Saturday, 9 December 2017

To Forgive or not to Forgive ...

I'm interrupting our series on saving the West to give my thoughts on this issue that affects us all from time to time.

To Forgive or not to Forgive

It is in the Lord's Prayer … “forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin against us”. It is the subject of one of Jesus' most blunt parables: the Unforgiving Servant - which ends with the terrible warning “and this is how my Father will treat each one of you unless you forgive your brother from your heart.”. It is stated in Hebrews “vengeance is mine says the Lord, I will repay”. Joseph says when his brothers fear that he will exact his (justifiable) revenge: “Am I in the place of God that I should do such a thing?”. It is a theme so consistent throughout Scripture that there can be no argument about the fact of it. So why can't so many Christians forgive?

My guess is this: temptation and our unregenerate nature.

Thirst for revenge seems part of our human nature. So too are most vices, but revenge is, up to a point, socially acceptable – encouraged even. Of course people taking the law into their own hands is frowned upon, and is likely to land the perpetrator of the revenge in court. But “getting even” without doing anything illegal gets a social thumbs up, and is inculcated by stories and movies. One Biblical account of bad behaviour is Lamech – who boasted that if Cain were to be avenged seven times, he would be avenged seventy seven times! An example of better behaviour is David who praised Abigail because her swift action in bringing tribute to him prevented David from sinning against the Lord by taking revenge on Nabal for refusing it.

Thus we should expect it to always be difficult to “go against the grain” of our human nature.

Second, since the Bible depicts unforgiveness to be such a serious sin, we should expect to be seriously attacked by a temptation to wallow in it. Being forgiving is part of God's very nature. We didn't just learn this in some academic way, we have been the actual beneficiaries of it: in Christ he forgave us all our sins! So in forgiving others we are being imitators of him as dearly loved children. And we are empowered to act by being recipients of undeserved forgiveness. Conversely, harbouring unforgiveness is a form of hating God's divine character. That surely cuts us off from him.

Now when we remember how insidious temptations to other sins can be, we should expect to have to face all the wiles and stratagems of the devil in this area.

One has only to read the Genesis account of Adam and Eve being tempted to see that level of cunning: gradually drawing their attention to the tree and its fruit, suggesting subliminally its desirability, and their “right” to fuller knowledge, subtly instilling doubts about God's very clear command!

So we should expect that demonic voice to be ever so kind and consoling towards us – always reminding us how much we have been hurt – trapping us in going over and over our suffering – until the hurt becomes like an old friend and no matter how great the mental anguish, we cannot let go of it. This magnifies the harm originally done to us, and prevents God healing these hurts. It gives the devil two wins with one “stone'. We, a human God loves is caused more pain, and also our animal desire for revenge grows stronger and stronger weakening our resistance to temptation. Then we can be led to doubt that it is really a sin to be unforgiving “Did God really say … ?” If we succumb then whether we go the final step to exacting revenge, or just sit under a demonic stronghold nursing our hurt, victim-hood, and supposed righteousness, the devil will have won – he will have driven a wedge between us and Christ our Saviour.

Are there any “strengthening exercises” that can help us not to fall into this temptation?

I think there are two attitudes of mind, that if practised and reinforced, will protect us – Just as Joseph was protected “Am I in the place of God?” and as Jesus, Stephen and so many martyrs and confessors since then have been enabled to pray: “Father forgive them ...”.

The first is to continually rejoice in the new world of grace into which we have been re-born.

We were His enemies by our choice and our deeds. Yet he died to blot out our sins. If that were not enough he – Almighty God - humbled himself to beg us to repent and turn back to him. But there's more: He sent His Spirit into our innermost being, and – short of compelling us – He did everything necessary for us to repent. More still: had we just been forgiven, enabled to love Him, and given a servant's place in his household, we would have been fabulously well treated. But on top of it all He called us His sons and daughters!

In the face of all this what are the “light and momentary troubles of this world” compared to the glory we share and which we are to enjoy in all its fullness forever? (Amazingly God showers favour after favour upon us, and so, yes, He does care about even the little things of this life as well – but not when they will blight our eternal joy!)

If we delight our minds on these things. If we are forever praising God for the infinite goodness He has shown us. If we are striving to imitate His moral character in this world so that we can enjoy being with him forever. We will be building the spiritual and mental muscle necessary to forgive even when we are really badly wronged.

The second mental exercise is a human commercial analogy. Some years ago our local video rental store went out of business. Some time later we (with many others I guess) got a letter from a collection agency. It said it had “bought” all the video store's debts. And going through the books they found we had owed the video store some unpaid late fines. They now demanded we pay these to them – or else! Of course having sold their bad debts to the collection agency the owners of the store could not try to collect these debts themselves - they now belonged to someone else!

Let's play a mental game. The Bible talks about us dying to our old life and being born again into a new life in Christ. Let's pretend we are the spiritual equivalent of that video store going out of business. Jesus is like the debt collectors who bought the bad debts. He took away our sins on the cross: he also bought all the sins done against us. He owns them now. He is the only one who has the right to collect them. We can't.

He can “collect” on them, or forgive them – that's frankly none of our business! We sold them. They're gone. In this analogy “forgiving” is just us reminding ourselves of this fact!

An FAQ is: Do those who wronged us have to repent, or say they are sorry before we forgive them? Absolutely not! Certainly it would be better for them if they made amends – Jesus told us so. But that is between Him as the new owner of the “sin-against-us”, and them. We have to forgive from the heart regardless and to keep reminding ourselves that we have done so simply because their “sin-against-us” no longer belongs to us but to Him.

Saturday, 2 December 2017

Cosmological View of the Failing West Pt. 2

Cosmological View of the Failing West Pt. 2

The second part of Christian cosmology involves the interaction between God and people. I might not have previously stressed that God is a personal living being – as opposed to an impersonal “force” or even some anthropomorphised “Nature”. Although this is amply evidenced by the Son becoming incarnate as a real born-of-a-woman human being. Also the relationships between God and humans is a major theme throughout the entire Bible, and important to our discussion on the fate of the West.

The “problem” of pain in the world (Nature red in tooth and claw) and of human evil deeds is often thrown up as a naive argument against the existence of God. Surprisingly, professed Christians are often similarly naive and do not seem to recognise how simply it is answered from basic Christian cosmology!

First the “red in tooth and claw”. If you accept, as I do, that science explores the question “how” and religious faith the question “why”, then these are like lines on non intersecting planes: you can accept or reject the prevailing scientific model without gain or loss to your faith.

So I can happily go along with the current theory of evolution (and drop it when a better one emerges). In this case the theory is that the current natural order has evolved by survival of the fittest, or to put it bluntly because the whole system works. Yes there is a food chain, bigger animals eat littler ones. Each species up the food chain breeds up to the point of starvation which confines fluctuations in numbers up and down the food chain (and to plants as well) thus maintaining a rough balance. Atheists readily accept this as a necessary mechanism for evolution but baulk at God using it. Why? Why cannot God be pragmatic and use the only system short of “hands-on control” that would result in the world as we see it?

The second is human evil. Once again the “problem” disappears in a real Biblical cosmology. As I pointed out earlier, God is entirely good. There also exists a rebel spiritual being and its cohorts that are evil. But God is infinitely more powerful than the evil spirit “Satan”. Human beings chose to allow themselves to be beguiled by the devil into disobedience to God.

Again the “problem” only arises in humans who think they can second guess God – a rather arrogant attitude! God's solution to the fact of human disobedience and His desire to save as many humans as possible was this: Namely to by-and-large let history run its course, but at a specific time in history for the Son to enter the world as a divine-yet-human being, suffer, die, and rise from the dead and at a future point in history known only to Him to end this world order and take those who have turned back to him into a new and perfect creation.

While this world lasts, humans have the opportunity to chose obedience to God. They also have the “freedom” to chose evil. Thus there is evil in the world by human choice and by the permissive will of God in order to save all those who use this opportunity to choose obedience to Him.

Christian cosmology here absolutely trumps any atheist one in explaining evil.

Now as anyone who has travelled any distance on the Christian pilgrimage knows, even those who have chosen God have to continuously chose to obey God rather than the promptings of our animal nature and the whisperings of the devil. Even we easily lapse into being participants in the devil's plans for destroying humanity. So we mean no disrespect when we say that for the rest, even their best intentions serve the devil's purposes.

Another dimension altogether is prayer. In Christian (not folk religion's!) cosmology, there is a relationship between God and believer that can be likened to that of perfect parent to children. So prayer is an important part of this relationship as speech is in parent-to-child. One aspect of this is appeal for help or provision. Believers appeal to God as to a perfectly loving Father. There are things God will do in response to such appeal. Similarly there are things God will never do regardless of the fervency of such appeals! Importantly for the West, a decline in Christian believers has the consequence that less protection and good things are being wrought by God in response to prayer.

A final dimension is the actions of good people in response to God's call. It is quirky but true that God does not confine Himself to working through people who believe in Him to achieve Hid purposes. Nevertheless Believers are granted their part in participating with God in working for the good of the world. Just as children often get to “help” mum and dad in doing things.

Thus the reduced numbers of Christians, and even among churchgoers the reduced knowledge of God and reduced participation in His works means God is less active in protecting what is good and fighting the ingress of evil that previously.

This explains the vicious cycle of rising secularism and failing or secularised Christianity.

Saturday, 25 November 2017

A Cosmological View of the Failing West Pt. 1

Cosmological View of the Failing West Pt. 1

In the last few posts I have been, as a scientist would, putting a hypothesis, and then testing how it measured up to observed reality. My hypothesis has been that some malevolent super-human being has been at work. In every way we have found that the sort of changes occurring in the past half century (or more) are exactly what such an intelligence would seek to introduce for the purpose of sowing mayhem, increasing human misery, and destroying the benefits introduced and refined by God-fearing men and women over a very long time.

Now it is time to step back and fit this into a cosmological framework. This is made harder by one more change in our current socially constructed “web of belief” - one which again would undoubtedly suit our hypothesised malevolent being! We have largely discarded belief in the super-natural. Our forebears had no problems with belief in spiritual beings, but we have invented the idea that our “scientific” society has outgrown such infantile ideas. (Yet ironically we are simultaneously destroying the intellectual rigour and honesty necessary for real science, and forgetting that much scientific method was developed by devout Christians who looked for cause-and-effect because of their belief in the nature of God and hence of His creation.) So I may be battling on two fronts: upholding a view that science depends on the existence of absolute truth, and that as well as the physical environment which we can test scientifically there are spiritual realities which we cannot.

So let me expand my cosmology to the traditional Christian one. (this is not the same as the popular one. The “folk religion version of Christianity” is often contaminated with a good deal of the pagan cosmology endemic in places before Christianity came to them)

In our cosmology we have of course God. As philosophers have said “the un-caused cause, the un-moved mover and un-created creator”. For Christians our concept of God is different to all other religions. As regards the being of God, for instance, Moslems envisage a simple being: we see God as Triune – we can neither adequately explain nor envisage this, we can at best say that God is one, but internally Father – Son – Holy Spirit in relationship. Hindus (and hence the derivative Buddhism) see God as subsumed in the physical world. We see God as quite separate from His creation, though the Son did take human nature, and being born of a woman lived on earth at a particular place and time (which we term His “incarnation”). So the Christian concept of God's being is much richer than the Moslem, and totally incompatible with Hindu & Buddhist.

We also believe in angels – beings that are “spiritual” by which we mean not of the substance of the physical universe – although they can manifest as people. We believe that some of these spiritual beings – led by one we call the devil or Satan – rebelled against God. They are, as many other religions agree, evil. But we alone of religions say, of much less power than God (as against the common Eastern “dualism of good and evil”). Indeed it is the central tenet of Christianity that God, through the Son in His unique human-divine nature gained total victory over the devil by Christ's death and resurrection. We get into murky waters when we try to make the dynamics of this victory understandable to the society of our day, but the result is simple enough: God can because of it be true to Himself and yet forgive sinners who turn to Him, and can at a time of His choice destroy the devil and the evil spirits aligned to him.

In the meantime the devil and his angels – like many a retreating army devastating the land they once held captive - seek to hurt and destroy all that is dear to God, which most of all is the human race. Christians hold that God has set a day when he will end this and destroy the devil and all, both human and angel, who have chosen evil. Before that time, both human and spiritual agents of the devil have freedom to cause harm – but only up to a certain point.

This gives Christians a unique cosmology, and one which adequately explains the observable facts of the world and particularly of human behaviour and society. More next post.

Saturday, 18 November 2017

Kingdoms Rise and Fall

Kingdoms Rise and Fall

The Ottoman Empire ended with WWI. Before that it had been styled “the sick man of Europe”. Before before that again the Roman Empire based in Constantinople had at one time been a flourishing and powerful civilisation, But by the time of the Muslim invaders had lost its inner vitality and fell.

Then in the Middle Ages, the centres of learning, of science, mathematics and philosophy were all in the Muslim East. But then they declined and the West advanced and with the Industrial Revolution completely dominated.

In England one can visit ruins of centrally heated Roman villas and baths that indicate a level of comfort at least that was not regained until the nineteenth century.

Perhaps in centuries to come history will say the same things about our time. Perhaps they will talk of the Anglo-American era, or use some other name for what will seem to them a tiny blip of “democracy”, middle class wealth, prosperity, health and scientific achievement. It may be millennia before what we enjoy now is regained – if ever.

Think for a moment what we take for granted.

Rule of law: this is fundamental to universal prosperity. It is in itself a superlative “good”. It is part and parcel of a free society. Historically it has not been common, let alone the norm. Even in our time, few third world countries enjoy it (that one reason for their poverty in places that abound in natural resources or rich soil). China as I write is sweeping away the last vestiges of rule of law as Xi Ping tightens his grip on power. Even Western nations are dallying with progressive socialist notions that “the end justifies the means” to discredit it.

Freedom from poverty: True “the poor are always with us”, but it is relative poverty, not the absolute poverty of the third world! We live in a time of wealth, not for the few but for the masses.
Good housing, clothes enough to keep us warm, food – not just for survival but in vast choice and quantity such that obesity is a common health risk! Natural energy for heating, cooling, lighting, labour saving machines and transport. We forget just how well off we are.

Science and technology. I can't even begin to catalogue the technologies that would have astounded our forebears even two hundred years ago! In the field of health alone we understand so much about disease that we can take effective preventative measures. (sewerage systems are possibly the biggest lifesavers ever). We have diagnostic tools that for most people are beyond our comprehension – bringing the danger that we simply equate them with the “voodoo” of folk medicine. We have surgery that improves and prolongs lives. We have antibiotics – but we risk loosing the race against microbes becoming immune to them. We have mass vaccination – but risk loosing communal immunity by pseudo-science convincing people immunisation is bad. And the politicisation of science we are currently seeing in the West risks destroying the core integrity essential to it and in turn destroying our ability for scientific achievement.

Freedom of speech, and religion. We have recently had a plebiscite on “same Sex Marriage” in Australia. 80% of voters responded. Of them 61.6 were in favour and 38.4 against. The only electorates where there was an overwhelming “No” vote were the predominantly Muslim enclaves. Firstly we have here illustrated why Muslims see us as decadent and irredeemably immoral, giving us some insight into why Islamist terrorists can recruit among home-born Muslims, and portending ill for the future. Secondly it shows that Judeo-Christian values have been rejected by the majority. Thirdly it is becoming apparent that this was not an end in itself but largely desired as a device to suppress freedom of speech and the suppression of Christianity. Time will tell how this plays out.

Education. Never has information been so readily available. The printing press was revolutionary in this regard. The internet is orders of magnitude more so. But information alone is not education. Training in the tools of “reading, writing, and arithmetic” is a big part. Learning a framework – whether of history, science, literature and so forth so that one has something to “hang” pieces of information on” and analytical tools to sift truth from error – or downright falsehood are essential to “education”. Discipline – then internalised as self-discipline, the duties we owe as well as the rights we should enjoy are all part of the socialisation that rounds out the education process. True we have universal schooling, we have a high rate of literacy (not universal – I found it Common in a farming community that wedding applicants would have the girl fill in the form because the boy only literate.)

But …. Asian countries are leaving us behind in the levels of training they are achieving. Not a good sign for our future. Worse, we are failing to teach the basic tools – in physics for instance not teaching the basic laws and how to apply then to new problems. In discipline … we have failed utterly and this is already coming back to bit us! Worst of all, Marxists, who have been infiltrating our education systems and training colleges for the past century have triumphed! Kids are being indoctrinated not educated. Socialist dogma is fed to them all the way through their school (and university) time. We are turning out young people convinced of the truth of socialist politics but ignorant of the devastating effect it has had on the lives of people and the wealth of nations wherever it has been implemented.

But wait there's more: Marxists are now using current tide in favour of homosexuality to introduce destructive teachings that even Marxist countries would stamp out – though of course their introduction into free societies to facilitate social destruction and revolution are part of their play-book. Homosexuality is being pushed to the extent that normal kids are being made feel they must be homosexuals. Gender fluidity is being pushed. (My wife yesterday had lunch with an old school friend who told her that one of her daughter's friends had just had a baby and the couple have announced that they will let the baby choose its own gender!) Boys and girls are being made to doubt that they really are male or female – and even have sex change operations at young ages when they cannot comprehend what they are doing and have not yet experienced the normal hormone rush of puberty. This is so terrible I do not have words to express my feelings! But it is happening in our schools!

My conclusion is that we have been living in a golden age – but also in a fools paradise. We are neglecting to do the hard things necessary to retain let alone improve what we have enjoyed.

As olden day civilisations succumbed so shall ours unless there is awakening.

Saturday, 11 November 2017

Social Stresses Weakening Nations

Social Stresses Weakening our Countries.

Unintended consequences destroy the best laid plans of mice and men

But on my hypothetical “super-human spirit intent on causing misery to humans and destruction of Christianity and all godliness”, unintended consequences are a delight. One can motivate us dumb humans to adopt policies firmly - fanatically even, believing that we are doing so for the good of humankind all the time kept blind to the fact that the real consequences will be just the opposite.

I live and work in a small suburban fringe town 10kM from the next hamlet. Traffic is not a problem! But for workers in the inner suburbs an hour each way to and from work in frustrating traffic jams is the norm. For those on public transport routes waiting for an already overcrowded train, tram or bus and the subsequent jostling ride is only marginally better. So people arrive at work already stressed and cranky – how easily the day only goes downhill from there on! Then they arrive home exhausted and frazzled – kids to bath? Family dinner to make? It all seems a crushing burden: no wonder birth rates are dropping alarmingly in first world countries!

Then our well intentioned activists shout: “No more freeways!” “Public transport is all we need” and “The future is car-free”.

Half a century ago those of us at school were taught that cities were like concentric circles with CBD and industry in the centre and transport routes radiating out. Residential development surrounded these or made ribbon development following the train lines. Maybe once cities were like that. Not today! True there is still the “downtown” area. But additionally there may be multiple CBD-like centres scattered around it. Some of these may be particular areas of heavy industry. But most people travel, not to the centre or even to a subsidiary centre, but cross-town from where they live to the small businesses and factories scattered all over the city. You simply cannot service the bulk of a modern city's travel-to-work needs by public transport. It is just too complicated a web. Add to that all the tradesmen – and there are lots of them in a western city – needing to carry heavy tools and materials and the problem magnifies. The idea of a car-less city is an impossible dream: but its currency serves to stifle good road planning and development – and adds to the build-up of social frustration and time waste.

Then there is lack of provision for the needs of working women. In the last half century or so the ideal of the stay-at-home mother has vanished like the morning mist. But provision for her to still be a mother and balance career with the vital role of nurturing kids has not followed pace. 

I had one parishioner who was a highly competent executive. When she had a baby she looked for part time work. There was nothing to be had at her level. She was told repeatedly that it was “all or nothing”. She chose the “all” but you can guess the extra stress this generated.

Another lady worked as a high level consultant for the United Nations. In every studyshe wrote up the UN insisted that she include a section detailing how it would affect women's lives. So you would think the UN would be sensitive to the needs of the women it employed. Not likely! She would start early because, as she explained to bosses, she had to leave on the dot of 5pm to get to the child-care centre before it closed. Did they accommodate this reasonable request. No! The bosses liked to start late and never got round to commencing the meetings they wanted to have with her until nearly five! She had to give up that job.

You probably know many similar examples. The point is that “we” being Western societies have made one huge change in life and work practices, but have not made the subsequent necessary changes for it to work out well for people. Result: stressed out people and families missing out, giving stressed and fragile communities.

These are just two areas to demonstrate how unintended consequences are coming back to bite us.

Saturday, 4 November 2017

Stressed Nations Succumb Pt 2

Stressed Nations Succumb  Pt 2

Last post I said that our nations were in a state of psychological civil war, but then I got a bit off the topic. Let me finish that idea and then I will go on to look at some of the factors making our societies stressed.

Nearly a decade ago I was struck how some of my friends (OK one in particular!) could not talk about then President Bush without bubbling over with anger. It was an anger that really amounted to hatred, not just of Bush's policy decisions but of the man himself. This friend really saw Bush as an evil man.

In the past year democratic elections have supported “Brexit” and elected Donald Trump as president. Progressives have not stoically accepted these reverses as people on both sides of politics have in our past, but have been enraged. In the US we saw demonstrations by people who actually wanted to overturn the result of the election! This only used to happen in third world countries! And in third world countries the elections may have been rigged, but in the US the election was carried out according to the law of the land. So to actually want to overthrow the decision of the voters was a very serious and disturbing development.

We are getting to a situation where progressives are increasingly minded to use all the devices of their Communist or Fascist philosophical forebears against their fellow citizens to make them toe the “party line”. The “silent majority” (if they are still a majority!) keep silent out of a very real sense of fear, but come elections where they can vote in secret they make their voices heard, hence Trump and Brexit.

As Jesus said “A house divided against itself cannot stand”. Neither can our divided societies.

Now for some of the stressors weakening us. Many of these are being pushed now by progressives, but “come the revolution” when collectivists are in power the proponents of these will go to the wall. Others are just conditioning people to accept collectivist and will become much worse.

Take “climate change”. Collectivist China is not silly enough to destroy its industry by following this. No. No. you may say: “they signed up to the Paris accord”. Well of course they did! It does not require them to do anything 'till 2030 and they are already the biggest producer of CO2. So their economy is not hampered – but those of Western nations are! Could they ask for anything better! (True they have terrible smog – I've been there and seen it – but that is not CO2, that is particulates and similar pollutants – and they are curing that often by shutting down old and inefficient plants.) Russia with her huge gas fields … if you believe she will leave that in the ground you will believe anything! Besides in Russian eyes global warming would be a god thing – think of the vast froze wastes that might become farmable!

This applies whether or not you believe in human climate change – I say human because earth's climate is continually changing – it has been through 5 ice ages, and periods when it was much warmer than now – Oh, and times when it has had 15 or so times the present level of atmospheric CO2, so of course in the future it will be different to now – it's just a matter of whether we do or can influence it and whether it's going to get warmer or cooler (we may be enjoying the warm spot in an ice age!)

But in the West activists are making us do really silly things. In Australia for a start out electricity prices are going up and up because the government is mandating increasing levels of “renewable” sources. I the one state where the government is leading in this the've had blackouts because if the sun don't shine and the wind don't blow they don't get enough electricity. You can imagine what this is doing to industry, and the effect on ordinary huseholders. In other states sitting on huge gas reserves, utilisution of this gas has been banned, so people and industry face shortages and high prices. We have huge reserves of coal which used to provide very cheap electricity. Now it can't be used. There is a huge coal basin an Indian company wants to develop to export to India where they need cheap coal powered electricity for development – but activists are making banks and governments block it.

It is looking increasingly as though anthropogenic climate change theories will go the way of the flat earth theory! But supposing it is right – China and Russia are still going to push thing over the edge! But very conveniently for them, in the meantime we are destroying our own nations in the name of “climate change”.

This likely weakening of our economies and loss of jobs and living standard will make it easier for extremists to overthrow our democratic system and bring in a totalitarian one. It also makes us more vulnerable to invasion. Either way once a new dictatorship is in power there will be no more talk of climate change or “renewables” it will be produce, produce, produce. Those “useful idiots” - the climate and environmental activists will have a very quick change of mind – or a quick trip to the gulag!

That took up more words than I intended, so I'll postpone talking about other social stress factors til next time.

Saturday, 28 October 2017

Worn Out Nations Pt. 1

or: Stressed Bodies Succumb to Sickness Pt 1

Now you've likely noticed that when you are fit, healthy, and well fed sure you still can catch a cold, but when you are over tired, stressed, and run down you catch cold much more easily. OK same goes for civilisations. When they are functioning efficiently and well, sure they can be conquered, but they are much more easily overrun when they are dysfunctional and weakened internally.

Hayek even put the theory that social organisation has evolved in a Darwinian sort of way. Societies that had a more functional organisation tended to survive better than those that didn't work as well.

So back to our theoretical malevolent spirit. From the last two posts we had got a picture that the sorts of things such an entity would try to produce in a society to destroy it were in fact happening in the West. We were building ourselves a nice path to destruction.

Today I want to begin the idea that there is a last twist of the knife: Making our societies stressed and run down so they succumb easily.

So far I've said that whatever ups and downs Christian faith has endured over two millennia, there is an identifiable process happening since the late 1800's that has been both systematically and cunningly destructive to Christianity and all it stands for. On one hand weakening society and on the other depriving organised religious bodies of the power to rescue us. It is indeed so cunning a process that it lends further plausibility to the idea of a malevolent intelligence at work.

Then we noted that even the best intentions of humans over the past decades have gone wrong. What seemed like good ideas have had unintended bad consequences or have veered off into a destructive path. Tragically now a generation is emerging that would not and indeed could not defend itself against invasion.

We now see a last twist of the knife, our societies are being sapped of their very health, vitality and functional organisation. They will be prey to being taken over from without or within.

We are divided. There is internal hatred. There are seeming irreconcilable differences: we not only disagree but we cannot imagine how a rational human mind could even think what the other believes.

For ages Britain, Australia, the USA and some other western countries have had stable two party government. It wasn't perfect. But each party knowing that a slight shift in popularity could give government to the other party did much to keep them honest, and attentive to the electorate. So although nations were roughly evenly divided conservative / labour, or Republican / Democrat, there were two notable features – Firstly each party was pragmatic enough to do things out of the other party's play-book to make the country run better; Secondly whilst voters were loyal to their party, there was no hatred.

All this has changed. Changed in so many ways! But I will take just one.

Our nations are now divided on the very nature of what we want our society to be. This transcends party lines. And, at least on one side, it wells up to passionate hatred not just of the ideals of the other side, but of the people as well. We are nations psychologically in civil war.

Left Vs Right” is too simplistic – even if we could agree what we mean by “the Right”.

Left” is almost a usable description. “Progressive” is a term often used as a self-descriptor. Barak Obama and Hilary Clinton epitomise it in the US. The Antifas protesters, the Black lives Matter group, and the students who bar any dissenting viewpoints from being expressed on campus are all manifestations of it. But it is a multi-headed hydra. Different sections are passionate about different issues, but subliminally they all recognise each other as collaborators in a greater scheme.

That greater scheme is, simply put, a collectivist takeover of our nations.

The coordination of disparate groups and people of no discernible group to a common goal is so extraordinary that it again lends support to some invisible supra-human mastermind. Let me describe some of the themes of collectivist governments and you may recognise how different interest groups are all acting like pieces in a jigsaw puzzle fitting together to complete the picture.

Collectivist governments:
Stress the group as everything and the individual as nothing apart from its role in promoting the welfare of the group.
Stress wealth re-distribution. The famous catch-cry was: “from each according to his ability: to each according to his need”
Stress centralised control of the means of production. (ie government says what factories will be built, what and how much they will produce; sometimes even what jobs people will do and where they will work)
Destroy religion: It is seen as a threat, or at the very least in competition with the Collective for control of people's minds.
Destroy the family: Once again family ties are seen as competing with the State for control of people's minds and allegiance. Hence the classic collectivist ploy of getting children to spy on their parents and to denounce any non-conforming views.
Destroy freedom of speech and thought: The views of the collective have to be ruthlessly enforced simply because they are philosophically arbitrary. All dissenting voices and views must be suppressed.

Look around and you will see groups pushing one or more of these objectives. Attack on family, Christianity (It is the dominant religion), freedom of speech, freedom of ideas and academic thought are all too obvious at the present.

There are also groups pursuing goals that a collectivist regime would suppress once in power. The are being fostered now precisely to cripple the economies and social cohesion of our societies to facilitate a collectivist takeover. Of course whilst our societies are crippled, we may succumb to invasion first! Either way if collectivists succeed we are in for a very nasty time! This is an important issued and I will examine it next.

It is a fact of history that everywhere collectivism has been tried it has failed. The result has in every case been economic failure leading to misery and starvation, it has led to dictatorship with its secret police, gulags and concentration camps, the spread of misery, and the stifling of thought. China is perhaps the only one that has emerged out the other side of failure, and only time will tell if this was temporary and due to a temporary slackening of the reigns of centralist control.

Do we really want this for our countries?