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Critical Thinking: Nationalism Definition—America First is One Nation Under God, NOT repeating Nazi History

Critical Thinking: Biblical Worldview Nationalism Definition—America First is One Nation Under God, NOT repeating Nazi History Three Cheers for American Nationalism Inoculate your Children against Socialism and Atheism HERE By Rabbi Aryeh Spero, Jewish Rabbi News flash to NeverTrumpers and neocons: … Continue reading

Judeo-Christian Culture: Stress Relief Ideas—Trust God

Judeo-Christian Culture:

Stress Relief Ideas—Trust God

You can rely on the Word of God. The commandments of God are like signposts along the road of life. They keep you out of the danger zones. Moral relativism undermines justice, thus threatening the peace of civilized society.

In this age of moral relativism, the only constant is absolute truth in the Word of God. Christ is the Rock. You can trust Him, count on Him, no matter what.

Moral absolutes provide us with “internal government”. If everyone restrains themselves, then we maintain civilization. Keep the commandments, in this there is safety and peace.

 

Secret to Peace for your family

Where can we find peace for our families?

Judeo-Christian Culture: In Age of Moral Relativism, We can Trust God and Absolute Truth

Judeo-Christian Culture:

Biblical Worldview

In Age of Moral Relativism, We can Trust God and Absolute Truth

Why can we trust God in this age of moral relativism? Because God keeps His word. The truth in the Word of God is absolute. Right and wrong are absolute, eternal. His truth does not hide from inquiry, is not swayed by popular opinion, does not cower before tyrants. ~C.A. Davidson

Dear Friends,

Welcome to Epicworld Dinner Topics!

“EVERYONE IS ENTITLED TO HIS OWN OPINION, BUT NOT TO HIS OWN FACTS,” said Daniel Patrick Moynihan. We are living in an era where opinion reigns supreme—never mind the facts. If you don’t agree with the ruling opinion, even if that opinion is an outright lie; or if you speak one word that offends, you are persona non grata, enemy of society, etc., etc.

Truth is not found in moral relativism, which is based on opinions, but only in the absolute truth of God’s word. Because God keeps His promises, we can trust Him without reservation. Why can we trust God in this age of moral relativism? Because God keeps His word. The truth in the Word of God is absolute. Right and wrong are absolute, eternal. Moral truth is absolute, unchangeable, rock-solid from generation to generation, century to century, age to age, forever. His truth does not hide from inquiry, is not swayed by popular opinion, does not cower before tyrants.

Have you ever wondered why some people wholeheartedly defend false doctrines and evil practices, even though such have been proven to be blatant lies, or revealed to be utterly barbaric? How can they believe lies and be so dedicated to evil that it is like a religion for them? How can they be so blind to truth as to actually hate truth, and even to the point they seem to be in bondage to the father of all lies? Those who cast aside the shield of faith lose protection against the buffetings of the adversary.

Shieldresize            Someone said that there are many on the earth … who are blinded by the subtle craftiness of men, and who are only kept from the truth because they know not where to find it.

Jesus Christ warned that in our day there would be many false teachers, so convincing that they might deceive even the very elect, meaning us—we who have chosen to follow Christ. It’s obvious that truth is being covered up by many, and deceivers are everywhere. How can we avoid the traps of deception so rampant in our society today? How can we keep a clear vision through the murky mists of deceit that surround us?

In this age of moral relativism, truth seems elusive—where can we find it, and how will we know it when we do find it? Jesus told us, “Ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.”

The Savior did not leave us to face these perilous times unprotected.

truth1          First, He taught us how to discern a false teacher. “Ye shall know them by their fruits.” (Matthew 7:16) We cannot look to words or personality alone to determine truth. We must study history, and examine people’s choices and actions. Do they speak the truth and let the consequence follow, or do they engage in moral equivocation, in order to please whomever they are speaking to at the moment? Do they truly care about what’s right for our country, or do they just care about getting votes?

In coming days, it will not be possible to survive spiritually without the guiding, directing, comforting, and constant influence of the Holy Ghost. [Holy Spirit] ~Russell M. Nelson

Even so, it is still hard to sift through all the rhetoric. There is one other defense that we have, that is the only key to our survival in these turbulent times. That key is the Holy Spirit. The Spirit will help us find the truth, and will free us from the bondage of sin. However, there is a condition. If we keep the commandments, the Spirit will abide with us. If we yield to sin, the Spirit will withdraw.

forgiveness4dove           This is why we see some defending evil so ardently. They have so seared their consciences that the Spirit has withdrawn, and they are left on their own.

We all sin and fall short, but if we do our best, mend our ways when necessary, and trust in the redeeming power of our Savior, then He has promised the Comforter to abide with us. This promise is stronger than death; and a power that our persecutors will never know.

 

We will not retreat, though our numbers may be few

When compared to the opposite host in view;

But an unseen power will aid me and you

In the glorious cause of truth. ~Evan Stephens

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1. Let Us Educate Ourselves

2. Home Education—Let’s Teach our Children!

Traditional Bible-believing parents may have to consider withdrawing their children from public schools to protect your family spiritually and financially from the rising tide of persecution and ruinous lawsuits by anti-Christian fascists.

If it is not possible for you to home school, try to teach your children Judeo-Christian values at home. The easiest way to do this is to tell stories and discuss principles at the family dinner table. I hope these dinner topics help you with this vital effort. Just don’t give up! Our precious children are worth fighting for!

constitution3. Study the U.S. Constitution!

It is the last remaining safeguard of our precious freedoms! A good way to do this is to study the monthly Constitution series from The 5,000 Year Leap. To access this series of posts, type US Constitution Series in this site’s search bar. Also, look for posts that refer to the Constitution in current events.

Thanks for all you do,

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Champion of Liberty: Edmund Burke

Dinner Topics for Thursday

Champion of Liberty, Edmund Burke

Edmund Burke

keyThose who don’t know history are destined to repeat it.

‘The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.’

The people never give up their liberties but under some delusion. ~Edmund Burke

From Wikipedia

Edmund Burke 12 January [NS] 1729[1] – 9 July 1797) was an Irish[2][3] statesman born in Dublin; author, orator, political theorist, and philosopher, who, after moving to England, served for many years in the House of Commons of Great Britain as a member of the Whig party.

Mainly, he is remembered for his support of the cause of the American Revolutionaries, and for his later opposition to the French Revolution. The latter led to his becoming the leading figure within the conservative faction of the Whig party, which he dubbed the “Old Whigs”, in opposition to the pro–French Revolution “New Whigs”, led by Charles James Fox.[4]

Burke was praised by both conservatives and liberals in the nineteenth century.[5] Since the twentieth century, he has generally been viewed as the philosophical founder of conservatism.[6][7]

American War of Independence

EdmundBurke1771Burke expressed his support for the grievances of the American Colonies under the government of King George III and his appointed representatives. On 19 April 1774 Burke made the speech, On American Taxation (published in January 1775), on a motion to repeal the tea duty:

Again and again, revert to your old principles—seek peace and ensue it; leave America, if she has taxable matter in her, to tax herself. I am not here going into the distinctions of rights, nor attempting to mark their boundaries. I do not enter into these metaphysical distinctions; I hate the very sound of them. Leave the Americans as they anciently stood, and these distinctions, born of our unhappy contest, will die along with it. … Be content to bind America by laws of trade; you have always done it. … Do not burthen them with taxes. … But if intemperately, unwisely, fatally, you sophisticate and poison the very source of government by urging subtle deductions, and consequences odious to those you govern, from the unlimited and illimitable nature of supreme sovereignty, you will teach them by these means to call that sovereignty itself in question. … If that sovereignty and their freedom cannot be reconciled, which will they take? They will cast your sovereignty in your face. No body of men will be argued into slavery. Sir, let the gentlemen on the other side … tell me, what one character of liberty the Americans have, and what one brand of slavery they are free from, if they are bound in their property and industry by all the restraints you can imagine on commerce, and at the same time are made pack-horses of every tax you choose to impose, without the least share in granting them. When they bear the burthens of unlimited monopoly, will you bring them to bear the burthens of unlimited revenue too? The Englishman in America will feel that this is slavery; that it is legal slavery, will be no compensation either to his feelings or to his understandings.[48]

On 22 March 1775, in the House of Commons, Burke delivered a speech (published during May 1775) on reconciliation with America. Burke appealed for peace as preferable to civil war and reminded the House of America’s growing population, its industry, and its wealth. He warned against the notion that the Americans would back down in the face of force, since the Americans were descended largely from Englishmen:

… the people of the colonies are descendants of Englishmen. … They are therefore not only devoted to liberty, but to liberty according to English ideas and on English principles. The people are Protestants … a persuasion not only favourable to liberty, but built upon it. … My hold of the colonies is in the close affection which grows from common names, from kindred blood, from similar privileges, and equal protection. These are ties which, though light as air, are as strong as links of iron. Let the colonies always keep the idea of their civil rights associated with your government—they will cling and grapple to you, and no force under heaven will be of power to tear them from their allegiance. But let it be once understood that your government may be one thing and their privileges another, that these two things may exist without any mutual relation—the cement is gone, the cohesion is loosened, and everything hastens to decay and dissolution.

As long as you have the wisdom to keep the sovereign authority of this country as the sanctuary of liberty, the sacred temple consecrated to our common faith, wherever the chosen race and sons of England worship freedom, they will turn their faces towards you. The more they multiply, the more friends you will have; the more ardently they love liberty, the more perfect will be their obedience. Slavery they can have anywhere. It is a weed that grows in every soil. They may have it from Spain, they may have it from Prussia. But, until you become lost to all feeling of your true interest and your natural dignity, freedom they can have from none but you.[49]

Burke prized peace with America above all else, pleading with the House of Commons to remember that the interest and money received off of the American colonies was far more attractive than any sense of putting the colonists in their place:

The proposition is peace. Not peace through the medium of war, not peace to be hunted through the labyrinth of intricate and endless negotiations, not peace to arise out of universal discord…it is simple peace, sought in its natural course and in its ordinary haunts. It is peace sought in the spirit of peace, and laid in principles purely pacific.[50]

Burke wasn’t simply promoting peace to Parliament; rather, he stepped forward with four reasons against using force, carefully reasoned. He laid out his objections in an orderly manner, focusing on one before moving to the next. His first concern was that the use of force would have to be temporary, and that the uprisings and objections to British governance in America would not be. Second, Burke worried about the uncertainty surrounding whether Britain would win a conflict in America. “An armament”, Burke wisely says, “is not a victory”.[51] Third, Burke brought up the issue of impairment; it would do the British Government no good to engage in a scorched earth war and have the object they desired (America) become damaged or even useless. The American colonists could always delve back into the mountains, but the land they left behind would most likely be unusual, whether by incident or design. The fourth and final reason to avoid the use of force was experience; the British had never attempted to reign back in an unruly colony by force, and they didn’t know if it could be done, let alone accomplished thousands of miles away from home.[51] Not only were all of these concerns reasonable, but some turned out to be prophetic—the American colonists did not surrender, even when things looked extremely bleak, and the British were ultimately unsuccessful in their attempts to win a war fought on American soil.

It wasn’t temporary force, uncertainty, impairment, or even experience that Burke cited as the number one reason for avoiding war with the American colonies, however; it was the character of the American people themselves:

In this character of Americans, a love of freedom is the predominating feature which marks and distinguishes the whole…this fierce spirit of liberty is stronger in the English colonies, probably, than in any other people of the earth…[the] men [are] acute, inquisitive, dextrous, prompt in attack, ready in defense, full of resources…”.[51] Burke concludes with another plea for peace, and a prayer that Britain might avoid actions which, in Burke’s words, “may bring on the destruction of this Empire”.[51]

Burke proposed six resolutions to settle the American conflict peacefully:

  1. Allow the American colonists to elect their own representative, thus settling the dispute about taxation without representation;
  2. Acknowledge this wrong and apologize for grievances cause;
  3. Procure an efficient manner of choosing and sending these delegates;
  4. Set up a General Assembly in America itself, with powers to regulate taxes;
  5. Stop gathering taxes by imposition (or law), and start gathering them only when they are needed; and
  6. Grant needed aid to the colonies.[51]

The effect of these resolutions, had they been passed, can never be known. Unfortunately, this speech was given less than a month before the explosive conflict at Concord and Lexington,[52] and as these resolutions were not passed, little was done that would help to dissuade conflict.

One of the reasons this speech was greatly admired was the passage on Lord Bathurst (1684–1775). Burke imagines an angel in 1704 prophesying to Bathurst the future greatness of England and also of America: “Young man, There is America—which at this day serves little more than to amuse you with stories of savage men, and uncouth manners; yet shall, before you taste of death, shew itself equal to the whole of that commerce which now attracts the envy of the world”.[53] Samuel Johnson was so irritated at hearing it continually praised, that he made a parody of it, where the devil appears to a young Whig and predicts that in short time, Whiggism will poison even the paradise of America.[53]

The administration of Lord North (1770–1782) tried to defeat the colonist rebellion by military force. British and American forces clashed in 1775 and, in 1776, came the American Declaration of Independence. Burke was appalled by celebrations in Britain of the defeat of the Americans at New York and Pennsylvania. He claimed the English national character was being changed by this authoritarianism.[9] Burke wrote: “As to the good people of England, they seem to partake every day more and more of the Character of that administration which they have been induced to tolerate. I am satisfied, that within a few years there has been a great Change in the National Character. We seem no longer that eager, inquisitive, jealous, fiery people, which we have been formerly”.[54]

Regarding the French Revolution

In January 1790, Burke read Dr. Richard Price‘s sermon of 4 November 1789 entitled, A Discourse on the Love of our Country, to the Revolution Society.[75] That society had been founded to commemorate the Glorious Revolution of 1688. In this sermon Price espoused the philosophy of universal “Rights of Men”. Price argued that love of our country “does not imply any conviction of the superior value of it to other countries, or any particular preference of its laws and constitution of government”.[76] Instead, Price asserted that Englishmen should see themselves “more as citizens of the world than as members of any particular community”.

A debate between Price and Burke ensued that was “the classic moment at which two fundamentally different conceptions of national identity were presented to the English public”.[77] Price claimed that the principles of the Glorious Revolution included “the right to choose our own governors, to cashier them for misconduct, and to frame a government for ourselves”.

Immediately after reading Price’s sermon, Burke wrote a draft of what eventually became, Reflections on the Revolution in France.[78] On 13 February 1790, a notice in the press said that shortly, Burke would publish a pamphlet on the revolution and its British supporters, however he spent the year revising and expanding it. On 1 November he finally published the Reflections and it was an immediate best-seller.[79][80] Priced at five shillings, it was more expensive than most political pamphlets, but by the end of 1790, it had gone through ten printings and sold approximately 17,500 copies. A French translation appeared on 29 November and on 30 November the translator, Pierre-Gaëton Dupont, wrote to Burke saying 2,500 copies had already been sold. The French translation ran to ten printings by June 1791.[81]

Later life

In November 1795, there was a debate in Parliament on the high price of corn and Burke wrote a memorandum to Pitt on the subject. In December Samuel Whitbread MP introduced a bill giving magistrates the power to fix minimum wages and Fox said he would vote for it. This debate probably led Burke to editing his memorandum, as there appeared a notice that Burke would soon publish a letter on the subject to the Secretary of the Board of Agriculture (Arthur Young), but he failed to complete it. These fragments were inserted into the memorandum after his death and published posthumously in 1800 as, Thoughts and Details on Scarcity.[129] In it, Burke expounded “some of the doctrines of political economists bearing upon agriculture as a trade”.[130] Burke criticised policies such as maximum prices and state regulation of wages, and set out what the limits of government should be.

The economist Adam Smith remarked that Burke was “the only man I ever knew who thinks on economic subjects exactly as I do, without any previous communications having passed between us”.[132]

Read more about Edmund Burke

 

Judeo-Christian Culture: Trust God Theme Quotes

Judeo-Christian Culture:

Trust God Theme Quotes

Why can we trust God in this age of moral relativism? Because God keeps His word. The truth in the Word of God is absolute. Right and wrong are absolute, eternal. His truth does not hide from inquiry, is not swayed by popular opinion, does not cower before tyrants. ~C.A. Davidson

All things denote there is a God; yea, even the earth, and all things that are upon the face of it, yea, and its motion, yea, and also all the planets which move in their regular form do witness that there is a Supreme Creator. ~Alma 30:44

Liberal Policies—

For behold, they do study at this time that they may destroy the liberty of thy people.~Alma 8:17

” [A] fervid but false solicitude for the unfortunate over whom they thus gain mastery, and then enslave them. ~David O. McKay

He that hateth dissembleth with his lips, and layeth up deceit within him. ~Proverbs 26:24

Whoso diggeth a pit shall fall therein. Proverbs 26:27

“Everyone is entitled to his own opinion, but not to his own facts.” ~Daniel Patrick Moynihan

During times of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act. ~George Orwell

 

Absolute truth exists in a world that increasingly disdains and dismisses absolutes. ~David A. Bednar

“Sin will always be sin. Disobedience to the Lord’s commandments will always deprive us of His blessings. The world changes constantly and dramatically, but God, His commandments, and promised blessings do not change. They are immutable and unchanging,” ~ L. Tom Perry

For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall shew great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect. ~Matthew 24:24

We need [men and] women who can detect deception in all of its forms. ~Russell M. Nelson

Where there is no vision, the people perish. ~Proverbs 29:18

Even if “everyone is doing it,” wrong is never right. Evil, error, and darkness will never be truth, even if popular. In fact, 50 million people can be wrong—totally wrong. Immorality is still immorality in the eyes of God. ~Russell M. Nelson

Remember: sin, even if legalized by man, is still sin in the eyes of God! ~Russell M. Nelson

I give unto you a pattern in all things, that ye may not be deceived; for Satan is abroad in the land, and he goeth forth deceiving the nations. ~ Doctrine and Covenants 52:14

The face of sin today often wears the mask of tolerance. Do not be deceived; behind that facade is heartache, unhappiness, and pain. … If your so-called friends urge you to do anything you know to be wrong, you be the one to make a stand for right, even if you stand alone.” ~Thomas S. Monson

To understand or know something through the power of the Spirit. The gift of discernment is one of the gifts of the Spirit. It includes perceiving the true character of people.

Woe unto them that call aevil bgood, and good evil; that put cdarkness for dlight, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter! ~Isaiah 5:20

¶Beware of afalse prophets, which come to you in bsheep’s clothing, but cinwardly they are ravening dwolves.  Ye shall aknow them by their bfruits. ~Matthew 7:15-16

“You must have eyes that know what to look for.” Gandalf, Lord of the Rings

Those who don’t know history are destined to repeat it. ~Edmund Burke

Therefore my people are gone into captivity because they have no knowledge.~Isaiah 5:13

“If a nation expects to be ignorant and free, in a state of civilization, it expects what never was and never will be.”~Thomas Jefferson

We know that “a double minded man is unstable in all his ways” 16 and that we cannot “serve two masters.” 6 Some, I fear, are trying to “serve the Lord without offending the devil.” 7  ~Larry Gibbons

Take heed that no man deceive you. And many false prophets shall arise, and shall deceive many; And whoso treasureth up my word, shall not be deceived. ~Matthew 1:5,9,37 JST

Let not that which I have appointed be polluted by mine enemies, by the consent of those who call themselves after my name. ~Doctrine and Covenants 101:97

We may be bucking a strong tide, but we must teach our children that sin is sin. ~Spencer W. Kimball

 

I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in truth. ~3 John 1:4

Ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free. ~John 8:32

It is the Spirit that beareth witness, because the Spirit is truth. ~1 John 5:6

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Young Adult Book Series Helps Parents Impart Biblical Values

US Review of Books Young Adult Book Series Helps Parents Impart Biblical Values Why are Faith and Liberty Relevant Today? Timeless Allegory Helps Parents Impart Biblical Values Atlanta, Georgia. The Bible was banned from schools in 1963. In Escape to … Continue reading

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Judeo-Christian Culture: Cosmic Music, a Cosmic Journey into Visions of Creation

This gallery contains 6 photos.

Judeo-Christian Culture: Cosmic Music, a Cosmic Journey into Visions of Creation Music—the universal language. A glimpse into the infinite. A timeless cosmic adventure into both the rugged and the beautiful.   Climbing down to the shore where the huge peak … Continue reading

U.S. Constitution Series 1: Founding Fathers and Cicero

U.S. Constitution Series 1:

Founding Fathers and Cicero

Cicero was born January 3, 106 B.C.

The Founders’ Basic Principles: 28 Great Ideas that changed the world

keyWorldly philosophies endeavor to blur the distinction between good and evil and eliminate accountability. However, the foundation of Natural Law (the law of the Creator) is the reality of good and evil. The U.S. Constitution was successful in creating a free and prosperous society because its foundation of Natural Law is based on moral accountability to a just God. ~C.A. Davidson

5000leapFrom The 5,000 Year Leap—A Miracle that Changed the World

By W. Cleon Skousen

1. First Principle: the Genius of Natural Law

(Notes from pp. 37-47)

What is Natural Law?

The Creator’s order of things is called Natural Law.

The only reliable basis for sound government and just human relations is Natural Law.

Cicero

Cicero cut through the political and philosophical errors of both Plato and Aristotle to discover the touchstone of good laws, sound government, and the long-range formula for happy human relations. (p.37) He was the only Roman political writer who has exercised enduring influence throughout the ages. He studied law in Rome and philosophy in Athens.

Cicero’s compelling honesty led him to conclude that once the reality of the Creator is clearly identified in the mind, the only intelligent approach to government, justice, and human relations is in terms of the laws which the Supreme Creator has already established.

In the Declaration of Independence Jefferson referred to the “laws of Nature and of Nature’s God.”

In Natural Law we are dealing with factors of absolute reality.

Since the Biblical God is the author of Natural Law, the first two great commandments indicated by Jesus Christ provide the standard for government and human relations.

Internal and External Government

Society cannot exist unless a controlling power upon will and appetite be placed somewhere, and the less of it there is within, the more there must be without. It is ordained in the eternal constitution of things, that men of intemperate minds cannot be free. ~Edmund Burke

1. The first great commandment is to love and honor God (the God of Israel).  The simplest way to honor God is to abide by the Ten Commandments. These provide moral absolutes, which if obeyed, build in us a strong internal government, or good moral character.

2. The second great commandment is to “love thy neighbor as thyself.” This commandment is based on love. When we serve our fellow man, we are serving God. Jesus taught that we should treat others as we would like to be treated. If we have strong internal government, (we discipline ourselves and do no harm to others, by our own choice), then there is little need for much external government, which forces people to obey the rules of civilization.  Internal government is based on love of God, ourselves, and our neighbors. External force is not based on love.

Legislation in Violation of God’s Natural Law is a Scourge to Humanity

All Law Should Be Measured against God’s Law

ciceroCicero set forth the means by which people may discern between good and evil laws. All laws must be measured by God’s Law, which he described as follows:

Therefore Law [of the Creator] is the distinction between things just and unjust, made in agreement with that primal and most ancient of all things, Nature; and in conformity to Nature’s standard are framed those human laws which inflict punishment upon the wicked and protect the good. (Dr. William Ebenstein, Great Political Thinkers, p. 135)

It was clear to Cicero as he came toward the close of his life that men must eliminate the depravity that had lodged itself in society. He felt they must return to the high road of Natural Law. They must pledge obedience to the mandates of a loving and concerned Creator. (Skousen, pp. 45-46)

The Following are Examples of concepts based on Natural Law

  • Unalienable rights
  • Unalienable duties
  • Habeas Corpus
  • Limited government
  • Separation of powers
  • Checks and balances to correct abuses by peaceful means
  • Right of contract
  • Laws protecting the family and the institution of marriage
  • Justice by reparation or paying for damages
  • Right to bear arms
  • No taxation without representation

Principle # 2:  Moral and Virtuous Leaders

Christian Themes: Lord of the Rings

Christian Themes, Tolkien, and Lord of the Rings

Dinner Topics for Thursday

keyThe world Tolkien constructed is a world of providence, with purpose for life, and it mirrors our Christian world.

Classic Tolkien fiction conveys Christian faith

tolkeinBy Stacy Long
On December 14, a long-awaited event comes to pass, as Americans fill theaters on the opening night of The Hobbit, the first installment of another movie trilogy based on the novels of J.R.R. Tolkien (1892-1973). For those who are neither moviegoers nor Tolkien fans, discussing his work means exploring the Christian worldview Tolkien articulated in his stories. With that discussion comes a reminder of how worldviews are expressed in film and literature. It also reminds Christians of the need to be aware and discerning in their entertainment choices.

Built on a Christian worldview

One may ask how Tolkien’s books are Christian, since they never mention Christ, God or religion. Quite simply, it is because the author was a Christian and wrote from a Christian understanding. As Tolkien said, “I am a Christian and what I write will come from that essential viewpoint.”

Dr. Devin Brown, Tolkien scholar and literature professor at Kentucky’s Asbury University, described Tolkien’s works as indirectly Christian.

“They were written by a Christian author with a Christian worldview,” Brown explained in an interview with AFA Journal. “Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit are not evangelistic books. People don’t read those and decide to become Christians, but they work as pre-evangelism for people who were pre-disposed to be anti-Christian. When they read those books, they say, ‘I love this story; I love this world that has purpose and meaning and morality.’ The world Tolkien constructed is a world of providence, with purpose for life, and it mirrors our Christian world.”

Brown said that Tolkien’s books mirror the Christian world by exhibiting two central Christian truths: God is a Creator, and man is created in His image and reflects that creativity.

“As we function in God’s image, we will also be creators,” Brown said. “Tolkien as a writer created a world of his own, and he called Middle-earth [the setting for the books] the ‘sub-creation.’”

Even while he set his story in pre-Christian times, Tolkien filled it with Christian truth. Yet, Tolkien intentionally distanced readers from Christianity, and in doing so makes them see it anew.

Brown explained, “Tolkien was influenced by G.K. Chesterton, who said, ‘The best way to understand Christianity is from being inside it; the second best way is to be very far away from it so you can really see it for what it is.’ And so Tolkien created an earlier version of our world. Middle-earth is really our earth, ages and ages ago.”

Also, Tolkien demonstrated the coherence of Christian truth, which transcends time in light of the eternal existence of the triune God. As Brown pointed out, “[Christian truth] didn’t just start in the first century when Jesus came, but it has been a part of this world since the Creation of the world.”

Full of Christian truth

Another Tolkien scholar, Dr. Louis Markos of Houston Baptist University in Texas, joined Brown in pointing out Christian themes in Tolkien’s work.
The most obvious evidence of Christian worldview in the books is in the providence and purpose ascribed to Middle-earth and the lives of the characters.

Markos told AFAJ, “There is a trusting to providence, trusting that there is an overarching plan to history and you’re a part of it. One line from the book says, ‘The great stories never end.’ There is this idea that the characters are part of a story that started thousands of years ago and is slowly working its way out.”

Another noticeably Christian theme in Tolkien’s fiction is a strongly defined morality.

“Although moral decisions are often complex and difficult, there is always a choice that is right – in a universal sense – and a choice that is wrong. In his portrait of absolute truth, Tolkien presents a world that will feel familiar to Christian readers,” Brown wrote in an article titled “Five faith lessons from The Hobbit.”

A third predominant theme in the books is that ultimately, good always prevails over evil. In fact, Tolkien coined a word to express the idea that disasters can bring about the accomplishment of good.

“Tolkien coins this wonderful term, ‘eucatastrophe,’ which literally means ‘good catastrophe,’ meaning it looks like everything is going to collapse and then good comes out of it,” Markos explained. “The eucatastrophe of the Fall of Man is the birth of Christ and the resurrection. Of course, there are lots of little eucatastrophes in Tolkien’s stories, where a terrible event, when viewed in terms of overall providence, turns out to be a good event.”

For example, in The Hobbit, the main character, Bilbo, gives up what is most precious to him and receives little in return. However, in the end, he finds that the sacrifice was the making of him.

hobbitshire1“Bilbo’s living a narrow, confined, fearful life, and then he’s called to save Middle-earth, and in doing so he saves himself,” Brown said. The Hobbit shows that if you want to find yourself, the real way is to be a servant, to lose yourself.”

The Hobbit tells us a central truth: happiness does not come through material wealth,” Brown added. “There is a line where Bilbo is told, ‘The adventure will be very good and profitable for you.’ In the end, Bilbo does profit, but it is the kind of treasure Jesus talks about that rust and thieves will not corrupt.”

And in the ultimate losing of self – in death – Tolkien describes another eucatastrophe for the Christian.

“In Middle-earth, death is described as the gift of God to man. Tolkien has this incredible vision of understanding that death is good,” Markos said. “Death is still in a way a part of the fall, but death also releases us from our fallen state to heaven.”

Looking at our world

Tolkien’s stories point to the truth of the Christian worldview that they were constructed upon. When a person enters the world of Tolkien’s fantasy, there is an encounter with purpose, Providence, morality, hope – made startlingly and beautifully real.

“There is something insightful about human nature in these books, but Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit also have this underlying spiritual element that believers quickly latch onto,” Brown concluded. “One man described it as ‘a light from an unseen lamp.’ There is a light shining there, and you can’t quite see its source, but the story tells us about what’s important in life, what should be valued, where happiness lies. And that draws non-believers also. Tolkien takes us to Middle-earth and holds a mirror up to us, and what he shows us gains a poignancy in his imaginary world that it might not have had in our world.”

Finally, the popularity of these books, even among nonbelievers, suggests that the truth of Christianity they present is something that the world desires, despite its deep, desperate denial.

Related Post

Christian Fiction Literature: The Hobbit Party

 

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What are parents to do?

Movies and books are powerful vehicles for presenting worldviews. Christian parents can train themselves and their children to recognize and analyze the worldviews presented in film and literature:

• Be well acquainted with the Christian worldview and with Scripture.
• Monitor what children read and watch.
• Don’t trust movie ratings. A PG or PG-13 movie may still have an anti-Christian worldview.
• Discuss the ideas presented through entertainment choices.

Sources used for this story:

The Christian World of The Hobbit, Devin Brown
On the Shoulders of Hobbits, Louis Markos
Philosophy of Tolkien, Peter Kreeft

From AFA Journal

Arts and the Italian Renaissance

Dinner Topics for Monday

Lorenzo_de_Medici2Lorenzo de’ Medici (1 January 1449 – 9 April 1492) was an Italian statesman and de facto[1] ruler of the Florentine Republic during the Italian Renaissance. Known as Lorenzo the Magnificent (Lorenzo il Magnifico) by contemporary Florentines, he was a diplomat, politician and patron of scholars, artists, and poets. Perhaps what he is most known for is his contribution to the art world, giving large amounts of money to artists so they could create master works of art. His life coincided with the high point of the mature phase Italian Renaissance and his death coincided with the end of the Golden Age of Florence.[2] The fragile peace he helped maintain between the various Italian states collapsed with his death. Lorenzo de’ Medici is buried in the Medici Chapel in Florence.

Childhood

Lorenzo’s grandfather, Cosimo de’ Medici, was the first member of the Medici family to combine running the Medici bank with leading the Republic. Cosimo, one of the wealthiest men in Europe, spent a very large portion of his fortune in government and philanthropy. He was a patron of the arts and funded public works. Lorenzo’s father, Piero ‘the Gouty’ de’ Medici, was also at the center of Florentine life, active as an art patron and collector. His mother Lucrezia Tornabuoni was a poet and writer of sonnets. She was also a friend to figures such as Luigi Pulci and Agnolo Poliziano and became her son’s advisor when he took over power.

Lorenzo was considered the brightest of the five children of Piero and Lucrezia, tutored by a diplomat, Gentile Becchi. He participated in jousting, hawking, hunting, and horse breeding for the palio, a horse race in Siena. His own horse was named Morello di Vento.

Piero sent Lorenzo on many important diplomatic missions when he was still a youth. These included trips to Rome to meet with the pope and other important religious and political figures. [3]

Patronage

Lorenzo’s court included artists such as Piero and Antonio del Pollaiuolo, Andrea del Verrocchio, Leonardo da Vinci, Sandro Botticelli, Domenico Ghirlandaio, and Michelangelo Buonarroti who were involved in the 15th century Renaissance. Although he did not commission many works himself, he helped them secure commissions from other patrons. Michelangelo lived with Lorenzo and his family for five years, dining at the family table and participating in the discussions led by Marsilio Ficino.

Lorenzo was an artist himself, writing poetry in his native Tuscan. In his poetry he celebrates life even while—particularly in his later works—acknowledging with melancholy the fragility and instability of the human condition. Love, feasts and light dominate his verse.

Cosimo had started the collection of books which became the Medici Library (also called the Laurentian Library) and Lorenzo expanded it. Lorenzo’s agents retrieved from the East large numbers of classical works, and he employed a large workshop to copy his books and disseminate their content across Europe. He supported the development of humanism through his circle of scholarly friends who studied Greek philosophers, and attempted to merge the ideas of Plato with Christianity; among this group were the philosophers Marsilio Ficino, Poliziano and Giovanni Pico della Mirandola.

In 1471 Lorenzo calculated that since 1434, his family had spent some 663,000 florins (approx. 460 million USD today) for charity, buildings and taxes. He wrote,

I do not regret this for though many would consider it better to have a part of that sum in their purse, I consider it to have been a great honour to our state, and I think the money was well-expended and I am well-pleased.[9]

Later years

During his tenure, several branches of the family bank collapsed because of bad loans, and, in later years, he got into financial difficulties and resorted to misappropriating trust and state funds.

Toward the end of Lorenzo’s life, Florence came under the spell of Savonarola, who believed Christians had strayed too far into Greco-Roman culture. Lorenzo played a role in bringing Savonarola to Florence.[10]

Lorenzo de’ Medici died during the late night of April 8 or during the early morning of April 9, 1492, at the long-time family villa of Careggi (Florentine reckoning considers days to begin at sunset, so his death date is the 9th in that reckoning). Savonarola visited Lorenzo on his death bed. The rumor that Savonarola damned Lorenzo on his deathbed has been refuted by Roberto Ridolfi in his book, Vita di Girolamo Savonarola. Letters written by witnesses to Lorenzo’s death report that he died a consoled man, on account of the blessing Savonarola gave him. As Lorenzo died, the tower of the church of Santa Reparata was allegedly struck by lightning. He and his brother Giuliano are buried in a chapel designed by Michelangelo, the New Sacristy; it is located adjacent to the north transept of the Church of San Lorenzo and is reached by passing through the main Cappella Medicea; the chapel is ornamented with famous sculptures, and some of the original working drawings of Michelangelo can still be distinguished on two of the walls of the Chapel and in the concealed corridor under the New Sacristy discovered only in 1976.[11]