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WHY STORMWATCH? 

As you follow my "pilgrim's progress" through reality - parts 1 & 2, you will note the sprinkling of significant dreams - foreshadowings both predictive and cautionary.   Over the past quarter-century a handful of these "prophetic" dreams have employed the STORM metaphor.   Three of these I record in reality - part 2.    There I cite two passages in the book of Jeremiah that specifically tie the storm image to God's coming global judgment, known elsewhere in the Old Testament as "the Day of the Lord."   Other O.T. prophets utilize parallel words - "tempest" and "whirlwind"- to characterize that time of tribulation which will out-chaos everything since the time of Noah.

We are not in that tribulation yet, but I suspect the first approaching thunderclaps of this final storm have already sounded in events such as September 11, 2001.  The prophet Zechariah said that during the season prior to Messiah's return, Jerusalem would have become "a cup of trembling" and a "burdensome stone" to the nations.

  Are your eyes capable of sight?

Has it not struck you as remarkable that a global crisis could have arisen over this geographically inconsequential piece of real estate?  - that Muslims have even vowed the destruction of America simply because the United States dares befriend Israel?

There are unseen majesties acting behind the roiling thunderheads of current events.  Discernment of these shapes - and of others more subtle still, soon to be rolled onstage - is the aspiration of STORMWATCH.

 

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High Stakes Chess

Some of the most powerful minds in history have, wittingly and unwittingly, been caught in a chess game that for centuries has squeezed them slowly into a checkmate.  Erasing God from the universe didn't suddenly, all magically happen; it has been centuries in the making, starting out as a confident spree to arrive at philosophical certainty about what the mind could know.  It ended up with the players not certain that they could even know their own names.  One can imagine what it would be like to play chess with an immortal being whose IQ is half a million, who has been around for millennia (like Satan).  The best human players would be trapped in no time, perhaps wondering what their own names were!

Tal BrookeOne World,  End Run Publishing, Berkeley,  CA, 2000, p.150.

 

The context of the quoted paragraph is the history of Western philosophy.  The god of this world has beaten human rationality at its own game.  But if "philosophy" has erased God, and the contest is moving toward its climax, how is it that the Bible predicts a final global religion in place at the end of history as we know it?

Before offering an answer to that question, we need to examine the last couple of moves on the chess board.  Human minds and the culture generated by the overlay of ideas dominating those minds are the battlefields of unseen adversaries.  Percolating influence down through universities, God's adversary has been allowed to succeed in discrediting the idea of a personal Father/Creator possessing "human" attributes such as love and moral justice.  Among the cultural elite - while they may allow the word "God" on their lips - the God of the Bible is the One who has been "erased."  At our moment in time, this erasure was the next to the last move in the chess game.  The final move, a replacement global belief, "faith" in a different "One," is in process, as we'll see.

But first the slate had to be wiped clean of the Judeo-Christian "idea."  A vacuum was needed to call forth the replacement god.  Listen now to the sound of that next-to-the-last chess-piece hitting the board:

 

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Paradigms, Preaching and Politics: Worldview Wars
by John Loeffler, World Affairs Editor, Koinonia House

Education is thus a most powerful ally of humanism.  What can the theistic Sunday schools, meeting for an hour once a week, and teaching only a fraction of the children, do to stem the tide of a five-day program of humanistic teaching?

 -1933, Charles Francis Potter, "Humanism, A New Religion" 

Kaboom! A rousing first shot across the bow had been fired. Humanists declared their intention of transforming western culture and moving it from its Christian base into the enlightened religion of humanism. In 1933, when Humanist Manifesto I appeared, its co-author John Dewey was made honorary president of the National Education Association (US). The manifesto itself stated that:

There is no God and no soul. Hence there are no needs for the props of traditional religion. With dogma and creed excluded, the immutable truth is also dead and buried. There is no room for fixed, natural law or permanent moral absolutes.  

In his book, A Common Faith, Dewey went on to say:

It is impossible to ignore the fact that historic Christianity has been committed to a separation of sheep and goats; the saved and the lost…I cannot understand how any realization of the democratic ideal as a vital moral and spiritual ideal in human affairs is possible without surrender of the conception of the basic division to which supernatural Christianity is committed

In the early days of the Worldview Wars, humanists referred to their belief system as a "religion." That was until it became more advantageous to clamor about the "separation of church and state" in attempting to eject the Christian opposition from the marketplace of ideas. Suddenly humanism became de-religionized and rebaptized itself as secular science or philosophy. A dichotomous wedge was driven between faith and fact. Today, echoes of that shift are heard in the debates on evolution, when someone asserts that "this is science, that is faith" rather than the previously accepted idea that all are searching for truth.

In the early part of the battle, humanists did not meet a lot of resistance, since Christians for the most part remained oblivious to the fact that there even was a battle or that spiritual battles play out in the physical arena. As a group, Christians were more than happy to walk off the battlefield in the name of "just teaching the Bible" or doing the "work of the Kingdom," as if there would be no moral consequences to their dereliction of duty. The consequences, however, have been staggering - from abortion to the loss of faith in millions of children.

So humanists, meeting little organized opposition, quietly plodded onward toward their stated goal of transforming the worldview of western society, especially the field of education, where more and more like-minded future educators could be trained to indoctrinate new generations of students into the humanist worldview, while using government handouts - grants and subsidies - to do it. In 1932, William Z. Foster, head of the Communist Party USA, published a book entitled Toward Soviet America , where he predicted that:

Class ideologies of the past will give place to scientific materialist philosophy. Among the elementary measures the American Soviet government will adopt to further the cultural revolution are the following: the schools, colleges and universities will be coordinated and grouped under the National Department of Education and its state and local branches. The studies will be revolutionized, being cleansed of religious, patriotic and other features of the bourgeoisie ideology. The students will be taught on the basis of Marxian dialectical materialism [now the absolute basis of consensus use in all government procedures], internationalism [today called "globalism"] and the general ethics of the new socialist society [which virtually all English-speaking countries have become]…Freedom will be established for anti-religious propaganda…Science will become materialistic…God will be banished from the laboratories as well as from the schools.

Were he not probably occupying a place in the hell he didn't believe existed, Mr. Foster would be delighted that the humanist heirs of John Dewey had accomplished everything he wished to see. Indeed, the Communists endorsed the humanist enterprise because they believed in their common aspirations of a godless, socialist society ruled by the dialectical process of relative truths.

By mid-century, humanists had gained a chokehold on most institutions of higher learning. By 1938, the New York Herald Tribune reported a speech by Dr. Goodwin Watson, professor of Education at Teachers College, Columbia University, where he "begged the teachers of the Nation to use their profession to indoctrinate children to overthrow 'conservative reactionaries' directing American government and industry." In his 1951 book, God and Man at Yale , William F. Buckley, Jr. commented that:

The teachings of John Dewey and his predecessors have borne fruit. And there is surely not a department at Yale that is uncontaminated with the absolute that there are no absolutes, no intrinsic rights, no ultimate truths. The acceptance of these notions, which emerge in courses in history and economics, in sociology and political science, in psychology and literature, make impossible an intelligible conception of an omnipotent, purposeful, and benign Supreme Being, who has laid down immutable laws, endowed his creatures with inalienable rights, and posited unchangeable rules of human conduct .

The battle internationalized by means of UNESCO, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization. That is why the curricula and worldview battles are essentially the same in all English-language countries. The departments of education in the various countries collaborate openly with UNESCO and its goals for a "new educational order…based on scientific and technological training, one of the essential components of scientific humanism… Relativity and dialectical thought would appear to be a fertile ground in which to cultivate the seeds of tolerance… an individual should avoid systematically setting up his beliefs… as a model of rules valid for all times." 

And what of the Church during this time? There were a limited number of Protestant and Catholic voices fighting the war, but generally the Church droned on mechanically with its disconnected Biblical or catechistic studies as the humanist juggernaut rolled forward. History was rewritten and Christian contributions to history, especially freedom and self rule, were eliminated or denigrated. Other events were rewritten and Christian or other religious ideas were ridiculed and banned. Patriotism was banned. Marxist, socialist, and humanist ideas took solid root as Christianity was chased out of the marketplace of ideas with little resistance. Christian morals were publicly denigrated and rejected. The Church seemed oblivious that this radical change in public education was putting the faith of millions of its youth in dire peril. "Let's just have another Bible study" was the cry.

The second half of the 20th century bore witness to the danger, as humanism took over the major organs of education, media and politics, and the youth began to fall away from even Bible-believing churches in droves after receiving years of humanist indoctrination in government schools. Those who remained, while not totally abandoning their faith, began to have a belief system which was an admixture of conflicting worldviews.

Absolute truth was replaced by relative truth. Indeed, the belief in no absolutes has remained the greatest challenge to faith because it totally undermines any basis for belief in a God, His Word, His Law or His salvation. As a matter of fact, if there are no absolutes, how can we know anything absolutely? How is it possible to even say absolutely there are no absolutes if nothing can be known absolutely? It's an absurdity. Nevertheless, millions of Christians have adopted this into their belief systems.

New voices, like Dr. Francis Schaeffer, sounded the alarm and took up the banner but few took up the fight. Even today, few youth pastors have read Schaeffer or understand the nature of the battle in which they are engaged. Indeed, they are facing the challenge that today's students do not believe in absolute fact and consider it arrogant that anyone should claim to have an absolute truth. Unfortunately, they don't see the contradiction when they state that absolutely. Nevertheless, this belief alone makes evangelism difficult, because the worldview basis for discussion between Christians and non-believers has become so wide that bridging it is difficult.

The most urgent call for an attitude change in youth pastoring today is to begin training church youth to grapple with the worldviews, which they will encounter in schools and colleges, and to have a strong countering response using the Christian worldview. A number of ministries are attempting to achieve this, but until it becomes a top priority for all churches, several things will happen:

1) The Church will continue to lose large numbers of youth to other worldviews, despite all the Biblical training. Bible study must stop being taught in a vacuum and begin to have a functional objective in the world. This includes the basis for belief, the basis for believing why God's Word is His Word, etc.

2) Churches themselves will continue to grow in numbers but decline in believers because those churches will have adopted the prevailing worldviews, while calling it Christianity. As Francis Schaeffer predicted, many churches are beginning to look more and more like the world because they are unable to stand against the humanistic spirit of the age. Already many mainline churches have been knocked totally off a Biblical base and have wholeheartedly adopted the new humanist worldview while retaining only a patina of Christian language and belief in God. Their worldview systems are amalgams of atheism and Christianity, similar to some of the heresies the Church experienced in its infancy.

3) Because of having allowed itself to be chased out of the political arena in the name of separation of church and state or the "work of the Kingdom," the Church will find a new challenge from a totally "atheized" secular government, which is now poised to begin telling the Church what it will say and do and what it must not say and do; what it can believe and what it cannot believe. Moreover, the governments of the West will continue their deterioration towards increased authoritarianism as the chaos caused by the new relative values continues to unravel the bonds that held society together under the Christian paradigm.

We are simply following in the footsteps of those countries of the past, which embraced the humanist, socialist worldview; from Rousseau and the French Revolution to the Bolsheviks in Russia, to Nazi Germany, to Chairman Mao, to Castro's Cuba. In each case, the holders of the new worldview knew they had to co-opt or defeat the Church in order to put their value system in place in the hearts and minds of the people, especially the children. Typically, the churches of those countries never saw it coming and in many cases actually participated in their own demise. In essence, been there, done that - but few of the churches see the oncoming danger.

There is still time to meet the challenge in the West, but the window is closing rapidly. One thing is certain: western Christians in the first half of the 21st century will increasingly face a brave new world of unexpected pressures on their faith, mainly as a result of having abandoned the field of battle in education and politics almost 50 years ago. They are still having trouble remembering that the practice of one's faith is a battle, not a picnic.                                                                              Copyright © 1996-2001 by Koinonia House Inc., P.O. Box D, Coeur d'Alene, ID 83816

For a more in-depth study:
Worldview Wars - 4 Audio Tape Set - John Loeffler / Audio Book
The religion of humanism has been rebaptized in our society as 'secular' science or philosophy. This teaching exposes the campaign to eliminate the reality of God and Truth from our lives.

 

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Perhaps there is still time to meet the challenge of SECULAR humanism  in the West.  But indeed the window is closing rapidly.  In fact, there are signs the window is about to be slammed shut by that latest chess move now in progress.  The church, in its sudden wakefulness to the devastation already wrought by materialistic secularism, is in danger of being blindsided by the current - and I believe, final - move on the chessboard:  COSMIC humanism.

Rushing into the spiritual vacuum, purposely devised, of unstable atheism and agnosticism will be the original plu-potent lie spoken in Eden: "You will not surely die...you will be like God."  Reincarnation and Self-realization in ten easy words - ten delicious words!  It's all there: "evolution's" manifest goal: the breathing, becoming Goddess - the Self! the One!

The old sea-level "faith" of fallen humanity: pantheism.

The seed planted by Vivekananda in the late 1800's, the seed watered by Yogananda in the mid 1900's - the seed scattered into 100 million heads by the Beatles in the latter quarter of the past century- have produced a crop of "born again pagans" who don't need to be convinced the "supernatural" is real.  "My Sweet Lord - Hare Krishna!"  O sweet deliverance (many sighed) from pale atheism!

The Greek word translated antichrist in the New Testament can mean "in place of Christ" as well as "against Christ."  The religion of the counterfeit who will declare himself to be God is already being practiced, and not exactly in a corner.  Before God's Messiah and His "New Age" appear, the superhuman chessplayer seeks to activate and validate decoys of both.  The new gloss on the original lie is that any path pursued fervently enough will lead to the same mountaintop - even the path where "truth" and "lie" alike dissolve in an ocean of subjective experience:

 

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Postmodernism and You:  Religion
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Jim Leffel and Dennis McCallum, contributors

Religion has sustained over a century of attack from modernists. Yet, people today are as interested in spiritual things as ever. Recently, sociologists have shown that 95% of adults believe in God or a Universal Spirit.  Books on angels, near death experiences, New Age, Christianity and the occult top the best seller lists. While people are still interested in spiritual things today, the kind of spirituality commanding interest has changed vastly in recent years.

Today spirituality means mystical experience, not truth. We can seek and savor any experience we please, as long as we remain inclusive and tolerant.

 

The Two Cardinal Sins of Postmodern Religious Culture

Sin #1. Intolerance

Not too long ago, intolerance meant rejecting or even persecuting practitioners of other religions. Not any more. Now, intolerance means questioning the validity of any aspect of another's religion. To the majority of Americans below fifty today, questioning the truthfulness of another's religious views is intolerant and morally offensive. This prohibition against differing with other's viewpoints is postmodern.

One Exception

Strangely, it turns out that one exception is allowed to this universal prohibition against intolerance. For some reason, it's okay to question and even denounce religious views when dealing with what is pejoratively labeled "fundamentalism." Today, when people refer to "fundamentalists" they no longer mean just religious extremists like the Shiites waging holy war against the West. Today, fundamentalism may refer to anyone who claims to know truth or who charges another religion with falsehood.  Fundamentalists are in the wrong because they subscribe to universal truth claims (metanarratives), and are therefore "totalistic," or "logocentric," in their thinking.

Sin #2. Objectivity

Postmodernists argue that modernists use reason to exclude people.  When people apply reason to religion, before long, someone's reality is being branded "false." This is not inclusive, and it is also harsh and naive, because:

 
bulletFirst, questioning another's beliefs implies that we can refer to an external objective reality, when in fact, reality is a social construct. By trying to apply rationality to religion, we are really trying to impose enlightenment European culture onto others.
bulletAlso, by challenging the truth claims of another's religion, we devalue the person who is the source of his or her own truth.

Thus, under the banner of inclusiveness postmodern thinkers actually include all but one group -- those of us who are committed to biblical authority.  According to postmodernists, fundamentalists are those who believe religious teachings are true or false, not just within their own paradigm, but over all paradigms. "Fundamentalists" view religious truth as objectively true, and therefore subject to rational scrutiny.   Evangelicals certainly fall within this circle because we believe that if something is true, its opposite cannot be true at the same time, regardless of what paradigm a person holds.

 

Postmodernism and Eastern Mysticism
Borrowing or Coincidence?

Observers of religion are aware of an intrinsic relativism in eastern mystical traditions such as Hinduism, Buddhism and Taoism.   As Monistic faiths, these religions teach that everything is part of one essence.  All these traditions not only reject reason as tool for discovering truth, they even utilize contradiction on the rational level to drive learners to a deeper or higher plane of understanding.   For instance, Buddhism describes the Tao as the sound of one hand clapping. The Hindu Brahman is "always and never."   Such paradoxical thinking, with its rejection of rationality, is naturally compatible with postmodernism.

Also, neither eastern religion nor postmodernism accept the reality of the world we observe in an objective sense.  In Hinduism, the material world is Maya, which means illusion. What seems real to us (the material world) is an illusion. We have already seen how postmodernism holds that reality is a social construct.

Although it is tempting to think these two outlooks have borrowed, one from the other, this is apparently not the case.   Instead, they are compatible outlooks which have made common cause in popular culture, often blended with native spiritualities and New Age consciousness.   Remember, tribal nature religions also make no use of reason in their paths to knowledge of the world. These religions rely on tradition and intuition for know spiritual things, none of which can be tested in any way by reason.

Other contemporary movements have proven to be compatible with postmodernism as well.   Some aspects of the recovery movement are strongly suggestive of postmodern thought:

What do we suggest when we urge group members to give themselves to "God as you understand him" or to their "higher power?"  Ultimately such vague and subjective formulas suggest that the content of belief is irrelevant.  A higher power could be the God of the Bible, but it could also be anything from the recovery group itself (which is often encouraged) to a New Age concept of "the god within" to the gods of Buddhism. [AA's cofounder, Bill W., states, " . . .the designation 'God' [does not] refer to a particular being, force or concept, but only to 'God' as each of us understands that term."  (AlAnon's Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions, New York: Al-Anon Family Group Headquarters, 1981, p. ix).   Alcoholics Anonymous doctrine also teaches explicitly that the support group can act as one's "higher power."  (See Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions, p. 25.)]

People might have a religious experience with such a higher power, but one thing is discounted:  The importance of propositional truth.   Or, to put it differently, postmodern worshipers are like postmodern readers; they are the source of truth, not the discoverers of truth.

The literature of the recovery movement teaches that it is inappropriate to question another person's higher power, because recovery is tied to their belief in the power of the God of their understanding. When you think about it, Twelve Step spirituality is distinctly postmodern in the way personal interpretation or experience and personal empowerment are substituted for truth about God.

Consciousness and Reality

Postmodern thought also dovetails neatly another feature of New Age Consciousness: The way consciousness can create or alter reality.  In New Age religion, mental imaging can create new realities, not unlike the way affirmative postmodernists hope to create new realities. Although New Age thinkers have not thus far demonstrated the fascination with political power seen in postmodern circles, they also favor oppressed tribal peoples as more pure than western culture.

Experience and Authority in Religion

Of the several religious leaders we profile in The Death of Truth, most explicitly say that personal experience is the key to understanding religion.   Most also call for dissociation as a preface to the religious experience.  Dissociation is the loss of conscious awareness of the real world. Specifically, postmodern religionists call for people to leave all rational categories behind before ascending to the godhead. Thus, they see one thing as the supreme barrier to deep religion:  Reason, and its handmaiden, truth.

Whether it's Joseph Campbell, John Bradshaw or Fredrick Turner, all agree that we must first take leave of our senses before trying to know spiritual things.  How similar they are to some calls within the evangelical church!

The Rest of the Story

In The Death of Truth, our chapters on Religion and Evangelical Imperatives, and Practical Communication Ideas cover:
bulletHow specific leading postmodern religionists think in their own words
bulletHow postmodernism has also crept into the evangelical church
bulletPractical ways we can communicate with our postmodern culture without losing our grip on truth

Copyright © 1996 Xenos Christian Fellowship.
All Rights Reserved.

 

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Illusion vs. Reality

Subjectivity vs. Authority

"Tolerance" vs. Truth

Following the September 11 attacks on the World Trade Center, Larry King Live invited a spectrum of spiritual/religious guests to focus on "The Tragedy and God."  This show, broadcast September 29, 2001, could serve as a case study of the radical divergence in world-views outlined in the above article on postmodernism.  The following is a condensed transcript from the call-in portion of the interview.  The five guests were:

Deepak Chopra (new age author of How to Know God)Harold Kushner (liberal "Rabbi" and author of Living a Life That Matters)Maher Hathout ("moderate" Muslim cleric), Bruce Wilkinson (Christian author of The Prayer of Jabez), and John MacArthur (evangelical pastor and author of numerous books, including The Gospel According to Jesus).

Transcribed Excerpts:

The gist of the first call-in question was: "Are the hijackers in heaven or hell?"

Hathout: "Well, we never second-guess God… What we can say is that God told us in the Koran that those who kill innocent people will be punished…absolutely.

[Larry asks John to respond to that.]

MacArthur: "Well, I believe there's only one way to go to heaven and that's through faith in Jesus Christ, and obviously their faith was not in Christ. That's evident -- not because I know their religious background -- but because if you know Christ, your life is transformed and you don't do things like that."

[Larry calls on Rabbi Kushner.]

Kushner: "Well, I feel a little bit excluded by that last statement. But, you know, I've got problems with hell.  I have trouble believing in a God who would send people to eternal damnation. I might be prepared to do it; I rather think God is beyond that.  I think they're not in heaven; I think heaven is reserved for people who've lived a good life.  I think they have simply disappeared. They had dreams of an afterlife; they had dreams of pleasure and praise and being welcomed and all that, and I don't think they are anywhere -- they are non-existent and that's the best thing that could have happened to them."

[Larry invites Bruce's response.]

Wilkinson: "They stand before the Lord, God Himself… [The issue is] how they had planned on handling the problem of their sin… [Their disobedience to God's laws merits the death penalty.] "Jesus Christ came up to bat…" [Their destiny depends on their response to Christ.]

[Larry asks Deepak where he thinks they are.]

Chopra: "Larry, I don't know where they are. Only God knows where they are. But I have a problem with some of your panelists. Because I don't think Christ was a Christian, I don't think Buddha was a Buddhist, and I don't think Mohammed was a Mohammedan. I think it's just that kind of thing that says only the way of Jesus is right, then the others say only the way of Mohammed is right, only the way of Buddha is right, only the way of Krishna is right. We have sacrificed a Universal Being and created a tribal chief with our gods, and that's the problem."

Larry: "Would you like to counter that, John?"

MacArthur: "Yeah, I just don't think -- all due respect -- that Deepak is the authority on that. I don't think Rabbi Kushner is the authority either.  I don't think I'm the authority.  Where are you gonna go?   You have to go to an authoritative book -- "

Larry: "And that is?"

MacArthur: "The Bible."

Larry: "Which Bible?  The Koran?"

MacArthur: "The holy Bible."

Larry: "Well the Koran is a Bible.  He believes in the Koran."

MacArthur: "Yes, I know he does, I know he believes in the Koran.  I don't believe in the Koran. I don't believe that is the holy book written by God."

Larry: "But why is your belief better than his belief?  It's different, but why is it better?"

MacArthur: "It's not a question of comparing people's beliefs.  It's a question of what is the authority.  And the Word of God, the Bible, has stood the test of time and been affirmed, ever since Moses, as a divine word from God."

Larry: "But then any person who doesn't believe in Christ is doomed to hell, whether he has lived a wonderful life?"

MacArthur: [Nodding] "This is what the Bible teaches."

[Next Larry takes a call-in question about whether we should forgive the hijackers, to which there are various responses. Kushner says that because he was not personally injured, it's not his job to forgive; he says that, without excusing what the hijackers did, he can contemplate "letting go" all thoughts about the hijackers because they don't deserve a place in his mind. Mr. Hathout agrees, but adds, "Justice has to be rectified -- there must be a just retribution," though not necessarily revenge.  Wilkinson says God commands us to forgive, that forgiveness is a gift made possible by Christ's atonement. MacArthur says that the essence of Christianity is forgiveness, and that he does forgive, but God's holiness is on another level and will demand a holy justice. Deepak's comment follows:]

Chopra: "I think I agree with the Rabbi. I think also that justice and forgiveness are ultimately God's prerogative. And I keep listening to everybody referring to God as a 'he' -- which gives him a male sexist orientation.  I think God is the absolute power of the universe and is neither a he or a she.   The best we can do in this situation is to make sure that every thought of ours, every word of ours, every act of ours, has a nurturing effect on our loved ones and then we extend that love to our extended family and ultimately all of humanity."

Larry [to John]: "You don't agree with that"

MacArthur: "The bigger question is, why do people die?" [John goes on to say that we are more comfortable with the fact of death when people around us die singly, but in truth thousands die every day -- just not usually in bunches of hundreds or thousands. He then recalls Jesus' words concerning those "eighteen on whom the tower in Siloam fell," when the Lord asserted that they were by no means greater sinners than his listeners and that unless they repent they will likewise perish.  The World Trade Center attack should be a wake-up call to repentance, an instance of God's "severe mercy."   Kushner and Hathout react negatively to this view, the latter calling it a "trivialization of human life." Deepak counters that Americans have been "caught up in the melodrama of triviality" and the attack underscores the importance of "raising our consciousness" to include awareness of the needs and inequities within humanity as a whole.]

[The next question comes from a caller exasperated that these "men of God" can't seem to agree on anything.     He asks, "Why can't we just agree in a broader sense that God is God?"]

Larry [to John]: "Couldn't you agree with that?"

MacArthur: "Yes, back to the question about God.  Again, I hear all these responses, but we have to go back to some authority outside of ourselves.  I mean, I can't define "God" for the universe starting with me.   God in the Scripture is the Creator and Sustainer of the universe. He's the Sovereign over everything, who was incarnated in Jesus Christ, came down to die on a cross to provide atonement so that the sins of those who repent were paid for in full and therefore heaven was open to them.  That is the God revealed in Scripture."

Larry: "A two-year-old baby down at the bottom of the Trade Center wasn't a sinner."

MacArthur [snapping fingers]: "Instant heaven.  Instant heaven."

[Larry turns to Hathout for response. The Muslim says he agrees with "everything John said except the incarnation part -- because we don't believe in that."   Hathout says God is too transcendent to ever be imprisoned in matter: "To [John], Christ is God.  To me, Christ is a messenger."]

Larry: "Deepak, you began the program by saying that God is everything."

Chopra: "God is love."

Larry: "Mathematically, everything is nothing."

Chopra: "God is love. God is the source of all that was, all that is, all that will be. Let's not give God a brand name."

[As a final wrap-up, Larry asks where was God in this tragedy?  MacArthur asserts that God, being omnipresent, was there as well, and the attack should be viewed as His wake-up call.  With programming time running out, Kushner takes his final seconds to laud the encouraging overlap he has just observed between his and Hathout's views.  The show ends with images from Ground Zero and a stirring female rendition of "God Bless America."]

*                *               *

 

Despite the fact that Deepak had adapted his rhetoric to make inroads with a mass audience, it is rare for the media to allow such a stark display of mutually exclusive world-views dancing this close to root issues.  Those issues involve both the nature of and proper touchstone of "truth."  The opposing champions, like jousting knights, were clearly Chopra and MacArthur.   One champion rearing from the east rides under the banner of relative "truth" derived from subjective experience (higher consciousness).  In the opposing lists, from his tattered western tent, the outnumbered upstart from a history thought already buried gallops beneath the flag of absolute truth derived, incredibly, from one specific "verbal deposit" originated by a Creator who is objectively there!

Recall the words from the Successful Quest for Understanding article above: "Fundamentalists are in the wrong because they subscribe to universal truth claims... Questioning another's beliefs implies that we can refer to an external objective reality... Fundamentalists are those who believe religious teachings are true or false, not just within their own paradigm, but over all paradigms."  Horrors alive!

MacArthur is so shockingly embarrassing (and disturbing) to some of the other panelists because in our postmodern environment he seems a throwback to a discarded concept of truth that is simply laughable to the intelligentsia.  The very suggestion that God has spoken to our race through one particular book threatens to reopen that Pandora's Box of saved and lost, God and the devil, Israel and non-Israel, heaven and hell!   This is the one thing the omni-tolerant must not tolerate!  Perhaps the man has learned to speak somewhere, but he must be a lowbrow!  Who let him in here?  Trip his horse, Larry!  

One final note concerning the interview.  When Deepak says, "The best thing we can do in this situation is to make sure that every thought of ours, every word of ours, every act of ours, has a nurturing effect on our loved ones and then we extend that love to our extended family and ultimately all of humanity," his platitudes come loaded with prior, but concealed, assumptions.  Again quoting from the article above: "In New Age religion, mental imaging can create new realities. If there is no external objective reality (so that even our loved ones are part of the illusion of the Impersonal forgetting itself!) this tactic of monitoring our thoughts, words and actions is what, of itself, produces the restructuring of our surroundings.  In Deepak's worldview, human beings can create their reality from within.  So please visualize re-socialized suicide bombers!

Visualize whirled peas.

 

 

Coming soon:  the storm's climax foretold:

 

After the storm, there is indeed a New Age coming , and, however incredibly, it will open with a literal 1000 year "Reich" - one long Sabbath's rest - in dusty old Jerusalem!  See Revelation 20:3, Daniel 2:44, Isaiah 9:6-7, Zechariah 14:9, Hosea 3:5, Ezekiel 43:7, Isaiah 66:23, Habakkuk 2:14, Luke 1:32-33 for starters.

 

 

While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal.

 

Copyright © 2001 STORMWATCH all rights reserved.  stormwatch@bellsouth.net 
Revised: March 21, 2007.

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