15
Jun
17

A Flawed Historical Viewpoint.


The state of the western political world today:

 

  1. USA and Donald Trump (does any more need to be said?)
  2. Britain: Brexit, Theresa May and a hung Parliament.
  3. In Australia, partisan politics continues to cripple a government that often seems to have more policy disagreements within its own ranks than it has with the official opposition party.
  4. France: power to be in the hands of a new, untested, quickly cobbled together party based on the charisma of a young leader. Can such a party provide longstanding stable government?
  5. German elections in September… what surprises could that bring?

 

Some religious commentators are attributing the increasing instabilities in the “Western World” to a departure from our historical Judeo-Christian foundations; but I find their view of history is seriously flawed.

What kind of “Judeo-Christian” foundation was “Western democracy” ever built upon? Has there ever (REALLY) been an all-encompassing embracing of Jesus or His gospel?

 

Over over centuries there was a lot of religious superstition, theological rhetoric, and political USE of the Church as a tool of government.

And while there may have been individual pockets of society that at times have shown authentic devotion to God, has there ever been a GENUINE widespread, long-lasting commitment to Jesus and His Kingdom that could result in a claimed blessing of “the West” over past centuries – blessings that are now allegedly being forfeited?

 

If anything, it seems to me that during the period AFTER the claimed abandonment of Judeo-Christian ideals, the west experienced its most peaceful and prosperous period: that is post WWII.

Of course there were ongoing problems, but arguably, things had never previously been better for the average person in the west as the world got back to its feet after the death and destruction of the Second World War.

It’s mostly in the last decade or two (significantly post 9/11) that perceived threats have led to growing fear that blessings (our comforts, safety and wealth) will be forfeited due to a casting aside of Judeo-Christian” ideals. (Proffered evidence of this casting aside can date back a century or two. One case I’ve seen points way back to the French Revolution* as an example!).

Those fears of loss at the heart of the argument seem mostly founded on a fear of others – those “not of the west” . A fear that others coming into our nations will disrupt and compromise our “western values” – values that to a great part are not necessarily Kingdom values anyway.

 

Apart from the current issue of promoting a fear-based ideology, the fictionalising of history projects the cause of perceived problems onto society at large, putting the blame on “THEM” and THEIR (society’s) relationship to God; shifting the focus away from the personal and our own relationships with God and the unbelieving society we live among.

 

 

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example here

 

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24 Responses to “A Flawed Historical Viewpoint.”


  1. June 15, 2017 at 1:26 pm

    The article at the link I provide under my post has the following statement:

    There was a time when the continent of Europe was as dark, ignorant and backwards as any corner of ancestor worshipping Africa, or anywhere else in the idolatrous third world. Warring tribes slaughtered each other, indulged in Human sacrifice, worshipped and deified aspects of nature, and feared Shamans and Druidic Priests, creating an incredibly cruel world of darkness, fear and superstition.”

    At first that seems like a relevant point to make about Europe’s pre-Christian condition, but on more reflection I find that a lot of the description given in the quote could equally be applied to times when Europe was allegedly Judeo-Christian observant: Warring nations, and religious executions were no less common than in pre-Christian days.

    So that statement is just one part of “A Flawed Historical Viewpoint”, giving a rosy view of a Christian Europe that has never really existed; just as a Christian USA has never really existed.

  2. 2 Marleen
    June 15, 2017 at 4:43 pm

    When thinking of Europe and darkness, how can anyone forget the Dark Ages? It can be said, and has been by Messianic leaders I’ve known, that the Dark Ages were the consequence (at least in part) of the persecution of Jews. One can’t help but wonder whether the wistful look back is toward the days when looking down on Jews was politically correct. I can’t go so far as to say such people wish for the days when it was okay to kill Jews; it just sounds too harsh. But do they not know that such is what happened?

    Now, the emergence from the Dark Ages was the Renaissance.
    But, inexplicably, this is pointed to as the beginning of the end (of Judeo-Christian values).

    And I can’t for all the tea in China figure out why there are believers in Jesus who say that Judeo-Christian values were lost after WWII (*). You mean stopping anti-Semitism was bad?

    (* I do believe I’ve been figuring it out, though.)

  3. 3 Marleen
    June 15, 2017 at 4:50 pm

    Incidentally, there is a school of thought (a very dangerous one) that the Jews in Europe who had been amiable about Enlightenment ideas (and came out into the larger world and became scientists and so forth) deserved what got dished out in the Holocaust.

  4. June 15, 2017 at 10:56 pm

    Hi, Tim: wish I hadn’t looked at the Bill Randles post you referenced. I’d resolved never to bother with his stuff again: but couldn’t stand to let his self-congratulatory mythologizing pass without harsh comment. You sum it up well that his “…’Flawed Historical Viewpoint’, giv [es] a rosy view of a Christian Europe that has never really existed; just as a Christian USA has never really existed.”

    blessings, Steve

  5. June 16, 2017 at 8:27 am

    Sadly Bill Randles was once a worthwhile teacher, but his blog posts increasingly undermine any value his ministry had in the past.
    Any comments I now make on his blog are deleted as soon as he sees them – so I rarely try to comment there any more.

  6. June 18, 2017 at 1:21 am

    Hi, Tim: yes, it looks like I’m being deleted from Randle’s blog as well. Glad to be in good company.

    You’ve definitely pinpointed the two greatest problems with Randle’s blog: the falsification of history, and assigning blame for our (alleged) current moral nadir to “those other people.”

    Full-on intellectual dishonesty.

  7. June 19, 2017 at 10:02 am

    Hi Steve,
    Considering the Saviour describes Himself as The Truth (John 14), and we are warned there are very serious consequences for those who refuse to love the truth (2 Thess 2) – within the church there can be a seriously lax attitude towards what is actually true or not.

  8. June 19, 2017 at 3:23 pm

    Falsification of history:
    Erasing the barbaric savagery of the “Judeo-Christian” history of “the west”* and replacing it with a mythical Judeo-Christian golden age, that has allegedly now been abandoned, causing the “pouring [of] hoards of third world, barbarian savages” into “the west”, causing its downfall.

    *Crusades, Inquisitions, judicial torture and murder of protestants by Catholics, Catholics by protestants, and on and on….

  9. June 20, 2017 at 1:36 am

    Thought I’d run past you a thought I’m mulling over.

    Sunday School this week was in Mark 14, Jesus’ trial before the Sanhedrin.

    The witnesses against Him testified that He said He’d destroy the Temple, and re-build it in 3 days, not by human hands. Allowing for the vagaries of individuals’ selective hearing and imperfect memory in any listening crowd, that’s kinda what Jesus did say.

    But there were too many contradictions among witnesses, and the High Priest himself had to take control to bring proceedings to the desired verdict. He hit Jesus with the Big Question: “Are you the Christ…?” And when Jesus replied, “I am,” conviction was assured: “…they all condemned Him to be deserving of death.”

    The thought struck me that Jesus was not FALSELY convicted: rather, convicted for Who He truly IS. His conviction came through the Sanhedrin’s interpreting His factual statement falsely, as blasphemy.

    Have been considering the idea that there are two basic levels of truthfulness: the factual, and the interpretational.

    We certainly see that operative with scripture. Few are as bold as Joseph Smith to invent alternative “scripture” from whole cloth. But heresy and error predicated on false interpretation of God’s word are rampant.

    (Similarly, few politicians dare assert a full-blown “alternative reality”…though we currently have some who dare: but it’s standard practice that politicians interpret verifiable facts to their own purposes, “spin-doctoring” reality.)

    Randle’s falsification of history seems quite clearly dishonest interpretation of historical facts.

  10. June 20, 2017 at 8:28 am

    Hi Steve,
    Two points come quickly to mind.

    1)Truth can be distorted by leaving out pertinent information. I’ve said on a number of occasions that false doctrine is often built MORE on what parts of scripture are ignored than on what scripture is used as “proof”. I think almost anything can be proven with the use of scripture – as long as contradictory scripture is left out of the argument. So in a way, truth can be used to support untruth if the WHOLE truth isn’t taken into account.

    2)If we start with an assumption instead of letting the facts (truth) shape our belief, we’ll only recognise those facts that support that chosen assumption. As in the case of the High Priest; he started with the assumption that Jesus could NOT be the Christ – and therefore Jesus’s confession proved (to the High Priest) that Jesus was a blasphemer.
    It’s like so many attitudes in today’s society. They start with the assumption that there is no God, and therefore they’ll never be able to understand the motivations of anyone who wants to live their life devoted to God.

    Starting with the assumption that one’s culture, one’s forebears, or one’s nation started out as Godly, allows a person to justify their patriotic allegiances. There are so many things that Randles has written in recent months that make me cringe – but I find a lot of them stem from the sentiment he expressed when he described himself as a “patriot”. That kind of allegiance can easily see that a perceived challenge to a person’s nation is a challenge to “Godliness” within the nation – and subsequently those responsible for that challenge become the weapons of the enemy, and therefore in today’s world, refugees are demonised instead of seen as an opportunity. They are portrayed as a threat to the “Judeo-Christian” fabric of “western” society instead of their situation being seen as God bringing them to a place where the gospel is (allegedly) more accessible than in the places they fled from.

    In many cases they’ve seen the worst examples of their own religion and as such are ripe for the truth of the gospel.

  11. June 20, 2017 at 8:46 am

    An increasing proportion of the population, especially those under 40, get their news from social media, overwhelmingly from Facebook. The algorithms that tailor what Facebook prioritises for each individual allow users to choose only those topics or opinions that they want to hear. This has led to the formation of echo chambers or information cocoons.

    So we have the paradox of the internet: the technology that provides a global village square also provides the means by which people in the square can block their ears and shut their eyes to things they don’t want to hear or see.

    From:
    https://theconversation.com/mixed-media-how-australias-newspapers-became-locked-in-a-war-of-left-versus-right-79001?utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Latest%20from%20The%20Conversation%20for%20June%2019%202017%20-%2076466012&utm_content=Latest%20from%20The%20Conversation%20for%20June%2019%202017%20-%2076466012+CID_c706d7efd1695847b8b8e26c555361be&utm_source=campaign_monitor&utm_term=Mixed%20media%20how%20Australias%20newspapers%20became%20locked%20in%20a%20war%20of%20left%20versus%20right

  12. June 21, 2017 at 10:07 am

    Hi, Tim: yes, it looks like I’m being deleted from Randle’s blog as well

    Its now gone beyond having comments deleted.
    I’ve been blocked from commenting.

  13. June 21, 2017 at 11:48 pm

    Hi, Tim: It all seems to come down to the individual’s honesty, doesn’t it ? Some musing on “honesty,” if I may ?

    The word appears in my favorite translation of the Bible far fewer times than I would have expected: the sole New Testament use being Jesus’ approving those who hear the word in an “honest and good heart,” hold it fast, and bear fruit “with perseverance” (Luke 8:15). But it’s probably not scripture-twisting to think of honesty as part of…maybe even roughly equivalent to…”integrity;” and a function of scriptural “righteousness.”

    I have to think too of “honesty” as a response to Truth; which makes it specifically an orientation toward Christ. That “lies” are the contrary spirit, and the contrary response, seems to bear that out.

    In Jesus’ parable, an “honest and good heart” is the only soil in which God’s word takes root and grows. I understand our interpretations of what God “speaks”…Truth/Jesus, scripture, reality…to be among the “fruits” that grow from our heart-orientation: and only from an “honest and good heart,” honest and good interpretations.

    Certainly LACK of honesty seems the common factor of those who “cherry-pick” facts, or create a facebook echo-chamber, or block dissenting comments from their blogs. And in all those instances, the heart-purpose is clearly to “validate” the individual’s interpretation, against what God perfectly (in the Biblical sense, “completely”) speaks.

    I have to think dishonesty is ultimately rooted in denial of God’s sovereignty: and the natural response of the dishonest, substitution of their own.

  14. 14 Marleen
    June 22, 2017 at 12:31 am

    Steve: Yes, he was both falsely convicted and convicted of who he truly was.

    Tim: The echo chambers when there is so much real information available is sad.

  15. June 22, 2017 at 8:53 am

    Tim: The echo chambers when there is so much real information available is sad.

    Marleen,
    What I find sad is that one of the longest standing “echo chambers” has existed within the Christian community. Christians can go out of their way to shut themselves off from other parts of society – probably wanting to remain untainted by “the world”.

    I tried to address that in my recent posts about “radicalisation environments” – where we develop and reinforce certain negative views of the world outside of our own religious (and societal) communities that aren’t necessarily based on reality (truth).

    I try to read books written by people outside of the western and Christian world in which I’ve lived throughout my life, and those writings have often shown the sides of other cultures that are often ignored or distorted by sources from within western or Christian (particularly western-Christian) “echo chambers”.

    You are aware of Nadeem Aslam and his novels, and how much I like his writings about some of the more difficult political and religious situations affecting Pakistan, Afghanistan and communities from those places. His most recent novel includes a lot about the plight of Christians in a community in Pakistan.

  16. June 22, 2017 at 9:36 am

    You are aware of Nadeem Aslam and his novels, and how much I like his writing

    I find Aslam “humanises” his characters. He shows that there is little difference between everyday, average people no matter which side of the political or religious divide they may be on. They merely find themselves in circumstances beyond their control, created by others in positions of power.

  17. 17 Marleen
    July 9, 2017 at 5:38 am

    I am just now seeing the last three posts in this thread (excluding mine and not counting the pingback). Steve, your 11:48 on June 21 wasn’t posted visibly yet when I posted my 12:31 on June 22 (a response on my part to one of your earlier posts). I am very impressed with that June 21 posting you did. I am really blessed by your perspective and contributions. I have said for a while (in other places, as most people here already believe it) that honesty is a bedrock for people who claim to follow Jesus (simple but lost on most people). You, Steve, are putting meat on the bones. Thank you. I hope you’ll keep it up.

    I was looking for another thread where I posted a link (where Franklin Graham was in a FOX article), to add the following link for more context. Maybe I will find that other thread later. (I’m glad I looked in this one anyway, and found the posts I hadn’t seen.) The subject matter in this clip is heartbreaking to me. I already had a sense of it, but here are some details. Too many in America are losing their mind.

    http://www.msnbc.com/rachel-maddow/watch/russia-makes-inroads-with-american-right-via-guns-religion-986677827557
    THE RACHEL MADDOW SHOW 7/7/17
    Russia makes inroads with American right via guns, religion —
    Richard Engel, NBC News chief foreign correspondent,
    and NBC’s Kelly Cobiella look at how members of the
    American political right are building an appreciation for
    Vladimir Putin through guns and Evangelical Christianity. Duration: 6:10

  18. 18 Marleen
    July 9, 2017 at 6:22 am

    Marleen says:
    June 14, 2017 at 2:23 am
    Just a mention. There is a “Third Rome” (Moscow or Russia) to consider, farther east yet. (I don’t mean to imply the anti-Christ has to come from one of the three.)

    Also, it would be good to evaluate how the response that all immigrants leaving the west wouldn’t be a solution meshes with the return to immigrants being the fatal weakening.
    Reply
    Marleen says:
    June 14, 2017 at 6:00 am
    http://www.events.orthodoxengland.org.uk/123-rome-istanbul-moscow/
    I’ve done some looking around on one of the above (my previous post) topics. I hesitate to share it (basically propaganda) because people seem prone to fall for this kind of stuff. But I think learning can be involved in various ways, to take a look at it. For one, there are sins and atrocities of the Church mentioned (not only from the last sixty years or so that some people like to complain about or the last two hundred or so or since the Enlightenment, as if that’s where we went wrong). Yet, I almost laugh (except that it’s so serious for people to be following along) at how outlandish some of the claims are. One example is the “third rome” saying the “first rome” should repent of supporting the Bolsheviks; we know the supposed third rome did a lot of that supporting as well or more so (so it’s pretty silly to say “those guys” (in Popeland or among Protestants) need to get with the program — and it would be tragic for other Christians to say that, yeah, the third rome is right about us needing to get back where we belong). Anyway, we can see that all the complaining about needing to repent or respect authority or hate secular government (which means desiring their emperor or some kind of cooperation with Russia in reviving a church-state tie) doesn’t mean they have the proper answers.
    Reply
    Marleen says:
    June 14, 2017 at 3:43 pm
    Also an interesting read:
    http://www.iwm.at/publications/5-junior-visiting-fellows-conferences/vol-xxiv/saving-the-third-rome/
    {I didn’t choose a quotation from this one. But this link is a big reason why I’m sharing this information today (in this onesimusfiles blog (July of 2017). Russia isn’t figuring out how to mesh (rather than use) Christianity with the state either at this time (and all the energy expended over that doesn’t make our governments compatible — never would anyway, given the history of religion joined to the ruling class or Church).}
    Reply
    Marleen says:
    June 14, 2017 at 8:43 pm
    Recent news:
    http://news.nationalpost.com/sports/soccer/at-least-17-deaths-as-workers-on-russia-2018-world-cup-construction-sites-face-abuse-report
    http://www.msn.com/en-us/sports/soccer/workers-exploited-at-russias-2018-world-cup-venues-human-rights-watch-says/ar-BBCE8Wo?OCID=ansmsnnews11
    { That was all within the comment section of this thread:
    https://billrandles.wordpress.com/2017/06/13/the-stages-of-the-final-empire-the-west-in-prophecy-pt-4/ }

  19. 19 Marleen
    July 10, 2017 at 5:14 pm

    http://www.msnbc.com/msnbc-news/watch/npr-tweets-declaration-of-independence-not-everyone-gets-it-984416323724
    ALL IN WITH CHRIS HAYES 7/5/17
    NPR tweets Declaration of Independence, not everyone gets it —

    Thing 1/Thing 2: NPR tweeted every line of the Declaration of Independence in honor of the July 4th holiday. And some Trump supporters were not happy about it. Duration: 2:06

  20. July 11, 2017 at 8:34 am

    That is almost funny – until we realise that genuine ignorance, coupled with bigotry, is no laughing matter.

  21. 21 Marleen
    July 11, 2017 at 6:49 pm

    Just saw a wonderful lecture tonight, from 2015. If anyone can find Curiosity Retreats #2 (given by Danielle Allen), including the question and answer session after, I highly recommend it. It’s called “Our Declaration” (the subject matter being The Declaration of Independence and associated learning and history). It’s on a channel to which one can subscribe.

    Danielle also wrote a book by that name (OUR DECLARATION).

  22. July 11, 2017 at 9:40 pm

    Marleen: thanks so much for your kind words above. And my prayers at your dad’s passing. We always know, in the ordinary course of life, we will experience the loss of our parents. But it’s always unexpected: and always more, and different, than we are prepared for.
    ————————————————————————–

    I’m amazed every so often when studying a topic, and doing a search in the Bible for a common word/concept, and finding it isn’t there, or is hardly used in scripture.

    “Honest” (and “honesty”) was one such surprise. How could a quality which it seems would be repeatedly enjoined in scripture, appear only once ?

    More recently, I had that experience when searching out what scripture says about “unrepentance,” or the “unrepentant.” Scripture often speaks of “repentantance” and frequently commands we “repent.”
    Surely the Bible has much to say about the contrary attitude and action ?

    But it does not. To find what scripture says, I had to re-think my search-terms. When I mentioned this to my wife, she came up with the same scriptural terminology I had: “stiff-necked.” Still pondering what scripture says on that topic.

    My take-away was again, with renewed awareness, that God’s thoughts and God’s ways are not our ways and thoughts. (Isaiah 55:8). I had to think again of a point my teacher Derek Prince made, in his seminal teaching on “Agreeing With God:” that to deeply hear and comprehend what God is saying, I have to think in God’s definitions and God’s categories…and I sadly I do not, even when I THINK I am, without his prompting, and His guiding.

    I too had to laugh at the NPR incident. NPR practices the highest standards of traditional journalism (factuality, even-handedness, etc.) and has been my favored source of daily news for some years. Their annual 4th of July reading of the Declaration of Independence is a long-time tradition (theirs, and mine): but I didn’t realize they also tweeted it.

    As Tim said, the incident tells us a great deal about the mindset, and awareness, of the self-proclaimed “patriot” faction.

  23. July 12, 2017 at 8:23 am

    Hi Steve, a few years ago started to recognise that so many of our beliefs and so much of our understanding can be based on concepts that have no biblical foundation, but they can be supported by spiritual sounding language and terminology, much of which we pick up in church, or from other believers.

    Our understanding can even be deeply influenced by the wider culture around us. As one case of this I’d suggest that Prosperity doctrines are a prime example, and another case would be the exaltation of patriotism where an unholy blend of nationalism and “Christianity” is created.


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