Thursday, September 29, 2011

"And if not..."

From my favorite George Will essay:


In early 1940 the British and their allies sent a force of some 350,000 men into the low countries of Europe to stem the tide of German advance into France, Belgium and Holland. Caught in a brilliant pincer movement by the invading German forces the beleaguered British Expeditionary Force was pushed back to the beaches of the small Belgian town of Dunkirk. To everyone’s surprise the Germans halted their advance to regroup. As England and the world waited for what appeared to be the sure and certain annihilation of 350,000 men a three word message was transmitted from the besieged army at Dunkirk. It read simply, "And if not." The British people understood the biblical import of the cryptic message. It was a reference to the Old Testament book of Daniel, where Daniel and his friends chose death rather than worship an image of the pagan king, "If it be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the furnace of blazing fire; and He will deliver us out of your hand, O king. But if not, let it be known to you, O king, that we are not going to serve your gods or worship the golden image that you have set up" (Daniel 3:17-18). The British Expeditionary Army, surrounded, cutoff and on the brink of destruction was declaring to Britain and to the world that even in apparent defeat they were, in fact, victorious. The message, more eloquent than a sermon delivered in St. Paul’s Cathedral, galvanized the British people. In a matter of hours thousands of boats of every description headed across the dangerous waters of the English Channel and, at the risk of their own lives from enemy fire, began the evacuation of the heroic but beleaguered army in what historians now refer to as "the miracle of Dunkirk."

The salient Christian affirmation is this: we have faith in God and faith in His grace and we hope that we will be saved from evil in this world. We hope He will deliver us. But if not, we will never bow to evil. We will never surrender.

C.S. Lewis said it beautifully in The Screwtape Letters. Screwtape, the demon, says to his nephew:
Our cause is never more in danger than when a human, no longer desiring, but still intending, to do our Enemy's [God's] will, looks round upon a universe from which every trace of Him seems to have vanished, and asks why he has been forsaken, and still obeys.
The West loses its Christian faith and culture at great danger to itself. Christianity is and always has been a hard check on secular power. Christianity is subversive. It has inspired countless defenses of civilization, from Rome to Tours to Vienna to Lepanto to Dunkirk to communist Poland and Eastern Europe.

Christianity is a refusal to bow to unjust power.  It is a refusal to submit  to totalitarianism, to nihilism, to idolatry, to evil. It is a refusal to submit to lies.

Why it is so hated by so many? After all, Christianity is a humble love of God and of man. But it is more.

Christianity is defiance.

30 comments:

  1. I was born and raised in Northern England in a military family.
    The changes I have seen since the 70's are profound. Surely there have been many advances in technology and services...but the Britishness has faded in Britain. London does not even feel like England. Scotland is full of Separatists. Large portions of the Northwestern cities are like refugee camps.
    Even 'liberal' types are starting to take notice over that way.
    One MAJOR factor in this is the change of role forced on the CofE, (and to a lesser degree/regionally the Catholic Church, Methodists, and Presbyterian) and the Lords.
    Much has to do with 'chav' culture (like 'thug culture' here).
    Much has to do with the nanny state's policies - from 'benefits' to booming prison industries.
    The only light in the tunnel is the REACTION to all these changes.

    Much also has to do with the deracinating policies of 'multiculturalism' (cultural relativity)...
    But whatever the cause, each trip I make 'home' across the pond - it seems LESS like the land I was from, and more like a generic EU state.
    I cannot say how it pains me to say this about my old 'home'...the land I am from.
    I get the same, if less profound feeling when visiting friends and family in SoCal, where I lived for a few years as a young man. Just NOT the same place.
    Even to a (lesser again) degree in Toronto (home for 20+years) or Montreal.
    It seems the same changes are happening here in North America too.
    The days when the lines "And if not.." spoke to the masses are faded.
    Much must be done to regain the fortitude and insight afforded by the centuries of Christian culture that was Great Britain.
    Here in North America we have the opportunity to turn about BEFORE we reach that state. Our reversals and adjustment would not need to be so drastic or uncomfortable.
    We have seen Mum's drinking problem, and so can avoid the bottle ourselves...or become drunks.
    We can still resist melting our culture(s) into a post-secular Golden Calf and enduring the fury that inevitably follows.

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  2. A bit of history to clear up the field.
    (not my text)

    Germany was a Christian nation long before the Nazi's came along in the 1920s. When the Nazi's took power in Germany, they were widely and generally supported. Even after the defeat of the Third Reich in 1945, a majority of the German People (in a survey conducted by the US military) remained sympathetic to the Nazis and wished for a return of surviving Nazi leaders. Most Germans were either active members of the Nazi party or were sympathetic, and most were Christians, mainly Catholic. (There were a lot of non-Christian Germans at the beginning of this period, but the Christian Germans killed or drove away most of them.) Most Germans were anti Semitic and many were directly involved in the slaughter of over six million Jews and other "undesirables." The Holocaust was a perfectly logical extension of over a century of increasingly bitter and obsessive anti Semitism evolving hand and hand with German Catholic political ideology and white supremacist doctrine in Germany and elsewhere. There were no Atheists involved in any of this. None.

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  3. "It is a refusal to submit to lies."

    My irony meter exploded.

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  4. There were no Atheists involved in any of this. None.

    So England should have just surrendered, and all theists should shut up forever, so there.

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  5. So when the Germans imbibe a toxic brew of Darwinist eugenics (the struggle of the "Master Race", the "survival of the fittest"), Marxism (National Socialism), Nietzscheism, (the Will to Power, the rejection of the "soft" Christian religion), Theosophic occultism (swastika, "sieg"), and Wagnerism (The Arian mythos, the Teutonic "Superman"), why, then, Christianity is to blame. And none of these toxic, crazy ideas came from what were, for all intents and purposes, atheists.

    When thousands of priests and nuns are sent to the camps, it's because of Christianity.

    I eagerly await citations detailing all of the Scripture quotes and invocations of Catholic doctrine from the Fuhrer's speeches and writings.

    Egnor's post described Christianity as "A refusal to bow to unjust power. It is a refusal to submit to totalitarianism, to nihilism, to idolatry, to evil. It is a refusal to submit to lies" and Iko somehow turns around the failure to do precisely this as an example of Christianity.

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  6. Iko,
    I can appreciate your attempting to show anti-Semitism is older than Darwin. But, nobody is suggesting otherwise.
    The suggestion is that Christianity was one of the cultural strengths / pillars that allowed the British to show the resolve they did, in the face of the Nazi terror. That by wilfully allowing this muscle to atrophy we become weaker in the face of any would be enemies.
    Doctor Egnor is correct in these observations and I think he very reasonable to conclude the way he did. Most historians would.
    That said, you would have to be blind not to see how the NAZIs used and abused Darwin (via Haeckel) in order to legitimize their horrific social engineering efforts.
    You're barking up the wrong tree, so far as I can see, Iko.

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  7. @whatever he is calling himself this time,

    "My irony meter exploded."
    That's what happens when you get excited and only have a tiny little meter to measure by.
    THINK more often for a larger, longer, stronger more fulfilling irony. Your partner(s) will love you for it.
    Your ability to reason is something like a muscle. Exercise it and it grows...you know like your wrists.

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  8. crus:

    ["My irony meter exploded."
    That's what happens when you get excited and only have a tiny little meter]

    Very funny.

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  9. crusadeRex,

    (Doctor Egnor is correct in these observations and I think he very reasonable to conclude the way he did. Most historians would.)

    OK, I see your point and, from that angle, you’re right,

    but..

    (That said, you would have to be blind not to see how the NAZIs used and abused Darwin (via Haeckel) in order to legitimize their horrific social engineering efforts.)

    The Nazi’s used and abused many things, one of them ‘could’ have been Darwin, but that doesn’t deligimitise the theory. They also used and abused the Church, yet I don’t argue it’s the Churches fault. What I do argue is that Christian philosophy wasn’t strong enough to break it.

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  10. This is the line I take exception to, Iko.
    "There were no Atheists involved in any of this. None."
    That is nonsense.
    I know it is not your line, but it is still nonsense.
    There was and IS Atheists involved in National Socialism, just as there is a 'Christian Identity' movement within it. The Nazis USED these ideas.
    Look, if we are to accept that the Nazis were a phenomenon of Christendom, then we must also accept their conquerors and the liberators of Europe were ALSO the result of that culture: Christian. The culture/civilization corrected itself. How did they transcend politics and regional bad blood? By a code of objective morals.
    "And if not..."
    Atheism has no such arsenal of ideas, rather it can ONLY facilitate. When transformed into state religion, via scientism and moral subjectivism / relativity....
    I am sure you can see where I am going with this, Iko.

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  11. I love to see the uneducated try to form arguments. Here's a hint: Haeckel wasn't a "Darwinist".

    But lying for Jesus seems to be okay.

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  12. "What I do argue is that Christian philosophy wasn’t strong enough to break it."

    But it did.
    The lack of the German Reich and the continued existence of the Christian Kingdoms and churches of Europe is physical proof of that. REAL Christianity did win the day. fake Nazi Christianity was pushed to the lunatic fringes...and with it the other crazy stuff like social Darwinism.
    EVIL is the common denominator here. Not Darwin or Christ. It is just that Christ has a comeback, a counter for Evil. Real or not, the FAITH people hold in His teachings is empowering.
    Darwin is just a man with a theory.

    PS Nice to have a rational discussion on these matters for a change, iko. Cheers.

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  13. Anon,
    If I am wrong correct me.
    Call me a liar, and it YOU who bares false witness - not I.
    Insult me or my God and waste your time entirely.
    Grow up, kid.

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  14. Iko,
    You wrote:
    "The Nazi’s used and abused many things, one of them ‘could’ have been Darwin, but that doesn’t deligimitise the theory."
    I agree and concede this point.
    But, that is not the basis on which I (or most educated Theists) reject Darwinian natural selection as the Origin of life.

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  15. @crusadeREX, mregnor and others
    It's extremely sad to see you devoting your lives to an imaginary being.

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  16. It’s getting late here in Paris. My little boy is learning how to read. Soon I’ll put him to bed. Unquestionably, reading him bedtime stories is the best moment of my day.

    cusadeRex, you say.. ‘But, that is not the basis on which I (or most educated Theists) reject Darwinian natural selection as the Origin of life.’

    .. but apparently Dr. Egnor doesn’t subscribe to that view. He is a ‘fellow’ at Discovery Institute, of which one of their main writers is Klinghoffer, a nasty Revisionist if ever there was any.

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  17. Iko,
    "It’s getting late here in Paris. My little boy is learning how to read. Soon I’ll put him to bed. Unquestionably, reading him bedtime stories is the best moment of my day. "
    Herein lies the true quality of life. This is how we transcend. Enjoy and have a good night.
    If there is one thing we can be positive of, it is that this discussion will still be raging tomorrow.
    I seem to remember enjoying the millions of questions that went along with those stories with my son when he was little (now 23). If minutes could become hours :)
    We have another one on the way here. Due in November. So, I look forward to such times again with great pleasure. But first there will be songs by the cradle.

    You note:
    "but apparently Dr. Egnor doesn’t subscribe to that view. He is a ‘fellow’ at Discovery Institute, of which one of their main writers is Klinghoffer, a nasty Revisionist if ever there was any."

    In fairness, I am not familiar with all the works of the Discovery institute. Certainly not of the name you mention.
    I do enjoy the works of David Berlinski, who is also a fellow there. Some of the scientists affiliated with that group have also produced some very interesting observations and research. But, as I say I am not familiar with that Institute as a whole.
    I will let the Good Doctor speak for himself, but I am pretty sure Mike's rejection of Darwinian origins is also not based (at least entirely) on social applications of that biological theory.
    On these issues, I can only speak for myself and what I see as reasonable.

    @Anonymous
    "It's extremely sad to see you devoting your lives to an imaginary being."
    It's an extremely surreal experience to see you devoting your life to waging war on imaginary gods,religions, and belief systems....oh and straw men.

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  18. @Mike,
    Glad it gave you a chuckle. :P

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  19. If I am wrong correct me.

    I did. Haeckel was an adherent to the Lamarckian view. You're the one who decided to cite him as being a "Darwinian". Unless you want your lies to be called out, you should make them less transparent than that.

    But all you and other cdesign proponentsists have are lies. If your position is so strong, why do you feel the need to lie for it so often?

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  20. @Anon,

    You wrote:
    "I did. Haeckel was an adherent to the Lamarckian view. You're the one who decided to cite him as being a "Darwinian". Unless you want your lies to be called out, you should make them less transparent than that."
    No you didn't. You called me a liar and wrote libels about Christianity in general.
    You did not prove or correct anything.
    It is there in black and white for all to read.

    Further, are you suggesting that Ernst Haeckel was not a proponent of Social Darwinism? That he did not promote natural selection and did not credit Darwin for those ideas? That he was NOT an evolutionist?
    What, pray tell is 'Darwinismus' then?
    Why is it named after an ENGLISHMAN and not Goethe or Jean-Baptiste Lamarck?
    Lots of questions....
    I think we all know the answers.
    Haeckel approved of and promoted Darwinian mechanisms of evolution (NS &RM). Haeckel promoted 'social Darwinism'. He saw his own work as an improvement and refinement of DARWIN'S, not Lamarck's.
    These connections become uncomfortable because HITLER and the NSDP promoted Haeckel and his ideas as POLICY. The NSDP used Haeckels refined Monism as a scientific justification for his horrors.
    Darwin VIA Haeckel.
    JUST Like I wrote.
    Correct me, if I am wrong.
    Call me a liar (again) if you cannot (again).
    OR... Grow up?

    PS
    I do not know why you guys INSIST on calling me proponent of ID. I merely find it an interesting observation put into modern scientific terms.
    I am a full blown CREATIONIST.
    ID has it's own defenders.

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  21. >"I am a full blown CREATIONIST."

    hurr durr evilution is evil!!! theres a global darwinist conspiracy because athiest hate god!!!! real sience reveals teh truth of the bible and JEBUS!!!

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  22. @crusadeRex: Clearly you have not spent any time actually studying Haeckel's work. His theory that ontogeny recapitulates phylogeny was a Lamarckian view of evolution. So once again you've lied.

    And if you are a creationist, then I feel sorry for you. Asserting that is tantamount to declaring yourself to be an idiot. What kind of creationist are you? Do you adhere to the Hindu creation myth, or the Norse one?

    (And as noted before, "intelligent design" is just creationism rebranded).

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  23. You called me a liar and wrote libels about Christianity in general.

    Its only libel if it is untrue. Sadly for you, none of what I have said about Christianity is untrue.

    You, on the other hand, seem to be able to do anything to stop the stream of lies that pour from your keyboard.

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  24. "Clearly you have not spent any time actually studying Haeckel's work. "
    Clearly Haeckel studied Darwin's. Clearly Hitler studied Haeckel's. Clearly you cannot see the connection.

    "His theory that ontogeny recapitulates phylogeny was a Lamarckian view of evolution."
    OOH big words. He MUST be a GENIUS!
    Actually it was Haeckel's view. A synthesis of Lamarck's, Goethe's, and DARWIN's ideas combined with his OWN. He drew from his influences.
    Darwin was a principal one. He was an EVOLUTIONIST who promoted NATURAL SELECTION.

    "So once again you've lied."
    No, once again you have called me a liar.

    "And if you are a creationist, then I feel sorry for you. Asserting that is tantamount to declaring yourself to be an idiot."
    Hindus are idiots, Christians are idiots, Muslims are idiots, Jews are idiots. All the nations and creeds of men: IDIOTS!!
    EVERYONE is an idiot - except for YOU!

    "What kind of creationist are you? Do you adhere to the Hindu creation myth, or the Norse one?"
    Nothing you would remotely come close to understanding. At least not until you do some marathon growing up sessions.

    "Its only libel if it is untrue. Sadly for you, none of what I have said about Christianity is untrue."
    A reiterated bigotry. Dr Goebels would be proud! (He was a Haeckel Fanboy too!)

    "You, on the other hand, seem to be able to do anything to stop the stream of lies that pour from your keyboard."
    A stream? Oh how poetic!
    *yawns*
    A liar again....

    I think I'll go take my dogs for a run and see if they can produce a better argument than Anon.
    BBL ;)

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  25. @crusadeREX
    "Dr Goebels would be proud!"
    "I think I'll go take my dogs for a run and see if they can produce a better argument than Anon."

    A better argument than a nazi comparison? Shouldn't be too difficult.

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  26. @mike,
    Sorry about all the looney tunes stuff. Just read through the thread...it seems like I can sometimes be a magnet for the real hard cases.
    I will hush up for a while and see if we can get some real discussion back.
    Again, sorry mate.
    Great post.

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  27. crus:

    The thread is great. Nothing wrong with it. Thanks-- please keep up the great comments!

    Mike

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  28. It's extremely sad to see you devoting your lives to an imaginary being.

    Not nearly as sad as it will be to see some doofus cast into the outer darkness because he was too damned foolish to take ultimate questions seriously. No doubt all the internet porn and whacking off will have seemed worth it. At any rate, don't cry for us.

    Atheism: the one philosophy that's guaranteed to give no ultimate vindication. What kind of gonadless tool would embrace such a thing?

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  29. If you insist, Mike.
    Muahahaha-ahaha-hahaha-haha!
    :P

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  30. Clearly Haeckel studied Darwin's. Clearly Hitler studied Haeckel's. Clearly you cannot see the connection.

    And Haeckel didn't agree with Darwin. In fact, Haeckel's view of the development of humans, which led to "Social Darwinism" was decidedly un-Darwinistic. You see, Haeckel believed that multiple strands of primates independently developed language, and this acquired ability was passed to their descendants, leading to the multiple (independently developed) "races" of man. He was very much in the Lamarckian camp on this.

    So, you doubly fail. First, by not understanding Haeckel, and second, by Godwining the thread you fail again.

    No, once again you have called me a liar.

    Because you lied. And continue to do so. Lying seems to be easy for you.

    Hindus are idiots, Christians are idiots, Muslims are idiots, Jews are idiots. All the nations and creeds of men: IDIOTS!!

    Most adherents to those faiths are not creationists. So your "argument" is a non-sequitur.

    Nothing you would remotely come close to understanding. At least not until you do some marathon growing up sessions.

    So basically you don't know. You just proudly announce your ignorance and then can't explain it. And you probably can't explain why you are right and the idea that the world is made from Ymir's skull is wrong.

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