For, in that literature, those who take God or his word seriously are commonly portrayed as irrational, dangerously violent zealots, as for instance can be seen in this free-access book by David Weber and Steve White, Crusade; published by Baen. (Weber's best selling Honorverse series about super-warrior Honor Harrington of the Star Kingdom of Manitcore is more subtle but therefore even more effective, e.g this on the imaginary planet Grayson, settled by an extremist, "fundamentalist" Christian sect.)
So, through enthralling (I mean that in the most pejorative sense, akin to Paul's use of "bewitched" in Gal 3:1) story-telling literary techniques that lead us to identify with certain heroes and their "progressive" ideas and to deplore their antagonists and their (obviously evil) ways and ideas, we see portrayed plausible -- but in fact seriously unrealistic -- worlds, agendas and characters. All of which cleverly gives us the impression that "this way lies progress," a process driven by "science" -- actually, usually only self-refuting evolutionary materialism.
But, while I was reflecting on contemporary science fiction and its manipulative techniques, the issues and dynamics just outlined suddenly took on unexpected reality.
For, I have learned in the past few days of a recent move by a Canadian "Human Rights" group, Egale Canada and the homosexualist -- pardon the neologism, but we need to distinguish people who struggle with homosexuality and those who turn it into a cultural identity, agenda and ideology -- Metropolitan Community Church (MCC) of Toronto, to stigmatise Jamaica as "homophobic," and to call for, among other things, a Canadian tourism boycott and a boycott on goods and services from Jamaica, as a part of a wider thrust to promote the homosexualist agenda in the Caribbean. [Cf here on linked problems in Canada, where criticism of homosexuality is rapidly being criminalised in the name of protecting homosexuals from feeling "offended," through the creation of what is tantamount to a Star Chamber Court with dubious procedures, all under the false colours of protecting human rights.]
As Neil Armstrong [Only in Jamaica . . . !], the Jamaica Star's Toronto Editor goes on to report:
. . . one individual who has been involved with Jamaica AIDS Support for Life and the Jamaica Forum for Lesbians, All-Sexuals and Gays since 1998 and is now in Canada seeking asylum along with his partner [i.e., from this euphemism, we can see that he is a homosexual], said: "It's not just that we're singling out Jamaica, and it will only be about Jamaica, but as soon as the issues in Jamaica have been addressed, then we'll move on to another country. We're not only looking at Jamaica but also the region, the 11 other countries that have the sodomy laws on their books."
Nonetheless, he described Jamaica as the most homophobic of all the Caribbean countries.
In short, we are seeing the beginnings of a major, sustained thrust, one that now comes to us in the guise of a homosexualist "Church" [recall here, Mr Obama's recent dismissive remarks on Romans 1] acting in partnership with "Human Rights" groups and regional homosexuality and AIDS activists; some of whom now reside in Canada and elsewhere, as "refugees" from claimed anti-homosexual pogroms. [NB: In Jamaica, sadly, there are serious human rights concerns, but they do not target any one group. For instance, a goat thief "caught in the act" is notoriously in far more danger -- at the hands of angry mobs, not the police -- than a homosexual activist. In short the deplorable attitude to homosexuals in certain Jamaican pop songs is symptomatic of a wider pattern, not a mark of focused, officially supported persecution of any one target group. And, even more sadly, the police do have a serious -- and acknowledged -- problem with human rights in general. But, the plain underlying problem is lawlessness (something to be repented of and reformed from), not the general state of the law.]
Our task today therefore embraces "formulating cogent responses that will not only win the argument but also win the souls."
That is a challenging task.
For, we must first face a sobering truth.
One that we may reflect on in light of one of the most eloquently insightful, and at once simple but subtle remarks by the Spirit-inspired Apostle Paul, in Eph 4 - 5:
. . . you must no longer live as the [ethne — nations] do, in the futility of their thinking. They are darkened in their understanding and separated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them due to the hardening of their hearts. Having lost all sensitivity, they have given themselves over to sensuality so as to indulge every kind of impurity, with a continual lust for more. You, however, did not come to know Christ that way. Surely you heard of him and were taught in him in accordance with the truth that is in Jesus. You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness . . . . For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light (for the fruit of the light consists in all goodness, righteousness and truth) and find out what pleases the Lord. [Eph 4:17 – 24, 5:8 - 10.]Jesus' earlier remarks in the Gospels bring out a subtlety in the just cited text -- for, what we at first think is light may in the end only be darkness, the darkness of deception:
Of course, how we credibly know that Jesus is indeed true light was brought out by the Apostle Paul in a famous confrontation with Athens' leading intellectual lights on Mars Hill in Athens, in AD 50:
The eye is the lamp of the body. If your eyes are good, your whole body will be full of light. But if your eyes are bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light in you is darkness, how great is that darkness. [Mt 6:22 – 23]
No one lights a lamp and puts it in a place where it will be hidden, or under a bowl. Instead he puts it on its stand, so that those who come in may see the light. Your eye is the lamp of your body. When your eyes are good, your whole body also is full of light. But when your eyes are bad, your body also is full of darkness. See to it, then, that the light within you is not darkness. Therefore, if your whole body is full of light and no part of it dark, it will be completely lighted, as when the light of a lamp shines on you. [Lk 11:33 – 36]
AC 17:22 Paul then stood up in the meeting of the Areopagus and said: "Men of Athens! I see that in every way you are very religious. 23 For as I walked around and looked carefully at your objects of worship, I even found an altar with this inscription: TO AN UNKNOWN GOD. Now what you worship as something unknown I am going to proclaim to you.In short, the evidential anchor-point of the Christian faith is the risen, glorified Jesus who is our Lord, Saviour and Judge, before whom we shall all account. One may choose to dismiss that, but it stands as a fact of true, uncensored history, backed up by over five hundred eyewitnesses and a church that -- for all its failings over the centuries -- has manifested the beauty and power of that resurrection for two thousand years. One may dismiss it [to one's eternal peril], but one cannot overturn it, on any fair examination.
AC 17:24 "The God who made the world and everything in it is the Lord of heaven and earth and does not live in temples built by hands. 25 And he is not served by human hands, as if he needed anything, because he himself gives all men life and breath and everything else. 26 From one man he made every nation of men, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and he determined the times set for them and the exact places where they should live. 27 God did this so that men would seek him and perhaps reach out for him and find him, though he is not far from each one of us. 28 `For in him we live and move and have our being.' As some of your own poets have said, `We are his offspring.'
AC 17:29 "Therefore since we are God's offspring, we should not think that the divine being is like gold or silver or stone--an image made by man's design and skill. 30 In the past God overlooked such ignorance, but now he commands all people everywhere to repent. 31 For he has set a day when he will judge the world with justice by the man he has appointed. He has given proof of this to all men by raising him from the dead."
It is before that same risen Jesus that we will account for our lives, words, thoughts and deeds on a day set by the Lord God, our Creator. For, as Peter notes, in 2 Pet 1:16: "We [the Apostles] did not follow cleverly invented stories when we told you about the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but we were eyewitnesses of his majesty."
The full force of these clash between true and false enlightenment is further brought out when we set the above Biblical discussions against the contrasting cultural backdrop of the classic C4 - 5 BC parable of Plato's Cave, which aptly brings out the difference between deceptive, manipulative, oppressive "endarkenment" -- I know, another neologism . . . --of heart and mind and true enlightenment.
Of this parable, Wikipedia gives us a reasonably good, useful precis. [NB: A useful -- though of course itself subtly ideologically loaded -- You-Tube video presentation is here.]
The Wiki summary leads us right up to -- but omits -- the ironic, tragic climax:
Plato then observes, chillingly:
Imagine prisoners, who have been chained since their childhood deep inside a cave: not only are their limbs immobilized by the chains; their heads are chained in one direction as well so that their gaze is fixed on a wall.
Behind the prisoners is an enormous fire, and between the fire and the prisoners is a raised walkway, along which puppets of various animals, plants, and other things are moved along. The puppets cast shadows on the wall, and the prisoners watch these shadows. When one of the puppet-carriers speaks, an echo against the wall causes the prisoners to believe that the words come from the shadows.
The prisoners engage in what appears to us to be a game: naming the shapes as they come by. This, however, is the only reality that they know, even though they are seeing merely shadows of objects. They are thus conditioned to judge the quality of one another by their skill in quickly naming the shapes and dislike those who play poorly.
Suppose a prisoner is released and compelled to stand up and turn around. At that moment his eyes will be blinded by the sunlight coming into the cave from its entrance, and the shapes passing by will appear less real than their shadows.
The last object he would be able to see is the sun, which, in time, he would learn to see as the object that provides the seasons and the courses of the year, presides over all things in the visible region, and is in some way the cause of all these things that he has seen . . . . Once enlightened, so to speak, the freed prisoner would . . . be compelled to [try to free his fellow prisoners], [but] . . . descending back into the cave would require that the freed prisoner's eyes adjust again, and for a time, he would be one of the ones identifying shapes on the wall. His eyes would be swamped by the darkness, and would take time to become acclimated. Therefore, he would not be able to identify the shapes on the wall as well as the other prisoners, making it seem as if his being taken to the surface completely ruined his eyesight. (The Republic bk. VII, 516b-c; trans. Paul Shorey).
". . . Men would say of him that up he went and down he came without his eyes; and that it was better not even to think of ascending; and if anyone tried to loose another and lead him up to the light, let them only catch the offender, and they would put him to death."In short, when the light in us is truly darkness, it may well lead us to distrust, rage against and even violently turn on those who, in love, would truly enlighten and liberate us.
Indeed, that is exactly what Jesus warned against in John 8, as he spoke to a small (but obviously powerful) minority group of his fellow Jews, who, ever so sadly, were more preoccupied with the privileges of being of the physical seed of Abraham, than with being his spiritual children; as is shown by how they responded to God and to others:
JN 8:39 . . . "If you were Abraham's children," said Jesus, "then you would do the things Abraham did. 40 As it is, you are determined to kill me, a man who has told you the truth that I heard from God. Abraham did not do such things. 41 You are doing the things your own father does." . . . .Grim reading.
JN 8:42 Jesus said to them, "If God were your Father, you would love me, for I came from God and now am here. I have not come on my own; but he sent me. 43 Why is my language not clear to you? Because you are unable to hear what I say. 44 You belong to your father, the devil, and you want to carry out your father's desire. He was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies. 45 Yet because I tell the truth, you do not believe me! 46 Can any of you prove me guilty of sin? If I am telling the truth, why don't you believe me? 47 He who belongs to God hears what God says. The reason you do not hear is that you do not belong to God."
Reading that is not lightened when we compare Romans 1 (a passage which also brings out the truth about the painful roots of widespread, accelerating homosexualisation of a culture):
RO 1:18 The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of men who suppress the truth by their wickedness, 19 since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. 20 For since the creation of the world God's invisible qualities--his eternal power and divine nature--have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse.So, we first have to squarely face the power of deception, especially in the form of false enlightenment that thinks it is speaking the truth and doing the right, and challenging "backward fundamentalist attitudes" that are held by irrational, potentially violent would-be theocrats who want to impose their narrow morality on the wider community.
RO 1:21 For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened. 22 Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools 23 and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images made to look like mortal man and birds and animals and reptiles. [We may note: in the old days, statues in temples, nowadays images on TV, in textbooks and museums.]
RO 1:24 Therefore God gave them over in the sinful desires of their hearts to sexual impurity for the degrading of their bodies with one another. RO 1:26 Because of this, God gave them over to shameful lusts. Even their women exchanged natural relations for unnatural ones. 27 In the same way the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another. Men committed indecent acts with other men, and received in themselves the due penalty for their perversion.
RO 1:28 Furthermore, since they did not think it worthwhile to retain the knowledge of God, he gave them over to a depraved mind, to do what ought not to be done. 29 They have become filled with every kind of wickedness, evil, greed and depravity. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit and malice. They are gossips, 30 slanderers, God-haters, insolent, arrogant and boastful; they invent ways of doing evil; they disobey their parents; 31 they are senseless, faithless, heartless, ruthless. 32 Although they know God's righteous decree that those who do such things deserve death, they not only continue to do these very things but also approve of those who practice them.
On this, we need to hear Rev Dr Rod Hewitt, a leading liberal-leaning theologian from Jamaica who has often appeared in the pages of that nation's leading newspapers, in words penned only a matter of weeks after the 9/11 attacks in the USA:
The human tragedy in USA has also served to bring into sharp focus the use of terror by religious fanatics/fundamentalists. Fundamentalism or fundamentalists are terms that are applicable to every extreme conservative in every religious system . . . . During the twentieth century in particular we have seen the rise of militant expression of these faiths by extreme conservatives who have sought to respond to what they identify as 'liberal' revisions that have weakened the fundamentals of their faith . . . They opt for a belligerent, militant and separatist posture in their public discourse that can easily employ violence to achieve their goals. [Gleaner, Sept. 26, 2001, italics added.]In short, there is a "plausible" narrative out there that portrays Bible-rooted concerns over where our culture is going as reflecting the most irrational, backward, destructive and tyrannical of mindsets, comparable to the suicide Terrorists of 9/11. That is what we are up against, and it is a formidable barrier in the public, in many policy-making circles and even when we try to discuss our honest concerns at a personal level.
If you doubt me on this, consider the response to Oklahoma state Rep. Sally Kern when she spoke to the "same-sex marriage" agenda in her state as follows:
What they're trying to do is send a message of intimidation to those people who are taking a stand for traditional marriage and against the homosexual lifestyle. They want to silence us, is what they want to do. And it's happening all over the state. You know, the very fact that I'm talking to you like this, here today, puts me in jeopardy. OK, and so, so be it.What was the response? [Pardon the easily discerned vulgarities in the following, sadly typical, email excerpts . . .]
- YOU NAZI FREAK!!!! …YOU MORON!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
- What a bigoted moron you are … a hate-filled, lying idiot. You would have made a great Nazi if you'd only have been born earlier.
- I heard what you said and you should be killed you stupid c---- b----! along with George W. Bush! Christianity is the cancer in our society and should be eliminated!
- YOU ARE A HOMOPHOBIC D-- YOU F--- C--- DIE. You're a horrible person who deserves to burn in hell.
Why is that?
First, because we are being perceived as cutting across "rights" and as enemies of "liberty."
In turn, that is because the sterling and massively sacrificial contribution of Christians to the rise of modern liberty and democracy is commonly censored out in how the history of the past 500 years is presented. But also, because of fundamental confusions on the nature of ethics in general and "rights" in particular, confusions that are driven by the rise of radical evolutionary materialism-driven secularism and relativism, which undermine the foundation of morality. As a result of such confusions, many assume, imply or assert that Bible-believing Christians [however labelled] are -- generally speaking -- potentially violent and/or oppressive enemies of liberty. Similarly, they confuse principled, reform-minded civil opposition to abuses, licence, libertinism and amorality [this last, often announced as "tolerance" and "diversity"] with enmity to liberty.
In short, those caught up in a Plato's cave world of manipulative shadow-shows will often misperceive deception as truth, and so will tend to resist those who would enlighten or help to liberate them. Truth and right held hostage to our follies, rhetorical tactics, sins and power games, in short.
Obviously, if we can avert the rise of a situation where more and more people in our region are caught up in such webs of manipulation, that would make a big difference.
But, how does that speak to the policy level, on things like the legalisation of sodomy and the obvious rapid follow-on agenda item to create out of whole cloth a homosexualised pseudo-marriage?
1] Obviously, it first helps us preserve the sort of broad-based, thoughtful support that is vital for the sustainability of law in a democratic community. In that regard, it will also help to show that marriage reflects a basic, natural diversity and complementarity in the sexes; indeed, the Creation Order as Jesus pointed out.
2] For, we should not seek to wedge apart what the basic, obvious biological nature of the two sexes tells us that our Creator has joined. As the gospels record:MT 19:3 Some Pharisees . . . asked, "Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife for any and every reason?"3] This text also speaks powerfully into the astonishing incidence of sexual sin, cohabitation, visiting relationships and casual sexual promiscuity that so sadly typifies our region. (Cf, here.) In short, there is need for repentance and reformartion so that we all take the planks out of our own eyes even as we address the sawdust in our neighbours' eyes. (Sawdust in the eye, however, is not a good thing, to be made light of or treated as a benefit or a right rather than a danger to people, our children and the stability of the whole community!)
MT 19:4 "Haven't you read," he replied, "that at the beginning the Creator `made them male and female,' 5 and said, `For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh' ? 6 So they are no longer two, but one. Therefore what God has joined together, let man not separate." [And, we comment: if easy divorce and remarriage is against God's intent, how much more so, that which would twist marriage against nature?]
MT 19:7 "Why then," they asked, "did Moses command that a man give his wife a certificate of divorce and send her away?"
MT 19:8 Jesus replied, "Moses permitted you to divorce your wives because your hearts were hard. But it was not this way from the beginning. 9 I tell you that anyone who divorces his wife, except for marital unfaithfulness, and marries another woman commits adultery."
4] Similarly, we should realise that, properly, a right is a binding moral claim we make on one another, rooted in the inalienable dignity we have by virtue of our being made in God's image. Accordingly, we cannot just make up pseudo-rights that fly in the teeth of how God has made us. And, no sin can be a right or a valuable virtue. [Cf here on the issue of values, virtue and public policy in the community in a relativist age.]
5] So, law should properly -- and without danger to true liberty (license and libertinism are NOT liberty!) -- protect marriage from destructive counterfeits.
6] Similarly, in the church, we should expose and refute -- through "the truth in love" [a tough but vital balance to strike and keep . . .] -- the homosexaualist heresy, noting how it picks and chooses, then (sadly) twists scriptures to suit itself and its proclivities. For, it is simply not the case that -- citing Rev. Troy Perry, the founder of the said Metropolitan Community Churches -- “To condemn homosexuals, many denominations have intentionally misread and misinterpreted their Bibles to please their own personal preferences.”7
7] This accusation is plainly, and willfully, false. Instead, as Paul Morris wisely counselled: “. . . if I were a Christian homosexual, I think this one question would disturb me most: Am I trying to interpret Scripture in the light of my proclivity; or should I interpret my proclivity in the light of Scripture?"
8] At personal level, we must prevail through the Spirit-anointed power of the truth in love, backed up by a winsome, wholesome purity that shows that the truth works:1CO 6:9 Do you not know that the wicked will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor male prostitutes nor homosexual offenders 10 nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. 11 And that is what some of you were. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.9] In reaching out, personally, to those caught up in the homosexualist subculture, perhaps a few remarks by one who came out of that sub-culture into the light of liberation by the gospel will help:1. Establish and accept for yourself that God’s Word is true AS-IS.
2. Seek the truth within the scriptures about homosexuality
3. Do not resist God’s call on your life
4. Know with certainty that you are loved by God exactly where you are and that your experiences are of great value for kingdom work
5. Say Yes. That’s really all it takes to accept the truth which is accepting Jesus Christ.
6. Make your salvation real . . . We must believe with our hearts AND confess with our mouths.
7. Experience paradise NOW! Consult God first, then go ahead and live your life! . . . Enjoy your life to a new degree, without the burden of sin AND with the confidence of ALL of God’s promises on your side!
8. Walk Carefully or ‘circumspectly’ as the scriptures describe. This is about being careful to keep your spirit clean and fresh.
9. Have fellowship with believers. We know that the church has largely failed gays and lesbians by not being a welcoming place for those who have sought spiritual change. The invitation to ‘come as you are’ seems to be extended to everyone but us. However God has people everywhere who are open, real and willing to walk out with you. Ask the Lord to lead you to a loving, caring, bible-believing fellowship where you can be nurtured, be blessed, grow AND be a blessing. [Hebrews 10:25]
So, now by God's loving grace, let us all turn from our oh so comfortable sins and let us repent, walking into the glorious light of grace and truth, then walking ever more, day by day, in that light. END
UPDATE Apr 11: Minor edits, and some further remarks, including amplifying John 8 and remarking in more details on mob violence and related lawlessness in Jamaica.