Tuesday, June 13, 2017

What is the worth of human life without history?


“To be ignorant of what occurred before you were born is to remain always a child. For what is the worth of human life, unless it is woven into the life of our ancestors by the records of history?”  ― Marcus Tullius Cicero

In consideration of the wisdom of Cicero, I will take opportunities every now and then to share discoveries I have made in the history books that I have been reading; well, I hope to continue such sharing for as long as my rapidly deteriorating body and bipolar, Swiss-cheese mind will permit.


For example, last night while I was reading A History of the American People by Paul Johnson, I was especially struck by the stories of John Winthrop, Roger Williams, and Anne Hutchinson. (The foregoing links, not from Johnson's book but from other sources, will give you more information about each individual. I won't repeat their stories, but I urge you to read about these very important early Americans.)

And, now folks, here is what most impressed me by the stories: These early colonists were 100% committed to their belief in Christianity, and that unshakeable belief resulted in some good, bad, and ugly moments in early American history.

Yes, even though revisionists would have it otherwise, Christian belief is the heart and soul of America's beginnings. 

Now in 2017 it is not fashionable or acceptable in many circles either to argue the foregoing historical fact or to persist in any argument that Christianity still deserves a place of honor in America. Yes, too many people despise the existence of Christianity within the warp and weft of American culture.

I realize that I will probably offend a few people by this posting. However, I am too old, too sick, and too cranky to worry much about offending other people. I am instead committed to seeking and speaking the truth as I see it, and Christianity as the heart and soul of American history is a truth that deserves to be respected and celebrated. 

So, what do you think?





29 comments:

  1. Christianity has certainly had a strong impact on the United States, Tim. Whatever one thinks of that tradition, or of those beliefs, Christianity has had many consequences for the country.

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    1. Margot, yes, and I take my cue from Cicero, trying to understand history as a way of making life worthwhile.

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  2. Cicero would have nothing but contempt for today's fashionable revisionists. How many times do we have to be taught the lesson that the enemies of truth always set out to erase history (see Soviet history)?

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    1. Frank, Cicero might also be amused that I have included him and Christian America in the same posting. In a separate matter, I am watching with interest the removal of all things Confederate from southern towns, cities, and states; the revisionists might want to read Orwell's 1984 before they continue with their revisions. Don't get me wrong. I do not celebrate the Confederacy. I do, however, refuse to ignore or rewrite historical facts.

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  3. truth is paramount and cannot be attained without perspective and reflection: thus sayest the mudpuddle...

    haha

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    1. Indeed, Mudpuddle. Be wary, however, of those who would deny or erase truth. My passion for reading history teaches me an important lesson: trust the past, use the past to focus on the true-and-false of the present, and do not worry one damn bit about the future because I will not be part of it all that much longer. Weird, huh?

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    2. weird, maybe, but excellent advice...

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    3. I often think about Farenheit 451 and wonder if I should make a secret basement in my house in my closet to hide my books should that day come.

      Or am I being silly and paranoid?

      Or should I develop a really good memory?

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    4. Sharon, I don't think you're being silly and paranoid. I think it is useful and essential to look at current events and anticipate changes and challenges. We are, I think, on the verge of some harrowing times during which challenges are coming to our freedom of thought and expression.

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  4. Understanding our History is vital. If you don't know where you came from you have no idea of how you got here and very little idea of where you're going.

    "Those who do not know their history are doomed to repeat it".

    "He who cannot draw on 3000 years is living from hand to mouth".

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    1. CyberKitten, I worry about historical ignorance and historical revision because both can create dangerous problems.

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    2. Agreed. Far too many people don't even understand the history of their own country. I come across that kind of thing all the time. *They* (and we all know who *they* are) want people to live in the 'eternal present' in 'the now' without knowledge of the past or thought of the future - in order to make them easier to manipulate. History/knowledge of is an antidote to this!

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  5. I think our biggest problem in education is that children are not taught how to think but rather what to think and it robs them of the ability to honestly interpret the information they receive.

    In the name of separation of church and state history and literature has in fact been revised or excised out of learning curriculum.

    Even science is only taught with atheism assumed as fact.

    We instead should be allowing children to explore all belief systems and see which holds up under scrutiny, or at least see how these belief systems have shaped our world.

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    1. As someone who was born into and grew up in a country with *no* separation of Church & State and who spent his early years - up to and including High School - in Church of England (Protestant) education I doubt very much if separation is the issue. I agree that children are not taught to think critically and that they should be. I think that this would improve things a great deal - especially politically.

      Science *must* be taught as if Atheism was fact. You cannot teach Science with a Supernatural or Religious component. Whatever the result would be it certainly wouldn't be Science.

      I completely agree that children should be exposed to as many of the world religions as possible as part of their educational process. Here they make great efforts to do so, not only teaching comparative religion but actively celebrating each others main festivals. This has produced one of the most Secular countries in the West and one that is fast moving to be largely Atheist. Teaching comparative religion seems to actively reduce general religious observance.

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    2. CyberKitten, you say:
      This has produced one of the most Secular countries in the West and one that is fast moving to be largely Atheist.

      I wonder if that is progress and/or improvement beyond the past. I defer to others on that tough-nut question. The United States, first colonized by people (in many cases) for religious reasons (and, yes, in some cases for secular, economic, and political reasons), was constitutionally founded as a republic with freedom of religion as its foundation. I am wary of any theocratic impulses, but I see the U.S. not as theocratic; freedom is the key -- not freedom from but freedom on, which is am important distinction -- and I worry that religious freedom is in jeopardy in the U.S. because it is not compatible with secular progressive liberal tendencies. But I've probably said too much, and I've probably not been responsive to the issues you've raised. Mea culpa.

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    3. Correction: make that "not freedom from but freedom of, which is an important distinction"

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    4. Presently we are, nominally at least, officially a Christian (Protestant) country. Over our long history - putting to one side our Pagan beginnings - we have either been strongly Catholic and often equally strongly Protestant - with the resultant oppression of the other (heretic) side. Only in more modern times has religion become primarily a personal issue rather than a State issue. We still have an official State Church but we've become a very tolerant bunch - except that a Royal still can't marry a Catholic - with various Churches of just about every faith on most street corners. I must pass at least 5-6 on the way to work and that's only 3 miles.

      I believe (obviously) that the lack of public religious pressure to conform is a good thing. If people want to believe things who am I to argue with them? However, when the State starts telling me what to believe (or not believe) I become very resistant - to say the least. As far as I'm concerned Faith is a personal matter. I don't bother people of Faith and I expect them to have the same attitude to me. I think it's best - especially with some of our particularly bloody religious history in mind!!

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    5. CK, I like the libertarian approach. People should be free to believe or not believe, and I should be free from people or government telling me what to believe.

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    6. Totally agree - although I'm coming at it from a more Anarchist direction. But, if you go far enough right (or left) you end up going in the either direction - to meet in the middle. A different route but the same destination [grin]

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    7. Cyberkitten:

      Interesting that you assume atheism is a fact. Can you show me proof that it is more sensible to believe everything in existence is here from a random accident rather than intentionally designed by a Creator?

      Secondly I'd be interested in knowing how atheism identifies and explains the existence of evil and
      finally:

      Which atheistic country are you pointing to as a paradigm of prosperity and peace? China? North Korea? Russia?

      Were the (in my opinion) great thinkers of England, C.S. Lewis, G.K. Chesterton, Milton, William Wilberforce just not mentally developed or hopelessly prejudiced?

      "Reason is divine. But how should you understand her? You are a beginner. For you the only safe commerce with Reason is to learn from your superiors the dogmata in which her deliverances have been codified for general use."
      -C.S. Lewis The Pilgrim's Regress

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    8. As this is Tim's *book* Blog I'll keep my answers short and (often) book related....

      I didn't say that I assume Atheism is a fact (although I do) but that Science must assume a Godless Universe in order to function as it does. There is no such thing as a Supernatural Science unless you want to call it Magic.

      If you want to read about the Origins of the Universe there's plenty of Cosmological books out there. In my 'read soon' pile I'll be reading 'A Universe from Nothing - Why There is Something Rather than Nothing' by Lawrence M Krauss in the next few months. Feel free to drop by a leave comments on my review.

      The Problem of Evil is a Christian problem rather than an Atheist one. A loving and all powerful God + Evil is a problem. A Godless Universe and evil is not a problem.

      There are numerous studies (and a few books) on how Secular countries - normally places like Scandinavia - are some of the most prosperous, crime free and happiest places on the planet. A quick Google search will give you lots of information.

      Faith, or the lack of, is not an intelligence or mental health issue. I've known dull Atheists and very smart people of Faith. Personally some of my favourite British authors are H G Wells, Arthur Conan Doyle, John Wyndham, Alison Weir and Phillipa Gregory (among others).

      Regarding C S Lewis: My only real contact with his writing was getting about 1/4 way through 'Mere Christianity' before giving up. I thought he was a rather poor Philosopher and, therefore, overrated.

      Oh, I found it interesting that you capitalised 'Reason' but didn't capitalise 'Atheism'. It's usually the convention to do so I understand....

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    9. For a sound and sensible philosophy of religion, and much more, the reasoned, logical rendering of Thomas Aquinas's writings is worthwhile, Sharon and CyberKitten.

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    10. Cyberkitten: I don't want to get into an involved discussion on poor Tim's blog but I will point out:

      First of all Scandinavian countries still run on Christian principles whether they acknowledge them or not. I was pointing out countries that run their nations on official atheistic ideals.

      Scandinavia seems to forget its own Christian heritage as does all of Europe; a heritage that delivered them from Barbarians running across the continent. The Vikings did not produce the present Scandinavian governments.

      But you were honest enough to admit that without God nothing can be defined as evil.

      Such as the terrorist attacks that have been occurring in England by Muslims who were raised and educated in England. They appear to have arrived at different conclusions than you after studying the same curriculum.

      And England and all of Europe seem to be reluctant to call this evil. Is that why your countries seem to be at a loss as how to respond? No God+no evil + terrorist attacks =?

      But none of this matters. What matters is what is true. If it produces wealth and happiness or persecution and suffering as most Christians are experiencing in the Middle East and parts of Africa, the Truth is immutable.

      If God exists, then He exists beyond any reasoning you or I could provide in an argument.

      Thomas Aquinas is on my TBR pile, Tim. I'll get to him one day.

      Concerning science: You can't get something from nothing. I've already read the arguments, quantum physics etc. You cannot get something from nothing. To willfully believe so is wishful thinking.

      Nevertheless. I'll be glad to read your review.

      One last thing. I'm not arguing with you in order to reaffirm my personal belief or "conquer" you in some intellectual dispute. Put yourself in my shoes.

      If you really believed there was a God who loved us but we were separated from Him by our self-destructive corrupt nature but He provided a way of reconciliation through His Son so we could live the Real Reality, the one after this short life, forever with Him and you saw others racing toward eternal destruction, what would you do?

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    11. Let me just say this before we get carried away: We have *VERY* different views on the world. No doubt mine are as alien to you as yours are to me. I hardly know what else to say at this point......

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    12. We haven't gotten carried away. I think we both explained our positions as honestly and civilly (I hope I was) as we could. Dialogues like this beat conversing about your favorite movie or sports team. Take care!

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  6. Sharon, you mention children's education, and I wonder when parents began surrendering their control over children to the government? Isn't that a big part of the problem? Even home-schooling is government controlled.

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    1. Our population as well as Europe's already have been indoctrinated into believing that our children are wards of the state and their intellectual and spiritual welfare are to be shaped and molded in government schools where they spend most of their childhood.

      I see a striking difference between my son who went to a small private school, children who were home schooled and children of friends who graduated from the local public school.

      I needn't tell you which ones voted for Bernie Sanders.

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  7. The truth, good, bad or mixed must always be celebrated

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    1. Mel u, yet the truth is so difficult to find even in history since it is written by fallible humans.

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