Why Akathleptos?

Why Akathleptos? Because it means Uncontainable. God is infinite. Hence, the whole universe cannot contain Him. The term also refers to the incomprehensibility of God. No man can know everything about God. We can know Him personally but not exhaustively, not even in Heaven.

Why Patmos? Because the church is increasingly marginalized and exiled from the culture.

Why Pen-Names? So the focus is on the words and not who wrote them. We prefer to let what we say stand on its own merit. There is precedent in church history for this - i.e., the elusive identity of Ambrosiaster who wrote in the 4th century A.D.

“Truth is so obscured nowadays, and lies so well established, that unless we love the truth we shall never recognize it." Blaise Pascal



Thursday, June 1, 2017

15 Lies at the Basis of Our Culture


Roman Catholic theologian James V. Schall, S.J. offers here "15 Lies at the Basis of Our Culture". No evangelical Protestant should take issue with anything he says in this article.

Some thinkers want to say that truth and falsity are relative to a culture (multi-culturalism). Whatever the culture does or holds becomes its own absolute in that domain. Any outside revelation or philosophy must accommodate itself to the culture, not vice versa. No such thing as a natural law or universal philosophy, whereby one might judge the content of a culture, is acknowledged.

...... If anything is found that is alien to revelation, it would need to be modified in light of universal truths. The supposed “neutrality” or autonomy of any culture, however, makes it almost impossible to judge real differences between good and evil, truth and falsity. If such differences do not objectively exist as the same for all cultures, it does not make much difference what we hold or what culture we belong to. In effect, they are all—Western, Muslim, Chinese, Hindu, Byzantine, Japanese, African, Latino, modern, ancient—meaningless.

For those who hold universal principles of reason and revelation, current Western culture, in which the American polity participates, is, in many fundamental things, based on lies. The devil, interestingly enough, is said to be the “father of lies.” This attribution indicates that the devil bases his own life on the lie of his own self-worth. It also means that he can convince human beings—who can imitate him—that the lies they live by are “true.” They are not to be challenged or repented. This “kingdom of lies” is not divided within itself. One lie follows from another. All converge to deny what man and creation are about.


What are these “lies” on which our present culture is based?

... The first and most obvious lie embedded in our culture is that abortion does not kill a specific, actual human being.

... The next lie is that marriage does not necessarily consist in the permanent, legal bond of this man and this woman who form one flesh, a home in which they beget and raise their own children.

... the third lie is that euthanasia is a “right” to kill oneself or have others do so for us.

... The fourth lie is that war is always immoral and never has any legitimate justification. 

... The fifth lie is that the poor are poor because the rich are rich.

... The sixth lie is that man himself is the chief threat to the well-being of the planet earth. 

... The seventh lie is that the earth is over-populated and must drastically reduce its numbers by millions or even billions.

... The eighth lie is that there is no truth. Everything is relative to our individual preferences.

... The ninth lie is that democracy is always the best form of government.

... The tenth lie is that the purpose of government is to protect human “rights.” 

... Lie number eleven is that Islam is only a religion of peace.

... Lie number twelve is that Jesus Christ is not who He said He was, that is, the Incarnate Word of God.

... Lie number thirteen is that Christianity is another religion like all other religions. 

... Lie number fourteen is that sin does not exist, that it can be explained by psychology, determinism, sociology, or myth.

... Lie number fifteen is that no final judgment is possible. 

(Go to the link to read his exposition of each of these lies.)

In suggesting that the culture is founded on these fifteen lies, I do not want to suggest that there are no other ones, or that the culture does not also contain aspects of virtue and good. Many people recognize and seek to counteract each of these lies. But in putting them together, I do intimate that lies are connected with each other. One will lead to the other once we embrace and live by one or the other. We will find ourselves “being led on,” whether we like it or not.

Yet, we need not accept these lies. Eric Voegelin once wisely remarked that “no one needs to participate in the aberrations of his time.” But the temptation to do so, to be politically and culturally correct—and it is a temptation—is very great. As C. S. Lewis noted in The Screwtape Letters, our deviation from the good usually does not begin with the big aberrations but with the small ones.

... But to live well, we must think and think about what is, about what we did not make or establish. 


*******

Schall does not hesitate to pinpoint specific lies infecting our culture today. It's noteworthy that almost all of these lies were not prevalent at the nation's founding. Once truth is relativized, it's just a matter of time for lies to gain widespread acceptance. Lies also lay the groundwork for future, more catastrophic deception. Left unchecked, lies always become an avalanche, gathering momentum and destructive potential, as they build upon one another. As lies proliferate, lawlessness soon reigns.

Lies are somewhat akin to icebergs that can be beautiful above water, but with the real danger unseen below the water. Approximately 7/8 of an iceberg is below the waterline and out-of-sight. The small attractive portion above the water often lures naive unsuspecting ones into real danger. The same is true with a lie which is often superficially appealing but always attendant with unseen disastrous consequences.

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