Tuesday, December 11, 2007it's easier than you think...
I believe it is Winston Churchill which said: "History is written by the victors." Perhaps this view seems a little cynical to you, dear readers, but I fear that in many instances, it is quite accurate.
Culture gratefully influences history. There is no doubt about that. Consider my neighbours to the South, the United States. The United States today is pretty much a federation; that is, it has a powerful central, federal government. It wasn't always the case. Not so long ago, the United States was a Confederation; power was decentralized and the States pretty much ruled in all matters (though there was a weak central, federal government). The transition the U.S. went through to go from a confederation to a federation came in the form of a war.
Do you know what the war was called?
It was, of course the American Civil War. You may have been confused about which historical event I was getting to because the American Civil War is rarely presented as a war for the centralizing of power (except perhaps in the American South); instead, it is presented as the "War against Slavery". You have to admit, a war against slavery sounds far nobler than a war to centralize governmental power. That's why the victors, the Northern States, when they wrote their history books, made sure to speak highly of the Federalist good-guys freeing the Southern slaves in the great and noble, American Civil War.
Not too shocking, not too surprising. We have to forget the fact that slavery was alive and well decades after the Civil War and we kind of have to ignore the pervasive systemic racism which went on for a century after the Civil War, but that's just details...
Fast forward to the present, and nothing much has changed. History is still being written by the victors, and now, things have gone even further: history is being re-written. Consider this piece of TRASH.
We now live in a day where the Lord my God is a foolish imagination; an imagination that has no place in public life. An undesirable philosophy which not only needs to disappear in the present and future, but one that needs be maligned in history as well; and this "historian", James Simpson, doesn't disappoint (he will surely win some applause from the Papacy for this nonsense). Consider some of his folly:
"... being able to read the sometimes frightening set of moral codes spelled out in the Bible scared many literate Englishmen into following it to the letter."
Oh my... following the Bible to the letter!!! Loving God with all heart, mind, and soul, and loving your neighbour as yourself... MAKE IT STOP!!! PLEASE!!!
"Reading became a tightrope of terror across an abyss of predestination," said Simpson, author of "Burning to Read: English Fundamentalism and its Reformation Opponents."
"It was destructive for [Protestants], because it did not invite freedom but rather fear of misinterpretation and damnation," Simpson said.
Yes, because everyone knows that true Christians who follow the Bible soon realize that they are mindless robots going to Heaven, and everyone else are mindless robots going to Hell...
"Persecution and paranoia became the norm, Simpson said, as the new Protestants feared damnation if they didn't interpret the book properly."
Strange, when I read historical accounts of revivals throughout Europe and the New World, I read of taverns closing, hospitals and schools opening, and people enjoying God and being kindly affectionate to one another. I read of people being assured of eternal life, not a fear of death. Do I discount that there may have been some who were paranoid, or those who did persecute/act wickedly towards others? Not at all, but these were not the norm of true Biblical revivals. Do I deny that Christians feared God in high measure during the reformation and subsequent revivals? I do not! I only wish that fear, a true an honest fear of God, still existed in our society today.
"The rise of fundamentalist interpretations during the English Reformation can be used to understand the global political situation today and the growth of Islamic extremism, Simpson said as an example."
"Very definitely, we see the same phenomenon: newly literate people claiming that the sacred text speaks for itself, and legitimates violence and repression," Simpson said, "and the same is also true of Christian fundamentalists."
These two quotes are absolutely precious. I mean, I couldn't have made these up if I tried. I have but one question for Mr. Simpson: I would like for him to show me, in history, where Christian fundamentalists (that is, those who adhered literally to the doctrines of Scripture), walked into marketplaces with weapons to slaughter innocent blood. I would like for him to show me how "Christian extremism", which he claims existed during and after the Reformation (in high enough numbers to justify his generalizations), is at all comparable to the violent and downright evil acts of Islamic extremists in our day, and those of the past.
Perhaps some here would like to bring the Crusades as an example. Problem is, the Crusades were instituted and directed by Romanism, not Biblical fundamentalism; and if I'm not mistaken, the Crusades were well over by the days of the Reformation.
Here are the historical facts, dear readers:
-Biblical, fundamental Christianity took the fear of death and Hell out of God's people everywhere by giving the masses the very Word of God. No longer would death and Hell be used as instruments of extortion.
-Biblical, fundamental Christianity was and is the source of the strength of the West. Education, culture, medicine, social benevolence... all these and more have thrived when rooted in Biblical Christianity. The dark ages ended for the West when the Bible was given to the people. The Lord Jesus Christ said: "And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free", and that's exactly what happened.
-Biblical, fundamental Christianity was and is the source of true international works of compassion (ex.: relief efforts).
-Any study of history and geography clearly shows the significant benefit of Biblical, fundamental Christianity in the world. Where it is absent, there is but confusion and darkness. Where it thrives (or has thrived), progress and prosperity can clearly be seen.
-Contrary to the assertions of Mr. Simpson and Rosie O'Donnell, Fundamental Christianity and fundamental Islam are quite opposite in faith and practice. Where there are Christian fundamentalists, there is freedom, tolerance, grace and mercy. Where there is fundamental Islam, there is repression, intolerance, viciousness and violence. Again, a quick overview of recent history and the 11 o'clock news tonight will prove this point.
It is truly a sad thing to watch the spiritual demise of the West; when our "learned men" run foolishly against God, despite all the evidence that following the Almighty is life and peace and knowledge. It's sad to see all the progress made, all the blessings we have enjoyed, being credited to fortune, and not to the the One who deserves praise and glory. It is sad to see that the victors today, are the ungodly.
Actually, it's downright sickening.
"...and there arose another generation after them, which knew not the LORD, nor yet the works which he had done for the West. And the children of the West did evil in the sight of the LORD, and served Secularism and Heathenism: and they forsook the LORD God of their fathers, which brought them out heathen darkness, and followed other gods, of the gods of the people that were round about them, and bowed themselves unto them, and provoked the LORD to anger. (Judges 2:10a-12 in Rand's Applied Version)