Voluntary Investment: Compound-Interest Charity

Capitalist Investment: The Greatest Type of Charity

C. Jay Engel

In our time of rising socialistic rhetoric and indignation against those who have great levels of wealth, we also encounter the idea that the use of wealth for charitable purposes is better for society, perhaps even more moral, than the use of wealth for business development and capital investment.

Few interpretations of social affairs are as unpopular as defenses of the existence of billionaires and wealthy capitalists. But it is the employment of capital into the production structure that reaps great benefit to the world. To elaborate on this theme, I want to summarize a certain concept that was formulated by the great F.A. Harper in the 1956 festschrift to Ludwig von Mises.

In his essay “The Greatest Economic Charity,” Harper challenges the prevailing notions regarding the relationship between wealth redistribution and charity. We can, as Harper does, refer to economic charity in a standard dictionary sense wherein the purpose of charity is to initiate material benevolence, to improve the material well-being of someone else, most often someone who has a particularly obvious set of needs to be met.

But in terms of material benevolence, we can reasonably see a difference between an effort of charity which improves the immediate conditions of a man, and an effort of charity which improves the long-term conditions of not only a specific person, but an entire society of them. It is this latter charity, which actually works to prevent men from facing constant need of charity in the future, that Harper refers to as the greatest economic charity. He writes, “The greatest charity of all… would be to assist a person toward becoming wholly self-reliant within nature’s limits, and therefore totally free.”

Here, we can turn our focus to Harper’s separation between what we might call consumptive charity and productive charity. By consumptive charity, I refer to what most naturally comes to mind when we think of the nature of charity. Harper describes this concept as follows:

“Of the various forms of economic charity in which we commonly indulge, the simplest would seem to be something such as buying a vagrant a cup of coffee or giving him a dime for the purpose.” (In the 1950s a cup of coffee was 10-cents).

Most of the colossal amount of activity which today goes by the name of charity is of this type, where the intent of the giver is to provide something for direct consumption or relief of a destitute recipient. Unfortunately, too many people focus their understanding of charity on those acts which only has the effect of consumption-based needs-resolution in the immediate term.

While there is a role for this type of charity in society, it can also be counter-productive, can actually subsidize current conditions, and can even be leveraged by politicians and other power-seekers to effectually enslave men. For example, writes Harper in 1956,

“National socialism is a common form, where the state becomes the dispenser of loot collected by force. The recipients lose their self-reliance in the process and come to feel indebted forever to the collective for their very lives. They have by then become enslaved.”

In our time, the ever-popular democratic socialism could just as easily be used as the example. Thus, we turn to productive charity; or charity that comes about as a result of “savings invested in privately owned economic tools of production.” Harper argues the investment into the “tools of production” not only has a longer and more sustainable effect on the livelihood of people, but it actually meets the conditions of charity in a much more profound way.

By economic tools of production, Harper means capital goods; goods, as Murray Rothbard, explains, “which aid in the process of production eventually to produce consumers’ goods.“ They are the factories, the equipment, the manufactured machinery that are arranged together to increase the output of goods that individuals consider as serviceable to satisfy their ultimate material ends.

Now, Harper describes three ways in which capital investment in the immediate terms satisfies the characteristics of economic charity in the longer term. First, the investment in capital goods today eventually produces new goods that otherwise would not have been created; the tools make possible extra goods which are, by definition, passed on to others who see value in them.

Second, the transfer of economic benefits is voluntary—for stolen property passed from one party to the other does not meet the conditions for true charity; charity precludes theft as a means of wealth transfer. Charity requires the benefactor to act freely and of his own will in passing on material benefits to another.

Third, and perhaps most insightfully, Harper mentions the clear anonymous nature of this economic charity. Rather than charity done with trumpets and lavishing media attention, investment into the capital structure has a benefit for thousands, perhaps millions of future people, many of whom are not born yet and certainly are unaware of the identification of this benefactor. Appealing to self-reflection, Harper writes:

“One can easily test from his own experience the anonymity of the charity that flows from savings and investment in tools. If one will list all the economic items he consumes or enjoys in a day, the test is to try in each instance to name specifically all the persons whose savings and investment made the item possible. Most of us, I dare say, could not name even one person responsible for an item we use and enjoy.”

The material well-being that was passed on to present day hundreds of millions of beneficiaries of the yesterday’s investment, Harper observed at the time, was vastly greater than the funds collected on an annual basis for consumptive charity. In fact, consumptive charity was “less than 1 percent of the amount of charity which users of tools receive” in the same length of time. This is because the capital tools bolster the quantity and quality of goods and therefore make workers more productive; it extends and expands the fruit of their labor.

The reason that the west faced greater levels of wealth than other parts of the globe over the last 300 years has little to do with things like disparities in intelligence, a spirit of innovation, and hard work. How much harder to so many people around the world work merely to survive another day? What really matters is the accumulation of savings and the investment of that savings into capital goods. At any time, mankind has within its reach the ability to pass on a greater amount of wealth to people it has never met; it does not require brilliant planners, democratically based political angst, or a soaking of the rich.

Harper therefore encourages his reader to have a wider perspective on the ramifications of the contemporary spirit of emphasizing consumptive charity over productive charity. It’s possible, he states, that the giving of the grain to a starving person… could better serve as seed for a harvest that would keep twenty persons from starving later. […]

Savings, when used wisely by private enterprise to produce capital tools of venture, serve as economic seed in a like manner. The use of it as seed becomes an act of charity with a high leverage. But its creation requires enough patience and restraint from demands for immediate consumption so that the tools will be created. One must have foresight and economic insight enough to see beyond the exceedingly conspicuous and tempting need for present consumption.

Capitalism provides a better and longer-lasting charitable effect than any other socio-economic arrangement conceivable. The savers and investors of today, those who contribute to the buildup of capital goods and factors of production, are benefactors of persons yet unborn. If economic charity is at its greatest when it enables men to overcome the conditions of poverty and hand-to-mouth existences, the social criticism of capitalists and those that invest into the capital structure must be swiftly brought to an end.

***

“Compound interest is the addition of interest to the principal sum of a loan or deposit, or in other words, interest on interest. It is the result of reinvesting interest, rather than paying it out, so that interest in the next period is then earned on the principal sum plus previously accumulated interest. Compound interest is standard in capitalist finance and economics. Compound interest has been called the eighth wonder of the world and the greatest invention in human history.” (Gospelbbq)

Investment vs Consumption

“The problem with any Communistic or Socialistic economy is that of capital consumption — they consume capital rather than create capital. Eventually the capital runs out. Those who oppose capitalism claim it is a materialistic scheme which promotes consumerism. But, it is they who are the true consumptionists; who consume capital rather than create it.” (Rousas John Rushdoony)

*****

C. Jay Engel is a business owner and entrepreneur who lives with his wife and two children in northern California. He is especially interested in wealth accumulation and preservation in our era of rogue Central Banking. He is an avid reader of the Austro-libertarian literature and a dedicated proponent of private property and sound money. He is the creator and editor of AustroLibertarian.com.

 

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Progressive ‘Christian’ Hypocrites

Progressive ‘Christian’ Hypocrites

By Erick Erickson

Mayor Pete Buttigieg, one of the many Democrats running for President, keeps trying to play a Christian on television, and it’s been going badly for him. Buttigieg recently said of Donald Trump, “It is hard to look at his actions and believe they are the actions of somebody who believes in God.” On “Meet the Press,” Chuck Todd asked Buttigieg about that.

Buttigieg said he thought evangelicals backing President Trump were hypocritical because when Buttigieg goes to church, he hears about taking care of the poor and refugees. Trump, Buttigieg says, does not do that. Buttigieg went on to draw a distinction: In his professional conduct, Trump does not take care of the poor and refugees as scripture commands. Buttigieg continued that in Trump’s personal life, as well, he falls short of Christian behavior. (He is right on that part, too, by the way. But then, we are all sinners.)

Buttigieg thinks the President does not behave as one who believes in God because, as President, Trump is not following scriptural commands. Then, Todd asked Buttigieg about his position on abortion, and Buttigieg’s response was that abortion is a moral issue and we cannot legislate morality. In fact, Buttigieg tried to wave away the clear science on the issue of when life begins so he could argue about governing based on our morality.

This is why progressive Christianity is so corrupt and flawed. As much as Buttigieg makes a valid critique on the President’s behavior and some evangelicals excusing that behavior, Buttigieg wants to reject the inconvenient parts of faith he does not like. He is a gay man who got married; he does not think homosexuality is a sin despite express statements in scripture. And he thinks abortion is a moral issue. He would, he says, avoid governing using his morality.

Buttigieg is trying to have it both ways and, in reality, is showing he is no better a Christian than Trump. What is particularly bothersome here is that Buttigieg claims to be governed by some moral code and he claims he will lead as a more moral President than Trump. At the same time, he claims elected officials should not govern based on their morality.

Everyone has a moral code, and we all conduct our actions by our moral code. Buttigieg just wants a pass on his moral code, which is all about not taking inconvenient stands on parts of scripture that might make his life a bit uncomfortable. He will wield scripture against the President and abdicate when it comes to himself.

Frankly, Buttigieg makes a valid criticism of evangelicals who give the President a pass on his bad behavior. There are too many evangelicals unwilling to call the President to account for his failures to repent, his doubling down on bad behavior, etc. Buttigieg, however, is not making the point that Christians should vote for Democrats. He is making the case that they should stay home. Therein lies the rub. He does not think anyone should legislate their morality, so why should anyone vote their morality?

Ultimately, however, Christians can be Christians and Americans. They must put their faith first, something Buttigieg himself is unwilling to do except when it is convenient. Given the choices of a bunch of terribly flawed candidates, it is understandable that Christians are willing to side with the one who will protect their right to exercise their religion in their daily lives rather than the ones who offer platitudes with persecution.

Lastly, note that as Democrats make science their god, Buttigieg does his best to avoid the science of when life begins. He knows he cannot argue that point, so he refuses to even accept it as part of the debate. That is what trips him up. The science amplifies the moral case against Buttigieg’s position. Undoubtedly, however, Buttigieg will make the moral case for accepting transgenderism and demand we legislate on it. It is just the children in the womb he is OK discarding. The same God that commands we take care of the widows, the poor and the refugees commands us to take care of children, too, Pete.

*****

Article from Townhall.com

https://townhall.com/columnists/erickerickson/2019/04/12/progressive-christian-hypocrites-n2544675

 

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“Love Your Enemies:” Interview and Critique

Interview with Arthur Brooks on “Love Your Enemies”

By Boyd Matheson

 With a Following Critique from “First Things”

Boyd Matheson: Divisive politicians, screaming heads on TV, angry campus activists, Twitter trolls. In America today, there is an outrage industrial complex that prospers big time while setting Americans against each other. New York Times bestselling author and social scientist Arthur Brooks joins us to discuss “Love Your Enemies,” a possible solution on this week’s edition of “Therefore, What?”

“Therefore, What?” is a weekly podcast that breaks down the news while breaking down barriers, challenges you and the status quo, explores timely topics and timeless principles, and leaves you confident to face what’s next. I’m Boyd Matheson, opinion editor for the Deseret News, and this is “Therefore, What?”

All right, we are very excited to have on the program today Arthur Brooks, one of our favorite thinkers in America today. Still the head of AEI for a little bit before he heads off to Harvard and a host of other adventures, but has a new book out called “Love Your Enemies,” and very grateful to have Arthur spend some time with us today. Thanks for joining us.

Arthur Brooks: Great to be with you as always.

BM: Well, you’re busy as always, you’ve cranked out another book that I think is one that the nation is desperately in need of. Give us a little bit of the backstory. A lot of times we see these books roll out and think, oh man, that’s genius. But what was the nexus point? What was the point when you said, OK, I need to write about this.

AB: Well, it came partly from experience and partly from some work I was reading. So I’ll tell you about both. I travel around for a living. I do about 175 speeches a year. And a couple of years before the 2016 election, I saw a preview of what the rest of the country was going to see, which was the bitterness and nastiness and really contemptuous way that we were treating each other because of politics. I was doing a rally, actually just like an activist event for conservatives in New Hampshire in 2014 and it was 700 of them, they were really whooping and hollering and I was the only nonpolitician, actually the only person not running for president, on the schedule. And in the middle of it, you know, this think tank guy sneaks in there. And I said, look, we all agree on foreign policy and economics and politics. But let’s think for a minute about the people who don’t agree with us and aren’t here, political liberals. I want you to remember they’re not stupid, they’re not evil, they’re simply Americans who disagree with us on public policy. And our job is to persuade them. No applause. And right after that the applause came because a lady said I think they’re stupid and evil. She got the applause.

And at that moment, Boyd, I thought of my family in Seattle, because they’re liberals. I mean, I grew up in Seattle, Washington, the most progressive place in the United States. And my mother was an artist. My father was a college professor. What do you think their politics were? And I tell you, they weren’t stupid and evil. They’re smart, they’re nice. They love each other. They loved me. They just took good care of me and brought me up in the right way. And they’re probably right on a bunch of stuff that I’m not right on. I thought, if this is the way that we’re talking to each other, that I’m right, and you’re not just incorrect, you’re stupid and evil. That’s a form of contempt, the conviction of the worthlessness of another person. If we do that in America, we will make permanent enemies who will be completely unpersuasive. Which is indeed what we’ve become. No conservative ever persuades a liberal and no liberal ever persuades a conservative, and worst of all, we’re going to become unhappy. And that’s what we’ve seen as well. More loneliness, more depression, more anxiety. And a lot of it has to do with our politics.

BM: Yeah. And I find it interesting. You know, some people say, OK, so you’re just saying what we really need is a Kumbaya moment, we just need a hug it out, you know, have a have a big old group hug as a nation. And that’s not realistic. And that’s not right. But you think it’s much more than that. It’s not about a group hug. Is it?

AB: No, it’s not. It’s a very practical thing. You know, one of the things that I talked about a lot in the book is that no person in history has ever been persuaded with hatred. You can’t insult anybody into agreement. So when I talk about treating people with love, what I’m basically talking about is making the calculated decision that when someone treats you with contempt, you can choose your reaction, you should choose the reaction that’s going to be most persuasive. And the great side result is that you’ll become a happier person, and you’ll start to feel the way that you act. Now, this is something that a lot of our listeners already know, because their mothers taught them, that they will become the person that they pretend to be. Fake it till you make it, right? It’s also the case that there’s a lot of brain science behind this. And this is what I give in the book. This book is only 10 percent problems and 90 percent solutions. And in the solutions, I talked step by step by step about how people, when they’re treated horribly, politically, on social media, or even around the dinner table, how they can train themselves to react in such a way that other people will find them convincing and they will become happier. And if we do that, the movement starts in our own hearts. We actually can fix the country.

BM: I think there’s so many challenges and barriers out there. One of the things that we’ve been focused on a lot lately here at the Deseret News is this idea of instant certainty. And that instant certainty, you know, not only does it prevent us from getting to the truth, but it also undermines trust because as soon as I hear a headline or read a headline, you know, I instantly assess this is what it means to me for my world. I’m right, you’re wrong, everything stops. So what are the some of the things that you offer in terms of how do we get to instant uncertainty, so we can be open and actually have the conversation?

AB: Well, one of the ways to do it is to make more friends, including friends that we disagree with. You know, life is just more interesting when we’re around people who are different than we are. You got to turn off social media, you got to talk to real people, and you got to listen to those people. And in so doing, it’s kind of good that you question your own beliefs or you have somebody that you like who questions your beliefs. You don’t have to be fighting with each other all the time, but just explore what it is that the person believes. Think about what the person’s moral purpose actually is. And see maybe you’ve got something in common. Life is better that way. And I talk about exactly how people can do that, how they can get out of their bubble a little bit and improve their lives.

BM: Yes. Some people say that there’s something in America that’s just broken. And it could be a lot of different things. Do you think as a country, are we broken, are we fixable? What does that look like from your perspective?

AB: I think it’s absolutely fixable. Because you go back through history, we’ve had tremendous periods of contempt. We’re as polarized today as we were at the Civil War. And of course, in the whole 19th century we had tremendous contempt leading to armed conflict. And I don’t think that we’re anywhere near something like that. But we found that the self-improvement movement after the Civil War, before World War I, you know, when the LDS Church, by the way, was really cranking, was really picking up a lot of people that were looking for a better life. The self-improvement movement that was secular was doing the same thing, and the Methodists, the Baptists, the tent revivals. And what people wanted was to have a revolution in their own heart. That was tremendously important for the United States, it made the United States the country that it is today, was that period after the worst period of polarization. We can do that again.

BM: I love that. And one of the things that you argue in the book is that it really isn’t about the argument, and it’s not even about trying to agree more, it’s about disagreeing better. Give me a little drill down on that.

AB: Well, so people often think that we need to agree, and we don’t need to agree. Agreement is bad if it’s done for the sake of simply trying to avoid conflict. It’s kind of a monopoly, it’s stagnation and mediocrity. America is based on competition, competition of ideas, competition in politics, competition in economics. It brings out the best in people. But we have to have basic rules of morality. I mean, morals have to come before markets for sure. But we should remember that disagreement, this competition of ideas, is incredibly important for us to become better, to be more excellent. So I never recommend that we agree with people, particularly if we pretend to agree when we don’t. But we have to disagree in the right way. We have to respect other people as we disagree with them. And then the real question is how, and that’s why I wrote the book. This is a how-to guide. This is a life improvement book. And if people read it, they’re going to get real solutions based on the cutting edge social science and brain science on how they can improve their lives and be happier and more persuasive.

BM: So I want to pick up on this idea you shared of morals before markets, drill down on that a little bit and maybe do it in the context. I know you’ve developed this very unique relationship with the Dalai Lama. The capitalist and the Dalai Lama have come together. And tell us what you’ve learned about that. And how does that fit into this morals before markets?

AB: Well, the Dalai Lama and I have had a close friendship for the past six and a half years. We’re working together on various projects. We write together, we’ve done a lot of events together where I interview him, where we talk about the differences between my religion, my Christianity, and his religion, which is Buddhism, and also between different economic systems. And what we find when we explore these topics is it really opens people’s minds and opens their hearts to different ways of thinking. Because they see people who think in a very different way who love each other, who really are friends. And this is the key thing that all of us should be looking for, these virtuous friendships between people who are different than they are. It’s easy to avoid these things in the era of social media, so easy to just be surrounding yourself with people who agree with you and trying to silo your news feeds and the TV that you watch so that you’ll be hearing over and over again, You’re right, they’re stupid. But that’s not good for you. Because you’ll become weak; you’ll become sort of flaccid in your thinking. You won’t be actually good at arguing in the right way. And you won’t have exposure to other people and see that they are people who have needs and wants and dreams just like you.

BM: I had an interesting conversation today with some of your soon-to-be colleagues at Harvard. Clayton Christensen, of course, has a new book out, “The Prosperity Paradox,” which was talking about innovation as the real answer to global poverty. And I know this is an area that you’ve been focused on. So today I had a chance to interview Efosa Ojomo and Karen Dillon about their work with Clayton on this whole idea. And I know you’ve got something coming in April, called “The Pursuit,” that I think is going to be in alignment with a lot of these things. Give us a little sneak peek into what’s percolating out there.

AB: “The Pursuit” is a brand new documentary film that asks how can people pull themselves out of poverty? How can we build a society that is based on opportunity, really starting at the margins? And so in this movie, basically, the movie makers, which is a film production company in Austin, Texas, called Emergent Order. They followed me around the world for three years in Indian slums, a little town in Kentucky, a homeless shelter in New York. You know, in a street demonstration of Barcelona. We went to see people who are honest to goodness social Democrats in Denmark to talk about their way of life. We just, in a very open way, saw how do people pull themselves out of poverty? How do they build a better life? And then how can all of us, on the basis of this, build better lives for ourselves and be happier? So it’s screening in 100 communities around the United States? It’s going to three nice film festivals and then by the end of the summer it will be on Netflix.

BM: That’s great. And what’s the driving force? What do you hope people come away with after watching “The Pursuit”?

AB: I hope people will understand that they are empowered, that the free enterprise system that they participate in is the greatest engine of prosperity and opportunity the world has ever created. I give the evidence and I talk to the people who are affected to show that 2 billion of our brothers and sisters have been pulled out of extreme poverty, starvation level poverty, since I was a child because of the free enterprise system. And when we make it work for others, when we have it printed on our hearts that this is a system obviously bounded by our moral duties and our religious beliefs, that the free enterprise system can and should get the next 2 billion people out of poverty. That’s what we have to focus on.

BM: Yeah. And I had this discussion, that was just interesting of, you know, the billions of dollars that have been spent on poverty programs or trying to eradicate poverty in different places, and much of it has, you know, good causes, good people, good intentions, but a lot of them have really fallen short in terms of making that transformation. And is it that it’s easier to throw the money at it, so to speak. Again, well-intentioned folks, for sure, that we’re not really getting the principles in place, these free market principles, these principles of freedom and liberty and entrepreneurship? Is that really the missing element in a lot of this?

AB: It is. It’s also just, you know, you can’t go to scale to pull people out of poverty unless people are working for themselves. And it’s only the free enterprise system that gives people incentives and courage, that gives people the aspiration to pull themselves up. Because the free enterprise system tells people you’re needed, we need you, we need your effort. We need your work. Charity work is really, really important. And I’m involved in it, and I tithe my income like you do, Boyd, and like a lot of the people who are listening to this podcast do. But that charity can’t do the work of pulling people out of poverty by the billions while you sleep. And it also doesn’t create the incentive so people at the end of the day can say, I built this, and there’s nothing that’s a greater blessing than feeling like you’ve earned your success.

BM: Yeah, I remember listening to you one time, I believe we were in Sen. (Mike) Lee’s office. And you talked about that very point of just why work is so important, that needing to be needed. Tell us a little bit more about that?

AB: Well, you know, it’s the essence of dignity is to be worthy of respect. And almost everybody in the West believes that dignity is equal, people are equal. Not everybody in the West is a Christian, of course, but the Christian religion, which comes from Jewish ideas, is based on the idea that we’re made in God’s image. And God is, of course, worthy of respect. And so therefore we are. Since we’re worthy of respect, that’s dignity. The problem is that we don’t have an equal sense of our dignity. To understand your own dignity, which is worth and purpose in life, that requires that you’re needed by your family, by your community, by the economy, by your workplace. And when you don’t feel needed, you won’t have a sense of your dignity. That brings despair. That’s the reason that unemployment is so highly correlated with suicide and drug abuse, simply because people don’t feel like they’re needed, they can’t support their families, and nobody really needs them. So that’s what we need to do is to create an economy to create a society in which every person has a sense of actually being needed. In point of fact, where every person is needed.

BM: You spend a lot of time on college campuses. You talk to a lot of young people around the country, many, many look at the rising generation and say, Well, you know, they’re just a bunch of narcissistic pansies and selfie-takers. And I’ve been one of those that’s pushed back on that a bit. I think they are a little more communitarian than probably their parents, they do it different. They do most of it online, or, you know, some kind of GoFundMe account or an ice bucket challenge. But as you’ve interacted with young people across the country, what do you see in them that worries you? And what do you see in them that gives you confidence moving forward?

AB: Well, the thing that people often talk about is that young people today are snowflakes, you know, they’re a little weak, maybe a little lazier than the generation before. I don’t believe that. I don’t find any evidence of that. I find that they’re actually very hard-working, which is great. I think that the problem, and what worries me, is that there’s a huge fear in the current generation. Not fear of not getting a job, fear of conflict. And part of the reason is because people my age, you know, I have kids who are 21, 19 and 16. It is very easy for people our age to have, you know, basically protected them from everything, right? The average person under 30 didn’t do anything meaningfully by themselves out of the house before they were 13 years old. You know, when you and I were kids it was 5 or 6. And you know, people don’t get their strengths. They lose their sense of fear by being self-sufficient. The parents adjudicate the disputes that their kids are in, then when they get to college they have safe spaces, they have trigger warnings, all of this nonsense on campus that protects them from things that are hard for them to hear, which is exactly what college is supposed to do. It’s supposed to challenge you.

And by the time they’re 22, the most, I think alarming thing that I see, is that they don’t basically date in numbers the way that we did. We find that young adults today, about 56 percent of them went out on a date last year. When I was at that age it was 85 percent went on a date in the previous year. Very problematic. St. John the apostle told us that fear is the opposite of love. Where there is love, love casts out fear, he said in the first letter. The scripture is very clear on this, and the scripture in all major religions tells us same thing, that fear is the ultimate negative emotion. Fear is the opposite of love, not hatred. So when you have a fear-based culture among young people, you’re not going to have love. And when you don’t have love, you’re going to have more bitterness, you’re gonna have more hostility, you’re going to have less romantic love, you’re going to have fewer marriages, people are not going to be in love. And all of these things are coming true.

BM: Yeah. And is that part of maybe what is broken in the country? Is it that we’ve got a rising generation that maybe hasn’t quite toughened up yet, or had the experiences to cast out that fear? And then we maybe have some, the family breakdown, some of those other things? Are all of those interconnected, from your perspective?

AB: Probably they are. But I think that in particular there’s a cultural predilection among young people to be protected from conflict, protected from rejection. And that’s a pretty new thing in America today. So one of the things that I tell young people is that they need to be entrepreneurs with their hearts, you know, when I talk to people in their 20s, I say, you know, you’re not an entrepreneur unless you’ve been in love. You’re just not. Don’t give me this stuff about starting businesses and venture capital, that’s boring, that’s minor. The real things that matter in your life are the loves in your life. And if you actually haven’t fallen in love by the time you’re 27 or 28, almost certainly it’s because you’ve been avoiding it because you’re not an entrepreneurial enough person. And that’s really startling for young people when I tell them that, but I’ve got the data. And it’s true. And so one of the things I say is, your assignment in the coming year is to put your heart on the line. The average entrepreneur has 3.8 failures before the first success in business. If you actually think that you’re going to be successful as a person who has love in his or her life, you need at least 3.8 bad breakups, is my view.

BM: Wow, my number was way higher than that.

AB: How old were you when you got married?

BM: I was almost 24.

AB: Almost 24. So you were just graduating from college? Because you’re 24 when you finish university right? Because you did a mission? Right?

BM: I did a mission and then I dropped out of school before. I had that great moment.

AB: Yeah, that’s right. So you had a life for sure. But you also were all in. You’re a life entrepreneur. And people need to do that today.

BM: Yeah, for sure. Very good. Hey, let’s shift gears now. And let’s talk about the swamp for a minute. So as we look at these principles that you’re talking about, that you write about in the book, how do we get those again, because these are clearly not left or right. These are just principles. And yet, it seems you know, as we talked about in the open that you’ve got, you know, the national news media is yelling and screaming. You’ve got both sides that raise billions of dollars a year off of anger, fear, angst and frustration, you know, convincing everyone that their hair’s on fire. So how do we turn that tide?

AB: Well, to begin with, we need to stand up to the man. That’s the old ’60s expression with somebody’s keeping you down. And the truth is, I have data that shows that 93 percent of Americans hate how divided we’ve become. I show all this stuff in “Love Your Enemies.” But that means the other 7 percent doesn’t hate how divided we’ve become. That for them it’s not a bad habit of contempt. For them it’s a lifestyle and a living. And I’m talking about the highly partisan media and the hateful pundits and the crazy college professors and the politicians who are actually trying to gin up a whole lot of hatred to keep themselves in power, the populists who are telling us the other side is stupid and evil. That’s a really bad thing. And we need to stand up to that, we need to recognize it. And the way we recognize that is not by standing up to people in the outrage industrial complex on the other side, you’ve got to stand up to it on your side, and then it will set you free. If you do that. I’m telling you, I’ve made a list and I’ve crossed people off, the people I’m not reading, I’m not listening to, and my life is so much better than it was. I gotta say, it’s funny. If you don’t spend time on Twitter, you don’t think America is about ready for civil war. It turns out that America is kind of OK. Twitter is all 7 percent all the time.

BM: And don’t you think it’s true also — my sense has always been, traveling around the country, that we really aren’t that divided. We know dictators have used division as a way to maintain power and the status quo forever. And it seems to me that, you know, when the American people experience these principles, it’s like oxygen, you know, that they’re never going to ask for these in a Pew Research poll. So they don’t quite know what to ask for. But when they experience it, it is like oxygen. It’s very liberating, as you said, but how do we push that oxygen around a little bit more?

AB: Well, to begin with, what we do is we model it. When someone treats you with contempt, and if you go on social media and you talk about politics any place, you’ll be treated with contempt very quickly. Eye-rolling, sarcasm, a complete dismissal of your point of view. Stop, breathe, say a little prayer if you need to, and then answer the way that you want to. And by the way, I hope people can figure out on their own. On the contrary, that’s why I wrote “Love Your Enemies.” In the book, I detail, chapter and verse, I mean, go through the list, it gives you a checklist of things that you can do. And if you practice these things, you’ll be great at this. So you can choose the way that you’re going to behave. And in so doing, people will be way more persuaded by your point of view, you’ll become happier and people will want to be more like you. OK, how soon before it changes America? I don’t know. I mean, but we have to start sometime and it better start with each one of us. And the best news of all is, just by starting that movement with yourself, you’ll be a happier, more persuasive more successful person.

BM: That’s great. And let me ask you, just as we come down the homestretch here, tell me two people who you think are modeling this well. And I don’t care if they’re famous, infamous, or otherwise, people you’ve come across in all of your travels, just give me two people and an example of how they are living these principles and how it’s making a difference.

AB: So there are a lot of people that I see in state and local governments who are doing this, who are rebelling against the hate. If I look at my friend, Doug Ducey, who’s governor of Arizona, I mean, he’s partisan, he’s a conservative and a lot of liberals really disagree with his policies, but he’s working to cool down the temperature. He’s not calling people out as stupid and evil, just because they disagree with them. And he’s the governor of a big state. Gov. Herbert in Utah, same deal. And I really admire that many, many, many governors at this point. We have a tendency to overcentralize our attention on Washington, D.C. But there’s many more interesting and constructive things going on in the states and in cities. And I see a lot of that. I also see a lot of people that are trying to cool the temperature by treating each other with love and respect on college campuses today. It’s easy to say that the places are all just bastions of craziness but it’s not true. I mean, there are a lot of places where I see people working together, trying to understand each other. My new institution, Harvard University, there’s just all kinds of efforts for people of different and diverse points of view to understand each other, to see each other as real people under the circumstances.

And then of course, I see this in communities constantly, people who are unsung heroes that are finding ways to listen to people who are different than themselves, to practice a real diversity of ideas. And so I think that the answer is local. The answer is not national. We’re not going to find — I mean, there are some people in the senate I love. Mike Lee, I’ve known him for years and years. And I think he wants to unite, even though he’s got strong points of view. But I think it’s a hard environment right now. So I think that Americans need to look more local, more in their communities, more in their companies, more in their families, and more in their state and local governments to find the leaders that are going to practice loving your enemies.

BM: This is the “Therefore, What?” moment. People have been listening for the last 25 minutes, they’re going to read your book, what do you hope they think different? What do you hope they do different as a result?

AB: The easiest thing to do is to love the people who agree with you, and even to love your neighbor. Right? What I want people to think differently about is to remember the people who disagree with you, they’re not just your neighbor, even if you thought of them as your enemy. These are your allies in building a better country. Because when people can disagree, be real foes ideologically, and not hate each other. That’s iron sharpening iron, as the Proverbs say. Now here’s a real “Therefore, What?” moment. I’m not talking about civility, civility is a garbage standard. If I said, Hey, Boyd, my wife and I were civil to each other. You’d say, Arthur you need counseling. I’m not talking about tolerance, I’m not talking about agreement, I’m talking about love for people with whom we disagree. And I want people to think about that deeply and how they can do it today.

BM: Arthur Brooks. The book is “Love Your Enemies.” Arthur, we always appreciate your time and your great insight. Best of luck as you continue and wrap up at AEI, and your new adventures at Harvard and beyond.

AB: Thank you very much, Boyd. I really appreciate it. Looking forward to seeing you in Utah.

BM: All right, we’ll see you soon. Thanks. Remember after the story is told, after the principle is presented, after the discussion and debate have been had, the question for all of us is “Therefore, What?” Don’t miss an episode, subscribe to this podcast on Apple podcast or wherever you’re listening today. And be sure to rate this episode and leave us a review. Follow us on Deseretnews.com/Tw and subscribe to our newsletter. This is Boyd Matheson, the opinion editor for the Deseret News. Thanks for engaging with us on “Therefore, What?”

*****

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A Critique from First Things

What Arthur Brooks Gets Wrong

By Peter J. Leithart

Americans aren’t angry, writes American Enterprise Institute President Arthur C. Brooks (Love Your Enemies). When we’re angry, we try to fix what’s broken, and we think we can. These days, we’re past hoping for a fix, and are instead “addicted to political contempt.” Contempt doesn’t try to fix anything; it “seeks to exile . . . to mock, shame, and permanently exclude from relationships by belittling, humiliating, and ignoring.” Anger cares. Contempt says, “You disgust me. You are beneath caring about.”

Brooks’s diagnosis is on target. Presidential candidates dump fellow citizens into a “basket of deplorables.” Trump’s insults are as numerous as Shakespeare’s, though far less witty. Fox News pundits find nothing worthwhile in anything any liberal has ever thought or said.

How did we turn into a “culture of contempt”? While we’re each responsible for our own actions and addictions, Brooks thinks America’s contempt pushers have a lot to answer for—members of the “outrage industrial complex” in the media, social media gurus and trolls who encourage ideological siloing, political parties that don’t even try to appeal beyond their settled base.

Contempt isn’t good for the country. There’s a strong correlation between marital contempt and divorce. Contempt is, as one researcher put it, “sulfuric acid for love.” We’re headed for societal divorce court, and Brooks hopes we can reconcile before it’s too late. He wants to teach Americans to “practice warm-heartedness,” overcoming contempt through love.

How? By deciding to act in love. Love isn’t an attitude but an action; attitudes, Brooks rightly says, follow actions. By learning that love works in the real world. Contrary to myth, kindness wins. Authoritative (not authoritarian) leaders lead by love. By turning down or turning off the outlets of outrage, listening to voices we don’t agree with, putting ourselves in situations where we’re surrounded by ideological adversaries, treating everyone with respect instead of disgust.

Brooks’s is a lively book, with a promising premise. But I don’t think his program can solve the problem he wants to solve. One shortcoming becomes evident in Brooks’s discussion of moral disagreements. Drawing on the work of Jonathan Haidt, he lists five innate moral values—fairness, compassion, respect for authority, group loyalty, and purity. Though innate, these values take various forms and mingle in various combinations. Liberals and conservatives both advocate fairness and compassion, but have different conceptions of what these values require. More important, liberals emphasize fairness and compassion, but place little weight on the other three. Conservatism insists on all five. The lesson? Liberals and conservatives are equally moral, but liberals have “fewer moral foundations.”

Despite their differences, Brooks thinks liberals and conservatives can get along because the values they share (fairness, compassion) have to do with “social morality,” while the things they disagree about (authority, loyalty, purity) are “personal moral values.” It’s a facile distinction, and an odd one: Don’t respect for authority and group loyalty belong to “social morality”? Many Christians, myself included, believe that our sexual wasteland is a product of a societal decision to shunt sexual morality off to a realm where individual choice is sovereign. He makes his distinction of social/personal morality sound like a procedural rule, but by placing sexual morality in the sphere of private morality, he takes a side in our central cultural battle. In my judgment, it’s the wrong side. To heal our sexual pathologies, Brooks prescribes more of the disease. I may be wrong, but I’m not inclined to sign on to a proposal that defines my convictions out of public debate.

This exemplifies a more fundamental weakness. Brooks wants to “save America from the culture of contempt” by reminding us that we’re all Americans. But, as John Milbank and Adrian Pabst argue, a politics of virtue is sustained by a “transpolitical community” that embodies ideals that transcend earthly politics. In ancient times, this role was filled by schools of philosophers, in Christendom by the church. Brooks is Catholic, but, in the interests of staking out common ground, he keeps his Catholicism at arm’s length. The church plays no discernible role in his vision of America’s future. But an immanent salvation won’t save. Paradoxically, national renewal won’t happen unless a nation pursues ends that transcend the nation. America can’t be saved by devotion to America.

***

Peter J. Leithart is President of Theopolis Institute.

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Likening Che Guevara to Jesus?

Likening Che Guevara to Jesus is Despicable

By Dr. Julio Antonio del Marmol

I have so many reasons to describe any comparison between Che Guevara and Jesus Christ as the most despicable, ignorant act that any human being could do.

David Kunzle, a professor at the University of California-Los Angeles, likened Guevara to Jesus Christ, which I can only describe as a malicious attempt to confuse the younger generation. It’s like comparing Charles Manson with Mother Teresa. Where did Dr. Kunzle get his information?

This is the most ignorant statement one could make. What I am about to relate is a personal experience, what I saw Che do with my own two eyes, as I was with Che on a daily basis.

The professor said during a class lecture that “Che Guevara, once the epitome of armed struggle, has evolved to an avatar of justice, peace, and love, as Jesus always was but no longer is exclusively.”

Let’s begin with justice, as Dr. Kunzle stated. Che Guevara, if Dr. Kunzle had any knowledge, oversaw the darkest prison La Cabaña in Cuba at the beginning of the revolution. Thousands of men were tortured and executed without trial for the sole crime of disliking communism and being against the Castro regime.

Guevara personally mutilated one of my friend’s ears with a bayonet only because of his resistance to Che’s demands.  Che personally masterminded the assassination of President Kennedy with the financial support of the Cuban and USSR’s governments. The “glorious guerilla,” as I discovered when I went through his briefcase, was nothing more than a KGB special agent, planted in Mexico to change the direction of the revolution to communist ideals. This is just the tip of Che’s “justice.”

Peace—he masterminded with the support of the Castro brothers and financial backing of the USSR, mass invasions on the African continent, every Central and South American country and other countries around the globe, spreading death and terror, killing indiscriminately all that opposed them. He created the Tri-Continental Union in Cuba, bringing together hundreds of thousands of men and women and trained them to orchestrate terrorist acts all around the world.

Is this Dr. Kunzle’s definition of peace?

“Love”? Ernesto ‘Che’ Guevara didn’t know the meaning of the word.  He mentioned that he knew from a very early age that women were simply tools to move our lives forward. His own family didn’t care about him. They felt relief when he left Cuba.

How can that man ever know what love is? He once professed to me that I was like his son, and he still placed a lengthy series of traps before me. Had I triggered any of his traps, I would have ended up in front of a firing squad, if not being personally executed from his own hand as I witnessed him do to his best friend.

I managed to evade them, thanks to the excellent training I received by my intelligence advisors and my personal guardian angel—Jesus Christ. I spent so many years close to that incarnation of the Devil that, even today, I still smell the Sulphur in my mind.

*****

Dr. Julio Antonio del Marmol is the son of the principal financier behind Castro’s Revolution, Leonardo del Marmol. And so it was that, at the age of 12, Julio Antonio became the youngest Commander in the Rebel Army (“el Commandantico”) and the Commander-in-Chief of the Young Commandos of the Rebel Army. In this position, he was a part of Fidel’s inner circle, and so saw firsthand the plans the Castros and their friend, Che Guevara, had for the island of Cuba. Julio Antonio, undetected for 10 years, took secrets right out of Fidel Castro’s very office and transmitted them to U.S. Naval Intelligence at Guantanamo until his cover was blown in 1971. He became the most-hunted spy in all of Cuba, codenamed by Castro himself as “the Lightning.”

 

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Huckabee Challenges ‘Churches of Little Faith’

Mike Huckabee Identifies ‘Biggest Threat’ to Moral Fiber of US, Why it’s the Church’s Fault

By Leah MarieAnn Klett, Christian Post Reporter

ANAHEIM, California — Redefining gender and sexual identity is the “greatest threat” to the moral fiber of America, said former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee, and the fault lies with the Church.

“The biggest threat to biblical principles today is the failure to apply a biblical standard of maleness and femaleness,” Huckabee told The Christian Post during a sit-down interview last week in Anaheim, California. “We are creating this illusion that there is no gender, there is no identity, and I’m blaming the Christian Church.”

The 2008 and 2016 Republican presidential candidate explained that California’s introduction of “no-fault divorce” in 1970 created the mindset that marriage “wasn’t really that important” and that one “could go in and out of it without a second thought.” Prior to that time, some kind of marital fault had to be demonstrated before a divorce could be granted.

“That’s when we first started losing that sense of sacredness of what marriage meant,” he argued. “So I’m not really that surprised that same sex-marriage has become in vogue because the Christian Church were the ones who essentially abdicated a strict responsibility about what biblical marriage should look like.”

“Once you’ve destroyed that, why can’t you have any and everything?” he continued. “The gender dysphoria we’re seeing today is largely due to the fact that the Church has failed to present very clearly the words of Jesus and Genesis 5:2: ‘Male and female He created them.’”

Huckabee pointed out that society today celebrates single parenting and posits the idea that fathers “really aren’t necessary” when it comes to raising children.

“There are some people who are in single parenthood, not because they want to be, but because they were forced to be. And we ought to give [them] all the support,” he clarified. “But we should never pretend that it is as good as a loving mother and father in a home where a child sees both genders play out their norms because that’s the modeling of behavior that would be ideal for a child to grow up in.”

Huckabee, who served as a Southern Baptist pastor before entering politics, said that in order for things to change, the Church needs to clearly present a biblical view of gender and identity — even though it’s not considered “politically correct.”

“People are afraid that if they are really biblical, it will alienate people and I think that’s nonsense,” he contended. “Yes, it will alienate some people who are more interested in preserving the lifestyle they have chosen than a lifestyle that will be practical and will work. But it will also be a lifesaver for the people who are really looking for genuine truth.”

The younger generation, Huckabee said, is obsessed with saying: “Here’s what I feel, here’s what I believe, here’s what I think,” and “this is my truth.”

“We need to be bold and say, ‘It doesn’t matter what you feel. It doesn’t matter what you think, or what you believe; what matters is truth,’” he said. “Real truth is objective; it’s not subjective. We may see things differently, but there’s only one truth.”

Parents, he added, have an obligation to teach this truth to their children — and to protect and shield them from destructive political agendas.

“I worry for my grandchildren because somebody with an iPhone can easily expose them to pornography and other disgusting things that no 6-year-old kid should see and should have to have explained to them,” he said. “Parents have to, more than ever, have very tight supervision and have screening tools, supervision, and limited time frames when it comes to iPads and iPhones.”

“I know it sounds archaic, but you don’t let your children play in a busy street. Why? Because they could get hurt. Why do you not let them just have unrestricted access to a mobile device? It’s because they can actually get hurt. I think parents have a harder role to play than ever before because there’s so much content out there, and very little of it is wholesome and so much of it is really hurtful.”

Huckabee, who today hosts a weekly program on the TBN Network, told CP that in an increasingly divided society, it’s becoming “harder” to find common ground with those who hold opposing viewpoints. The Left, in particular, he said, wants little to do with those who disagree with them.

“We try to get people from the other side of the aisle to come on my show, and we find it’s very difficult because they don’t want to do it. They want to stay in their own water even though we make it clear that we’re not going to brush them,” he said.

“It’s really unfortunate. The only thing I know to do is to keep trying.”

Earlier in the day, Huckabee spoke at the TV & Film Summit at Proclaim 19, the National Religious Broadcasters International Christian Media Convention.

He recalled that he told Matt Crouch, chairman and president of TBN, “I’d like to do a television show that is unlike what people are used to. I’d like to have a show that is a variety show — enough politics to keep it interesting, but not so much to raise everybody’s blood pressure to 300 over 200.”

“I do believe there is a place for a show that’s wholesome, refreshing, variety, that’s entertaining, informative, inspirational — all of those things in an hour — that it moves fast enough that nobody is just lost in a deep, long segment,” he said.

Huckabee said his goal is to tell stories that matter and give a platform to “ordinary” people who are doing extraordinary things.

“It just makes me feel really good to know that there are still people in the human race who are absolutely remarkable and have God’s imprint in their soul,” he said.

*****

Article from the Christian Post: https://www.christianpost.com/news/mike-huckabee-identifies-biggest-threat-to-moral-fiber-of-us-why-its-the-churchs-fault-exclusive.html

 

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Antithetical Conceptions of God and Man

Liberalism vs. Christianity

By Peter Coker

J. Gresham Machen spoke on this nearly 100-years ago, 97-years to be exact. At that time, (1922) he said the problem of liberalism in American Christian theology had already existed for 75-years. That would mean he traced the problem back to 1847, 172-years prior to 2019. Machen notes that liberal-theology was/is an attack on the essential foundations of historic Christianity. In short, the liberal view relied not on — Divine revelation, God’s word, Scriptural doctrine, or creeds — but on the Christian “experience” and on the “exposition” of the Christian experience. Thus, in liberal-religion, Scriptural teachings are not considered as important as an interpretive narrative. It then asserts; Christianity is a life, not a doctrine. Although this statement may have an air of godliness, Machen sought to test the liberal view by revisiting an examination of the historic beginnings of Christianity.

Machen’s examination noted that Christianity as a movement began within a few days after the crucifixion. Christianity was a new movement and the name, “Christian,” originated shortly after the death of Christ. The early years of first-century Christianity were preserved with the Apostles writings which later became the Bible’s New Testament Scriptures. The Scriptures testify to the fundamental character and primary principles of the early Christian movement. The Apostolic writings describe first-century Christianity as much more than a mere way of life, but as a way for all of life to be centered and self-possessed in a comprehensive gospel precept. The Apostolic writings contained not only facts about what Jesus said and did; but also, the meaning of what He said and did. Together, the Scriptures and Apostolic writings; prophesied of His coming, who He was, why He came, His death and resurrection on the third-day, and that Jesus came down from heaven to save mankind.

Jesus himself spoke very specifically about discerning true and false teachings in conjunction with strong warnings to beware of false teachers. Jesus also taught that incorrect doctrine (commandments of men) amounts to vain worship (Matt. 15: 8-9). It is interesting that Jesus correlates doctrine with worship. This indicates that correct doctrine leads to a positive, worthy, victorious worship.

[All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work. (2 Tim. 3:16-17)]

The meaning of the facts of Scripture produces Christian doctrine, the essential foundations and primary principles of the Christian faith. The Scriptures teach that the household of God is “built on the foundation of the Apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus himself being the cornerstone, in whom the whole structure, being joined together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord. In Him you also are being built together into a dwelling place for God by the Spirit.” (Eph. 2: 19-22)

Machen observed in modern times Christianity’s main rival is liberalism and he chronicles why liberalism is in opposition to Christianity. Machen begins by pointing to liberalism’s conception of God. For liberal-theology, the knowledge of God is the death-nell of religion; believers therefore, should not seek to know God, but instead, feel His presence. However, this peculiar view eliminates the moral underpinnings of religion as feelings are non-moral and can be expressed in moral or immoral behavior. Additionally, human-affection or feelings relies and depends on certain personal observations to inform our knowledge of the object of our affection. With liberalism, human-feelings — instead of God’s revelation and His word — become self-determinative of truth and reality. This reduces Christianity’s transcendent eternal purposes to the human aspirations of the material world.

[Oh, the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgments and how inscrutable his ways! (Romans 11:33; see also, 2 Peter 1:3)

walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to him: bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God; (Colossians 1:10, 3:1-2)

In contrast to the Scriptural knowledge of God and His will, liberalism’s human-experience and feelings concept conveys a materialistic, self-determined will (will-to-fiction), as expressed in Job; “They say to God, ‘Depart from us! We do not desire the knowledge of your ways.” (Job 21:14)

Machen also pointed-out the one main absolute fundamental attribute of God — the transcendence of God – the great gulf between the creature and the Creator. Modern liberalism however has expressed a distinct indifference to the God of Scripture and of the gulf between God and mankind. Thus, with a man-made effort, liberalism reduces the Scriptural, personal, living God to an impersonal world-process. For liberalism, God is not the divine personal loving Father and holy God; but rather is philosophically reduced to being a characterless world-procedure. The transcendence, sovereignty, providence, and predestination of God are thus broken-down to reflecting an impersonal, dispassionate process. If you begin with false presuppositions about God, you end-up with a false-god theology masquerading as the real thing.

As a result of reducing God to a world-process, the conception of man is altered as well. The Scriptures describe man as being a sinner, needing redemption; but with liberalism there is no sin, and man is thought to be naturally good. The natural man, of course, always believes he is not as bad as his neighbor. The natural man is also quite capable transferring guilt to others or to his environment. Liberal theology has changed both the basic conception of God and the biblical conception of man as well. The overall result has been the reduction of God and the elevation of man.

Today, liberal humanism is a philosophy that exalts mankind, whether it is Christian or secular. It is a view of life that finds the highest goal of human existence in the ‘healthy, harmonious, and joyous development of existing human faculties.’ Its self-determined optimism regards the nature of man as basically good. Historically, this was also the same philosophy of ‘paganism’ in Ancient Greece. Ancient Greece appeared glorious on the outside, but its underlying foundations were rotten to the core. Its mask of human-pride concealed a vast array of internal cover-ups and frauds. Jesus exposed the same phenomenon with the Pharisees and Sadducees; they looked spiritual on the outside, but inside they were spiritually dead. Liberalism is synonymous; looks great on the outside, but inside resides death and destruction towards God’s Word and His will.

Original Christianity, on the other hand is a religion of the broken heart, not of human-pride. It begins with the individual realization of brokenness towards God through the consciousness of sin. Of realizing one’s sins before God. Sin is then faced, dealt with, and removed by the grace of God through faith in Jesus Christ and His sacrifice. True Christianity bridges the spiritual gulf between the redeemed believer and the Creator. The individual is then free to express a developing Christian life through divine grace and the empowering of the Holy Spirit; growing in the grace and knowledge of God.

Without an authentic biblical concept of God and the individual consciousness of sin, Jesus’ gospel message loses meaning and necessity. Without dealing faithfully with sin, morality, righteousness, and justice, the gospel message loses its distinctiveness and transforming power. This eventually transpired with theologically liberalized churches; in-due-time they became empty shells of what they once were because they accepted a false concept of God and man. The same abasing quandary arises within communities and cultures that proceed in their footsteps.

If my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land. (2 Chron. 7:14)

*****

*Article adopted from J. Gresham Machen’s Liberalism or Christianity (1922).

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“I Thought I Could Be A Christian At Yale Law School”

I Thought I Could Be A Christian And Constitutionalist At Yale Law School. I Was Wrong

You would think that the number one law school in the country should be a cut above the rest. But it’s actually an environment of intense hostility towards Christians and constitutionalists.

By Aaron Haviland

On a recent Sunday evening in New Haven, Connecticut, a visiting priest gave a homily about the importance of Christian love. The gospel reading was Luke 6:27: “But I say to you who hear; Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who abuse you. If anyone strikes you on the cheek, offer the other also…”

In an age of political tribalism and social media, the priest reminded us that it is all too tempting to give in to the temptation of striking back at your enemies. But the duty of a Christian is to refrain from that temptation, to pray for your enemies, and to ultimately attempt to forgive.

As a stereotypical Catholic, I don’t usually quote scripture, but those words resonated with me that evening because they came at an appropriate time. I am a third-year student at Yale Law School. Before law school, I attended the Naval Academy and the University of Cambridge, and I served in the Marine Corps. I am also a member of my school’s Federalist Society chapter. (I write in my personal capacity, not on behalf of any organization.)

Earlier that Sunday morning, my friends and I sent out a school-wide email announcement about a guest speaker event for the upcoming week. A lawyer from Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF), the Christian legal group that has won numerous First Amendment cases at the Supreme Court, would be discussing Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission.

Given that ADF has been smeared as a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center, we expected some controversy. But what we got was over-the-top even by Yale standards.

Huge Outcry Against Christian Lawyers

The first condemnation was from Outlaws, the law school’s LGBTQ group. They attacked the Federalist Society for inviting ADF to campus and called for a boycott of the event. Over the next 24 hours, almost every student group jumped onto the bandwagon and joined the boycott.

The emails were a veritable alphabet soup of identity groups, including: APALSA (Asian Pacific American Law Students Association); BLSA (Black Law Students Association); SALSA (South Asian Law Students Association); LLSA (Latinx Law Students Association); MLSA (Muslim Law Students Association); MENALSA (Middle Eastern and North African Law Students Association); and JLSA (Jewish Law Students Association).

NALSA (Native American Law Students Association) said ADF employees were not welcome on their “ancestral lands.” The Yale Law Women, Yale Law Student Alliance for Reproductive Justice, and the Women of Color Collective joined, as did the American Constitution Society, the Yale Law Democrats, and the First Generation Professionals.

In addition to the boycott, some students said people who supported ADF’s position should no longer be admitted to the law school. One student emailed a list of the Federalist Society board members (publicly available information) so students would know whom to “thank” for this event.

The event took place two days later. Around 30 people attended. The boycotters decorated the front door with rainbow posters, but mostly stuck to protests and support groups in other rooms. The one disruption occurred near the end of the event, when three students walked in, rifled through empty pizza boxes, and left with a couple leftovers. On their way out, one of the protestors blew us a kiss and gave us the middle finger.

Compared to the undergraduate events that often make the news, our campus controversy was relatively tame. But it still left scars. The amount of vitriol and cyberbullying that came their way brought a couple of my classmates to tears. Some didn’t feel safe on campus. Those of us in our third year of study continued to count down the days to graduation.

This was not our first experience with campus unrest at Yale. Last year, we were embroiled in the controversy over the nomination of Brett Kavanaugh—a distinguished alum of Yale Law School—to the Supreme Court. Over the summer, one-quarter of my classmates signed a petition in which they asserted that “people will die” if Kavanaugh was confirmed to the court.

Days before the Dr. Christine Blasey Ford hearings, hundreds of students (and some faculty members) dressed in black and staged a sit-in in the school’s main hallway. Most classes were cancelled, lunch was provided, and traffic was redirected around the protesters. The walls were decorated with posters saying #IBelieveChristineBlaseyFord and #IStillBelieveAnitaHill.

I came to Yale Law School feeling optimistic and grateful for the opportunity. I knew that I would be in the intellectual minority, but I hoped that I could reasonably disagree with and learn from my peers. A lot of smart people come to this school, I thought to myself. Although we held different political beliefs, we probably shared a common passion for the rule of law.

I was wrong. And now I am deeply disappointed.

These Yale Law Students Are Disgracing Themselves

The anti-Kavanaugh protests were a disgrace. Atticus Finch is supposed to be the role model for our profession, but these people turned their backs on his example. Law students and professors alike willfully abandoned the presumption of innocence—the core principle of our legal system—simply because they didn’t like the jurisprudence of the next Supreme Court justice.

Tensions decreased slightly after Kavanaugh was confirmed, but they never went away. Every email announcement the Federalist Society sent out met a snarky, vitriolic response by progressive students. Members of the first-year class were routinely bullied by their peers. In one case, a student searched through the LinkedIn profile of a conservative classmate, saw the conservative had a connection to ADF, and shared that information with the entire class. Others then demanded a list of all law students who had connections to ADF.

This harassment has become almost routine and takes place with the full knowledge of the school administration. Occasionally, the administration steps in and releases a statement about the importance of civility and community. Yet the threats and intimidation persist, and the perpetrators feel no consequences.

Law school is supposed to be a place for serious thinkers, and you would think that the number one law school in the country should be a cut above the rest. But too often, the adults are nowhere to be found.

All this gets me back to the topic of forgiveness. I will graduate in three months, and I do not want to carry this bitterness with me when I go. It helps that I truly have no regrets about attending Yale. I have been afforded tremendous professional opportunities that would have been unavailable anywhere else.

I have made a close group of friends whom I trust. We share a bond borne out of three years of shared adversity and frustration. Finally, I have been privileged to study under professors I genuinely respect and admire because of their commitment to intellectual freedom and civil disagreement.

But then I walk back to campus for a class and see a protest sign, or I open another email smearing the Federalist Society. Then I feel viscerally angry about what this school has put my friends and me through. It will take a while to finally let go of this anger, and I probably need to put some distance between me and this school. For now, I will just try to stick to my studies, support my friends, and count down the days to graduation.

*****

Aaron Haviland is a student at Yale Law School. He graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy and the University of Cambridge, and he served in the Marine Corps.

 Article from thefederalist.com

http://thefederalist.com/2019/03/04/thought-christian-constitutionalist-yale-law-school-wrong/?utm_source=The+Federalist+List&utm_campaign=3923116261-RSS_The_Federalist_Daily_Updates_w_Transom&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_cfcb868ceb-3923116261-84065231

 

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