Sunday, 23 January 2011

Just because something is true doesn't mean you can say it


"Just because something is true doesn't mean you can say it."
"You can't express views that were common currency 30 or 40 years ago."

These two comments are taken from an interview with BBC radio presenter Jeremy Vine in which he speaks of how the Christian faith is effectively being 'framed' out of public discourse in contemporary Britain (click on the post title to view). Vine, it should be noted, is a practicing Anglican. He perceptively describes how what he calls "the parameters of right thinking" are being narrowed to exclude expressions of belief in God.

Readers might be reminded of how, in George Orwell's fictional vision of England in 1984, "Newspeak" was used to exercise thought-control and expunge the past. Is this, we wonder, a case of the powers that be over-compensating in order not to offend non-Christians? If so, it is surely wrong-headed, for doesn't pluralism mean that everyone gets a seat at the table and a voice in the discussion? Or is it something altogether more sinister? Has the Devil read Orwell?

27 comments:

Mild Colonial Boy, Esq. said...

There are any number of things that cannot be talked about publicly these days. You cannot oppose Multiculturalism. You cannot discuss lowering legal immigration, or which groups of people are suitable/and not suitable for immigration. You cannot say that Homosexuality is a sin and a defective and dysfunctional behaviour.

There is a narrow Cultural Marxist orthodoxy and it's New Class supporters have made any attempt to discuss alternatives to their views as "hate". This New Class makes up the Media, the Government, the Public Service and the Churches so there is no acceptable public discourse that is opposed to their views. Just ask supporters of Pauline Hanson and One Nation.

vdma said...

"Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms." (Ephesians 6:11-12, NIV-1984).

I wrote an article that was inspired, in part, by Orwell's 1984:
http://vdma.wordpress.com/2009/05/28/words-of-truth/

God's blessings.
Rick

Pr Mark Henderson said...

MCB,
You'll understand that I like to keep an arm's length from party politics, but generally speaking the "New Class" thesis explains a lot on the human level. Of course, there is always a spiritual level to consider as well. The fact that Marxism, whether of the classical or neo-Marxist variety, seeks to expunge God from the consciousness of man, is clearly evidence of its demonic origins. It's interesting that Marx's family converted to Lutheranism before his birth, but in his late teens Marx wrote dramatic verse with Satanic themes.

Pr Mark Henderson said...

Thanks Rick.
I'll check the article out.
Of course, my final question was rhetorical; this is cearly one theatre in the great arena of the spritual battle between God and the Devil.

Matthias said...

Let us have a memorial service for the demise of Christian england. I am not being flippant,it would make a point and it would serve as a warning to us here. Despite the belief of some that the Anglicans heading Tiberwards is a sign of better things. One would hope that the vestiges of Christian England would be seized upon by the Anglicans but alas Rowan is beset with conflict,doubt and cultural relevancy;the pentecostals are all about Prosperity .Perhaps the Catholics may do something and hopefully the small Lutheran church will as well.
As i wrote over at Glen Bolas's blog HWAET "" Once more into the breach dear friends" until HE Returns.

Pr Mark Henderson said...

"The point I'm making is that, yes, the religious voice, the voice of faith should be heard and people are right to assert a place at the table; but the way and spirit in which that voice articulates itself has a large role in the current state of affairs (at least as far as I can see)."

Stephen, yes, of course, faith needs to assert itself in a winsome way. It can do this in the public sphere, i.e. ethical matters, by using arguments based upon reason and natural law (Lutheran doctrine accords a high place to these resources where human government is concerned). On more specifically religious matters, again, valid argument will go a lot further than assertions based on revelation. Not that the latter have no authority, but they have acknowledged authority only for believers, thus a broader appeal to common human experience would be more fruitful. The apostle Paul, for e.g., did this when he made "the unknown God" the basis for an evangelistic appeal on Mars Hill in Athens.
Sadly, we have had too few Christian public intellectuals in recent decades in the Anglosphere who have had the intellectual acumen to take the arguments for faith into the public sphere in this way. There are a few around now, but we've been on th ebadck foot so long we've lost a lot of territory. That's the way I see it, anyway.
Thanks for your comment, Stephen.

Lucian said...

You can't express views that were common currency 30 or 40 years ago.


You mean like in Protestantism people are forbidden to express views that were "common currency" among Christians 300 or 400 or 1300 or 1400 years ago? :-)

Lucian said...

Just because something is true doesn't mean you can say it.


That's true. (I don't understand why you'd have a problem with that)

Otherwise, we could -theoretically- go around saying out aloud to all people on the street that "women have tits and men have testes".

Or we could go around telling everybody our safe-combination.

Pr Mark Henderson said...

Er...did you read the article, Lucian? It's pretty clear from the context what sort of truth we are talking about here.

The Joker (aka Lucian) said...

Father... why so serious? :-)

Pr Mark Henderson said...

It's a serious subject :^(

Pr Mark Henderson said...

"You mean like in Protestantism people are forbidden to express views that were "common currency" among Christians 300 or 400 or 1300or 1400 years ago?"

Well, in a free country people can "express" whatever they want to within the limits of the law, Lvka.

But, if you mean what "Protestants" are to believe, scripture is the ultimate rule of faith for most, which means, happily, that there is much we can agree with from Christians of earlier times, and, sadly, some things we must disagree with.

Schütz said...

I'm just going to say that for all his excellence, I don't think Sasse quite gets to where you want him to get. He does still end up with private interpretation. "The Fathers can err. Traditions are human. Whether they convey to me the truth. I cannot know unless I see that their content is confirmed by the Scriptures." And can I err in my reading of the Scriptures? That's the point. Of course, it is interminably thrown back at us that even the teaching of the living magisterium needs to be received, interpreted and believed. Who will save me from this miserable predicament?! Thanks be to God in Christ Jesus our Lord!

Lucian said...

(I was just having a discussion at another Protestant site, "Beggars All", with another Protestant, Ken, who, just like you, doesn't understand that it's doesn't make any sense to use arguments against one's opponents [in his case, Muslims] that he himself does not care about [in his case, "we become like the One we worship", ie, Allah]. When I asked him a simple question, namely how exactly worshipping the Calvinist version of God, a God of limited love, shapes one's mind, soul, heart and spirit, he got all wordy and defensive on me. -- That's just NOT the way to go!).

Pr Mark Henderson said...

Huh?! That's kind of off topic, Lucian. I'm trying to find out if you believe Muslims are saved by believing in Jesus, or whether you think they are saved as Muslims whoe believe in Allah? Simple question. Why dodge answering it?

Pr Mark Henderson said...

David,
I think your comment belongs in the Sasse post combox; I'm going to paste it over thre and my comment in response.

Lvka said...

I.. already answered, and that discussion is not on this thread..

Pr Mark Henderson said...

Can't find that comment, Lucian.
Why don't you asnwer my question?
Let me puit it simply: Can a Muslim be saved if he doesn't believe Jesus is Lord?

Lucian said...

Faith, hope, and love: the former two will be abolished when the things they trust or believe in will come into fruition. The last one won't ever be abolished (IF it's there in the first place). When people go from this life into the next, they can't pretend anymore that God doesn't exist, or that Christianity isn't the true religion. If they're willing to embrace that truth, *and its implications*, and call it a honest mistake, not only will no-one refuse them, but the Saints and Angels will be glad, and Christ will also rejoice. But if their rejection of the faith was "mature", like that of the devils, then that's it. Period. [People who say, and truly mean it, that even if He were to actually exist, they would still hate Him, because they hate His laws and character: God comes with a baggage]. Here's a link, and here's yet another one. Not all people love righteousness, it's that simple, and I, for one, am not exempt from this, sadly.

Pr Mark Henderson said...

You have no authority for your belief in a "second chance" for Muslims (and others) after death, Lucian. You'd be better off reading scripture than trusting in the speculations of Orthodox elders. Hope and love are indeed of great value, but we are saved by faith in Christ in this life. Such faith is not required in the next life because then we will see with out own eyes what we have believed in. Love only will endure, but salvation is by grace through faith. Read Romans.

Pr Mark Henderson said...

"For it is appointed for men to die once, and after this, the judgment..." Hebrews 9:25

Lucian said...

(You asked me what I believe, didn't you? Well, that's what I believe).

God nowhere behaves absurdly in the Bible, and seems to like a few pagans quite a lot. (Christ's own words in Luke 4:25-28 come here to mind; so does His praise of the Roman centurion who asked that his servant be cured by word alone). So do the two Samaritan women (the one at the well, and the one with the sick daughter), or the Parable of the Good Lutheran. Uhm, sorry: Samaritan.

Saint Paul also speaks of God showing compassion & understanding to people who are in ignorance (Acts 17:30).

Saint Peter alludes to the same in his First Epistle: the descent of Christ to Hades, bringing the good news to the imprisoned spirits.

It's not a 'second-chance', it's a continuatiuon of something that began here on earth, and was build upon, but not finished, for rather objective reasons.

God is the knower of hearts, and is not absurd. (Redemption is not an absurd game). -- Yet the vast majority will perish nonetheless, despite that.

Pr Mark Henderson said...

But, Lucian, God says, through Holy Scripture, that judgment comes after death - not 'continuation', as you put it.
On what basis do you say that life as we know it continues after death in the sense of still having the opportunity to repent?

Lvka said...

Probably because the direction of one's life is also important, and not just one's current location. Do you think the judgement doesn't take this into account also?

Lucian said...

A bit more to the point: ill-belief is like this: remember the Pharisees and Sadducees, asking Pilate to guard the Tomb with Roman soldiers, least the Apostles might not steal the Body; yet when these pagans witnessed His resurrection and went and told them about it, they hardened their hearts against what they now KNEW to be truth. This is damnation. The multitudes, who were also manipulated by them to ask for His crucifixion repented and believed on Him on Pentecost, by the (objectively-speaking "biased") testimony of Saint Peter: yet they, who KNEW from IMPARTIAL witnesses that His resurrection was FACT, did not believe, and were condemned by God. (This is why I say that for the honestly-mistaken there's still hope, just like for the multitudes, but for the hardened of heart there's none left, because THEY shut THEMSELVES out of the Kingdom quite willingly)

Pr Mark Henderson said...

It seems like an artificial distinction to me - surely the direction of one's life is made up by decisions and actions of each moment on the continuum of "one's current location"? In any case, only God has the wisdom and knowledge to judge human beings perfectly justly. But I don't see anything in his Word about the possibility of change after death; the basis of judgment is what one has done in this life.

Lvka said...

It is written in the Bible that God is lenient towards sins done in times of ignorance, and that Christ Himself proclaimed the Gospel to the souls kept in Sheol. And then there's His benevolent view and treatment of Samaritans and Gentiles in the Gospels, even prasing them above the people of Israel. God, in His infinite wisdom, justice and mercy, knowing the hearts of men, does not either commmit in-justice or show Himself absurdly un-merciful. (Each way we turn it, it doesn't make sense).