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Who among you fears the Lord and obeys the voice of
who walks in darkness and has no light,
yet trusts in the name of the Lord and relies upon his God?
Behold, all you who kindle a fire, who set brands alight!
Walk by the light of your fires, and by the brands which you have kindled!
This shall you have from my hand: you shall lie down in torment. Isaiah 50:10-11
Summary: Western Civilization is engaged in a spiritual war which is reflected in all aspects of our lives: education, commerce, entertainment, the media, family life, and, not least, politics. That spiritual conflict is happening everywhere, but we in the West have our own particular flavor.
Most Christians have adopted the secular view, that politics should operate independently of God (see Anglicans, Reform Yourselves). What passes under the name of "liberal democracy" thus represents the polar opposite of what God gave Americans in their Declaration of Independence and Constitution. But liberal democracy looks enough like a democratic republic under God, and Big Bureaucratic Government is large enough so that liberal democracies are able to convey the illusion for most Westerners that they can replace God. But that is an illusion which betrays its believers into the very opposite of what it promises -- bondage, not freedom.
Western Civilization is not, as commonly believed, essentially secular. Western Civilization is at root and core Biblical, Judeo-Christian. Secularism, followed by reemergant paganism, has been a tragic diversion, from which only a strong spiritual renewal, under-girded by Christian recovery of intellectual, moral, and spiritual integrity will rescue us. (See articles on "theocracy".)
The word, 'Lucifer', does not occur in the Bible, but in the King James Version, we read in Isaiah 14:12:
How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! how art thou cut down to the ground, which didst weaken the nations!
Isaiah addresses this chapter to the king of Babylon, that Biblical archetypal symbol of all that is wrong with the world. The Hebrew word translated 'Lucifer' is literally, 'day star'. The name, Lucifer, comes from the Latin, 'lux', meaning 'light' + 'fero', meaning 'I bear'. Lucifer was a bearer of the Light of God in heaven until he fell, thinking that he might somehow replace God as the center of creaturely worship, and so kindled his own fire. Lucifer, like all created beings, was created good. He had to choose to do evil, to rebel. Lucifer was thus the first to eat from the forbidden Tree of the Knowledge of Good & Evil, the tree of independence from God, our Creator. Given his name, it is not surprising that Christians identified the King of Babylon (Day Star) with Lucifer in Isaiah's passage.
But Lucifer does not renounce his old name even though he is now known as Satan (adversary) and Devil (accuser, slanderer). He still parades himself as an angel of light, and seeks to undo the unwary with deceits and lies, as with Eve, and then Adam, in the Garden of Eden.
Evil cannot survive in the light of truth, but it can generate its own worldly lights which are used to seduce those of immature or morally bent nature. The primary dividing line is whether one seeks first good feelings or good relationships. The Kingdom of God is all about good relationships, at any cost to oneself. The kingdom of Lucifer is about good feelings, at any cost to relationship.
In the Kingdom of God, although not to be sought for their own sake, good feelings are the inevitable and solid result of good relationships. Heaven.
In Lucifer's kingdom, feelings and relationships are necessary but devour each other. Good feelings are sought as the final good, and thus always destroy relationships, which then destroys the possibility of ever having substantial good feelings. Hell.
Heaven is built on the open pursuit of truth, "living in the light", hell is built on the layers and webs of deceit we weave about ourselves to produce the pleasure-kingdom of self into which Lucifer delights to seduce us.
Satan is an "angel of light", pretending to bring the truth, but possessing only diabolically clever deceptions. One can imagine him watching the enormous potential of the Reformation era: the cleansing of the Church, the rise of science, the rise of due process in civil law, and the honing to a fine double-edge of the Sword of the Spirit -- reason and revelation welded back to back. Trouble for his kingdom.
But the cleansing was turned into a disastrous splitting of the Church and horrendous warfare of Christian against Christian, science and civil law were turned into secular opponents of Christendom, and the two-edges of the Sword of the Spirit, reason and revelation, were split asunder and set against each other. A kingdom divided.
The founding of America threatened to undo Satan's work, securely uniting God and government. But the Church showed itself unequal to the task, retreated, and turned tail from the public contest, failing to develop and explain the Biblical underpinnings of our constitutional order. And so, the seductive light of the secularized Enlightenment and of Darwinian evolution won the day because Christians promoted no substantial, intellectually credible response. Christians lost the spiritual war for both science and politics, bamboozled by the angel of a pseudo-light.
Westerners tried to walk by their own kindled light, and so the 20th century was indeed a century of torment. By the 1950's, we had already killed a greater percentage of the human population than any other century. The primary problem is not Lucifer or his allies, it is disobedient Christians. Things will not get better until Christians repent of cowardice, comfort-seeking, and studied ignorance.
Light is shed and revealed in three ways: by truth, by righteousness, and by love. In the plan of God, we begin as truth-seekers, which enables us to find true righteousness, the Law of God, which then commands us to be loving.
Apart from the law of God, i.e., apart from our purpose for existence, which, logically, can come only from the creator of existence, there is no moral order, no right vs. wrong, no distinction between good and evil (see Defining 'Oughtness' & 'Love'). There is, as one teen was heard to say, "no right and wrong, only fun and boring". That is an amoral universe -- and a disaster, plunging into torment.
The world of Darwinian evolution has no moral order. An accidental world cannot generate any principle of obligation, and hence cannot generate morality, and hence cannot generate a legitimate political order. All politics devolves into power struggle, the devil take the hindmost.
The demand of the human spirit for moral order asserts itself nevertheless, but has to accommodate itself in the West to a secular worldview. That is a logical anomaly, but we try to live that way just the same.
Every politician knows that to win the people, he must present himself as holding the moral high ground. So Western politicians almost universally strike their own lights as best they can, and seek to lead people to a kingdom of heaven on earth -- without God.
That is true in America as elsewhere. America has a reputation for being religious, but its Biblical religion has been run from the field of public policy by the Church of Secular Humanism, entrenched as our government-run school system.
Publicly, America is secular, violent, and lust-filled. (We have brutally murdered 40,000,000+ babies in the womb, and we are sexualizing our children through our government-run schools.) For nearly 150 years, the Christian community has been descending into apathy, cowardice, and the same good-feeling obsession as growing numbers of secular and pagan Westerners.
If we begin, in the plan of God, as truth-seekers, then Christians have hardly gotten off the blocks. We as a community have rejected any reasonable sense of intellectual integrity, so that the most of the public, even the Christian part of the public, does not believe that Christianity has anything to offer in public discourse. Christians have been liberally democratized. (See The Authority of Scripture in a Scientific Age.)
The "liberalizing" project began in earnest with the French Revolution, from which then spun off Napoleon, Communism, Fascism, and other violent attempts to control the human race into the Good Society -- whatever that might mean. For the new "liberals", it meant liberty, equality, and fraternity, enforced by the sword, the guillotine, or by Big Bureaucratic Government. These three enforcers use the same language as Biblical government, but they mean something a worldview away from the liberty, equality, and fraternity of the Kingdom of God.
The French Revolution was a violent parting of cosmological ways in the West, an absolute rejection of the Biblical cosmology and Creator God for what would mature into modern secular humanist cosmology and "liberal democracy".
By the end of the 20th century, Western liberals had, with Antonio Gramsci, come to reject the violence of those first progeny of the French Revolution, adopting a kinder and gentler form of coercion -- mind-control, largely by capturing education through government control. Put education under the control of civil government, and then put civil government under your control. (The story is told in two books, Is Public Education Necessary? and NEA: Trojan Horse in American Education, by Samuel Blumenfeld. Also, read John Taylor Gatto's, The Underground History of American Education - Odysseus Group, 212 529-9397)
The West has no public moral compass, only randomly generated personal values (as in "values clarification") which via election, deceit, or coercion happen to gain prominence parading as morality, and then as legitimate political order. That is as close to moral objectivity as they get.
A Communist imprisoned by Mussolini, but who objected to Stalin's violent ways, Gramsci preached from his Italian prison that Communists should take the long march through the cultural institutions of the West, subverting the hated Western Biblical foundations by stealth and deceit, not by violence. And thus we have "liberal democracy", successor to those violent offspring of the French Revolution. Gramsci had done his work well.
The project is all but finished. Only small pockets of mostly ineffective Christians remain. Almost none in Europe, and only ragtag, introspective, in-house Christians in America. Those who actually present the Gospel of Jesus Christ and its consequences for our public life out loud in public, one can count almost on one hand.
Liberal democracy is the way of life toward which America, under the guidance of President George Bush, has been persuaded to lead the world. Bush's astonishing (and very welcome) success in bringing about free elections in Afghanistan and Iraq, has progressed under the banner of liberal democracy. But Bush, despite his well known Christian faith, is unable to talk about a Biblical form of government. He appears to be very naive or ill-educated on the subject. He is promoting liberal democracy, a delusion from the Angel of Light, and paying only lip service to the Biblical limited government given by God to America.
President Bush remarked about the "untamed fire of freedom" in his second inaugural address, an unfortunate use of words. He probably meant "unoppressed" freedom. But it could be read as "promiscuous" freedom or "undisciplined" freedom. We "break" horses to tame them for our use. On the other hand we admire the wild horses running across the plains. But God has to break our spirits in precisely the same way. And so do our parents. We need to be trained and disciplined into adulthood (see Hebrews 12). Our freedom must be tamed at least so that we are not self-destructive (don't play in the street), and so that we can live with other persons in community. Both of those can require, at times, severe discipline. We do not admire the untamed freedom of the criminal or tyrant.
But the distinction between untamed and properly disciplined freedom is exactly that which is lost in liberal democracy, that is, democracy not under the law of God (see Defining 'Oughtness' & 'Love'). Our founding fathers envisioned an "ordered freedom", not the moral or political chaos of the fallen world. That which orders our freedom is our purpose for existence, given to us by the Creator of our existence in His law, the summary of which is the two Great Commandments -- to love God and our neighbor.
Yet, despite our mistaken Western and American passion for liberal democracy, the enormous Iraqi interest in freedom is indicative of the upwelling of the promise of freedom planted in the human spirit by God. And half a good can open the door dangerously for the fullness of good to follow.
Is democracy a good idea? The founding fathers roundly condemned democracy as mob rule, tyranny of the majority. A valid democracy requires what the secular world cannot supply, an objective moral base by which the mob can be educated and called to account for their treatment of minorities. Only God can supply that.
Democracy also requires a free-market of ideas and thus a free-market education system. And it requires an honest and candid media. The West has these only in damaged and corrupted form.
People choosing their own leaders works well only where they are committed to the law of God and where the market of ideas is dominated by an honest and graceful search for truth. Where that is the case, the "wisdom of the crowd" will always, in the end, best that of any group of experts, and democracies will keep their reputation for not going to war with each other. Not because they are apathetic and drowning in plenty, but because they are righteous. The problem is not democracy per se, but the secularizing of it.
The word 'liberal' comes from the Latin 'liber', meaning 'free'. A classical (Jeffersonian) liberal believed (with Jesus) that we would be set free only by truth, and that the road to truth included persistent public discussion based on honest rules of truth-seeking, i.e., on science. But the pseudo-liberals of today have stopped believing there is any truth, and so the only thing left to them is pursuit of good feelings. Dialogue is thus not about truth-seeking, but about consensus, about getting people agree and feeling good about it. We do not have to agree on truth, since there is no objective truth, we need only to agree. Consensus is the big thing.
Consensus is indeed a good -- if based on truth.
The word 'democracy' comes from the Greek 'demos' meaning 'people', and originated with the Greeks of the high Hellenic period, ca. 500-400 BC, indicating a polity in which the people choose their own rulers. Greek democracy was very limited, as half the population was slaves, and the Greek pagan worldview was incapable of sustaining the quest for freedom and for popular government. It devolved into the lowlands of Hellenistic culture and (along with the Roman republic) into Roman tyranny (see The Five Stages of Greek Religion, by Gilbert Murray).
The Greek democracy was that of an elite, those privileged free men who were allowed to vote. There was no thought of universal suffrage based on all men being created equal in the Image of God. They were under no authority higher than themselves. There was nothing like the Hebrew law of God mandating liberty, equality, or freedom. Whatever there was was given by government, and so could be removed by government.
The system was brought to its (one might say) "perfection" in the late 20th century by the US Supreme Court in a series of three decisions (among others) which gutted America of its moral and therefore legal foundation, the law of God.
In Engel vs. Vitale (1962), God was told that He could no longer talk to His children on public school time or property, nor they to Him, letting Him (and the rest of us) know that He was no longer Sovereign over America. The Supreme Court would now take that role. Then, in Roe vs. Wade (1973), the Court asserted its God role, determining who was and was not a person, with the decision, in defiance of God and contrary to Biblical Western history, that infants in the womb were not persons, and therefore disposable at will. In the early 1990's Casey decision, the Court told us that a pregnant mother (and by implication, any human being) has the inherent right, guaranteed by the Constitution, to make up her own meaning for life, which thus protected her right to kill her child for any reason or for no reason at all.
The Church had relapsed into a permanent vegetative state while the highest court in the land told God that He was no longer sovereign, took from God the decision as to who was human, and then enshrined as the center piece of Constitutional rights the very principle by which Satan seduced Eve in the Garden -- the right to make up our own meaning for life, to be "as God" -- to justify the murder by mothers of their babies. The perfection of liberal democracy is the very essence of sin, stealing from God the role of deciding the meaning, purpose, and boundaries of life. All in the name of reason, of course.
But in the end, liberal democracy is neither liberal (it does not pursue truth) nor democratic (government becomes the tool of special interests, not of the people, and finally, tyranny).
In the Biblical cosmos, God decides the meaning for life. The meaning of life, our purpose for existence, is enshrined in His law, the summation of which is to love God and to love our neighbor just like we love ourselves. Can secular folks do better than that?
God is the original liberal (truth provider) and the original democrat (freedom provider). God alone can wed truth with freedom in a morally responsible way. Democracy, in Biblical usage, means the God-given (not government given, still less, our own inherent) right to choose our rulers, and that we are to choose rulers who are tested and known to be knowledgeable of and faithful to the law of God. We are, as John Jay, first Chief Justice of the Supreme Court told us, not legally, but morally obligated to choose Christians for our rulers.
The great coup of Western secularism has been to persuade Westerners to believe that a moral order can exist apart from the law of God. Up through the time of the American war for independence, it was commonly assumed in the West that proper legal structure was built upon the law of God, primarily the Decalogue. That is the fundamental legal principle of the Declaration of Independence, and thus of our Constitution. And that is why the American Supreme Court has the Decalogue on its wall.
During the 19th century, however, secular moral philosophers "discovered" that ethics could be, as they said, "de-ontologized", separated from any particular ontology, cosmology, or worldview. Ethical standards were universal and self-evident, it was supposed, not in need of God. That claim slipped a bit when it was decided that "real" ethics was based on pragmatism, the only basis secular materialism can, with some semblance of reason, promote.
Pragmatism has to do with "what works" to produce a given end. It is not said in most such discussions that the proposed "ends" are totally subjective. Works? for whom?
But when voted upon by the people, or now, decided arbitrarily by the Supreme Court, the ends given us seem to have an aura of objectivity. Yet in every case, the alleged ends have nothing at all to do with a universal purpose for being, only with some person's, or some group's, personal notion of how things are to be. They are totally, 100%, arbitrary, and thus do not constitute either a morality or a legal obligation. The only possible foundation for morality, and thus for political order, is the law of God. There is no other.
Thus, when the Supreme Court dismissed God as Sovereign, they at the same time removed from themselves all right to be obeyed. They became an outlaw government, at war with the rightful Sovereign.
Liberal democracy is the attempt to make this system of independent, autonomous decision-makers look like real freedom. But with no law of God, the independent, autonomous decision-makers have no purpose higher than their cacophony of conflicting values and purposes, i.e., no universal purpose for existence, no purpose above their conflicting purposes, and thus no way of adjudicating among themselves -- except deceit and force of arms. That is a prescription for war.
By removing God, liberal democracy removes all obligation on the part of the people to obey the government, all inhibition against insurrection, and, at the same time, it removes all protection for the people against the near monopoly of civil government on coercive force. It creates potential for absolute chaos. This potential is kept suppressed either by coercion, threat, or mind-control (government run school systems). Or by buying the votes of people with welfare, corporate perks, and other pork -- bribery. That is not freedom.
Liberal democracy has no moral compass, only the collective wills of the people, the collection of which is arbitrary, and most often manipulated or coerced. But because, in the midst of threatening chaos, it creates the illusion of moral order, it is believed and trusted by persons who have no truly independent intellectual, moral, or spiritual integrity. Still, we call it "consensus".
In the end, it will always drift into chaos, as we see happening throughout Western Civilization today. Europe is disintegrating because it has lost its desire to live (no longer repopulating itself), and has (as of this writing) no spunk to defend against the rising tide of Islam. Western materialist civilization is slipping fast into the black hole of self-centeredness, narcissism, and self-comfort. It is easy to see the role of the Assyrians against apostate Israel in the Muslims against apostate, anti-Christ Western Civ.
To be an adult (independent) in the world, one must be a child (dependent) in God. (That is a logical fact.) Only God can give us the intellectual, moral, and spiritual integrity by which we can stand as adults independently in the world, especially against the forces of oppression, totalitarianism, and Big Bureaucratic Government, Government Nanny.
Morally and spiritually self-governing individuals, can create a society which is truly prosperous and governed by rulers who understand themselves under a law higher than their own pragmatic wills. Because we then are already governing ourselves, we can successfully insist on limited civil government. We will, as one 1850's speaker of the house said, be ruled by the Bible (in our hearts) or by the bayonet (at our doorstep).
Having the stability of the children of God, we will be able to stand up against (because we will have no dependent emotional need for) Big Bureaucratic Government.
Persons of socialist bent see themselves as being "for the common man", but they then create a political monstrosity to control those common folk, who, they believe, are not capable of managing their own lives. Socialists may be sincere, but socialism does not benefit the common man. Socialism has no faith in mankind, and wants Big Bureaucratic Government to be their savior. Socialism wants to protect the common man from predatory Big Business, but then creates a predator with twice the power because of its near monopoly on coercive force.
The same charges, of course, can be brought against Fascism and other "right wing" ways of centralizing and unlimiting civil government. The only being who can handle unlimited sovereignty is God Himself.
The political solution is thus our original limited government, where government is primarily the referee for (not a participant in) a free-market society. As with football, when the government referee becomes a player in society (notably, welfare and education), it loses its objectivity, creating conflicts of interest which always skews its task as referee. Education is used to control the thinking of society, and welfare is used to buy votes. Society then has no real referee, and no free market. It has a market controlled by the referee and other special interests, not by society itself. And then government goes askew, along with both welfare and education.
The best protection for the common folks against predatory Big Business will be an honest (constitutionally limited) referee along with a Biblically committed populace engaged in free market activities. Only then will injustice be consistently punished, and the public morally committed to having no commerce with unfair businesses. When civil government colludes with the market, either from the left or the right, the people suffer.
And the best welfare system is one dedicated to moral backbone as well as comfort. That can best be provided only by extended family and the religious community. When the religious community regains it intellectual, moral, and spiritual credibility, so will family be restored and government downsized. It will happen because God holds the intellectual, moral, and spiritual high ground, and is inviting His people to stand there with Him.
Whether George Bush was right in invading Iraq will be discussed for a long time. But in a Biblical government, foreign policy is based on the will of God, King of kings and Lord of lords. A Godly nation will let it be known that true freedom comes from the Savior who died for our freedom, that political freedom must be built on personal freedom under the Sovereign of all. No Godly nation will put itself under the authority of a God-denying world order, such as the United Nations.
Until Jesus returns, there will be no perfect government.
We will have fallen persons for both leaders and followers. But God has
pointed us in the best direction, by far, for governing ourselves in the
WallBuilders - David Barton -- Excellent !! on Politics, Constitution, American History See especially the video, "America's Godly Heritage", and companion book, "Original Intent".
See Free Market of Ideas, Free Enterprise Education, & the (Real) Wall between Church & State on this site.
Also - other articles in the Politics and Constitution Libraries.
Also - Freedom and Theocracy.
For a disagreement, see Anglicans, Reform Yourselves How would you respond to this article?
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