Wednesday, April 09, 2008

The Triumph of Idealism - audio lecture by Keith Ward (online at Gresham college)

Quotes and comments;

1. We might subtitle this lecture; 'Using Kant to ward off biblical Christianity'

2. 'Immanuel Kant is widely thought of as the philosopher who undermined the possibility of metaphysics, showed that morality is completely independent of religion, and destroyed all rational arguments for God. Yet in fact his aim in philosophy was to set metaphysics on a firm foundation.'

- a firm foundation! That's rich.
- does it matter what his aim was? In a sense it does; but his intentions need not have anything much to do with what actually resulted from his efforts.
- Ward in this lecture wants to deny that Kant has had the negative influence outlined above.

3. 'Kant never went to church.... he thought it was demeaning to human dignity to kneel down... ' (despite all this he's been a big influence on protestant christianity)

- when you listen to liberals like Ward you hear a lot about various things being demeaning. To some of his crowd, the very idea of God is demeaning. The idea the bible is the word of god is demeaning to man's reason. Christ's atonement is demeaning to man's ability to save himself. God's law is demeaning. The miracles are demeaning to man's reason. And on and on it goes. To these sophisticates Christianity is just one long belittlement of man; it's utterly demeaning. The only way man can regain his self-respect is to 'demythologize' the bible and to turn Christianity into Deism or Unitarianism. To pray is demeaning. Predestination is demeaning. The creation account is demeaning. The idea of hell is demeaning. What the bible says about homosexuals is demeaning. And on and on and on it goes. Marriage is demeaning. Fidelity is demeaning. Having children is demeaning. The only escape from this horror is to embrace Humanism. (And that best way to do this is to take the Kantian hiway out of Jerusalem and to head for the humanist hills.)

3. Kant claimed we need the idea of god for morality to have weight, any influence...

- but Kant's god of course is a nothing burger. (That's technical theological lingo.) It's meaningless; a mere word. He offers us a generic god; a god that doesn't exist. It shows us Kant's naivete that he thought this view of god would have any influence on people. (Your average lib talks as if he believed in god and in the tenets of Christianity, but of course he doesn't. For a long time they fooled people, but then people caught on to the game and emptied the churches.

4. Ward tells us Kant was a transcendental idealist; and that this means he thought matter was ultimately unreal.

- I take it this means we only know are perceptions; or appearances.... of a reality very different from appearances.

5. 'You can't have knowledge of god... but you can still believe in god' ward says of Kant's view.

- Yeah right; you can believe in a god that doesn't exist. (Liberal theology in a nutshell.)

6. Liberals like Ward deny we can know god because they don't like the god presented in the bible... By adopting the mysticism of Kant they've invented for themselves an escape from god. This has the purpose of throwing the bible in the rubbish can. ("Well since we can't know god or what he wants us to do we have to do whatever we like....'') This is practical atheism, despite the weak protests of people like Ward.

7. Ward tells us Kant believed that we must use our reason to see if what the bible says makes sense; that if something strikes us as wrong we must reject it. (i.e. in favor of a 'deeper truth.) ''The bible says a wife must always obey her husband,'' Ward says, to illustrate this idea. (The audience titters at such a barbaric idea, as Ward knows they will.)

- I find repulsive all these little digs at scripture; all these twistings and distortions of what the bible says; of what orthodox biblical theology says. (You expect this of a Richard Dawkins, but not of someone whose a member of a supposedly Christian church.) He's utterly wrong in what he says. Biblical Christianity teaches that a woman is under No compulsion to break the law of god; no matter what her husband tells her.
Getting married doesn't give her the right to break the law. It's obvious to any normal person that what is being referred to are lawful commands. (Are we to believe Ward doesn't know this?)
In biblical theology (as opposed to the peculiar views of the church of england) all relationships are mediated by god's moral law, by the commandments of god. A man has no right to demand anything unlawful of his wife, and if he does it's her responsibility to defy him; nor anything immoral. (Another way of saying this is that while the husband is the head of the wife, god is the head of the man. If this language seems odd; let's say both man and wife are under the authority of god. The idea the man has some autonomous authority in the home is a pagan idea, it is not remotely christian; in fact it is anti-christian to the core. There is no room for autonomy in the christian home; not for anyone.

- ward assures us that the deeper moral truth (than the horrid vulgarities of the new testament) is that women should Not obey their husbands. (How he can pretend he's talking as a Christian I have no idea. Clearly he sets himself up as a judge for god... as did Adam and Eve.... and all rebels ever since.)
- the joke is this 'deeper' truth idea. If there is no truth how can there be 'deeper' truth? It makes no sense. If you destroy the standard nothing can be compared to it; surely that's obvious. Kant's peculiar views destroy the idea of absolute truth, of standards, and even of reality. If taken seriously he leaves a person not an inch of ground to stand on. The libs like Ward just ignore all this of course, and talk as if nothing much has happened. They still talk of truth though it doesn't exist. If all we can know is our perceptions there is no truth.

- There is no basis for any authority in the liberal model. If it's demeaning for wife to obey a husband, it's demeaning for a husband to obey a wife, and if that's demeaning it's obviously demeaning for anyone to obey anyone. But no! cries the lib; everyone must obey the liars and cheats we call politicians. Everyone must obey the State! But why? why isn't that considered demeaning? This is just arbitrary on the part of the libs. What they really want of course is for the masses to obey the educated elite. (But why isn't that considered demeaning?) They don't think wives should obey their husbands, but they want us to obey them.
But what do you get if no one obeys anyone? Anarchy. And what is the lib solution to that? Totalitarianism. (But that, apparently, is not demeaning.) If there isn't authority and hierarchy there is anarchy and chaos. The biblical solution to authority is obvious; the only alternative is political tyranny. (Liberal theologians were of course big supporters of communism; and to this day they haven't owned up to their part in the murderous carnage of those regimes.) You might think it's a tad demeaning to be a slave of the State, but you'd never know it by listening to people like Ward.

1. Not only can a man not issue illegal commands; the husband cannot make sinful commands. As he must do all things in love that leaves out any unloving commands; a man must treat his wife as himself, he must meet her needs, and have her welfare at heart, he must not provoke her to anger, he must speak only in love.... I don't know exactly what feminists like Ward are worried about then.
Let's take a real example of where this issue comes into play. A man gets a job offer in another city; he wants to go... he talks it over with his wife... and she doesn't want to go. The man says; ''well we're going anyway.... I'm sorry you don't want to go, I understand that, but we're going anyway." Should she obey her husband? The answer is yes. If she refuses to go, and he gives up the job offer, he has obeyed her. (And what if she refuses to go, should he go anyway? I don't think so.)

- so the only real objection left is this; why should it be the man who gets to make all the choices? (As if :=) i.e. 'why should it be the wife who obeys the husband, and not the husband that obeys the wife?' or 'why should it be either?' Well, the simple answer is; 'that's what god's word says.' (Some might say that this is what is natural; that it's more natural for the man to lead the woman than the woman to lead the man.) All one can say if one still wants to protest is ''I don't believe the bible is the word of god.'' If one doesn't one is not a Christian. At this point there's only one escape route left open, ''I don't believe the verses (not verse) that say this are inspired. I believe the men who wrote these things were just repeating the prejudices of the day.'' This is sometimes called the smorgasbord approach (or the pick and choose) to the bible; and again I have to say it's not an option for the christian. To say this one must have a 'higher' standard than the bible by which to judge the biblical text. But such a position is an explicit denial of what the bible says about itself. (Sorry about the grammar.) To have a higher standard is to have rejected the bible as your highest standard, and that is to deny the faith and to show that you are not a christian.

- the doctrine of wifely submission is not some onerous thing. The fact is that the bible presents us with the best (by far) model of marriage we have. Not only was it unsurpassed in ancient times, it remains so. Nowhere can you find such a sensitive, beautiful, loving view of marriage. There's nothing timid or prudish about biblical writing. The husband is to treat his wife as 'care-fully' as he would his own body. (He's commanded to love his wife as his own self.)

- I guess there's one final complaint, ''well, yes... if men Would treat their wives like this, in this ideal fashion, then wives couldn't complain about having to obey.... But they don't, do they! And it's because they don't that wives shouldn't be asked to obey." What can I say to this? I can admit its force as an argument, but I still have to insist that being a Christian means living in conformity with the commandments of God; and that means wives are required to obey their husbands.

- at this point there can't really be any arguments left. (What do you mean I'm kidding myself :=) All the feminist can do ridicule the issue with some ad hominem arguments. e.g. "Are you telling me (indignant tone of voice) that if some slob watching bowling on tv orders his wife to get him a beer from the fridge she has to obey him?"
"I don't know how that situation would arise. Remember that I'm restricting this to Christians."
"Well, let's say he's having a bad day. He's usually a nice guy, but he's mad at the world and he wants to put his wife in her place, he doesn't like the way she's been treating him lately... "
''Okay. I'm not pretending by any means that your average Christian husband is always Christ like in how he treats his wife. But let's take your scenario. Is she under an obligation to get him a beer, even though he could easily get it himself? I don't think so, but I do think she should.''
''You know what I think? I think she should tell him, ''get your own beer, and while you're there get me one."
- and there you have it; we let women have the last word.

2. Liberals pretend that the idea a woman should obey whatever her husband says (even if it's evil, venal, etc.) comes from the bible. It does not. The bible gives us a wholly different idea of both marriage and authority. It was the pagan cultures who believed this liberal caricature. (And again I ask; why is it these people want to fly under the Christian flag when they mock everything the bible says, and that orthodox theology teaches. Is it some kind of perversity?


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