Saturday, December 17, 2011

Christopher Hitchens almost put his finger on the Antichrist

Saw a video clip of Hitchens objecting strenuously to the accusation that evolution influenced more murders in this world than religion ever did, claiming that for instance neither Hitler nor Stalin nor Mussolini nor Croatia were inspired by evolution but by Catholicism and by centuries of deification of human leaders. He said that fascism is really an expression of the Roman Catholic Right!

That really grabbed my attention. It's a very insightful observation, though he of course makes the common mistake of equating Catholicism with Christianity, and misses the point that evolution HAS inspired callousness toward human beings, Margaret Sanger and abortion being one obvious example, and Sanger's racist eugenics DID influence Hitler. Also the Communist regimes have been decidedly atheistic and extravagantly murderous.

HOWEVER, his point is worth thinking about. Russia had the Czars, which is the Russian term for "Caesar" and Germany had the Kaisers, which is the German term for "Caesar," both regimes having admired the Roman Empire with its Caesars and consciously seeking to reestablish that Empire, as in "the Third Reich" or third Empire, and as in "The Holy Roman Empire." Of course a final revived Roman Empire is exactly what a certain school of Biblical prophecy is expecting, based predominantly on the Book of Daniel, so it's interesting to realize that exactly such a revival has been attempted in the past. The Holy Roman Empire started in 962 and extended up to the 1800s, then there was a "second Reich" or empire under Wilhelm 1, and then it was Hitler who headed the "Third Reich." All these were conscious revivals of the Roman Empire! And all centered in Germany, though the same mentality also existed in Russia as well.

The Caesars are a type of the Antichrist, political leaders who came to regard themselves as gods, and any attempt to revive the Roman Empire would imply the same deification of the leader, which was clearly seen in Hitler though he didn't call himself Kaiser. Also, of course, the Roman Empire in its final form was Catholic and the Catholic pontiff and hierarchy continue to imitate the original pagan Roman leadership which goes back through the "mystery religions" to the pagan religion of Babylonia. We don't yet have the Fourth Reich or Empire but the mere existence of three historical forerunners suggests it's certainly going to come about, and probably quite soon. Daniel prophesied four great empires, the fourth to be an immensely powerful and evil "beast." {Later: I need to clarify that Daniel was talking about the series of empires that started in his own time, the Babylonian, the Medo-Persian, Greece under Alexander, and then the Roman Empire, not the wannabe-be Roman Empires I've noted here -- but they are no doubt dress rehearsals for that final Fourth Empire of Daniel anyway, which will be a revival of the Roman Empire but more powerful than any empire ever yet seen -- more directly satan/demon-empowered for instance}. What is a deified "Caesar" but an Antichrist! Lots of 'em even, and yet a final doozy to come.

As usual, an outsider such as Hitchens has fallen for the lie that Catholicism has anything whatever to do with Christianity, and therefore falsely accuses Christianity of the murders committed by Catholicism, but he does nevertheless seem to have made an important observation about fascism we should take notice of.

Hitchens also attacked Mother Teresa, mostly not for the right reasons but in my opinion anyone who puts down Mother Teresa can't be all bad. Her main offense to my knowledge was that she refused to give the gospel to the dying people she cared for, saying their own religion was good enough, thus consigning them to Hell without a chance of changing their minds. Hitchens would no doubt have put that on the plus side for her, of course. {Later: I watched a You Tube series Hitchens himself made on Mother Teresa in which he finds her guilty of neglect of those she cared for, specifically of failing to give medical help to some who would not have died if they'd had such help, treating them the same as those who would have died anyway. Also her staff didn't bother to sterilize needles they intended to reuse and the attitude was the people are dying so what's the difference? Also, her staff was not allowed to go for any kind of medical training that would have aided them in helping their patients, based on some wacko notion about trusting God. So he did have some valid objections to her work. However, one has to give some credit to her for doing anything at all for people nobody else was doing anything for, and for her stand against abortion.}

My understanding of all this is very rough, but I've been wanting to get back to the various topics connected with Roman Catholicism, the Antichrist, the demonic manifestations of "Mary" and the like, and these rough remarks should get me moving in that direction.

Here come the Christmas debunkers stumbling the brethren again

Tis the season to be jolly, ho ho ho and all that. But at this time of year we are also sometimes admonished by some who are perhaps too wise for the rest of us that Christmas is a pagan holiday that should be shunned by true believers.

When I first learned about the "true origins" of Christmas some twenty years ago by now, I was pretty shaken by the information and stopped celebrating it for a time. But over the years I've come to look at it differently. If you don't know its origin, if you celebrate it innocently as an opportunity to glorify Christ, or even if you DO know its origin but treat it as an opportunity to glorify Christ nevertheless, it really doesn't matter that the date and some of its trappings were taken from pagan holidays. Something done in innocence IS innocent.

I think the scripture that applies most particularly to this concern is 1 Corinthians 10:24-33:
1Cr 10:24-33 Let no man seek his own, but every man another's [wealth]. Whatsoever is sold in the shambles, [that] eat, asking no question for conscience sake: For the earth [is] the Lord's, and the fulness thereof. If any of them that believe not bid you [to a feast], and ye be disposed to go; whatsoever is set before you, eat, asking no question for conscience sake. But if any man say unto you, This is offered in sacrifice unto idols, eat not for his sake that shewed it, and for conscience sake: for the earth [is] the Lord's, and the fulness thereof: Conscience, I say, not thine own, but of the other: for why is my liberty judged of another [man's] conscience? For if I by grace be a partaker, why am I evil spoken of for that for which I give thanks? Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God. Give none offence, neither to the Jews, nor to the Gentiles, nor to the church of God: Even as I please all [men] in all [things], not seeking mine own profit, but the [profit] of many, that they may be saved.
That is, don't even THINK ABOUT whether the food in the marketplace was sacrificed to idols (i.e. demons), don't worry about it, it's food given by God and idols are nothing. BUT of course if your brother is aware of the sacrifice and takes it seriously, then abstain for his sake. I don't know if this last concern applies to any Christians' attitude to Christmas, I rather doubt that it does but it would take some thinking about.

Those who insist that Christmas REALLY IS a pagan holiday are insisting that what is in our minds is irrelevant, that what the pagans call it is what it REALLY is. What do they want us to to do, simply eliminate some dates from our calendars altogether because they "really" belong to the pagans? What should we do, sleep through them? When we say "Merry Christmas" are we REALLY saying "Happy Death of Christ?" That's what they claim. What WE intend by the words is irrelevant to them. They superstitiously insist on an "objective" meaning to the words, as if there is simply no way we can avoid "eating the food sacrificed to idols" as it were, even though Paul tells us if we don't consider it at all then we are innocent of the charge. In contrast, our wise ones who know the "true origins" of the holiday, just as if they "know" the food in the marketplace was sacrificed to idols, are going to make us idolaters no matter what our intentions.

The great Charles Spurgeon also spoke against the celebration of Christmas, but if the information at this blog is correct, he nevertheless allowed it as an opportunity to preach Christ's birth and didn't condemn those who celebrated it.

As I note above, the word "merry" in the greeting "Merry Christmas" is sometimes condemned because the word "Christmas" "really" refers to the blasphemous Catholic ritual sacrifice of Christ, which of course cannot be merry, but is it fair to adhere to that meaning of "Christmas" which hardly anyone knows anyway? NOBODY thinks of the "mass" when wishing someone a Merry Christmas.

But apparently some object to the word "merry" apart from all that. Here's what Spurgeon said about the word as reported at the blog mentioned above:
Observe, this morning, the sacred joy of Mary that you may imitate it. This is a season when all men expect us to be joyous. We compliment each other with the desire that we may have a "Merry Christmas." Some Christians who are a little squeamish, do not like the word "merry." It is a right good old Saxon word, having the joy of childhood and the mirth of manhood in it, it brings before one's mind the old song of the waits, and the midnight peal of bells, the holly and the blazing log. I love it for its place in that most tender of all parables, where it is written, that, when the long-lost prodigal returned to his father safe and sound, "They began to be merry." This is the season when we are expected to be happy; and my heart's desire is, that in the highest and best sense, you who are believers may be "merry." Mary's heart was merry within her; but here was the mark of her joy, it was all holy merriment, it was every drop of it sacred mirth. It was not such merriment as worldlings will revel in to-day and to-morrow, but such merriment as the angels have around the throne, where they sing, "Glory to God in the highest," while we sing "On earth peace, goodwill towards men." Such merry hearts have a continual feast. I want you, ye children of the bride-chamber, to possess to-day and to-morrow, yea, all your days, the high and consecrated bliss of Mary, that you may not only read her words, but use them for yourselves, ever experiencing their meaning: "My soul doth magnify the Lord, and my spirit hath rejoiced in God my Savior."
I wonder how often we'd be reminded of many of the great truths of scripture about God's incarnation as man in Christ's birth, such as this one, if we did not have Christmas as their occasion? How often would we hear the hymns we know as Christmas Carols, or the pure King James scripture and glorious God-exalting music of Handel's Messiah if not for Christmas?

So some treat the pagan definition of the date as if it were The Reality to which all else must bend. If it was originally celebrated as Saturnalia or as the birthday of Tammuz, this sort of mentality declares that it really IS Saturnalia or the birthday of Tammuz no matter what people make of it now. If the "yule log" belonged originally to a pagan festival then the mere mention of the word "yule" is to this mentality some kind of demonic invocation. This is absurd, and it is a violation of the spirit of the scripture I've quoted above. You CREATE the idolatrous mentality you attach to these mere dates and terms by equating them with their original meaning instead of recognizing that what they REALLY are has nothing to do with their original meaning but ONLY WITH WHAT THEY HAVE BECOME AND WHAT THEY ARE IN THE MINDS OF THOSE WHO CELEBRATE THEM. We do NOT celebrate "Tammuz's birthday" or "Saturnalia." We do NOT celebrate the "mass" either, so who cares that it refers to a Catholic blasphemy? If it is not that in the minds of those who celebrate it then it is simply not relevant. We KNOW Christ's actual birthday is not given in the scripture and we KNOW that if it were it would not be December 25th. SO WHAT?

You stumble your brethren and offend their conscience by making them aware of idolatries of which they would be completely innocent except for your meddling.

Hey, Mr. Wise Man. Say your birthday falls somewhere near Hitler's birthday and one year your family couldn't celebrate it on your actual birthday but chose another day for the occasion that just happened to be Hitler's birthday although nobody in the family knew that. Except Uncle Wilhelm who owlishly proclaimed that the family was not REALLY celebrating YOUR birthday, but REALLY celebrating Hitler's. Would he be right?

Just because witches and warlocks and idolaters have chosen a particular date on the calendar for their nefarious purposes does NOT mean we have to accept their definition of that date. May 1st is not "Beltane" unless you are a witch or a "neopagan," it's just May 1st.


Later. I feel the need to offer a caveat here. Not about what I've said above but about other innocent appropriations of what really are idolatrous or demonic activities. Such as the use of oracles, the Ouija board, the practices of Eastern religions and that sort of thing. AND the knowing participation in Catholic idolatries such as the Mass or "veneration" (worship) of Mary and Catholic "saints" and the like. Even if done in complete innocence of the occultic and demonic nature of these things you may still be exposing yourself to their demonic influence, because there IS no truly innocent way to practice something that really is demonic in both origin and common use. It is possible that you may be protected to some extent by your innocence of their true meaning, nevertheless, but this is not the same thing as dates on a calendar which all belong to God, or food in the marketplace that also all belongs to God. But some things DO have demonic origins, EXCLUSIVELY demonic origins, and you DO expose yourself to their influence by using them at all.

I innocently accepted a mantra through a Transcendental Meditation ceremony some years before I became a Christian, unaware that the sound I was given is the name of a Hindu "deity" I was unknowingly invoking whenever I pronounced it in my mind. I also got involved with various oracles and discovered their amazing "uncanniness." There are demons behind them too. I was definitely exposed to demonic activity through these things, some rather frightening occurrences as a matter of fact. The mantra quite suddenly opened up a vision to me as I simply sat pronouncing it in my mind - an amazingly clear vision as if I had been transported to some other place altogether, that so startled and frightened me I couldn't ever practice TM again. Some things you cannot REALLY fool around with "innocently" no matter how ignorant you are of their true nature.

It is also important that people be warned of the true meaning of the Catholic mass so that they can separate themselves from such things, and the demonic nature of the supposed apparitions of "Mary" for the same reason. These things are demonic delusions that will capture innocent minds if not warned about them.

BUT the celebration of a holiday with the intention of glorifying Christ or even in a heathen sort of innocence that nevertheless associates the holiday with Christ as a festival of "Christendom" with no knowledge of idolatries associated with it, is not the same thing. This really is best understood in the terms of the scripture I've quoted above, a case where there is no demonic influence if it is not recognized.

Goodbye Christopher Hitchens

I cried when I heard Christopher Hitchens - "Hitch" - had died. {Later (12/21): I don't know why I cried. I really don't. I didn't like anything the man had to say. Maybe it was because I saw him in the video with Douglas Wilson which highlighted the cordiality of their relationship. Wilson treated him with a great deal of respect, which is a good thing, but I nevertheless thought Hitchens' arguments were unintelligent -- unbelievers simply do not and cannot "get it" and I've come to the conclusion that there's no point in trying to change their minds. Scripture SAYS they can't get it. You have to believe the basics before you can get it.}

He was an icon of the atheist debates over the last decade or so, and of the Left going much further back than that, though in recent years he had begun to object to some of the Leftist arguments. He had charm and wit and even when I hated what he was saying I couldn't dislike him personally. {Later: I'm not sure that's true. I think I didn't like him really. His charm was very self-consciously cultivated and I did not like that. He did have wit but not of any high level. Must have written this too soon after his death, which for some reason did affect me.} I made a point of listening to the debates he participated in that I could find on the internet. {Later: I also made a point of listening to the debates Dawkins did, and many others on the atheist Christian-bashing circuit, and I don't "like" any of those people}.

It disturbs me greatly when Christians say goodbye to an unbeliever with "rest in peace" because it's a form of lying and denial of the faith. They should know an unbeliever cannot rest in peace after death. It is true that "now he knows" what he denied in his lifetime about another world beyond this one. I wish he'd discovered it in this life but he didn't and much as I might wish he could "rest in peace" I'd be denying the truth if I pretended it were possible.

David Horowitz counted him a personal friend both from his own leftist past and in his neo-conservative life, and he wrote this tribute to him. I also have to hope that David will eventually discover God as well.

Later: Found this obituary by Douglas Wilson at Christianity Today. He finishes with "R.I.P" after expressing the hope that God might still have converted him at the end, fair enough though by all the signs I'm aware of he remained adamantly unconverted to the end. There is a DVD of Pastor Wilson and Hitchens traveling and debating together available at Amazon and elsewhere, also free on You Tube. They developed something close to a friendship during their debates.

All the debates against Biblical Christianity come down to one thing in the end, which the Bible itself reveals:
1 Corinthians 1:23 But we preach Christ crucified, unto the Jews a stumblingblock, and unto the Greeks foolishness;
Christopher Hitchens would rail against the "immorality" of Christ's death for our sins, basically its "foolishness" as seen by a good Greek mind. Our message is foolishness to the world, they can't hear it, and sometimes they get all exercised against it and throw us to the lions for it.


Wed Dec 21: Found This article by Peter Hitchens, Christopher's brother, on his completely different path from his brother's, back to Christianity. I think he does a very good job of making the case against his brother's atheism though of course he couldn't get Christopher to recognize it. But for me that was overshadowed by some of what he said about his own change of heart:
No doubt I should be ashamed to confess that fear played a part in my return to religion, specifically a painting: Rogier van der Weyden's 15th Century Last Judgement, which I saw in Burgundy while on holiday.

I had scoffed at its mention in the guidebook, but now I gaped, my mouth actually hanging open, at the naked figures fleeing towards the pit of Hell.

These people did not appear remote or from the ancient past; they were my own generation. Because they were naked, they were not imprisoned in their own age by time-bound fashions.

On the contrary, their hair and the set of their faces were entirely in the style of my own time. They were me, and people I knew.

I had a sudden strong sense of religion being a thing of the present day, not imprisoned under thick layers of time. My large catalogue of misdeeds replayed themselves rapidly in my head.

I had absolutely no doubt that I was among the damned, if there were any damned. Van der Weyden was still earning his fee, nearly 500 years after his death.

At around the same time I rediscovered Christmas, which I had pretended to dislike for many years. I slipped into a carol service on a winter evening, diffident and anxious not to be seen.

I knew perfectly well that I was enjoying it, although I was unwilling to admit it. I also knew I was losing my faith in politics and my trust in ambition, and was urgently in need of something else on which to build the rest of my life.

I am not exactly clear now how this led in a few months to my strong desire - unexpected by me or by my friends, but encouraged by my then unbelieving future wife - to be married in church.

But I can certainly recall the way the words of the Church of England's marriage service, at St Bride's in London, awakened thoughts in me that I had long suppressed. I was entering into my inheritance, as a Christian Englishman, as a man, and as a human being. It was the first properly grown-up thing that I had ever done.

The swearing of great oaths concentrates the mind. So did the baptisms first of my daughter and then of my wife who, raised as a Marxist atheist, trod another rather different path to the same place.

Read more:
...entering into my inheritance, as a Christian Englishman, as a man, and as a human being.
I had a similar sort of feeling when I was finally solidly a believer -- along with the amazing discovery that it was all real, that God is real, that there is such a thing as salvation, that God purchased it for me, all the wonderful discoveries of this previously unthinkable and aggressively rejected and repudiated but now vividly real Reality beside which everything else paled into nothingness -- besides all that there was this sense of having "entered into my inheritance" that I had vaguely apprehended as a child, salvation, yes, but this was also the culture I had grown up in suddenly showing itself to be a Christian culture and me having been given its opportunities which I had repudiated. The first Christmas after becoming a believer that I experienced in a church I just sat there and sobbed uncontrollably as all those familiar carols were being sung, actually reclaimed in my case, pulled out of the darkness into the light, all of them remembered from childhood and heard off and on throughout over forty years of my life without really being heard, now suddenly full of meaning, full of the Truth that had now become mine. It was a joyful crying of course, but there was so much of the pain of the loss from those previous years in it now finding release it's almost hard to recognize the joy. Oh but joy there is. This is my inheritance, this is reality, this is what I was made for, this is what I had all my life but didn't know I had and only now really have. This great great real real God, this beautiful Savior for whom the most glorious of carols could never be sufficient, to whom we rightly sing adoration, adoration, adoration and lift our hearts to realms of glory that otherwise have no excuse for existing at all in the cramped dark outlook of this benighted earth.

I have to repeat that, it's so true:
...realms of glory that otherwise have no excuse for existing at all in the cramped dark outlook of this benighted earth.
"Grandeur" in the evolutionistic view of things? Oh Darwin, what you missed out on.

God might have allowed me such an exalted experience without the holiday of Christmas, I'm sure, but I have to think such a concentration of expressions of Glory in the Highest was intended by Him, and refuse to accept the debunkery of those who put it all down to a cheap Christianized version of paganism.

Yes I recognize that this post was supposed to be about Christopher Hitchens and I've taken it back to the recent post about Christmas, but oh well.