From: Bill Crouse (bcrouse@fni.com)
Date: Sun Jan 26 2003 - 19:50:00 EST

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    1/24/2003 Vol.2 #1

    Editor: Bill Crouse


    Few today would quarrel with the assertion that the predominant =
    worldview of Europe is some form of atheistic naturalism (but maybe not =
    for long with the rising Islamic population!). At the beginning of the =
    20th Century, except for the church, which was already exhibiting a =
    limpid Christianity, most institutions of culture and higher education =
    were already atheistic. After WWII it became the paradigm of the man in =
    the street. Conversely, in America, theism, or some form of it, still =
    tops out at over 90%. However, the leaders in the dominant cultural =
    institutions, the media, arts, entertainment, and higher education, are =
    predominantly atheistic. Jonathan Ree, writing in Harper's Magazine =
    (not available online: NAO) proclaims:

             "We are all atheists now-or at least that's the way it seems. Of =
    course there are still a handful of extremists prepared to kill =
    themselves and others in the name of religion. Evangelicals have not =
    stopped working themselves into lathers about the sins of the modern =
    world, politicians find it hard to resist ostentatious professions of =
    faith, and journalists seeking a quote about ethically contentious =
    matters still turn to see sectaries of one religious tradition or =
    another. All the same, it would take more courage for most of us to =
    admit that we spend our sabbaths on bended knee or studying Holy =
    Scripture than to boast that we lounge around fornicating, getting =
    drunk, or uttering blasphemies. Atheism has somehow established itself, =
    at the beginning of the twenty-first century, as the ordinary punter's =
    default position. No less a personage than the archbishop of =
    Canterbury, Dr. George Carey, recently remarked that we have become a =
    society in which " 'tacit atheism prevails.' " The Poverty of Unbelief. =
    Pp. 13ff. (July, 2002),=20

    It was not until the 19th Century that some openly declared their faith =
    in Atheism. Some of the more notable, as most of you are no doubt =
    aware, were Marx (1818-1883), Darwin (1809-1882), Huxley (1825-1895), =
    and Freud (1856-1939). Nietschze (1844-1900), the evangel of God's =
    death, was however, one of the earliest to make it a full-blown, =
    defended worldview. He also has no peer among atheists for intellectual =
    honesty. While he proclaimed it, he was also well aware of what the =
    world would become without an infinite reference point. In my mind, he =
    is the first postmodernist and the father of existentialism. After =
    Nietschze, the British Philosopher and mathematician, Bertrand Russell =
    (1872-1970), became the champion of atheism. It's probably safe to say =
    that he is still considered atheism's most able defender, howbeit from =
    the grave. In 1948 he participated in a famous debate aired on the BBC =
    with the great historian of philosophy, Father (Frederick C.) Copleston, =
    author of the classic ten volume work on the history of philosophy. =
    This debate was later transcribed and is available in numerous books of =
    readings in philosophy of religion. It can be downloaded here: Ditext

    As a graduate student in philosophy I had to study this famous debate, =
    and in my mind, Copleston bested the British brat. However, I was =
    informed by the professor that the winner was Russell. I have since =
    learned that it was pretty much a standoff. One of the more interesting =
    moments was when Russell was pushed to explain the origin of the =
    universe, he replied: "It's just there!" It is for that reason that I =
    can say as I said earlier, that "some openly declared their faith in =
    atheism." To say that the universe "just is," is no more, or no less as =
    much a faith statement as the theistic premise that "God is =
    self-existent. All Christians who strive to have an edge in their task =
    of understanding and reaching an ever-increasing atheistic world, will =
    want to, at one point, read this famous debate.

    Since atheism is becoming "the default position," as noted in the above =
    quote, we will spend some time in future issues of RRR analyzing atheism =
    and discussing how the Christian worldview can be defended. We promise =
    to list some great resources for our readers.


    Over sixty years ago when the U.S. got into a war with Japan it was a =
    war in which we understood very little about the worldview of the enemy. =
       We had no idea about what made the average Japanese soldier tick. We =
    were in for a rude awakening, but we gradually adjusted, though it may =
    have lengthened the war and cost more in casualties. As we write, the =
    clouds of war are again gathering, and once again we need to understand =
    the worldview of the enemy. We will, in all likelihood, be going to war =
    against a dictator that the dominant media has told us little. Who is =
    Saddam Hussein? And why does our government think it necessary to spend =
    billions and risk lives of our young men and women to oust him from =
    power? Unless you know how to locate the right sources of information =
    you probably do not know much about the personal life and worldview of =
    Saddam, but now we can, thanks to this brilliant article in The Weekly =
    Standard (Nov. 11, 2002). Previously in Vol. I of RRR we wrote often =
    about fascism, noting that it was not only predominant in the last =
    century, but very much with us today, only under other aliases. Would =
    you be surprised to learn that Saddam is primarily a fascist? As a =
    young man he came under the influence of the Syrian intellectual, =
    Michael Aflaq, who studied fascism and communism at the Sorbonne in =
    Paris (that should surprise no one), and who later founded the Baath =
    party and helped elevate Saddam to power in Iraq. Saddam considers =
    himself somewhat of an intellectual, and he often attempts to portray =
    this in his speeches. David Brooks, one of our favorites, spent hours =
    researching Saddam's speeches for hints into the makeup of his mind. He =
    found that he compares to the previous Nazi racists in that Saddam =
    believes in the superiority of one race, too, except in his case, he =
    believes the Arab race is destined to be the master race and rule the =
    world. He, like Hitler his hero, believes he is destined to unite the =
    Arab world. To help destiny along he believes in violence and =
    bloodshed, a major premise of fascism, which will propel him toward that =
    end. Brooks pretty well summarizes his thesis about Saddam with this =
    quote at the beginning of his article:

    "(H)e has always presented the Arabs as the master race, whose history =
    and accomplishments are glorious. He has always had a mystical belief =
    in self-purification through warfare and killing. And most important, =
    he has always been committed to the life of relentless struggle, of =
    ever-widening wars and confrontations, of perpetual revolution, which =
    undermines all objective truth, all stability, all possibility of rest =
    and peace. He has believed all this in the name of some final and =
    transcendent conquest for himself and the Arab nation."

    One of my disappointments with this article is that I believe the author =
    should have drawn even more parallels to the Fascism of Germany. He =
    often quotes from the speeches of Saddam in which it sounds like direct =
    quotes from Mein Kampf ("My Struggle"). Brooks says,

    ".in Saddam's speeches is the concept of ascendance through perpetual =
    revolution and struggle. The word 'revolution' has a special meaning =
    for Saddam.Sometimes when you read Saddam talking about revolution you =
    think you are reading about Darth Vader talking about the dark side of =
    the Force. The revolution is everywhere. The revolution is all seeing =
    and never-ending. The revolution is God and Salvation. And somehow =
    Saddam himself is merged with his revolution."

    There is one other thing I wish Brooks had mentioned explicitly, and =
    that is Saddam's thoroughly postmodern concept of truth. He does =
    mention it, but he never uses the term. Note: Brooks says that Saddam =
    will often pontificate in his speeches by saying something like: "We =
    cannot rely on one 'true' set of criteria to make our judgments," he =
    declares, "because the changing needs of the revolution supercede =
    truth." Brooks writes:

         "In dealing with Saddam, then, we are not dealing with a normal thug =
    or bully, but with a missionary whose lofty ideology has not changed in =
    four decades, even as it has acquired, over the past few years, some =
    Islamist drapery. The ideology of Baathism calls for relentless =
    struggle, ever-widening conflict, until some ideal culmination of =
    history is achieved. The Baathist ideology makes all agreements =
    arbitrary, just as it makes all legal standards arbitrary and all truth =
    arbitrary. That which serves the needs of the revolution is true for =
    that moment. The revolution and Saddam ruthlessly abandon any truth or =
    principle or agreement that no longer meshes with the need to achieve =
    the glorious state of spiritual perfection. Breaking agreements is not =
    something Saddam does shamefacedly. It is something he does proudly. =
    It is consistent with the holy doctrine of his party.

        "The Baathist ideology requires continual conflict and bloodshed. =
    Saddam likes to call himself The Struggler, and his rule has been marked =
    by incessant strife. He led his nation through a bloody eight-year war =
    with Iran that produced World War I level casualties, a ruthless =
    campaign of genocide against the Kurds, the invasion of neighboring =
    Kuwait, ..and now another potential war with the United States and its =
    allies over weapons of mass instruction. There has been no respite."

    We urge our readers to ponder this article and then compare it with our =
    own analysis of fascism and postmodernism .


    Most of our readers are probably aware of the Intelligent Design =
    Argument (ID), as we discussed it in Vol.1 , and steered you to some =
    interesting links. That was in Dec. of 2000! Since that time the =
    debate and the body of literature has greatly increased. If you are a =
    layperson like me, understanding some of this material can be difficult, =
    as some of the publications can be a little dense. If you are upper =
    level science and philosophy you might want to tackle The Design =
    Inference by Bill Dembski. I, admittedly, have to seek out secondary =
    sources and commentary. Now if you are also in this latter category, I =
    heartily recommend the new video produced by Illustra Media. The title =
    of the video is Unlocking the Mystery of Life. It summarizes the short =
    history of the movement and features its main leaders who carefully =
    explain ID while you are shown outstanding graphics which illustrate =
    their point. Chuck Colson made these comments about the video in his =
    daily broadcast: Breakpoint . The publicity that the ID movement is =
    currently receiving in the media has the National Center of Science =
    Education in a dither, but I can assure you it's not just the publicity, =
    but the scientific arguments put forth by its able scientists. What you =
    hear from the NCSE are the same tired old mantras: "It's not science; =
    it's religion," and "They're just trying to get religion back in the =
    schools." The critique from that corner has been very feeble. If I =
    have any thing negative to say about the video, it would be that it's a =
    tad bit of overkill. It could've been shorter. It's excellent for S.S =
    classes, homeschoolers, Bible classes, science classes, or just to view =
    together as a family. We also made mention in Vol. 1 of a book that =
    really hit evolution where it hurts as it challenged some of its most =
    sacred cows. I refer to Icons of Evolution by Jonathan Wells, a convert =
    from the evolutionary perspective. Now there are two videos summarizing =
    this book. They are: Icons of Evolution, and, A Critique of Darwinist =
    Icons. These three videos may be ordered through Access Research =
    Network , a great web site to keep up with the ID movement and the =
    controversy it's generating.


    We began publishing the electronic newsletter (an E-Zine) RRR back in =
    July of 2000 as an experiment. We were not prepared for what actually =
    happened. The mailing list grew faster than we anticipated, and we =
    found we were spending an inordinate amount of time just trying to =
    maintain the list. Just one example, yesterday we did a test mailing =
    and had around 70 bounces! Some people frequently change email =
    addresses, others have mail boxes that are too full, and then there are =
    some who have spam prevention that blocks our mailing. We are currently =
    exploring several different possibilities for delivery. We also found =
    that when you are a staff of one writing a newsletter is like dairy =
    farming. You end up being married to the cows! Those cows must be =
    milked every day. But let me be quick to say that we very rarely had so =
    much fun doing what we feel we were born to do. We are going to give it =
    another try, and hope that the bugs will be worked out. In Vol. 1 we =
    did 14 issues. I do not recall getting one negative comment. =
    Everything was totally positive reinforcement for what we were trying to =

    Maintaining the mailing list and the relentless grind were not the only =
    problems we faced with the production of RRR. We had problems with the =
    hyperlinks. If you go back to our website and click on back issues you =
    will find that many of the links no longer work. I'm not sure that =
    problem will ever be overcome entirely. Newspapers and other =
    publications sometimes post current articles only to archive them a few =
    weeks later, change the URL, and then charge a fee to download them. =
    Some simply take them offline after some time has elapsed. All I can =
    tell you is that we test all our hyperlinks before we mail, and we will =
    now be keeping digital copies of all references. Perhaps there will =
    be a way in the future when people visit our site and download old =
    copies of RRR that we can somehow make sought after references =

    And one more and concluding item: CIM's entire web site is in the =
    process of makeover. We have already seen the templates and we are =
    excited. RRR will have a prominent place. We have plans for promotion, =
    and get ready for it, there will in all likelihood be a subscription fee =
    down the road-a modest one!

    For Christ and His Kingdom



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