Friday, October 22, 2010

Subtle tricks.

Arsinoe was Cleopatra's younger sister, so history tells us. And Arsinoe was killed on big sister's orders, because she might have been a rival for the Egyptian throne. The same source describes how the boys in Cleopatra's family were disposed of, also. How vile and evil! If you asked most people what they know about Queen Cleopatra, they would probably say she was famous for her beauty and her tragic death after her lover died, not that she was a power-seeking murderer.
We know families don't always get on well, but fratricide is another thing. As we agreed, discussing it after, the society of Ancient Egypt included some dark and evil places.
It's the same elsewhere. The Ancient Greeks, of the Hellenic Age, had a very advanced civilization in the material sense. They learned and deduced some things about the world and our solar system which were later forgotten and had to be rediscovered hundreds of years later. Vert commendable.
They could also be grossly indulgent and entertain some perversions. Several times I've been told that Hellenic men took boys as 'lovers'. That's not homosexuality so much as pederasty, or paedophilia.
The Romans indulged in debauched evil, too. Burning people alive in the Colluseum, or having them set upon by wild animals, was a specator sport for the public at the time.
Yet we were taught at school that these societies were marvellous and admirable. History books and scholars talk about 'the wonder that was Ancient Rome' and 'the Golden Age of Greece', overlooking the Greek practice of keeping slaves. Egypt too is described as a place full of wonders, like the pyramids and Tutenkhamen's tomb.
A young learner could get the impression that the past was a breathtaking place, and it's only the present that is disappointing. And it is a subtle trick, to delude us about human nature and the state of the world. It pretends that human beings are much more admirable and upright than we actually are. I say 'we' because I'm not some exception.
Secular teaching of history therefore conceals an important truth, that a human must know to hear the call of God. Human history does NOT only show us what marvels we have achieved as a race, but also what depths of corruption we have often sunk to.
Teaching history the way we do can be mischieviously misused. Communists teach history to try and sell their ideology, by claiming everything before Karl Marx was bad. And secularists can use history to try and fool us that we don't need God.
This was what George Orwell meant when he said, whoever controls the past controls the present. Tell people that the past was what you want them to believe it was, and you can manipulate them into believing certain things about the present.
The concept of the 'noble savage' comes in here too. The idea was that at some time in the past, a human society existed which was perfectly harmonious and free from evil. If we can get back to it we can re enter the golden age of peace. That idea also tries to show that human creatures can be perfect if put in the right environment - and thus pretends that we are better than we are in fact, when you look at what actually happens.
I can see why the Christian schools movement has grown. There is a need to present knowledge and learing in a clear way, without attempting to idealize it. And Christian truth will show that, but not secularism. Secularism tries to pretend we are better than we are, and deny the need of a Messiah to save us.
I wonder where it will end?

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

An analogy

When some people talk about Christianity, or any other belief, they give their ignorance away. I don't mean to be too harsh, just get right to the point. People discuss faith as if it was like being part of a club, which has some traditions and rituals, but it doesn't necessarily change your the members' world view. When they're not at a club meeting they simply live like everyone else around them.
This is the analogy that occurs to me. A convinced theist, or believer in God, and a convince atheist are as different as two mathematicians working with different number scales. If you work with a number scale of ten, then four fives equal twenty. If you work with a number scale of five, four fives equal forty. The same data yields a different answer if your analytical thinking framework is different. If a person really believes in the existence of God, then God is a factor in all things, all issues and all equations about life. God is always there and always has to be considered. And God can make the impossible possible. God can, if He chooses turn water into wine. So God has to be remembered in all situations. Someone I once knew said "This has nothing to do with God," when telling someone else what to do. They were quite wrong. It has everything to do with God. The advice they were giving was not in keeping with God's teaching. But they were saying that in the real world you have to be 'practical', by which they meant do whatever worked best, and never mind if it wasn't the Christian thing to do. There is probably a great deal of that. This person called themselves a Christian but left God out of some of their daily decisions in life. God was only for Sundays or for making fine sounding speeches about when they were in the mood. Their faith did not transfer into daily life.
That's not all. Some non-believers, or agnostics, don't understand why Christians get 'hung up' about certain things. They don't see why Christians have to make an issue out of things instead of just fitting in. That is to say, they don't realize how real God and His teachings are to those who really believe.
Even though I personally do not follow the teachings of Judaism, I must respect the right of a Jewish man to wear a yarmulka, if he feels that's important a part of his belief. Some people propose to ban such things in public schools, because the school is supposed to be secular. But a Jew does not stop being Jewish just because they are in a public school.
And a Christian does not stop being a Christian just because it is not Sunday and they are not in church.
That is why they sometimes cannot fit in with the world. Jesus Himself warned His followers of that. They may be rejected and victimised by the world.
In the same vein, some people say the church should 'modernise' to fit in with the community it wants to connect with. That is putting the cart before the horse. The community needs to change to follow the Word's teachings - or else be honest enough to admit that they are not doing so. To say the church has to agree with society is saying that the church has no real beliefs, it just reflects social or political fashion. But some people can't see that because they do not really know what they are talking about when they discuss faith.