Bible in our Military

On Jul 19, 2018, at 5:17 PM,

 

Our military of all branches by tradition carries Bibles. MRFF is not helping our society !!

 

Impact on the Value of Human Life

  • Human Rights. The concept of universal human rights and equality comes exclusively from the biblical idea that all people are created in the image of God.
  • Women. In ancient cultures, a wife was the property of her husband. Aristotle said that a woman was somewhere between a free man and a slave. According to the book Reasons for God by Tim Keller (page 249), “It was extremely common in the Greco-Roman world to throw out new female infants to die from exposure, because of the low status of women in society. The church forbade its members to do so. Greco-Roman society saw no value in an unmarried woman, and therefore it was illegal for a widow to go more than two years without remarrying. But Christianity was the first religion to not force widows to marry. They were supported financially and honored within the community so that they were not under great pressure to remarry if they didn’t want to. Pagan widows lost all control of their husband’s estate when they remarried, but the church allowed widows to maintain their husband’s estate. Finally, Christians did not believe in cohabitation. If a Christian man wanted to live with a woman he had to marry her, and this gave women far greater security. Also, the pagan double standard of allowing married men to have extramarital sex and mistresses was forbidden. In all these ways Christian women enjoyed far greater security and equality than did women in the surrounding culture. See Rodney Stark, The Rise of Christianity.” In India, widows were voluntarily or involuntarily burned on their husbands’ funeral pyres. Christian missionaries were a major influence in stopping these century-old practices and ideas. Also see Misconceptions item #13.
  • Children. In the ancient world, for example in classical Rome or Greece, infanticide was not only legal, it was applauded. Killing a Roman was murder, but it was commonly held in Rome that killing one’s own children could be an act of beauty. Through a higher view of life, it was the early Christian church that ultimately brought an end to infanctide. The modern pro-life movement is largely Christian. This pro-life view has been true from the very beginning of Christianity. A Christian document called the Didache, dated from the late first century or early second century, contained instructions against abortion.
  • Slavery. While it is true that Christians have owned slaves in history, it is clear that this was a distortion of biblical teaching.  Early Christianity elevated the roles of those oppressed in society, by for example, accepting women and slaves as full members. Slaves participated equally in worship and the community and were afforded contract and property rights. According to historian Glenn Sunshine in his book Why You Think the Way You do, “Christians were the first people in history to oppose slavery systematically. Early Christians purchased slaves in the markets simply to set them free.” It is also true that slavery was ended in great measure by Christian activists. For example, historians credit the British evangelical William Wilberforce as the primary force behind the ending of the international slave trade (which happened prior to the American Civil War). Two-thirds of the members of the American abolition society in 1835 were Christian ministers.
  • Gladiators. A 5th century monk, Telemachus is credited as being the pivotal force ending the gladiator spectacles.
  • Cannibalism. Missionary followers of Jesus are credited with stopping cannibalism in many primitive societies.
  • Compassion and Mercy

    Kennedy and Newcombe in their book detail the rise of charity in the name of Jesus over the centuries. This is in stark contrast to history before Jesus. Historians record that prior to Jesus, the ancient world left little trace of any organized charitable effort.

    An important aspect of Jesus’ ministry was his emphasis on helping the neediest and lowliest in society. For example, his Parable of the Good Samaritan (Luke 10:30-37) is a classic illustration that is still part of our language today. While there are good charitable efforts outside of the name of Jesus, Kennedy and Newcombe argue that Christian charities stand out. They point to Mother Theresa, the Salvation Army, religious hospitals, and church supported soup kitchens and thrift shops in every community. Jesus has had such an enormous impact on charity that one wonders how different things would be if he had never been born.

    D’Souza points out: “This is our culture’s powerful emphasis on compassion, on helping the needy, and on alleviating distress even in distant places. If there is a huge famine or reports of genocide in Africa, most people in other cultures are unconcerned. As the Chinese proverb has it, ‘the tears of strangers are only water.’ But here in the West we rush to help….Part of the reason why we do this is because of our Christian assumptions….The ancient Greeks and Romans did not believe this. They held a view quite commonly held in other cultures today: yes, that is a problem, but it is not our problem….However paradoxical it seems, people who believed most strongly in the next world did the most to improve the situation of people living in this one.”

    The mythical character of Santa Claus points back to Christ. St. Nick unquestionably arose within the Christian tradition.

Education

From the beginning of Judaism, from which Christianity is derived, there was an emphasis on the written word. But the phenomenon of education for the masses has its roots in the Protestant Reformation.

In order to promote Bible literacy, Christians have been leaders in education. This trend was accelerated with the advent of the printing press at about the same time as the Protestant Reformation. Many of the world’s languages were first set to writing by Christian missionaries in order for people to read the Bible.

In America, the first law to require education of the masses was passed by the Puritans. The law was called “THE OLD DELUDER SATAN ACT.” This name was a reference to the devil, who Christians believe gets his foothold into people’s lives because of their ignorance of Scripture.

For the first 200 years in America, children’s reading texts emphasized biblical literacy. The emphasis on literacy was so intense in colonial America, that John Quincy Adams said in the early 1800’s that the illiteracy rate was only 4/10th of 1 percent. By comparison, it has been estimated that in America today, 40 million people are functionally illiterate.

All but one of the first 123 colleges in colonial America were Christian institutions. While these universities have lost their Christian identities, it is interesting to read the founding statements of these schools. Harvard, for example, was founded on this statement: Let every student be plainly instructed, and earnestly pressed to consider well, the maine end of his life and studies is, to know God and Jesus Christ which is eternall life, John 17:3?

Government of the People

While America’s constitutional government is not specifically Christian, it can be argued that its roots are taken from biblical doctrines. Here are just a few possible arguments in this regard:

  • America’s first constitution was the Fundamental Orders of Connecticut. The Puritan framers of this document required that each aspect of it be grounded in Scripture. Other constitutions to follow contained many similarities to this one.
  • At least 50 of the 55 signers of the U.S. Constitution were orthodox Christians.
  • There is no doubt that the concept of our Constitutional checks and balances system is a direct result of the biblical doctrine of the sinfulness of mankind. All of our founders understood the importance of this doctrine to the social order.
  • America’s foundational idea of The Rule of Law rather than the authority of man traces back to the Old Testament, beginning with the Ten Commandments.
  • The idea that all men are created equal as enshrined in the Declaration of Independence is a biblical doctrine.
  • The notion of the sovereign authority of God (as mentioned in the Mayflower Compact, the Declaration of Independence, all 50 state constitutions, our currency, etc.)–rather than the sovereignty of the state–is certainly biblical.
  • The existence of moral absolutes (a biblical concept) is an important idea in our Declaration of Independence–specifically, self-evident truths and unalienable rights from the Creator.
  • Many other aspects of our laws come directly from the Bible–for example the judicial, legislative and executive branches trace to Isaiah 33:22. Fair trials with witnesses have numerous Old and New Testament support.
  • Regarding civil liberty, founding father John Adams (and others) emphasized 2 Corinthians 3:17 as the basis for American civil liberty. The slogan on the Liberty Bell is “Proclaim Liberty throughout the land unto all the Inhabitants Thereof” is from Leviticus 15:10. Kennedy and Newcombe argue that Jesus himself was the greatest civil libertarian of all time.

Science

Kennedy and Newcombe also argue that science has its roots in Christianity. They point out that other world religions may express a worldview of fatalism (everything is fatalistically determined) or of illusion (that the physical world is an illusion). Science could not have arisen from these worldviews.

Christianity on the other hand, is based on the notion that there exists a rational God who is the source of rational truth. This, they argue, gave rise to the possibility of scientific laws.

Evidence for this view is that nearly all the founders of modern science were Christians. These include men such as Keppler, Boyle, Pascal, Pasteur, Newton, etc.

Free Enterprise and the Work Ethic

Private property rights can be traced to the Ten Commandments in Exodus 20:15, 17 (Thou shalt not steal,?Thou shalt not covet.”)–as well as to other passages from the Old and New Testaments. Interestingly, there are over 700 references to money in the Bible!

It is noteworthy that Adam Smith’s Wealth of Nations was written in 1776, the same year as the birth of America. But many historians credit theologian John Calvin from 200 years earlier as the person who is most responsible for putting together the principles that were always in the Bible into a system adapted by the American founders. For example, the biblical doctrines of self-reliance and self-denial are the foundation of the famous “Protestant work ethic.” These doctrines are at the heart of our economic (and political) way of life.

A distinction can be made between biblical capitalism and evolutionary capitalism. The emphasis on biblical capitalism is on the importance of servanthood–a key teaching of Jesus. Evolutionary capitalism, on the other hand, relies solely on the survival of the fittest. See our blog article Biblical Capitalism in Uncertain Economic Times.

Anyone who doubts the relationship of biblical ideas to free enterprise need only to note the stark contrast with communism. Communism is specifically an atheistic system that relies on the non-biblical notion that all men are good (thus will work for the common good). But communism has been an abject economic failure.

As put by D’Spouza (book author) , “The system of modern capitalism arose in the West. To some it is surprising that capitalism developed so easily in conjunction with a Christian ethic. But capitalism  satisfied the Christian demand for an institution that channels selfish human desire toward the betterment of society. Some critics accuse capitalism of being a selfish system, but the selfishness is not in capitalism—it is in human nature….While profit remains the final goal, entrepeneurs spend the better part of each day figuring out how better to serve the needs of their actual and potential customers. They are operationally, if not intentionally, altruistic….One may say that capitalism civilizes greed in much the same way that marriage civilizes lust.”

Art, Music, Literature

The influence of Jesus on art, music, and literature is enormous. For example, the Christian faith has influenced literature in such Christian writers such as Dante, Chaucer, Donne, Dostoevsky, Shakespeare, Dickens, Milton, etc.

Had Jesus never been born, music would likely sound very different from what we’re used to. There may never have developed the cantata, the concerto, or the symphony. Handel, Vivaldi, and Bach were Christians who worked to honor God with their work. Bach, for example, signed all his works with Soli Deo Gloria (“Solely to the glory of God”).

Art has likewise been magnificently impacted by Jesus. While much modern art seems to debase the human spirit, classical Christian art tries to bring out the best of mankind–pointing us to a higher plane. This is certainly a tribute to Jesus.

And think of all the incredible architecture through the years. Especially noteworthy are the beautiful cathedrals in Europe.

Contrary Evidence

Kennedy and Newcombe address the criticism of some who point to atrocities in history committed in the name of Christianity—specifically the Crusades, the Inquisition, the Salem witch hunts, and anti-Semitism. The authors acknowledge the sinful nature of these events. But they argue that those who committed them were acting contrary to the teachings of Christ, who taught to love even your enemies! The blame for committing such acts should be placed on those who perverted Jesus’ teachings—not at the feet of the Prince of Peace!

However, it should also be mentioned that many historians say that Christians have gotten a bad rap from the above events. For example, it can be said that all of the Crusades were defensive in nature—in the same way that one can accurately say that America’s current War on Terrorism is defensive in nature. America is responding to an unprovoked attack first made upon us. Our goal in this war is simply to protect our citizens and our property. This is the same thing that the Christian Crusaders were doing, acting in self-defense against aggressors.

And in the case of the Inquisition, Kennedy has stated that he is convinced that the people leading the Inquisition were not Christians at all. “In every case in which Christians are blamed for violence, a closer look largely exonerates Christians.”

Further, they point out that when Christian restraints have been removed from a society, the atrocities are magnified many times over. For example, the regimes of Hitler, Mao, Stalin, and Pol Pot were essentially atheistic bloodbaths. These twentieth century despots alone account for well over 100 million murders. The evidence is strong that when the restraining influence of Christianity has been removed from a country or culture, unmitigated disaster will naturally follow. As admitted by existentialist philosopher Jean-Paul Sartre, “[Without God] all activities are equivalent.”

So…in summary

An overarching theme given to the world by Christianity is the equality of human beings, and the preciousness and worth of every human life. As put by D’Souza, “This Christian idea was the propelling force behind the campaign to end slavery, the movement for democracy and popular self-government, and also the successful attempt to articulate an international doctrine of human rights. My celebration of Christianity’s role in shaping these great social changes comes with a sober corollary: if the West gives up Christianity, it will also endanger the egalitarian values that Christianity brought into the world. The end of Christianity also means the systematic erosion of values like equal dignity and equal rights that both religious and secular people cherish.” If securarlism continues to gain, so will the restoration of infanticide, demands for the radical redefinition of the family, the revival of eugenic theories of human superiority, the suppression of freedoms of religion and expression, etc., as well as political tyranny.

The spirit of Christmas embodies many wonderful qualities—love, sharing, tolerance, hope, and peace. May the Christmas spirit be a positive influence in your life throughout the year.

Thank God you were born . And thank the Bible for helping our country. Glory to our USA and death to those who hate it’s values and history, yes, to it’s enemies.

(name withheld)


Response from MRFF Founder and Director Mikey Weinstein

From: Mikey Weinstein <[email protected]militaryreligiousfreedom.org>

Subject: Re: Bible in our Military
Date: July 19, 2018 at 5:22:57 PM MDT

 

…hey, (name withheld), I don’t think you know too much about me and MRFF….maybe do a little research before you vomit on us, brother?!…    Mikey Weinstein


 

 

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7 Comments

  1. Robert Mendlein

    I would be more than willing to have a discussion with “anonymous”, partly to show a certain level of agreement and partly to de-conflate many of the arguments presented. All you have to do is look at America’s “Christian” treatment of native Americans and you are into the tens of millions wiped out to balance out your “atheist” atrocities. Christopher Columbus and the Conquistadors also wiped out tens of millions.
    It’s also interesting that much of your arguments refer to the Old Testament, and therefore not specifically the teachings of Christ.
    I agree with your statements about music and have sung many great pieces in English, Latin and even German, but your references to science are way off and ignore all of the Muslim and Chinese co tributions to language , mathematics, medicine, astronomy and other general sciences.
    Finally, your arguments for Christianity are ENTIRELY undermined in your final sentence, which was also ENTIRELY unnecessary.
    Also, don’t think for a minute that we did nothing to provoke terrorism. As evidenced by your “death to everyone who doesn’t appreciate our values” finale, I would think that you would understand that exporting our “culture” to other countries could create serious blowback.
    I would recommend focusing on the NEW Testament and Christ’s teachings instead of the typical conservative Christian approach of beating everyone else over the head with the OLD testament and surreptitiously violating most of the Ten Commandments anyway.
    Take care,
    Bob

  2. watchtower

    I have to laugh…”The end of Christianity also means the systematic erosion of values like equal dignity and equal rights that both religious and secular people cherish”.

    And then you say…If securarlism continues to gain, so will the restoration of infanticide, demands for the radical redefinition of the family, the revival of eugenic theories of human superiority, the suppression of freedoms of religion and expression, etc., as well as political tyranny.

    It seems to me those of Christianity are the one eroding the freedoms secular society cherishes, and that is to live without public religion, religion in government or belief in a deity in the USA, but all are free to do so in their private lives.

  3. G

    If we had left science and math to Christianity, our kids would even have a harder time understanding the basics of math if we were using the Roman alphabet system and we would be stuck in a primitive medicine system plus we would have not been able to send a man to the moon.

  4. G

    Funny I don’t see hardcore followers of Capitalism doing a think about rights for the workers. Instead, they spent much of their time suppressing and even killing the workers while reaping the benefits of unregulated Capitalism plus not taking care of God’s planet because they are too cheap to protect the air, ground, and water from their industrial pollutants. T

    You have Calvinists who have this belief that if God had pre-ordained to be rich, you will be rich and if not too bad.

    George Washington want to have a universal health care system in America and here we are today and the USA still doesn’t have a single payer system because you have too many Christians who worship the god of money over helping thy fellow human beings.

    Education doesn’t mean a thing when only the wealthy people can afford to go to the best schools and eventually go to college. Prior to World War II, 50% of American men could barely graduate from high school and only 10% went to college. In addition, America did not have a good vocational program for those people who did graduate from high school. It wasn’t until the GI Bill and the Cold War space race, that the American government start to properly fund the schools; however, in the last 38 years, the government aided and abetted by wealthy people and corporations at the state and federal levels have been defunding the schools and have the audacity to complain about the kids.

    “While profit remains the final goal, entrepeneurs spend the better part of each day figuring out how better to serve the needs of their actual and potential customers. They are operational, if not intentionally, altruistic….One may say that capitalism civilizes greed in much the same way that marriage civilizes lust.””

    In the last 38 years, business leaders spend much of their time making money they also don’t care about selling dangerous products from killing or injuring people and want immunity from being sued in court. lying, cheating and stealing from their workers, their customers, and the government. Capitalism has not civilized greed and never will when you look at its poor record of being allowed to be unregulated both at home and overseas.

  5. Grey One talks sass

    Letter writer ignores the bits of history that contradict their glowing book report on the benefits of Christianity in the world. How very privileged of them to take credit for ideas that existed long before Christ was a gleam in Gods eye.

    I guess I don’t really expect much more from a theocrat.

  6. Grey One talks sass

    ZOMG – I missed this!

    The letter writer states “Glory to our USA and death to those who hate it’s values and history, yes, to it’s enemies.”

    Sooo – death to yourself because you will not honor the Constitution and Bill of Rights?

    OK. When are you leaving?

  7. Secularism is for grownups.

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