“After Kant, a host of philosophies were spawned. All had one thing in common:  skepticism with respect to God”

I don’t know if I’d heard of him before.  I may have seen his name but didn’t follow it up.  Had I, I would have saved myself years of frustration.  R. C. Sproul‘s presentation is absolutely riveting in the truest sense of that word.  His message seared on my mind, drilling through years of academic gobbledygook.  His ability to trace the lineage of thought from 18th century thought to modern liberalism in a speech like this is stunning.  Here is what he said with regard to skepticism starting with Kant running all the way up to today’s morally bankrupt Cultural Marxism and postmodernism.

17:55-24:35.  “If God does not exist, then anything is permissible” Fyodor Dostoevsky once said.  Kant’s like that evolutionary tree turned upside down. After Kant a whole host of moral philosophies were spawned: including Marxism, including humanism (1400-1650), including logical positivism (1936 with A. J. Ayer’s book, Language, Truth, and Logic), including existentialism (19th century), including relativism (1962, Thomas Kuhn), including pluralism, including secularism.  These have their distinct characteristic that differentiates one from the rest.  But they all had one thing in common:  skepticism with respect to the supernatural . . . and to God.  All of them shared a common premise of phenomenology that it was manifest ultimately in materialistic naturalism.  

If you take God out of the equation, there is no way to come to ultimate reality.  You must be satisfied with the here and now.  You can still speak of having truths but no truth.  Purposes but no purpose.  Existences but no essence.  Humans but no humanity.  What emerged was a form of relativism, which in every period of skepticism in the history of theoretical thought in the west, skepticism has led to relativism and its twin sister, pluralism.  Because if there’s no absolute truth and all truth is relative, then all truths are equally valid or invalid.  And so pluralism is that philosophy that says there is no singular truth as we’ve heard, but plural truth.  And no one has the right to claim exclusive truth.  To claim exclusivity in truth is to be guilty of the worst politically incorrect sin—that of narrow mindedness.  Rather the supreme virtue of relativism and pluralism is broad mindedness.  Now that idea has not only captured the university and the scientific community, it has also in many regards captured the church.  People describe themselves as broadly evangelical.  What does that mean?  Two possible definitions for the concept of a broad evangelical.  One is an evangelical is over weight.  The other definition for broadly evangelical, is an oxymoron for describing a pretend Christian.  For you if you are a Christian, think and believe as a Christian you are a narrow thinking person.  By today’s culture, that is a vice.  But by the measurement of the incarnation of truth and the perfect son of God is a virtue.  

Dr. Gary North explains that R.C. Sproul wrote the book, Stronger Than Steel: The Wayne Alderson Story (Harper & Row, 1980) which

Recounts the life and work of a coal miner’s son who became a corporate executive and an advocate of positive labor-management relations by developing Christian trust and responsiveness among workers and executives.

Gary North adds that

What impressed me about this story is the fact that Alderson designed and then implemented a program of applied Christianity in the workplace. It was not a form of evangelism to join a specific church. It was unquestionably a practical application of fundamental principles of morality that are taught by Christianity. This is why R. C. Sproul was the ideal theologian to write the book.

Here is a preview to the full-length documentary on 

Here are R. C. Sproul’s video presenations at Youtube that you may want to share.  

I appreciated a few remarks at Dr. North’s forum, one of which reads

R.C. Sproul was the man the Holy Spirit used to get me out of the ranks of hand-waver rapture freaks into actual Christianity backed up by impeccable scholarship. 

It’s the “impeccable scholarship” that struck me, for at least in his presentation above I have never heard such clear scholarship putting Christianity in context of secular humanism.  It was absolutely brilliant.  The same commentator adds

For me, R.C. Sproul, the Christian philosopher, was also the path to Greg Bahnsen who was the path to discovering Christian Reconstructionism aka Theonomy in Bahnsen’s terminology which was the path to Rushdoony, North, Gentry, et al., and inadvertently to the significance of Ludwig von Mises, Murray Rothbard, Albert Nock, et al.

I never would have made that connection.  So . . . I am grateful for his comments.  

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Belloc: “Islam not an alien religion, but in its origins a Christian heresy”

Belloc’s Prophesy

by Joe Sobran

Griffin Internet Syndicate, October 25, 2001 – Back in the 1930s, when white men were preparing for another round of mutual slaughter, few of them paid any attention to the Muslim world. They assumed it to be a backward region that history had long since passed by.

One man saw it differently. The great Catholic polemicist Hilaire Belloc, an Englishman of French ancestry, remembered Islam’s past and predicted, in his book The Great Heresies, that it would one day challenge the West again. As late as 1683 its armies had threatened to conquer Europe, penetrating all the way to Vienna; Belloc believed that a great Islamic revival, even in the twentieth century, was altogether possible.

Because Islam has little attraction for Christians, the West has generally failed to grasp its appeal for others, its profound and permanent hold on the minds of believers.

Belloc saw Islam not as an alien religion, but in its origins as a Christian heresy, adopting and adapting certain Christian doctrines (monotheism, the immortality of the soul, final judgment) and rejecting others (original sin, the Incarnation and divinity of Christ, the sacraments). Its simple, rational creed had a powerful appeal to Arabs who had known only the arbitrary gods of grim pagan religions. It swept the Arab world, then made converts—and conquests—far beyond Arabia.

Islam was a militant religion from the start. Mohammed himself conquered the entire Arabian Peninsula in just a few years. The new faith was torn by violent internal divisions even as it continued to spread. But spread it did, with incredible rapidity.

Christians had good reason to fear Islam, which soon conquered Spain and held it for centuries. But because Islam has little attraction for Christians, the West has generally failed to grasp its appeal for others, its profound and permanent hold on the minds of believers. Unlike the Christian West, the Muslim world has never had crises of faith like the Reformation and the Enlightenment.

Islam is a simple religion, easily understood by ordinary people. Its commandments are rigorous but few. When it conquered, its subjugated people often felt more liberated than enslaved, because it often replaced burdensome old bureaucratic governments with relatively undemanding regimes — and low taxes. As long as its authority was respected, Islamic rule was comparatively libertarian. It offered millions relief from their traditional oppression; for example, no Muslim could be a slave.

Belloc distinguishes sharply between Islam and such barbarous conquerors as the Mongol hordes of Genghis Khan. The Mongols were purely destructive; they were known for slaughtering whole cities and making huge pyramids of severed heads.

Such savagery was alien to the Muslims. Where they conquered, daily life usually went on much as before and culture thrived. In many respects the Muslim world was far more civilized than Christian Europe for centuries. The West hated and dreaded Islam, but nobody would have thought of calling it backward.

Belloc saw Islam, though inferior in material power, as having a great advantage: its religious faith was still strong, while the West was losing its religion and consequently its morale.

That contemptuous image came much later, when modern Europe’s science, technology, and — above all — weaponry had eclipsed those of the Arabs. We are apt to forget how recently this development occurred; and, as Belloc warned, it is not irreversible.

Man, especially irreligious man, is apt to equate power and progress. Many of those who say America is “the greatest country on earth” really mean only that America has fantastic military might, capable of annihilating any other country — and some of them, at the moment, are in the mood to do some annihilating.

To the pious Muslim this attitude seems crass and barbaric. He may conclude from it that the decadent West understands only one thing: force. And would he be far wrong?

Belloc admitted that the idea of a new Muslim challenge to the West seemed “fantastic,” but only because the West was “blinded” by “the immediate past.”

Belloc thought it entirely possible that Islam would catch up technologically, while he doubted that the West would undergo a spiritual revival.

Taking a longer view, he saw Islam, though inferior in material power, as having a great advantage: its religious faith was still strong, while the West was losing its religion and consequently its morale.

Are we seeing the beginning of the fulfillment of Belloc’s prophecy? If so, the current uproar over Islamic terrorism may turn out to be a mere superficial symptom of a much larger historical drama. The West is still strong, but it is dying. Islam is still weak, but it is growing. Never mind the terrorists; check the birthrate.

Article originally appeared at Fitzgerald Griffin Foundation and is reprinted here with expressed, written permission from the Fitzgerald Griffin Foundation.