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Sunday, May 03, 2009

The Foundation Of Western Culture: God Made Man In His Own Image


The events of recent days, and the various comments I have seen written at this site, and at other blogs, have made me determined that IBA should go back to the basics and begin to study the Foundational Ideas of Western Culture.

Western Culture is born of ideas. It is a collected set of ideas. It is, however, not necessarily an organized set of ideas. Some of the ideas that go together to make up Western Culture do, indeed, contradict one another, for they were developed over millenia, by the Jews, the Greeks, the early Christian Church, the Church of the Middle Ages (under the pressure of Islam), from Western Mythology (the Knights Templar), from Philosophers such as John Locke, Immanuel Kant, and Voltaire, and finally, from the dramatic events of the American Revolution, and the Project that we have been working on in the years since.

I invite any of our contributors who are versed in these various studies to contribute to this IBA study of Western Civilization. For my part, the posts I will contribute will be studies of Christian writings and, specifically, of the Catechism of the Catholic Church. It is not necessary that one be a believer in God to understand and appreciate how the ideas presented in the Judeo-Christian paradigm have influenced our way of life.

I will also be doing posts on Culturist John's book Culturism, because, in my opinion, his book is an excellent meditation on the ideas that make our Culture, and why it is important to understand, and preserve them.

For instance, Epaminondas may want to write on the Founding Fathers. Culturist John will, I am sure, continue his endeavors, which already speak on this subject. Jason Pappas, if he has time, might want to post on the origins of Greek Democracy and Natural Law.



Here's a little lesson in the foundation of Western Civilization from the book The Drama of Atheist Humanism, by Henri Lubac:

A wonderful piece of sculpture adorning the cathedral of Chartres represents Adam, head and shoulders barely roughed out, emerging from the earth from which he was made and being molded by the hands of God. The face of the first man reproduces the features of his modeler. This parable in stone translates for the eyes the mysterious words of Genesis:

"God made man in His own image and likeness."

From its earliest beginnings, Christian tradition has not ceased to annotate this verse, recognizing in it our first title of nobility and the foundation of our greatness. Reason, liberty, immortality, and dominion over nature are so many prerogatives of divine origin that God has imparted to his creatures.

Establishing man, from the outset, in God's likeness, each of these prerogatives is meant to grow and unfold until the divine resemblance is brought to perfection. Thus they are the key to the highest of destinies.

"Man, know thyself!" Taking up, after Epicetetus, the Church tranformed and deepened it, so that what had been chiefly a piece of moral advice became an exhortation to form a metaphysical judgement. Know yourself, said the Church, that is to say, know your nobility and you dignity, understand the greatness of your being and your vocation, of that vocation which constitutes your being. Learn how to see in yourself the spirit, which is a reflection of God, made for God.

"O man, scorn not that which is admirable in you! You are a poor thing in your own eyes, but I would teach you that in reality you are a great thing... Realize what you are! Consider your royal dignity! The heavens have not been made in God's image, nor the moon, nor the sun, nor anything to be seen in creation... Behold, of all that exists, there is nothing that can contain your greatness."



I invite Midnight Rider to comment and contribute to the main body of this post.

"If It Looks Like a Duck. . ."

Western Culture is in a fight for survival against Islam. As Islam is now. No one here denies that.

However, if we begin to surrender or ignore the basic tenents of Western Culture, tenents based on the Judeo-Christian model if you will, just to win, then for what are we fighting? If we abandon core beliefs then they have won by allowing ourselves to destroy Western Culture.

We understand taqiyya, understand it is practiced and used as a weapon against us. But Christine's post below is an excellent example that not every Muslim who speaks out against Islam is attempting to fool us.

To deny that there are peaceful Muslims, that Muslims can change or can disagree with the violent aspects of their faith, is to deny that "each of these prerogatives is meant to grow and unfold until the divine resemblance is brought to perfection". It denies the free will God gave to man. And the directive that man is to grow and become more like God.

For myself I do not hate Muslims. I hate Islam. Islam as it exists. But for individuals I will take a man as he is. To do so otherwise is to deny that God created that individual the same as he created me. To lessen that individual's worth absent any information that he intends me harm.

To turn on an entire group of people, to call for their extermination simply because of the way they dress or the region of the world they hail from or the name they have without further inquiry into each individual's beliefs is an ideology we saw in the middle of the 20th Century.

Does that mean we question every Muslim as to what they believe? Of course not. If a man ia pointing an AK-47 at you, or was takenon the battlefield, or in a raid on a planning meeting "I do not believe in Jihad" is not going to work.

But if a man walking down the street or working in your office says it, that may be quite another matter. And unless he demostrates in some way he is practicing taqiyya or is intent on harm it is both against our Laws, our Culture and God's Know Thyself to assume otherwise. Will you shun or chastise or call for the interment of a woman in the next cubicle simply because she wears a hijab? Should you then shun chastise or inter an Amish or Mennonite woman for keeping their head covered?

Western Culture, Western Law, would say neither is violating a law here. So should one be treated less equally than the other absent information that one is specifically intent on doing harm?

-- Midnight Rider

More --

Of late it seems many are lashing out blindly in rage. Being consumed by hatred. Some of this may be in part because our current government seems more eager to appease Islam than confront it. This is also true to some degree of the previous administration.

I contend hatred is good and helpful provided it is directed at the right place. But if we allow rational thought to disappear from the discourse, if we do not think through our words and actions, if we misdirect that hatred, then we are already lost.

-- MR

Thoughts from commenter Kwelos:

It's certainly worthwhile launching an ideological and philosophical attack on Islam, although whether Muslims will be easily persuaded by rational arguments is very much open to question.

Islam is a pre-rational and mind-numbing tribal ideology of power and subjugation, which provides its adherents with divine justification for all manner of criminality.

Given the attractions of rape, pillage and enslavement (and the generally high levels of illiteracy and low levels of intelligence among Muslims brought on by inbreeding), engaging them in rational arguments may be no more fruitful than discussing theology with a group of violent village idiots.

When Pope Benedict stated that that not only is violence in spreading faith unreasonable and therefore against God, but that a conception of God without reason, or above reason, leads to that very violence - the Muslims rioted.

Even Muslim 'intellectuals' are committed to irrationalism in the form of 'occasionalism' which denies the existence of natural laws of cause and effect.

Is it any wonder that Muslims, despite their numbers, are totally incompetent at science?

One of the most amazing things about the universe is that it is understandable in terms of mathematics. Buddhists and Judeo-Christians have (different) rational explanations why this should be so, but Muslim theologians with their commitment to an irrational God just cannot deal with this aspect of reality.

For Muslims, "the choice between Islam and reason was made long ago, and remember: it was Islam that won then. The question before us now is, will Islam win against reason today? "

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15 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

You'll find some relevant links under 'Pope Benedict' and 'Rationalism' at The Religion of Peace™ Subject Index

Sunday, May 03, 2009 4:53:00 pm  
Blogger Pastorius said...

Thanks, Anonymous. I appreciate it.

Sunday, May 03, 2009 5:10:00 pm  
Anonymous Kwelos said...

It's certainly worthwhile launching an ideological and philosophical attack on Islam, although whether Muslims will be easily persuaded by rational arguments is very much open to question.

Islam is a pre-rational and mind-numbing tribal ideology of power and subjugation, which provides its adherents with divine justification for all manner of criminality.

Given the attractions of rape, pillage and enslavement (and the generally high levels of illiteracy and low levels of intelligence among Muslims brought on by inbreeding), engaging them in rational arguments may be no more fruitful than discussing theology with a group of violent village idiots.

When Pope Benedict stated that that not only is violence in spreading faith unreasonable and therefore against God, but that a conception of God without reason, or above reason, leads to that very violence - the Muslims rioted.

Even Muslim 'intellectuals' are committed to irrationalism in the form of 'occasionalism' which denies the existence of natural laws of cause and effect.

Is it any wonder that Muslims, despite their numbers, are totally incompetent at science?


One of the most amazing things about the universe is that it is understandable in terms of mathematics. Buddhists and Judeo-Christians have (different) rational explanations why this should be so, but Muslim theologians with their commitment to an irrational God just cannot deal with this aspect of reality.

For Muslims, "the choice between Islam and reason was made long ago, and remember: it was Islam that won then. The question before us now is, will Islam win against reason today? " P.S. The first 'anon' poster was me.

Sunday, May 03, 2009 6:23:00 pm  
Blogger christian soldier said...

Midnight Rider-I noticed that Pastorius mentioned you in his quest for historical information --
My mentor Marshal Foster -Mayflower Institute now-expanded to world Christian history---

www.wordhistoryinstitute.org---1-888 566-1620

I sent you an e-mail with further explanation as to our connection w/Marshall Foster -our mentor...

So glad IBA is going back to its roots....

Carol-Christian Soldier....

Sunday, May 03, 2009 6:35:00 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Some quick thoughts.

1. We are fighting a war ideology designed explicitly as such - a tool of mass deception designed to create mass destruction.

2. It was designed to overcome and defeat the previous two Abrahamic faiths, or "desert dogmas," as Pat Condell is wont to call them.

3. And thus, any "back to basics" type of approach is bound to fail miserably - akin to walking into a well laid trap. Back to basics is trying to defeat an enemy's fourth generation fighter jet but putting really nice paint on your older third generation fighter.

4. Although western civilization was indeed erected on a foundation of Judeo-Christian values, it's unique strengths stem more from the moderating and sidelining of several of those values in favor of more rigorous critical thinking and the pursuit of empirical truths.

5. The relationship between science and religion has effectively become a symbiotic one - each beneficially overcoming one or more serious limitations of the other. Each playing an important role in both strengthening as well as weakening our civilization.

6. The global jihad "feeds" off of the inconsistencies and tensions generated by this imperfect, and yet dynamic, symbiotic relationship.

7. The essential lines of inquiry all converge on the topic of human sexuality - specifically western civilization's dysfunctional bi-polar take on human sexuality vs the doleful "charms" of polygamy coupled with barbaric materialism.

8. As time passes, I become increasingly convinced that the pivotal point will be reached when the west finally comes to terms with porn - i.e. when the West unanimously and unambiguously delineates a clear line between "good porn" and "bad porn".

It's that simple. And that difficult.

Sunday, May 03, 2009 7:59:00 pm  
Anonymous Jewel said...

This blog never ceases to amaze me. You constantly push the envelope and challenge us, and you give us great freedom within its scope. You are the Anti-charles. All hail the anti-charles.

Sunday, May 03, 2009 8:34:00 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey, Anonymous -

If those were your "quick thoughts" I would LOVE to see your "considered" thoughts.

Really thought provoking - please consider posting more!

Ro

Sunday, May 03, 2009 9:10:00 pm  
Blogger Pastorius said...

Anonymous at 7:59 PM,

You said: Although western civilization was indeed erected on a foundation of Judeo-Christian values, it's unique strengths stem more from the moderating and sidelining of several of those values in favor of more rigorous critical thinking and the pursuit of empirical truths.


I say: I agree with you. The Jewish/Christian Bible calls for the murder of adulterers, apostates, and homosexuals, just as the Krayon does.

Now, there are some who will say that the Bible does not call for this Justice to be meted out by humans, that it says, "You will surely die" for doing these things, that there is an Oral Torah tradition which expands on the written Torah, etc.

But, the truth is, Jews used to stone adulterers, gays, and apostates, and eventually, they stopped doing so.

I credit the long history and tradition of critical thinking in Judaism which started with Abraham arguing with God, and may have culminated in the Talmud.


You said: 1. We are fighting a war ideology designed explicitly as such - a tool of mass deception designed to create mass destruction.

2. It was designed to overcome and defeat the previous two Abrahamic faiths, or "desert dogmas," as Pat Condell is wont to call them.

3. And thus, any "back to basics" type of approach is bound to fail miserably - akin to walking into a well laid trap. Back to basics is trying to defeat an enemy's fourth generation fighter jet but putting really nice paint on your older third generation fighter.


I say: I disagree. Western Civilization is not dogmatically based on the Bible. You said this yourself, in your fourth point. We have learned a lot over the years. We have added ideas to our Foundation. Our Foundation is now a 21st Century Foundation. We are not only built on old ideas. And, even if we were, what ideas do Muslims have to beat John Locke or Thomas Jefferson?

Perhaps I am not giving enough credit to ideas 1-3. Tell me if I am oversimplifying, or misunderstanding your point.

I would love to hear more on your 8th point.

Sunday, May 03, 2009 10:11:00 pm  
Blogger Pastorius said...

Jewel,
I just tried to explain that to Charles the other day. it didn't go over so well with him. He was unhappy that certain things were being said about him here and told me so. I responded to him by pointing out that he should see some of the stuff that's said about me here. I've had people use racial slurs against my family, call me a nigger-lover, call me a Nazi, a Fascist, a Kike, a fag, and I've had people threaten my life on more than one occasion.

I let all of those comments stand as a testament to the ideas of the people who post them.

Yeah, but Charles didn't agree with me.

:)

He banned me.

Sunday, May 03, 2009 10:14:00 pm  
Blogger Pastorius said...

By the way, I've always figured that the strength of this blog lies in the diversity of opinion we seek to post on the topic we discuss.

We have people who post from all over the world, and we have purposely chosen to have people of different faiths, sexual persuasions, ideologies, and political affiliations.

I certainly do not think i, or anyone else here, has the handle on The Truth.

I believe we come to a better understanding of the truth through dialectic, or dialogue, or an Adversarial process of argumentation.

Sunday, May 03, 2009 10:16:00 pm  
Blogger Pastorius said...

Oh, and one more thing, Charles actually banned me before I had the email discussion noted above.

He didn't ban me for arguing with him. He banned me because of a post someone else put up here which was not very kind to him.

Sunday, May 03, 2009 10:41:00 pm  
Blogger Culturist John said...

I look forward to this discussion and your comments on culturism.

If you have time, the Intercollegiate Studies Institute has lectures on this topic. Check out the audio one on America's Englishness.

http://www.isi.org/lectures/lectures.aspx

I agree with KWELOS in that persuading Muslims is near impossible. But, we have here an even more basic task. Multiculturalists tell us that we do not have a indigenous culture here; they say we're a neutral space where random cultures meet.

We have to explain to the world that "the West" exists. That will get us defending ourselves. After that, if we wish to discuss Islam, that'd be great.

ANONYMOUS, Very interesting!!! The problem with a pure Enlightenment take, and the one based on science, is that it undermines tradition and thus deracinates our culture. This is a basis of multiculturalism, science sees culture as epiphenomenal.

PASTORIUS, Yes, we have differences of opinion and that is great! BUT CAN WE AGREE that western civilization exists? This is a very important first step. (This does not mean that there are not tensions between religion and science, etc within our growing tradition) BUT THE WEST EXISTS AND HAS A GEOGRAPHY AND HISTORY! Agreed??

Monday, May 04, 2009 4:14:00 am  
Blogger midnight rider said...

John -- That's exactly the point we're trying to make. And that we need to be true to Western Laws and traditions.

Everything else is going to get hashed out along the way.

Monday, May 04, 2009 4:25:00 am  
Blogger Pastorius said...

Culturist John,
Absolutlely. As MR said, that is our point. We believe wholeheartedly in Western Civilization. It is the best thing to have ever happened to the Earth, as far as I'm concerned.

I know your book doesn't attempt to make such a point. Your point is that all cultures have the right to define and defend their way of life.

That's fine. But, I would go even further and just say we are the best.

Monday, May 04, 2009 4:41:00 am  
Blogger Epaminondas said...

Well, Pasto, I wonder if was me that got you banned. But, I also wonder more if Mr Johnson can recognize that it is precisely those actions, carried out in that way, and for those reasons, which give TRUTH to the claims made about him by others.

Irrational.
Arbitrary.
Unreasonable.
Oversensitive.
Overemotional.
Immature.

None of these human traits affect whether he is right about VB, or Creationism, they just make it an ANATHEMA to have someone who exhibits such traits agreeing with you.

Banning should take a pretty extreme cause.

Not even racism is cause enough.

I am always heartened here by the thought that no matter our disagreements, and there are plenty, it's what we share that distinguishes, not what we differ on, which is always to be tolerated, in ways that others simply will never get.

Monday, May 04, 2009 12:29:00 pm  

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