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Archive for December, 2008

The Tragic Triumph of the Welfare State over the Church

Posted by Tony Listi on December 29, 2008

church1By Will Herberg

ALONG with this overwhelming impact of the technological spirit on our culture, and therefore on our religion, we must take account of the effects of the Welfare State, of our Welfare Society, on religious attitudes in this country. Through the past century, the welfare services that ordinarily support human life in society have more and more passed over to the modern State, operating as a huge, centralized, bureaucratic, omnicompetent welfare agency. This has come as the culmination of the relentless secularization of life in the past four hundred years. In earlier days, through antiquity and the middle ages, into the sixteenth century, most of the welfare services that sustain life—taking care of orphans, jobless, old people, sick and incapacitated —were regularly rendered by family and friends within the scope and function of the Church, which was thus bound to the people by a thou- sand threads of everyday welfare interest. For the Amish people, this is still a reality today. In April 1965, wind and flood did wide damage in the midwest and destroyed many an Amish community. Groups of Amish people from the outside came to help their brothers rebuild their communities and their lives. On a TV news broadcast, a commentator noted: These days, when people are in trouble, there is one direction in which they look—to the federal government in Washington. But the Amish people don’t look to the federal government in Washington for help. They look to each other in their church.

That’s how it still is with the Amish people, but that’s how it was once all over in Christendom. I bring this forward not to encourage us to try to restore conditions long gone—that is a human impossibility—but to illustrate the profound changes that have taken place in recent centuries in our relation to religion and the Church.

With the deep and thoroughgoing secularization of Western society, the hopes and expectations of the masses of people have steadily been turning from Church to State, from religion to politics. This is a fact that no one, whatever his opinion or ideology, can deny, or has, in fact, denied. Consider how far this has gone in our own mass society, and our American society is only beginning to take its first steps in the direction of the Welfare State ; if you want to see a Welfare State in its full development, look at Sweden. But already in our own society people have been so stripped of their human bonds in Church and community that they are driven to look to the State for the most ordinary human associations and services. The State has not only become Big Father and Big Brother. It is actually brought to the point of having to supply to the forlorn members of the “lonely crowd” a State-appointed Good Friend. For, what is the modern social worker but a State- appointed Good Friend to the friendless denizens of mass society?

The modern State, in fact, becomes a divinized Welfare-Bringer. In the ancient world, the Hellenistic monarchs, and later the Roman emperors, prided themselves on being Welfare-Bringers (Euergetes, Benefactor), passing on the gifts of the gods to their subjects. They depicted themselves on their coins—the primary vehicle of State propaganda in those days which were without journalistic mass media, radio, or TV—as divinized figures holding a cornucopia, a horn of plenty, from which everything good is shown flowing to the grateful people. This is the modern Welfare State ; even some of the ancient symbols are being revived in cartoons and pictures. The omnicompetent Welfare State thus becomes the modern substitute for God and the Church, “from whom all blessings flow.”

Seen in this perspective, it is not difficult to understand why the Church as a religious institution has become more and more marginal in the everyday life of the people. The broad scope of its interests has become drastically narrowed by the galloping secularization of life. What does the Church do, what can it do, when the State takes over everything and comes to engage our deepest loyalties and emotions? Our religious feelings and religious interests have been more and more diverted from the attenuating Church to the expanding State. Is it any wonder that people are losing their interest in religion? They identify themselves religiously, belong to churches, and attend religious services, but for very different reasons (I have discussed this elsewhere) than once bound them to religion and the Church.

http://www.mmisi.org/ir/06_01_02/herberg.pdf

Posted in American Culture, Budget, Spending, and Taxes, Christianity and Politics, Economics, Government and Politics, Health Care, Intellectual History, Liberalism, Moral Philosophy, Political Philosophy, Politics and Religion, Poverty, Social Security, Socialism, Welfare State | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments »

C. S. Lewis on Diabolical Democracy, Socialism, and Public Education

Posted by Tony Listi on December 29, 2008

Is democracy a trap?

Is democracy a trap?

The following quotes below are taken from his satirical Screwtape Proposes a Toast (1959). Screwtape, a demon, speaks at the graduation of other younger demons from Tempters’ Training College.

Hidden in the heart of this striving for Liberty there was also a deep hatred of personal freedom. That invaluable man Rousseau first revealed it. In his perfect democracy, you remember, only the state religion is permitted, slavery is restored, and the individual is told that he has really willed (though he didn’t know it) whatever the Government tells him to do. From that starting point, via Hegel (another indispensable propagandist on our side) we easily contrived both the Nazi and the Communist state….

Democracy is the word with which you must lead them by the nose…. [T]hey should never be allowed to give this word a clear and definable meaning. They won’t. It will never occur to them that democracy is properly the name of a political system, even a system of voting, and that this has only the most remote and tenuous connection with what you are trying to sell them. Nor of course must they ever be allowed to raise Aristotle’s question: whether “democratic behaviour” means the behaviour that democracies like or the behaviour that will preserve a democracy. For if they did, it could hardly fail to occur to them that these need not be the same.

You are to use the word purely as an incantation; if you like, purely for its selling power. It is a name they venerate. And of course it is connected with the political ideal that men should be equally treated. You then make a stealthy transition in their minds from this political ideal to a factual belief that all men are equal…. As a result you can use the word democracy to sanction in his thought the most degrading (and also the least enjoyable) of human feelings. You can get him to practise, not only without shame but with a positive glow of self-approval, conduct which, if undefended by the magic word, would be universally derided.

The feeling I mean is of course that which prompts a man to say I’m as good as you….

No man who says I’m as good as you believes it. He would not say it if he did. The St. Bernard never says it to the toy dog, nor the scholar to the dunce, nor the employable to the bum, nor the pretty woman to the plain. The claim to equality, outside the strictly political field, is made only by those who feel themselves to be in some way inferior. What it expresses is precisely the itching, smarting, writhing awareness of an inferiority which the patient refuses to accept.

And therefore resents. Yes, and therefore resents every kind of superiority in others; denigrates it; wishes its annihilation. Presently he suspects every mere difference of being a claim to superiority…. “They’ve no business to be different. It’s undemocratic.”

Now, this useful phenomenon is in itself by no means new. Under the name of Envy it has been known to humans for thousands of years. But hitherto they always regarded it as the most odious, and also the most comical, of vices. Those who were aware of feeling it felt it with shame; those who were not gave it no quarter in others. The delightful novelty of the present situation is that you can sanction it — make it respectable and even laudable — by the incantatory use of the word democratic.

Under the influence of this incantation those who are in any or every way inferior can labour more wholeheartedly and successfully than ever before to pull down everyone else to their own level. But that is not all. Under the same influence, those who come, or could come, nearer to a full humanity, actually draw back from fear of being undemocratic…. They might (horror of horrors!) become individuals….

Meanwhile, as a delightful by-product, the few (fewer every day) who will not be made Normal or Regular and Like Folks and Integrated increasingly become in reality the prigs and cranks which the rabble would in any case have believed them to be. For suspicion often creates what it expects…. As a result we now have an intelligentsia which, though very small, is very useful to the cause of Hell.

But that is a mere by-product. What I want to fix your attention on is the vast, overall movement towards the discrediting, and finally the elimination, of every kind of human excellence – moral, cultural, social, or intellectual. And is it not pretty to notice how “democracy” (in the incantatory sense) is now doing for us the work that was once done by the most ancient Dictatorships, and by the same methods?…

Once you have grasped the tendency, you can easily predict its future developments; especially as we ourselves will play our part in the developing. The basic principle of the new education is to be that dunces and idlers must not be made to feel inferior to intelligent and industrious pupils. That would be “undemocratic.” These differences between pupils – for they are obviously and nakedly individual differences – must be disguised. This can be done at various levels. At universities, examinations must be framed so that nearly all the students get good marks. Entrance examinations must be framed so that all, or nearly all, citizens can go to universities, whether they have any power (or wish) to profit by higher education or not. At schools, the children who are too stupid or lazy to learn languages and mathematics and elementary science can be set to doing things that children used to do in their spare time…. Whatever nonsense they are engaged in must have – I believe the English already use the phrase – “parity of esteem”…. Children who are fit to proceed to a higher class may be artificially kept back, because the others would get a trauma…by being left behind. The bright pupil thus remains democratically fettered to his own age group throughout his school career….

In a word, we may reasonably hope for the virtual abolition of education when I’m as good as you has fully had its way. All incentives to learn and all penalties for not learning will be prevented; who are they to overtop their fellows? And anyway the teachers – or should I say, nurses? – will be far too busy reassuring the dunces and patting them on the back to waste any time on real teaching. We shall no longer have to plan and toil to spread imperturbable conceit and incurable ignorance among men. The little vermin themselves will do it for us.

Of course, this would not follow unless all education became state education. But it will. That is part of the same movement. Penal taxes, designed for that purpose, are liquidating the Middle Class, the class who were prepared to save and spend and make sacrifices in order to have their children privately educated. The removal of this class, besides linking up with the abolition of education, is, fortunately, an inevitable effect of the spirit that says I’m as good as you. This was, after all, the social group which gave to the humans the overwhelming majority of their scientists, physicians, philosophers, theologians, poets, artists, composers, architects, jurists, and administrators. If ever there were a bunch of stalks that needed their tops knocked off, it was surely they. As an English politician remarked not long ago, “A democracy does not want great men.”

We, in Hell, would welcome the disappearance of democracy in the strict sense of that word, the political arrangement so called. Like all forms of government, it often works to our advantage, but on the whole less often than other forms. And what we must realize is that “democracy” in the diabolical sense (I’m as good as you, Being Like Folks, Togetherness) is the fittest instrument we could possibly have for extirpating political democracies from the face of the earth.

For “democracy” or the “democratic spirit” (diabolical sense) leads to a nation without great men, a nation mainly of subliterates, full of the cocksureness which flattery breeds on ignorance, and quick to snarl or whimper at the first sign of criticism. And that is what Hell wishes every democratic people to be. For when such a nation meets in conflict a nation where children have been made to work at school, where talent is placed in high posts, and where the ignorant mass are allowed no say at all in public affairs, only one result is possible….

It is our function to encourage the behaviour, the manners, the whole attitude of mind, which democracies naturally like and enjoy, because these are the very things which, if unchecked, will destroy democracy. You would almost wonder that even humans don’t see it themselves. Even if they don’t read Aristotle (that would be undemocratic) you would have thought the French Revolution would have taught them that the behaviour aristocrats naturally like is not the behaviour that preserves aristocracy. They might then have applied the same principle to all forms of government….

The overthrow of free peoples and the multiplication of slave states are for us a means (besides, of course, being fun); but the real end is the destruction of individuals. For only individuals can be saved or damned, can become sons of the Enemy or food for us. The ultimate value, for us, of any revolution, war, or famine lies in the individual anguish, treachery, hatred, rage, and despair which it may produce. I’m as good as you is a useful means for the destruction of democratic societies. But it has a far deeper value as an end in itself, as a state of mind which, necessarily excluding humility, charity, contentment, and all the pleasures of gratitude or admiration, turns a human being away from almost every road which might finally lead him to Heaven.

Posted in American Culture, Christianity and Politics, Culture War, Democracy, Education, Fascism, Government and Politics, Intellectual History, Liberalism, Moral Philosophy, Political Philosophy, Politics and Religion, Quotes, Socialism, Written by Me | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 21 Comments »

C. S. Lewis on Barack Obama

Posted by Tony Listi on December 29, 2008

C. S. Lewis

Lewis died in 1963, so there is no knowing exactly what he would say. But I have come across some wonderful quotes from his satirical Screwtape Letters (uncle demon writing to a nephew demon on how to damn souls) that have obvious significance for what we should think of Barack Obama, the campaign he ran, and the state of American culture.

Our business is to get them away from the eternal, and from the Present. With this in view, we sometimes tempt a human (say a widow or a scholar) to live in the Past. But this is of limited value, for they have some real knowledge of the past and it has a determinate nature and, to that extent, resembles eternity. It is far better to make them live in the Future. Biological necessity makes all their passions point in that direction already, so that thought about the Future inflames hope and fear. Also, it is unknown to them, so that in making them think about it we make them think of unrealities. In a word, the Future is, of all things, the thing least like eternity. It is the most completely temporal part of time—for the Past is frozen and no longer flows, and the Present is all lit up with eternal rays. Hence the encouragement we have given to all those schemes of thought such as Creative Evolution, Scientific Humanism, or Communism, which fix men’s affections on the Future, on the very core of temporality. Hence nearly all vices are rooted in the future. Gratitude looks to the past and love to the present; fear, avarice, lust, and ambition look ahead….

To be sure, the Enemy wants men to think of the Future too—just so much as is necessary for now planning the acts of justice or charity which will probably be their duty tomorrow. The duty of planning the morrow’s work is today’s duty; though its material is borrowed from the future, the duty, like all duties, is in the Present. This is not straw splitting. He does not want men to give the Future their hearts, to place their treasure in it. We do. His ideal is a man who, having worked all day for the good of posterity (if that is his vocation), washes his mind of the whole subject, commits the issue to Heaven, and returns at once to the patience or gratitude demanded by the moment that is passing over him. But we want a man hag-ridden by the Future—haunted by visions of an imminent heaven or hell upon earth—ready to break the Enemy’s commands in the present if by so doing we make him think he can attain the one or avert the other—dependent for his faith on the success or failure of schemes whose end he will not live to see. We want a whole race perpetually in pursuit of the rainbow’s end, never honest, nor kind, nor happy now, but always using as mere fuel wherewith to heap the altar of the future every real gift which is offered them in the Present.

It follows then, in general, and other things being equal, that it is better for your patient to be filled with anxiety or hope (it doesn’t much matter which) about this war than for him to be living in the present. But the phrase “living in the present” is ambiguous. It may describe a process which is really just as much concerned with the Future as anxiety itself. Your man may be untroubled about the Future, not because he is concerned with the Present, but because he has persuaded himself that the Future is, going to be agreeable. As long as that is the real course of his tranquillity, his tranquillity will do us good, because it is only piling up more disappointment, and therefore more impatience, for him when his false hopes are dashed. (Letter XV, underlined emphasis mine)

In American politics, the words “past” and “future” have, respectively, negative and positive connotations. Is this a good thing? Did not Barack Obama’s campaign exploit futuristic jargon most successfully? Shouldn’t we be skeptical of so-called “progressive” policy schemes that play on false hopes of heaven on earth?

What we want, if men become Christians at all, is to keep them in the state of mind I call “Christianity And”. You know—Christianity and the Crisis, Christianity and the New Psychology, Christianity and the New Order, Christianity and Faith Healing, Christianity and Psychical Research, Christianity and Vegetarianism, Christianity and Spelling Reform. If they must be Christians let them at least be Christians with a difference. Substitute for the faith itself some Fashion with a Christian colouring. Work on their horror of the Same Old Thing. (Letter XXV)

From the above passage, I think it is quite clear what Lewis would think of Black Liberation Theology and the Trinity United Church of Christ. He would disapprove.

The horror of the Same Old Thing is one of the most valuable passions we have produced in the human heart—an endless source of heresies in religion, folly in counsel, infidelity in marriage, and inconstancy in friendship. The humans live in time, and experience reality successively. To experience much of it, therefore, they must experience many different things; in other words, they must experience change. And since they need change, the Enemy (being a hedonist at heart) has made change pleasurable to them, just as He has made eating Pleasurable. But since He does not wish them to make change, any more than eating, an end in itself, He has balanced the love of change in them by a love of permanence. He has contrived to gratify both tastes together on the very world He has made, by that union of change and permanence which we call Rhythm. He gives them the seasons, each season different yet every year the same, so that spring is always felt as a novelty yet always as the recurrence of an immemorial theme. He gives them in His Church a spiritual ear; they change from a fast to a feast, but it is the same feast as before.

Now just as we pick out and exaggerate the pleasure of eating to produce gluttony, so we pick out this natural pleasantness of change and twist it into a demand for absolute novelty. This demand is entirely our workmanship. If we neglect our duty, men will be not only contented but transported by the mixed novelty and familiarity of snowdrops this January, sunrise this morning, plum pudding this Christmas. Children, until we have taught them better, will be perfectly happy with a seasonal round of games in which conkers succeed hopscotch as regularly as autumn follows summer. Only by our incessant efforts is the demand for infinite, or unrhythmical, change kept up.

This demand is valuable in various ways. In the first place it diminishes pleasure while increasing desire. The pleasure of novelty is by its very nature more subject than any other to the law of diminishing returns. And continued novelty costs money, so that the desire for it spells avarice or unhappiness or both. And again, the more rapacious this desire, the sooner it must eat up all the innocent sources of pleasure and pass on to those the Enemy forbids. Thus by inflaming the horror of the Same Old Thing we have recently made the Arts, for example, less dangerous to us than perhaps, they have ever been, “low-brow” and “high-brow” artists alike being now daily drawn into fresh, and still fresh, excesses of lasciviousness, unreason, cruelty, and pride. Finally, the desire for novelty is indispensable if we are to produce Fashions or Vogues.

The use of Fashions in thought is to distract the attention of men from their real dangers. We direct the fashionable outcry of each generation against those vices of which it is least in danger and fix its approval on the virtue nearest to that vice which we are trying to make endemic. The game is to have them running about with fire extinguishers whenever there is a flood, and all crowding to that side of the boat which is already nearly gunwale under. Thus we make it fashionable to expose the dangers of enthusiasm at the very moment when they are all really becoming worldly and lukewarm; a century later, when we are really making them all Byronic and drunk with emotion, the fashionable outcry is directed against the dangers of the mere “understanding”. Cruel ages are put on their guard against Sentimentality, feckless and idle ones against Respectability, lecherous ones against Puritanism; and whenever all men are really hastening to be slaves or tyrants we make Liberalism the prime bogey.

But the greatest triumph of all is to elevate his horror of the Same Old Thing into a philosophy so that nonsense in the intellect may reinforce corruption in the will. It is here that the general Evolutionary or Historical character of modern European thought (partly our work) comes in so useful. The Enemy loves platitudes. Of a proposed course of action He wants men, so far as I can see, to ask very simple questions; is it righteous? is it prudent? is it possible? Now if we can keep men asking “Is it in accordance with the general movement of our time? Is it progressive or reactionary? Is this the way that History is going?” they will neglect the relevant questions. And the questions they do ask are, of course, unanswerable; for they do not know the future, and what the future will be depends very largely on just those choices which they now invoke the future to help them to make. As a result, while their minds are buzzing in this vacuum, we have the better chance to slip in and bend them to the action we have decided on. And great work has already been done. Once they knew that some changes were for the better, and others for the worse, and others again indifferent. We have largely removed this knowledge. For the descriptive adjective “unchanged” we have substituted the emotional adjective “stagnant”. We have trained them to think of the Future as a promised land which favoured heroes attain—not as something which everyone reaches at the rate of sixty minutes an hour, whatever he does, whoever he is…. (Letter XXV)

Is American culture obsessed with change for its own sake? Is it irrationally afraid of “the Same Old Thing”?

The truth is that the Enemy, having oddly destined these mere animals to life in His own eternal world, has guarded them pretty effectively from the danger of feeling at home anywhere else. That is why we must often wish long life to our patients; seventy years is not a day too much for the difficult task of unraveling their souls from Heaven and building up a firm attachment to the earth…. So inveterate is their appetite for Heaven that our best method, at this stage, of attaching them to earth is to make them believe that earth can be turned into Heaven at some future date by politics or eugenics or “science” or psychology, or what not. (Letter XXVIII, emphasis mine)

Do Obama and liberals believe that they can create heaven on earth?

Posted in American Culture, Art and Creativity, Christianity and Politics, Government and Politics, Liberalism, Moral Philosophy, Political Philosophy, Political Psychoanalysis, Politicians, Politics and Religion, Quotes, Written by Me | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments »

The Left’s Flirtation with the Middle Class

Posted by Tony Listi on December 27, 2008

Historically, the political Left has hated and despised the middle class, the hated bourgeoisie of Marxist thought. Yet in our times, the Left has realized (or rather re-realized) the political suicide of openly denigrating the “mushy middle.”

The Left has always hated the middle class because it has always represented and been the chief obstacle to its utopia, its unconstrained vision, its establishment of heaven on earth. Going back to at least Aristotle, observant political scholars have recognized the stability that a middle class brings to society. But the Left is not interested in stability, far from it. The Left is interested in revolution, in transformation, in the creation of the New Man; in a word: Change, the very opposite of stability. Moreover, the middle class tends to be less vulnerable to demagogic appeals to irrational class envy or self-hatred. In general, the middle class has also been the guardian of traditional religion and morality from generation to generation.  From every angle, the Left has had every reason to attack the middle class.

However, it has been said that the first rule of politics in democratic or semi-democratic nations is to add and multiply, not subtract and divide. Of course, from a practical, electoral perspective, political leaders, if they are to stand for anything at all, can’t help but divide the public with their rhetoric and policy positions. No, it is not a question of whether a politician will divide the country but how and to what extent he will divide it.

And if the middle class (admittedly a nebulous term) represents a majority, if not a super-majority (as it almost always has in America), then any political movement cannot afford to alienate this class–if it cares anything for practical, electoral success, i.e. power.

Barack Obama, Joe Biden, and the Democratic Party have (re-)learned this lesson well. They campaigned as champions of the middle class, with the unending mantra of promising tax breaks for the lower and middle classes rather than the wealthy (Tax breaks for those who pay relatively little to no taxes?). This stance may work well politically under the current unfavorable economic conditions, just as FDR was successful in pushing his socialist-fascist policy agenda during the Great Depression. But as a matter of economic policy, it is unsustainable and not in the public interest. Conservatives and Republicans must powerfully communicate and demonstrate this truth the the American people.

When the American middle class re-awakens to this harsh reality, it will turn on the leftists, just as it did on Jimmy Carter. After that, it will only be  a matter of time before the Left’s natural hatred of the middle class re-emerges. The Left’s only hope is to weaken, corrupt,  or destroy the middle class before it re-awakens, or to patiently wear it down over time and enjoy the fruits at a later time. We conservatives must work to win over the middle class (or more of it) again. We must illustrate the economic harm that the Left is inflicting upon everyone. We must be in the fight for the long haul as well.

Posted in American Culture, Budget, Spending, and Taxes, Culture War, Economics, Elections and Campaigns, Government and Politics, Intellectual History, Liberalism, Political Philosophy, Politicians, Written by Me | Tagged: , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Demos by Edwin Arlington Robinson

Posted by Tony Listi on December 23, 2008

http://famouspoetsandpoems.com/poets/edwin_arlington_robinson/poems/18579

I

All you that are enamored of my name
And least intent on what most I require,
Beware; for my design and your desire,
Deplorably, are not as yet the same.

Beware, I say, the failure and the shame
Of losing that for which you now aspire
So blindly, and of hazarding entire
The gift that I was bringing when I came.

Give as I will, I cannot give you sight
Whereby to see that with you there are some
To lead you, and be led. But they are dumb
Before the wrangling and the shrill delight
Of your deliverance that has not come,
And shall not, if I fail you—as I might.

II

So little have you seen of what awaits
Your fevered glimpse of a democracy
Confused and foiled with an equality
Not equal to the envy it creates,
That you see not how near you are the gates
Of an old king who listens fearfully
To you that are outside and are to be
The noisy lords of imminent estates.

Rather be then your prayer that you shall have
Your kingdom undishonored. Having all,
See not the great among you for the small,
But hear their silence; for the few shall save
The many, or the many are to fall—
Still to be wrangling in a noisy grave.

Posted in American Culture, Democracy, Government and Politics, Poetry, Political Philosophy | Leave a Comment »

Pharaoh’s chariots found in Red Sea?

Posted by Tony Listi on December 22, 2008

http://wnd.com/index.php?fa=PAGE.view&pageId=19382

Pharaoh’s chariots found in Red Sea?
‘Physical evidence’ of ancient Exodus
prompting new look at Old Testament


Posted: June 21, 2003
1:00 am Eastern

By Joe Kovacs


WorldNetDaily.com

“And Moses stretched out his hand over the sea; and the LORD caused the sea to go back by a strong east wind all that night, and made the sea dry land, and the waters were divided.” (Exodus 14:21)

One of the most famous stories of the Bible is God’s parting of the Red Sea to save the Israelites from the Egyptian army and the subsequent drowning of soldiers and horses in hot pursuit.

But is there evidence that such an event did in fact happen – and if so, precisely where did it take place?

The issue is surfacing some 3,500 years after the event is said to have taken place with reports of Egyptian chariot wheels found in the Red Sea, photographs to document it and new books by scientists that could lead to a whole remapping of the Exodus route and a fresh look at ancient biblical accounts.

Wheel of fortune


Is this a chariot wheel that chased Moses?

“I am 99.9 percent sure I picked up a chariot wheel,” Peter Elmer tells WorldNetDaily after two diving trips to the Gulf of Aqaba branch of the sea. “It was covered in coral.”

The 38-year-old forklift mechanic from Keynsham, England, traveled to the region with his brother, Mark, after being inspired by videos of explorers Ron Wyatt and Jonathan Gray, who have documented artifacts that in at least one case authorities have confirmed to be a chariot wheel dating to the time of the Exodus.

“I believe I actually sat in an ancient chariot cab,” Elmer said, referring to his time exploring a submerged item in what he describes as an underwater scrapyard. “Without question, it is most definitely the remains of the Egyptian army.”

But despite all of Elmer’s excitement, others who have been to the same location are not so sure what is being viewed underwater are the remnants of the great chase and urge extreme caution regarding the unsubstantiated claims.

“All kinds of people are finding coral and calling it chariot parts,” says Richard Rives, president of Wyatt Archaeological Research in Tennessee. “It’s most likely coral covered with coral. … Opportunists are combining false things with the true things that are found. These people are making it up as they go to be TV stars.”

Rives was a longtime partner of Ron Wyatt, an anesthetist and amateur archaeologist who died of cancer in 1999. Before passing away, Wyatt devoted years searching for and documenting physical evidence for events mentioned in the Bible. In addition to chariot wheels, Wyatt claimed to have found Noah’s Ark on the mountain next to Ararat in Turkey, the “true” Mount Sinai in Saudi Arabia and the Ark of the Covenant with the Ten Commandments near the site of Jesus Christ’s crucifixion.


Submerged ‘land bridge’ (wyattmuseum.com)

Among those who accompanied Wyatt on many of his excursions is his wife, Mary Nell. She’s concerned about over-exuberance regarding new claims, but the Spring Hill, Tenn., woman tells WorldNetDaily she’s “convinced” there are chariot parts located on a subsurface “land bridge” connecting Egypt to Saudi Arabia through the Gulf of Aqaba.

She cites Ron’s discovery of a wheel hub that he brought to the surface in the late 1970s as proof.

The hub had the remains of eight spokes radiating outward and was examined by Nassif Mohammed Hassan, director of Antiquities in Cairo. Hassan declared it to be from the 18th Dynasty of ancient Egypt, explaining the eight-spoked wheel was used only during that dynasty around 1400 B.C.

Curiously, no one can account for the precise whereabouts of that eight-spoked wheel today, though Hassan is on videotape stating his conclusion regarding authenticity.

When Mary Nell went diving with Ron, she says it was very easy to assume (wrongly) that every item on the flat bottom had historical significance.

“[At first] I thought everything was a chariot wheel!” Mrs. Wyatt exclaimed, noting how difficult it is for the untrained eye to distinguish an artifact from a piece of coral. “I’m just trying to be cautious about over-identifying too much. … It is God’s truth, and we can’t hype it up. We can’t add to it.”

However, she notes a big problem for explorers and scientists is that the Egyptian government no longer allows items to be removed from the protected region. Thus, someone claiming to find an artifact will have a hard – if not impossible – time verifying its authenticity, a classic catch-22.

The watery grave

“And the waters returned, and covered the chariots, and the horsemen, and all the host of Pharaoh that came into the sea after them; there remained not so much as one of them.” (Exodus 14:28)

The Bible account makes it clear that once the Israelites had marched through the parted sea on dry ground, that the waters rushed back to completely engulf the doomed army of ancient Egypt.

With that in mind, many of the items being seen in the Gulf of Aqaba have been photographed by divers for comparison to the Exodus story.

Many other photographs show formations in a circular pattern with projections that could be spokes, but those items remain at the bottom and have not been authenticated.

Another issue is the route of the Exodus, and which body of water the Israelites crossed. Many travel maps and Bibles indicate a crossing point in the Gulf of Suez, the western branch of the Red Sea. But those may have to be updated if the Aqaba location is confirmed as the true location for the miraculous event.

“The truth is, no one really knows where the crossing of the Red Sea took place,” says Carl Rasmussen, a biblical geographer and professor of Old Testament at Bethel College in St. Paul, Minn.

Rasmussen compiled the “Zondervan NIV Atlas of the Bible” and personally thinks the crossing took place somewhere along what is now the Suez Canal.


Yellow highlights possible spot of Mount Sinai in Saudi Arabia. Gulf of Aqaba branch of Red Sea is at center, with main Red Sea at bottom-right of photo (wyattmuseum.com)

Some scientists from Europe say the current maps are wrong, and the Wyatts are right – that the crossing began at the Nuweiba beachhead, went through the Gulf of Aqaba, and then into what is now Saudi Arabia where they claim the “true” Mount Sinai is located.

For years, scholars have speculated as to the location of the actual Mount Sinai where Moses received the Ten Commandments from God. At least 13 sites have actually been claimed on the Sinai peninsula as being the correct spot.

But Ron Wyatt believed it was in Arabia, even referenced as “mount Sinai in Arabia” by the Apostle Paul in Galatians 4:25.

So he and his sons made their way to “Jebel a Lawz,” the mountain of the Law, which is known by the locals as “Jebel Musa” – Moses’ mountain.

Unfortunately for the Wyatts, they were arrested and held in prison. His wife says someone had phoned embassy authorities for the Muslim country, claiming that Ron was spying for Israel. They were released after spending 78 days behind bars.

Rasmussen doesn’t agree with the Arabian Mount Sinai theory.

“I believe the strongest candidate is Jebel Sin Bisher,” he told WorldNetDaily. “The sites in Saudi Arabia have very, very weak scriptural backing, in spite of the hype.”

Now, a new book by Cambridge University physicist Colin Humphreys titled “The Miracles of Exodus” supports not only the claim for an Aqaba crossing, but also the location of Mount Sinai in Arabia.

“If my book is correct, and I believe the evidence is very strong,” says Humphreys, “then world maps will need to be redrawn to relocate Mount Sinai. History books, travel guides and biblical commentaries will need to be rewritten.”

Throughout his work, Humphreys provides scientific explanations to corroborate the accounts of the Old Testament.

“‘The waters piled up, the surging waters stood firm like a wall,’ is a remarkable description of what the mathematics reveals to be the case for water pushed back by a very strong wind,” he writes.

“What I have found is that the events of the Exodus are even more dramatic than is generally believed,” Humphreys said. “The Exodus of the ancient Israelites from Egypt really is one of the greatest true stories ever told.”

A Swedish scientist who believes the Red Sea was split says while Humphreys is correct about the Aqaba crossing, there are no natural, scientific explanations for the parting miracle described in Scripture.


Walls of water as depicted in ‘The Ten Commandments’ (Paramount Pictures)

“The wind did not separate the water,” says Lennart Moller of the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm. “No person could be in that wind and survive. … If God has created all the Earth, it’s no problem for Him to separate the water for a while.”

Speaking to WorldNetDaily from the isle of Gotland in the Baltic Sea, Moller, the author of “The Exodus Case,” says the key in finding the correct route of the Israelites is to understand that the Hebrew reference to “yum suph” does not mean “sea of reeds” as many scholars have claimed.

Moller says it refers specifically to the Gulf of Aqaba, and while he’s not formally affiliated with the Wyatts, he agrees with them that a host of other evidence can be found on the Arabian side of the water, including remains of the golden calf, pillars, altars and the even the rock the Bible says Moses split to bring forth water for the Israelites.

Regarding the items found beneath the waters, Moller believes there are remnants not only of chariots and wheels, but also human and animal skeletons.

“There was a disaster [there] a long time ago,” he said. “Whatever that is, it’s open to interpretation.”

He also notes that the downward and upward slope of the Aqaba crossing path actually falls within current U.S. standards for handicapped ramps.

And while Mary Nell Wyatt warns overstating the claims by divers and authors could do more harm than good, she does believe there’s a reason why her husband was led to discover what Ron called “God’s attention-getters.”

“God preserved all these evidences,” she said, “[otherwise] there would have been nothing left. … God has been lost today. Even Christians still can’t believe this all happened. … We need to pray for the Lord to help us get people to see it.”

Back in England, Peter Elmer says people have mockingly asked “Why should a forklift mechanic from Keynsham be able to go to the same place Moses was?”

He takes the criticism in stride, pointing out “Jesus used fishermen, tax collectors and publicans. Why not a forklift mechanic?”

Posted in Religion and Theology, Science and Religion | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Hitler’s War on Christianity (Quotes)

Posted by Tony Listi on December 14, 2008

Hitler was NOT a Christian. He hated Christianity. If he made any public remarks in support of Christianity, that was because he was in public and would lie or obfuscate to appease a crowd at times. Hitler was opposed to atheism because  he was a spiritual man: “atheism… is a return to the  state of the animal…” (Hitler’s Table Talk, pg 59). But opposition to atheism doesn’t make anyone a Christian. Nazism was his religion, an authentic religion of his own creation (yes, life is SO much better when people create their own personal religions in a search for “authenticity,” ha).

Hitler’s Table Talk is a compilation of sayings by Hitler in private conversations that were recorded by other Nazis. It is a good source for what Hitler really thought.

“…the only way of getting rid of Christianity is to allow it to die little by little.” –Hitler’s Table Talk, pg 61

“It’s Christianity that’s the liar. It’s in perpetual conflict with itself.” –Hitler’s Table Talk, pg 61

“In the long run, National Socialism and religion will no longer be able to exist together.” –Hitler’s Table Talk, pg 6

“Kerrl, with the noblest of intentions, wanted to attempt a synthesis between National Socialism and Christianity. I don’t believe the thing’s possible, and I see the obstacle in Christianity itself.” –Hitler’s Table Talk, pg 145

“As far as we are concerned, we’ve succeeded in chasing the Jews from our midst and excluding Christianity from our political life.” –Hitler’s Table Talk, pg 394

“There is something very unhealthy about Christianity.” –Hitler’s Table Talk, pg 418

“The reason why the ancient world was so pure, light and serene was that it knew nothing of the two great scourges: the pox and Christianity. Christianity is a prototype of Bolshevism: the mobilisation by the Jew of the masses of slaves with the object of undermining society. Thus one understands that the healthy elements of the Roman world were proof against this doctrine.” –Hitler’s Table Talk, pg 75-76

“When all is said, we have no reason to wish that the Italians and Spaniards should free themselves from the drug of Christianity. Let’s be the only people who are immunised against the disease.” –Hitler’s Table Talk, pg 145

“Our epoch will certainly see the end of the disease of Christianity. It will last another hundred years, two hundred years perhaps. My regret will have been that I couldn’t, like whoever the prophet was, behold the promised land from afar. We are entering into a conception of the world that will be a sunny era, an era of tolerance.” –Hitler’s Table Talk, pg 343-344

“Pure Christianity—the Christianity of the catacombs—is concerned with translating the Christian doctrine into facts. It leads quite simply to the annihilation of mankind.” –Hitler’s Table Talk, pg 146

“Christianity is the worst of the regressions that mankind can ever have undergone, and it’s the Jew who, thanks to this diabolic invention, has thrown him back fifteen centuries.” –Hitler’s Table Talk, pg 322

“The heaviest blow that ever struck humanity was the coming of Christianity. Bolshevism is Christianity’s illegitimate child. Both are inventions of the Jew. The deliberate lie in the matter of religion was introduced into the world by Christianity. Bolshevism practises a lie of the same nature, when it claims to bring liberty to men, whereas in reality it seeks only to enslave them. In the ancient world, the relations between men and gods were founded on an instinctive respect. It was a world enlightened by the idea of tolerance. Christianity was the first creed in the world to exterminate its adversaries in the name of love. Its key-note is intolerance.” –Hitler’s Table Talk, pg 7

“But Christianity is an invention of sick brains : one could imagine nothing more senseless, nor any more indecent way of turning the idea of the Godhead into a mockery. A negro with his tabus is crushingly superior to the human being who seriously believes in Transubstantiation.” –Hitler’s Table Talk, pg 144

“It took fourteen centuries for Christianity to reach the peak of savagery and stupidity.” –Hitler’s Table Talk, pg 314

“Let it not be said that Christianity brought man the life of the soul, for that evolution was in the natural order of things.” –Hitler’s Table Talk, pg 7

“We must recognise, of course, that, amongst us, Christianity is coloured by Germanism.” –Hitler’s Table Talk, pg 46

“We’ll see to it that the Churches cannot spread abroad teachings in conflict with the interests of the State. We shall continue to preach the doctrine of National Socialism, and the young will no longer be taught anything but the truth.” –Hitler’s Table Talk, pg 62

“Christianity is a rebellion against natural law, a protest against nature. Taken to its logical extreme, Christianity would mean the systematic cultivation of the human failure.” –Hitler’s Table Talk, pg 51

“By nature the Duce is a freethinker, but he decided to choose the path of concessions. For my part, in his place I’d have taken the path of revolution. I’d have entered the Vatican and thrown everybody out—reserving the right to apologise later: “Excuse me, it was a mistake.” But the result would have been, they’d have been outside!” –Hitler’s Table Talk, pg 145

“So it’s not opportune to hurl ourselves now into a struggle with the Churches. The best thing is to let Christianity die a natural death. A slow death has something comforting about it. The dogma of Christianity gets worn away before the advances of science. Religion will have to make more and more concessions. Gradually the myths crumble. All that’s left is to prove that in nature there is no frontier between the organic and the inorganic.” –Hitler’s Table Talk, pg 59

“But, even so, it’s impossible eternally to hold humanity in bondage with lies. After all, it was only between the sixth and eighth centuries that Christianity was imposed on our peoples by princes who had an alliance of interests with the shavelings. Our peoples had previously succeeded in living all right without this religion. I have six divisions of SS composed of men absolutely indifferent in matters of religion. It doesn’t prevent them from going to their deaths with serenity in their souls.” –Hitler’s Table Talk, pg 143

“Had Charles Martel not been victorious at Poitiers—already, you see, the world had fallen into the hands of the Jews, so gutless a thing was Christianity!—then we should in all probability have been converted to Mohammedanism, that cult which glorifies heroism and which opens the seventh Heaven to the bold warrior alone. Then the Germanic races would have conquered the world. Christianity alone prevented them from doing so.” –Hitler’s Table Talk, pg 667 (Talk about Islamo-fascism!)

“The priests of antiquity were closer to nature, and they sought modestly for the meaning of things. Instead of that, Christianity promulgates its inconsistent dogmas and imposes them by force. Such a religion carries within it intolerance and persecution. It’s the bloodiest conceivable.” –Hitler’s Table Talk, pg 322-323

“One cannot succeed in conceiving how much cruelty, ignominy and falsehood the intrusion of Christianity has spelt for this world of ours. If the misdeeds of Christianity were less serious in Italy, that’s because the people of Rome, having seen them at work, always knew exactly the worth of the Popes before whom Christendom prostrated itself.” –Hitler’s Table Talk, pg 288

“With what clairvoyance the authors of the eighteenth, and especially those of the past, century criticised Christianity and passed judgment on the evolution of the Churches!” –Hitler’s Table Talk, pg 88

“When understanding of the universe has become widespread, when the majority of men know that the stars are not sources of light but worlds, perhaps inhabited worlds like ours, then the Christian doctrine will be convicted of absurdity.” –Hitler’s Table Talk, pg 59

“The fact that the Japanese have retained their political philosophy, which is one of the essential reasons for their successes, is due to their having been saved in time from the views of Christianity.” –Hitler’s Table Talk, pg 393

“This terrorism in religion is the product, to put it briefly, of a Jewish dogma, which Christianity has universalised and whose effect is to sow trouble and confusion in men’s minds.” –Hitler’s Table Talk, pg 393

“It may be asked whether concluding a concordat with the churches wouldn’t facilitate our exercise of power…. I’m convinced that any pact with the Church can offer only a provisional benefit, for sooner or later the scientific spirit will disclose the harmful character of such a compromise. Thus the State will have based its existence on a foundation that one day will collapse.” –Hitler’s Table Talk, pp. 58-59

“It is to these private customs that peoples owe their present characters. Christianity, of course, has reached the peak of absurdity in this respect. And that’s why one day its structure will collapse. Science has already impregnated humanity. Consequently, the more Christianity clings to its dogmas, the quicker it will decline.” –Hitler’s Table Talk, pg 60

More links:

http://www.geocities.com/mikem2u/hitler.html

http://www.amazon.com/Hitlers-Table-Talk-Adolf-Hitler/dp/1929631057

http://davnet.org/kevin/articles/table.html

Posted in Christianity and Politics, Culture War, Fascism, Government and Politics, Political Philosophy, Politics and Religion, Quotes, Written by Me | 25 Comments »

Hitler Recognized and Praised Islamo-Fascism

Posted by Tony Listi on December 14, 2008

“Had Charles Martel not been victorious at Poitiers—already, you see, the world had fallen into the hands of the Jews, so gutless a thing was Christianity!—then we should in all probability have been converted to Mohammedanism, that cult which glorifies heroism and which opens the seventh Heaven to the bold warrior alone. Then the Germanic races would have conquered the world. Christianity alone prevented them from doing so.”

Hitler’s Table Talk, pg 667

Posted in Fascism, Intellectual History, Islam, Political Philosophy, Politics and Religion, Quotes, Written by Me | Tagged: , , , , , | 10 Comments »

The Emersonian Adolf Hitler (Quotes)

Posted by Tony Listi on December 14, 2008

Hitler was more of an intellectual, however perverse, than most people give him credit for. He spoke often about certain laws of nature, in Darwinian and Romantic terms. He reminds me of Ralph Waldo Emerson, which should make us pause and question the value of Emerson’s thought and its affinity with Nazism. It is no wonder that Emerson was heavily influenced by German Romanticism.

“What we need are men gifted with a sixth sense, who live in nature and with nature—whether or not they know anything about isotherms and isobars.” –Hitler’s Table Talk, pg 62

“It’s possible to satisfy the needs of the inner life by an intimate communion with nature, or by knowledge of the past.” –Hitler’s Table Talk, pg 60

“Everything in nature happens in conformity with what ought to happen.” –Hitler’s Table Talk, pg 153

“Nature spontaneously eliminates all that has no gift for life.” –Hitler’s Table Talk, pg 152

“Man has discovered in nature the wonderful notion of that all-mighty being whose law he worships.” –Hitler’s Table Talk, pg 6

“Whoever sees God only in an oak or in a tabernacle, instead of seeing Him everywhere, is not truly pious.” –Hitler’s Table Talk, pg 84

“From that point of view, one can envy the Japanese. They have a religion which is very simple and brings them into contact with nature.” –Hitler’s Table Talk, pg 144

“All that’s left is to prove that in nature there is no frontier between the organic and the inorganic. When understanding of the universe has become widespread, when the majority of men know that the stars are not sources of light but worlds, perhaps inhabited worlds like ours, then the Christian doctrine will be convicted of absurdity.” –Hitler’s Table Talk, pg 59-60

“The man who lives in communion with nature necessarily puts himself in opposition to the Churches.” –Hitler’s Table Talk, pg 61

“An educated man retains the sense of the mysteries of nature and bows before the unknowable.” –Hitler’s Table Talk, pg 59

“Man has a gift for seizing hold of what is beautiful. And what inexhaustible riches the world contains for the man who knows how to enjoy his senses ! Moreover, nature has given man the desire to make others share in the joys he feels. The beautiful always claims its right to primacy.” –Hitler’s Table Talk, pg 142

“The beauties of the woods were discovered, not by the peasant, but by the professor.” –Hitler’s Table Talk, pg 619

“There are other parts of Germany, apart from the Rhineland, which give me intense pleasure to visit—the Kyffhaeuser, the forests of Thuringia, the Harz and the Black Forest. It is most exhilarating to drive for miles through the woods and forests, far away from the throng. One of my greatest delights has always been to picnic quietly somewhere on the roadside….” –Hitler’s Table Talk, pg 717

“It is a great pity that Germans know so little of their own country. Since 1938 the number of beauty spots within the boundaries of the Reich has increased considerably. In addition to Austria, we have the wonderful countryside of Bohemia and Moravia, which is a closed book to all but a few Germans. Some of them may have heard of the virgin forests of Bohemia, but how many have ever seen them? I have a collection of photographs taken in Bohemia, and they remind one of the vast forests of the tropics. To visit all the beauties of his country, a German to-day would require to take a holiday in a different district each year for the rest of his life.” –Hitler’s Table Talk, pg 717

“One must start by accepting the principle that nature herself gives all the necessary indications, and that therefore one must follow the rules that she has laid down.” –Hitler’s Table Talk, pg 508

“Where do we acquire the right to believe that man has not always been what he is now? The study of nature teaches us that, in the animal kingdom just as much as in the vegetable kingdom, variations have occurred.” –Hitler’s Table Talk, pg 248

“The fly feeds on fresh leaves, the frog swallows the fly as it is, and the stork eats the living frog. Nature thus teaches us that a rational diet should be based on eating things in their raw state.” –Hitler’s Table Talk, pg 443

“In the long run nature eliminates the noxious elements. One may be repelled by this law of nature which demands that all living things should mutually devour one another.” –Hitler’s Table Talk, pg 141

“Nature, in creating a being, gives it all it needs to live. If it cannot live, that’s either because it’s attacked from without or because its inner resistance has weakened.” –Hitler’s Table Talk, pg 115

“By the law of nature, the most important person of a nation should be the best man.” –Hitler’s Table Talk, pg 121

“Nature doesn’t care the least bit whether, as a preliminary, the people concerned have paid a visit to the registrar. Nature wants a woman to be fertile.” –Hitler’s Table Talk, pg 92

“He might be a man who has never set foot outside his own village, but who understands the flight of midges and swallows, who can read the signs who feels the wind, to whom the movements of the sky are familiar. Elements are involved in that kind of thing that are imponderable and beyond mathematics.There are bits of knowledge that are developed in the course of an existence intimately associated with the life of nature, which are often passed on from father to son.” –Hitler’s Table Talk, pg 63

“As in everything, nature is the best instructor, even as regards selection. One couldn’t imagine a better activity on nature’s part than that which consists in deciding the supremacy of one creature over another by means of a constant struggle.” –Hitler’s Table Talk, pg 396 (with a touch of Darwinism here)

“If the individual were important in the eyes of nature, nature would take care to preserve him. Amongst the millions of eggs a fly lays, very few are hatched out—and yet the race of flies thrives.” –Hitler’s Table Talk, pg 142 (with a touch of Darwinism here)

“The man who wishes to bring up his child rightly must not lose sight of the example of nature, which shows no peculiar tenderness.” –Hitler’s Table Talk, pg 395 (with a touch of Darwinism here)

“Social prejudices are in the process of disappearing. More and more, nature is reclaiming her rights. We’re moving in the proper direction.” –Hitler’s Table Talk, pg 353

“The wisdom of nations sometimes expresses truths as old as the world, that perfectly reproduce nature’s intentions.” –Hitler’s Table Talk, pg 341

“It is perfectly true that we are a people of romantics, quite different from the Americans, for example, who see nothing beyond their sky-scrapers. Our romanticism has its origins in the intense appreciation of nature that is inherent in us Germans.” –Hitler’s Table Talk, pg 707

H. R. Trevor-Roper on  Hitler’s conception of nature:

“He had views indeed on Nature and often spoke of his ‘communion’ with it, but it was a hideous Nature, the devouring Nature whose cruelty justified his own : not a sociable pagan Nature of nymphhaunted woods and populated streams, but a romantic Wagnerian Nature of horrid Alps in whose intoxicating solitude he could best hatch his own equally violent and implacable interventions.” –Hitler’s Table Talk, Introduction: The Mind of Adolf Hitler, pg XXXV11

Posted in Fascism, Intellectual History, Political Philosophy, Quotes, Written by Me | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments »

Hitler Approved of FDR’s Politics

Posted by Tony Listi on December 13, 2008

“There is at least one official voice in Europe that expresses understanding of the methods and motives of President Roosevelt. This voice is that of Germany, as represented by Chancellor Adolf Hitler,” writes the New York Times in 1933.

“I have sympathy with President Roosevelt because he marches straight toward his objective over Congress, over lobbies, over stubborn bureaucracies,” said Adolf Hitler.

HITLER SEEKS JOBS FOR ALL GERMANS
By ANNE O’HARE McCORMICK.Wireless to THE NEW YORK TIMES.By ANNE O’HARE McCORMICK
New York Times (1857-Current file); Jul 10, 1933; ProQuest Historical Newspapers The New York Times (1851 – 2005)

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