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CHRIST OR CULTURE:
THIS WORLD OR ITS MAKER
CONQUEST BY CULTURE OR WORSHIP OF GOD
A Natural Culture
There is, in this increasingly whiz-bang world, a chaotic assemblage of ideas, some moving this way, others that, that might be called, 'culture'.
Some seem to worship it. What then IS worship ? It is the direction of the uttermost of human regard to something which is not man at least as such*1, in order to achieve understanding, remit authority where it belongs and accept wondering acknowledgement. More strictly, of course, in the realm of biblical truth, it is the adoration, love, acknowledgement, delight in and fear of God, flanked by faith, filled with desire for His will and settled in the salvation of Jesus Christ, the eternal Word of God.
However, in this world, the norm is to ignore God and worship something else. In a way, it is rather like naughty children who love sweets and muck, and indulge in it despite the fattening of flesh, so common in Australia, and the associated problems to the body which then increasingly threaten. Thus in a figure, fatness, obesity, this is the spiritual problem which brings on spiritual heart disease and increasing liability to a whole range of diseases of the soul, of the life, of that heart which beats not by pumping, but by perception and power, that of life.
Where, then, that is the object worshipped, instead of the Ultimate Subject; and when some of a variety of created things have obeisance, then you have a vast influx into human culture.
It begins to be worshipped at times, in its own right, and such is the present time in increasing measure. Thus, if the Australian aborigines once did this and that in this land where they occupied a part at one stage, with little opposition, then that becomes their culture and becomes SACRED!
They must, according to this concept of worship, have various lands, more and more, given to them as a right, because their worship is conceived to entitle them to it. Some ground is sacred. It matters not at all if they do not productively use it, but rather sell this and that mineral or other privilege thus gained; and while it is by some deemed unfortunate that often such funds may be used to sustain a wholly artificial culture, in which what they say and do becomes harder and harder to regard as worshipful, for example vast realms of immoral misuse of children in sex, as multiplying testimony attests: then still, it is their culture.
As such, by a wave of the verbal wand, It must be respected. It matters not at all if some of the leaders are found to be involved in such immoral activities as stagger the nation (and not of course from this source alone is that the case), for the sacred is special, and they must be led and taught, if by any means they may happen to find something a little different culturally acceptable. In fact of course, aborigines like many races, have a testimony to creation and the tragedy is this, that misled paternalism acts as if to make children of them, whose minds when free from drugs and drink, need education and labour, application and expectation, not glorification of culture, which after all, is now this and now that.
Concerning this fact, however, of creation accounts in the aboriginal field in Australia, the following excerpt from TMR Ch. 8 is informative, as it concerns direct aboriginal testimony, supplemented by a news report from NSW in the earlier days of its settlement, on this topic.
Two Premiers have been challenged, the current one by several Church leaders, including the aboriginal President of an Australia-wide denomination. Like the writer, that Pastor had no desire for Western dream-time injections into young aboriginal people, in the form of the metaphysical abstraction of organic evolution.
Interestingly, he provided a fascinating document from the history of
, in which appeared a published account of extensive observations on the beliefs of aborigines at that time (last century) as recorded by eyewitnesses. Much of it involved a clear belief in creation in the rather early days *1 of N.S.W. settlement. New South Wales
- The article is reproduced from The Sydney Morning Herald,
Saturday, November 4, 1882. It reported on the monthly meeting of the Royal Society of New South Wales. A paper was read entitled, "NOTES ON THE ABORIGINES OF NEW ". It dealt with the period from 1844 of which the speaker reported this: HOLLAND
"I had the privilege of taking some interesting notes from the blacks of this colony on the subject of their religious belief. These notes were necessarily and mainly taken from the most intelligent of those natives... No missionaries ever come to the southern district at any time, and it was not until many years later that the missionaries landed in
on their way to Sydney ..." Moreston Bay
"the notes which I took later on upon the religious belief of the whole of the
aborigines of this continent are perfectly true and consistent with their own
traditions." He notes that he has met with fresh confirmations in general
belief in a Supreme Being in all parts of
. New South Wales
Later in his paper, Mr Manning, the speaker, refers to a note in an aboriginal grammar, sent back to
by Archdeacon Gunther. It recorded the missionary's certainty that the aborigines could not have derived the beliefs he noted during his work, from white men, as they had had no communication with them. The beliefs in question included the concept of creation in that they referred to a Being who "made all things", in whom was the outcome of life. He made at the first and would judge at the last. England
- The point for us is simply this: that this very early report merely confirms other testimony printed more recently to the same effect. There has repeatedly been attested at least a notable belief among many aborigines, in the Creator.
- It is therefore not without reason that distaste at the racial or cultural level may enter into the minds of some aborigines, when they are abused with the Circular's prejudices, imposed so cavalierly, a Western dream-time. (See Index, SMR.)
- This counter-culture contemporary secular missionary effort is not at all voluntary in this: that the alternative in education is far from readily obtained. It costs to diverge from the State philosophy; and doubtless it is worth it. Nevertheless, being the victim of others' dreams can be more of an imposition than imposing. It can strike differentially.
It is not often that people seem to realise that the dream-time, or the dreaming as some now appear to want to call it, in official WA land, is here of Western making, or at least provision. It is the dream that matter has no aetiological basis, arose from nowhere, is a given, that its laws and dimensions, depths and marvels are of course included, that it yawned (it does not SAY this, but this is the scenario in essence) and decided to make minds and these aspired and decided to make spirits so that mind and spirit could be adverse to each other at will, and deceit strive with truth and so on. In other words, it has cosmoi, worlds of thought and symbolism, contrivance and co-ordination, whole intellectual universes constructed by nothing and imposed by no-one.
Leave out the yawn then, and the decide in the above ... but it is merely to interpolate the personal necessities back of inter-systematic, codal conquest of difficult domains in the arena of symbolic thought (cf. Secular Myths and Sacred Truth).
The point here is this: white man's dreamtime is now being taught to aboriginal people, who have a better and more logical background in their own culture, than this. Thus there is on the one hand a deep 'reverence' for some of their cultural past, at the same time as a lock-step and militant style invasion of their present, by such curricular constraints, in schools in South Australia.
Thus the cultural imposition of paternalism, a sort of spiritual snobbery, though there is nothing spiritual about these Western theories, together sometimes with allowance on allowance of various kinds, which tend at extremes, merely to makes ruin out of the concept of effort and hard work, countering diligence and application as to trend, has is flourishing far more than the people to whom it is all directed.
Such actions have come to be a multiple political, and certainly politically correct error. It is not the meeting of need, but the trend towards exemption status with negative expectation merging with provisions to the point that a new life style is invented, helpful to none. Moreover this sense of being different, separate and special, rather than with all having the specialness which is the prerogative of no race, tends to encourage the immorality of those who afflict the young, since it is all their heritage, their desire, and not readily to be dealt with by anyone!
The implicit slander on the work of white missionaries by the new PM, in his unqualified apology for the removal of aborigines from their homes in ALL cases, has tended to increase the mythology, by reprimanding many actions of genuine concern, compassion and deliverance for children abused then as now.
It is all, consciously or unconsciously, and certainly culturally, intentionally or otherwise, part of a denigration of the Gospel which as one has seen in a mission settlement in WA, can become a guide and girding to new life for aborigines as well as those of other races. To see the bright faces, application and interest, to find the teachability of young persons, to hear the singing in that mission was a joy indeed.
It is now not the culturally correct mode, and the good done in many such cases is all but frowned upon, or at least shoved into some dark corner lest the light of day should strike upon it. It is for all that the only hope for the deliverance of ANY people, whether from striving self-will or indolent carelessness, since it brings them back to the truth, to what they ALL are, and for what they should all seek, none vaunting race, all seeking the face of God.
But what of the secular handouts, the economic solution, the appeals ?
Many are found to turn from sustained value from these labours because of encouraged resentment, and some because of observed opportunities to exploit the system. Yet no people needs to be confined to 'culture', that of this or that era.
The author personally knows of those in this aboriginal race with a reasonable mind and alert spirit, who are simply corrupted by an environment of drinks and drugs, premature child-bearing and habitual expectation that care is available, work is optional and indulgence is part of living. Some have been reached who are not yet so corrupted, and this has been a joy. As to any people, to be encouraged to reside in yourself, and some image of your ways, past or present, can be as much harassment as more direct invasion! It is not what is present or past which matters so much as what is true and honourable, just and approved by the testimony not only of reason, but of time.
Moral apathy linked to indolent empathy accomplishes little, and by some it is cynically utilised to their advantage. In one memorable case, an aborigine disclosed how he manipulated a judge to his pleasure, and understood the situation well enough, discussing the case even with what seemed an ironic smile, as if not he and his, but those such as this judge were to be patronised for their callow imagination, as if it was they who were undeveloped, and mere grist for the subtle mill.
Yet the empty solution continues, like a child caught in a rapid stream, and evils abound being too deeply emplaced in the overall culture, to be treated as they would be in the case of other races in the land, or even in any approximation to that.
This increasingly obvious failure to impose law against atrocities, as if some people were not really fully people, is the greater atrocity. Every day in which such things are allowed to continue while political initiatives once taken are deleted, and to the extent once installed, now removed very largely, is a black day for Australia. Time is time for crime, moral outrage, child degradation. Protective law must be applied to one as to all, not merely mouthed to some as if to reason with a man with a gun while he hunts and kills others.
But Nature and culture are SO very important! In this respect, that Australia is not only in danger of forgetting itself, but the God in whose name its current civilisation was founded.
Such is the worship of 'nature' by many, of whatever colour, that crocodiles may wander well into civilisation in Queensland, at times seeming more protected than the citizens. 'Nature' must have its fling. Intelligence must be in abeyance to this worshipful thing: all that animal life, the sub-human can show must be used as if a guide. Thus study of the love life of snails, or some such topic, can become of inordinate importance. What man is becomes subordinated to what man is not.
The Trip to the Tip
Dumping the power of the Creator in secular myths, man feels alone, or at least a sense of pathos as this or that species departs, in the grand decline which Stephen J. Gould made so emphatic over time. He tends to feel more stranded by life, and so clings almost pathetically to what is gone, what is going, what declines. The living God has acted; culture has vomited Him, in many of its phases, but He is still there, a resource to those who know Him, who knowing the artist, have no fixation on the departure of any particular painting. Alas, many have no embrace for morals either, feeling less the vacancy in that area!
If morals can be junked for culture, even at the most fundamental level, then man may be junked for animals. Freed from God, man is bound by moral incompetence, and nostalgic for the Creator's power, he clings to its outcomes more than to the Creator Himself. As Romans 1 puts it,
"although they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God,
nor were thankful, but became futile in their thoughts,
and their foolish hearts were darkened.
"Professing to be wise, they became fools
and changed the glory of the incorruptible God
into an image made like corruptible man..."
To such thinking, even the term 'sub-human' as addressed to the animal realm, may be upsetting. Why ? It is because they worship 'nature' and deem themselves so integral a part of it that their own worship of themselves follows; but as to that, it is one which is held in the context of whatever else is around, with varying degrees of assimilation of this to that. Thus thinking, some reverse things, and regarding man in the context of all else, and not of his Maker, seek to practice violence in a form unknown even in 'nature', as if to surpass the fallen (Romans 8:18ff.): exploitative, vicious, filled with hatred, misconception, abuse and ignorance, as if not animals but devils, they become.
To survive becomes part of the meaning of life: thus morals become first and foremost, an incitation to keep going and let nothing stop you, whether you are a commercial company or in pursuit of hedonistic pleasure; and further, it is deemed good by many to continue in your own chosen way, your culture, the things you do and say, for this too, it is often deemed to have a measure of the sacred. Thus the concept of the sacred self*2 becomes, if not a creed, then a pre-condition to one. Whatever one thinks, deems true, including and especially the concept that it is true that there is no truth, in all its unutterably foolish self-contradiction, this has a mystic, perhaps even a symbolic significance.
It is virtually unthinkable that anyone should intrude into this, for it is a 'sacred' right. So readily does a cultural 'find' or practice become sacred, that it is apparent that the thrust to acknowledge what IS sacred by virtue of deity, becoming divorced from its proper and rational centre, moves like a river overflowing its banks, spreading vastly over the plains of the ordinary. Almost anything then becomes sacred, especially if it is immoral, thus making a convenience out of pathology, and pleasure out of corruption.
Many are those of any race in this land, who are treated to such a measure of sacred respect for their ways, even if bombs are among them, or mutilation of organs, that eyes appear shut to reality. This can move until the time comes, when the asperity of the conceit grows, when the 'self', be it national or personal, commercial or industrial, becomes so ludicrous that it loses its totem-poll significance. Then, no more hallowed, it glides into relative obscurity, to be treated to an indulgent, and later not so indulgent smile. The 'idea' is there, but the practice ... is missing. Hence the smile.
Their 'culture' becomes in many cases, for some races, the sacred to the uttermost. What does it mean ? Just this: it means what they have been doing, saying and thinking, especially if this can be in some way distilled into a concentrate, becomes cultural relic or reality, and so sacred. Only extremes like the Twin Towers in the USA, can then be expected in any simple way, to disturb it.
With some, it is BECAUSE they lived, and are SEEN as part of 'nature' and SINCE 'nature' is worshipped: that THEN their ways and sayings are sacrosanct. They must be preserved and allowed to continue. Morality is murdered; ethics is on leave; mayhem may result, child abuse may arise, sexual promiscuity is almost certainly going to be bred into the theme, for this may be deemed, when dogs are in view, something natural.
The criterion is whatever you want to make it, drawn from natural examples or your own analysis of them. The stature of man is first murdered, and then his thoughts are immersed in what is neither man nor his Maker, so that the real insult is to the human race: it is made subservient. To what is it made subservient ? It is to what is below it, or soils or spoils it, in a submission by minds benumbed by misplaced worship and its correlatives, by spirits bleary with its theories, transfixed by 'nature', by what has neither the mind nor the capacity for morals, nor the understanding nor the means to obtain it in this measure.
Then you have, to use C.S. Lewis' phrase in a title to one of his little works, "The Abolition of Man". He is so humble to 'nature' his god, and so arrogant to God, his Maker, that he submerges like a spiritual submarine, below the surface, and becomes obscured by a form of spiritual self-mutilation, and exalts in it, as worshippers tend to do, in the object of their worship.
An Unnatural, National Nurture in Naturalism
In one of the most common Western variants of culture, then, children being part of human culture, must be taught the cultural concepts. Hence, without reason and contrary to it *3, they are taught the holy command, Thou Shalt Survive; and to it is added this, Thou shalt find thine own culture and make this survive with thee. Be yourself, be not intimidated except by the State of course, since it represents more than you and includes you; and learn what we tell you.
Added very often are such concepts as these: Thou shalt not believe in any God who can really do anything, be tested, show Himself in verifications or meet logical criteria, for 'faith' has an inner logic of its own, which does not really bother about truth: and it is true that this is so.
So in its idle inanity*4, it proceeds, head held high, humanity abased, 'nature' worshipped. Based on the impossibility of truth, it nevertheless reveals it!
You must observe the culture of the educational system: hence Ministers of religion MUST observe as the first and foremost commandment, submission to the school's culture (or Curricular Concepts - read 'bounds of worship'), and hence not conflict with that culture. They can come to schools perhaps, but as captives only, so that the educational worship does not become diluted or polluted in what does not have this worship. As to that: God is possible as a concept and a being of significance, but only on the basis that when it comes to what operates in the world of testable fact and actual power of physical process, He does not matter.
When any nation stoops to this level of devastation of its young, woeful worship of itself and its current concepts called culture, then it is misusing children as much as any who force on them sexual abuse, perverse or otherwise. It is abusing their souls, intimidating their minds and misfeeding their intellectual liberty with drugs. It is authoritarian, relativistic in orientation and absolutist in presidency. Any nation stooping to this is already on a spiritual skid-row, filled with empty phrases and idle praises for what is derelict in kind, inhuman in mind and abased in orientation.
It must therefore be clear that this kind of Hitler Youth Camp in more modern mode, and with less nationalistic and racial specifics, is as with the case of that 'father', breeding children in the basement of life, and polluting what is indeed sacred for God, with inept contradictory ideas, which not only are not true, but COULD NOT BE SO.
If truth were unavailable in a relativistic world, you could not know it and hence could not say it, and hence this is mere imposition on children. Moreover, the ideas involved neither practically nor logically, experimentally nor in terms of validity, so much as work. By contrast, as noted in Light Dwells with the Lord's Christ. all concepts, trials, tests and penetrations, whether by concepts of validity or verification, work to perfection both individually and jointly, in the realm of the revealed Creator, in His biblical writing and blessed incarnation*5 .
To be sure, Christ did not pray for this world (John 17:9), which is so smitten and stricken with its own forms of self-worship, nature-worship and prostration before its own futile ideas (cf. Psalm 94:11, I Cor. 3:20), that its come-uppance can only be the degradation of its downfall. It is worlds away from the truth, from its Maker, the worship of whom is no strained fantasy of psychological idealism, however debased the ideas in such concepts, but the natural expression of man as created, towards his Maker.
A Natural, Human Worship
Not of What is Made-Up
But of the Divine Maker
The real reason why man engages in such ludicrous worships, making of a thing made, its maker, of a wife a paragon or rock, or of a husband a lion and wonder, or of a friend, a father confessor, or of a rugby team, an object for hymn singing in a new mode at the grand occasions of the contest, or of an animal a god or goddess, when reason alone can tell this is mere manifestation of confusion, is not that he is insane. It is a perversion of spirit.
Man MUST by his very nature, tend to worship. God made him and he is led to disbelieve this by specious pretences, from time to time; and at the present time, he is busy vying between those who make up gods to worship, and do not admit it, and those who make them up and seek to give them some sort of divine honour. Fond folly though all such approaches constitute, as Romans 1 so strenuously and reasonably exhibits, they yet have one value. They show by their very extremity and often clear absurdity, the profound extent to which man as made by deity, CANNOT act as if he were not, even his pathologies providing testimony of the surge of his misdirected spirit.
This occupies centre stage so that more and more distant is the idea of worshipping the Maker of Man, the Redeemer for man. This is not merely because He made man, but because His is the foundation power of the universe, the controlling presidency over all things and He is good, good enough to grant freedom to be faithless to Him, on the part of those to whom this has appeal, and to receive back those who realise that this needs repentance, and so come back to their Father through the One He sent to bring them, Jesus Christ.
He does not steam in like gun-boats, battle on like Communist effrontery to the human race*6, breathe down the necks of the 'submitted' detainees of Islamic militancy with fines and devaluation*7, as also was the wont of the Inquisition by another body which misused divine power and even His name**8 . Instead, He presents truth and remedy alike, so that "whosoever will, may drink of the water of life freely"*9 (Revelation 22:17).
This is a fascinating subject. DOES man worship himself ? Not normally in any direct sense, not as such. He may worship someone else of his race, but as embodying this or that feature, focus or desideratum which itself is valued, not merely as an operational entity in itself. He may essentialise mankind, and worship that, but this is not man as such, but an essence.
Goethe's Faust has a very arresting presentation on this topic, when a character called "The Poet" is found in his internalisations and psychic investigations, looking for something great.
He mouths this phrasing: "the soul of man sublimed, his soaring spirit."
This occurs in a context worth repeating to gain its flavour:
"Whose voice is fame ? who gives us to inherit
Olympus and the loved Elysian field ?
The soul of MAN sublimed - man's soaring spirit
Seen in the POET gloriously revealed."
It is this essentialising, with mystic overtones, God repressed from thought, some of His glory snatched intemperately, with insane ambition and diffused pathological self-augmentation, that is one of the peculiar lusts of man, whether in all too human Greek gods and goddesses or some Superman, or other accretion of thought or desire, tied to man like an albatross shot down, around his aspiring neck.
See for example A Spiritual Potpourri Ch. 9, The Pitter-Patter ... Ch. 3.
The gods of naturalism have no go,
Deity and Design, Designation and Destiny esp. Section 8
See Lead Us Not into Educational Temptation!, TMR Ch. 8 and
Beauty for Ashes Ch. 3, for examples of this sort of thing.
See *1 above and
Scientific Method, Satanic Method and the Model of Salvation, and by way of contrast, for what is biblical,
Light Dwells with the Lord's Christ.
See *1 in Ch. 8 above.
See *2 in Ch. 8 above.
See SMR pp. 912ff., 1032-1088H, Ancient Words ... Ch. 14.
Reason, Revelation and the Redeemer
The Meaning of Liberty and the Message of Remedy,
and see Sinners Only, and The Mastery of the Mystery of Men.