[This is Part 2 of a three-part series on the direction the West is heading and what this will mean to the Christian church.]
Recently the Christian world has been impacted by a rash of end-times novels and movies offering the same recipe:
1) The world is in a political and economic crisis; woe is us!
2) The Middle East is in conflict.
3) Suddenly all sorts of people are "rap-zapped" and disappear.
4) Kapoof! Mr. AC himself appears on the scene, dressed in red Spandex tights with horns and a tail, as obvious as a Christmas cracker. Well, I guess he wears an expensive three-piece suit instead of the tights, but you just know he's got them on underneath.
Mr. AC persecutes post rap-zap believers and requires everyone to get their hand stamped so they can get into Globaland. Finally he proposes his great cure for the world's ills, which - for reasons totally obscure to a thinking mind - are accepted universally without a moment's critical thought by anyone.
There's just one problem with this starched scenario: it lacks subtlety. The Antichrist doesn't wear tights and, traditionally, evil is far more clever and subtle than that. So much so that in the last century whenever it befell a church, the church never saw it coming, even though the clues were always there for anyone who cared to look.
No "world citizen" would ever buy into the things Revelation says will happen without being psychologically prepped for it ahead of time. Perhaps the greatest fallacy of popular "rapture reasoning" is that the Western church will be "out of here" before anything bad befalls it, and this philosophy has become a paralyzing narcotic in the face of rapidly encroaching danger.Magnum Opus Malum1
Right now, Christians are witnessing a tremendous change in Western culture and belief, which is a harbinger of very troubled times to come. The battle for the West began in the wee years of the 20th century, when humanism seized control of academia and declared its goal of dethroning Christianity as the core Western belief system (see our articles in Personal UPDATE, March 1997 and September 2001 for background information).
The process continues today as atheistic humanism yields to global socialistic pantheism.2 The changes began first among philosophers and academics, moving into the arts, then into common culture and, finally, as the new disciples came of age, into the legal and political system. Now we are seeing the total conversion of Western society and a march towards a great utopian vision of global governance controlled by socialism. In reality, we are embracing ideas of the past which have resulted in much bloodshed and destruction of civilizations.The Great Prepping Away
For the past 50 years, the West has been slowly unfrozen from its traditional belief systems and tricked into accepting a new belief system, without even realizing that the transition was taking place. We are now being refrozen in the new belief system, without realizing our core beliefs and values have been sacrificed, bit by bit.
1) The educational system has moved Western culture from a didactic, fact-based system of thought rooted in logic and absolute truth to a dialectic, feeling-based system of thought rooted in constantly changing, non-absolute values. The only mortal sin is failing to believe absolutely that there are no absolutes. (Note the inherent contradiction, but that doesn't seem to stop the politically correct.)
2) History has been rewritten so that people can't remember the lessons of the past or the greatness of their own heritage (granted that no heritage is perfect). Good things have been called bad and bad things good. Westerners have been subjected to an ever-present demonization of their culture. The U.S. Constitution and its Bill of Rights, for example, are said to be the outdated product of dead white slave owners who also slaughtered Indians, rather than one of the most liberating documents of history, along with England's Magna Carta. The British, too, are trading in a 1,000-year tradition of freedom under law as they buy into another one of Europe's attempts at failed socialism.
3) Communism has been minimized or exalted (despite its being responsible for the slaughter of 100 million people in the 20th century). Capitalism is condemned as a great evil of rich men (despite its record of having provided the most prosperity and freedom for the most people in history).
4) Important distinctions between cultures have been minimized and all cultures are now said to be of equal value, and all beliefs are said to be of equal value with no way of discerning which values might be better or worse (although history teaches otherwise).
5) Tolerance has been substituted for love of neighbor and truth. A corollary is the switch from laws based on absolutes to more complex and nebulous laws, which float with current understandings of "good" or "evil," about which there is much debate among the "experts."
6) Religion has been forced into a corner, being told that it is a personal thing, and it has been prohibited from making any claim to absolute truth or the right to impose itself on the culture.
7) Science and science alone - with or without ethics and morals - is permitted to make any claim to truth. Science is said to be the salvation of the human race. (Tell that to those who died in the Holocaust's "scientific" gas chambers.)
8) Socialism has been substituted for capitalism as "democracy" and "free market" decried as evil. In reality this belief system is "Marxism lite," wherein virtually all the major English-speaking countries have accepted the major tenets of Marxism without a struggle, including:
- Atheistic government with no influence from religion.
- Abolition of private property in the name of the common (read soviet or collective) good. This includes abolishing any rights of property inheritance. (This is underway in various stages and countries, utilizing various legal mechanisms. It is by no means complete, but the principle is growing in acceptance.)
- The populace must be disarmed (for their own safety, of course).
- Government must maintain control of education and what is taught.
- Heavy progressive taxation must be ever-increasing (Europe's VAT is perhaps the most abusive), so that government can...
- Maintain control over its citizens' lives from womb to tomb, including constant surveillance on their activities and private lives. In essence, law is becoming a means of defending government from the populace rather than the populace from government.
Hostile, not Neutral
As we arrive in the 21st century, the prevailing Western paradigm is hostile to traditional monotheistic religions (Christian, Jewish and Muslim), being a mix of atheism and pantheism. It decries belief in absolute truth, including absolute law. It has set itself up as the determiner of "right" and "wrong," even though those change continually. Traditional religious beliefs are being labeled extremist and radical.
The new system views itself as utopian in nature, above any religion, viewing religion as a major cause of all the world's problems. If we really examine the emerging "new" system, it is merely a recapitulation of old, failed Marxist and occult beliefs with a generous dose of pantheism. Unfortunately we're about to do it again, only this time on a global scale.What Does This Mean?
You have but to look at history to know where we will end up. Cultures rejecting God invariably degenerate into wickedness when left to their own devices without a counterbalancing force of religion to stop them.
The signs of rot are apparent. The West now routinely sacrifices millions of babies annually (to which the Church has voiced only a weak response) and the elderly are next as euthanasia becomes prevalent. Instead of valuing all human life, we will make decisions based on the "quality of life," which will most certainly be decided by persons other than you or I, and which will largely be determined by economic forces and how well your beliefs conform to the current norms. If your life benefits the collective (the "soviet"), you will be permitted to live. If not, adios!
In a Christian culture, people are generally self-governing, knowing God watches their every move and laws are merely a formal framing of what the people already believe as a group. But in a culture where there are no absolutes, everyone does what he or she wants as long as they can get away with it. This produces chaos. As the chaos brought on by the new belief system increases, freedoms diminish as governments attempt to deal with the chaos. They do this by becoming more and more police-oriented as a plethora of laws is emitted, designed to control the ongoing crisis.
As government continues to dictate its own atheistic, ever-proliferating standards of conduct and belief, many of these will be unpalatable to the beliefs of orthodox Christians, Jews and Muslims. There will be increasing pressure on Christians to conform to the new standards. This pressure will range from social pressure to formalized pressure in the job place, where it may mean jeopardizing a job or promotion to a steadily increasing series of regulations. Finally, as more and more people espousing the new paradigm gain control of the legal process, they will use the mechanism of law to impose their utopian vision on the churches that do not conform. This means fines, penalties, increased taxation or loss of tax-free privileges, even prison sentences - all designed to enforce conformity to the new wisdom, which is currently embodied by the push for the amorphous notion of "tolerance."
The Diabolical Choice
In the new system, there is a place for Christianity...as long as it conforms to the new values, which will be forever changing. Religions will not be permitted to: 1) claim they are the only way, 2) have absolute truth of any kind, or 3) attempt to force their belief and value systems on the culture at large (i.e., evangelizing is out!). Those minor considerations aside, religion will be permitted to exist in the new system as a "personal thing," as long as it yields to the prevailing political correctness, which if you hadn't noticed is growing more evil every day.
Traditionally, churches facing this dilemma have made one of two choices: a) loving defiance and paying the penalty, or b) continual compromise with the prevailing system until it is shameful to even call it a Christian church. As Sabine Wumbrand once remarked, "they are spitting in the face of Christ." In our next installment, we'll see how churches in similar circumstances lived or died.
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[John Loeffler is host of the weekly nationally syndicated news program,Steel on Steel, which can be heard at www.steelonsteel.com.]