Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Christianity and the Centennial State

The Fourth is a celebration of our national birth. It reminds us of 1776 and the great events that transpired. It should also remind Coloradans of...

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Sunday, June 27, 2010

A Connection between Atheism and Communism

There are numerous atheistic websites wishing to distance themselves from historic communism. This is accomplished by denying that atheism had any meaningful connection to 20th century international communism. As one writer put it, these regimes "did not wage war in the name of atheism."

Naturally, depending on how one argues, wagging war "in the name of atheism" takes on different meanings. If by that statement, the reader is to understand that the declarations of external war or internal "purges" did not includes an official atheist stamp of approval, then the assertion is certainly true.

However, if by this assertion one is to understand that atheism was not part and parcel of the entire communist scheme, then the assertion is dead wrong. In fact, dialectical materialism was so identified with communism and in turn atheism was so identified with dialectical materialism, that to promote communism was to promote atheism, specifically dialectical materialistic atheism.

Marxist Attitudes to Religion

To demonstrate this fact consider the 1918 USSR Congress. To clarify and cement its October Revolution of the year before it declared:

"The Communist Party of the Soviet Union is guided by the conviction that only conscious and deliberate planning of all the social and economic activities of the masses will cause religious prejudices to die out. The Party strives for the complete dissolution of the ties between the exploiting classes and the organizations of religious propaganda, facilitates the real emancipation of the working masses from religious prejudices and organizes the widest possible scientific educational and anti-religious propaganda." (1918)

Lenin was the author of this sentiment:

"The philosophical basis of Marxism, as Marx and Engels repeatedly declared, is dialectical materialism, which has fully taken over the historical traditions of eighteenth-century materialism in France and of Feuerbach (first half of the nineteenth century) in Germany—a materialism which is absolutely atheistic and positively hostile to all religion." The Attitude of the Workers’ Party to Religion, 1909


In fact, his attitude toward religion was the same as Marx: "Religion is opium for the people. Religion is a sort of spiritual booze, in which the slaves of capital drown their human image, their demand for a life more or less worthy of man."

And ideological hostility to religion is but the basics:

"We must combat religion—that is the ABC of all materialism, and consequently of Marxism." Lenin, The Attitude of the Workers’ Party to Religion

And yet, the historical written record shows that their documents did not incorporate much overt hostile language against Christianity. Why?

How to deal with Religion

The remainder of the 1918 USSR Congress stated the reason:

"At the same time it is necessary carefully to avoid giving offence to the religious sentiments of believers, which only leads to the strengthening of religious fanaticism."

This careful avoidance of "giving offence to the religious sentiments" is but Leninism put into practice. Communism had an internal disagreement on how best to eliminate religion. One party wanted to publicly declare themselves as atheists bent on purging the native Christians; the other party desired the same end but plotted a more circuitous route.

After explaining that the formation of his political party was "precisely for such a struggle against every religious bamboozling of the workers," Lenin explained this circuitous route:

"If that is so, why do we not declare in our Programme that we are atheists? Why do we not forbid Christians and other believers in God to join our Party?...the yoke of religion that weighs upon mankind is merely a product and reflection of the economic yoke within society...that is why we do not and should not prohibit proletarians who still retain vestiges of their old prejudices from associating themselves with our Party. We shall always preach the scientific world-outlook, and it is essential for us to combat the inconsistency of various 'Christians'."

The basis of the religious problem is the "economic yoke within society". And one way to combat religion is to "preach the scientific world-outlook". Why not directly attack it? Lenin further explains:

"But that does not mean in the least that the religious question ought to be advanced to first place, where it does not belong at all; nor does it mean that we should allow the forces of the really revolutionary economic and political struggle to be split up on account of third-rate opinions or senseless ideas..." Socialism & Religion, 1905

In other words, the atheistic dialectical materialists wishes to re-direct any internal disagreement by avoiding "third-rate opinions" and focusing on the "economic and political struggle" instead. Let the religious join the party and focus on socio-political priorities and eventually their religious priorities will fade away.

Or, as Engles stated more eloquently:

"Engels called their vociferous proclamation of war on religion a piece of stupidity, and stated that such a declaration of war was the best way to revive interest in religion and to prevent it from really dying out." Lenin, 1909

Specifically,

"Engels insisted that the workers’ party should have the ability to work patiently at the task of organising and educating the proletariat, which would lead to the dying out of religion, and not throw itself into the gamble of a political war on religion...“Religion is a private matter”: this celebrated point in the Erfurt Programme (1891) summed up these political tactics of Social-Democracy." Ibid

So, the more indirect route of Marx, Engels and Lenin is to undermine the society that upholds the religion:

"No educational book can eradicate religion from the minds of masses who are crushed by capitalist hard labour, and who are at the mercy of the blind destructive forces of capitalism, until those masses themselves learn to fight this root of religion, fight the rule of capital in all its forms, in a united, organised, planned and conscious way." Ibid

The plan was to lure inquisitive religious people into the thinking of the communists. Of course, that was easy since the entire social milieu was essentially owned and operated by the State. Repress freedom of the press, spy on worship services, control the major means of production and promote State-loyal workers and the pressure on Christianity multiplies one hundred fold beyond what atheists even feel today in America.

Over the decades in the USSR there was a general attempt to stamp out religion by withholding educational and job positions, control or closing of religious locales, imprisoning dissenting clergy, and atheistic requirements for Party membership (here).

A Goal of Communism

Naturally, someone may think this is only the Russian version of communism. History proves otherwise:

"In the final analysis, this is also true of the imperialist and capitalist systems, which are bound to be replaced in the end by the socialist system. The same applies to ideology, idealism will be replaced by materialism and theism by atheism. Here we are speaking of the strategic objective." Mao, 1957

There is a consistency of logic among these leaders. If dialectical materialism is true, then traditional Christianity is false. And if the success of a society rests upon truth (materialism), then such truth must be propagated. The question is how? At times the promulgation of atheistic communism was by massive purges and exiling those in disagreement (near 100 million dead, here). At other times through national revolutions. And when in secure power, the socialistic overlords magnanimously allowed "freedom of religion" all the while covertly intent on undermining Christianity.

None of this means that American atheists are guilty by association. By God's grace today's new atheists inherit a more democratic approach to religious debate, rooted in the Christian roots of American freedom.

[This is a Denver Christian Apologist Examiner article, here]

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

New Ray Study of Homeschooler Demographics

An informative review of last years great homeschooling study by NHERI's Dr. Ray:

"This is the latest of a long line of nearly identical studies Ray has been performing for decades now at fairly even intervals. In two previous posts I reviewed this large body of work, which you can read here and here. This new study tries very hard to overcome one of the most persistent deficiencies of his previous work (and the 1999 Rudner study)–the near exclusive reliance on HSLDA’s advertisement to recruit subjects, leading to unrepresentative samples. This time around Ray tried to recruit families from outside of the HSLDA orbit. Did he succeed?" Continued here.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Arizona Dangerous?

New Thoughts on an old Washington Debate

Professor Lillback has brought the old assumptions of George Washington's religiosity into new light.  His research of over a decade culminates in his book, George Washington's Sacred Fire.

Here is a short article (at the History News Network) to whet your appetite.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Ligonier 2010 Conference Webcast

Watch the Live Webcast of Ligonier Ministries' 2010 National Conference


Live Webcast


Thousands of people will gather in Orlando this week for worship, fellowship, encouragement, study, and prayer, as we study some of the toughest questions Christians face. Joining Dr. R.C. Sproul will be respected pastors, theologians, and leaders Alistair Begg, Michael Horton, Steven Lawson, John MacArthur, Albert Mohler, Burk Parsons, R.C. Sproul Jr. and Derek Thomas, all of whom will equip us to answer questions that all Christians and non-Christians find perplexing.



Watch It Live on Thursday, June 17

This year, we have partnered with Christianity.com to provide the webcast. We will be live streaming the conference for free (over 22,000 have watched in previous years), and will again have a Spanish language simulcast online as well.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Did Christ Identify the Antichrist?

Someone forwarded me a youtube presentation. His concern was to find the truth of the matter presented in that youtube clip. Here is the truth:

1. God used Greek (and some Aramaic) for the text of the New Testament. This should be sufficient for Christians. We do not need to "reverse engineer" the Greek back into the Hebrew to find hidden meanings.

2. Of course, the Old Testament is important for understanding the New Testament. And there are obvious texts in the NT that take a Hebrew word (such as YHWH--God's covenant name in Hebrew) and use the closest Greek equivalent (Kurios, Lord).

3.  The pronunciation system used for ancient Hebrew today is not monolithic. There are differences. These differences arise form different theories of where Hebrew originated and what other languages influenced it.

4. Thus, we do not actually know how ancient Hebrew was pronounced. If someone would dig up a dead Jew from that time period and get him to talk, then scholarly differences would disappear.

5. 'baraq' (lightning, either physical or metaphorical; sometimes 'glittering'). Naturally, the assumption is that if two words have the same sound in two different languages, their meaning must be the same! (In Russian the imperative, "go" can sound similar to "idiot" in English...need I say more?)

6. Bama: In 80 of 100 uses in the OT, the word refers to places of worship (Theological Wordbook of the OT).

7. What this means is that there are other more common words used for 'height' other than bama.

8. The conjunctive 'waw' (or 'vav') is not a preposition. There is a preposition "from" and it is not 'waw'. So why use the conjunctive?

9. Isaiah 14:12-19 is not the "Christian understanding" of Satan (Lucifer). It is the dispensational understanding. It is not the classical understanding of this set of verses.

10. "I saw Satan as Barack Obama" is not what a Jew would say in Hebrew. One little word is missing: "falling". That is a verb. And it is not a conjunctive.

11. Thus, to use this fanciful approach, the NKJV would read, "I saw Satan fall like Barack Obama".  This is a comparison not an identification. The word 'like' is used (in Greek) and no mention of antichrist exists.

12. Christ, according to this outrageous approach to holy Scriptures, is telling his Jewish audience to compare the fall of Satan with a then-unknown person. Certainly, Christ is not helping their understanding.

12. Assuming that the author's understanding of Ezekiel 14 is correct, would not Christ see Barack fall like Satan instead of Satan falling like Barack? 

13. So, to continue with this reductio ad absurdum, the Hebrew equivalent to "fall" is 'napal.' The Greek word order puts "fall" at the end of the sentence. So, "I saw Satan like (as) Barack Obama (in) Napal."  (Napal (or nopol) is a city in the Philippines). Or maybe there is another "Obama" with a last name of "Napal"?

14. Or maybe this guy just missed the boat because "Barack" could come from the Hebrew word "to bless". In which case, Satan is like the "blessed" Obama.  Maybe there is a limit to the creative author's mind after all!

15. But I think the author did his audience a favor in the concluding small text explaining that no one really knows what Hebrew or Aramaic words Jesus used.

Instead, he thinks, "No harm, no foul"--a none-to-terribly Christian approach to the Ninth Commandment.  Innuendos and insinuations are just as prohibited to Christians as to the average politician.

He ought to retract such nonsense before he further drags the good name of Christians into the mire. Unless, of course, he wishes to debate someone with actual biblical credentials?

Thursday, June 10, 2010

CATO's review of Robin Hood

What is it with modern American liberals and taxes? Apparently they don’t just see taxes as a necessary evil, they actually like ‘em; they think, as Gail Collins puts it in the New York Times, that in a better world “little kids would dream of growing up to be really big taxpayers.” But you really see liberals’ taxophilia coming out when you read the reviews of the new movie Robin Hood, starring Russell Crowe. If liberals don’t love taxes, they sure do hate tax protesters.

(continued here)

Thursday, June 03, 2010

Ted Haggard's new church

Haggard's new announcement is probably not a surprise to anyone.He's starting a new church--a new church outside of Colorado Springs.But this time it's with a twist: a liberal evangelical church.

[continued here]

Wednesday, June 02, 2010

Opportunistic Politicians

Rahm Emanuel, Barack Obama's chief of staff, let slip the strategy behind the health care power grab when he declared that you should

never let a serious crisis go to waste...It's an opportunity to do things that you think you could not do before.


The Wall Street Journal, A Forty Year Wish List, Jan. 2009, here.