Ignorance – Worse than Chains

“Ignorance, my brethren, is a mist, low down into the very dark and impenetrable abyss in which, our fathers for many centuries have been plunged. The Christians, and enlightened of Europe, and some of Asia, seeing the ignorance and consequent degredation of our fathers, instead of trying to enlighten them, by teaching them that religion and light with which God has blessed them, they have plunged them into wretchedness ten thousand times more intolerable, . . . Ignorance, as it now exits among us, produces a state of things, Oh my Lord! too horrible to present to the world.”

from: Article 2 of Appeal to the Coloured Citizens of the World;David Walker (1796-1830)

From a man who witnessed slavery first hand, the worst harm was not the whip or forced labor. The brutal exploitation was the product of a people made vulnerable by a deep state of ignorance. Is the lack of knowledge dealing with technology/science? History/heritage? Business/wealth? Formal/vocational education? No, the root of ignorance, which precedes all that has been listed, is not knowing the will of God and our identity in Him. Thus, as Walker states, the African people were already in ignorance, though now it had been worsened by people who knew the truth but decided not to live in submission to Him.

 What peoples of the world would discover, absent chains and beatings, bondage could still be inflicted by others, no less the self, so long as the people existed in ignorance. In the lack of knowledge of God’s sovereignty, we are prone to also dominate one another. After all, African, European, Asian, and Native American partook in chattel (think cattle) slavery for centuries. It is easy to treat beings as objects when you refuse to acknowledge anything resembling the dignity of being created in the image of God. Indeed, a person has to live in if not deceitfully feign ignorance of this truth, that they may raise up the things previously mentioned in their image.

A state of social status is not the primary issue for an individual’s life. Ignorance of the truths pertaining to God’s will is the underlying evil for society/culture in the long-run. Walker and other black souls were born into or achieved freedman status due to the controversial argument in law that they were creations of the Creator. Generations later, succeeding the era after the national abolition of slavery, whites and blacks were almost equally targeted for cheap labor, both as free citizens. It was common for slaves not to be permitted to learn to read, even the Bible. Why? If the enslaved masses knew what Scripture said, they would make poor cattle. The same could be said for whites who recognized that this unholy institution was a blight on everything they held dear.

Those who were more mindful of the things of Christ treated their property more as human than beasts of burden. Because of this defiance of custom, which declared in some form slaves must be kept in spiritual ignorance, state governments, eventually national (Union & Confederacy), increased their stranglehold on these people. Most so Southerners, people intimately acquinted with the God given humanity of blacks, were systematically forced by law to be more ignorant or at least pretend when it came to the truth. Politics and economics were prioritized above His divine rule of law.

Walker was not shy of chastizing American government for its folly handling the image of God in public policy. Far as he was concerned, only sincerely devout Christ followers witheld the wrath that would befall the nation, the Lord letting the mountainous weight of ingorance crush Northern and Southern ideals.

“Now the avaricious Americans, think that the Lord Jesus Christ will let them off, because his words are no more than the words of a man! In fact, many of them are so avaricious and ignorant, that they do not believe in our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Tyrants may think they are so skilled in State affairs is the reason that the government is preserved. But I tell you, that this country would have been given up long ago, was it not for the lovers of the Lord. They are indeed, the salt of the earth. Remove the people of God among the whites, from this land of blood, and it will stand until they cleverly get out of the way.”

from: Article 4 of Appeal to the Coloured Citizens of the World

Whether technically slave or free, ignorance can bind the soul making one into a simultaneous brute and tyrant. Regardless of status, to be lead by vice is to not be at liberty. How many people with much are envious? Wrathful? In despair? Possess a spirit of defeat? Imagine, the consequences of a generation ignorant perhaps even scorning the things of God. To care not for what they ought to do for their fellow man in obedience to Christ. To view others and also themselves as animals, each with their own authority of right. Will giving them knowledge of economy, technology, politics, and/or fine art cure us of this natural state of lashing out in pride and cruelty? Less we think too highly of ourselves, believing to be more moral and enlightened than our ancestors, such knowledge will only be tools for self-destruction in the long-term.

“This I say, therefore, and testify in the Lord, that you should no longer walk as the rest of the Gentiles walk, in the futility of your mind, having their understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God, because of the ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness of their heart; who, being past feeling, have given themselves over to lewdness, to work all uncleaness with greed.

But you have not so learned Christ, if indeed you have heard Him and have been taught by Him, as the truth is in Jesus: that you put off, concerning your former conduct, the old man which grows corrupt according to the deceitful lusts, and be renewed in the spirit of your mind, and that you put on the new man which was created according to God, in true righteousness and holiness.”

Ephesians 4:17-24

I am not an Intellectual

It is time to make a subtle yet significant change for this blog. The title of this post is a reminder of what my soul is impassioned by. Following much prayer and feedback from readers, I am realizing the natural writing style grown since childhood. Instead of treatise and essay like posts, the delivery will be more akin to prose, narrative and letters. After all, a story and/or message that is from the heart, though seeks the true, good, and beautiful, is more welcoming to the mind than academic dissertation.

Truly, I am neither an intellectual nor an academic. The final steps were never made to take up such a way of life. By the word of a number of my teachers and professors, the door was around the corner. Still, I desired it not. In fact, as time passed the realm of formal learners is quite unattractive. Yes, I do enjoy the old great books of the humanities – history, theology, philosophy, classic literature etc. Secondarily, a general knowledge of various fields, including mathematics and science, but the vast majority of academia is too concerned with mortal wisdom, people secular as well as Christian.

The professional non-believing world is over all a front of excellency for vain efforts of research and education. It is propped up opinions made by proud people, who believe that critique and ‘popular opinion’ is the basis of learning. “Truth is knowledge for knowledge sake,” which is something of shared thought. Of course, when asked what is truth, the matching response is along the lines of “What people believe/want.” Strange, how individuals such as myself are mocked for believing in God, especially the resurrected Christ. This kind of thinking is sown down into kindergarten classes. I digress. More on this in due time.

In Christian circles of thought, along with more rigorously academic secular/pagan institutions, actual knowledge of writers/thinkers is digested not just commented on in irrelevant fashion. Now, the trap is when the former imitates the latter in the prime valuing of human wisdom over the ultimate wisdom of God. A mix of the works of ‘Athens and Jerusalem’ did create the marvel of Western civilization. Most do not forget this heritage is wrought with sin and ignorance, just like our present. It is the will of the King of Jews and Gentiles that is the way to truth so we may live. Aye, an invitation for an existence to be as Christ, fearing only God, on our way to His heavenly kingdom.

Thus I do hope and pray that I embrace how the Lord guides me to share in word. May there be a degree of eloquence but simplicity. Also like the Gospel, not relevant to mere human understanding but edifying to the soul. What is it worth to gain all the knowledge of Western civilization (& beyond) but still lose our souls in our ignorance of knowing God amid our prosperity? The prophet Isaiah spoke of Christ:

“But a shoot shall sprout from the stump of Jesse, and from his roots a bud shall blossom. The spirit of the Lord shall rest upon Him: a spirit of wisdom and of understanding, A spirit of counsel and of strength, a spirit of knowledge and of fear of the Lord, and His delight shall be the fear of the Lord. Not by appearance shall He judge, nor by hearsay shall He decide, But He shall judge the poor with justice, and decide aright from the land’s afflicted. He shall strike the ruthless with the rod of His mouth, and with the breath of His lips He shall slay the wicked. Justice shall be the band around His waist, and faithfulness a belt upon His hips. . . . There shall be no harm on ruin on all my holy mountain; for the earth shall be filled with knowledge of the Lord, as water covers the sea.”

Isaiah 11: 1-5; 9

Until the reign of Christ the King over us proud ignorant people of the world, I am to become more a herald of His Gospel in word and life. May I remain broken in will, for like John the Baptist I am too unworthy to even loosen the sandals of His feet. Be blessed, my dear readers. Learn, grow, and create as God commands in His holy word.

Morality of Modern Science

The title is quite strange. There are advocates of scientific process whom acknowledge it as a human practice. Strangely, there are others who also regard it as the way to human progress. Studying the natural world will eventually rid the world of its ills, that is if the people of the world embrace a scientific literacy to likewise promote said research endeavors. In “A Scientific Society – the Beginnings,” Glenn T. Seaborg, appointed Chair of the United States Atomic Energy Commission in 1961, summarized the relationship between secular science and morals, “Beyond these principles, my confidence in freedom is based upon a personal faith, originating in my interpretation of human experience [history], to which one must appeal when scientific data are lacking or inconclusive.” Yes, science is a fine tool that will change the world for the better, though unlike idealists, there is a recognition that it is subject to individual whims.

Now, the will of the individual is not necessarily a worrisome thing when one believes a person can be near perfect. If man is not mindful of a sinful state, all he needs is the right method of living to succeed. Remember, to have sin is not necessarily to be evil, yet one is vulnerable to error, no less degrees of vice. To confidently be certain in a human method is only inviting pride before an imminent fall. Science is surely a gift from God to understand Creation for worshipful fulfillment of His command for us to have fruitful dominion. What happens to our ambitions in nature upon directing our ambition away from divine authority? According to early proponent of modern scientific education, Thomas Huxley in the late 19th century:

“They must learn that social phenomena are as much the expression of natural laws as any others; that no social arrangements can be permanent unless they harmonize with the requirements of social statics and dynamics; and that, in the nature of things, there is an arbiter whose decisions execute themselves. . . And, if the evils which are inseparable from the good of political liberty, are to be checked, . . . it will be because men will gradually bring themselves to deal with political, as they now deal with scientific questions;”

from: “Science and Culture” (1880)

Whether it is the realism or Weaver or the optimism of Huxley, human will is at the helm of destiny. My favorite atheist thinker, Friedrich Nietzsche, (1844-1900) witnessed the rise of modern science. He had two takes on people who emerge from this academic field. From the shared secular position of man being the highest mind, authority could swing democratic to totalitarian. After all, not all minds are equally desiring of a greater cause, personal or social. We will be diving into what he had to say about scientists in his “On the Genealogy of Morals”.

Nietzsche’s atheism did not possess a preference for scientific research. It was neither a way to prosperity nor a self-correcting method of natural revelation. He observed the people behind it. There were certainly individuals he found to be admirable. Still, he had this to say, “science today is a hiding place for every kind of discontent, disbelief, gnawing worm, despectio sui [disdain of their own kind], bad conscience – it is the unrest of the lack of ideals, the suffering from the lack of any great love,”. For Nietzsche the majority, more so so-called “free thinkers”, were too people of belief/faith, except they lacked active conviction.

Despite not adhering to the presence of original sin, Nietzsche found that scientists (& academics across the board) would fail to initiate anything resembling the optimism of Huxley’s call to check social evils. There is no universal method for all men to follow, so that the ills of the world can be erased. There are men who will boldly, stubbornly execute “a philosophy, a “faith,” [which] must always be there first of all, so that science can acquire from it a direction, a meaning, a limit, a method, a right to exist.” Just like Weaver’s realism about practicing science, it will be used for whatever motivations of the individual. Weaver did think things would improve in the long-run, hence his advocacy for scientific education. Nietzsche, the man who declared “God is dead” within human value, posed a challenging statement to “modern science”:

“Has man perhaps become less desirous of a transcendental [non-materialistic] solution to the riddle of his existence, now that this existence appears more arbitrary, beggarly, and dispensable in the visible order of things? . . . Alas, the faith in the dignity and uniqueness of man, in his irreplaceability in the great chain of being, is a thing of the past – he has become an animal, literally and without reservation or qualification, he who was, according to his old faith, almost God (“child of God,” “God-man”).”

from: section 25 of “On the Genealogy of Morals” (1887) 

I am quite certain that us mortals are capable of much evil as well as good, struggling to discern between the two. Thereby, a progressing road to perfection seems strongly unlikely. Well, holding to original sin, no chance. Regardless, science is a human tool susceptible to human failure. If divinely created by God as said in Scriptures, then at least we are not alone, able to have an eternal covenant with a just and merciful Sovereign. As for simply coming into existence, we are at each other’s mercy, with varying views of justice.

Think I am being a pessimist about contemporary science? Check the YouTube link below for current info on the practical realities of the field.

https://youtu.be/LfHEuWaPh9Q – “The Crisis of Science” February 22nd 2019

“For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse, because, although they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God, nor were thankful, but became futile in their thoughts, and their foolish hearts were darkened. Professing to be wise, they became fools, and changed the glory of the incorruptible God into an image made like corruptible man – and birds and four-footed animals and creeping things.”

Romans 1:20-23