Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Barbarians - 1; Civilization - 0

There are times when I introduce relevant commentaries from some of my favorite Jewish sources. Todays article is very timely and comes with thanks to Rabbi Daniel Lapin’s “Thought Tools” which he regularly posts for the building up of biblical understanding and edification of both Jewish and Christian believers.

Moslems have inflicted at least twelve significant attacks in France during the past twelve months.  In these attacks, Moslems have murdered well over two hundred French citizens and by the time you read these words, the numbers may have increased.  Germany has endured a similar number of attacks with a slightly lower total of victims-so far. 

The French military is considered to be the fifth strongest in the world in terms of men and weapons on land, sea, and in the sky.  To give you an idea, they have over a quarter million troops, more than seven thousand armored fighting vehicles like tanks, more than one hundred warships and more than one thousand military aircraft.  That is a pretty formidable force.  

Not to be outdone, Germany fields a comparably daunting military. About two hundred thousand troops, about six thousand armored fighting vehicles, about eighty warships, and about seven hundred military aircraft.

Which forces honest people to confront a very basic question.  How can the descendants of Napoleon and Jean Lafitte, Rommel and Von Bismarck be rendered impotent by a bunch of barbarians?  How can these countries, who form the military backbone of NATO, be incapable of fulfilling their most basic obligations-protecting the lives and property of their own citizens-from the murderous mania of depraved savages?  

A good question, no?  Before I set about explaining this perplexing problem, let's quickly refute a common but mistaken explanation.  It goes something like this: It is impossible for conventional forces to defeat guerrillas or terrorists.  Not true.  The Israelis do it all the time.  The Russians have done it. The Dutch did it in 19th century Indonesia and the British did it in 1950s Malaya. A determined man will find a way to destroy an annoying mosquito but in the 21st century, France and Germany fail. 

In my view, ancient Jewish wisdom provides the best explanation.  I direct your attention to the fourth chapter of Deuteronomy.  If you've heard my Genesis Journeys series, you won't need my reminder that chapter divisions of Scripture did not appear until Archbishop Steven Langton arranged them in the 13th century. Even today, ancient Jewish wisdom ignores this recent innovation and instead, depends upon the original paragraphs to gain an accurate sense of which themes belong together.   

In a traditionally hand-written Torah scroll, Deuteronomy chapter 4 contains two separate, stand-alone paragraphs that are graphically and conspicuously demarcated.  The first runs from verse 1 through verse 24 while the second paragraph comprises verses 25 through 40.  

Now, I ask you to concentrate for just a bit more as we examine the thematic structure of these two paragraphs.  I'll assign the letters A through D to label the themes verse by verse.

This beautifully symmetrical structure is fairly common in the Hebrew Scriptures, the Tanach.  It is intended to communicate to us several insights but the one we'll see now is how the pattern can be graphically depicted by a 

 Moving through Deuteronomy chapter 4, by theme, we go from the A (verse 1) at lower right up to the apex of D, and then down again back to A (verse 40).  Thus we see that the climax, which is to say the highpoint of the pattern is theme D-Idolatry angers God who collapses your culture.

Of course we do need to know what constitutes 'idolatry' these days when few people are still prostrating themselves to large stone images.  
Idolatry is any overarching schematic or comprehensive moral matrix, other than Biblical, by which individuals or societies organize their lives and order their priorities.

Germany and France are the largest and most influential members of the European Union and played the biggest roles in its formation.  The European Union has a constitution.  In terms of what we have been exploring above, its biggest flaw is not its impenetrability or its length (more than ten times longer than that of the United States) but that it makes no mention of God or the religion that sculpted Europe, Christianity.  

This indicates that Europe's organizing principle is certainly not Christianity.  Its overarching moral matrix, or if you prefer, its belief system is what I call secular fundamentalism.  
In contrast to Biblical belief and God's rules, this religion postulates the following ten principles:

There are no ultimate Divine rules of human organization
As a source of good, government trumps God
Equality is a higher value than freedom
All cultures are as good as all other cultures, hence multiculturalism is a value
National boundaries and cultural distinctions are meaningless
Citizens serve government rather than the reverse
Society lacks the right to take the lives of marauders 
Religion is regressive and plays no role in the lives of thoughtful moderns
There is no absolute good and it follows, neither is there any absolute evil
Courage means nothing; cowardice is offending nobody which means everything

I have no doubt that by extirpating Christianity, Europe has rendered itself incapable of recognizing its culture or defending its citizens.  A man who sees no value to his blood will allow the mosquito to continue draining it. 

Did you know that according to Pew Research more than half of young Americans aged 18-29 have favorable views of socialism and that this number is growing?  To understand why this is both anti-Biblical and desperately dangerous,  Let's avoid the fate of France and Germany. I implore you to equip yourself with the 2-hour audio program and study guide that we prepared entitled Tower of Power: Decoding the Secrets of Babel.