain his pardon and forgiveness; humbly imploring his assistance to frustrate the cruel purposes of our unnatural enemies; . . . that it may please the Lord of Hosts, the God of Armies, to animate our officers and soldiers with invincible fortitude, to guard and protect them in the day of battle, and to crown the continental arms, by sea and land, with victory and success: Earnestly beseeching him to bless our civil rulers, and the representatives of the people, in their several assemblies and conventions; to preserve and strengthen their union, to inspire them with an ardent, disinterested love of their country; to give wisdom and stability to their counsels; and direct them to the most efficacious measures for establishing the rights of America on the most honourable and permanent basis—That he would be graciously pleased to bless all his people in these colonies with health and plenty, and grant that a spirit of incorruptible patriotism, and of pure undefiled religion, may universally prevail; and this continent be speedily restored to the blessings of peace and liberty, and enabled to transmit them inviolate to the latest posterity. And it is recommended to Christians of all denominations, to assemble for public worship, and abstain from servile labour on the said day.

    Then, after the key successful victories that brought the full-bore French intervention that was the strategic hinge of ultimate victory:

    December 1777: FORASMUCH as it is the indispensable Duty of all Men to adore the superintending Providence of Almighty God; to acknowledge with Gratitude their Obligation to him for benefits received, and to implore such farther Blessings as they stand in Need of; And it having pleased him in his abundant Mercy not only to continue to us the innumerable Bounties of his common Providence, but also to smile upon us in the Prosecution of a just and necessary War, for the Defence and Establishment of our unalienable Rights and Liberties; particularly in that he hath been pleased in so great a Measure to prosper the Means used for the Support of our Troops and to crown our Arms with most signal success: It is therefore recommended to the legislative or executive powers of these United States, to set apart THURSDAY, the eighteenth Day of December next, for Solemn Thanksgiving and Praise; That with one Heart and one Voice the good People may express the grateful Feelings of their Hearts, and consecrate themselves to the Service of their Divine Benefactor; and that together with their sincere Acknowledgments and Offerings, they may join the penitent Confession of their manifold Sins, whereby they had forfeited every Favour, and their humble and earnest Supplication that it may please GOD, through the Merits of Jesus Christ, mercifully to forgive and blot them out of Remembrance; That it may please him graciously to afford his Blessing on the Governments of these States respectively, and prosper the public Council of the whole; to inspire our Commanders both by Land and Sea, and all under them, with that Wisdom and Fortitude which may render them fit Instruments, under the Providence of Almighty GOD, to secure for these United States the greatest of all human blessings, INDEPENDENCE and PEACE; That it may please him to prosper the Trade and Manufactures of the People and the Labour of the Husbandman, that our Land may yet yield its Increase; To take Schools and Seminaries of Education, so necessary for cultivating the Principles of true Liberty, Virtue and Piety, under his nurturing Hand, and to prosper the Means of Religion for the promotion and enlargement of that Kingdom which consisteth “in Righteousness, Peace and Joy in the Holy Ghost.”[i.e. Cites Rom 14:9] [Source: Journals of the American Congress From 1774 to 1788 (Washington: Way and Gideon, 1823), Vol. I, pp. 286-287 & II, pp. 309 – 310.]

    By the next year, we see in the 1778 Articles of Confederation and Perpetual Union (which would be fought over in the 1860’s in a bloody civil war pivoting on the contradictions and compromises brought about by tolerating slavery):

    And Whereas it hath pleased the Great Governor of the World to incline the hearts of the legislatures we respectively represent in Congress, to approve of, and to authorize us to ratify the said Articles of Confederation and perpetual Union. Know Ye that we the undersigned delegates, by virtue of the power and authority to us given for that purpose, do by these presents, in the name and in behalf of our respective constituents, fully and entirely ratify and confirm each and every of the said Articles of Confederation and perpetual Union . . . . In Witness whereof we have hereunto set our hands in Congress. Done at Philadelphia in the State of Pennsylvania the ninth day of July in the Year of our Lord One Thousand Seven Hundred and Seventy-Eight, and in the Third Year of the independence of America.

    In short, the double covenant view I am putting on the table is not a mere idiosyncrasy to be brushed aside as of no significance. Instead, the persistent refusal to acknowledge easily documented well-founded historic and legal-covenantal truth is what needs to answer to some serious questions.

    In that context, dating the US Constitution in terms of both The Year of our Lord AND of the independence of the US gives a big hint as to the significance of the already cited declaration of Independence. Indeed, the Constitution patently set out to deliver on new reformed government under God that would hold the legitimacy envisioned in the second paragraph of the declaration, viz:

    We hold these truths to be self-evident, [cf Rom 1:18 – 21, 2:14 – 15, 13:1 – 10], that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. –That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, –That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security . . .

    Note, the context of understanding law espoused is stated in the first paragraph: “the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God.”

    That puts Blackstone’s point and that of Locke citing Hooker up-front, centre. Let us again cite Blackstone, as this was the primary legal textbook of reference in the era in question and for a century and more beyond:

    Man, considered as a creature, must necessarily be subject to the laws of his creator, for he is entirely a dependent being . . . consequently, as man depends absolutely upon his maker for every thing, it is necessary that he should in all points conform to his maker’s will. This will of his maker is called the law of nature. For as God, when he created matter, and endued it with a principle of mobility, established certain rules for the perpetual direction of that motion; so, when he created man, and endued him with freewill to conduct himself in all parts of life, he laid down certain immutable laws of human nature, whereby that freewill is in some degree regulated and restrained, and gave him also the faculty of reason to discover the purport of those laws . . . These are the eternal, immutable laws of good and evil, to which the creator himself in all his dispensations conforms; and which he has enabled human reason to discover, so far as they are necessary for the conduct of human actions. Such among others are these principles: that we should live honestly [NB: cf. Exod. 20:15 – 16], should hurt nobody [NB: cf. Rom 13:8 – 10], and should render to every one his due [NB: cf. Rom 13:6 – 7 & Exod. 20:15]; to which three general precepts Justinian[1: a Juris praecepta sunt hace, honeste vivere. alterum non laedere, suum cuique tribuere. Inst, 1. 1. 3] has reduced the whole doctrine of law [and, Corpus Juris, Justinian’s Christianised precis and pruning of perhaps 1,000 years of Roman jurisprudence, in turn is the foundation of law for much of Europe].

    The point should be clear enough, but to clench it over, let us note the precedent of the Dutch DoI of 1581 under William the Silent of Orange and against Phillip II of Spain, which was directly influenced by Vindiciae of 1579, and which makes it plain that Natural Law was understood in a specifically Christian [in fact Calvinist] context and used in the first modern declaration of independence in an unmistakeable way:

    . . . a prince is constituted by God to be ruler of a people, to defend them from oppression and violence as the shepherd his sheep; and whereas God did not create the people slaves to their prince, to obey his commands, whether right or wrong, but rather the prince for the sake of the subjects (without which he could be no prince), to govern them according to equity, to love and support them as a father his children or a shepherd his flock, and even at the hazard of life to defend and preserve them. And when he does not behave thus, but, on the contrary, oppresses them, seeking opportunities to infringe their ancient customs and privileges . . . then he is no longer a prince, but a tyrant, and the subjects are to consider him in no other view . . . This is the only method left for subjects whose humble petitions and remonstrances could never soften their prince or dissuade him from his tyrannical proceedings; and this is what the law of nature dictates for the defense of liberty, which we ought to transmit to posterity, even at the hazard of our lives. [–> note the direct parallel to the preamble, US Const] . . . . So, having no hope of reconciliation, and finding no other remedy, we have, agreeable to the law of nature in our own defense, and for maintaining the rights, privileges, and liberties of our countrymen, wives, and children, and latest posterity from being enslaved by the Spaniards, been constrained to renounce allegiance to the King of Spain, and pursue such methods as appear to us most likely to secure our ancient liberties and privileges [–> note the direct parallel to the US DoI].

    Now, in that light let us look with fresh insights at the 3rd article in the Congressional Resolution of March 4 1789, latterly known as the 1st Amdt US Const:

    >>Article the third… Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof;>>

    1 –> Congress resolves and submits to the people for their ratification.

    2 –> There shall be no grand federal landeskirk of the united states, building on the principle of Westphalia 1648 of locality in religion, adjusted to republican circumstances and with better protection of dissenters.

    3 –> at this time of course something like nine of the thirteen states had established local state churches, the free exercise clause specifically protected freikirke.

    4 –> Thus the letter by Jefferson to the Danbury Baptists of Connecticut, is properly to be understood as affirming that Jefferson respected this as setting up a wall of protection for freedom of conscience, worship and religion from interference by the state, especially the state in alliance with a grand landeskirk or some unholy cartel of such at state level.

    5 –> In our time, where evolutionary materialist, scientism based secular humanism and its fellow travellers constitute a de facto anti-church cartel, American Dissenting Christians face precisely that kind of interference that this clause was intended to be a bulwark against.

    >>or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press;>>

    6 –> Notice, freedom to speak and to publish through media are protected in exactly the context of freedom of faith and its expression.

    7 –> Yes, the primary sort of speech and publication being protected is just what Carpathian and others of like ilk would trammel, stigmatise, ghettoise and censor in the name of protecting their ears and eyes from being reminded of Him who they are fain to forget and dismiss.

    8 –> The irony of this is itself a rebuke to such a radical secularism.

    >> or the right of the people peaceably to assemble,>>

    9 –> This is of course, again in the direct context of religious expression with application to general expression.

    10 –> Peaceful assembly implies in homes, in houses of worship, in public spaces, on the streets so long as the assembly be not riotous or a mob seeking to threaten.

    11 –> And, again, Carpathian and ilk are found in the lists as enemies of freedom. A sad but not unexpected irony.

    >> and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances>>

    12 –> As in, it was a grievance that the Constitution did not sufficiently and explicitly protect Dissenters from encroachment by potentially hostile establishments that led these to champion a bill of amendments culminating in this one as first in the list.

    13 –> So, again, we find the despised evangelicals helping to build liberty.

    14 –> And, the power to petition challenges the Laodicean, self-satisfied mentality of power elites that tend to lock out unwelcome voices and views. (As in, Jesus at the church door, knocking and asking to be let in . . . instead of simply forcing his way in while posing on his authority as Lord of the church; as strong a statement of Divine respect for human freedom as one can ever find, even freedom to follow a march of folly.)

    It is high time for fresh thinking.

    KF

  16. 16
  17. 17
    Carpathian says:

    kairosfocus:

    –That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed,

    Please read the above.

    1) Where does the government derive their “just powers”?

    2) If the governed do not give their consent, are those powers still just?

    If a majority of people refuse to give their “consent”, the government has no “just powers” regardless of whether you or anyone else believes God has granted consent.

  18. 18
    kairosfocus says:

    Carpathian,

    did you actually read all that was said, starting with the full list of self-evident truths stated?

    For convenience, 2nd paragraph US DoI again:

    >>We hold these truths to be self-evident, [cf Rom 1:18 – 21, 2:14 – 15, 13:1 – 10],>>

    1 –> Truths known to be so through themselves.

    2 –> That is, once one understands i/l/o experience of our common world and circumstances, one will see that such are so, must be so and the attempted denial lands one in patent absurdity.

    3 –> Here, the point Locke cites from Hooker underscores: my reasonable expectation of justice, respect etc from my neighbour imposes on me the like duty to neighbours who are of like nature and worth.

    >> that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.>>

    4 –> Thus, we come to core rights rooted in the IS who grounds OUGHT: the inherently good Creator-God, a necessary and maximally great being worthy of ultimate loyalty and the reasonable service of doing the good according to our evident nature.

    5 –> The first being life, the basis for any further rights, liberty following as the means to fulfill purpose thus finding fulfillment and happiness thereby.

    >> –That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men,>>

    6 –> Government is in this context of rights endowed by God, the first plank of legitimacy.

    >> deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed,>>

    7 –> The consent of the governed being a respect for liberty and the free consensus of the community, this is the second plank of legitimacy.

    8 –> Just powers are, further exerted in defense of the civil peace of justice, and include the impartiality, reasonable evaluation of cases and restrained but effective use of force to that end.

    9 –> This is of course where this exchange began, in an attempt to attack Christians expressing their support for just government wielding the sword in defence of the civil peace of justice.

    10 –> That attack began with scare mongering and the projection of immoral equivalency with islamist terrorists and the like.

    11 –> That injustice has of course not ever been properly acknowledged as wrong and apologised for.

    >> –That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends,>>

    12 –> Government, being an institution of finite, fallible, morally struggling, too often ill-willed humans, can fail and come to need reform.

    >> it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government,>>

    13 –> The collective right to form a new consensus for good government. Including, in the extreme case, right to revolution . . . thankfully, the ballot box gives a peaceful means. (And yes, general elections are regularly scheduled solemn assemblies for audit, reform or in extreme cases replacement of government.)

    >> laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.>>

    14 –> This is freedom of reform, to be guided by reasonable consideration as to what is likely to be effective towards the end, guarding the civil peace of justice.

    >> Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed.>>

    15 –> A summary on both prudence and respect for time-tested effective praxis.

    >> But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism,>>

    16 –> The manifestation of an agenda of subversion of liberty by abuses and usurpations justifies radical reform or even revolution. (Which, was the immediate context of the 1776 DoI.)

    >> it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security . . .>>

    17 –> There is a duty of the people and their legitimate representatives to act in defence of the civil peace of justice in the teeth of rising tyranny by usurpation and abuse or by invasion.

    18 –> At the first, the doctrine of interposition by lower magistrates is premised on their legitimacy as direct servants of God with the solemn duty of justice.

    19 –> It moves to petition and remonstrance, in established democracies to standing for election on a reform platform.

    20 –> In the extreme case, tyranny forfeits legitimacy and new legitimate government is justified to use the sword in defence of liberty.

    21 –> That, inevitably is a horror, so it is much the more vital to be vigilant and use established means in a properly constituted community to hold abuses and failures to account.

    22 –> This, is why freedom of conscience, expression, association, peaceful assembly, the press and petition are absolutely vital.

    23 –> And, above, those are exactly the freedoms you threaten, which I am duty bound to expose for what such means.

    In short, the sidetrack attempt fails, and comes around full circle to highlight the magnitude of the dangers in the agendas you have so blindly supported.

    I suggest, C, it is time for you to think again and do better.

    A lot better.

    KF

    PS: Onlookers may wish to reflect on the case study in Ac 27 of the march of folly in a democracy and its consequences, including the importance of standing up when it is unpopular, leading to being a good man in the storm:

    http://kairosfocus.blogspot.co.....-year.html

  19. 19
    kairosfocus says:

    A question: Are American school and college kids taught to properly understand the 2nd para of the US DoI — the very charter of modern liberty and constitutional, representative democratic self-government — these days? Soldiers etc as part of induction? Immigrants as part of becoming permanent residents or citizens? Journalists in school? Lawyers in training? The evident breakdown of understanding we are seeing suggests, no. That, if so, is a massive collective institutional and community failure and points to an obvious point for reform in defence of the blessings of liberty. KF

  20. 20
    anthropic says:

    KF 19

    Again, many thanks for your exposition. John 1 is particularly important in identifying Christ, the Son of God, with Logos, the principle of reason, rationality, and logic (the word “logic” is rooted in Logos). Without John 1, Christianity might have gone off the rails as did Islam. Thank God (literally) it did not!

    Re your question about American school and college kids and the second para of the US Declaration of Independence, based on my teaching experience I’d say that while most have heard the words at some point, relatively few remember them. Even fewer have any inkling of their significance.

    It isn’t emphasized in class, I think, partly because of the reference to a Creator — eek, God!!! — and partly because the very idea of American exceptionalism is politically incorrect. The great words of the DoI don’t fit into the race, class, gender narrative, thus are an embarrassment to those who control the curriculum.

  21. 21
    anthropic says:

    Carpathian 17
    ——————————————————–
    kairosfocus:
    –That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed,
    Please read the above.

    1) Where does the government derive their “just powers”?

    2) If the governed do not give their consent, are those powers still just?

    If a majority of people refuse to give their “consent”, the government has no “just powers” regardless of whether you or anyone else believes God has granted consent.
    ————————————————————

    Interesting questions, C.

    The government’s purpose is secure the God-given rights listed in the previous sentence of the Declaration: life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness. When these rights are under threat from evildoers (foreign or domestic), the government acts as God’s servant in punishing the guilty.

    As for consent of the governed, sadly, you are still busy sawing off the branch you sit upon. Only in a traditional Judeo-Christian culture would the people’s consent be sought or desired. Only where people are considered of greater value and significance than Leviathan could such a radical idea take hold.

    Other forms of government rest upon the assumption that the state is the master, not the servant, of the people. But in Christian thinking every human being has attributes far beyond any government. People are created in the image of God, not the government. People have a soul that will last forever, not the government. Thus, people have eternal value, but the government does not.

    There are genuine issues that arise about consent, but until you realize that the bedrock of consent is a Judeo-Christian view of humanity, there isn’t much point.

    I tried to make this clear previously, but obviously didn’t succeed. What we have here is a failure to communicate!

  22. 22
    StephenB says:

    Carpathian

    The right to govern comes from the people not any faith-based group or their particular version of God.

    The “consent of the governed” is a Biblical principle. Because people are made in the “image and likeness of God,” they are, insofar as they recognize that fact and act accordingly, capable of governing themselves.

  23. 23
    goodusername says:

    StephenB,

    The “consent of the governed” is a Biblical principle.

    How So?

    There couldn’t possibly be a more explicit anti-Consent of the governed statement than this:

    Romans 13: 1 Let everyone be subject to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God. 2 Consequently, whoever rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves. (and so on)

    I don’t know how people get “consent of the governed” from the Bible, but it’s sure obvious how they got the Divine Rights of Kings.

  24. 24
    Mung says:

    Carpathian: 1) Where does the government derive their “just powers”?

    Have you ever read Plato’s The Republic?

  25. 25
    anthropic says:

    goodusername 23

    There couldn’t possibly be a more explicit anti-Consent of the governed statement than this:

    Romans 13: 1 Let everyone be subject to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God. 2 Consequently, whoever rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves. (and so on)

    I don’t know how people get “consent of the governed” from the Bible, but it’s sure obvious how they got the Divine Rights of Kings.
    —————————————————–

    Ah, but the “and so on” goes on to explain exactly what kind of authority that God has instituted: the one that punishes evil and rewards good.

    The scriptures are replete with examples of people who either went along with established authority to do evil (think Judas and the Sanhedrin) or defied established authority to do good (such as Rahab the prostitute hiding the spies). The former are condemned, the latter praised.

  26. 26
    kairosfocus says:

    Anthropic, the want of familiarity with the line Vindiciae, Dutch DoI 1581, Lex Rex and Locke on the part of the other side speaks volumes; let’s just say that Lex Rex alone suffices to rebuke the notion that a presumed right to be a tyrant or lack of accountability are reasonably based on the overall counsel of the Judaeo-Christian scriptural tradition. They do not understand the exodus or other cases of God sanctioned uprising against or resistance to tyranny or govt gone bad, the prophet as a God-sanctioned voice in rebuke to corrupt or abusive elites and more, not to mention the issue that lower magistrates (including legitimate representatives) are also God’s servants (as are we all), the issue of interposition and remonstrance or petition, and more. Remember, to even hold to people having rights and responsible rational freedom and a real self able to choose rationally, they borrow from the ethical theistic traditions without due recognition. And more. KF

  27. 27
    kairosfocus says:

    Anthropic,

    in short the very charter of modern democracy does not fit the narrative so it gets short shrift.

    That telling lack of proper and due emphasis and fair-minded exposition is a clear symptom of indoctrination that endarkens minds with false light rather than genuine education.

    So, we are back to the in the end spiritual conflict of light against darkness, truth vs deception:

    Matt 6:22 “The eye is the lamp of the body. So, if your eye is healthy, your whole body will be full of light, 23 but if your eye is bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light in you is darkness, how great is the darkness!

    Eph 4:17 Now this I say and testify in the Lord, that you must no longer walk as the Gentiles do, in the futility of their minds. 18 They are darkened in their understanding, alienated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them, due to their hardness of heart. 19 They have become callous and have given themselves up to sensuality, greedy to practice every kind of impurity. 20 But that is not the way you learned Christ!— 21 assuming that you have heard about him and were taught in him, as the truth is in Jesus, 22 to put off your old self,[f] which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires, 23 and to be renewed in the spirit of your minds, 24 and to put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness.

    25 Therefore, having put away falsehood, let each one of you speak the truth with his neighbor, for we are members one of another . . .

    2 Cor 10: 3 For though we walk in the flesh, we are not waging war according to the flesh. 4 For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds. 5 We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ [Col 2:3 “in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge” — also cf here on in context on Christ as the absolute foundation of a life rooted in Truth himself] . . .

    John 1:1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was in the beginning with God. 3 All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made. 4 In him was life,[a] and the life was the light of men. 5 The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.

    6 There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. 7 He came as a witness, to bear witness about the light, that all might believe through him. 8 He was not the light, but came to bear witness about the light.

    9 The true light, which gives light to everyone, was coming into the world. 10 He was in the world, and the world was made through him, yet the world did not know him. 11 He came to his own,[b] and his own people[c] did not receive him. 12 But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God, 13 who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.

    14 And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.

    And so forth.

    The text of Rom 13 will also bring out key balances:

    Rom 13:1 Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God. 2 Therefore whoever resists the authorities resists what God has appointed, and those who resist will incur judgment.

    3 For rulers are not a terror to good conduct, but to bad. Would you have no fear of the one who is in authority? Then do what is good, and you will receive his approval, 4 for he is God’s servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword in vain. For he is the servant of God, an avenger who carries out God’s wrath on the wrongdoer. [–> note, the purpose of the sword, raising the issue, what happens when the ruler rebels and becomes tyrannical wrongdoer in chief? The broad sweep of scripture answers that]

    5 Therefore one must be in subjection, not only to avoid God’s wrath but also for the sake of conscience. 6 For because of this you also pay taxes, for the authorities are ministers of God, attending to this very thing. 7 Pay to all what is owed to them: taxes to whom taxes are owed, revenue to whom revenue is owed, respect to whom respect is owed, honor to whom honor is owed.

    8 Owe no one anything, except to love each other, for the one who loves another has fulfilled the law.

    9 For the commandments, “You shall not commit adultery, You shall not murder, You shall not steal, You shall not covet,” and any other commandment, are summed up in this word: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” 10 Love does no wrong to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfilling of the law.

    And more

    KF

  28. 28
    kairosfocus says:

    F/N: Notice the 4th Stanza of the US National Anthem:

    O thus be it ever, when freemen shall stand
    Between their loved homes and the war’s desolation.
    Blest with vict’ry and peace, may the Heav’n rescued land
    Praise the Power that hath made and preserved us a nation!
    Then conquer we must, when our cause it is just,
    And this be our motto: “In God is our trust.”
    And the star-spangled banner in triumph shall wave
    O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave!

    Read this in light of the 1776 Declaration, and the grand statement structure of the Articles of Confederation as well as that of the US Constitution.

    Of course, notoriously, people do not know the later verses of the anthem.

    KF

  29. 29
    kairosfocus says:

    F/N: We need to refocus the philosophical-ethical context for good government and particularly for justice. For instance, why the portrayal of Justice as a blind folded, scale and sword wielding woman? KF

  30. 30
    kairosfocus says:

    F/N: Let me cite Russel Kirk in his lecture on justice:

    http://www.heritage.org/resear.....of-justice

    >>Nowadays, near the close of the twentieth century, moral and political disorders bring grave confusion about the meanings of old words. As T. S. Eliot wrote in “Burnt Norton” —

    Words strain,

    Crack and sometimes break, under the burden,
    Under the tension, slip, slide, perish,
    Decay with imprecision, will not stay in place,
    Will not stay still.

    Shrieking voices
    Scolding, mocking, or merely chattering,
    Always assail them.

    Conspicuous among such venerable words, in our era often abused and misrepresented, is this necessary word justice. Today I am attempting to purify the dialect of the tribe — to borrow another phrase from my old friend Eliot, who endeavored lifelong to rescue words from the clutch of the vulgarizer or of the ideologue.

    Permit me first to offer preliminary descriptions or definitions of this word justice. Jeremy Taylor, in the middle of the seventeenth century, wrote that there exist two kinds of justice. The one is commutative justice, or reciprocal justice, expressed in Scripture thus: “Whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, even so do to them.” In Taylor’s words, “This is the measure… of that justice which supposes exchange of things profitable for things profitable, that as I supply your need, you may supply mine; as I do a benefit to you, I may receive one by you…. ”

    The other kind is distributive justice, expressed in this passage from Romans: “Render to all their dues; tribute to whom tribute is due, custom to whom custom, fear to whom fear, honor to whom honor; owe no man anything but to love one another.” Upon this Taylor comments, “This justice is distinguished from the first, because the obligation depends not upon contract or express bargain, but passes upon us by some command of God, or of our superior, by nature or by grace, by piety or religion, by trust or by office, according to that commandment, ‘As every man hath received the gift, so let him minister the same one to another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God.'”

    But perhaps, ladies and gentlemen, I proceed too fast; I shall have more to say a little later about the Christian concept of justice. Just now a little about the classical idea of justice. The classical definition, which comes to us through Plato, Aristotle, Saint Ambrose, and Saint Augustine of Hippo, is expressed in a single phrase: suum cuique, or “to each his own.” As this is put in Justinian’s Corpus Juris Civilis, “Justice is a habit whereby a man renders to each one his due with constant and perpetual will.” Aristotle instructs us that the prevalence of injustice makes clear the meaning of justice. Also Aristotle remarks that it is unjust to treat unequal things equally — a principle to which I shall return in my later lectures. Of the virtue called justice, Saint Augustine declares, “Justice is that ordering of the soul by virtue of which it comes to pass that we are no man’s servant, but servants of God alone.”

    Upon such ancient postulates, classical or Christian, rests our whole elaborate edifice of law here in these United States — even though few Americans know anything about the science of jurisprudence. For public order is founded upon moral order, and moral order arises from religion — a point upon which I mean to touch later in this talk of mine. If these venerable postulates are flouted or denied — as they have been denied by the Marxists in the present century, and were denied by sophists in Plato’s time — then arbitrary power thrusts justice aside, and “they shall take who have the power, and they shall keep who can.”

    All these brief definitions require explanation. But for the moment I pass on to the common understanding, the common sense, of the meaning of justice. All of us here present, I suppose, entertain some notion of what justice signifies. From what source do we obtain such a concept? Why, very commonly, from observation of a just man or a just woman. We begin by admiring someone — he may be some famous judge, or he may be an obscure neighbor — who accords to every person he encounters that person’s due. Just men, in short, establish the norm of justice . . . >>

    And so, to ponder, to think, and even to dare to hope that it is not utterly too late.

    KF

  31. 31
    Zachriel says:

    Carpathian: Religious activities should all be private.

    People have a right to freedom of speech, including religious speech. If you have the right to sit in the park and talk about the weather, then others have a right to sit in the park and talk about God. This is not the same as setting up a loudspeaker system, which is subject to neutral rules concerning assembly and noise.

    Carpathian: There are parents who may not want their children exposed to certain religions or religious teachings and that barrier to religion should be considered a fundamental right and honored by all faiths.

    While government should be neutral, people, including students, have the right to express their beliefs publicly.

  32. 32
    kairosfocus says:

    F/N2: Cicero, Laws, I:

    http://www.loebclassics.com/vi.....13.317.xml

    >>M: . . . now let us investigate the origins of Justice.

    Well then, the most learned men have determined to begin with Law, and it would seem that they are right, if, according to their definition, Law is the highest reason, implanted in Nature, which commands what ought to be done and forbids the opposite. This reason, when firmly fixed and fully developed in the human mind, is Law. And so they believe that Law is intelligence, whose natural function it is to command right conduct and forbid wrongdoing. They think that this quality has derived its name in Greek from the idea of granting to every man his own, and in our language I believe it has been named from the idea of choosing.1 For as they have attributed the idea of fairness to the word law, so we have given it that of selection, though both ideas properly belong to Law. Now if this is correct, as I think it to be in general, then the origin of Justice is to be found in Law, for Law is a natural force; it | is the mind and reason of the intelligent man, the standard by which Justice and Injustice are measured. But since our whole discussion has to do with the reasoning of the populace, it will sometimes be necessary to speak in the popular manner, and give the name of law to that which in written form decrees whatever it wishes, either by command or prohibition. For such is the crowd’s definition of law. But in determining what Justice is, let us begin with that supreme Law which had its origin ages before any written law existed or any State had been established . . . .

    Since, then, we must retain and preserve that constitution of the State which Scipio proved to be the best in the six books1 devoted to the subject, and all our laws must be fitted to that type of State, and since we must also inculcate good morals, and not prescribe everything in writing, I shall seek the root of Justice in Nature, under whose guidance our whole discussion must be conducted.>> [pp. 317 & 19]

    Notice, the centrality of the IS/OUGHT challenge, thus the grounding of OUGHT, and the danger of failing to properly found OUGHT.

    KF

  33. 33
    kairosfocus says:

    F/N3: Kirk picks up from Cicero:

    >>there exists a literary tradition expounding the idea of justice. The most recent popular example of this tradition is to be found in an appendix to C. S. Lewis’s little book The Abolition of Man. Therein Lewis sets side by side, drawn from various cultures, illustrations of the Tao, or Natural Law. He groups these precepts or injunctions under eight headings: the law of general beneficence; the law of special beneficence; duties to parents, elders, ancestors; duties to children and posterity; the law of justice; the law of good faith and veracity; the law of mercy; the law of magnanimity. Everywhere in the world, in every age, Lewis is saying, wise men and women have perceived the nature of justice and expressed that nature in proverb, maxim, and injunction.

    At this point one may inquire, “Are you implying that just men and women find in religious doctrines — Hebraic, Christian, Moslem, Hindu, Buddhist — the fountains of justice?” Yes, I am so reasoning. The sanction for justice will be found, ultimately, in religious insights as to the human condition, and particularly in Revelation. Our so-called “Western” concepts of justice are derived from the Decalogue, Platonic religious philosophy, and the teachings of the Christ. Somewhere there must exist an authority for beliefs about justice; and the authority of merely human, and therefore fallible, courts of law is insufficient to command popular assent and obedience.

    It does not follow, however, that all just men and women recognize the ultimate source of ideas about justice, or appeal to that ultimate source. My grandfather never read a line that Saint Thomas Aquinas wrote, though his understanding of justice accorded well enough with what Aquinas expresses so convincingly in the Summa. To my grandfather the justice-concepts of the Hebraic and classical and medieval cultures were transmitted through British and American moral, legal, and literary traditions, and through long custom and habit within his family and within the small-town American communities where he had lived. If pressed as to why he held a certain understanding of the word “justice” — indeed, he once compulsorily engaged in a dialogue on that subject with a rather Nietzschean desperado intent on persuading my grandfather to open his bank’s safe — I suppose that Frank Pierce would have replied, “Because good men always have so believed.” Securus judicat orbis terrarum, bonos non esse qui se dividunt ab orbe terrarum in quacunque parte terrarum, Saint Augustine of Hippo instructs us — “The calm judgment of the world is that those men cannot be good who, in any part of the world, cut themselves off from the rest of the world.” The word justice implies obligation to others, or to an Other.

    Thus far I have been describing the concept of justice that prevailed in the Western world down to the closing years of the eighteenth century. Behind the phrase “to each his own” lay the beliefs that divine wisdom has conferred upon man a distinct nature; that human nature is constant; that the idea of justice is implanted in the human consciousness by a transcendent power; and that the general rule by which we endeavor to do justice is this: “to each man, the things that are his own.”

    What is meant by this famous phrase? To put the matter very succinctly, the doctrine of suum cuique affirms that every man, minding his own business, should receive the rewards which are appropriate to his work and duties. It takes for granted a society of diversity, with various classes and interests. It implies both responsibility toward others and personal freedom. It has been a strong protection for private property, on a small scale or a great; and a reinforcement, for Jews and Christians, of the Tenth Commandment. Through the Roman law, this doctrine of justice passed into the legal codes of the European continent, and even into English and American law.

    Injustice, according to this doctrine, occurs when men try to undertake things for which they are not fitted, and to claim rewards to which they are not entitled, and to deny to other men what really belongs to those other men. As Plato puts it, in The Republic, quite as an unjust man is a being whose reason, will, and appetite are at war one with another, so an unjust society is a state afflicted by “meddlesomeness, and interference, and the rising up of a part of the soul against the whole, an assertion of unlawful authority, which is made by a rebellious subject against a true prince, of whom he is the natural vassal — what is all this confusion and delusion but injustice, and intemperance and cowardice and ignorance, and every form of vice?”

    Edmund Burke re-expressed this doctrine of “to each his own” when, in his Reflections on the Revolution in France, he wrote of true natural rights: “Men have a right to the fruits of their industry, and to the means of making their industry fruitful. They have a right to the acquisitions of their parents, to the nourishment and improvement of their offspring, to instruction in life, and to consolation in death. Whatever each man can separately do, without trespassing upon others, he has a right to do for himself; and he has a right to all which society, with all its combinations of skill and force, can do in his favor.”>>

    More solid food for thought.

    KF

  34. 34
    Carpathian says:

    Zachriel:

    Carpathian: Religious activities should all be private.

    Zachriel: People have a right to freedom of speech, including religious speech. If you have the right to sit in the park and talk about the weather, then others have a right to sit in the park and talk about God. This is not the same as setting up a loudspeaker system, which is subject to neutral rules concerning assembly and noise.

    When I talk about religious activities I mean more than simple speech between people.

    Putting up the Ten Commandments at courthouses should not be allowed.

    Politicians should not publicly align themselves with any religions.

  35. 35
    kairosfocus says:

    F/N4: Plato rebukes in The Laws c 360 BC, what we imagine is so modern and progressive a doctrine — yes, evolutionary materialism was already known to be morally bankrupt and pernicious to the civil peace of justice in Plato’s day:

    Ath. . . .[The avant garde philosophers and poets, c. 360 BC] say that fire and water, and earth and air [i.e the classical “material” elements of the cosmos], all exist by nature and chance, and none of them by art . . . [such that] all that is in the heaven, as well as animals and all plants, and all the seasons come from these elements, not by the action of mind, as they say, or of any God, or from art, but as I was saying, by nature and chance only [ –> that is, evolutionary materialism is ancient and would trace all things to blind chance and mechanical necessity] . . . .

    [Thus, they hold] that the principles of justice have no existence at all in nature, but that mankind are always disputing about them and altering them; and that the alterations which are made by art and by law have no basis in nature, but are of authority for the moment and at the time at which they are made.-

    [ –> Relativism, too, is not new; complete with its radical amorality rooted in a worldview that has no foundational IS that can ground OUGHT, leading to an effectively arbitrary foundation only for morality, ethics and law: accident of personal preference, the ebbs and flows of power politics, accidents of history and and the shifting sands of manipulated community opinion driven by “winds and waves of doctrine and the cunning craftiness of men in their deceitful scheming . . . ” cf a video on Plato’s parable of the cave; from the perspective of pondering who set up the manipulative shadow-shows, why.]

    These, my friends, are the sayings of wise men, poets and prose writers, which find a way into the minds of youth. They are told by them that the highest right is might,

    [ –> Evolutionary materialism — having no IS that can properly ground OUGHT — leads to the promotion of amorality on which the only basis for “OUGHT” is seen to be might (and manipulation: might in “spin”) . . . ]

    and in this way the young fall into impieties, under the idea that the Gods are not such as the law bids them imagine; and hence arise factions [ –> Evolutionary materialism-motivated amorality “naturally” leads to continual contentions and power struggles influenced by that amorality at the hands of ruthless power hungry nihilistic agendas], these philosophers inviting them to lead a true life according to nature, that is,to live in real dominion over others [ –> such amoral and/or nihilistic factions, if they gain power, “naturally” tend towards ruthless abuse and arbitrariness . . . they have not learned the habits nor accepted the principles of mutual respect, justice, fairness and keeping the civil peace of justice, so they will want to deceive, manipulate and crush — as the consistent history of radical revolutions over the past 250 years so plainly shows again and again], and not in legal subjection to them.

    Again, sobering food for thought.

    If we are to be saved today, we shall have to go back to deep and powerful sources, things bought hard with blood and tears that in our mad rush of folly we have forgotten in our day.

    KF

  36. 36
    kairosfocus says:

    Carpathian, a quiet thought from an old saying: when you are in a hole and need to get out, stop digging in further. For just one instance, do you not see the implication of a religious bar to office, i.e. monopolising such to secularists and fellow travellers as in, Christians who take their faith seriously (never mind the heritage outlined in the OP you are studiously refusing to address . . .) need not apply? KF

  37. 37
    Zachriel says:

    Carpathian: Putting up the Ten Commandments at courthouses should not be allowed.

    Agreed. Monuments with a primarily religious purpose shouldn’t be erected on public land or with public money.

    Carpathian: Politicians should not publicly align themselves with any religions.

    Politicians are representatives of the people. A priest or a rabbi can be elected, if the people so choose, and they can speak on any subject they like, including religion. In a pluralistic society, they should be cognizant and respectful of others, but that can’t be a legal requirement, just a moral one. On the other hand, civil servants don’t have that freedom when acting in an official capacity, as they are representatives of the government.

  38. 38
    Carpathian says:

    Zachriel and kairosfocus:

    kairosfocus: Carpathian, a quiet thought from an old saying: when you are in a hole and need to get out, stop digging in further. For just one instance, do you not see the implication of a religious bar to office, i.e. monopolising such to secularists and fellow travellers as in, Christians who take their faith seriously (never mind the heritage outlined in the OP you are studiously refusing to address . . .) need not apply? KF

    Zachriel: Politicians are representatives of the people. A priest or a rabbi can be elected, if the people so choose, and they can speak on any subject they like, including religion.

    People play many roles in life in different contexts.

    A Rabbi can also be a father and thus in some interactions with his children, he plays the role of a parent, not a Rabbi.

    The same Rabbi is a husband to his wife and thus again, a different relationship.

    A politician’s relationship to the voters should not be the relationship of a Rabbi to his congregation even if that politician is indeed a Rabbi.

    The role of a politician is different than that of a religious leader and that should be the reason for that politician’s election.

    If the reason a leader is elected is ever for religious purposes, you can bet that the next election will see religions fighting for office to use their religious power to mold the country into their faith’s social model.

    Take a look at countries whose political power base is religious and see if you’d like to live under such a government model.

  39. 39
    Zachriel says:

    Carpathian: A politician’s relationship to the voters should not be the relationship of a Rabbi to his congregation even if that politician is indeed a Rabbi.

    It’s a nice thought, but a politician is someone who gets votes. If the district is primarily Catholic, for instance, and there are issues that are of concern to Catholics, then electing an avowed Catholic who speaks to those issues is the very nature of democracy. We would hope a politician would try to represent all the people of the district, but that isn’t the same as saying they won’t be true to their supporters and the promises they made to represent those concerns. There is no necessary contradiction about being a devout Catholic, working against, say, abortion, based on religious principles, while also representing other issues of concern to the general population.

    In the U.S., the constitution provides many protections for minorities. One of those protections is the right of a Catholic to speak out on issues of concern to Catholics, or to run for office on those issues of concern. There is no protection because you don’t want to hear about it.

    However, as pointed out, a civil servant doesn’t have that flexibility because the civil servant is an agent of the government.

  40. 40
    Zachriel says:

    Carpathian: Take a look at countries whose political power base is religious and see if you’d like to live under such a government model.

    Which is why elections are not sufficient to form a modern democracy. It also requires the institutions of pluralism, such as a respected bill of rights, and an independent judiciary to enforce those rights.

    People vote in tribes. That won’t change.

  41. 41
    kairosfocus says:

    F/N: Cf the follow-up thread on the meaning, context and roots of the 1st Amdt US Const:

    http://www.uncommondescent.com.....stitution/

    (A promotion of 15 above, with discussion.)

    KF

  42. 42
    Carpathian says:

    Zachriel:

    There is no necessary contradiction about being a devout Catholic, working against, say, abortion, based on religious principles, while also representing other issues of concern to the general population.

    In this case, the problem comes when those other concerns are those on the other side of the religious principles of that politician.

    Some people don’t see abortion as being a religious issue at all but instead see it as a social one.

    In the case of gay marriage, we see some churches on the no side and others like the United Church on the yes side.

    In reality, this has nothing to do with either of them.

    Religious behavior should be controlled internally by the churches themselves.

    If it can’t be, the situation shouldn’t be solved by legislation that applies to everyone.

    If abortion is deemed “illegal” by a church, that “illegality” applies only to the members of that church.

  43. 43
    goodusername says:

    anthropic,

    Ah, but the “and so on” goes on to explain exactly what kind of authority that God has instituted: the one that punishes evil and rewards good.

    That’s quite a bit of twisting and adding to what Paul wrote.
    He didn’t say “here’s how to recognize a government instituted by God”, or “here’s the kind of government that God institutes.”
    He flat out declares, “there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God.” Not much room for squeezing in qualifiers and caveats.

    And remember that the epistle is “Romans” – he’s a Roman citizen writing to the people of Rome. And so it would be a bit far fetched to suppose that when he writes “authorities that exist have been established by God” that he’s not including the Roman government. Just like it’s far fetched to believe that when he writes “This is also why you pay taxes, for the authorities are God’s servants” that the “you” doesn’t include the people of the city of Rome that the letter is addressed to.
    And, yet, if there were exceptions to what Paul is stating, what better example could there be than the Roman leaders?

  44. 44
    StephenB says:

    anthropic

    The scriptures are replete with examples of people who either went along with established authority to do evil (think Judas and the Sanhedrin) or defied established authority to do good (such as Rahab the prostitute hiding the spies). The former are condemned, the latter praised.

    Right you are–on both counts. Clearly, Roman’s 13 is the default position, exhorting Christians to submit to legitimate authority. However, as you seem to imply, that standard is not being met when man is being asked to submit to sin, or to support a radically sinful regime.

    As St. Peter said, “Whether it is right in the sight of God to give heed to you (the state) rather than to God, you be the judge; for we cannot stop speaking about what we have seen and heard” (Acts 4:19–20). Later, the rulers confronted the apostles again and reminded them of their command to not teach about Jesus, but Peter responded, “We must obey God rather than men” (Acts 5:29).

    On the other hand, one cannot use this rationale as an excuse to justify disobedience to legitimate authority on the grounds that mistakes are sometimes made. Obedience is the normal and proper reaction to the authority of a legitimate government.

    So, the big question is this: Is it Scriptural to establish a rule of self government as a response to tyranny, which clearly does not qualify as a legitimate, God ordained, political system. In this context, I would argue that we must understand both St. Paul and St Peter in context and answer with a resounding, “yes.” We cannot simply read one section of Scripture and hope to grasp the complexities or political morality.

    Any form of government, including a representative republic, is Scriptural if it is based on moral principles, especially the proposition that God grants natural rights based on the natural moral law, which all citizens, leaders first, are bound to submit.

  45. 45
    Zachriel says:

    Carpathian: If abortion is deemed “illegal” by a church, that “illegality” applies only to the members of that church.

    Sure, but they have every right to advocate for its abolition, and elect representatives that represent their views. In the case of abortion, however, the U.S. Supreme Court has ruled there are privacy issues involved, and that the government has little say before viability.

    We used the example of murder. A politician might advocate for a law against murder on religious grounds citing Exodus, another might support the law on practical grounds, another for strictly political reasons because that is what her constituents want. All of these are valid political reasons, and as the law has a valid secular purpose, it should pass muster with the courts.

  46. 46
    anthropic says:

    Goodusername and StephenB, thanks for the thoughtful replies.

    SB, you make a very important point: We cannot simply take one statement out of context on such a complex subject. Context is vital, as is the testimony of other scriptures, as I tried to point out.

    I agree that the normal situation is that Christians are to obey legitimate authority. If, however, the authority commands what God forbids, or forbids what God commands, Christians have a duty to disobey. Otherwise, the state is God.

    GU, even if all we had on the subject of legitimate authority was Paul’s letter to the Romans, it still wouldn’t justify blind obedience to the state. He makes it perfectly clear that the state is under God — a servant — and that its purpose is to restrain evil and reward good.

    No twisting, no distortion. That’s what Paul says. That is precisely the context for his statements about authority being established by God.

    So does this mean that Paul teaches obedience to a state that rewards evil and restrains good? Such a state is clearly in rebellion against God. Since it directly defies God’s purposes, and all real authority comes from God, then it has no real authority.

    Not only does this logic comport well with Romans 12 & 13, it also is consistent with scriptures dealing with these issues. Rahab hiding the spies, the wise men ignoring King Herod’s instructions, Peter’s response in Acts (“We must obey God rather than men.” — thanks, SB), all fit this pattern.

  47. 47
    anthropic says:

    Pardon me for quoting myself: “So does this mean that Paul teaches obedience to a state that rewards evil and restrains good? Such a state is clearly in rebellion against God. Since it directly defies God’s purposes, and all real authority comes from God, then it has no real authority.”

    Now consider the following:

    “The U.S. Department of Justice announced plans to investigate the group that produced undercover videos showing Planned Parenthood employees admitting that they harvest and sell organs ripped from the bodies aborted babies.

    Politico reported the news of the coming DOJ investigation earlier today: JUSTICE TO PROBE CENTER FOR MEDICAL PROGRESS — While congressional committees investigate Planned Parenthood’s practices, the Justice Department agreed to look into whether the group that released the sting videos obtained the footage legally. In response to a request by House Democrats, Attorney General Loretta Lynch said Wednesday afternoon that Justice would “review all of the information and determine what the appropriate steps moving forward would be.”

    Planned Parenthood has staunchly defended its practices and claims that the Center for Medical Progress illegally obtained its footage, then excessively edited it to misrepresent what the organization does.

    The DOJ investigation of the Center for Medical Progress, which, unlike Planned Parenthood, is not in the business of killing healthy, viable unborn babies in order to sell their organs for cash, was announced after several Democratic lawmakers called for the organization to be targeted”

    See more at: http://americanactionnews.com/.....i011R.dpuf

  48. 48
    kairosfocus says:

    Isa 5:20
    Woe to those who call evil good
    and good evil,
    who put darkness for light
    and light for darkness,
    who put bitter for sweet
    and sweet for bitter!
    21
    Woe to those who are wise in their own eyes,
    and shrewd in their own sight!
    22
    Woe to those who are heroes at drinking wine,
    and valiant men in mixing strong drink,
    23
    who acquit the guilty for a bribe,
    and deprive the innocent of his right! [ESV]

  49. 49
    kairosfocus says:

    Matt 6:22 .. Sermon on the Mount . . . “The eye is the lamp of the body. So, if your eye is healthy, your whole body will be full of light, 23 but if your eye is bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light in you is darkness, how great is the darkness!

  50. 50
    kairosfocus says:

    Eph 4:17 Now this I say and testify in the Lord, that you must no longer walk as the Gentiles do, in the futility of their minds. 18 They are darkened in their understanding, alienated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them, due to their hardness of heart. 19 They have become callous and have given themselves up to sensuality, greedy to practice every kind of impurity. 20 But that is not the way you learned Christ!— 21 assuming that you have heard about him and were taught in him, as the truth is in Jesus, 22 to put off your old self,[f] which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires, 23 and to be renewed in the spirit of your minds, 24 and to put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness.

    25 Therefore, having put away falsehood, let each one of you speak the truth with his neighbor . . .

  51. 51
    kairosfocus says:

    John 3:19 And this is the judgment: the light has come into the world, and people loved the darkness rather than the light because their works were evil.

    20 For everyone who does wicked things hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his works should be exposed.

    21 But whoever does what is true comes to the light, so that it may be clearly seen that his works have been carried out in God.”

  52. 52
    kairosfocus says:

    Rom 2:5 But because of your hard and impenitent heart you are storing up wrath for yourself on the day of wrath when God’s righteous judgment will be revealed.

    6 He will render to each one according to his works: 7 to those who by patience in well-doing seek for glory and honor and immortality, he will give eternal life; 8 but for those who are self-seeking[a] and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, there will be wrath and fury. 9 There will be tribulation and distress for every human being who does evil . . .

  53. 53
    Seversky says:

    anthropic @ 47

    Pardon me for quoting myself: “So does this mean that Paul teaches obedience to a state that rewards evil and restrains good? Such a state is clearly in rebellion against God. Since it directly defies God’s purposes, and all real authority comes from God, then it has no real authority.”

    The government in a democracy is presumed to derive its legitimacy and authority from the expressed will of the governed. I strongly resent and reject any claim that such authority can only come from the alleged approval of the deity of one particular faith. There have been – and are – religious regimes every bit as tyrannical as secular. It is hubris to imagine that a claimed belief in Christianity makes one proof against all-too-human failings. The only measure of true Christians, in my view is whether they are observed to practice the cardinal virtues of their faith such a as charity, compassion and humility.

  54. 54
    kairosfocus says:

    Seversky, the issue of reformation in the face of a wrongful majority shows the pivotal importance of justice as key to legitimacy. Justice and rights show the issue of our being under moral government, and this then raises the issue of grounding OUGHT beyond might and manipulation make ‘right.’ Unless our interior life is a grand delusion, we are under government of ought, and that points to the grounding of Ought. After centuries of debate, there is just one serious candidate, the inherently good creator God, a necessary and maximally great being and root of reality, worthy of ultimate loyalty and the reasonable service of doing the good in accordance with our evident nature. So, ethical theists are very on target to point to the importance of nationhood and government under God. Which is exactly what we may read in the 2nd paragraph of the US DoI, the charter for modern liberty and democracy. A state paper, and one of great historical impact. KF

  55. 55
    kairosfocus says:

    F/N: Notice the continued refusal to actually address the issue of the nature of justice as symbolised by that blindfolded lady bearing scales and sword. KF

  56. 56
    anthropic says:

    S 53

    “The government in a democracy is presumed to derive its legitimacy and authority from the expressed will of the governed.”

    Then you reject the Bill of Rights and the rest of the Constitution, which deliberately limits the authority and legitimacy of the “expressed will” of the governed.

    By your criteria, it is okay to send the Jews to the ovens if Hitler wins the election. It is okay for Southerners to keep black slaves so long as a majority are in favor. And in some Muslim lands, it is okay to keep girls uneducated since that is the will of the people.

    Bad as these examples are, they aren’t even the fundamental issue with your criteria. On what basis can we say a democracy is better than a tyranny? Why SHOULD the people have any say at all? The only answer comes from a Judeo – Christian anthropology which says that individual humans are created Imago Dei, and the government is not.

    Resent it all you wish: The basis for democracy, human rights, and limited government power is the deity of the Bible. By trying to sever that connection, you are right back where Carpathian is seated, busily sawing through the tree limb that both of you sit upon.

  57. 57
    sean samis says:

    anthropic @56

    On what basis can we say a democracy is better than a tyranny? Why SHOULD the people have any say at all? The only answer comes from a Judeo – Christian anthropology which says that individual humans are created Imago Dei, and the government is not. Resent it all you wish: The basis for democracy, human rights, and limited government power is the deity of the Bible.

    This is wrong on so many levels.

    It completely ignores the existence of democracy in many non-Christian and pre-Christian cultures; from Ancient Greece to Precolumbian America.

    It completely ignores the near-total absence of democracies among Christians until about 1300, and their rarity until modern times. The biblical imperative for democracy is another one of those Christian fundamentals that took many centuries for Christians to even notice much less put into effect.

    Finally, it ignores the practical justification for democracy: the burden of bad leadership falls most heavily on ordinary people; it is only just that they get to choose their leaders. Government by elites or aristocrats have no record of being even a whit better; never mind that of thugs.

    sean s.

  58. 58
    kairosfocus says:

    SS, I suggest you go re-read the history of the rise of modern liberty and democracy as a globally significant factor over the past half millennium. KF

    PS: While you are at it, please take a stab at explaining the typical sculptural representation of justice.

  59. 59
    StephenB says:

    anthropic

    On what basis can we say a democracy is better than a tyranny? Why SHOULD the people have any say at all? The only answer comes from a Judeo – Christian anthropology which says that individual humans are created Imago Dei, and the government is not. Resent it all you wish: The basis for democracy, human rights, and limited government power is the deity of the Bible.

    sean samis

    This is wrong on so many levels.

    It completely ignores the existence of democracy in many non-Christian and pre-Christian cultures; from Ancient Greece to Precolumbian America.

    No, it doesn’t. It defines the difference between a good democracy (grounded in natural law) and a bad democracy (mob rule). How would you protect against mob rule?

    It completely ignores the near-total absence of democracies among Christians until about 1300, and their rarity until modern times. The biblical imperative for democracy is another one of those Christian fundamentals that took many centuries for Christians to even notice much less put into effect.

    It doesn’t ignore anything. The Judeo-Christian view is compatible with any political system that recognizes the inherent dignity of the human person. Aquinas recognized that point in the 13th Century. Tyranny of any kind, whether of the majority or minority, does not. What world view would you recommend as a standard for forming a political system?

    Atheism/materialism/secularism?

    Pantheism?

    Islam?

    Deism?

    Christianity?

    Buddhism?

    Hinduism?

    Please be specific and explain your answer.

    Finally, it ignores the practical justification for democracy: the burden of bad leadership falls most heavily on ordinary people; it is only just that they get to choose their leaders. Government by elites or aristocrats have no record of being even a whit better; never mind that of thugs.

    What matters is whether or not government respects the people and gives them a voice. It doesn’t matter which form it takes as long as it promotes justice, which is defined by God’s laws.

    The natural moral law is the only way to differentiate between a just or unjust civil law. Do you know of any other way? If so, please share it.

  60. 60
    kairosfocus says:

    SB (attn SS):

    Recall also that once populations move beyond a small city state, to govern democratically and stably i/l/o the civil peace of justice, you need adequate communications both physical and informational, thus the printing press and a broad base of literacy and elementary education including basic civics. You also need sufficient of an agricultural and trading base and wider economy that things like famine are rare relatively speaking.

    (Absent that, governance inevitably falls to a governance-leisure class that has relative education, wealth and stability advantages. If you are lucky, that class is relatively open. Where, frankly as far as that goes, a monastic class that is open and relatively merit based allied to a heavy cavalry armoured warrior class — that implies major costs, expenses and a massive investment in training — restrained by a code of protecting the peasantry was a reasonable solution in the teeth of the circumstances after the collapse of the W Roman Empire. Where, the rise of longbowmen, pike men and musketry was a later, democratising force as a soldier is much cheaper than a knight or a cataphract etc. Under such circumstances the societal challenge is to keep chaos, collapse, invasion and mass death to disease at bay and it is unlikely to have any great knowledge base to work from.)

    How do I know this?

    Post slavery, across a bit over 100 years, that was the challenge facing the anglophone Caribbean, esp Jamaica. Free villages backed by dissenter churches in the main, schools based in the village church, subsistence farming with cash crops, growing literacy and experience with community organisation laid a base for local self government and independence. And, though there are big problems, the region as a whole has managed not to fall into chaos and despotism.

    As you rightly highlight, that further demands a critical mass or general consensus on worldview and social agenda, with an emphasis on grounding and guarding the civil peace of justice. Which puts natural moral law and its core principles at the pivot.

    The practical import of all of this is that democracy (as opposed to mob rule and rule by a narrow elite of first class citizens constituting a ruling class) in large scale societies based on a broad based or universal franchise was not feasible until the widespread existence of printing, paper or the equivalent, a books trade, a literate public of primary level education and the existence of regular newspapers. Also, a military technology that could allow a peasant to become a successful soldier or sailor, providing adequate defence based on a modern army and navy. With, a culture dominated by a worldview that sustains responsible freedom under natural law based civil codes and also a sound work ethic.

    The first time and place in history where that was met was reformation era Northern Europe, especially the island of Great Britain — and we should recall that after the Black Death pandemic, the 100 yr wars and decades of civil war then the Tudors and King James and co, the breakthrough point was the glorious revolution of 1688, which at last created stability and a theory that guided what would emerge. Then, this spread to North America in the colonies of Britain.

    So, it is no surprise that modern liberty and democracy were hammered out there and in extensions in Australasia.

    Where, the second breakthrough was the American Revolution starting with its DoI and its successful Constitution.

    And, it is no surprise that the Judaeo-Christian tradition was the dominant shaping tradition, as I took time to document here on in context, also in the parallel thread: http://www.uncommondescent.com.....stitution/ for the case of 1st amdt, US const.

    As the American experiment succeeded and as Britain and its colonies continued a more gradual emergence, that started a trend that spread. But it should be realised that the main global spread of Democracy is the past 100 – 200 years, and indeed the past several decades of the post colonial then post cold war era . . . de facto World War III, and it has overlapped slow-burn World War IV with the rise again of radical IslamISM.

    Democratisation in substance — as opposed to mob rule manipulated by political messianism and/or cronyism or even mafia-ism — is a process that is far from finished.

    I should note that electronic communications starting with telegraph, were vital to the feasibility of a continent-spanning democracy, as pioneered by the US, Canada and Australia.

    Beyond this zone of the English-speaking peoples, democracy spread by example and rising aspiration of peoples who saw a better way. And, of course, in the aftermath of the collapse and discrediting of major alternatives such as fascism and marxism and the like. But in these cases, there is an ongoing challenge of cultural consensus and in-the-bones, absorbed- with- mother’s- milk intuitive understanding of democratic civil society.

    In short, democratisation takes generations of cultural transformation, and is easily hampered by political messianism and fundamentally undemocratic and unsound ideologies and worldviews that undermine responsible rational freedom and free enterprise based productivity.

    Where also, of course the rise of evolutionary materialist scientistic radically secularist ideology and statist political messianism with ruthless nihilistic factions and linked family breakdown in the core lands of the founding of modern constitutional democracy, is a warning flag. For, the core premise of democracy is responsible, rational freedom in a community that understands, promotes and guards the civil peace of justice.

    When therefore I see attempts to denigrate what drove the rise of modern liberty and democracy in the nation-state, I take it as a very serious sign indeed.

    I wonder if some of those so busily trying to discredit the Judaeo-Christian heritage would think if they saw someone who could not bring himself to acknowledge that black people or predominantly black communities had ever done anything good or a significant contribution to progress, but instead was forever dwelling on a litany of the sins of black individuals and communities, and always sought to find another source to praise for any progressive contribution. With, continual resort being made to fears of blacks seizing power and imposing abusive domination.

    I am sure such would immediately and rightly cry racism.

    As, say, we could see in Apartheid era South Africa.

    In that light, as a black man and Christian, I find myself compelled to highlight a clear pattern of anti-Christian animosity and even bigotry. Even as Apartheid era South Africa was the last bastion of institutionalised racism.

    So, the pattern we have been seeing trips serious warning flags.

    It is time for fresh and more soundly balanced thinking.

    KF

  61. 61
    sean samis says:

    kairosfocus @58

    PS: While you are at it, please take a stab at explaining the typical sculptural representation of justice.

    The typical sculptural representation is of Justitia or Lady Justice. She is a PAGAN Roman goddess of Justice equivalent to the PAGAN Greek goddesses Themis. She is a personification of the moral force in judicial systems. The scales of justice represent truth and falsehood. The Romans appear to have added the blindfold to indicate impartiality.

    sean s.

  62. 62
    sean samis says:

    StephenB @59

    How would you protect against mob rule?

    Like the Christian mob that burned the library in Alexandria? the Christian mobs who butchered Jews in the middle ages? the Christian mobs who murdered indigenous peoples all over the world? the Christian mobs who lynched blacks in America? Whatever might protect us from mob rule, it ain’t Christianity.

    It doesn’t ignore anything. The Judeo-Christian view is compatible with any political system that recognizes the inherent dignity of the human person.

    Like Jim Crow laws? And apartheid? Hmm. The claim I was responding to was not that the Judeo-Christian view “is compatible with” democracy; the claim was that ONLY “a Judeo – Christian anthropology” can serve as a foundation to democracy; which is a false claim.

    Aquinas recognized that point in the 13th Century.

    … so it took more than 1300 years for SOME Christians to discover that Christianity opposes Tyranny? As I said…

    The natural moral law is the only way to differentiate between a just or unjust civil law. Do you know of any other way? If so, please share it.

    You’ve seen my alternative many times, and have yet to respond to in in any meaningful way. And in the context of your other comments, you again tie your “natural moral law” to Christianity, which makes it religious.

    sean s.

  63. 63
    Silver Asiatic says:

    KF @ 60
    That was an excellent overview – thank you for sharing it in context of your personal experience also.

    As the American experiment succeeded and as Britain and its colonies continued a more gradual emergence, that started a trend that spread. But it should be realised that the main global spread of Democracy is the past 100 – 200 years, and indeed the past several decades of the post colonial then post cold war era . . . de facto World War III, and it has overlapped slow-burn World War IV with the rise again of radical IslamISM.

    I could question this to some degree, at the same time. The American experiment has been successful and 200 years is a remarkable longevity for a political system. At the same time, we do see the weaknesses in American democracy now, and they’re traced to things you cited. First, a successful democracy requires an educated public — but more importantly, as every little issue emerges for debate and voting, the public has to spend more and more time on political education. This causes fatigue and people soon surrender their vote to representatives who they think will “do the right thing” – so the populace doesn’t have to think about politics. This has not been successful.
    More importantly, the American experiment succeeded for the reason you gave – it possessed a unified spiritual and intellectual culture (post-Reformation British) with centuries of Christian restraint built into the character of the people. So, when there were calls for freedom and liberation, this was not interpreted as anarchy.

    But the very same culture that provided enlightened liberty (and the benefits of prosperity for many who were oppressed otherwise), has ended up being destroyed by unbridled liberty, individualism, subjectivism and the breakdown of the church communities that were the founding-organizations of the nation.
    It’s interesting, that the revolution of 1776 not only put off oppression by the colonial power, but in America it created a wedge between British culture and the ‘rebels’.

    So, the new American culture tried to be non-British — and therefore was cut off from the heritage of the past. This left the door open for a new, secular culture to emerge. We see the results of this today – the new culture can redefine anything and legislate anything.

    Islam merely walks into the vacuum left by this collapse. Islamic religious, moral and social culture is highly integrated with politics — so it has all those strengths. The American culture has little, except money and military force, to stop it. There is very little counter-acting Christian culture to replace Islam (if the day ever came when that conflict was more open) except for Evangelical Christians who remain a minority in the population and who have not (yet) proven to be unifying in terms of political strength or cultural change.

  64. 64
    sean samis says:

    In further response to kairosfocus @58

    …I suggest you go re-read the history of the rise of modern liberty and democracy as a globally significant factor over the past half millennium.

    I am familiar with it. After the horrors of the religious wars into the early 17th century, western Europeans searched for an alternative to their penchant for slaughtering each other.

    The rise of liberty and democracy comes out of a deliberate effort to borrow heavily from Pre-Christian political practices; especially Republican Rome and the Grecian democracies. These did not grow from Christian doctrines or theology but from Pagan cultural practices.

    Christianity’s contribution to this process can be summed up as their willingness to go OUTSIDE their own practices and belief systems and borrow extensively from non-Christian sources.

    sean s.

  65. 65
    Barry Arrington says:

    I summarize Sean Samis @ 64: “Modernity, including liberal democracy and the scientific revolution, grew out of Christian Western Europe and nowhere else, because Christian Western Europe rejected its Christian worldview in favor of a pre-modern pagan worldview.”

    They walk among us folks.

  66. 66
    kairosfocus says:

    SS,

    Pardon, but do you not see what your insistent attempt to denigrate, dismiss and edit out the major Christian and broader Hebraic or Judaeo-Christian contribution to the rise of modern liberty and democracy says about you and those like you?

    If you don’t I suggest you ponder the summary at 60 above.

    Also, let me cite the Dutch in 1581 as they declared independence reflecting Vindicae:

    . . . a prince is constituted by God to be ruler of a people, to defend them from oppression and violence as the shepherd his sheep; and whereas God did not create the people slaves to their prince, to obey his commands, whether right or wrong, but rather the prince for the sake of the subjects (without which he could be no prince), to govern them according to equity, to love and support them as a father his children or a shepherd his flock, and even at the hazard of life to defend and preserve them. And when he does not behave thus, but, on the contrary, oppresses them, seeking opportunities to infringe their ancient customs and privileges . . . then he is no longer a prince, but a tyrant, and the subjects are to consider him in no other view . . . This is the only method left for subjects whose humble petitions and remonstrances could never soften their prince or dissuade him from his tyrannical proceedings; and this is what the law of nature dictates for the defense of liberty, which we ought to transmit to posterity, even at the hazard of our lives. [–> note the direct parallel to the preamble, US Const] . . . . So, having no hope of reconciliation, and finding no other remedy, we have, agreeable to the law of nature in our own defense, and for maintaining the rights, privileges, and liberties of our countrymen, wives, and children, and latest posterity from being enslaved by the Spaniards, been constrained to renounce allegiance to the King of Spain, and pursue such methods as appear to us most likely to secure our ancient liberties and privileges [–> note the direct parallel to the US DoI].

    Next, Locke c 1690 citing Canon Hooker in Ch 2 of his 2nd treatise on civil Govt:

    . . . if I cannot but wish to receive good, even as much at every man’s hands, as any man can wish unto his own soul, how should I look to have any part of my desire herein satisfied, unless myself be careful to satisfy the like desire which is undoubtedly in other men . . . my desire, therefore, to be loved of my equals in Nature, as much as possible may be, imposeth upon me a natural duty of bearing to themward fully the like affection. From which relation of equality between ourselves and them that are as ourselves, what several rules and canons natural reason hath drawn for direction of life no man is ignorant . . . [[Hooker then continues, citing Aristotle in The Nicomachean Ethics, Bk 8:] as namely, That because we would take no harm, we must therefore do none; That since we would not be in any thing extremely dealt with, we must ourselves avoid all extremity in our dealings; That from all violence and wrong we are utterly to abstain, with such-like . . . ] [[Eccl. Polity,preface, Bk I, “ch.” 8, p.80]

    Also, Blackstone in his Commentaries on the Laws of England, c 1765:

    Man, considered as a creature, must necessarily be subject to the laws of his creator, for he is entirely a dependent being . . . consequently, as man depends absolutely upon his maker for every thing, it is necessary that he should in all points conform to his maker’s will. This will of his maker is called the law of nature. For as God, when he created matter, and endued it with a principle of mobility, established certain rules for the perpetual direction of that motion; so, when he created man, and endued him with freewill to conduct himself in all parts of life, he laid down certain immutable laws of human nature, whereby that freewill is in some degree regulated and restrained, and gave him also the faculty of reason to discover the purport of those laws . . . These are the eternal, immutable laws of good and evil, to which the creator himself in all his dispensations conforms; and which he has enabled human reason to discover, so far as they are necessary for the conduct of human actions. Such among others are these principles: that we should live honestly [NB: cf. Exod. 20:15 – 16], should hurt nobody [NB: cf. Rom 13:8 – 10], and should render to every one his due [NB: cf. Rom 13:6 – 7 & Exod. 20:15]; to which three general precepts Justinian[1: a Juris praecepta sunt hace, honeste vivere. alterum non laedere, suum cuique tribuere. Inst, 1. 1. 3] has reduced the whole doctrine of law [and, Corpus Juris, Justinian’s Christianised precis and pruning of perhaps 1,000 years of Roman jurisprudence, in turn is the foundation of law for much of Europe].

    Yes, the original image for justice was indeed a goddess in the Greco-Roman pantheon.

    Which fits in with the putting up of a divine source for every important thing. (They did not know him who is Justice himself; but when they learned of him on the credible evidence of the resurrection of the long prophesied messiah, they turned to him in ever increasing numbers.)

    And, which testifies to the intuitive sense that we stand under moral government, expressed in the community through upholding the civil peace of justice.

    When it comes to mob rule, mobs and riots are always a problem, and one that every culture of significance must manage; such as we have seen again and again in recent years and as we have seen across history. And in that context, justice must temper the people power impulse, or democracy disintegrates into anarchy and chaos inviting the strong man or warlordism and clan feuds.

    KF

  67. 67
    Zachriel says:

    sean samis: The rise of liberty and democracy comes out of a deliberate effort to borrow heavily from Pre-Christian political practices; especially Republican Rome and the Grecian democracies.

    Other influences included the bureaucratic foundation left by the Roman Empire, as well that of pagan Scandinavians and their concepts of individual liberty and meritocracy. The former was entwined with Roman Catholicism, literate and with a common language, so they were both adopted together. The religious hierarchy also helped preserve lines of communication across the politically fractured continent, while providing a sense of a common European identity.

  68. 68
    kairosfocus says:

    BA, yes. A simple summary as at 60 above suffices to show what influences were pivotal, and what factors had to be in place antecedent to sustainable, large scale democracy. The times, places and trend lines make it plain as to what was at work. It is time that such was recognised for what it is. Yes, Christendom had its many sins and challenges (especially in trying to address civilisational collapse and barbarian invasions . . . just you try that for yourself and see if you can do better, maybe try a wargame or two . . . ) but that is by no means the whole story. Failure to recognise the great Christian contribution to our civilisation even as one goes hither and yon to give credit to anything and everything else, speaks volumes, sad volumes. KF

  69. 69
    kairosfocus says:

    F/N: Let us do a clip on the Library at Alexandria, to balance some common views. Food for thought:

    http://www.firstthings.com/web.....at-library

    >>The Perniciously Persistent Myths of Hypatia and the Great Library
    by David Bentley Hart
    6 . 4 . 10

    . . . . The tale of a Christian destruction of the Great Library ”so often told, so perniciously persistent”is a tale about something that never happened . By this, I do not mean that there is some divergence of learned opinion on the issue, or that the original sources leave us in some doubt as to the nature of the event. I mean that nothing of the sort ever occurred.

    Rohter almost gets the matter right when he remarks that “Roman-era chronicles, as well as later works, suggest that at least part of the library was destroyed when Julius Caesar invaded Egypt in 48 b.c. , and that Christians were responsible only for the damage done in Hypatia’s time to a secondary ‘daughter library,’ which may also have been attacked by Muslim conquerors in the seventh century a.d. ” But, in fact, there is not a single shred of evidence”ancient, medieval, or modern”that Christians were responsible for either collection’s destruction, and no one before the late eighteenth century ever suggested they were.

    The Great Library of Alexandria is one of the more fascinating mysteries of late antique civilization. It enters history already as something largely legendary. Even Strabo, who died around a.d. 23, knew of it only as a tale from the past. We know that it had been built as an adjunct to the Great Museum in the Brucheium (the royal quarter of Alexandria) in the first half of the third century b.c. Its size, however, is impossible to establish.

    The estimate in ancient texts varies wildly, between 40,000 scrolls”for the ancient world, an astounding but still plausible number”and 700,000”which is almost certainly impossibly high. And, as of yet, archaeologists have failed to find the remains of any building sufficiently large to have sheltered a collection on either scale.

    Whatever the case, as Rohter says, various ancient sources report that the library was destroyed, either in whole or in part, during Julius Caesar’s Alexandrian campaign against Pompey in 48 or 47 b.c. If any part of it remained in the Brucheium, it would probably have perished when the museum was destroyed in a.d. 272, during Aurelian’s wars of imperial reunification. It was certainly no longer in existence in 391.

    Rohter is right that there was perhaps a “daughter” library, which may have been located in the grounds of the Serapeum”the large temple of the Ptolemies’ hybrid Greco-Egyptian god, Serapis”placed there either in the late third century b.c. , or in the late second century a.d. , when the Serapeum was restored and expanded. At least, there is good evidence that scrolls were at certain points kept among the temple complex’s colonnades.

    And, in fact, the Serapeum was destroyed in 391. After a series of riots between the pagan and Christian communities of Alexandria”Alexandria was the most extravagantly violent city of the antique world, and riots were something of a revered civic tradition”a number of Christian hostages had been murdered inside the Serapeum, which led the Emperor Theodosius to order the complex demolished (though he excused the murderers, inasmuch as the Christians they had killed were now considered martyrs, and any act of vengeance would have detracted from their witness). And so a detachment of Roman soldiers, with the assistance of an eager crowd of Christians, dismantled the complex”or, at any rate, the temple within it.

    As it happens, we have fairly good accounts of that day, Christian and pagan, and absolutely none of them so much as hints at the destruction of any large collection of books. Not even Eunapius of Sardis”a pagan scholar who despised Christians and who would have wept over the loss of precious texts”suggests such a thing. This is not surprising, since there were probably no books there to be destroyed.

    The pagan historian Ammianus Marcellinus, describing the Serapeum not long before its demolition, had clearly spoken of its libraries as something no longer in existence. The truth of the matter is that the entire legend was the product of the imagination of Edward Gibbon, who bizarrely misread a single sentence from the Christian historian Orosius, and from it spun out a story that appears nowhere in the entire corpus of ancient historical sources.

    Which brings me to Hypatia. I do sometimes wish the poor woman’s memory could be left in peace. She’s been the victim of such sordidly sentimental nonsense over the past few centuries that it’s almost impossible to appreciate her for what she was, or to disentangle the tragedy of her death from the ideological rants that typically surround its telling.

    She was, all the evidence suggests, a brilliant lecturer in Platonic thought, a trained scientist, and the author of a few mathematical commentaries. Despite the extravagant claims often made on her behalf, however, there is no reason to believe she made any particularly significant contributions to any of her fields of expertise.

    She was not, for instance”as she has often been said to have been”the inventor of either the astrolabe or the hydrometer. It is true that the first extant mention of a hydrometer appears in a letter written to Hypatia by her devoted friend, Synesius of Cyrene, the Christian Platonist and bishop of Ptolemais; but that is because Synesius, in that letter, is explaining to her how the device is made, so that she can arrange to have one assembled for him

    At the time of her death, she was probably not even the beautiful young woman of lore; she was in all likelihood over sixty.

    She was , however, brutally murdered”and then dismembered”by a gang of Christian parabalani (a fraternity originally founded to care for the city’s poor); that much is true. This was not, however, because she was a woman (female intellectuals were not at all uncommon in the Eastern Empire, among either pagans or Christians), or because she was a scientist and philosopher (the scientific and philosophical class of Alexandria comprised pagans, Jews, and Christians, and there was no popular Christian prejudice against science or philosophy).

    And it was certainly not because she was perceived as an enemy of the Christian faith; she got on quite well with the educated Christians of Alexandria, numbered many among her friends and students, and was intellectually far closer to them than to the temple cultists of the lower city; and the frankest account of her murder was written by the Christian historian Socrates, who obviously admired her immensely. It seems likely that she died simply because she became inadvertently involved in a vicious political squabble between the city’s imperial prefect and the city’s patriarch, and some of the savages of the lower city decided to take matters into their own hands . . . .

    Think of it as an ideal Marxist allegory. It may seem unimaginable to us now that Christians from the lower classes in late antique Alexandria could have conspired in the horrific assassination of an unarmed woman and a respected scholar, but, as it happens, that was how Alexandria was often governed at street level, by every sect and persuasion.

    In the royal quarter, pagans, Christians, and Jews generally studied together, shared a common intellectual culture, collaborated in scientific endeavor, and attended one another’s lectures. In the lower city, however, religious allegiance was often no more than a matter of tribal identity, and the various tribes often slaughtered one another with gay abandon.

    The chasm between the two worlds could scarcely have been vaster. Hypatia was a victim of what might fashionably be called a social contradiction”one that none of the science, philosophy, or religion of the time had ever done anything to resolve.>>

    Worth a thought or two.

    KF

  70. 70
    sean samis says:

    Barry, As a summary of my prior comments, I grade your #65 as an F.

    The comments I wrote say nothing about modernity, the scientific revolution, or worldviews. These terms are not used and the concepts are not implied.

    Recast as questions (about modernity, etc.) those questions would be valid; rendered as assertions your comments are simply false and fabricated concerns.

    The comments I wrote say nothing about rejecting anything in favor of something else. Borrowing ideas or adopting institutions is not equivalent to giving anything else up.

    Poor effort on your part. As an expression of your fears and prejudices, your # 65 works; as a cogent and ethical response it is a utter FAIL.

    And “They walk among us folks”? This is just sad.

    sean s.

  71. 71
    sean samis says:

    kairosfocus

    Regarding your #66; let me paraphrase your own words:

    Pardon, but do you not see that your insistent attempt to deny the truth of Christianity’s past says about you? You refer to my comments as denigration; but you cannot say my comments are false. What does it say about you that you regard the truth as denigrating? Should we lie so you can be happier? I am sure you will say “No!” but that means the harsh truth will be spoken.

    Indeed, it is obvious that we “stand under moral government” in the sense that moral imperatives bind us all. And it is certainly true that these moral imperatives are expressed in the community through upholding the civil peace and justice. You say that we have an “intuitive sense” that this is true; a sentiment I have no serious quibble with.

    But that only confirms that there’s no need to believe in a deity, much less a specific deity for us to know that we are obligated by moral imperatives. Our experiences in the world tell us this. Our intuition (which I take as an expression of subconscious experiences) tells us this. We no longer need a divine source, we know there is a natural source which is more than sufficient.

    This is not to say your God does not exist, but that your God need not be a micromanager.

    Much of what you write about the import of justice tempering the people and the democratic impulse toward anarchy is quite correct. But none of these problems require a theistic solution, much less a specifically Christian solution. One does not need a deity to see the truth of this, or the way forward toward peace, justice, and liberty.

    In your #68 you lament the “Failure to recognise the great Christian contribution to our civilization…”. I recognize it, but I cannot exaggerate it as I think you do. Democracy and liberty are part of the modern world because Christians looked OUTSIDE of Christianity for ways to tame their divisive impulses. They did not cease to be Christian, and they did find ways to make their religion compatible with the non-Christian ideas they adopted. But let us not forget that they did look outside Christianity, and found much to admire and use.

    In #69 you wrote at length about the Library of Alexandria and the martyrdom of the pagan scholar Hypatia. This is true: Christianity did not make people worse, but it did not make them better either.

    Hypatia was murdered in A.D. 415. Christianity had been legal for more than a century, and yet it was not hard at all for Christian demagogues to whip up a violent attack on this woman. Christianity might not have been worse than what preceded it, but it was certainly not better. In the intervening 1600 years, Christianity did not distinguish itself morally.

    That’s worth a thought or two.

    sean s.

    SS/Onlookers, kindly again see the above, which adequately addresses what is needed. KF

  72. 72
    sean samis says:

    Mapou @4

    Anybody who knows anything about optimizing systems will tell you that they all suffer from the same fatal flaws. Optimizers invariably get stuck in a local maxima or minima.

    If an entire creature is optimized in a stable environment, this would be possible, it may even happen on occasion, but neither of those requisites are usually met. Parts of creatures are optimized, but not the entire creature; and their environment is never stable. This prevents dead-end equilibria in most cases.

    Parts of a system can optimize without trapping the entire system in any local maxima/minima.

    This creates a search space so huge that …

    Unfortunately for you, evolution does not use a computer, it just does what it does. If you tried to simulate the creation of a snow flake, it would take longer and consume vastly more energy than it does in real life.

    sean s.

  73. 73
    sean samis says:

    Silver Asiatic @11

    The extent of the similarity is why the researchers were surprised. That’s the point.

    The question to ask is “why were they so surprised?” Did they have anything more than a “gut feeling” of what they’d find? I bet not.

    That’s one of the thrills of doing science: you get surprised every now and then. Creationists just don’t get that.

    sean s.

  74. 74
    kairosfocus says:

    SS, why did you try the parody trick to play at turnabout atmosphere clouding and poisoning strawman tactic accusation? For years in and around UD and elsewhere [e.g. cf. here on], I have repeatedly pointed to the sins of Christendom and the like, in the context that we are finite, fallible, morally struggling and too often ill-willed. That is why among other things, I often speak in terms of things like repentance and reformation, including that the general election is a solemn assembly, audit and peaceful means of reformation or even revolution in extreme cases and that political messianism is a form of destructive idolatry. My point has been and remains, that there are material even critical contributions made by the Judaeo-Christian tradition and adherents (often, open Bibles in hand) to the rise of modern liberty and democracy; which I have taken pains to document from key sources including state papers, e.g here and recently I noted at 60 above on broader patterns such as the rise of literacy, printing and the longbow, the pike and the musket. When there is a refusal to acknowledge such, multiplied by a litany of the real or imagined sins of Christendom, in a wider context of attempts to silence, censor, stigmatise, ghettoise and increasingly crush Christians, my bigotry meter pegs; just as it does when I see that someone cannot find it in himself to acknowledge any good or achievements by blacks or Jews etc while he is forever bad-mouthing such. For patent cause. And those who enable what is now plainly an agenda of abuses, falsehoods, distortions and usurpations had better begin to realise the fire they are playing with. KF

    PS: By way of a telling contrast, I highlight the attitude of Bernard Lewis, a great scholar who happens to be Jewish, in his epochal essay, The Roots of Muslim Rage:

    . . . The accusations are familiar. We of the West are accused of sexism, racism, and imperialism, institutionalized in patriarchy and slavery, tyranny and exploitation. To these charges, and to others as heinous, we have no option but to plead guilty — not as Americans, nor yet as Westerners, but simply as human beings, as members of the human race. In none of these sins are we the only sinners, and in some of them we are very far from being the worst. The treatment of women in the Western world, and more generally in Christendom, has always been unequal and often oppressive, but even at its worst it was rather better than the rule of polygamy and concubinage that has otherwise been the almost universal lot of womankind on this planet . . . .

    In having practiced sexism, racism, and imperialism, the West was merely following the common practice of mankind through the millennia of recorded history. Where it is distinct from all other civilizations is in having recognized, named, and tried, not entirely without success, to remedy these historic diseases. And that is surely a matter for congratulation, not condemnation. We do not hold Western medical science in general, or Dr. Parkinson and Dr. Alzheimer in particular, responsible for the diseases they diagnosed and to which they gave their names.

  75. 75
    JimFit says:

    sean

    The rise of liberty and democracy comes out of a deliberate effort to borrow heavily from Pre-Christian political practices; especially Republican Rome and the Grecian democracies. These did not grow from Christian doctrines or theology but from Pagan cultural practices.

    As a Greek i can assure you that democracy in ancient Greece was really different, only the people with fields had the right to vote and to have an opinion in public. Today we have what i call Christian Democracy, it is based solely on the teachings of Christ about equality. There was no such thing as equality in ancient Greece.

    The philosophers that created the idea of Democracy were not traditional pagans, they were close to a Monotheistic God and were very close to Christian Theology that’s why the Greek Church has announced them pre-Christian prophets.

    The State of Law (Public Schools, Public Health System, Public Funds, Public Buildings, abolish of slavery and woman rights) was created because of Christian Theology when the Church united with the State and the Roman law had to be rewritten to fit the Christian doctrines about equality. If you think about it nations had achieved more under an Emperor rather under Democracy, personally i think that Democracy is the opium of the people.

  76. 76
    Silver Asiatic says:

    SS

    That’s one of the thrills of doing science: you get surprised every now and then. Creationists just don’t get that.

    I think creationists get it quite well. It’s evident here how you first ignored and now later covered up the problem as if surprises in observations that are supposed to be explained by a theory don’t have any consequences for the theory itself.

    That’s classic example of the elastic quality of so-called evolutionary theory. The theory can adjust itself to any possible observation it encounters. There is an unlimited supply of band-aids and excuses to patch things up after the fact.

  77. 77
    sean samis says:

    kairosfocus @74

    My point has been and remains, that there are material even critical contributions made by the Judaeo-Christian tradition and adherents (often, open Bibles in hand) to the rise of modern liberty and democracy; …

    On that point we do not disagree, but any claim that Christianity has a special role in the modern development of democracy is false.

    When there is a refusal to acknowledge such, multiplied by a litany of the real or imagined sins of Christendom,…

    I have acknowledged that Christians have made contributions. I just point out that these Christians were borrowing from non-Christian sources, something you don’t deny.

    With all due respect to Bernard Lewis, nothing he writes confirms any special status or respect due to Christians or Christianity. Christians did some things better, they did some things worse. If the sins of Christians are the sins of humans, then Christianity cannot be better because it is ordinary. If it’s ordinary, then it’s ordinary.

    Clearly I’ve made you angry, but you don’t point to any specific statement and say “this is factually wrong because…” I am doing things that annoy you but you’ve given me nothing to change except to bend my knee to your command. That I will not do.

    sean s.

  78. 78
    sean samis says:

    JimFit @75

    As a Greek i can assure you that democracy in ancient Greece was really different,…

    It would be pretty disappointing if we hadn’t improved upon it by now.

    Today we have what i call Christian Democracy, it is based solely on the teachings of Christ about equality.

    Oddly enough, it took many, many centuries for Christians to notice those teachings were there; so clearly something else happened, something other than “the teachings of Christ”.

    The philosophers that created the idea of Democracy…

    Ah, I don’t think any “philosophers” created the idea of democracy; at least not acting in their roles as philosophers. Certainly “philosophers” were not involved outside of Greece. Some Native American peoples had democracies at the time that Europeans first encountered them.

    Whoever created the idea of democracy, they certainly were not Christians, so putting Christianity at the root of democracy is false.

    If you think about it nations had achieved more under an Emperor rather under Democracy, personally i think that Democracy is the opium of the people.

    I have to ask: as a Christian, you now reject democracy? and you’d prefer a monarchy?

    sean s.

  79. 79
    sean samis says:

    Silver Asiatic @76

    What you and other creationists ignore is that “surprise” does not equal “contradiction”. Surprises don’t have consequences for a theory unless the unexpected information contradicts a requirement of the theory. If all the surprise does is reveal that the researchers did not have accurate expectations of what the theory implies, then the surprise is not a threat to the theory. Does the convergence of genome across species undercut evolution? No. A fundamental assertion of evolution is that beneficial traits will be preserved.

    Your complaints are a classic example of the elastic quality of creationist anti-science. Every surprise, every unknown, every question is interpreted as proof that evolution is impossible. You have an unlimited supply of complaints to kvetch about.

    sean s.

  80. 80
    kairosfocus says:

    SS, I think you have some history to address (including not a few state documents –start with the US DoI 1776 in context as that is the charter of modern liberty and democracy — and key writings of the thinkers whose thought went into the state documents), and the deeper question of the roots of Justice as a moral premise of good government and the rise of modern liberty and democracy. It is time that modernist revisionism and secularist hostility were called to account. Where the persistent pattern of refusal to acknowledge the individual and cumulative force of major contributions multiplied by trying to point every which way else and enabling or participating in well poisoning bad mouthing litanies, speaks sad volumes. And, DV there is plenty of time, so we can keep on going day by day as I find time . . . and yes I fully intend some step by step point by point comments when I find a bit of time. And citations. KF

    PS: The question on the evolutionary materialist model of origins is to provide evidence per here and now observation, of the capability, first of blind chem and physics in that warm pond or whaterver to form the functionally specific complex organisation and associated information required for a living cell, and then to form the FSCO/I for body plans. This simply has not been observed, hopeful speculations and overly optimistic headlines notwithstanding. In short, the framework fails the vera causa, adequate actually observed cause test. Instead, what has happened is an ideologically driven lockout that then reasons in a materialist circle of speculations and passes out promissory notes as a substitute for actually showing capability to account here and now for required blind chance and necessity to cause FSCO/I. On trillions of cases in point, the consistently observed adequate cause for FSCO/I is design. The design inference on FSCO/I as sigh is then backed up by the needle in haystack challenge. So, the reasonable person not in thralldom to imposed a priori materialist ideology will conclude that the world of life strongly points to design as cause. Likewise, a similar assessment of the fine tuning of the cosmos relevant to hosting C-Chemistry aqueous medium, FSCO/I rich, cell based life also strongly points to intelligently and purposefully directed configuration as best empirically warranted explanation, i.e. design. If you disagree, all you need to do is show how the vera causa test was passed by whom, and with what prizes awarded. I predict, you cannot pass that test. Finally, the very text you will type to comment further will further add to the trillions of cases showing how FSCO/I comes about by design. So, failing this test is organically connected to the other failed tests.

  81. 81
    Silver Asiatic says:

    SS @ 79

    If all the surprise does is reveal that the researchers did not have accurate expectations of what the theory implies, then the surprise is not a threat to the theory.

    If the surprise reveals that the theory made a false prediction, then this is not a threat to the theory either.

    Evolutionists have already predicted that evolutionary theory will not explain what is observed, so there’s no threat at all. Evolution remains 100% correct. It’s the strongest scientific theory ever known to mankind.

    Yes, I’ve got it.

    A fundamental assertion of evolution is that beneficial traits will be preserved.

    And anything that is preserved is by definition, beneficial, in some way.

    Evolution wins again.

  82. 82
    kairosfocus says:

    F/N: A quickie, as I just had to make a response a few days back on why I included a citation of 2nd para US DoI in a discussion draft for a charter of good government . . . oops mixed up clip, now corrected:

    >>We hold these truths to be self-evident,>>

    1 –> cf Rom 1:18 – 21, 2:14 – 15, 13:1 – 10 . . . one we understand what is at stake in our being morally governed beings of equal nature and worth, there is no excuse of ignorance regarding core rights, the attempt to deny such lands instantly in patent absurdity

    >>that all men are created equal,>>

    2 –> The pivot of all else, and on this cf Locke in his 2nd treatise on civil govt ch 2, citing ‘the judicious [Anglican canon Richard] Hooker [in his Ecclesiastical Polity, which onward uses Moshe, Jesus and Paul on the Golden Rule and Aristotle, with echoes of Justinian’s Corpus Juris Civilis and Blackstone in his Commentaries]”:

    . . . if I cannot but wish to receive good, even as much at every man’s hands, as any man can wish unto his own soul, how should I look to have any part of my desire herein satisfied, unless myself be careful to satisfy the like desire which is undoubtedly in other men . . . my desire, therefore, to be loved of my equals in Nature, as much as possible may be, imposeth upon me a natural duty of bearing to themward fully the like affection. From which relation of equality between ourselves and them that are as ourselves, what several rules and canons natural reason hath drawn for direction of life no man is ignorant . . . [[Hooker then continues, citing Aristotle in The Nicomachean Ethics, Bk 8:] as namely, That because we would take no harm, we must therefore do none; That since we would not be in any thing extremely dealt with, we must ourselves avoid all extremity in our dealings; That from all violence and wrong we are utterly to abstain, with such-like . . . ] [[Eccl. Polity,preface, Bk I, “ch.” 8, p.80, cf. here. Emphasis added.]

    3 –> Blackstone on the laws of nature and of nature’s God referenced in the 1st paragraph [of the US DoI] is also well worth the citing:

    Man, considered as a creature, must necessarily be subject to the laws of his creator, for he is entirely a dependent being . . . consequently, as man depends absolutely upon his maker for every thing, it is necessary that he should in all points conform to his maker’s will. This will of his maker is called the law of nature. For as God, when he created matter, and endued it with a principle of mobility, established certain rules for the perpetual direction of that motion; so, when he created man, and endued him with freewill to conduct himself in all parts of life, he laid down certain immutable laws of human nature, whereby that freewill is in some degree regulated and restrained, and gave him also the faculty of reason to discover the purport of those laws . . . These are the eternal, immutable laws of good and evil, to which the creator himself in all his dispensations conforms; and which he has enabled human reason to discover, so far as they are necessary for the conduct of human actions. Such among others are these principles: that we should live honestly [NB: cf. Exod. 20:15 – 16], should hurt nobody [NB: cf. Rom 13:8 – 10], and should render to every one his due [NB: cf. Rom 13:6 – 7 & Exod. 20:15]; to which three general precepts Justinian[1: a Juris praecepta sunt hace, honeste vivere. alterum non laedere, suum cuique tribuere. Inst, 1. 1. 3] has reduced the whole doctrine of law [and, Corpus Juris, Justinian’s Christianised precis and pruning of perhaps 1,000 years of Roman jurisprudence, in turn is the foundation of law for much of Europe].

    4 –> This then leads into a definition of rights and the state’s purpose as guarding the civil peace of justice through properly balancing rights, freedoms and responsibilities or duties [which brings out how moral government is the key balance to the tendency of democracy to abusive mob rule, the notion that the might of the — typically manipulated and angry — crowd makes ‘right.’]

    >> that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.>>

    5 –> The Creator grounds the right and rights.

    6 –> This reflects that absent resort to dismissing the testimony of our interior life that we are under the government of a law of ought (and thus implying grand delusion so fatally undermining mind and responsible freedom), we face the binding nature of ought especially through the premise that rights imply correlative duties of respect and care.

    7 –> This then leads to the Humean Guillotine and the is-ought gap, thence the only sound answer, there is a world-foundational IS that inherently and adequately
    grounds OUGHT.

    8 –> For such, there is precisely one serious candidate, after centuries of disputes and debates: the inherently good Creator God, a necessary and maximally great
    being, the root of reality who is worthy of ultimate respect and loyalty, then of service by doing the good in accord with our evident nature.

    9 –> And yes, I know there is a whole world of serious philosophy and linked theology behind that, starting with the modern modal ontological argument and moral arguments multiplied by the argument from transformative experience of encounter with God.

    10 –> That is not our main concern, the national vision that we are a God-fearing society captures the essence.

    11 –> From this we ground a deeper understanding of Law rooted in our nature as responsibly and rationally free morally governed creatures charged with the stewardship of Creation and the principle of neighbour love. Down that road lies a world of thought tied to the Categorical Imperative and the sustainability principle insofar as that is valid. And all of that is relevant too.

    >> –That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men,>>

    13 –> Govt is established through human collective community action, ideally and by force of ought towards justice, which requires guarding and defence, hence the
    issue of the sword of justice legitimately used in defence of the civil peace of justice.

    14 –> And, I insist on the importance of that understanding of the term, civil peace.

    >> deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed,>>

    15 –> Thus, democracy enters, in the context of justice, rights, the right, our created equality and endowments of a common value and dignity that must be respected down to the least individual, and guarded with the sword of justice.

    16 –> And of course, how that consent is expressed is a pivotal issue of good government and governance.

    >> –That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government,>>

    17 –> The problem of finite, fallible, morally struggling and corruptible, to often foolish or incompetent or abusive people, including in government and its offices of great trust and power.

    18 –> In reply, the people who give consent and legitimate government towards justice, have a collective right to reform and change government

    >> laying its foundation on such principles>>

    19 –> As already given in outline with deep allusions, and this then becomes a classic historically pivotal statement of sound principles in a powerful nutshell well worth learning, memorising and pondering.

    >> and organizing its powers in such form,>>

    20 –> Reformation towards good government

    >> as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.>>

    21 –> The people must be properly and justly educated, trained, habituated, experienced through civil society, supported by transparency and accountability and a free, strong, sound and fair press

    22 –> And yes, modern democracy is not feasible absent literacy on a widespread basis and absent means of publication and dissemination of information

    >> Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed.>>

    23 –> This is serious business, not to be taken up on a whim or on an ill informed basis, especially when radical reform is the issue

    >> But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism,>>

    24 –> Agendas always have more and more built in, often hidden, the issue is where the direction and trend points, especially as morally evaluated in light of the given principles.

    >> it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security . . .>>

    25 –> The right of in the end revolution to answer to stubborn destructive power agendas and their champions.

    26 –> here, we see that the general election is an institutionalised solemn assembly and audit of government on a regular basis, with peaceful means of reformation and if necessary revolution.

    27 –> Hence, BTW the references as cited above to referendum to change constitutions.

    Food for initial thought.

    KF

  83. 83
    kairosfocus says:

    F/N 2: Here is a remark on the 20th anniversary, an oration in Massachusetts . . . and the link gives a facsimilie of the opening page, this is authentic eyewitness lifetime public exposition on the founding and its context that was published at the request of the Militia Officers as being noteworthy on one of those noteworthy round number anniversaries:

    http://www.wallbuilders.com/LI.....?id=151803

    >>A

    DISCOURSE,

    DELIVERED AT

    ASHBURNHAM,

    JULY 4TH, 1796,

    AT THE

    REQUEST OF THE MILITIA OFFICERS

    IN SAID TOWN;

    WHO, WITH THE INFANTRY UNDER THEIR

    COMMAND, AND A TROOP OF CAVALRY,

    WERE ASSEMBLED UNDER ARMS,

    TO CELEBRATE THE

    ANNIVERSARY

    OF THE

    INDEPENDENCE

    OF THE

    UNITED STATES OF AMERICA.

    BY JOHN CUSHING, A. M.
    MINISTER OF THE GOSPEL IN ASHBURNHAM.

    PUBLISHED AT THE DESIRE OF SAID Officers, and others,
    To whom it is humbly inscribed.

    . . . . God dealt with no people as with Israel: but in the history of the United States, particularly New-England, there is as great a similarity, perhaps, in the conduct of Providence to that of the Israelites, as is to be found in the history of any people. Truly God has done wonderful things; his works have been great; and it must afford pleasure to search them out, and to speak of them to one another and to our children—It is what we ought to do, to preserve a sense of gratitude, to encourage us to hope in God in future times of trouble, and to excite us to holy obedience.

    God gave, as a reason for keeping his commandments, his bringing Israel out of the land of Egypt and out of the house of bondage; and surely what he has done for us as a people, is a very powerful reason why we should keep them.

    We may say, in the words of the Psalmist, “We have heard with our ears, O God; our fathers have told us what works thou didst in their days, in the times of old, how thou didst drive out the heathen with thy hand, and plantedst them; how thou didst afflict the people and cast them out, for they got not the land in possession by their sword, neither did their own arm save them; but thy right hand and thine arm, and the light of thy countenance, because thou hadst a favor unto them.”

    Our fathers were few in number and feeble, when they first landed in this American wilderness, and would easily have fallen a prey to the savages, if God had not restrained them. But what led them into this then howling wilderness? To enjoy liberty, civil and religious, the greatest boon of a temporal nature.

    Persecution is a very great evil; yet infinite wisdom brought good out of it; for it proved an occasion of the settling of this part of America.

    Various attempts for lucrative purposes had been made to establish settlements; but all proved abortive.—It seems as if the Almighty reserved this spot of the globe on purpose as an asylum for our persecuted ancestors; and what is very remarkable, but a little time before their arrival, some pestilential disease swept off the natives to such a degree as to make sufficient room.

    Such was the spirit of the high church party which ruled in England, that dissenters could have no quiet dwelling in their own land—They must conform to all the ceremonies of the Episcopal church, or submit to fines and imprisonment. Rather than be deprived of the liberty of worshipping God according to the dictates of their conscience, they chose to sacrifice all the delights of their native land, and cross the wide Atlantic, which at that day, for want of experience, was thought to be a very hazardous voyage.

    And indeed when we think of it, it is a matter of wonder that our ancestors should be so adventurous.

    The march of Israel out of Egypt, and thro’ the wilderness, was ever esteemed a wonderful thing: but they had Moses and Aaron to lead them—they had the cloud to direct their course, and bread from Heaven in plenty.

    Our Fathers had no miracles wrought for them, but they experienced many mercies—in so good a cause as they embarked in, they trusted Providence, and God preserved and fed them. They suffered many hardships, for want of the knowledge of cultivating a wilderness. Had they understood as well how to turn it into a fruitful field, as their descendants at this day, there would not have been left on record such dreary accounts of the barrenness and hardships of a wilderness.

    But worldly interest was not what was uppermost with them; religion was the principal thing they had in view. They requested of their king, James I, leave to transplant themselves into America, where they might enjoy liberty of conscience unmolested, that they might also bring the natives to embrace Christianity, and enlarge his dominions. They obtained their request. Grants of land of such and such extent were made to them. They had a charter which they really thought secured to them those rights, for the sake of which they left their native land.

    In the arbitrary reign of king James II, it was, without sufficient reasons, taken from them:—although it must be confessed that they did things unjustifiable; which were one principal reason of the first charters being vacated, viz, persecuting those who dissented from them in religion. It ill became those who fled from persecution, to become persecutors. But this may be said in extenuation of their conduct; the rights of men and of Christians at that day were not well understood. They believed that they maintained the pure doctrines and discipline of the gospel; and that it was their duty to support them at all events. Toleration and the rights of private judgment for all, were reserved for their descendants. They meant well, but good intentions will not justify wrong actions. They show that they were but men, imperfect men. I take no pleasure in making our ancestors appear to disadvantage. I venerate their memories; for they laid the foundation of this American empire, by the early care and pains they took to diffuse knowledge, by founding a university, and requiring every town to settle a learned minister, and to maintain schools for the diffusion of knowledge among every class of people.

    They could not obtain the restoration of their first charter: but with much difficulty and expense they obtained a second, which on some accounts was preferable to the first. Under it they flourished, and thought themselves safe; for it was said the plighted faith of things might be depended upon; but this was found to be a mistake.

    Our fathers were at the expense of transporting themselves, purchasing the soil of the natives; (for they did not consider the Pope’s grant of the land of Heathens to the king of England, and then his to them, as giving a just title.) They were at the expense of defending themselves against the natives; and they thought it hard [i] to be obliged to help bear the expenses of the mother country.
    They were willing to bear true allegiance to the king of Great Britain, and they submitted to the Navigation Act in the year 1664, [ii] though with reluctance. They looked upon the king as their king and head of civil authority, who ruled here by his governor; but when attempts were made by the Parliament to lay an internal tax, the whole continent was alarmed; and so mighty was the opposition, that the Stamp Act, which was the first experiment, was repealed as inexpedient; at the same time they declared that they had a right to make laws binding upon the colonies in all cases whatever. This declaration contains the essence of despotism. If they had the right, they would use it, when they saw best, and nothing but opposing arms to arms could prevent it.

    This right which the Parliament claimed, they exercised in a few years by laying duties upon a number of articles for raising a revenue. This alarmed the Colonies again, and such opposition was made that at length the duty was taken off of all articles but tea.

    In consequence of a non-importation agreement, and procuring teas from other nations besides the British, the East India Company, who used to supply America with nearly all that were consumed here, were embarrassed by having vast quantities on hand for which they had not a market.

    They applied to Parliament for relief. The Parliament passed an act, taking off the duty that was paid in the colonies, and empowered the company to ship their teas directly to America; appointed commissioners or factors in each Colony to sell it for them. This was monopolizing an important article of commerce, and there was no knowing where it would end. Upon the same principle they might have sent other articles and every article to the ruin of our merchants. As it might be expected, all the Colonies were alarmed, and came to a determination that they Teas should not be landed.

    In some of the Colonies the consignees were prevailed upon to return it—what was sent to Boston you know was all emptied into the sea.

    This Tea Act laid the foundation for the war, which was the occasion of our independence.

    The British government were highly enraged; they viewed this as rebellion;—they soon passed an act to shut up the port of Boston till compensation should be made for the loss.

    By this cruel act the innocent suffered with the guilty—hundreds were thrown out of employment, and were dependent on their fellow citizens for subsistence. They were well supplied—contributions from all parts, and from all the Colonies were made, and sent, to encourage them to endure their sufferings which were considered as in a common cause.

    The British did not stop here—they passed an act which in effect destroyed all our charter rights, and would have reduced us to as abject a state as Ireland was then in; for no town meeting, except the annual march meeting, could be held but by applying to the governor for leave, and every article to be acted upon, was to be specified. This was considered, and justly, as an intolerable grievance.

    By another, passed about the same time, it was ordained, that any person indicted for murder or any other capital crime committed in aiding the magistrates in executing the laws, might be sent by the Governor either to any other Colony or to Great Britain for his trial; or rather, as was justly observed upon it, to be acquitted. So that hundreds of our people been murdered by the British troops, the chance of obtaining justice was small indeed.

    The Judges were made wholly independent of the people, as they were to receive their salaries from the king out of the revenue raised here.

    These acts irritated the people beyond measure. This Commonwealth, then Province, seemed to be aimed at alone, by the last mentioned act. The king and Parliament viewed them as the ringleaders of sedition. The snare was artfully laid—as complete a plan of despotism was contrived as can be conceived; and several regiments of regular troops were sent over to protect the governor and the king’s friends, and to enforce the acts of Parliament.

    But they found a set of men to deal with that would not tamely submit to the acts of a venal Parliament. A love of liberty had descended from Father to Son, and an hereditary aversion to aristocracy prevailed. Here the greater part were freeholders, had property of their own, which they chose to have the disposal of themselves.

    Had the king and Parliament recommended to the colonies to raise certain sums in proportion to their wealth, and left them to have taken their own way, they would at once have done it, and cheerfully have contributed towards the expense the nation had been at in conquering Canada, &c. But they thought if strangers had the liberty to open their purses they would be too free with them. They chose to give and grant in their own way.

    From the time the tea was destroyed, matters became serious. It was greatly feared that the controversy would end in bloodshed and war. It was judged best to make all the preparation in their power against what might be. A congress in 1774 advised to break off all commercial intercourse with Great Britain; hoping that would bring them to terms. People readily complied, and great sacrifices were made—The congress petitioned, but in vain.

    Britain hearing of our warlike preparations, which were only on the defensive, gave orders to their commander in chief to destroy all the military stores he could. On the 19th of April, 1775, he attempted to execute his orders. Then did he “cry havoc, and let slip the dogs of war.” A dreadful day it was, when we heard the sound of the trumpet and the alarm of war. We were pained at the very heart. The thoughts of fighting against the mother country, which we had so long venerated, caused such a struggle in the minds of many, that they did not know what to do; but the great body of the people were determined to stand upon their defense to the last extremity. Although the blows were at first all directed at Massachusetts, all the Colonies made a common cause of it, and came to our help.

    Yet independence of Britain was not aimed at, but by a few. The Congress, even after blood was shed, were determined once more to see what effect petitioning would have. They petitioned for “peace, liberty and safety”—but a deaf ear was turned to the petition; though conceived in terms of loyalty and respect.

    This Colony was not alone in her complaints; the others had just reason to be dissatisfied; but the treatment that Massachusetts met with from the British, was along sufficient to alarm the whole. The union among them was surprising, and an evidence of an overruling Providence.

    It appeared then to the most discerning that the time was come to cast off allegiance and dependence upon the mother country; and it appears now by the event, that it was the design of Providence that we should no longer be subject to Great Britain—Independence was declared.

    Congress in their declaration say, “We hold these truths to be self evident, that all men are created equal; that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights; that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness; that to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed; and that whenever any form of government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the right of the people to alter or abolish it, and to institute new governments, laying its foundation on such principles, and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall appear most likely to affect their safety and happiness.

    Prudence indeed will dictate, that governments long established should not to be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shown that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, that to right themselves by abolishing forms, to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same object, evinces a design to reduce them under absolute despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such government, and to provide new guards for their security.” &c. And after enumerating the many grievances which led to the war and to the declaration of Independence, they conclude thus; “We therefore, the Representatives of the United States of America, in general Congress assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the name of these Colonies, solemnly publish and declare, that these united Colonies are, and of a right to be, Free and Independent States: that they are absolved from all allegiance to the British crown, and that all political connections between them and the State of Great Britain is, and ought to be totally dissolved.” &c.

    Thus was a nation born in a day. We have tried the experiment of a republican government, now about 20 years, and are satisfied—there is no hankering after the leeks and onions of Egypt, i.e. after returning to our dependence upon Great Britain. We have the vanity to think and believe, that we can manage our own concerns, better than people can, who are 3000 miles distant from us.

    We think it every way better to have Governors of our own choosing, and laws of our own making, than to have Governors and laws sent from England. And we have prospered so well under republicanism, that other nations are following the example, and have cast off monarchical governments, and are proceeding upon the same plan. God prosper them, and in his time give all the nations of the earth liberty and good government!

    The revolution in America, in a political view, will prove to be the stone cut out of the mountain without hands, which will fill the whole earth.

    These States are convinced of this truth, which Congress said is self evident, that all men are created equal. Is it not strange that nations have not discovered the same truth? How simple is the idea when known! Will not the nations of the earth when they come to see it, be amazed at their former ignorance, and wonder that they so long passively bore the yoke of slavery?

    With a great sum we bought our liberty—Independence has cost much blood and immense treasure. But I hear none murmuring, and wishing they had never opposed Great Britain.

    But when we take a retrospect of our situation at the commencement of the war, we are ready to shudder at the dangers which are passed. The interposition of Providence in our favor was wonderful. The spirit of political enthusiasm, that spread over the continent, seemed at first to supply the place of everything. The people were lead to believe that there was a sufficiency of powder even to act offensively, but the case was quite the reverse.

    But by good providence, warlike stores of every kind were taken from the enemy, which with what were manufactured among ourselves, proved fully adequate to our wants. The time will not admit of much more enlargement; but I cannot but remind you of the kind care and goodness of God in preparing and raising up a General to lead our armies “who united all hearts,” and who was as much beloved, and as readily obeyed, as any one that ever commanded an army. He spared no pains—he shunned no dangers when his country called him—he was thorough proof against bribery and corruption—he served through the war without wages, and God preserved his life and health through the whole.

    Where is there to be found a parallel to General Washington? He is truly a wonderful man. His name alone amount foreign nations gives dignity to the United States. May God raise up successors who shall do as worthily!

    What trying scenes had he to pass through with his armies! At what a low ebb at times were our affairs! You cannot have forgotten, you who were upon the stage, and a number of you are knowing by experience. But he, who began a good work, carried it on, until it was completed in the establishment of independence, and government upon the true principles of liberty.

    And what people before ever had such an opportunity, deliberately to form and establish their constitutions of government? It was a new thing under the sun. But the example has since been followed, by the French first, then the Poles, and lately the Dutch. But the constitution of Poland has been destroyed by that female tyrant the Empress of Russia. May God speedily restore it again.

    From the sketches I have given it is evident that we have much to remember with gratitude, and to acknowledge that god’s works towards us have been wonderful, and they encourage us to set our hope in him. And we should tell them to our children, and give it in charge to them to tell their children; for independence, with the blessings accompanying it, is never to be forgotten; one great good of it is, freedom from European wars; while we were in subjection to Britain, all her enemies were of course our enemies.

    God’s goodness in making us a free people ought to unite our hearts to fear before him, all the days of our life. He has exalted us, and given us a rank among the nations.

    If we would expect he continuance of our liberty and independence, we must keep his commands, for it is righteousness that exalteth a nation.

    Wars will continue as long as the lusts of the men war in their souls.—War is now raging among the nations; but we are happily at a great distance from it. May God preserve us in peace! But we must rejoice, with trembling, and not put off the harness. The lusts of men make it necessary to learn the arts of war; to be in readiness for it, is the best way to prevent it.

    May you, gentlemen officers, and citizen soldiers, acquire honor to yourselves by your officer and soldier like conduct! May you make progress in obtaining the knowledge of all the maneuvers that are necessary! We hope in God that you will never be called to jeopardize your lives in the high places of the field; but should you be, may you willingly offer yourselves, and be of good courage, and play the man for your people and for the cities of your God! But if you always live in peace, forget not that you have spiritual enemies to combat. Then fight the good fight of faith; have on the whole armor of God, that you may conquer all your spiritual adversaries. Remember there is a war in which there is no discharge, I mean the war of death. If you become good soldiers of Jesus Christ, he will give you the victory, and enable you to sing that triumphant song, Oh Death, where is thy Sting; O Grave, where is thy Victory? This is addressed to everyone, as we all have to accomplish this warfare.

    At death the righteous enter into rest and peace, and enjoy the glorious liberties of the sons of God in perfection.

    May we all finally be thus free and happy, and sit down with Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and all the redeemed in Heaven, where there is no sin, no wars nor fightings, no sorrow nor death.

    “Then let each one march boldly on, press forward to the heavenly gate: there peace and joy eternal reign, and glittering robes for conquerors wait.”
    Finis. >>

    KF

  84. 84
    sean samis says:

    kairosfocus @80

    It is time that modernist revisionism and secularist hostility were called to account.

    I agree, but you’re the one engaging in revisionism, and I am not hostile to Christians nor Christianity.

    I’d reply further to this, but the rest just repeats prior claims I’ve already replied to. I’ll wait for your promised further responses.

    sean s.

  85. 85
    sean samis says:

    Silver Asiatic @81

    If the surprise reveals that the theory made a false prediction, then this is not a threat to the theory either.

    Sure it would be; if it happened. So far it’s not.

    …anything that is preserved is by definition, beneficial, in some way.

    Often, but not always. Benefit implies preservation, but preservation does not imply benefit. Basic logic, and especially true with randomly driven processes like evolution.

    sean s.

  86. 86
    kairosfocus says:

    F/N 3: Let me now present first the grand statement structure of the US Const:

    We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America . . . . [Main Body, Arts I – VII] . . . . Done in Convention by the Unanimous Consent of the States present the Seventeenth Day of September in the Year of our Lord one thousand seven hundred and Eighty seven and of the Independence of the United States of America the Twelfth. In Witness whereof We have hereunto subscribed our Names. . . . . [AMENDMENTS].

    Notice, the reference to the blessings of liberty, a covenantal theological term, rather than a legal one? As part of the rationale in brief? Where, language is going to be heavily loaded with context?

    It reflects the then well known double covenant understanding of nationhood under God and good government also under God as the Champion of Justice who endows rights that good govt instituted by people acting under him exists to protect. As the DoI states. That understanding is specifically Reformation derived and is strongly shown in the following two calls to prayer issued by Congress itself in 1776 and 1777:

    May 1776 [over the name of John Hancock, first signer of the US Declaration of Indpependence] : In times of impending calamity and distress; when the liberties of America are imminently endangered by the secret machinations and open assaults of an insidious and vindictive administration, it becomes the indispensable duty of these hitherto free and happy colonies, with true penitence of heart, and the most reverent devotion, publickly to acknowledge the over ruling providence of God; to confess and deplore our offences against him; and to supplicate his interposition for averting the threatened danger, and prospering our strenuous efforts in the cause of freedom, virtue, and posterity.. . . Desirous, at the same time, to have people of all ranks and degrees duly impressed with a solemn sense of God’s superintending providence, and of their duty, devoutly to rely, in all their lawful enterprizes, on his aid and direction, Do earnestly recommend, that Friday, the Seventeenth day of May next, be observed by the said colonies as a day of humiliation, fasting, and prayer; that we may, with united hearts, confess and bewail our manifold sins and transgressions, and, by a sincere repentance and amendment of life, appease his righteous displeasure, and, through the merits and mediation of Jesus Christ, obtain his pardon and forgiveness; humbly imploring his assistance to frustrate the cruel purposes of our unnatural enemies; . . . that it may please the Lord of Hosts, the God of Armies, to animate our officers and soldiers with invincible fortitude, to guard and protect them in the day of battle, and to crown the continental arms, by sea and land, with victory and success: Earnestly beseeching him to bless our civil rulers, and the representatives of the people, in their several assemblies and conventions; to preserve and strengthen their union, to inspire them with an ardent, disinterested love of their country; to give wisdom and stability to their counsels; and direct them to the most efficacious measures for establishing the rights of America on the most honourable and permanent basis—That he would be graciously pleased to bless all his people in these colonies with health and plenty, and grant that a spirit of incorruptible patriotism, and of pure undefiled religion, may universally prevail; and this continent be speedily restored to the blessings of peace and liberty, and enabled to transmit them inviolate to the latest posterity. And it is recommended to Christians of all denominations, to assemble for public worship, and abstain from servile labour on the said day.

    December 1777: FORASMUCH as it is the indispensable Duty of all Men to adore the superintending Providence of Almighty God; to acknowledge with Gratitude their Obligation to him for benefits received, and to implore such farther Blessings as they stand in Need of; And it having pleased him in his abundant Mercy not only to continue to us the innumerable Bounties of his common Providence, but also to smile upon us in the Prosecution of a just and necessary War, for the Defence and Establishment of our unalienable Rights and Liberties; particularly in that he hath been pleased in so great a Measure to prosper the Means used for the Support of our Troops and to crown our Arms with most signal success: It is therefore recommended to the legislative or executive powers of these United States, to set apart THURSDAY, the eighteenth Day of December next, for Solemn Thanksgiving and Praise; That with one Heart and one Voice the good People may express the grateful Feelings of their Hearts, and consecrate themselves to the Service of their Divine Benefactor; and that together with their sincere Acknowledgments and Offerings, they may join the penitent Confession of their manifold Sins, whereby they had forfeited every Favour, and their humble and earnest Supplication that it may please GOD, through the Merits of Jesus Christ, mercifully to forgive and blot them out of Remembrance; That it may please him graciously to afford his Blessing on the Governments of these States respectively, and prosper the public Council of the whole; to inspire our Commanders both by Land and Sea, and all under them, with that Wisdom and Fortitude which may render them fit Instruments, under the Providence of Almighty GOD, to secure for these United States the greatest of all human blessings, INDEPENDENCE and PEACE; That it may please him to prosper the Trade and Manufactures of the People and the Labour of the Husbandman, that our Land may yet yield its Increase; To take Schools and Seminaries of Education, so necessary for cultivating the Principles of true Liberty, Virtue and Piety, under his nurturing Hand, and to prosper the Means of Religion for the promotion and enlargement of that Kingdom which consisteth “in Righteousness, Peace and Joy in the Holy Ghost.”[i.e. Cites Rom 14:9] [Source: Journals of the American Congress From 1774 to 1788 (Washington: Way and Gideon, 1823), Vol. I, pp. 286-287 & II, pp. 309 – 310.]

    It should be crystal clear just what the blessings of liberty relate to.

    Going further, as we all know, the Bill of Rights was added on insistence of ordinary people that key rights, freedoms and protections be explicitly (though not necessarily exhaustively) recognised. Their wisdom has been vindicated over 200+ years, but now these words are being pulled hither and yon to fit agendas that could only prosper by distortion.

    I now clip my point by point on the 1st amdt, in the form of the Congressional resolution:

    >>Article the third… [= 1st Amdt US Const] Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof;>>

    1 –> Congress resolves and submits to the people for their ratification.

    2 –> There shall be no grand federal landeskirk of the united states, building on the principle of Westphalia 1648 of locality in religion, adjusted to republican circumstances and with better protection of dissenters.

    3 –> at this time of course something like nine of the thirteen states had established local state churches, the free exercise clause specifically protected freikirke.

    4 –> Thus the letter by Jefferson to the Danbury Baptists of Connecticut, is properly to be understood as affirming that Jefferson respected this as setting up a wall of protection for freedom of conscience, worship and religion from interference by the state, especially the state in alliance with a grand landeskirk or some unholy cartel of such at state level.

    5 –> In our time, where evolutionary materialist, scientism based secular humanism and its fellow travellers constitute a de facto anti-church cartel, American Dissenting Christians face precisely that kind of interference that this clause was intended to be a bulwark against.

    >>or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press;>>

    6 –> Notice, freedom to speak and to publish through media are protected in exactly the context of freedom of faith and its expression.

    7 –> Yes, the primary sort of speech and publication being protected is just what Carpathian and others of like ilk would trammel, stigmatise, ghettoise and censor in the name of protecting their ears and eyes from being reminded of Him who they are fain to forget and dismiss.

    8 –> The irony of this is itself a rebuke to such a radical secularism.

    >> or the right of the people peaceably to assemble,>>

    9 –> This is of course, again in the direct context of religious expression with application to general expression.

    10 –> Peaceful assembly implies in homes, in houses of worship, in public spaces, on the streets so long as the assembly be not riotous or a mob seeking to threaten.

    11 –> And, again, Carpathian and ilk are found in the lists as enemies of freedom. A sad but not unexpected irony.

    >> and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances>>

    12 –> As in, it was a grievance that the Constitution did not sufficiently and explicitly protect Dissenters from encroachment by potentially hostile establishments that led these to champion a bill of amendments culminating in this one as first in the list.

    13 –> So, again, we find the despised evangelicals helping to build liberty.

    14 –> And, the power to petition challenges the Laodicean, self-satisfied mentality of power elites that tend to lock out unwelcome voices and views. (As in, Jesus at the church door, knocking and asking to be let in . . . instead of simply forcing his way in while posing on his authority as Lord of the church; as strong a statement of Divine respect for human freedom as one can ever find, even freedom to follow a march of folly.)

    The pattern is already clear, but DV more will follow.

    Notice, these two documents are the charter of modern liberty in a constitutional small-d democracy.

    KF

  87. 87
    Silver Asiatic says:

    SS

    Sure it would be; if it happened. So far it’s not.

    Evolutionary theory has never made a false prediction.

    Ok, got it.

  88. 88
    kairosfocus says:

    PS: I note that democracies and monarchies are not necessarily incompatible, as Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II of the House of Windsor so clearly demonstrates.

  89. 89
    sean samis says:

    Silver Asiatic @87

    Evolutionary theory has never made a false prediction. Ok, got it.

    So far, no. If you think it has, you should tell us which it was.

    sean s.

  90. 90
    sean samis says:

    kairosfocus;

    I’m not quite sure what point your long post #86 is supposed to be getting at, but if it is intended to demonstrate the necessary role Christianity supposedly played in the development of modern democracy, then you seem to have missed the point.

    I will happily stipulate that you can find plenty of comments by political thinkers since the 17th century attributing their support of democratic ideals to the Bible. But then, was there any political or social idea in those days that was not “based” on some Biblical verses?

    Modern persons advocating (theoretically) for slavery, racism, colonialism, polygamy, feudalism, serfdom, objectification of women or children, monarchy, or theocracy would be able to reach back into history and find Famous People who advocated these things based on Biblical authority.

    Pick almost any political topic X and persons can argue both for and against it based on nothing but Biblical verses and the religious proclamations of Famous Dead People. So the fact that you can do this carries zero weight. We can find folks from Back Then who argued for all manner of Bad Things because “the Bible says to”.

    In a nutshell: Biblical verses and religious opinions prove almost nothing because they approve of nearly anything.

    The real problem is to determine why people sided with one Biblical view against the others. Those reasons are not to be found in the Bible (because they’d be part of the biblical views people are choosing between).

    If the Bible pointed clearly and unambiguously to one outcome, you’d be able to make your case, but it does not. So whatever was the deciding factor, it is Outside of the Bible. Q.E.D.

    sean s.

  91. 91
    kairosfocus says:

    SS,

    if it weren’t in the end so sadly revealing, your latest strawman caricature would be laughable. I showed per state documents the actual historical impacts of the Judaeo-Christian tradition on the American founding.

    The attempt to pretend that there was none of material effect, I can take it, is now off the table for the reasonable person.

    I see your further resort to well-poisoning, and failure to realise that there is a reason so much of political debate pivoted on Scripture: people in a Christian culture were seeking to be guided thereby.

    But surely, by now this text from the greatest sermon of all time has registered, let me give a bit wider of a context:

    Matt 6:19 “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust[e] destroy and where thieves break in and steal, 20 but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. 21 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

    22 “The eye is the lamp of the body. So, if your eye is healthy, your whole body will be full of light, 23 but if your eye is bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light in you is darkness, how great is the darkness!

    24 “No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money.[f]

    In short, never underestimate the endarkening power of worldly ambitions that blind us to genuine light.

    And if you want to genuinely understand the Christian response to slavery and the powers behind it, I suggest you read and ponder the Ep. Philemon with some context. And understand that the antislavery society’s motto comes from this: Am, I not a man and a brother.

    Of course, all of this is distractive and intentionally polarising, also meant somehow to play at Fundy baiting and badmouthing to distract from the now blatant unwillingness to acknowledge the patent truth of a major contribution from the Christian tradition to the rise of modern liberty and democracy.

    At least, you have done the inadvertent favour of alerting us to the depth of hostility and resentment to the Christian faith and to Christians among the so-called Progressives of our time.

    So, let me again draw attention to prof Bernard Lewis’ comment in his The Roots of Muslim Rage, to show a more reasonable and sound approach . . . though, it is quite obvious that you are far too charged up with hostility to hear what he is so wisely putting on the table about attitude:

    . . . The accusations are familiar. We of the West are accused of sexism, racism, and imperialism, institutionalized in patriarchy and slavery, tyranny and exploitation. To these charges, and to others as heinous, we have no option but to plead guilty — not as Americans, nor yet as Westerners, but simply as human beings, as members of the human race. In none of these sins are we the only sinners, and in some of them we are very far from being the worst. The treatment of women in the Western world, and more generally in Christendom, has always been unequal and often oppressive, but even at its worst it was rather better than the rule of polygamy and concubinage that has otherwise been the almost universal lot of womankind on this planet . . . .

    In having practiced sexism, racism, and imperialism, the West was merely following the common practice of mankind through the millennia of recorded history. Where it is distinct from all other civilizations is in having recognized, named, and tried, not entirely without success, to remedy these historic diseases. And that is surely a matter for congratulation, not condemnation. We do not hold Western medical science in general, or Dr. Parkinson and Dr. Alzheimer in particular, responsible for the diseases they diagnosed and to which they gave their names.

    I have no illusions that mere evidence and reason will get you to budge until the pool of bitterness begins to drain, but even so let us just point out that a great part of the impulse behind the reforms came from the sort of heart-softening and enlightenment that came through things like this in Locke as he cited Canon Hooker speaking in light of the neighbour love and equality principles so staunchly taught in the scriptures of the Judaeo-Christian tradition:

    Man, considered as a creature, must necessarily be subject to the laws of his creator, for he is entirely a dependent being . . . consequently, as man depends absolutely upon his maker for every thing, it is necessary that he should in all points conform to his maker’s will. This will of his maker is called the law of nature. For as God, when he created matter, and endued it with a principle of mobility, established certain rules for the perpetual direction of that motion; so, when he created man, and endued him with freewill to conduct himself in all parts of life, he laid down certain immutable laws of human nature, whereby that freewill is in some degree regulated and restrained, and gave him also the faculty of reason to discover the purport of those laws . . . These are the eternal, immutable laws of good and evil, to which the creator himself in all his dispensations conforms; and which he has enabled human reason to discover, so far as they are necessary for the conduct of human actions. Such among others are these principles: that we should live honestly [NB: cf. Exod. 20:15 – 16], should hurt nobody [NB: cf. Rom 13:8 – 10], and should render to every one his due [NB: cf. Rom 13:6 – 7 & Exod. 20:15]; to which three general precepts Justinian[1: a Juris praecepta sunt hace, honeste vivere. alterum non laedere, suum cuique tribuere. Inst, 1. 1. 3] has reduced the whole doctrine of law [and, Corpus Juris, Justinian’s Christianised precis and pruning of perhaps 1,000 years of Roman jurisprudence, in turn is the foundation of law for much of Europe].

    I only need to remind that this text is from Ch 2 sect 5 of Locke’s 2nd treatise on civil govt, which is a pivotal work on the road to modern liberty and democracy. Indeed it is directly and strongly echoed in the US DoI.

    KF

  92. 92
    Al Hobbin says:

    I am a latecomer to UD, and I admit that I have not read all of the comments so I apologize if my question has already been addressed.

    If Christianity is a requirement for modern European style democracy and justice, why did it take over 1500 years to begin to sprout to an elite few (land owners), 1900 years to extend democracy beyond a small fraction of the population to a number still far less than 50% (giving women the vote), and an additional 50 years to extend it to all races?

    I am not saying that Christianity didn’t play a part, I still haven’t decided whether it played a positive role or a negative role.

  93. 93
    Mapou says:

    Al Hobbin @92,

    You need to understand that many of the posters at UD are Catholic and often, when they say Christianity, they mean the Catholic Church. And of course, you are correct to be skeptical of what’s being said here. The Catholic Church had nothing to do with the introduction of democracy to Europe. In fact, most of the democratic ideas that led to the French Revolution were from atheists who hated the Church. They simply revived old Greek concepts but without the Greek slavery.

    BTW, I speak as a Christian who is not afraid of the truth. The Catholic Church has been nothing but a disaster to Europe. IMO, they are responsible for almost all of the horrible European wars throughout the last millennium. But it’s much worse than this. Before the Holy Roman Empire (i.e., the Church of Rome), land could be neither bought nor sold. It was divided among families for an inheritance. This was a very old practice that began in Sumeria. Mosaic laws also dictated that the land could only be inherited from one generation to the next, thereby solving the homelessness problem once and for all.

    But the Church of Rome had other ideas in mind. They started the evil practice of “dividing the land for a price”. This was the birth of modern capitalism and it contributed to the rise of the land (robber) barons and the enslaving of humanity by a rich minority. The main reason that a rich Catholic country like Mexico can’t seem to lift their population out of poverty is that most of the land in Mexico is owned by just a few crooks (who all go to church on Sundays) creating a country of landless peasants in eternal servitude. That’s the reason that the poor is forced to embrace the drug trade.

    So now, when you hear the Pope or some other Catholic public figure urging us to give to the poor and the homeless, you should remind him that his Church is responsible for starting the practice that has led to so much poverty and cruel inhumanity around the world. Not that the Protestant Churches are any better either, seeing that all the Protestant nations of the world have adopted the same evil practice.

    The Christian Churches should repent from this great evil. Otherwise, the prophet Elijah is coming to restore all things to the way they used to be and put an end to the thievery. And he won’t be gentle. Moreover, he is almost at the door. LOL.

    Saying it like I see it, as always.

  94. 94
    kairosfocus says:

    AH (also attn Mapou),

    I see your why the 1500 year delay issue.

    As our World History tends to be weak, let me sketch in a very rough outline.

    First, modern constitutional democracy is not the only legitimate form of government, as government has to ft to circumstances.

    And when you have an existing empire and power elites with centuries long ongoing collapse to deal with it affects things. Indeed, we often forget that Rome was a city-state based republic that collapsed in chaos and was “saved” by the veiled conversion to autocratic empire under Octavian aka Augustus, after yet another wave of civil war triggered by Julius Caesar’s assassination.

    Just as it expanded to its more or less geostrategic and internal communications and governance limits.

    And do not forget the impact of the loss of 3 legions in Germany AD 9 [a big slice of military capacity], which meant that the frontier line forever after was in the wrong place, Rhine instead of Oder-Niesse or the like. And as a sign of what was to come, Arminius, the German victor had served as a Roman Auxiliary and in effect led the Romans into an ambush between forest and swamp. (Call this Rome’s Stalingrad and you will get an idea of impact.)

    Long militarised fronts facing perpetual threats

    In the East, the Danube line was likely the best you could get, and the Parthians were going to be an onward running sore all the way to the point where the remaining E Empire fought to mutual exhaustion 628 AD opening the strategic opportunity for Mohammed’s successors in the 630’s and again later in the 1000’s that opened things up for Turks . . . Julius Caesar was assassinated on the eve of his intended departure to subjugate the Parthians.

    That said, you might find Augustine’s City of God a good survey of what it was like to be in late Empire under major barbarian immigration and invasion, then multiplied by waves of Plague leading to disintegration and collapse, with the only surviving regional institution being what would become the Roman Catholic church. With the Muslims coming in through No Africa and Spain into France and raiding by sea everywhere, including Rome itself. Then came “the fury of the Northmen” starting from the infamous attack on the Landisfarne holy island monastic base c 790. Things were so bad with this that after Paris was sacked, the French king simply gave Normandy as a Duchy to some vikings (already settling, much as in Britain and Ireland etc) on condition they defended from further invasion.

    Massive civilisational collapse in short.

    In that light, it would have been helpful if you had interacted with the thread above as a basis for commenting, esp. 60:

    _____________

    >>60 kairosfocus July 28, 2015 at 12:52 am

    SB (attn SS):

    Recall also that once populations move beyond a small city state, to govern democratically and stably i/l/o the civil peace of justice, you need adequate communications both physical and informational, thus the printing press and a broad base of literacy and elementary education including basic civics. You also need sufficient of an agricultural and trading base and wider economy that things like famine are rare relatively speaking.

    (Absent that, governance inevitably falls to a governance-leisure class that has relative education, wealth and stability advantages. If you are lucky, that class is relatively open. Where, frankly as far as that goes, a monastic class that is open and relatively merit based allied to a heavy cavalry armoured warrior class — that implies major costs, expenses and a massive investment in training — restrained by a code of protecting the peasantry was a reasonable solution in the teeth of the circumstances after the collapse of the W Roman Empire. Where, the rise of longbowmen, pike men and musketry was a later, democratising force as a soldier is much cheaper than a knight or a cataphract etc. Under such circumstances the societal challenge is to keep chaos, collapse, invasion and mass death to disease at bay and it is unlikely to have any great knowledge base to work from.)

    How do I know this?

    Post slavery, across a bit over 100 years, that was the challenge facing the anglophone Caribbean, esp Jamaica. Free villages backed by dissenter churches in the main, schools based in the village church, subsistence farming with cash crops, growing literacy and experience with community organisation laid a base for local self government and independence. And, though there are big problems, the region as a whole has managed not to fall into chaos and despotism.

    As you rightly highlight, that further demands a critical mass or general consensus on worldview and social agenda, with an emphasis on grounding and guarding the civil peace of justice. Which puts natural moral law and its core principles at the pivot.

    The practical import of all of this is that democracy (as opposed to mob rule and rule by a narrow elite of first class citizens constituting a ruling class) in large scale societies based on a broad based or universal franchise was not feasible until the widespread existence of printing, paper or the equivalent, a books trade, a literate public of primary level education and the existence of regular newspapers. Also, a military technology that could allow a peasant to become a successful soldier or sailor, providing adequate defence based on a modern army and navy. With, a culture dominated by a worldview that sustains responsible freedom under natural law based civil codes and also a sound work ethic.

    The first time and place in history where that was met was reformation era Northern Europe, especially the island of Great Britain — and we should recall that after the Black Death pandemic, the 100 yr wars and decades of civil war then the Tudors and King James and co, the breakthrough point was the glorious revolution of 1688, which at last created stability and a theory that guided what would emerge. Then, this spread to North America in the colonies of Britain.

    So, it is no surprise that modern liberty and democracy were hammered out there and in extensions in Australasia.

    Where, the second breakthrough was the American Revolution starting with its DoI and its successful Constitution.

    And, it is no surprise that the Judaeo-Christian tradition was the dominant shaping tradition, as I took time to document here on in context, also in the parallel thread: http://www.uncommondescent.com.....stitution/ for the case of 1st amdt, US const.

    As the American experiment succeeded and as Britain and its colonies continued a more gradual emergence, that started a trend that spread. But it should be realised that the main global spread of Democracy is the past 100 – 200 years, and indeed the past several decades of the post colonial then post cold war era . . . de facto World War III, and it has overlapped slow-burn World War IV with the rise again of radical IslamISM.

    Democratisation in substance — as opposed to mob rule manipulated by political messianism and/or cronyism or even mafia-ism — is a process that is far from finished.

    I should note that electronic communications starting with telegraph, were vital to the feasibility of a continent-spanning democracy, as pioneered by the US, Canada and Australia.

    Beyond this zone of the English-speaking peoples, democracy spread by example and rising aspiration of peoples who saw a better way. And, of course, in the aftermath of the collapse and discrediting of major alternatives such as fascism and marxism and the like. But in these cases, there is an ongoing challenge of cultural consensus and in-the-bones, absorbed- with- mother’s- milk intuitive understanding of democratic civil society.

    In short, democratisation takes generations of cultural transformation, and is easily hampered by political messianism and fundamentally undemocratic and unsound ideologies and worldviews that undermine responsible rational freedom and free enterprise based productivity.

    Where also, of course the rise of evolutionary materialist scientistic radically secularist ideology and statist political messianism with ruthless nihilistic factions and linked family breakdown in the core lands of the founding of modern constitutional democracy, is a warning flag. For, the core premise of democracy is responsible, rational freedom in a community that understands, promotes and guards the civil peace of justice.

    When therefore I see attempts to denigrate what drove the rise of modern liberty and democracy in the nation-state, I take it as a very serious sign indeed.

    I wonder if some of those so busily trying to discredit the Judaeo-Christian heritage would think if they saw someone who could not bring himself to acknowledge that black people or predominantly black communities had ever done anything good or a significant contribution to progress, but instead was forever dwelling on a litany of the sins of black individuals and communities, and always sought to find another source to praise for any progressive contribution. With, continual resort being made to fears of blacks seizing power and imposing abusive domination.

    I am sure such would immediately and rightly cry racism.

    As, say, we could see in Apartheid era South Africa.

    In that light, as a black man and Christian, I find myself compelled to highlight a clear pattern of anti-Christian animosity and even bigotry. Even as Apartheid era South Africa was the last bastion of institutionalised racism.

    So, the pattern we have been seeing trips serious warning flags.

    It is time for fresh and more soundly balanced thinking.>>
    _____________

    I trust this gives some context.

    And, explains my deep pessimism about our civilisation’s future. This time, nukes are in play in Parthia’s successor.

    And with Britain more or less completing its geostrategic retreat and the US alienating the partners it needs at the choke-points of sea trade and generally failing to face the geostrategic burden the dominant maritime power must bear to sustain stability in a global world connected by sea trade for the past 500years, the alternatives are Russia and China. Not a happy list.

    Let’s just say that the push by China to facilitate major port stuff in C America and the Caribbean is a sign of things to come.

    With radical islamisim on the march.

    KF

    PS: Mapou, I trust this also speaks to the Protestant-Catholic divide, and I fall on the P side; indeed I come from a country where the historic church of the Black man is the native Baptists founded through George Liele, Moses Baker and co, in material part blacks fleeing to the Caribbean post the US Revolution. Notice, too, the forces, factors, place and time that I highlighted. And the outlook I am putting on the table.

  95. 95
    JimFit says:

    sean

    It would be pretty disappointing if we hadn’t improved upon it by now.

    We have improved not because of logic or because of more experience but because we were motivated by Christ, we became Christians and the teachings of absolute equality became objective because they were tied in the face of God and no one doubted the wisdom of God since He is Omniscience, that motivated us to be more merciful without second thoughts, to love without borders without second thoughts and so on…that’s why its so important to believe that Christ was the Son of God aka that was an authority, because people tend to deny Christ because of personal desires. The source of our improvement is the belief that Christ was risen from the dead. The ancient Greeks weren’t dump, they had philosophized why only rich people had the right to vote, their democracy was based on logic. You think that progress means more equality, well that obviously doesn’t apply to reality, History has shown that Rome didn’t became more Democratic as time passed but instead it embraced the God Cesar figure who had the absolute authority over people and if anyone dared to oppose him he was killed.

    Oddly enough, it took many, many centuries for Christians to notice those teachings were there; so clearly something else happened, something other than “the teachings of Christ”.

    No. The State of Law was created in the time of Emperor Justinian, Codex Iustinianus was written in the 6th century and since the Great Constantine the laws were slowly become more humanistic. The State of Law couldn’t arise before Justinian because the Empire wasn’t fully Christianized and the idea that all people are equal seemed strange to the Pagans, we have written testimonies from Pagan authors that mock the idea of equality since it went against their worldview, after the Empire was Christianized the Christian Church had the power to affect the State laws.

    Ah, I don’t think any “philosophers” created the idea of democracy; at least not acting in their roles as philosophers.

    The power to philosophize created democracy. The philosophers were just humans, part of the society, more educated and more experienced.

    Certainly “philosophers” were not involved outside of Greece. Some Native American peoples had democracies at the time that Europeans first encountered them.

    even if they created the same exact thing as Athenian Democracy (they didn’t) it still required first to philosophize it, because they too had wise men that philosophized but they were called something else. If a Native American built houses and an ancient Greek builts houses we can describe them with different words but the property is the same.

    Whoever created the idea of democracy, they certainly were not Christians, so putting Christianity at the root of democracy is false.

    No, i said only that MODERN Democracy is based on Christian Teachings about equality, if you went back in Ancient Greece and said to them “hey why you have slaves? Why women aren’t allowed to vote? This is not democracy!” They would laugh at you because Democracy didn’t had in its roots absolute equality.

    I have to ask: as a Christian, you now reject democracy? and you’d prefer a monarchy?

    You evangelize the State of Law which was motivated by the Teachings of Christ and was created NOT under Democracy but under the Emperor, that’s why i said that Democracy is fictitious! Monarchy doesn’t always mean inequality.

  96. 96
    kairosfocus says:

    JF,

    It seems it may be helpful to put Ep Philemon on the table:

    _______________

    >> Philemon English Standard Version (ESV)
    Greeting

    1 Paul, a prisoner for Christ Jesus, and Timothy our brother,

    To Philemon our beloved fellow worker 2 and Apphia our sister [Antislavery Soc, 2nd motto: Am I not a woman and a sister?] and Archippus our fellow soldier, and the church in your house:

    3 Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

    Philemon’s Love and Faith

    4 I thank my God always when I remember you in my prayers, 5 because I hear of your love and of the faith that you have toward the Lord Jesus and for all the saints, 6 and I pray that the sharing of your faith may become effective for the full knowledge of every good thing that is in us for the sake of Christ.[a] 7 For I have derived much joy and comfort from your love, my brother, because the hearts of the saints have been refreshed through you.

    [–> setting the in common base and enlightening the heart to address mind and will . . . pivotal issue is neighbour-love.]

    Paul’s Plea for Onesimus

    8 Accordingly, though I am bold enough in Christ to command you to do what is required, 9 yet for love’s sake I prefer to appeal to you—I, Paul, an old man and now a prisoner also for Christ Jesus— 10 I appeal to you for my child, Onesimus,[b] whose father I became in my imprisonment.

    [–> establishing equality and influence, Paul is spiritual father to Philemon, Apphia and Onesimus, who comes to Collosse with this epistle which is presumably being openly read in the congregation as a second message from the apostle in chains]

    11 (Formerly he was useless to you, but now he is indeed useful to you and to me.)

    [–> word play on the meaning of Onesimus, i/l/o apparently theft of a sum]

    12 I am sending him back to you, sending my very heart.

    -==> theme of love and equality in sonship]

    13 I would have been glad to keep him with me, in order that he might serve me on your behalf during my imprisonment for the gospel, 14 but I preferred to do nothing without your consent in order that your goodness might not be by compulsion but of your own accord.

    15 For this perhaps is why he was parted from you for a while, that you might have him back forever, 16 no longer as a bondservant[c] but more than a bondservant, as a beloved brother—especially to me, but how much more to you, both in the flesh and in the Lord.

    [–> sons of Paul and brothers in the flesh and in the Lord: AM I NOT A MAN AND A BROTHER?]

    17 So if you consider me your partner, receive him as you would receive me.

    [–> unlimited endorsement: receive him in partnership as you would receive me. Fatal to the context and concepts of slave-holding.]

    18 If he has wronged you at all, or owes you anything, charge that to my account. 19 I, Paul, write this with my own hand: I will repay it—to say nothing of your owing me even your own self.

    [–> Paul puts his own family inheritance on the line]

    20 Yes, brother, I want some benefit from you in the Lord. Refresh my heart in Christ.

    21 Confident of your obedience, I write to you, knowing that you will do even more than I say. 22 At the same time, prepare a guest room for me, for I am hoping that through your prayers I will be graciously given to you.
    Final Greetings

    23 Epaphras, my fellow prisoner in Christ Jesus, sends greetings to you, 24 and so do Mark, Aristarchus, Demas, and Luke, my fellow workers.

    25 The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit.

    Footnotes:

    Philemon 1:6 Or for Christ’s service
    Philemon 1:10 Onesimus means useful (see verse 11) or beneficial (see verse 20)
    Philemon 1:16 Or slave; twice in this verse (for the contextual rendering of the Greek word doulos, see Preface)>>

    _____________________

    The impact of that on slavery was immense.

    Now, let us note also:

    Gal 3:26 for in Christ Jesus you are all sons of God, through faith. 27 For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ. 28 There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave[g] nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. 29 And if you are Christ’s, then you are Abraham’s offspring, heirs according to promise.

    That is, there is a radical equality in Christ, leading to us all being under the neighbour love obligation. We are made in the image of God, are organically related, are radically equal in the flesh and in the Lord.

    So also:

    1 Cor 7:17 Only let each person lead the life[c] that the Lord has assigned to him, and to which God has called him. This is my rule in all the churches. 18 Was anyone at the time of his call already circumcised? Let him not seek to remove the marks of circumcision. Was anyone at the time of his call uncircumcised? Let him not seek circumcision. 19 For neither circumcision counts for anything nor uncircumcision, but keeping the commandments of God. 20 Each one should remain in the condition in which he was called. 21 Were you a bondservant[d] when called? Do not be concerned about it. (But if you can gain your freedom, avail yourself of the opportunity.) 22 For he who was called in the Lord as a bondservant is a freedman of the Lord. Likewise he who was free when called is a bondservant of Christ. 23 You were bought with a price; do not become bondservants[e] of men. 24 So, brothers,[f] in whatever condition each was called, there let him remain with God.

    As well:

    1 Tim 1:8 Now we know that the law is good, if one uses it lawfully, 9 understanding this, that the law is not laid down for the just but for the lawless and disobedient, for the ungodly and sinners, for the unholy and profane, for those who strike their fathers and mothers, for murderers, 10 the sexually immoral, men who practice homosexuality, enslavers,[b] liars, perjurers, and whatever else is contrary to sound[c] doctrine, 11 in accordance with the gospel of the glory of the blessed God with which I have been entrusted.

    Then also:

    Rom 2:13 For it is not the hearers of the law who are righteous before God, but the doers of the law who will be justified. 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 16 on that day when, according to my gospel, God judges the secrets of men by Christ Jesus.

    Rom 13:8 Owe no one anything, except to love each other, for the one who loves another has fulfilled the law. 9 For the commandments, “You shall not commit adultery, You shall not murder, You shall not steal, You shall not covet,” and any other commandment, are summed up in this word: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” 10 Love does no wrong to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfilling of the law.

    These lay out very relevant principles.

    Next, I will look by way of a clip or two, at how biblical examples of God as liberator starting with the Exodus — liberation from state-slavery of an alien subject-people — acting through lower magistrates or emerging popular representatives leads to nationhood and government under God, the crucial step we see in Vindiciae by Ph Duplessis-Mornay. First, Professor Bamberg:

    [b]y means of the first covenant, the people form a religious covenant community. By means of the second, the political state arises. This political covenant assures that people will obey the ruler’s commands as long as they are just. If the ruler does not fulfill his obligation then the people are absolved from their vows of allegiance. The fact that God includes the people in the parties of the compacts demonstrates that ‘the people have a right to make, hold and accomplish their promises and contracts.’ The people are not slaves without rights but are responsible to fulfill certain obligations as well as enjoy certain privileges . . . .

    The concepts of compact, tyranny and resistance are popularly attributed solely to the Enlightenment figures of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. To be sure, this was one means through which these ideas were disseminated, yet, they are actually much older. The language and arguments Adams employs [and this of course includes that collaborative work, the US DOI of 1776] bear striking similarities to the Vindiciae contra tyrannos. . . . [which] does not argue for anarchy. It recommends resistance to tyranny based upon the authority of lower officers of the state [i.e. through their interposition as equally God’s agents to do good and protect the community and its members from evildoers, including tyrants by usurpation, corruption or invasion]. As such, it should be considered an argument for a conservative revolution. At the same time, it brought the contract theory into play against the claims of divine right absolutism. In this way it contributed to later contract theory . . . .

    Any revolt must proceed along orderly lines through the lower magistrates . . . . In America, the elected representatives of the people, town councils, Continental Congress or the lower houses of the colonial legislatures were responsible to oppose the tyrant king and Parliament as well as the loyalist lower magistrates, i.e. Massachusetts Governor Hutchinson. Adams felt that the American Revolution met these qualifications. On the other hand, he had nothing but animosity for the rabble revolution in France which claimed the American Revolution as its model. Adams, appalled by the mob rule in Paris, denounced the tyranny of the majority in that revolution . . . .

    The social contract theory of civil government [in this context] was an amiable theory to men raised on the covenant theology of New England as Adams had been. The influence of Locke seems evident, but he was welcomed by the New Englanders precisely because he had reformulated the familiar ideas of the Calvinists . . . . Adams, like other American Whigs, derived his theory from the English Civil War tradition which was itself informed by Vindiciae.

    Now, Vindiciae, 1579 (one of the most famous of banned books, which patently influences the Dutch DoI 1581), heads:

    http://www.constitution.org/vct/vind.htm

    THE TREATISE:

    i. Whether Subjects are bound and ought to obey Princes, if they command that which is against the Law of God …… 65

    ii. Whether it be lawful to resist a Prince which doth infringe the Law of God, or ruin the Church. By whom, how, and how far it is lawful …. 87

    iii. Whether it be lawful to resist a Prince which doth oppress or ruin a public State, and how far such resistance may be extended. By whom, how, and by what right or law it is permitted …. 117

    iv. Whether neighbour Princes or States may be, or are, bound by Law to give succour to the subjects of other Princes, afflicted for the cause of true religion, or oppressed by manifest Tyranny …. 215 . . . .

    For so much as we must here dispute of the lawful authority of a lawful prince, I am confident that this question will be the less acceptable to tyrants and wicked princes; for it is no marvel if those who receive no law, but what their own will and fancy dictate unto them, be deaf unto the voice of that law which is grounded upon reason. But I persuade myself that good princes will willingly entertain this discourse, insomuch as they sufficiently know that all magistrates, be they of never so high a rank, are but an inanimated and speaking law. Neither though anything be pressed home against the bad, can it fall within any inference against the good kings or princes, as also good and bad princes are in a direct diameter opposite and contrary: therefore, that which shall be urged against tyrants, is so far from detracting anything from kings, as on the contrary, the more tyrants are laid open in their proper colours, the more glorious does the true worth and dignity of kings appear; neither can the vicious imperfections of the one be laid open, but it gives addition of perfections and respect to the honour of the other.

    But for tyrants let them say and think what they please, that shall be the least of my care; for it is not to them, but against them that I write; for kings I believe that they will readily consent to that which is propounded, for by true proportion of reason they ought as much to hate tyrants and wicked governors, as shepherds hate wolves, physicians, poisoners, true prophets, false doctors; for it must necessarily occur that reason infuses into good kings as much hatred against tyrants, as nature imprints in dogs against wolves, for as the one lives by rapine and spoil, so the other is born or bred to redress and prevent all such outrages . . .

    We have shewed before that it is God that does appoint kings, who chooses them, who gives the kingdom to them: now we say that the people establish kings, puts the sceptre into their hands, and who with their suffrages, approves the election. God would have it done in this manner, to the end that the kings should acknowledge, that after God they hold their power and sovereignty from the people, and that it might the rather induce them, to apply and address the utmost of their care and thoughts for the profit of the people, without being puffed with any vain imagination, that they were formed of any matter more excellent than other men, for which they were raised so high above others; as if they were to command our flocks of sheep, or herds of cattle. But let them remember and know, that they are of the same mould and condition as others, raised from the earth by the voice and acclamations, now as it were upon the shoulders of the people unto their thrones, that they might afterwards bear on their own shoulders the greatest burdens of the commonwealth. Divers ages before that, the people of Israel demanded a king. God gave and appointed the law of royal government contained in the seventeenth chapter, verse fourteen of Deuteronomy, when, says Moses, “thou art come unto the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee, and shalt possess it, and shalt dwell therein, and shalt say, I will set a king over me like as all the nations that are about me, thou shalt in any wise set him whom the Lord thy God shall choose from amongst thy brethren, etc.” You see here, that the election of the king is attributed to God, the establishment to the people: now when the practice of this law came in use, see in what manner they proceeded . . . .

    And for David, by the commandment of God, and in a manner more evident than the former, after the rejection of Saul, Samuel anointed for king over Israel, David, chosen by the Lord, which being done, the Spirit of the Lord presently left Saul, and wrought in a special manner in David. But David, notwithstanding, reigns not, but was compelled to save himself in deserts and rocks, oftentimes falling upon the very brim of destruction, and never reigned as king until after the death of Saul: for then by the suffrages of all the people of Judah he was first chosen king of Judah, and seven years after by the consent of all Israel, he was inaugurated king of Israel in Hebron. So, then, he is anointed first by the prophet at the commandment of God, as a token he was chosen. Secondly, by the commandment of the people when he was established king. And that to the end that kings may always remember that it is from God, but by the people, and for the people’s sake that they do reign, and that in their glory they say not (as is their custom) they hold their kingdom only of God and their sword, but withal add that it was the people who first girt them with that sword . . . .

    Now, seeing that the people choose and establish their kings, it follows that the whole body of the people is above the king; for it is a thing most evident, that he who is established by another, is accounted under him who has established him, and he who receives his authority from another, is less than he from whom he derives his power. . . . . Now that which we speak of all the people universally, ought also to be understood, as has been delivered in the second question, of those who in every kingdom or town do lawfully represent the body of the people, and who ordinarily (or at least should be) called the officers of the kingdom, or of the crown, and not of the king; for the officers of the king, it is he who places and displaces them at his pleasure, yea, after his death they have no more power, and are accounted as dead. On the contrary, the officers of the kingdom receive their authority from the people in the general assembly of the states (or, at the least were accustomed so anciently to have done) and cannot be disauthorized but by them, so then the one depends of the king, the other of the kingdom, those of the sovereign officer of the kingdom, who is the king himself, those of the sovereignty itself, that is of the people, of which sovereignty, both the king and all his officers of the kingdom ought to depend, the charge of the one has proper relation to the care of the king’s person; that of the other, to look that the commonwealth receive no damage; the first ought to serve and assist the king, as all domestic servants are bound to do to their masters; the other to preserve the rights and privileges of the people, and to carefully hinder the prince, that he neither omit the things that may advantage the state, nor commit anything that may endamage the public . . . .

    Thus the Dutch DoI 1581 takes its plain context (and sets precedent for what will follow:

    . . . a prince is constituted by God to be ruler of a people, to defend them from oppression and violence as the shepherd his sheep; and whereas God did not create the people slaves to their prince, to obey his commands, whether right or wrong, but rather the prince for the sake of the subjects (without which he could be no prince), to govern them according to equity, to love and support them as a father his children or a shepherd his flock, and even at the hazard of life to defend and preserve them. And when he does not behave thus, but, on the contrary, oppresses them, seeking opportunities to infringe their ancient customs and privileges . . . then he is no longer a prince, but a tyrant, and the subjects are to consider him in no other view . . . This is the only method left for subjects whose humble petitions and remonstrances could never soften their prince or dissuade him from his tyrannical proceedings; and this is what the law of nature dictates for the defense of liberty, which we ought to transmit to posterity, even at the hazard of our lives. . . . . So, having no hope of reconciliation, and finding no other remedy, we have, agreeable to the law of nature in our own defense, and for maintaining the rights, privileges, and liberties of our countrymen, wives, and children, and latest posterity from being enslaved by the Spaniards, been constrained to renounce allegiance to the King of Spain, and pursue such methods as appear to us most likely to secure our ancient liberties and privileges.

    Lex Rex, 1644 by Rutherford builds on such and sets the context for Locke, who very directly influenced the US DoI and Constitution, all against the growing context of democratising forces and spiritual softening already put on the table.

    Gary Amos summarises helpfully:

    [Lex Rex] was a major force in the development of the [1640’s Puritan] revolution [in Britain] . . . Although . . . only one of dozens of such tracts asserting the right of resistance to tyranny, it is important for being exhaustive; it was widely known, and it contained the principles of revolution on which all major Protestant parties in England were agreed . . . . insists that civil government is based on the “law of nature,” a divine law binding on the conscience, and on the law of God, or the moral law in Scripture. The laws of nature and of Scripture says Rutherford, declare that all men are equal, that they have rights they do not surrender when they enter into the compact of Government, and that government is formed by their consent, organized to exercise its powers as the people see fit. . . . men institute particular governments, while God ordains The proper scope and authority of civil government . . . . [Lex Rex] builds its argument on the compact theory of Government which prevailed among Calvinists from the time of the Vindiciae . . . the key ideas are compact, condition and material breach . . .There must be a series of tyrannous acts before the people have a right to put the king out of office. Also the people cannot act as a mob, they must act through representatives. The representatives must formally declare the king to be a tyrant, publicly naming the wrongs that the king has committed. Only after such a public declaration as been made can the people take up arms . . . to dethrone him . . . . The declaration did in few words and practice what Lex Rex had explained in great detail as a matter of theory. The only difference is that Rutherford called for a state-established church, and idea which even many Presbyterians had rejected by 1776. Small wonder, then, that a number of British observers termed the American revolution, ‘the Presbyterian revolt.’ . . . .

    According to Vindiciae, God alone punishes the king for breaking the first compact [nationhood under God]. The people can punish the king for breaking the second [just government under God] . . . likewise Becker overlooked what Calvinist writers like Rutherford had said about the place of the law of nature in revolutionary theory . . .most of Locke’s arguments are found, at least in elementary form, in Lex Rex [he duly notes that in responding to Filmer Locke breaks new grounds as well] . . . . Like Rutherford, Locke insists that a king’s incompetence is not a sufficient ground for revolution . . . He must commit repeated acts of tyranny, ‘a long train of abuses, prevarications and artifices, all tending the same way . . . [and] make the design visible to the people” . . . When it becomes evident . . . that the king will not turn from his plan, they, through their representatives, may set up a new Government

    Lex Rex’s subtitle takes the cake for saying it all as it takes on absolute monarchy:

    A dispute for The Just Prerogative of King and People: containing The reasons and causes of the most necessary defensive wars of the Kingdom of Scotland, and of their Expedition for the aid and help of their dear brethren of England; in which their innocency is asserted, and a full answer is given to a seditious pamphlet, entitled, “SACRO-SANCTA REGUM MAJESTAS,” or The Sacred and Royal Prerogative of Christian Kings; under the name of J. A., but penned by John Maxwell, the excommunicate Popish Prelate; with a scriptural confutation of the ruinous grounds of W. Barclay, H. Grotius, H. Arnisæus, Ant. de Domi. popish Bishop of Spilato, and of other late anti-magitratical royalists, as the author of Ossorianum, Dr. Ferne, E. Symmons, the Doctors of Aberdeen, etc. In Forty-four Questions. [Caps due to SR]

    Of these, summary remarks on Questions VII and IX capture the flavour of the link through Locke into the US DOI and Constitution:

    The excellency of kings maketh them not of God’s only constitution and designation. — How sovereignty is in the people, how not. — A community doth not surrender their right and liberty to their rulers, so much as their power active to do, and passive to suffer, violence. — God’s loosing of the bonds of kings, by the mediation of the people’s despising him, proveth against the P. Prelate that the Lord taketh away, and giveth royal majesty mediately, not immediately. — The subordination of people to kings and rulers, both natural and voluntary; the subordination of beasts and creatures to man merely natural. — The place, Gen ix. 5, He that sheddeth man’s blood &c. discussed . . . . No tyrannical power is from God. — People cannot alienate the natural power of self-defence. — The power of parliaments. — The Parliament hath more power than the king. — Judges and kings differ. — People may resume their power, not because they are infallible, but because they cannot so readily destroy themselves as one man may do. — That the sanhedrim punished not David, Bathsheba, Joab, is but a fact, not a law. — There is a subordination of creatures natural, government must be natural; and yet this or that form is voluntary.

    We could go on and on, but this is enough for the reasonable person in light of the already outlined historical context and trends, to see the matrix from which modern representational constitutional democracy would come, and how the Judaeo-Christian tradition made major contributions.

    One objection is likely to come up: but this is all about kings!

    In the C16 – 18 context that is understandable, but in fact the biblical tradition offers a very different model as preferable: God is the true Sovereign, but raises up shepherds for his people, his flock.

    For instance, Moses is a prophetically called popular representative coming back from exile to lead a movement of remonstrance, and in the face of hard heartedness, liberation and separation of a newly independent nation. Of which he is acknowledged leader and prophetic lawgiver, as well as chief judge. His sons do not automatically succeed, an assistant and general does, being acknowledged as successor. After him come judges and prophets, often as liberators from invasion and oppression. (BTW, this is a context in which it has been suggested that across the major American founders Deuteronomy, effectively Israel’s constitution, was the most commonly cited or alluded work. That’s just an IIRC, though.)

    What is astonishing is this, which happens when Israel’s leaders come to Samuel begging for a king:

    1 Sam 8:4 Then all the elders of Israel gathered together and came to Samuel at Ramah 5 and said to him, “Behold, you are old and your sons do not walk in your ways. Now appoint for us a king to judge us like all the nations.” 6 But the thing displeased Samuel when they said, “Give us a king to judge us.” And Samuel prayed to the Lord. 7 And the Lord said to Samuel, “Obey the voice of the people in all that they say to you, for they have not rejected you, but they have rejected me from being king over them. 8 According to all the deeds that they have done, from the day I brought them up out of Egypt even to this day, forsaking me and serving other gods, so they are also doing to you. 9 Now then, obey their voice; only you shall solemnly warn them and show them the ways of the king who shall reign over them.”
    Samuel’s Warning Against Kings

    10 So Samuel told all the words of the Lord to the people who were asking for a king from him. 11 He said, “These will be the ways of the king who will reign over you: he will take your sons and appoint them to his chariots and to be his horsemen and to run before his chariots. 12 And he will appoint for himself commanders of thousands and commanders of fifties, and some to plow his ground and to reap his harvest, and to make his implements of war and the equipment of his chariots. 13 He will take your daughters to be perfumers and cooks and bakers. 14 He will take the best of your fields and vineyards and olive orchards and give them to his servants. 15 He will take the tenth of your grain and of your vineyards and give it to his officers and to his servants. 16 He will take your male servants and female servants and the best of your young men[a] and your donkeys, and put them to his work. 17 He will take the tenth of your flocks, and you shall be his slaves. 18 And in that day you will cry out because of your king, whom you have chosen for yourselves, but the Lord will not answer you in that day.”
    The Lord Grants Israel’s Request

    19 But the people refused to obey the voice of Samuel. And they said, “No! But there shall be a king over us, 20 that we also may be like all the nations, and that our king may judge us and go out before us and fight our battles.” 21 And when Samuel had heard all the words of the people, he repeated them in the ears of the Lord. 22 And the Lord said to Samuel, “Obey their voice and make them a king.” . . .

    Of course, all of this used to be commonplace, a part of the mental furniture of any reasonably educated person.

    It is in this context that classical sources could be critically appraised and drawn on, likewise preceding political thinkers, law and history.

    And that is how the concept of regularly elected legislators and executives became a gateway to restrain the corrupting tendencies of power, and it is that which in turn reflects in three balanced arms of govt. (In the US, latterly, it seems the life tenure of the supreme court has become a gateway for manipulation, especially as impeachment mechanisms seem to be too often ineffective given forces in play. But more than that, the electorate, across time, has been robbed of its heritage and the cutting off of the prophetic tradition based liberating influence of the Judaeo-Christian tradition is leading to exactly where one should expect, as it is God who is the proper foundation of the proper balance of rights, freedoms and responsibilities and thus of justice.)

    So, we see a little more about those roots that have been so suppressed, denigrated and demonised in our day.

    Leaving us open to the march of folly led and orchestrated on the nihilistic credo that might and manipulation make ‘right.’

    Paul was right to warn:

    Eph 4:17 Now this I say and testify in the Lord, that you must no longer walk as the Gentiles do, in the futility of their minds. 18 They are darkened in their understanding, alienated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them, due to their hardness of heart. 19 They have become callous and have given themselves up to sensuality, greedy to practice every kind of impurity. 20 But that is not the way you learned Christ!— 21 assuming that you have heard about him and were taught in him, as the truth is in Jesus, 22 to put off your old self,[f] which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires, 23 and to be renewed in the spirit of your minds, 24 and to put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness.

    And again . . .

    Rom 1:18 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth. 19 For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. 20 For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world,[g] in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse. 21 For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened. 22 Claiming to be wise, they became fools . . . .

    28 And since they did not see fit to acknowledge God, God gave them up to a debased mind to do what ought not to be done. 29 They were filled with all manner of unrighteousness, evil, covetousness, malice. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, maliciousness. They are gossips, 30 slanderers, haters of God, insolent, haughty, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents, 31 foolish, faithless, heartless, ruthless. 32 Though they know God’s righteous decree that those who practice such things deserve to die, they not only do them but give approval to those who practice them.

    It is time for fresh thinking, but one of the peculiar consequences of clinging to absurdities and errors is that these then become the criteria by which one judges, and so often one will misunderstand and reject genuine truth and warrant because wisdom seems to be error and light darkness.

    As Jesus warned:

    22 “The eye is the lamp of the body. So, if your eye is healthy, your whole body will be full of light, 23 but if your eye is bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light in you is darkness, how great is the darkness!

    But, will we listen?

    KF

  97. 97
    Mapou says:

    kairosfocus @94 & 96,

    Brevity is divine, IMO. There is only so much time in one day. I can’t read your overly inflated prose. Sorry. Same goes to BA77, BTW.

  98. 98
    kairosfocus says:

    Mapou,

    sometimes, specific documentation from and step by step argument building on original sources is required to correct deeply entrenched secularist myths. Remember, there is a myth that the Judaeo-Christian heritage had nothing to do with the rise of modern liberty and democracy, it is all reaching back to pagan antecedents and the Christian faith is at enmity with democracy.

    Which is actually where JF intervened.

    I have acted to back him, as thread owner.

    For instance, above I have in 94 and 96 cited: Vindiciae 1579, the Dutch DoI 1581 that builds on it, Lex Rex, Locke with Hooker and Aristotle, some very helpful deeply informed commentary, as well as directly relevant scripture that answers to AH’s talking points.

    In other comments I have taken time to cite US founding documents and give relevant explanations.

    Also, 94 is in effect largely a summary on trends that undergirded the emergence of modern liberty and democracy, bringing out why it was not feasible before C17 – 19, and showing key reasons why it arose where it did, including the impact of the Judaeo-Christan heritage and the reformation.

    Of course you and others are free to ignore.

    But, at the cost of continuing to believe and/or enable pernicious error in the teeth of easy access to answers that took years to compile — and which to my best recall has not been seriously previously discussed at UD.

    But, given what is now on the table from radical secularists, it is critical.

    The lessons of sound history were written in blood and tears. Those who brush them aside, reject or ignore such doom themselves to have to learn them again, at much the same price.

    KF

  99. 99
    Carpathian says:

    kairosfocus:

    Remember, there is a myth that the Judaeo-Christian heritage had nothing to do with the rise of modern liberty and democracy, it is all reaching back to pagan antecedents and the Christian faith is at enmity with democracy.

    Religion and politics are not sources of liberty and democracy.

    All freedoms are won by those “governed” who remove their consent to be governed.

    The Magna Carta was forced on the British monarchy and religious freedoms are forced on church leaders.

    In order to keep their followers, churches yield to the demands of their flock and introduce reform such as gay marriage and women in the clergy.

    The evidence that any leaders give up power without being forced to, is not seen in history.

  100. 100
    kairosfocus says:

    Carpathian:

    Religion and politics are not sources of liberty and democracy.

    Bland denial of abundantly demonstrated facts that obviously do not fit how you prefer history to have run.

    Speaks volumes on the sort of deep-seated hostility driven by radical secularism that we are seeing.

    Onlookers, simply scroll up to see live citations of pivotal thought and acts contributing to the rise of modern liberty and democracy from the Judaeo-Christian tradition.

    As for the notion that relevant political innovations along the road were not political acts, that is an oxymoron.

    To understand C’s problems, cf the parallel thread: http://www.uncommondescent.com.....stitution/

    KF

  101. 101
    kairosfocus says:

    F/N: It is always helpful in highly polarised situations to put on the table the central ethical teaching of the Judaeo-Christian tradition, in the words of its main teacher in his most famous sermon:

    _______________

    >> Matthew 5-7English Standard Version (ESV)
    The Sermon on the Mount

    5 Seeing the crowds, he went up on the mountain, and when he sat down, his disciples came to him.
    The Beatitudes

    2 And he opened his mouth and taught them, saying:

    3 “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

    4 “Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.

    5 “Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.

    6 “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.

    7 “Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy.

    8 “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.

    9 “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons[a] of God.

    10 “Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

    11 “Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. 12 Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.
    Salt and Light

    13 “You are the salt of the earth, but if salt has lost its taste, how shall its saltiness be restored? It is no longer good for anything except to be thrown out and trampled under people’s feet.

    14 “You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. 15 Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. 16 In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that[b] they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.

    Christ Came to Fulfill the Law

    17 “Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. 18 For truly, I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not an iota, not a dot, will pass from the Law until all is accomplished. 19 Therefore whoever relaxes one of the least of these commandments and teaches others to do the same will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever does them and teaches them will be called great in the kingdom of heaven. 20 For I tell you, unless your righteousness exceeds that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.
    Anger

    21 “You have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not murder; and whoever murders will be liable to judgment.’ 22 But I say to you that everyone who is angry with his brother[c] will be liable to judgment; whoever insults[d] his brother will be liable to the council; and whoever says, ‘You fool!’ will be liable to the hell[e] of fire. 23 So if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you, 24 leave your gift there before the altar and go. First be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift. 25 Come to terms quickly with your accuser while you are going with him to court, lest your accuser hand you over to the judge, and the judge to the guard, and you be put in prison. 26 Truly, I say to you, you will never get out until you have paid the last penny.[f]
    Lust

    27 “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’ 28 But I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lustful intent has already committed adultery with her in his heart. 29 If your right eye causes you to sin, tear it out and throw it away. For it is better that you lose one of your members than that your whole body be thrown into hell. 30 And if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away. For it is better that you lose one of your members than that your whole body go into hell.
    Divorce

    31 “It was also said, ‘Whoever divorces his wife, let him give her a certificate of divorce.’ 32 But I say to you that everyone who divorces his wife, except on the ground of sexual immorality, makes her commit adultery, and whoever marries a divorced woman commits adultery.
    Oaths

    33 “Again you have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not swear falsely, but shall perform to the Lord what you have sworn.’ 34 But I say to you, Do not take an oath at all, either by heaven, for it is the throne of God, 35 or by the earth, for it is his footstool, or by Jerusalem, for it is the city of the great King. 36 And do not take an oath by your head, for you cannot make one hair white or black. 37 Let what you say be simply ‘Yes’ or ‘No’; anything more than this comes from evil.[g]
    Retaliation

    38 “You have heard that it was said, ‘An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.’ 39 But I say to you, Do not resist the one who is evil. But if anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also. 40 And if anyone would sue you and take your tunic,[h] let him have your cloak as well. 41 And if anyone forces you to go one mile, go with him two miles. 42 Give to the one who begs from you, and do not refuse the one who would borrow from you.
    Love Your Enemies

    43 “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ 44 But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, 45 so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven. For he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. 46 For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? 47 And if you greet only your brothers,[i] what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same? 48 You therefore must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.

    Giving to the Needy

    6 “Beware of practicing your righteousness before other people in order to be seen by them, for then you will have no reward from your Father who is in heaven.

    2 “Thus, when you give to the needy, sound no trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may be praised by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. 3 But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, 4 so that your giving may be in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.
    The Lord’s Prayer

    5 “And when you pray, you must not be like the hypocrites. For they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and at the street corners, that they may be seen by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. 6 But when you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.

    7 “And when you pray, do not heap up empty phrases as the Gentiles do, for they think that they will be heard for their many words. 8 Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him. 9 Pray then like this:

    “Our Father in heaven,
    hallowed be your name.[j]
    10
    Your kingdom come,
    your will be done,[k]
    on earth as it is in heaven.
    11
    Give us this day our daily bread,[l]
    12
    and forgive us our debts,
    as we also have forgiven our debtors.
    13
    And lead us not into temptation,
    but deliver us from evil.[m]

    14 For if you forgive others their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you, 15 but if you do not forgive others their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.
    Fasting

    16 “And when you fast, do not look gloomy like the hypocrites, for they disfigure their faces that their fasting may be seen by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. 17 But when you fast, anoint your head and wash your face, 18 that your fasting may not be seen by others but by your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.
    Lay Up Treasures in Heaven

    19 “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust[n] destroy and where thieves break in and steal, 20 but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. 21 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

    22 “The eye is the lamp of the body. So, if your eye is healthy, your whole body will be full of light, 23 but if your eye is bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light in you is darkness, how great is the darkness!

    24 “No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money.[o]
    Do Not Be Anxious

    25 “Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? 26 Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? 27 And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life?[p] 28 And why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, 29 yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. 30 But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is alive and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? 31 Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32 For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. 33 But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.

    34 “Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.
    Judging Others

    7 “Judge not, that you be not judged. 2 For with the judgment you pronounce you will be judged, and with the measure you use it will be measured to you. 3 Why do you see the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? 4 Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when there is the log in your own eye? 5 You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye.

    6 “Do not give dogs what is holy, and do not throw your pearls before pigs, lest they trample them underfoot and turn to attack you.
    Ask, and It Will Be Given

    7 “Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. 8 For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened. 9 Or which one of you, if his son asks him for bread, will give him a stone? 10 Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a serpent? 11 If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask him!
    The Golden Rule

    12 “So whatever you wish that others would do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets.

    13 “Enter by the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the way is easy[q] that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many. 14 For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few.
    A Tree and Its Fruit

    15 “Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing but inwardly are ravenous wolves. 16 You will recognize them by their fruits. Are grapes gathered from thornbushes, or figs from thistles? 17 So, every healthy tree bears good fruit, but the diseased tree bears bad fruit. 18 A healthy tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a diseased tree bear good fruit. 19 Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. 20 Thus you will recognize them by their fruits.
    I Never Knew You

    21 “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. 22 On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’ 23 And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.’

    Build Your House on the Rock

    24 “Everyone then who hears these words of mine and does them will be like a wise man who built his house on the rock. 25 And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house, but it did not fall, because it had been founded on the rock. 26 And everyone who hears these words of mine and does not do them will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand. 27 And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell, and great was the fall of it.”

    The Authority of Jesus

    28 And when Jesus finished these sayings, the crowds were astonished at his teaching, 29 for he was teaching them as one who had authority, and not as their scribes.

    Footnotes:

    Matthew 5:9 Greek huioi; see Preface
    Matthew 5:16 Or house. 16Let your light so shine before others that
    Matthew 5:22 Some manuscripts insert without cause
    Matthew 5:22 Greek says Raca to (a term of abuse)
    Matthew 5:22 Greek Gehenna; also verses 29, 30
    Matthew 5:26 Greek kodrantes, Roman copper coin (Latin quadrans) worth about 1/64 of a denarius (which was a day’s wage for a laborer)
    Matthew 5:37 Or the evil one
    Matthew 5:40 Greek chiton, a long garment worn under the cloak next to the skin
    Matthew 5:47 Or brothers and sisters. The plural Greek word adelphoi (translated “brothers”) refers to siblings in a family. In New Testament usage, depending on the context, adelphoi may refer either to brothers or to brothers and sisters
    Matthew 6:9 Or Let your name be kept holy, or Let your name be treated with reverence
    Matthew 6:10 Or Let your kingdom come, let your will be done
    Matthew 6:11 Or our bread for tomorrow
    Matthew 6:13 Or the evil one; some manuscripts add For yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory, forever. Amen
    Matthew 6:19 Or worm; also verse 20
    Matthew 6:24 Greek mammon, a Semitic word for money or possessions
    Matthew 6:27 Or a single cubit to his stature; a cubit was about 18 inches or 45 centimeters
    Matthew 7:13 Some manuscripts For the way is wide and easy>>
    _______________

    It is worth the while to add some almost at random illustrative clippings from apostles, on the moral imperatives of sound discipleship, i.e. actual adherence to and participation in what the Christian faith calls for:

    PETER: 1 Pet 4:12 Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery trial when it comes upon you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. 13 But rejoice insofar as you share Christ’s sufferings, that you may also rejoice and be glad when his glory is revealed. 14 If you are insulted for the name of Christ, you are blessed, because the Spirit of glory[b] and of God rests upon you. 15 But let none of you suffer as a murderer or a thief or an evildoer or as a meddler. 16 Yet if anyone suffers as a Christian, let him not be ashamed, but let him glorify God in that name. 17 For it is time for judgment to begin at the household of God; and if it begins with us, what will be the outcome for those who do not obey the gospel of God?

    PAUL: Eph 4:17 Now this I say and testify in the Lord, that you must no longer walk as the Gentiles do, in the futility of their minds. 18 They are darkened in their understanding, alienated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them, due to their hardness of heart. 19 They have become callous and have given themselves up to sensuality, greedy to practice every kind of impurity. 20 But that is not the way you learned Christ!— 21 assuming that you have heard about him and were taught in him, as the truth is in Jesus, 22 to put off your old self,[f] which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires, 23 and to be renewed in the spirit of your minds, 24 and to put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness.

    25 Therefore, having put away falsehood, let each one of you speak the truth with his neighbor, for we are members one of another. 26 Be angry and do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger, 27 and give no opportunity to the devil. 28 Let the thief no longer steal, but rather let him labor, doing honest work with his own hands, so that he may have something to share with anyone in need. 29 Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear. 30 And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. 31 Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. 32 Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.

    JOHN: 1 Jn 3:9 No one born of God makes a practice of sinning, for God’s[b] seed abides in him, and he cannot keep on sinning because he has been born of God. 10 By this it is evident who are the children of God, and who are the children of the devil: whoever does not practice righteousness is not of God, nor is the one who does not love his brother.
    Love One Another

    11 For this is the message that you have heard from the beginning, that we should love one another. 12 We should not be like Cain, who was of the evil one and murdered his brother. And why did he murder him? Because his own deeds were evil and his brother’s righteous. 13 Do not be surprised, brothers,[c] that the world hates you. 14 We know that we have passed out of death into life, because we love the brothers. Whoever does not love abides in death. 15 Everyone who hates his brother is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life abiding in him.

    16 By this we know love, that he laid down his life for us, and we ought to lay down our lives for the brothers. 17 But if anyone has the world’s goods and sees his brother in need, yet closes his heart against him, how does God’s love abide in him? 18 Little children, let us not love in word or talk but in deed and in truth.

    19 By this we shall know that we are of the truth and reassure our heart before him . . .

    Those who wish to imagine and project that this life and his teaching did not make a crucial difference and effect across time many waves of reform, are either profoundly and willfully ignorant in the teeth of easily accessible corrective and balancing information, or else they are worse than that, much worse than that.

    KF

    PS: Those who wish to taint me by pretending that I have not addressed the sins of Christendom are again invited to read here on:

    http://nicenesystheol.blogspot.....l#u9_intro

    . . . and again, I draw attention to Bernard Lewis’ counsel in his now 25 year old epochal essay, The Roots of Muslim Rage:

    . . . The accusations are familiar. We of the West are accused of sexism, racism, and imperialism, institutionalized in patriarchy and slavery, tyranny and exploitation. To these charges, and to others as heinous, we have no option but to plead guilty — not as Americans, nor yet as Westerners, but simply as human beings, as members of the human race. In none of these sins are we the only sinners, and in some of them we are very far from being the worst. The treatment of women in the Western world, and more generally in Christendom, has always been unequal and often oppressive, but even at its worst it was rather better than the rule of polygamy and concubinage that has otherwise been the almost universal lot of womankind on this planet . . . .

    In having practiced sexism, racism, and imperialism, the West was merely following the common practice of mankind through the millennia of recorded history. Where it is distinct from all other civilizations is in having recognized, named, and tried, not entirely without success, to remedy these historic diseases. And that is surely a matter for congratulation, not condemnation. We do not hold Western medical science in general, or Dr. Parkinson and Dr. Alzheimer in particular, responsible for the diseases they diagnosed and to which they gave their names.

  102. 102
    sean samis says:

    JimFit @95

    …that’s why i said that Democracy is fictitious!

    A lot of silly rationalizations and blather ending in this. Whatever democracy is, it ain’t fiction.

    sean s.

  103. 103
    sean samis says:

    kairosfocus @98

    I have to agree with Mapou’s comment @97. Especially since your overlong comments feature reposts of extended quotes at length. An unconvincing quote from a long-dead guy does not become convincing with reuse.

    You replied to Mapou that,

    …sometimes, specific documentation from and step by step argument building on original sources is required to correct deeply entrenched secularist myths.

    You cannot correct anything with your posts because many of the “original sources” are irrelevant or cherry picked. Certainly you should realize that you cannot rebut secular or rational arguments with scripture; scripture has no inherent authority; you have to establish that first, which you have not even tried to do.

    Certainly you should know that rational people do not accept any kind of Proof from Authority. There’s no one you can quote who, on the strength of their reputation, can prove anything except that “that was their opinion”.

    The lessons of sound history were written in blood and tears. Those who brush them aside, reject or ignore such doom themselves to have to learn them again, at much the same price.

    The lessons of actual history are somewhat different from those your revisions propose.

    @100 you wrote that,

    Bland denial of abundantly demonstrated facts that obviously do not fit how you prefer history to have run.

    The volume of “evidence” you think you’ve provided does not make up for its thinness or irrelevance. The sheer age of your evidence indicates that you don’t appreciate that our knowledge of ourselves and the world has changed in the last decades or centuries. The fact that most of your “evidence” consists of biblical verses demonstrates your obliviousness to the fundamental problem: your effort to negate our Religious Liberty in the name of your religious agenda.

    Speaks volumes on the sort of deep-seated hostility driven by radical secularism that we are seeing.

    Secularists mostly just hate efforts to force religious practices on them. Your comment @101 is a good example. They have reason to fear your efforts, and to resist them.

    sean s.

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