Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Quest for True Enlightenment

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Damien F. Mackey
“It was only with the Christ that EQUALITY meant every human being, barring none. From then on, no one was “barbarian.” Each bore in his own soul the mark of being called to be a dwelling of the Father and the Son — being called beyond all other calls a son of God. Neither mother nor father, neither civil society nor state, can answer to this call for you or me. None has any deeper bond or precedence than the relation of Creator and human creature. It is a bond of Spirit and Truth”.
Michael Novak
Australians, faced with the erosion of their culture - {labelled “Western”} - by the Marxists who have entrenched themselves in the left-wing media, in many corporations, and in the universities and schools, as lamented, for instance, in this piece by Mark Latham, former leader of the Australian Labor Party (ALP) http://www.dailytelegraph.com.au/news/opinion/mark-latham-the-lefts-division-defeats-democracy/news-

Mark Latham: The left’s division defeats democracy

…. The Daily Telegraph

SOCIAL democracy is dying. Like a scene from George Orwell’s Animal Farm, left-of-centre MPs and activists are now practising the type of politics they had previously denounced — a divisive, segregationist brand of identity fascism.
All our hopes for people working together — the social democratic dream of a community rich in social capital — are crumbling.
Today’s Labor/Green orthodoxy is to turn people against each other on the basis of their gender, race and sexuality. Left-feminists such as Tracey Spicer and Kasey Edwards are actively segregating women from males: refusing to let their daughters sit next to men on planes or to be supervised by men on play-days. Under the guise of “diversity”, the ABC has promoted Islamic supremacists on its roster, while refusing to report on segregationist practices in places such as Punchbowl Boys High.

Like a scene from George Orwell’s Animal Farm, left-of-centre MPs and activists are now practising the type of politics they had previously denounced. Picture: Supplied

The national broadcaster [the ABC] is running a protection racket for radical Islam.
Within the gay lobby, a militant tendency has also emerged, using boycotts and intimidatory tactics to censor anyone who disagrees with them. The group that, more than any other in Australian politics, has pleaded with people to respect “difference” has become intolerant of differing points of view.
I despair for what our nation has become.

Mark Latham.

Barely a day goes by without someone stopping me on the street to say: “Mark, what’s happening to Australia? We’ve made people from all over the world welcome here but now, because of my skin colour and my sex, I’m being made to feel unwelcome.”
The fed-up majority feels like an alien virus has been injected into our way of life.
They see their country being lost to the madness of political correctness and leftist social engineering.
In the nation’s parliament, we are a nation without ­leadership.
The consequences in the community are horrendous, with a build-up of social distrust and identity resentment.
Instead of encouraging people to cross gender, racial and sexuality boundaries and find common cause with their fellow citizens, the Left is encouraging separatism.
So-called safe spaces in our universities (such as the Aborigine-only computer room at the Queensland University of Technology that provoked the recent 18C controversy) are harming the prospects of indigenous reconciliation.
…. How can students get to know each other and build trust across racial boundaries if white kids are kicked out of computer labs solely because of the colour of their skin? Similarly, multiculturalism is under threat because of the rise of “cultural appropriation” theories.
Prominent leftists now argue that white authors should not be writing about black people in their novels, that Australians of a European background should not be eating Asian food — that no one should “appropriate” the habits and customs of another culture. Yet the essence of Australian multiculturalism is for people to value their own heritage, while also embracing the things they appreciate about other cultures — a vibrant mix of the best of the world’s civilisations.
The pigs are in the farmhouse, walking upright on their hind legs.
Thus identity politics has firmed up into a new fundamentalist narrative. It insists that “privileged white men” are repressing so-called minority groups: women, non-whites and gays. The minorities are positioned permanently as victims, capable of nothing and responsible for nothing.
The fact that on Australia’s long-term welfare dependency rolls there are 100,000 more men than women is immaterial to the leftist elites.
They have moved past the point of analysing statistics and listening to reason.
They have lost interest in poverty and underclass as indicators of social injustice.
“White male privilege” is the Satan of their new religion and it’s being prosecuted fanatically. Who would have thought the word “white” could become a term of abuse in modern Australia?
Recently, at Sydney University, the Labor senator Sam Dastyari laid into “white rich men” as “f ... ers”.
Meanwhile, the ABC presenter Yassmin Abdel-Magied has attacked her hometown of Brisbane for being as “white as f. k”.

Yassmin Abdel-Magied …. Picture: ABC

Dastyari has praised Abdel-Magied as a model Muslim, “a thoughtful and intelligent young Australian”. In suburban and regional Australia, the rise of anti-white racism has fuelled a growing backlash. People who work hard and do the right thing in their family and community lives feel under siege for no other reason than being white, male and straight.
Quite legitimately, they are saying: “Our tolerance to minorities is being repaid with bigotry and censorship, so why should I be so generous in the future?”
Let me give another example of how bad things have become. This Friday I was to speak at a Labor fundraising event at Smithfield in Western Sydney, taking as my theme the contents of this column. In front of an audience including the NSW Opposition Leader Luke Foley, I hoped to persuade people of how identity fascism is killing off the good society, and setting back multiculturalism and reconciliation.
But then the Left faction, led by Rainbow Labor and Rose Jackson, made a push to rub me off the speakers’ list. None of them were even going to the function. They wanted to run it by remote control, not trusting anyone from Smithfield to make up their own mind about my speech.
The pigs are in the farmhouse, walking upright on their hind legs.
[End of quotes],
have begun to suggest with regard to Islam - and picking up on a comment made by the President of Egypt - that the religion needs to undergo an “Enlightenment”.
Thus the former PM of Australia (who was dumped in a spill), Tony Abbott, suggested in a wide-ranging interview with Sky News (December 2015), “On Islam …”
“We’ve got to work closely with live-and-let-live Muslims because there needs to be, as president [Abdel Fattah] Al-Sisi of Egypt has said, a religious revolution inside Islam”.
“All of those things that Islam has never had — a Reformation, an Enlightenment, a well-developed concept of the separation of church and state — that needs to happen.
“But we can't do it; Muslims have got to do this for themselves. But we should work with those who are pushing in that direction.
“All cultures are not equal and, frankly, a culture that believes in decency and tolerance is much to be preferred to one which thinks that you can kill in the name of God, and we've got to be prepared to say that”.
[End of quote]
Broadcaster Alan Jones, interviewing Mark Latham on 2GB radio this morning (26th April), favourably referred to Abbott’s call for a Muslim “Enlightenment”.
The foundations of Australia’s so-called “Western” culture, and that of every other culture thus designated, is neither the Reformation nor the Enlightenment, however, but the Judeo-Christian ethic, as explained by Former Australian Federal Treasurer, Peter Costello, as follows https://peterpilt.org/2016/01/24/a-succinct-explanation-of-the-judeo-christian-ethic-that-australian-society-is-founded-on/

A Succinct Explanation Of The Judeo-Christian Ethic That Australian Society Is Founded On

At times you hear the statement that Australia is founded on the Judeo-Christian Ethic. What does this actually mean? Former Australian Federal Treasurer Peter Costello made a speech back in 2004 at a National Thanksgiving Service about this and I think it’s a succinct explanation of the concept and its importance to our Australian way of life.
“When Jesus told his disciples that they would be witnesses in Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria and the uttermost part of the earth, the known world consisted of the Roman Empire – the Mediterranean and surrounds. No one in the Roman world, no one in the Jewish world, knew of Australia. From the then known world of the Mediterranean, Australia was beyond even the uttermost parts of the earth. And yet the teaching of Jesus came to Australia. It took nearly 18 centuries. And we can pinpoint quite accurately the first time a Christian service was held on Australian soil. The sermon was preached by the Rev. Richard Johnson, Chaplain of the First Fleet. It was preached on Sunday 3 February 1778 under a large tree in Sydney. His text was from Psalm 116 Verse 12: “What shall I render unto the Lord for all his benefits toward me?” The first Australian Christian service was a thanksgiving service. It was thanksgiving for a safe passage in dangerous sailing ships, on a dangerous mission half-way around the world.
Two hundred and twenty six years later we meet tonight to mark a “National Day of Thanksgiving” for all the benefits rendered to us, in the modern Australia. Of course, the members of the First Fleet were not the first people to come to Australia. The Aboriginal people were here long before that and I am proud to honour descendants of those first Australians. But it was the First Fleet that brought the first chaplain and first knowledge of the Christian faith to Australia. This was the critical and decisive event that shaped our country. If the Arab traders that brought Islam to Indonesia had brought Islam to Australia and settled, or spread their faith, amongst the indigenous population our country today would be vastly different. Our laws, our institutions, our economy would all be vastly different. But that did not happen. Our society was founded by British colonists. And the single most decisive feature that determined the way it developed was the Judeo-Christian-Western tradition.
As a society, we are who we are, because of that heritage.
I am not sure this is well understood in Australia today. It may be that a majority of Australians no longer believes the orthodox Christian faith. But whether they believe it or not, the society they share is one founded on that faith and one that draws on the Judeo-Christian tradition. The foundation of that tradition is, of course, The Ten Commandments. How many Australians today could recite them? Perhaps very few.
But they are the foundation of our law and our society, whether we know them or not.
·     The first Commandments: Thou shalt have no other God before me; Thou shalt not make any graven image; Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord in vain; Remember the Sabbath and keep it holy; are the foundation of monotheism.
·     The Commandments: Honour thy father and mother; Thou shalt not commit adultery; are the foundation of marriage and the family.
·     The Commandment: Thou shalt not to kill; is the basis for respect for life.
·     The Commandment: Thou shalt not steal; is the basis for property rights.
·     The Commandment: Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbour; and Thou shalt not covet thy neighbour’s property; is the basis of respect for others and their individual rights.
These are the great principles of our society. On them hang all of the laws and institutions that make our society what it is.

When Moses gave the Ten Commandments he initiated the rule of law. From the moment that he laid down these rules it followed that human conduct was to be governed according to rules – rules which were objectively stated, capable of being understood and, if necessary, enforced by the Hebrew judges. Prior to that the people of the ancient world were governed by Rulers rather than rules. The ruler was much more subject to whim and capricious behaviour. Rulers were not subject to independent review or interpretation. The rule of law is the basis for our constitution and justice system.
And so we have the Rule of Law, respect for life, private property rights, respect of others – values that spring from the Judeo-Christian tradition.”
Speech from Peter Costello 2004
[End of quote]
Was the Age of the Enlightenment (C17th-C18th AD), culminating in France in the Revolution, truly an “enlightenment”? The French Revolution was an all-out war on the very foundations of Judeo-Christianity. Many will say yes, it was enlightening, and many will disagree with that.
According to Alan Jones on the radio this morning it was an age of reason, one that, lifting man out of the Dark Ages of medievalism, has helped to shape our modern world.
Quite a different picture of the Era of the Enlightenment, though, emerges in the books and articles of Dr. Gavin Ardley, philosopher-scientist, who is far from being narrow-minded and unable to give credit where it is due. In his excellent books on the philosophy of science, Aquinas and Kant (1950) and Berkeley’s Renovation of Philosophy (1968), Ardley conjures up an impression of an age that had departed somewhat from the foundations of common sense, had abandoned objective reality and had, in some instances, become a victim of philosophical scruples, which have at their roots, as he argued, a problem of morality.
Philosophically, our culture would probably be considered to be Greco-Roman based. Hence, the solution for the enlightenment of Islam, according to the western-minded Josef Ratzinger (Pope Benedict XVI), was Greek thought. He, in his controversial Regensburg address (2006), remarked “… as a tradition, Islam needs to engage with the intellectual heritage of Greece”.
Rather, I think, Islam needs to rediscover its roots in Old Testament Israel.
Somewhat more reasonable, I believe, is Ratzinger’s other view that: “… the attempt to graft on to Islamic societies what are termed western standards cut loose from their Christian foundations misunderstands the internal logic of Islam as well as the historical logic to which these western standards belong”.
In my opinion, our western culture’s roots are, where Peter Costello fixed them, in Mosa├»c Law and ethics (= Judeo) and in the teachings of Jesus Christ (= Christian): Judeo-Christian. Not in pagan philosophy, not with an Aristotle, but with Jesus Christ who was the true Philosopher, “the Metaphysician par excellence” according to Saint Bonaventure.
And these thoughts lead me into the opinion of the recently-deceased (2017) American philosopher, Michael Novak, regarding the Enlightenment – connecting, as they do, with the Judeo-Christian ethic (http://michaelnovak.net/the-first-enlightenment/):

The First Enlightenment

Those of us who are of Catholic mind do not believe that the Enlightenment began with Kant (“What is Enlightenment?”), or Locke or Newton, or even with Descartes. We cherish Plato, Aristotle, Cicero. But the first Enlightenment began with Christ Our Lord.
It was only with the Christ that EQUALITY meant every human being, barring none.
From then on, no one was “barbarian.” Each bore in his own soul the mark of being called to be a dwelling of the Father and the Son — being called beyond all other calls a son of God. Neither mother nor father, neither civil society nor state, can answer to this call for you or me. None has any deeper bond or precedence than the relation of Creator and human creature. It is a bond of Spirit and Truth.
Thus was revealed each human’s LIBERTY primordial, and in that liberty, EQUALITY with all. No other but self can say to the the Father “No,” or “Yes.” That choice is for each single one of us inalienable. That choice brings each into the universal brotherhood and sisterhood of all who are equal in the sight of God.
And that is how universal FRATERNITY became a human principle and an object of our striving.
Michael Novak
By Michael Novak on December 25, 2009 in Published Articles
Moreover, a singular feature of the coming of the Christ is that all have access to him — rich pagan kings riding from the East, Roman centurions (those who would put him to death, even they), Jew and Greek, and those of every nation, station, and state of virtue or of sin. From Bethlehem went out the message of the First Globalization — the global call to become one human family. But only by the narrow path of the free choice of each.
This was the First Enlightenment. There has been no deeper nor more all-embracing since.
From the streaming light of the marks of Christ’s coming — LIBERTY,
FRATERNITY, EQUALITY — the Second Enlightenment (of Newton, Locke, Kant, Voltaire, and all the others) is derivative. Except that the second one would like to have these ideals, this vision, without God. And, if possible, while destroying the Christian Church. “Strangling the last king with the intestines of the last pope.” A dream of bloodshed. Christophobia.
And now we enter a period in the United States in which it is no longer true that our courts and laws consider ours a civilization uplifted by Christianity. Hatred for Christianity is running deeper, swifter. The day is upon us in which priests, bishops, evangelicals of all kinds, lay and clerical and of all Christian communities will be sent to jail.
To vote one’s conscience, or even to speak one’s conscience, on the matter of homosexual “marriage” more and more brings torrents of abuse.
The day has come, in the minds of some in power, that it is an abuse of human rights to hold abortion wrong. One would have thought that cutting short a life violates the natural right of the independent human being in the womb, just as surely as enslavement used to do. Turning things the other way, today some hold that for a doctor to refuse to take part in the abortion of a living child is to violate a woman’s right to kill the living one she carries.
If Christians must suffer even for the truths of reason that they hold, how will that be different from the first century after Christ was born, and many more? The world became Christian once by the hearing of the word. That did not prevent every one of the first apostles from being thrown in jail. The tradition may be coming back.
Published in National Review Online’s The Corner December 25, 2009
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