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Posts Tagged ‘John Robbins’

Then Peter opened his mouth, and said, Of a truth I perceive that God is no respecter of persons.

  • Acts 10:34

“My favorite book is the Bible, because it provides the blackprint for man’s salvation.” 

The year was either 1989 or 1990, I don’t recall for certain which.  After a year away from college, I had returned to the University of Cincinnati (UC) to finish my undergraduate degree in Liberal Arts in the fall of 1989 and would go on to finish the next year. 

One day during the school year, my eye happened to catch a display in the lobby of Langsam Library, the university’s main library, with the title “My Favorite Book.”  The display was in a glass enclosed case built into the wall.  Every quarter – UC was on a quarter system in those days rather than the more common semester system – the display was changed.  As it turned out, the “My Favorite Book” display for that quarter was collection of submissions by UC faculty members stating the title of their favorite book and the reason why. 

Having a few minutes to spare, I walked over to the display to look it over.  Somewhat surprised to see the Bible listed as a favorite, I read the card with the faculty member’s write up, which began with the quote at the top of this page.  But it didn’t end there.  After so many years, I do not recall the name or position of the faculty member or the exact wording of the rest of his write up on why the Bible was his favorite book.  What I do recall, though, was the militant and angry tone he used.  There was nothing in his paragraph on the Bible that sounded remotely Christian.  Rather, the author ranted on as if he were some left over radical still stuck in the 1960’s.  The author, who was apparently black, made it very clear that he did not like white people and used the Bible to justify his position. 

Even though I wasn’t a Christian the time, I had grown up in church and knew something about the Bible, enough that I found the author’s use of the Scriptures to promote his clearly hard-core racial agenda deeply disturbing. 

At about the same time, there was controversy on the UC campus concerning a few paragraphs in, if I recall correctly, the student handbook.  It had been reported that there was language in the new version of the handbook that addressed race issues.  The controversy, as I heard it, was over an alleged claim made in the handbook that blacks cannot be racist because they have no power.  This claim bothered me as it conflicted with what I had learned growing up.  I had always been taught that a “racist” was someone who hated another person based solely on his skin color.  Under that definition, anyone, regardless of his background, could be racist.  But here was a claim stating that blacks cannot be racist.  Somewhat skeptical that any official publication of the University would make such a claim – given how rampant “woke” ideology is on today’s college campuses, I know my skepticism sounds naïve to readers in 2021 – I went and asked for a copy of said offending handbook to see what it said for myself.  Sure enough, the report I’d heard was true.  It was right there is black and white:  blacks cannot be racist, because they have no power.

As had the “My Favorite Book” write up, the language in the handbook disturbed and perplexed me.  Not only did the claim fly in the face of everything I had been taught and believed, but it seemed to imply that black people were special class of individuals who were eternally victims incapable of doing wrong, whereas white people, as it were, bore the mark of Cain, eternal victimizers who could do no right.

As I said earlier, at that time I was not a Christian, neither had I ever studied philosophy.  Although I was bothered by the assertions I had come across in the two publications,  the “My Favorite Book” write up on the Bible and the student handbook, I lacked the needed intellectual tools to analyze and refute them. 

Although I didn’t know it at the time and wouldn’t come to realize it until twenty-five years or so later, the radical claims I had stumbled across were part of a new intellectual movement, so new that it had not even received a name until 1989, called Critical Race Theory.

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RLL 57: War in the Middle East and John Kerry in Rome
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The Religious Wars of the 21st Century,” by John W. Robbins

The Religious Wars of the 21st Century,” audio version

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Detail from The Tower of Babel by Peter Brugel, 1563.

In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.

  • Genesis 1:1

In the famous opening sentence of his Treatise on the Social Company, Jean-Jacques Rousseau wrote, “Man is born free, but he is everywhere in change.”   

While Rousseau’s social compact theory of government is not Christian, his observation that man is everywhere in chains certainly rings true.  We can see this in the history recorded for us in the Bible as well as from secular sources.  For that matter, we can see it simply reading the news of the day. 

Jesus himself noted the authoritarian nature of civil government in his response to the disciples’ arguing about who among them was the greatest.  Jesus responded to them,

The kings of the Gentiles exercise lordship over them, and those who exercise authority over them are called ‘benefactors.’  But not so among you; on the contrary, he who is greatest among you, let him be as the younger, and he who governs as he who serves (Luke 22:25-26).

Note that the kings of the Gentiles do two things.  First, they exercise lordship.  The Greek verb translated “exercise lordship” can also mean “be the lord or master of.”  Perhaps another way of expressing the meaning of the Greek is to use the English expression “lord it over.”  We talk that way.  We say so and so is lording it over someone.  Certainly, that was true of the kings and emperors who governed during Jesus ministry.  They lorded it over their people.  What the kings of the earth wanted, they took, and there was little to stop them. 

The second thing these kings did was be called “benefactor.”  On one hand they oppressed their people, but on the other, they wanted to be known as men of generosity.  A modern example of this is Joseph Stalin, who, while being one of the most ruthless of the 20th century dictators used the title “Dear Father” among others. 

From Jesus response to his disciples, we clearly see that there is a large gap between the Biblical teaching about how government should operate – the idea that government is a servant to the people – and how it actually does operate.

But even more basic than the questions what should government do and how should it go about doing it is the question, why should one man obey another man? 

To answer these questions, we must turn to the Scriptures where we find the origin of civil government. 

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Detail from The Tower of Babel by Peter Brugel, 1563.

In the beginning, God created the heaven and the earth.

  • Genesis 1:1

April 15 of this month marked the 109th anniversary of the sinking of the RMS Titanic.  In commemoration of the event, one of the YouTube channels I followed put out a multi-part series covering the events of the April 14 and 15 1912, the night of the sinking. 

One of the videos featured and interesting fact that I had heard about previously but had not appreciated its importance.  As part of the evacuation, Charles Lightoller, the Titanic’s second officer and senior surviving officer, opened the gangway door on D-Deck to help with the lowering of one of the lifeboats. As it turned out, the door was never used during the ship’s evacuation, and in the chaos, was forgotten and left open. This, as it turned out, was a significant oversight.

The D-Deck gangway door was about halfway up on the port (left) side of the ship and normally well above the waterline.  According to one article, it was the ‘front door’ for first class passengers boarding the ship.  But as Titanic settled, eventually the water made its way up to the door and started pouring in.  The way it was explained in the video, the area the gangway afforded to the advancing water was actually larger than the sum of area of the original punctures made by the iceberg on the starboard (right) side at the time of the collision.  With this additional route for water to enter the ship, the sinking of the Titanic rapidly accelerated.    

So just what does this bit of Titanic trivia have to do with today’s subject at hand, marriage?  I admit, the connection may not be immediately obvious, but hear me out.

The stated purpose of this series, going back to Part 1, is, “to apply the revealed history found in Genesis to the current moral, political, scientific and economic problems of our day, refuting the contemporary confusion and setting forth the mind of God on these issues.” 

This brings us to the subject of marriage. 

Back in the day, and we don’t have to go very far back for this, most Americans accepted the Biblical definition of marriage, whether they themselves were Christians. 

But all that has changed in recent years.  If recent polling is to be believed, a full seventy percent of Americans now support same-sex marriage.  As one measure of how things have changed, I recall that the State of Ohio amended its constitution in 2004 to specifically define marriage as a union between one man and one woman.  There was widespread public support for the amendment and the measure was adopted with little public outcry.  This was a mere seventeen years ago. 

The Ohio amendment and all other state-level prohibitions of same-sex marriage were overturned in 2015 by a U.S. Supreme Court decision in the Obergefell v. Hodges case, which originated right here in river city, my hometown of Cincinnati.  

To return to my earlier point about how the mistake of leaving the D-Deck gangway door open sped up the sinking of the Titanic, in like fashion, I believe, the Supreme Court’s Obergefell v. Hodges decision sped up the sinking of the America’s ship of state, which already was well under way in 2015.  It’s not as if leaving the gangway door open is what sealed Titanic’s fate.  The ship was going to sink anyway based on the damage already done by the iceberg.  But leaving the door open sped things up.  The same with America.  American’s have been losing their liberties since the Progressive Era – I always thought it should be named the Regressive Era – so the process has been going on for well over a century at this point.  The loss of liberty was well underway even in 1912 when the Titanic sunk.  But the rate of our loss of liberty, almost imperceptible at first, has sped up greatly in recent years.  In my opinion, the Obergefell v. Hodges decision can be likened to the leaving open of the D-Deck gangway door.  We were well on our way to sinking before that, but same-sex marriage sped things up. 

I say this because it allowed evil to access new parts of our society that had remained untouched until that time.  Over the years, there was greater and greater acceptance of same-sex marriage, but the legal recognition of it has seemed to speed up, not only the rate of acceptance of same-sex marriage, but also other parts of the homosexual agenda such as the recognition of transgenders as the new Brahmins of  the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion movement. 

But despite what the wokesters would have you believe, there is a valid definition of marriage that is binding on all men and women for the very reason that it is God’s definition of marriage.  And God’s definition does not agree with the Supreme Court’s. 

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Detail from The Tower of Babel by Peter Brugel, 1563.

In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.

  • Genesis 1:1

“Words cannot express how I feel.”  Many of us have probably said this or something like it.  I know I have. 

But as common as it is to hear people say that words cannot express this or that, this is a mistake.  Words are entirely adequate to express all thoughts. 

One lesson in the adequacy of language is found right in Genesis 1, where we see God speak the heavens the earth and all that is in them into existence.  If words are adequate to bring about the creation of the universe, by implication words are certainly capable of expressing whatever occurs within the universe.  This seems like an obvious point, yet for those of us who live in the irrational and emotional 21st century, it’s a point that must be emphasized. 

And God said, Let there be light….

It was mentioned earlier in this series that the Westminster Shorter Catechism provides a brilliant definition of the work of creation.  Question 9 asks, “What is the work of creation?,” the answer being, “The work of creation is, God’s making all things of nothing, by the word of his power, in the space of six days, and all very good.” 

It was by the “word of his power” that God spoke the world into existence in Genesis.  That same expression “the word of his power” occurs in the New Testament, where the Author of Hebrews tells us that Jesus is, at this very moment, “upholding all things by the word of his power.”  The term “the word of his power” sounds a bit unusual in English.  In his commentary on Hebrews, John Owen makes the point that one can change the order of the words from “the word of his power” to “the power of his word” with no difference in meaning.  Owen notes that one can even express the same idea by saying “his powerful word.”  Regardless of how one states the idea, in her Trinity ReviewLinguistics and the Bible,” Marla Perkins Bevin noted that one implication of Genesis 1:1-3 is, “that what God says happens.”

Language, Neither Evolved nor Created

Most of us are familiar with the Darwinian explanation of the origin of the various forms of life we see.  Sometimes called “molecules to man” evolution, Darwinism posits that all life has evolved over billions of years through a process called natural selection.

But while Darwinism’s influence in biology is well known, less well known is its influence in other fields of study.  Modern linguistics – linguistics is the analysis of language – use Darwinist assumptions when discussing the origin of language.       

In Wikipedia’s entry “Origin of Language,” we read that famed linguist Noam Chomsky holds that language arose from a single chance mutation in one individual about 100,000 years ago, and that the language faculty was installed in perfect or near-perfect form.  It’s almost as if Chomsky is saying that the ability to use language was installed into a specific individual as one would install a program onto a computer.  In this respect, Chomsky is closer to the truth than some of his linguist colleagues who hold that language developed slowly over time from animal grunts and squeals. 

According to Bevin,

Language was not created and did not evolve from animal grunts or mews. God eternally has language as part of His rationality. Human beings have language because it is part of the image of God. Thus, God’s use of language is an exemplar for human use of language, and it can be used to provide information about human language (“Linguistics and the Bible”).

Language is eternally part of God’s rationality, and men use language because by virtue of their rationality they are the image of God. Language is neither the result of evolution nor creation but precedes creation itself.  “When God said, ‘Let there be light,’ and there was light, the word (and therefore the idea) chronologically and logically preceded the visible light. God’s idea of light and God’s language about light preceded visible light.”

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Detail from The Tower of Babel by Peter Brugel, 1563.

In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.

  • Genesis 1:1

“The work of creation is, God’s making all things of nothing, by the word of his power, in the space of six days, and all very good.” That’s the answer the Westminster Shorter Catechism gives to the question, “What is the work of creation?’ 

It’s one of my favorite question and answer sets from the Shorter Catechism, for the same reason as the passage in Genesis on which it is based is one of my favorite passages of Scripture: it captures elegantly, and in a few words, the astonishing work of the creation of all things.

In the introduction to his commentary on Genesis, John Gill wrote,  “In the Syriac and Arabic versions, the title of this book is “The Book of the Creation”, because it begins with an account of the creation of all things; and is such an account, and so good an one, as is not to be met with anywhere else.”

Genesis is, as Gill implies in the quote above, not the only account of creation from the ancient world. The Greeks had a creation mythology, as did the Babylonians and numerous other cultures. 

But creation mythology is not limited to the ancient world.  In modern times, we have our own mythological creation account known as the Big Bang.  This account, just like the ones from the ancient world, is a garbled version of the true account of the creation of the heavens, the earth, and all that is in them as set forth in Genesis chapter 1.     

At this point, some may ask how it is I can prove that the Biblical account of creation is true and that the others are mythological and false.  The short answer to this question is that the creation account given in Genesis is part of the inerrant, infallible, 66 books that comprise the revealed Word of God.

If you ask me to prove that the 66 books of the Bible are the revealed Word of God, my answer is that not only can I not prove to you that the 66 books of the Bible are the inerrant and revealed Word of God, but also that it would be impious for me to even attempt to do so.     

Now before you think I’ve thrown in the intellectual towel and am simply trying to dodge a serious question about why I believe what I believe, let me explain this a bit further. 

The reason that I cannot and will not attempt to prove that “the Bible alone is the Word of God” is that this is the axiom of Christianity.  It would be both foolish and impious of me to attempt to prove the axiom of Christianity. 

Why would this be foolish?

Because trying to prove an axiom is absurd.  The reason it’s absurd lies in the definition of the term “axiom.” 

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RLL 51: Stop the Covid Madness

Is Biden Holding America Hostage Until ‘Independence’ Day?

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Destruction from The Course of Empire by Thomas Cole, 1836.

Now no chastening seems to be joyful for the present, but painful….

  • Hebrews 12:11

Another week in the collapse of America is in the books.

On the political front, DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas claimed that there is no crisis on the southern border, even as the daily number of migrants who were apprehended illegally entering the US through the southern border is 3,000…daily.  This is apart from the approx. 300 unaccompanied minors apprehended daily.  To put that in some perspective, Jeh Johnson, DHS Secretary under Barak Obama was quoted in 2019 saying, “if it was under 1,000 apprehensions [of illegal border crossers] the day before, that was a relatively good number, and if it was above 1,000, it was a relatively bad number, and I was gonna be in a bad mood the whole day.”  So a number three times what Jeh Johnson thought was “a relatively bad day” is pouring across our southern border, but Biden DHS Secretary Mayorkas is fine with this. 

Concerning our ever more aggressive cultural commissars, Dr. Suess got cancelled this week.  Well, not completely, at least not yet.   So did the Muppets.  Yes, the Muppets.  Disney, which recently released five seasons of the show on it streaming service, has slapped a content warning disclaimer on the show, warning how very bad the show is for its stereotyping and “mistreatment of people or cultures.” 

Now consider for a moment the contrast between the way Dr. Seuss and the Muppets are treated compared to the vulgar, immoral filth that characterized American pop culture in 2021.  I was thinking about this contrast the other day when sitting at a red light next to a car blasting rap out of the open windows.  Now perhaps not all rap music is as vile as the stuff I was subjected to, but much of it is.  Yet no one seems concerned about slapping a content warning on it.  In 2021 America, the vilest lyrics imaginable are perfectly acceptable, but Americans must be warned about the crimethink inherent in the Muppets and Dr. Seuss.    

Oh, and then there’s the whole Mr. Potato Head thing.  I lack the words, so I’ll spare you a long diatribe.  If you don’t know what I’m talking about, click here. Let’s just say, I thought it was fake news when I first read about it.  It wasn’t. 

Concerning our nation’s economy, Yahoo reports that “Another 745,000 American filed new unemployment claims” during the last week in February.  Now let’s put this number in some perspective.  Simply quoting a number such as initial jobless claims doesn’t have much meaning unless it’s seen in context.  Here’s a good way to understand just how bad things are in the economy.  At the height of the 2008 financial crisis, the highest initial jobless claims number printed was 665,000 in March 2009, and the all-time record was 695,000 in October 1982. Due to the government’s unchristian, unconstitutional and unscientific overreaction to Covid, the US weekly initial jobless claims numbers have never fallen below the old record – either from 2008 or the all time high from 1982 – since 3/21/2020.  That’s nearly a year of disastrous employments numbers with no end in sight.  The economy and the financial system of the United States is a disaster area waiting for a major implosion.  The only solution our politicians can come up with is to do more of what has helped lead to this mess, namely, print more money to stimulate the economy.  This unbridled money printing will lead to the collapse of the US dollar and its removal as the world’s reserve currency.  Americans will experience a dollar collapse as rapidly rising prices and a rapidly declining standard of living.  This is going to happen.  It’s just a matter of when. 

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