Friday, October 9, 2020

To What Extent Compromise?

 

One must sympathize with musician Jason Aldean for having endured one of the most horrifying sort of events imaginable in the form of the mass shooting that occurred in Las Vegas on 10/1/17 during his performance at a music festival in which sixty were killed and over 400 wounded.

However, the solution he offered itself could potentially generate its own set of nightmares.

The performer lamented, “At the end of the day, we aren't Democrats or Republicans, Black or White. We are all human beings and we are Americans and it's time to start acting like it and stand together as one.”

On the surface that sounds all well and good.

But whose opinion is going to prevail when it comes to differences on profound moral and policy issues? Just what exactly is there left to compromise?

For the sake of this idealized unity, is Aldean going to surrender his no doubt significant bank account when socialists of the Occupy Wall Street and Bernie Sanders variety in the name of economic equality?

Just how far are we to compromise for the sake of unity and oneness when the adherents of Sharia law demand displays of temptation such as concerts from which Aldean has derived his livelihood and notoriety be abolished?

At one time, such dichotomies seemed abstract and highly unlikely.

However, the question of just how far you are willing to compromise becomes shockingly relevant amidst the tyranny of cancel culture and mobs pillaging supposedly in the name of an amorphous justice the terms of which never seem to be defined.

by Frederick Meekins

Tuesday, October 6, 2020

Religious Progressives Abet Dictatorial Agendas

It could be argued that the United States of America holds an unique position in the world in that for the most part the nation's sociopolitical system attempts to balance the competing needs of both the group and the individual. This impressive feat is accomplished in part as a result of distinctive foundations such as a constitutional framework of government and the underlying moral assumptions shared by various interpretations of the Judeo-Christian philosophical tradition.

Without these restraints, eventually this way of life so easily taken for granted would collapse in favor of tyranny or anarchy with it becoming increasingly difficult to tell such extremities apart. Startlingly, one does not have to expend too much time and effort to find influential voices advocating for the abolition of these safeguards. Often such thinkers do so from a perspective claiming to be religions in terms of its motivating orientation or at least on behalf of organizations having accumulated a significant percentage of the largess upon which they operate by appealing to that particular underlying behavioral motivation.

For example, in the 12/30/12 edition of the New York Times, Georgetown University Professor of Constitutional Law Louis Michael Seidman published an essay titled “Let's Give Up On The Constitution”. In this analysis, an intellectual employed by a prominent Roman Catholic institution advocates abolishing the document upon which the foundations of the governing structures of the Republic rest because of the numerous instances throughout American history in which adherence to the strictures of the document proved too burdensome and in which deviation from proved the expeditious thing to do. Examples cited include Justice Robert Jackson's admission that the decision handed down in “Brown vs. Board of Education” was based on moral and political necessity rather than any explicitly constitutional provision and Franklin Roosevelt's presupposition that the Constitution was a declaration of aspirations rather than binding possibilities.

Louis Seidman remarks with the condescension endemic to the professorial class, “In the face of this long history of disobedience, it is hard to take seriously the claim of the Constitution's defenders that we would be reduced to a Hobbesian state of nature... Our sometimes flagrant disregard of the Constitution has not produced chaos or totalitarianism; on the contrary, it has helped to grow and prosper.”

The Americans of Japanese, German, and Italian ancestry interred during World Wat II might argue otherwise. Therefore, invoking Roosevelt's admonition that the Constitution is only a set of suggestions rather than an obligation might not be that good of an idea after all.

In the remainder of his analysis, Professor Seidman attempts to assure the reader that what ensures the continuation of America's fundamental liberties and semi-functioning government (at least in comparison to what prevails in most other parts of the world) is not some piece of paper that would literally disintegrate if not kept under the strictest climate-controlled conditions. Rather, the proverbial American way of life is continued by what Professor Seidman categorizes as “entrenched institutions and habits of thought and, most important, that sense that we are one nation and work out our differences.”

But without paper the Constitution to keep competing and disparate interests and factions in check within a clearly delineated framework, would what we enjoy as Americans endure for very long? As examples of what he suggests as viable political regimes that provide civilized structures without relying upon a formalized written constitution are the United Kingdom and New Zealand.

But while these countries might hold hours of endless fascination of the setting of many a BBC drama or picture postcards, are either really a place the average American would really want to live? To put it bluntly, the population of New Zealand is about as white as the sheep for which that pastured land is famous. Would that country be able to survive and endure if its population were as varied as the United States with sizable hordes refusing to abide by the values that make a viable society possible?

In terms of the diversity we are obligated to applaud as nothing but positive or face accusations of assorted thought crimes, the United Kingdom might be more akin to its sibling society in the United States. However, in many profound ways, in this regard Great Britain is nothing to be proud of or desire to emulate.

There swarms from the Third World, like plagues of grasshoppers, eagerly consume the sustenance that is provided like none other. And like these ravenous insects, significant percentages of these migrants would rather destroy than preserve the bounty set before them.

For example, in Britain, instead of exhibiting a little respect and gratitude for being extended the privilege of even being allowed to reside in such a land to begin with, one Islamist of African origins murdered a member of that nation's military along the roadside and then proudly documented the act by testifying to the atrocity in a video while still soaked in the blood of his victim. Elsewhere in that same country, others sharing in this same particular so-called religion expect their hosts to accommodate their alien peculiarities rather than for the newcomers to tone these down as any polite guest might.. For example, a number practicing polygamy demanded that each wife be allowed entrance into the country where she is in turn granted additional welfare benefits for each new whelp she continues to push out at a rate that would probably exhaust a tribblbe (the fuzzy aliens from the original Star Trek that Bones McCoy pointed out were born pregnant).

In both the United Kingdom and New Zealand, those daring to articulate perspectives against this sort of cultural subversion could be charged with assorted thought crimes on the grounds of racial or ethnic disparagement. That is because, unlike in America, the United Kingdom and New Zealand have not enshrined freedom of expression as a fundamental right in a constitution, the very thing Professor Seidman cavalierly suggests we abolish in favor of a proposed brave new world.

In his proposal, Professor Seidman even goes out of his way to address concerns raised by those shocked by what it is their discernment warns he is suggesting. He assures, “This is not to say that we should disobey all constitutional commands. Freedom of speech and religion, equal protection of the laws and ... against governmental deprivations of life, liberty, and property are important, whether or not they are in the Constitution. We should continue to follow those requirements out of respect, not obligation.”

But if these are not protected by a constitution that exists somewhat to an extent beyond the whims of ordinary politics and expediency, who is to say such niceties should not be abolished or withheld from non-compliant segments of the population when doing so would be convenient. For example, is gay marriage any longer a “right” should fifty-one percent in a plebiscite or whatever other methods are utilized to determine these kinds of questions in a world where nothing is any longer set in concrete?

Professor Seidman continues, “Nor should we have a debate about, for instance, how long the president's term should last or whether Congress should consist of two houses. Some matters are better left settled, even if not in exactly the way we favor.” Once more, who is to say?

If there is no Constitution, by what authority does one impose the perspective that such things are hereby settled? You can no longer point to an article, section, or clause of the Constitution and say, “Look. It says so right there.”

Professor Seidman's gentlemanly view of society might be barely functional in a world where most of the population adhere roughly to a similar set of values. However, such a Western world in general and an America in particular sadly no longer exists.

There is now within our midst sizable Islamic populations that not only demand their right to practice their barbarous customs but also demand that the rest of us surrender to them as well or face overwhelming violence. And this is not the only movement seeking to remake America and to eliminate what little remains of that distinct way of life and cultural perspective.

For instance, no longer is it enough to allow those that derive their deepest carnal pleasures in ways most would be shocked by or not find so appealing to so do so off on their own. Now, under threat of financial ruination, we are forced to render compelled approval in ways that violate our own convictions and sensibilities.

According to assorted accounts, Christian bakers have been forced to provide cakes for gay weddings when there were no doubt numerous others willing to provide such culinary services. Elsewhere, young girls have been forced to look on in horror in the locker or restroom as the person undressing there before them turns out that at the most basic level is still a man no matter how vehemently they attempt to deny nature's manifest construction.

Given that Professor Seidman is a professor of Constitutional Law, one would think that in calling for the elimination of the U.S. Constitution that he was essentially derailing his own gravy train as Georgetown University professors probably pull in a hefty salary and are esteemed as part of the nation's intellectual elite.

But even if scholarship in traditional constitutional studies were to become an extinct discipline, those such as Professor Seidman convined they are so much better than the rest of us will still think it will be their place to tell the rest of us what to do. However, it will simply no longer be from the standpoint of a traditional understanding of morality. This is evidenced by the “New Social Contract” called for by Evangelical Christian Progressive Jim Wallis.

In classical democratic theory, in a social contract both parties agree to fulfill a delineated number of obligations in order to receive a desired benefit. This is done from a perspective of self-interest as much or maybe even more so than to meet the desires or needs of the other party.

For example, no matter how much they claim otherwise and might even pitch in during a time of crisis, the generic big box retailer or even the so-called “mom and pop” shop down the street really don't care one way or the other whether your nutritional needs are being met. What they really care about and might even be willing to go out of their way to see that your dietary inclinations are satisfied fot is if you are willing to relent to the agreed upon price for the desired commodity.

Something similar could be said of the individuals and institutions involved in the so-called social contract. Under that theory, if parties feel that the terms are not being met, individuals are free to look elsewhere for the purposes of finding their fulfillment. For example, in a constitutional republic, individuals are free to change church affiliations or their religion entirely. In terms of government, citizens are theoretically free to either change their leaders through periodic elections or the parameters of governing structures through the amendment process.

Such is not necessarily the case regarding the idea of a covenant. For unlike the idea of a contract, the notion of a covenant often does not possess the same degree of personal self-interest. Covenant carries with it the idea of being imposed upon the individual from without by a greater power irrespective of the desire of the individual or that the individual is expected to fulfill certain obligations without expectations of benefit in return.

For example, a number of such covenants are detailed in the pages of the Bible. Foremost among these ranks the covenants between God and the Nation of Israel as promised to the Patriarch Abraham. Although he and his descendants were blessed as a result especially when by living in accordance with these stipulations, it was God that sought this people ought and laid out the terms with little room for negotiation.

But probably the kind of covenant most are most familiar with is none other than marriage. Though marriage is usually entered into voluntarily by the involved parties, in a context that honors the institution properly, it can only be exited under the strictest of conditions that would leave the party initially guilty of violating the binding terms profoundly sanctioned often to the verge of ruination. The notion of contract provides for a way out even if there is a penalty for invoking this particular provision.

In January 2013, planetary elites met at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. One of the sessions convened was titled “The Moral Economy: From Social Contract To Social Covenant”. The purpose of the undertaking was to establish a framework that would foster “(1) the dignity of the human person, (2) the importance of the common good, which transcends individual interests, and (3) the need for stewardship of the planet and prosperity.”

What's so wrong with any of that, one might easily ask? After all, each of these things sounds noble almost to the point of being inspirational. The problem arises in regards as to how these are defined and who does the defining.

For example, one of the issues harped about the most by a variety of leftists ranging from the filthy slobs of the Occupy Movement all the way to Pope Francis is the need for income redistribution. So what if the technocrats overseeing the implementation of the social covenant decide to tackle that particular economic perplexity?

Most people are disturbed by the idea of their fellow man languishing in the deprivations of overwhelming poverty. But what if the overlords of the New Social Covenant decide that the way to address that is not by sustained acts of ongoing charity but rather through the forced confiscation of what you have earned with the seized resources supposedly directed towards those that really did not earn it but in reality much of it squandered by those administering such an unprecedented global effort. After all, the Pope has all that art work to upkeep there in the Vatican and assorted U.N. Functionaries like nothing better than to gather at posh resorts in the Swiss Alps or the French seaside to denounce reliance of the middle class upon automobiles while these elites fritter from conference to conference around the globe in private jets.

Those unable to expand their imaginations beyond the relatively comfortable reality that we at the moment are blessed to enjoy counter that should some sort of global authority move to seize what we have (beyond of course the increasingly exorbitant tax rates) concerned citizens can use their freedoms of speech and assembly to petition for the redress of their grievances and to raise overall awareness about policies that have expanded beyond the bounds of propriety. But does one need to be reminded that one of the very first liberties and freedoms curtailed by the social engineers of the technocratic elite is the very freedom of expression that was part of the Constitution that was abandoned earlier in this exposition as part of the reactionary past that was hindering the further development of the human species and society?

In this pending new world order, the law will not be the only social institution manipulating and conditioning the inmates of the planetary panopticon from exercising what at one time were categorized as individual rights. For religion in general and what passes for Christianity in particular will be invoked in pursuit of this agenda.

The foundation of this perspective can be discerned in an editorial published in the July/August 2014 issue of Christianity Today titled, “It's about the common good, not just the individual good.” According to the piece, the basis of America is not the individual or even the family as the union of two distinct individuals and the children that might result from such couplings but rather the COMMUNITY.

But if it is the larger group that is imbued with those restrictions upon concentrations of authority known as rights, what will protect the individual when the individual is viewed as nothing more than a malfunctioning cog in the machine or diseased cell in the larger social organism that must be eliminated or his flourishing curtailed over justifications no greater than the COMMUNITY has declared thusly? The Christianity Today article, in particular, briefly examines the implications of this in regards to children. Unfortunately, however, this analysis is disturbingly superficial and shortsighted.

The Christianity Today article quotes favorably of a Robert Putnam (the same sociologist that categorizes you as some sort of deviant if you bowl by yourself) at Georgetown University, “Kids from working-class homes used to be 'our kids' he said, Now they are other people's kids, and we expect other people to solve their problems. But young people are our future. Their problems are ours.”

The Christianity Today editorial realized that the remarks were speaking to the matter of inequality. In other words, the increasingly leftist Evangelical mouthpiece apparently has little problem in attempting to shame and manipulate you into forking over increasing percentages of what you have earned and saved. “What, you don't support the progressive income and inheritance taxes? Why do you hate children and refuse to do your part to usher in the revolutionary utopia?”

One would hope that the current editors of that particular publication would retain enough of its founders' intellectual heritage to realize that there exists more to life than merely the physical building blocks. As the such, the phrase “our kids” when spoken in reference to any youngsters other than those you might share with your respective spouse or have adopted as one's own ought to send chills down the spine of any reflective discerning individual.

For if children are to be seen as “our children” in terms of being the children of a respective COMMUNITY apart from a few basic needs such as minimal food, shelter, and maybe healthcare, what is to prevent governing authorities from intervening to dictate what you can and cannot teach in terms of religious doctrine and morality? For example, do you believe that belief in Jesus Christ as the only Begotten Son of God and member of the Trinity is the one true faith?

Well, in the New World Order where the good and preferences of the group come before those of the individual, such an outdated understanding of the ultimate cannot be allowed even if you are an otherwise peaceful individual with no intentions of harming anyone in a traditional sense of that concept. For the assumption that a source of authority exists outside the uniformity of the group consensus is the seed from which all conflict generates forth.

The First Amendment is not the only one of the derided and denigrated constitutional liberties endangered by those out to impose the fundamental transformation of America advocated by President Obama and embraced by certain radicals in the name of errant theology. For if the First Amendment is the constitutional provision upon which our foundational liberties rest, then the Second Amendment is the constitutional provision that attempts to make sure that the robust liberties elaborated in the First Amendment continue to endure. For despite what even the National Rifle Association has been intimidated into repeating, the Second Amendment is about far more that guaranteeing the right to hunt and participate in shooting sports.

Rather, the primary purpose of the Second Amendment is to recognize and enshrine the idea that each citizen has a role to play in protecting life, liberty, and property against threats to these precious commodities originating from both within and without the borders of the United States. And yes, as the very last resort after all other alternatives have been exhausted, that may mean solemnly with deliberation and reluctance taking up arms against whatever form the threat may take on the most regrettable of occasions.

But even more importantly, it is the Second rather than the First Amendment that actually serves as a barometer of the health of liberty and freedom throughout this land. For without a government and civil society that respects the right to keep and bear arms arms as described in the Second Amendment, the seemingly loftier protections of conviction and expression will not endure much longer. That is because a country or regime that refused to acknowledge the right to protect oneself will eventually not tolerate the right to think for oneself or in a manner not as directed by those holding power.

Even those claiming to view God as the highest authority cannot resist the temptation of the continuing centralization of power. This is evidenced in two 2013 issues of the Christian Century.

The editorial titled “Terror and Guns” examined the issue by comparing the three that lost their lives in the Boston Marathon Bombing to three that lost their lives that same day in acts of gun violence elsewhere across the nation. From that the editorial made the claim that 30,000 Americans are killed by guns each year compared to the seventeen Americans that lost their lives to acts of terrorism in 2012.

If such statistics are trustworthy, that certainly causes one to pause. But instead of making the case that the extensive national security and surveillance apparatus that these sorts of left-leaning publications condemn when applied to subversives of assorted revolutionary or radical perspectives be abolished, it is insinuated that a similarly heavy hand should be applied to the matter of gun crimes and even firearms ownership. The Christian Century writes, “Terrorist threats demand vigilance, and the government has responded by creating an extensive security and intelligence capability...Why can't the nation display the same kind of resolve when it comes to keeping guns out of the hands of the wrong people?”

As evidence of this lamentation, editors of Christian Century write, “In the case of the Senate gun control bill, a majority of senators voted to strengthen background checks in people purchasing guns, but the 54-46 vote did not attain the 60 votes required in the Senate. Something is wrong with a process by which a minority can derail legislation that is supported by 90% of Americans.”

Apparently the editors could not leave their analysis at that. These propagandists continued, “Many of the votes against background checks were cast by senators from small or sparsely populated states. Based on population the vote of a senator from Wyoming has 66 times more value than that of a senator from California. This kind of disparity in political power is not what the Founding Fathers had in mind.”

From that editorial, one would initially assume in terms of the issue emphasized on the surface that the concern would be a vast comprehensive national surveillance system that would determine who would be denied access to firearms. However, just as insidious is an underlying contempt for the structures of the Republic as envisioned by the framers of the Constitution.

For the United States of America does not consist solely of “We the people” merely as a singular mass or collective of individuals. Just as intrinsic to the understanding of this particular nation is “We the people” construed as fifty distinct jurisdictional entities known as states. From that particular vantage point, each of these is to be viewed as equal to the others in terms of the voice granted in the second body of the national legislature in determining the direction in terms of law and policy that will guide the nation as a comprehensive totality.

From the statement in the Christian Century commentary complaining that the political weight of a Wyoming senator is skewered in that jurisdiction's favor over that of California with its vastly larger population, the logic would conclude that right and wrong are determined by nothing more than majority opinion. So if we are to apply that principle in regards to the regulation of firearms, the shouldn't the good liberals at propaganda outfits such as the Christian Century allow the principle to be applied to other cultural issues nearly as contentious as those surrounding the Second Amendment?

For example, if most Americans were asked what they really believed without fear of retaliation on the part of the Thought Police, most would probably admit that they are not all that hip to the idea of gay marriage and certainly not open to the idea of transgenders especially men claiming that they are women as evidenced by their external endowments legally allowed to go into a public restroom where they can in close proximity to actual women and vulnerable children engage in some of life's most personal biological function as well as possibly seek these individuals out as victims to satisfy the most base of carnal impulses.

If a few senators can disrupt the will of the people in regards to one area of life, why should a few jurists not even as directly accountable to the electorate as these disputed legislators be allowed to impose a perspective at even greater odds with decency and common sense. For is not the chanted slogan of the ethical Thunder Dome in which the nearly constant social conflict takes place that there are no absolutes?

As interesting is how the appeal to traditional moral authority is only valid when it can be buttressed to support the preferred sensibilities of the prevailing elites. This was quite evident in a second Christian Century editorial published about a similar topic on 2/6/13 titled “Of Guns and Neighbors.”

The thesis of that broadside contends that individual rights are curtailed by the good of one's neighbor in Christian understanding. The editorial states, “In the biblical perspective, social issues are always framed primarily as questions of obligation, not of individual rights: not 'What do I get to do?' but 'What do we owe to God and neighbor?'.”

The editorial demonstrates how this reasoning is applied to the firearms debate by quoting Deuteronomy 22:8. The text reads, “When you build a new home, you shall make a parapet for your roof; otherwise you might have bloodguilt on your house , if anyone should fall from it.”

So what other nuggets of jurisprudence derived from the Book of Deuteronomy interpreted through the prism of the principle that “social issues are always framed primarily as questions of obligation, not of individual rights...” is the Christian Century editorial board going to come out in favor of? No doubt this propaganda rag of mainline Protestantism of the Episcopal and Presbyterian Church, USA variety has come out in full blown support of gay marriage.

Without question, it cannot be denied that the Old Testament legal books such as Deuteronomy explicitly opposed the homosexual lifestyle and by extension the agenda advocated by those most enthusiastically mired in these particular behaviors. Given the ethical standard called for by the Christian Century, is the publication now required to withdraw any support it might have articulated in favor of gay marriage? The editorial titled “Of Guns and Neighbors” just said ethics and morality are not determined by what we get out of something but rather upon what we owe our neighbor and, even more importantly, God.

As such, if it can be deduced from these texts that God does not endorse unrestricted access to firearms (something that is not clearly spelled out in the texts), shouldn't we at least admit that the only relationship with physical pleasure being one of the foundational cornerstones that God looks favorably upon without condemnation or criticism is monogamous heterosexual marriage? Those claiming otherwise have ignored the explicit directives of the Biblical text to such an extent that we might as well toss it aside entirely in regards to other issues regarding assorted ideologues desire to render behavioral, legislative, or policy pronouncements.

It is often assumed in Christian circles that the greatest threat to human liberty are often those that categorize themselves as atheist or agnostic in that their hostility towards God is outward and explicit. However, as has been emphasized in this analysis particularly in regards to the movement to either eliminate or comprehensively alter the understanding of America's most basic constitutional liberties, there are a number of voices claiming to be religious in nature utilizing the beliefs and principles derived from such for the purposes of manipulating those open to the perspectives of this particular social sphere into surrendering the sorts of protections not easily recoverable once they have been surrendered.

By Frederick Meekins

Monday, September 21, 2020

Diversity Apparently Means Uniformity Of Opinion

 

In light of the state moving in a more liberal direction as evidenced in light of policies against the Second Amendment and in favor of abortion, a number of Virginia conservatives are tentatively contemplating what it would take for certain areas of the Commonwealth to become part of West Virginia instead.

For daring to encourage such a “conversation” or “dialog” (to use the liberal parlance in regards to a topic where the only opinion that will be allowed to be considered publicly is already predetermined), it was hoped such voices would just up and leave the state.

Expressing a similar sentiment in 2014 with that notion having resurfaced in a number of social media posts, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo decreed that conservatives of various stripes such as pro-life, traditional marriage, and Second Amendment activists would not be welcome in the state.

So if it is out of line for not only elected officials but grassroots citizens alike to suggest that the new arrivals to these shores go back whence they came should the traditional way things are done here are not done suitably to their liking, why is it acceptable for those holding government office to tell actual Americans that they are not wanted where as citizens they have every right to be?

Where is the celebration of absolute diversity on the part of those that usually demand such under threat of violence?

By Frederick Meekins

Sunday, September 13, 2020

Hit & Run Commentary #130

Democrats obsessed with race to the point that their primary principle of social organization is preferential pandering to specific demographics are outraged that Trump utilized the term “lynching” in reference to the President’s impeachment travails abandoning the rudiments of habeas corpus. It is argued that the term ought only be articulated in reference to a solemn historical remembrance. As such, do these linguistic marms also intend to surrender usage of the term “witch hunt” as well? For a significant number had their own rights tragically violated during such inquisitions to stamp out occult activity. One must suppose that the majority of such apparently weren’t Black enough to bring the English language to a screeching halt.

New York has changed state law so it can still prosecute those that have been granted a presidential pardon. So how is this appreciably different than Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio enforcing immigration law when the federal government refused to? Do progressives intend to speak out as forcefully in regards to this New York development?

Some people really need to think through the implications of the things they advocate. Apparently an associate is outraged that a student could be denied the opportunity to attend prom because of an unpaid lunch tab. Yet the same individual stated he is actively praying for the conditions to come about where that very same student could very easily end up being a trafficked sex slave or summarily executed on the streets. Civil wars are not the photographic tourist monuments of the Gettysburg fields. Just what exactly does this person think will come about if his prayer is granted that God judges American through a civil war? God promises things will be well afterwards for those that place faith in Him once the person is dead. However, history proves that He allows overwhelming horrors to take place in regions gripped by such conflict. Such a naive thinker apparently epitomizes Stalin's remark that one death is a tragedy but a million are just a statistic.

It is often argued that Halloween used to be OK but no longer is because “times have changed”. If one holds the celebration is wrong, isn’t that essentially the same as saying that it used to be acceptable for grandpa to go to the strip club but Junior had better not do it?

On the 8/14/19 edition of Fox and Friends, the Lieutenant Governor of Texas in part blamed video games for the El Paso massacre because the gunman allegedly mentioned in his manifesto wanting to live out the super soldier scenarios found in video games. If this is the route we are to head down as a culture, will Marvel Comics also be blamed since Captain America is also a super soldier? While we are at it, why not lay a bit of the blame offices within the Pentagon such as DARPA constantly speculating about tinkering on the genetic, psychological or biochemical levels to create actual super soldiers and whose surreptitious machinations might actually have some shady role behind these acts of violence.

In light of a series of mass shootings across the United States, it is repeatedly admonished that people need to come together in unity. Apart from not shooting people, just how close are people obligated to come together? Relatedly, do those insisting that these incidents are failures in tolerance intend to compromise on the incessant demands those advocating progressive revolution constantly make under threat of upheaval? For it is usually those holding to traditionalist conceptions of morality and social organization that are expected to alter their fundamental beliefs or be penalized with a variety of punitive sanctions.

Obama is now jacked out of shape about the ideological purity of cancel culture. But didn’t he in part get that particular ball rolling when he urged supporters to get in the faces of those that dared articulate criticism of his policies and when he threatened to punish his electoral enemies?

Cambridge University Press has published a book titled “Cultural Backlash: Trump, Brexit and Authoritarian Populism”. So the people of the United Kingdom governing their own affairs is to be feared but arbitrary bureaucratic intervention into their lives on the part of transnational technocrats as epitomized by the European Union is the ideal to which they are expected to aspire?

A Florida church is accusing the 18% that did not vote in favor of a Black pastoral candidate of racism. But if the congregational leadership is going to take the allegations online, shouldn’t the rest of us be provided with some idea what was actually said to determine if it actually was racist or merely what passes as such in the circles of contemporary Southern Baptist elites? Often that can be as little as disagreeing with a Black person or, perhaps more importantly, with the White leaders metaphorically using Black people as human shields to keep their hold on power.

The Southern Baptist Convention is considering disfellowshipping a Florida church where a Black pastoral candidate did not receive the percentage of affirmations necessary to be granted the position. In all fairness, it was remarked in the Religious News Service coverage of the development that things were so split in the church that it’s doubtful Billy Graham in his prime could have mustered the necessary votes. Getting booted from the Convention like that at this time could end up being the best thing that could happen to such a congregation. For is that really a spirit of diversity and inclusion if a mere 15% of a congregation fails to bend to dictates from a level of hierarchy technically derived nowhere from the pages of Scripture?

Media and political elites are outraged that Trump announced that he is switching his official residence from New York to Florida. Commentator Juan Williams remarked that greed was behind this as part of a scheme to take advantage of Florida’s more favorable tax rates. So why isn’t it greed for governments to demand an increasing percentage of what individuals have prudently accumulated? Golfer Phil Mickelson was essentially accused of being a tax cheat in the press for making a similar move from California. But shouldn’t this mobility instead be praised as one of the inherent strengths of the federal system where the individual is free to ideally select from the fifty jurisdictions most in accord with their particular values or in which one can maximize individual well being?

Southern Baptist Theological Seminary provost Matthew Hall laments that he views reality through a racialized lens, that that has given him undeserved power, but being called a racist is not the worst thing that one can be called. If so, why do those ranking among this faction of Southern Baptist functionaries spend so much time peddling White guilt and (along with what even Obama criticized as cancel culture) invoke that label with little evidence as a way to frighten opponents into silence? Most importantly, Hall seemingly does not feel so guilty as to be compelled by his conscience to relinquish his posh lifestyle to someone of their preferred demographic. But he does apparently feel guilty enough that you as a mere pewfiller in his estimation should be called upon to surrender what you have earned by the sweat of your own toil to be redistributed to or at least seized from you in the name of those that have not really lifted a finger of their own.

Theologian Kyle J. Howard claims that the rise of homeschooling is linked to racism. Where in the Constitution does it say that the exercise of a right is predicated upon a socially acceptable justification? And what exactly does he define as “racism”? To many of these woke Southern Baptists, that consists of little more than disagreeing with a minority or, more importantly, with White elites claiming to speak for minorities.

In a podcast on racial reconciliation, the theologian that denounced the founding of the homeschool movement as racist said that it is his desire to plant a multiethnic, minority led church. If he is to be praised for being so race conscious as to exclude Whites apriori from leadership positions, why would any Whites other than the self-loathing variety be willing to attend such a venue of subversion and leftist cognitive conditioning? For what if a minister spoke of his desire to plant a multiethnic yet Caucasian-led congregation where it was insinuated that all that minorities are wanted for is what they can drop funsds in the collection plate?

The cover story of the Oct 2019 issue of Harper’s Magazine is titled “Do We Need The Constitution: Has The Nation’s Founding Document Become The Nation’s Undoing?” Usually when such questions are asked, it is not to consider provisions such as those regarding the establishment of post offices or forbidding the issuance of a title of nobility. Rather such grandiose inquires are enunciated as a pretext to justify the elimination of the Bill of Rights, particularly the fundamental guarantees of the First and Second Amendments.

So if Chick-Fil-A is on record as not being an explicitly Christian company, perhaps we can at least do away with having to justify if one is a believer why one has never been to one or for feeling sleazy over picking an outright heathen establishment such as McDonald’s for a fast food outing.

Doesn’t the altering of a corporation’s philanthropy policy to placate an agitated faction indicate which side in that debate is most likely to engage in acts of violence or sabotage in the so-called “culture war”?

After a call to the CEO, Franklin Graham assures the faithful that Chick-Fil-A remains committed to Christian values. So does that mean celebrity Christians will stop upbraiding the mere pewfillers that don’t make themselves religious nuisances in the workplace but instead model their witness more along the lines of Joseph of Arimathea who Scripture references as a secret disciple?

In a world where the Salvation Army is looked upon with more contempt than outright subversive front groups such as C.A.I.R, Planned Parenthood, and La Raza, how long will it be before it becomes a crime to drop spare change in the Christmas kettle or parents charged with child abuse for letting their little ones do it?

Hugh Ross as an Old Earth Creationist believes that the days of the Genesis creation account are not to be understood as literal but rather as lengthy epochs of time. Now it seems his ministry has uploaded a podcast insinuating that the global flood was likely not quite as global as many Christians have come to believe. The astrophysicist assures that, by making this concession, the skeptic might be more inclined to consider other more important miraculous claims of Scripture. So how long until Ross starts insisting that it does not matter so much whether or not Jesus really did rise from the dead or that believers go to Heaven when they die? Instead what really matters are the moral teachings of Jesus. Think this is an allegation a step too far? Ross’ conclusions were arrived at through a form of linguistic analysis not all that different than that resulting in the RSV substituting “young woman” for “virgin” in its translation of Isaiah.

If as the commercial suggests it is Jimmy Dean sausage that lifts your spirits this time of year, you must be having one really miserable and pathetic Christmas.

Those sneering down their noses over Trump’s remarks about the effort to undermine Thanksgiving are the same ones that pitch a fit about the Pilgrim’s being White European Christians and over romanticize American Indians as the embodiment of Rousseau's noble savage hooey.

Apparently the KFC fire log is something to burn in your fireplace and not what emerges from the other end of the digestive tract once that culinary treat is consumed.

In a SermonAudio homily, a pastor confessed that, in terms of paganism, Christmas is as inherently evil as Halloween. As such, he weaned his family off the celebration over the span of three years. But if Christmas is as evil as he insists and given that a holiday cannot produce biophysical dependency like a narcotic or alcohol, isn’t his way of renouncing the practice akin to saying one should quit the strip club over time rather than suddenly? Perhaps having a lapdance only once every other week followed by a time where one just goes to watch with no physical interaction?

If Hillary Clinton was really shocked at the way Donald Trump speaks about woman, wouldn’t she have not gone on the Howard Stern program?

By Frederick Meekins

Saturday, August 22, 2020

Might As Well Just Stream Sermons At Home

 

In response to the Coronavirus Plague, a variety of churches have announced that in order to reopen a number of the practices to which most Christians have grown accustomed will have to be profoundly altered or even suspended entirely until permission is once again granted by the very technocrats that would like nothing more than to see Christianity eliminated altogether as one of the final impediments to their agenda of comprehensive administrative regimentation.

Believers are assured, however, that what they are being compelled to surrender is not so much the cornerstone of their faith ---- the proclamation of the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ.

Rather what is to be surrendered are just things like Sunday School or group Bible study and close person to person fellowship unencumbered without masks.

In the case of what is categorized as Low Church Protestantism, the elements of Communion are believed only to be symbolic and do not necessarily require any sort of apostolic imputation to be valid.

As such, the most important aspect of church is the hearing of Scripture and the homily derived from revelation and not the direct human interaction.

Thus, if the sermon is made available either online or even in a transcribed printed form, why is the believer obligated to be their in person at all?

If when in a supermarket I can barely hear my father two feet away from me hindered by the compulsory mask, how is one expected or able to hear what parishioners are saying if the mandatory distance is thrice that and a number can't speak clearly as a result of accents or shoddy dentures?

By Frederick Meekins

Sunday, July 12, 2020

Hit & Run Commentary #129

Apparently women that don’t cook from scratch are failures for violating Biblical admonitions regarding taking care of their families because processed foods and preservatives are not mentioned in Scripture. Utilizing such logic, does that make one a failure as a man if you cannot get his woman to comply with this objective? More importantly, aren’t you a failure if you propagate your decree by any method other than the sort of parchments upon which the original canonical texts were written upon? It is at this point where the condemnation starts rolling in for hashing out where such presuppositions end up.

To keep the flames of racial animosity and resentment stoked, the Washington Post published a supplement 9/4/19 titled “Teaching Slavery”. An interesting fact contained within was that at one point in his life Ulysses S. Grant owned slaves. As such, shouldn’t all statues of him on public land and in parks be removed? And if Andrew Jackson must be removed from the twenty dollar bill over his shortcomings in terms of race relations to be replaced by Harriet Tubman, shouldn’t Grant be similarly removed from the $50 and replaced with someone like Frederick Douglas or Sojourner Truth?

National Review has published an analysis titled “Walmart’s Retreat On Guns Means Woke Capitalism Is Here To Stay”. Ironic that those supporting this use of corporate policy to alter the ethical landscape by denying access to perfectly legal products used to rampage the most about the impropriety of someone imposing their morality upon someone else.

An infant changing table was erected in the stall of a men’s room. On it was a warning reading, “Never leave children unattended.”  Yet neither of these things were that worthy of note. What leapt out about the situation was that the warning was printed on the hygenic fixture in Braille. The blind of course need to change their children like anybody else. But are you going to tell me that they are going to run their hands all over the changing table in pursuit of that message?

Home school activist Kevin Swanson admonished believers not to grumble about persecution and tyranny. No doubt he would have also believed the wrought iron words on the camp gate “Work set you free”.

So are these global warming brats going to surrender their posh lifestyles and pursue careers of subsistence agriculture rather than degrees in useless academic majors such as minority or gender studies?

Outrage has erupted over anyone that has responded to Greta Thunberg and her brand of Young Pioneers with anything other than abject acquiescence. WiIl similar condemnation be leveled at the pedagogues and propagandists that manipulated her into such a froth in the first place?

Outrage has erupted against those that have given anything but the benefit of the doubt to Young Pioneer Greta Thunberg. Yet these are no doubt the same ones that rhetorically called for the scalp of the Maga hat Catholic lad that did nothing more than look on with a perplexed smirk on his face as some American Indian beat a drum in his face like some sort of lunatic.

If at 16, Greta Thunberg is apparently too young to handle criticism of her call for planetary revolution and the upending of the contemporary socioeconomic system, why ought we to assume that those of the same age are capable of deciding matters of abortion and contraception for themselves?

If Greta Thunberg and her band of Young Pioneers are really all that concerned about pending environmental collapse, why did they nor prevent the unnecessary expenditure of fossil fuels by addressing Congress and the United Nations through virtual telepresence rather than by personal appearance?

If authorities across Europe punish Christian parents homeschooling their children over violating compulsory attendance laws, why aren’t the parents of Greta Thunberg as vigorously prosecuted for being even more neglectful for allowing her to miss academic instructional time in favor of subversive activism?

If Comrade Thunberg is going to invoke autism as an excuse to deflect analysis of her policy proposals, what is so wrong with pointing out she has a mental illness? Doesn’t her sort constantly remind the general population of their neurological state when attempting to get their handouts denied everybody else and at times even why they should not be required to abide by the standards of conduct by which the remainder of us are expected to comport ourselves?

Outrage has erupted over a Michigan ruling deciding that faith-based adoption agencies can refuse to place children with gay prospective parents. Will those feigning concern over the civil liberties implications of such a verdict get as jacked out of shape over religious foster parents and assorted childcare providers forbidden from teaching the youth in their care as to what constitutes a morally proper family and carnal relations?

In criticizing the feminist criticism of the Joker film, Rush Limbaugh closed his morning update remarking in regards to comic book movies that these productions are signs that people need to grow up. What about himself? Limbaugh is the one that has had four wives, the latest nearly thirty years younger than himself. Limbaugh ridicules entertainment derived from comics. Yet he is on the record as being such a fan of the series 24 that there exists a photo of him just about playing tonsil hockey with the actress that portrayed the character Chloe when both appeared at a Heritage Foundation panel discussion examining the conservative fan base that developed surrounding that drama. Can it explained how Jack Bauer is any different than Batman or at least the Punisher?

By Frederick Meekins

Sunday, June 21, 2020

Is Everybody Else Responsible To Maintain Your Health?

At the Trump campaign rally in Tulsa, Oklahoma, attendees were allowed to decide for themselves whether or not they would wear a mask.

Medical establishment functionaries (many of which no one elected to office or not even employed as part of the civil service) issued numerous pronouncements decreeing that those deciding not to conceal their countenances in the proscribed manner were threatening the lives of those with compromised immune systems.

But unlike a supermarket, one does not possess a compelling necessity to attend a political rally in order to continue one’s existence or maintain one’s quality of life.

As such, so long the individual is fully cognizant that masks will not be required at a particular venue or event, doesn’t there come a point where the individual needs to shoulder some of the responsibility for their own healthcare maintenance rather than to pawn that obligation off on everybody else?

After all, haven’t we been told for decades now that if you don’t want your mind or soul soiled by filthy media, then don’t tune into such productions?

Likewise, if you are afraid of picking up a disease in a place that the purpose in being there is more of a pleasure than a necessity, perhaps you ought consider not going there in the first place.

By Frederick Meekins

Thursday, April 23, 2020

Christians For The Most Part Not Responsible For America's Mess

There is one thing that Americans will agree on and that is that the country is in a mess. The socio-economic situation totters on the brink of collapse with deficits and debts poised to consume in wholesale the total value of the nation's wealth. Upon hearing of trial verdicts or police actions not to their liking, like clockwork certain predictable segments of the population no longer simply utilize their constitutional rights to articulate their disagreement but instead like invading hordes loot and pillage their way through the inventories of merchants that had nothing whatsoever to do with the initial perceived miscarriage of justice. Elsewhere, parents and children reluctant about sharing facilities in which the most private of acts take place with members of the opposite of sex are accused of fomenting the most vile forms of bigotry.

Astonishingly, the elites of the mainstream media insist that the way to resolve this crisis is not by returning to at least the rudiments of the principles that usually lay the foundations of both personal success and cultural vitality. Instead, what such technocrats seem to counsel is how those still holding to that foundation are in large part responsible for the widespread decay. To such minds, the only way to restore a semblance of social tranquility is to for the most part eliminate the Judeo-Christian influence with an inordinate amount of that effort directed against the conservative Christian component.

The first step in neutralizing the Christian influence in order the bring about what Barack Obama categorized as a fundamental transformation of the American way of life is to coerce, cajole, and manipulate conservative believers across the various interpretations of Christianity into altering their foundational conceptions of the Afterlife. At the most basic, the faithful contend that those believing in Christ after enduring the struggles and vicissitudes of this world marred by sin will be welcomed into their reward of unending bliss in a perfect realm referred to as Heaven. Those having come to the end of their earthly lives without coming to faith in Jesus Christ will be punished in unending torment likened unto interminable darkness and fire understood to be Hell.

This approach is evident in a April 16, 2012 “Time Magazine” article by Jon Meacham titled “Heaven Can Wait: Why Rethinking The Hereafter Could Make The World A Better Place”. In his analysis, Meacham does not believe that the concept of Heaven should be taught necessarily as an objective doctrine that provides comfort to those realizing that whatever personal suffering with which they are afflicted is likely not to be resolved this side of the grave. Rather, the validity of the concept of the Afterlife is to be determined in terms of its temporal utility. In other words, what value can we (or rather the elites that run society) get from it now in terms of manipulating mere commoners into complying with prevailing ideologies and revolutionary fads.

Borrowing from the interpretation of Anglican Bishop and New Testament scholar N.T. Wright, Meacham writes, “What if Christianity is not about enduring this sinful, fallen world in search of a reward of eternal rest? What if the authors of the New Testament were actually talking about a bodily resurrection in which God brings together the heavens and the earth in a wholly new, wholly redeemed creation?” To most, this sounds a whole lot like a distinction without a difference.

Most that have studied the End Times know that there will indeed be a new Heaven and a new Earth with the likelihood of there being travel back and forth between the two. Those residing in what has traditionally been thought of as Heaven or the New Jerusalem that will be floating above the Earth sort of like a gigantic extraterrestrial mothership will most likely be believers that died prior to the Resurrection. On Earth will likely dwell those that, through the grace of God, survived the Great Tribulation or the descendants of such born during the Millennial reign of Christ with its focus upon Israel, a remnant of which will come to faith in Christ upon realizing the error of that nation's rejection of the Messiah inherent to systematized Judaism.

Of course many Christians are not aware of these truths. Hardly any theologies teach these things boldly with the exception of a handful of dispensational or premillennial theologians concentrated in Fundamentalist, Charismatic, or conservative Evangelical circles. Most such as mainline Protestants such as the Episcopalians and Roman Catholics undermine interest in these passages of Scripture by teaching that these are not to be taken literally but are merely a convoluted literary metaphor regarding the ongoing struggle between good evil. Devout yet hardline Reformed and Presbyterian types insist that the events detailed in the prophetic passages of Scripture haver already taken place on what seems to our contemporary times the distant past.

Interestingly, in the version of Heaven that we are to be allowed to retain as a result of the graciousness of the ruling technocrats and their religious functionaries that they have apparently co-opted, the notion of the Resurrection seems to be little more than an unconnected holdover. For this description of what might still be called the Afterlife (for lack of a better term) doesn't really sound all that different than what we are already experiencing as business as usual.

Meachem writes, “But if you believe the world will be destroyed at the very last day while the blessed look down from a disembodied heaven, then you are most likely going to view things of this world in a different light than someone who believes there will be a bodily resurrection or an earth that is to be ..'our eternal home'.” From this difference, Meachem concludes, “Accepting the latter can mean different priorities, conceivably putting issues like saving the environment up their with saving souls.”

Perhaps there is some truth to the old adage that some are so focused on Heaven that they are no earthly good. However, from the eschatological expectation as articulated by Jon Meachem, those focusing on the terrestrial counterpart of a new Heaven and a new Earth don't seem to fully take to the implications of the concept of “new”.

For as articulated here, Meachem seems to assume that these glorified bodies will simply continue to exist in the same old world that we have always known subject to the all-to-familiar ravages of entropy and decay. He does not seem to take into account II Peter 3:10 how the present elements will melt away in a fervent heat. So why shouldn't the new Earth be as free from death and disease as our new bodies unless Meachem believes that once we die physically we will be plagued with having to endure this process yet again?

Interestingly, this desire on the part of otherwise secular progressives such as Meacham articulating their subdued spirituality is not so that the world we inhabit at the moment might be made a better reflection of the goodness and righteousness conceptualized in its most undiluted form in the presence of God. If anything, the motifs and symbols of belief are only being invoked in a last ditch effort to be do away with the adherents of traditional religious perspectives once and for all.

In his analysis, Meachem observes that these differing understandings of Heaven are in part responsible for the profound division characterizing contemporary American society and politics. But instead of admonishing those with their minds in this world to instead look up so that they might elevate their decorum and character, it is those holding to traditional understandings of virtue that are being asked --- and in certain instances even threatened and commanded --- to take a back seat and assume a posture of silence.

For example, an article published in December 2012 at Yahoo News was titled “Does the GOP need a religious retreat?'. In the analysis, it was pointed out that America is growing increasingly secular and perhaps even antagonistic towards viewpoints that could be categorized as traditionally religious in their orientation towards concepts such as family and morality. But Evangelicals were not applauded for standing by their beliefs in the face of overwhelming societal pressure the way contemporary media and culture for the most part in the celebratory manner often lavished upon the Amish.

George Mason University Professor of Public Policy Mark Rozell is quoted as saying, “The way Republicans speak is turning off the youngest, fastest growing groups in the country --- Latinos and significantly the unchurched, those with no religious affiliation. To them, the Republicans are proselytizing.”

But at least proselytizing denotes an effort to get someone to change their beliefs through rational persuasion or a verbally articulated appeal. These secularists and their radical progressivist allies simply demand immediate acquiescence to their ultimatums or else, with that often up to and including threats of violence.

Reflecting upon the tendency of the rising generation of believers not to stand for their beliefs and to simply cave to the demands of the encroaching culture, George Mason University Professor of Political Science James Wilcox is quoted in the same article as saying, “Young evangelicals don't look at the country as a battlefield...They see the 'War and Religion' narrative as nonsense; they see churches thriving ... and the extent of religious pluralism in this country.”

If this is how young evangelicals see the world, America is worse off than we think. For it means these individuals are not aware of what is going on around them or have incorporated into their own perspective a number of presuppositions that do not belong to a Christian worldview.

It has been said that, if fish could talk, they would still not be able to explain how it feels to be wet. By that, it means those that know nothing else are not usually the best ones to rely upon to explain a particular situation.

The youth and young adults of today have know nothing but overwhelming theological compromise, social decline, and cultural degeneracy. For example, even the Southern Baptist Convention, despite experiencing what many scholars of religious history would categorize as a conservative resurgence commencing in the closing decades of the twentieth century, is now publishing a gender neutral “linguistically inclusive” version of the Bible. And even that is apparently not enough capitulation to the advocates of political correctness.

At the 2017 annual meeting, a resolution was ultimately passed condemning the alleged racial superiority of the so-called “Alt Right”. But while some organizations and ideologies classified under that particular designation indeed peddle a number of questionable assumptions regarding race and ethnicity, the Alt Right is much broader and more complex for the Southern Baptist Convention to dismiss the spokesman of such a broad category outrightly so quickly.

After all, the Southern Baptist Convention did not come out as forcefully against Black Lives Matter and the accompanying protests resulting in upheaval leading to the considerable destruction of private property of individuals and businesses in no way directly responsible for the questionable police actions and ensuing judicial verdicts that led to this palpable outage.

An op-ed published in the 10/25/10 edition of USA Today titled “In God-fearing USA, Where Is The Decency?” blames the lack of civility in American politics on Evangelicals. The essay goes on to provide a couple of examples of this phenomena as well as figures attempting to slowly turn around the ship of state.

As a foremost example, the column's author Tom Krattenmaker details the outrages of Senator David Vitter of Louisiana. For a campaign ad categorized as “punching below the belt” against public benefits for illegal aliens, Vitter is condemned for utilizing images of “dark skinned” Mexicans pouring through a hole in the fence. Would it have been more accurate to have filmed the piece with the buxom fair-skinned actresses from the Telemundo telenovellas who, though Hispanic, have a significant European heritage if they were to submit their samples to one of those fly by night DNA registries constantly advertised on TV?

The column pointed at Senator Vitter's hypocrisy of basing many of his public policy pronouncements on a Judeo-Christian foundation despite Vitter having been caught in an affair with a prostitute. Fair enough.

But ironically, unless one wants to base sexual morality on a Biblical foundation rather than a slippery slope of everyone determining that which is right in their own eyes, aren't those outraged at Vitter's alleged hypocrisy actually the biggest hypocrites of them all? For if we really shouldn't get involved in between of what goes on between two consenting adults, what is so wrong with prostitution so long as the adults involved aren't forced into against their will if the Ten Commandments have been eliminated as the overarching behavioral guideline? After all, it is doubtful Senator Vitter selected the toothless meth addict in the alley behind a local convenience store or in the parking lot of a fleabag motel.

If our bodies really are ours to do with as we please, what's so wrong with what Senator Vitter did? Under the paradigm of radical existentialist bodily autonomy allowed to fester in other sectors of social policy and culture, the only thing Senator Vitter and his lady of the evening really are guilty of are failing to comply with technically obtuse and nearly impossible to understand taxation and labor laws.

The USA Today article that goes on from an incident that is only wrong ultimately if one buys into the exact traditionalist morality that these radical secularists are actually calling for the elimination of to suggest that the real reason America finds itself in the tumult that the nation is mired in today is because of the failure of politically active Christians and conservatives to compromise on a number of fundamental beliefs in favor of a nebulous “civility” that attempts to emphasize the decorum found among a variety of often disparate worldviews and ideologies. These principles have been apparently elaborated more fully in a document known as the “Contract For Civility”.

Of such lofty-sounding endeavors, the discerning are often cautious as more often than not they are little more than mechanisms by which to box in or handcuff those coming closest to abiding by the standards of righteousness. The Civility Project was conceived of by a number of Evangelical Christians and Jew Lanny Davis. That's right, politically astute observer of current affairs, THAT Lanny Davis.

For those that might not be as familiar, about the only reason anyone knows about Lanny Davis is because he has pretty much made a career of publicly defending the Clinton's no matter what. Because of the hypocrisy of having such a celebrity promoting an effort lecturing the rest of us on how we are and are not to behave in terms of how we express our innermost thoughts and beliefs, many have refused to get on board or even reneged over having signed the document to begin with following additional reflection.

Because of the reluctance to bind oneself to the civility covenant, Krattenmaker further laments, “Speaking of those hardball rules, another seems to require that thou shalt not acknowledge anything good about anyone or anything on the other side of the figurative aisle.” If Lanny Davis is to be upheld as the sterling example to which we troglodytes and peons are expected to aspire in terms of public deportment, since his notoriety is owed for his links to the Clintons, did he denounce Hillary Clinton for her categorization of those that simply voted for Donald Trump as “deplorables”. Interesting, isn't it, how all of the compromise is expected from those on the right side of the aisle while those on the left are applauded for looting and prancing down the streets in costumes depicting the unmentionables of the female anatomy?

Praised as a religious leader courageously championing civility in these uncouth times is Jim Wallis of Sojourner''s Magazine. Krattenmaker applauds the numerous Bible verses soaking through his own civility campaign such as Ephesians 4:31 (“Put off falsehood and speak truthfully”), Ephesians 4:31 (“Get rid of all bitterness, rage, anger, brawling, and slander, along with every form of malice”) and James 1:19 (“Be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to become angry”).

Considering these Scriptures in relation to Sojourners Magazine, the discerning cannot help but feel a little bit conflicted. On the one hand, it is almost touching that Sojourners is taking God's Holy Word seriously for a change in light of the publication's endorsement of wanton carnality such as gay marriage as well as providing a forum for those that regularly undermine orthodox theology such as Brian McLaren. On the other hand, one is almost overcome with a sense of profound disappointment upon realizing that Sojourners has no intentions whatsoever of holding its allies to these behavioral guidelines but merely inclined to invoke them to curtail the liberties of religious traditionalists duped into these sorts of agreements.

For example, during the 1980's, “Sojourners Magazine” backed the Sandinistas of Nicaragua. As avowed Marxists, did these insurrectionists “get rid of all bitterness, rage, anger, brawling and slander”? Most certainly not as each of these are intrinsic strategies from the Communist playbook on the way to seize power.

It must be granted that picking sides in Third World political conflicts is difficult. In terms of upholding human rights, the Contras backed by a number on the political right such as Oliver North were little better. However, “Sojourners Magazine” doesn't even apply the standards of civility the publication is calling for in the contemporary early twenty-first century American context not yet irrevocably marred by upheaval or bloodshed that could be characterized as widespread or pervasive.

Of political conservatives, voices at Sojourners such as Jim Wallis would ask that the tone and exaggeration of vocalized outrage be downplayed and pulled back. Therefore, to be consistent, shouldn't this prominent organ of the press also admonish leftist protest movements similarly?

“Sojourners” did nothing of the sort. If anything, the exact opposite strategy was pursued.

For example, “Sojourners” did not condemn Occupy Wall Street as radical extremists given over to inexcusable violence directed at the private property of commercial enterprises or even churches. Instead the magazine extolled Occupy hooligans as prophetic voices and counseled churches susceptible to this form of propaganda to aide and abet the flagrant subversion and vandalism by bestowing items of charity upon these wanton insurgents and even opening up their sanctuaries as places of respite. It would probably take a miracle of God to get the body funk out of the carpet and off the pews should any church heed such a call given that many Occupy activists aren't exactly renowned for their adherence to conventional grooming practices.

As part of the call for civility, the social engineers behind this manipulation campaign insists that we are to downplay our differences in the attempt to emphasize instead what we have in common. It is hoped that the result will be a bland pluralism in which we will surrender to the realized stupor that most viewpoints and systems are pretty much the same with no one's values really better than anyone else's. Yet the end result, as usual, is that traditional religionists and those of an allied conservative mindset are the ones expected to adopt affirmative quiescence for the sake of sociopolitical cohesion or face the consequences.

One such article embodying the spirit of “all values are equal except those questioning the secularist hegemony” is titled “Of Course Evangelicals Are Backing Trump: Their Beliefs Are Illogical And Contradictory”. While focusing primarily upon the initially perplexing incongruity of many deeply devout Evangelical conservatives politically backing Donald Trump who rather matter of factly lived life as an existential reprobate, the article also highlighted a number of policy areas Christian Conservatives are expected to compromise over if any sense of social harmony is to be restored to American politics and culture. Of Christians willing to betray a variety of the faith's most basic assumptions, the author gushes, “Luckily, these sorts of doctrinally orthodox, thoughtful, tolerant and compassionate Christians are growing within evangelical groups. I think it's even fair to say they''ll make up most of the next generation of Christians. They're among the most intelligent and wonderful people I know.”

Now lets take a moment to consider what his author is saying. In civic pronouncements, the resident of the twenty-first century is indoctrinated that it is no longer sufficient to begrudgingly put up with those with whom you disagree. Instead one is obligated to explicitly affirm the way and by what creeds everybody else decides to live their lives.

Yet in his essay, Mack Hayden says that these allegedly orthodox, thoughtful, and compassionate Christians that find Donald Trump “politically reprehensible” are the most wonderful people that he knows. And what is it exactly that makes these people so wonderful?

Why believing, in terms of politics, almost identically with Mack Hayden of course! But by making this sort of judgment, how is he fundamentally different than any other absolutist that insists that not all values or ideas are equal and in terms of how this impacts close relationships it is the proverbial my way or the highway?

And just what is it that makes the Evangelicals that go along with a considerable degree of Trump's initial agenda if not the glaring personal shortcomings of the President so “deplorable” in the words of Hilary Clinton and echoed in the sentiments of the Mack Hayden article?

Hayden writes, “If evangelicals want to reduce the size of government, they must argue with Paul about whether Christians should rebel against government at all. If they want to try to influence government with levitical commands against homosexuality, they must ask themselves why they aren't similarly trying to influence it to legislate morality when it comes to charitable giving.”

Hayden carries on, “If they want the redistribution of wealth, to be considered anathema, they must disagree with both the Old and New Testaments. If they believe God created the heavens and the earth, they must answer why they don't want to protect it. If they want to cry out for the rights of the unborn, they must be able to answer YHWH's admonitions and Christ's questions about why they tried to keep the refugee, and the immigrant, or the disadvantaged from assistance.”

Of these typical conservative Evangelical policy positions, Hayden characterizes these as marked by “illogicality and contradiction”. But instead the situation would be better characterized as one of profound worldview differences.

For example, if Evangelicals want to reduce the size of government, what does that have to do with failure to heed Paul's admonition about rebelling against government? More disturbingly, is Mark Hayden saying that the only legitimate government is a totalitarian one large enough to control all aspects of existence?

The injunction Hayden is probably referring to is Romans 13. Though Mr. Hayden would probably have few qualms about turning the United States into a comprehensive bureaucratic regime along the lines of the Soviet Union and what Americans are likely to end up with if religious conservatives adopt the kind of political pacifism he is apparently calling for, at the moment the United States is not the sort of regime where ultimate authority rests in an office held by a single human being or even a plurality of archons.

Rather, the distinction of the highest temporal authority governing America is instead the U.S. Constitution. The legitimacy of that particular document, in turn, is derived from “We the people.”

As such, the people calling for limited government are not the ones in a state of rebellion. That transgression is being committed by the elected officials and assisting bureaucrats extending the power that they have been vested with into areas over which they have not been granted an explicit foundational mandate.

Next Hayden conjectured that if Trumpist Evangelicals want to influence government with Levitical commands against homosexuality, they must also legislate morality in regards to charitable giving. Once again, Hayden proves that Scriptures cannot be correctly understood unless one has the wisdom of the Holy Spirit.

With the exception of hardline theocrats of whom it must be admitted have a disturbing degree of influence beyond their number, very few Evangelicals advocating a social philosophy inspired by the Bible are advocating a position regarding homosexuality based solely upon the Book of Leviticus (from which the adjective “levitical” utilized by Mr. Hayden is derived). For although the New Testament punishments against physical pleasure beyond the bounds of heterosexual marriage are not as extreme or as explicit as those of the Old Testament, the condemnation of such cannot be denied unless the theologian or exegete is deliberately going out of their way in order to contradict a plane reading of the text. It says in Romans 1: 26-27, “Because of this God gave them over to shameful lusts... In the same waythe men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another . Men committed indecent acts with one another, and received in themselves the due penalty for their perversion ”. This disapproval is further emphasized in I Corinthians where it says, “Do you not know that the wicked will not inherent the Kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral, nor adulterers, nor male prostitutes, nor homosexual offenders, nor thieves, nor the greedy, now swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God.”.

As such, given the nature of this revelation, the Christian holding that God does indeed offer forgiveness to anyone willing to confess that they are a sinner and that nothing can be done to wash away the stain of sin but to claim that one has been washed in the shed blood of Christ does not necessarily want to see the same penalty imposed as that under the Old Covenant with Israel. However, it does not follow that these sorts of relationships should then therefore be allowed with all of society then compelled to celebrate them for fear of the retribution likely to follow from exhibiting an insufficient degree of enthusiasm.

Mr. Hayden then adds to his snide remark incorporating charitable giving into those aspects of morality that can be legislated. He writes, “If they want the redistribution of wealth to be considered anathema, they must disagree with both Old and New Testaments.” Once again, he proves what a dangerous thing incomplete knowledge can be.

Both the Old and New Testaments do teach the importance of charitable giving. However, nowhere is this admonishment to be construed in a coercive manner.

The smart alack critic might respond that, in Old Testament Israel, Deuteronomy 14:22 orders those living under the Covenant to give give a tenth of what they have to the Lord. So is that the premise they really wish to argue from?

Alrighty then. What the text is calling for is for donation into the centralized storehouse of the Lord.

In other words, the contribution was to go directly into the coffers of the centralized institutional religious authority. So would Mr. Hayden like to call for the establishment of a national church that he would be required to give to irrespective of whether or not he agreed with the organization in terms of doctrine and theology.

In the New Testament in particular (that portion of Christian Scripture the reprobates like to invoke when they want to insist that God is really no longer into punishing that which used to be categorized as sin), the model extolled tends to be more voluntary in nature. II Corinthians 9:7 assures that God loveth a cheerful giver.

That means God wants us to give what we want to give. Seldom is anything done under the compulsion of the threat of violence (which in essence what every law is) done cheerfully. God realizes that, in this so-called Dispensation of Grace, He will have more flowing into His coffers by allowing believers to do so on their own than if He fires and brimstones the faithful into coughing up what they owe like the proverbial mafia goon twisting the arm of a resentful shopkeeper.

Apostates advocating the idea of compulsory collection and redistribution of resources love nothing more than the account from the Book of Acts detailing how many in the early church pooled together what they did happen to have for common benefit. These textual critics that any other time go out of their way to downplay or even poo poo the Biblical narratives describing supernatural intervention in this particular instances amazingly don't seem to mind pointing out how Ananais and Saphira were struck dead by the Holy Spirit for retaining for themselves a portion of the proceeds from selling a piece of property.

About the only correct conclusion liberals draw from that account is that Ananais and Saphira died. The rest of the interpretative argument they make is entirely incorrect.

For starters, Ananais and Saphira were not struck dead for refusing to submit fully to what those advocating assorted varieties of liberation theology would insist was a primitive form of Communism or for keeping some of this profit for themselves. What they were struck dead for was lying about the matter.

If anything, the Apostle Peter confirms a position very pro-private property in its underlying orientation. In Acts Acts 5:1-11, he affirms that the property was their's to do with as they pleased and that, if they did not want to, Ananais and Saphira were not obligated to give the church a single cent if they did not want to.

What the couple did not have a right to do is get up there before the congregation and tell everyone that they were handing everything they had made from the sale of the property under consideration. So much for Mack Hayden's insinuation that the Scriptures endorse a systematic redistribution of wealth to the point of taxation being punitive in nature rather than to simply provide needed services.

Mr Hayden continues in his diatribe, “If they believe that God created the heavens and the earth, they must answer why they don't want to protect it?” Once again, Mr. Hayden has revealed just how little he knows about conservative Evangelicals as well as most areas of public policy.

Granted, one might find a few nut job preachers that insist that, since Jesus is to return soon, there is little reason to be good stewards of the natural resources God has blessed humanity with. What Christians, conservatives, nationalists and populists disposed towards Trump have a problem with is just how broad the scope of environmental preservation has become in terms of regulatory intrusion.

For example, there are instances where a transient puddle on private property has come under government purview as a wetland or navigable waterway. Some of the very first pieces I ever published in the mid 90's were about a municipal ordinance that forbade homeowners from removing trees from their own property.

Mack Hayden finishes his litany exposing just how ignorant he is regarding a variety of public policy issues with the following statement. “If they want to cry out for the rights of the unborn, they must be able to answer YHWH's admonitions and Christ's questions about why they tried to keep the refugee, the immigrant, or the disadvantaged from assistance.” Oh where do we begin with this one.

For starters, in speaking out for the rights of the unborn, what is being called for is the most basic right of them all. That is, of course, namely the right to life itself or, to put it more bluntly, the right not to be murdered.

Individuals profoundly motivated by their religious convictions to speak out on public policy issues who are opposed to unlimited immigration such as Pat Buchanan have never called for the execution of illegals whose primary crime was the violation of U.S. border law. It is because all people are made in the image of God that all people --- irrespective of their nation of origin – must be made to abide by these sorts of regulations for the benefit of all people.

Since at least the development of different languages at the Tower of Babel, it has been part of God's creation plan in terms of social organization for people groups of assorted commonalities such as language, culture, and even physical characteristics to conglomerate together usually in definable geographical territories. As a result, governments --- for good or ill is not the purpose of this observational analysis at the moment --- are instituted to protect those dwelling within a particular jurisdiction.

Throughout the course of history, the state, kingdom, or empire administering a respective territory can either be hostile to those arising from beyond its borders or it can be for the most part welcoming or at the least benignly indifferent. In either case, the purpose of government is to foremostly protect those with a recognized status or those outsiders that have not violated objectively established criteria for the purposes of being extended welcome.

Requiring those that wish to enter to abide by a set of preestablished laws and procedures, if anything, is both an affirmation of the basic underlying humanity of the migrant as well as protection of it. For to overlook this sort of transgression is to assume that the violator is not much more than an animal unable to abide by civilized standards. And a monitored border and ports of entry selective as to whom may pass beyond such scrutiny are a deterrent to the kinds of human trafficking and resultant exploitation that turn the American dream into a nightmare for those victimized by the deliberately nefarious concerned with advancing their own benefit even at the expense of violating the image of God in one of the most egregious ways possible.

Apparently, Mr. Hayden upholds as the ideal by which the migrant and the destitute are to be treated the Mosaic law of the Old Testament. Does that include those aspects that the unregenerate such as himself would categorize as harsh by twenty-first century American standards?

For example, even if Old Testament Israel did allow sanctuary to outsiders, it is doubtful such sojourners would have been allowed to propagate alien beliefs and ideologies in opposition to those held by the Chosen People. Of the suspicion of outsiders holding to worldviews at variance with Biblical revelation the Mosaic law advocates according to Deuteronomy 7:3-4, “Do not intermarry with them. Do not give your daughters to their sons or take their daughters for your sons, for they will turn your sons away from following me to serve other gods, and the Lord's anger will burn against you and quickly destroy you.”

If we as Americans are to grant the refugee and others in need assistance because that is how we are admonished by Scripture, does Mr. Hayden intend to embody the sort of consistency he is calling for by modifying this nation's public assistance programs to mirror those described in the Bible? As such, does Mr. Hayden intend to call for the elimination of most benefit transfer payments? Don't worry, the needy and unemployed will be able to eat.

Using the example of Ruth and Naomi, the truly needy would be more than welcome to gleen the leftovers dropped in the fields or even from those crops that the government provides subsidies for farmers are to destroy or don't quite meet some arbitrary aesthetic standard regarding appearance but have little to do with nutritional quality.

If that is still deemed too cruel by assorted twenty-first century standards, those wanting more contemporary prepackaged meals could be required to put in labor at an establishment something akin to a food bank. For if these individuals have vitality enough to piddle away on smartphones or the carnal gyrations that result in the conception of additional children,, there is no reason they cannot at least stock shelves and sort through boxes a couple hours per month at minimum.

In the clash of values, the discerning observer of civic events cannot help but notice that it is always the conservatives that are ordered to compromise or to be held responsible for the pending societal collapse. This tone is evident in an Associated Press story published on 2/15/2013 titled, “Unyiedling GOP Politicians Doing What Voters Ask”. Of what the article categorizes as “those who stubbornly refuse to compromise”, such a strategy is seen as a “tactic that some see as damaging the GOP brand and pushing the nation repeatedly to the brink of fiscal chaos.”

So did the journalist composing this piece also publish a companion essay detailing how Democratic recalcitrance is just as much gumming up the work of government? If anything, would it not be the Democrats pushing the nation at an even faster rate towards financial ruination?

After all, at least in theory anyways, the assorted streams of conservatism that tend to galvanize around the Republican Party usually urge an approach towards governance extolling a degree of financial restraint when possible. The liberals that usually gravitate towards the Democratic party are the ones that seldom ever met a spending program that they did not like and often in the forms of programs and policies that the government of a free people ought not to be involved with in the first place.

By Frederick Meekins

Thursday, April 9, 2020

The Study Of The History Of The End Of The World, Part 2

Jeroslav Pelikan is quoted as saying, “Apocalypticism ... was the mother of all Christian theology. (Kyle 32).” With technological explanations provided in the attempt to understand many of the obtuse symbols detailed in the eschatological portions of Scripture, it can be easy to assume that preoccupation with the End Times and the return of Christ are new phenomena some might describe as afflicting contemporary believers. However, this sense of anticipation has been a part of Christianity since its earliest days. And yet that perspective was also an inheritance bequeathed to the faith as a result of it fulfilling the promises and claims of ancient Judaism.

The West's fascination with End Times speculation can be traced to the tumultuous religious melting pot and crossroads of the Mediterranean world. Though steeped more in a cyclical philosophy of history than their monotheistic Hebrew counterparts, a number of Greek thinkers such as the Stoic Zeno believed that the world would be violently destroyed and begun anew. The Zoroastrians of Persia adhered to an eschatology similar in its broad outline (even if not in specifics) to that of Christianity in that this dualistic system believed that the god of light would remove the good people from the world before it was destroyed with molten metal and restored to sinless perfection.

It is argued by scholars of textual higher criticism that the Israelites did not possess a detailed cosmology of the Afterlife until coming into contact with the Zoroastrians during the time of the Babylonian captivity. Exposure to these ideas coupled with the despair of such a national calamity inspired the development of Jewish apocalyptic literature such as the Books of Ezekiel and Daniel. Those holding to Scripture as divinely inspired would respond that the Israelites should not be accused of cultural misappropriation for allegedly co-opting the eschatology of the Zoroastrians. Such an interpretation would rather consider it a coincidence of divine fortuitousness for the Zoroastrian mystics and contemplatives to have come so close to the truth without the benefit of direct inspirational revelation.

Perhaps the most detailed portion of the Old Testament considered apocalyptic in nature is found in the Book of Daniel. Beginning in chapter 7 and onward through 12, a number of interpretations have been developed by theologians and Bible scholars in the attempt to understand the potentially confusing and most certainly disturbing imagery. Those of a liberal persuasion tend to view the text as more historical in nature. The narrative, such scholars contend, was not written towards the end of the Babylonian exile. Instead the author was actually writing following the desolation of the Temple by Antiochus Epiphanes in such a way so as to make those events sound as if they were yet to transpire within the context of the passage (Thompson, 17).

The futurist interpretation of the Book of Daniel, to which a significant number of Evangelical eschatological theologians adhere, contends that the events described in the text were yet to have taken place at the time they were actually written about by the eponymous Daniel. These prophecies in large part pertain to a series of empires that were yet to come. The empires were in turn symbolically depicted as a series of beasts as well as to what segment and metal they corresponded to on a great statue in a vision by Nebuchadnezzar as interpreted by Daniel. Of particular interest to students of the End Times is the description of the fourth beast. For adorning the fourth beast was a living horn representing a fierce king that would speak blasphemous things against God and make war against the saints. Historicists have traditionally interpreted this to be Antiochus Epiphanes. However, a number holding to the futurist school of interpretation believe this also to be a warning regarding the Antichrist foretold to appear slightly before the Second Advent.

The academic elite might attempt to downplay the apocalyptic nature of the Old Testament by insisting that what appear to be predicted events actually transpired prior to being written down. However, the prophetic nature of the New Testament cannot be as easily denied. Beginning in the Gospels (particularly in the Olivet Discourse of Matthew 24-25), Christ Himself warns of signs such as the kingdoms that will rise against kingdoms and the earthquakes that will take place in diverse places. The message continues well into the Epistles that establish the doctrinal parameters of the church that formed shortly after Christ's resurrection.

Paul warns in the Epistles to the Thessalonians of the man of sin to be revealed and in I Corinthians 15 that Christ will appear in the twinkling of an eye. However, this emphasis upon the End Times was not particularly confined to a single Apostle. In II Peter 3, the believer is told that the present Earth will be consumed in a fervent heat.

The Apostle that perhaps dealt the most extensively with the End Times was none other than John the Beloved. It is in his epistles that the enigmatic Son of Perdition is referred to openly as the Antichrist. John went on to reveal the demonic nature of that figure as well as describe other aspects of the End Times in the Book of Revelation (interestingly enough also known as “the Apocalypse”). Like its counterpart the Book of Daniel in the Old Testament, the symbolism depicted within Revelation is so overwhelming for the human mind to grasp that the attempt to understand the text has spawned a number of conflicting interpretations. Similar to the interpretations of the Book of Daniel, these viewpoints are the historist, the idealist, the futurist and the preterist (Kyle, 37).

The idealist interprets the Book of Revelation as merely an allegory of the struggle between good and evil intended to comfort the believer irrespective of their circumstances by reminding that Christ is ultimately triumphant. The preterist believes that Revelation was intended for the first century church undergoing persecution at the hands of the Roman Empire, assuring believers in that day that their persecution would come to an end. The historist is somewhat more eschatological in its interpretation in that the viewpoint sees Revelation as predicting the broad forecast of church history rather than focused upon events immediately preceding Christ's return. The futurist is the interpretative viewpoint the most eschatologically apocalyptic in that those holding to the perspective contend that the symbolic descriptions contained within the narrative are prophecies regarding events to take place during a time of judgment immediately prior to Christ's return.

All of the prophecies to be considered divinely inspired are found within the corpus of the canonical Old and New Testaments. However, since the earliest days of the church, that has not stopped those gripped with a fascination for the events predicted to take place towards the end of the age from elaborating upon these in the hopes of better understanding what are admittedly complicated texts. Sometimes this speculation has proven helpful. More often than not, such has resulted in additional confusion, even occasionally crossing the theological line into outright error.

With Jesus expected to return shortly and in light of the sporadic yet brutal persecution of Christians on the part of the Roman Empire, one of the earliest (and perhaps most prominent) temptations in regards to eschatological studies was date setting. Extrapolating from II Peter 3:8 that a thousand years are as a day with the Lord and in light of the seven days of creation detailed in the Book of Genesis, it became a popular belief that Jesus would return around the year 6,000 which was believed to be around the time theologians such as Hippolytus and Irenaeus of Lyons were making such predictions (Abanes, 283).

Unfortunately, such apocalyptic speculation did not confine itself to the theologian's study. The self-proclaimed prophet Montanus exuded such enthusiasm that he spawned his own movement, Montanism (of course). It was his message that the return of Christ was so imminent that believers no longer found themselves in the Church Age but rather in the Age of the Spirit. As such, no longer were intermediary institutions such as the organized church or even Scripture necessary for the faithful to discern the will of God. Rather, such knowledge was available through the direct imputation of the Holy Spirit to any that believed.

Those overseeing the Bride of Christ realized that they needed to get the situation under control. Belief in Christ's return was no doubt an indisputable component of the Christian message. However, with the rise of Constantine, the empire had declared a truce with the church to the point where widespread persecution not only came to an end but Christianity ended up becoming the official state religion. That ended up opening another can of worms as to what was to be done with those that did not believe as those in authority thought they ought.

As the church grew more comfortable and came to the conclusion that this life was not so bad after all with the hope that Jesus would still one day come but just not right now, the foremost thinkers in all of Christianity were charged with devising ways to subtly shift establishment theologies underlying eschatological speculation. This new outlook tended to favor the allegorical interpretation of the Alexandrian theologians such as Origen over the more literalist scholars of Ephesus and Antioch (Kyle, 38). For example, Eusebius of Caesarea denied that Christ would return to establish an earthly kingdom. Instead, he argued in his Ecclesiastical History that history up until that point had been working to establish a truly Christian empire not so much under Christ but rather directly governed by Constantine.

The thinker doing the most to divert the church away from its premillennial footing was Augustine of Hippo. As an admirer of Plato, Augustine was repulsed by the idea of a materialist millennium where a variety of carnal pleasures could be enjoyed. Instead in The City Of God, Augustine held that what the millennium symbolized in the Book of Revelation was actually the period of history following Christ's Resurrection as the teaching of this miraculous event spread throughout the world. Such a doctrine that downplayed the notion of a literal millennium but not denying the implications of the Scriptural text outright came to be known as amillennialism.

By Frederick Meekins

Bibibliography

Abanes, Richard. “End-Times Visions: The Doomsday Obsession.” Nashville, Tennessee: Broadman and Holman Publishers, 1988.

Kirsch, Jonathan. “A History Of The End Of The World: How The Most Controversial Book In The Bible Changed The Course Of Western Civilization.” San Francisco, California: Harper Collins Publishers, 2006.

Kagan, Donald, Ozment, Steven and Turner, Frank. “The Western Heritage Since 1789 (Fourth Edition).” New York: Macmillan Publishing Company, 1991.

Kyle, Richard. “The Last Days Are Here Again: A History Of The End Times.” Grand Rapids, Michigan: Baker Books, 1988. Hanover, New Hampshire: University Press of New England, 1996.

Ladd, George. “The Blessed Hope: A Biblical Study of The Second Advent and The Rapture.” Grand Rapids, Michigan: WM. B. Eerdmans Publishing, 1956.

Thompson, Damian. “The End Of Time: Faith ans Fear in the Shadow of the Millennium.”