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Monday, 15 August 2011

Hidden Agendas ...

I have been watching, with some interest, the stream of anti-Christian innuendo and briefing in the media for some time. One of the more irritating is the description of the Oslo murderer as a "Christian Extremist" merely on the grounds that he apparently visited some 'extreme' Christian websites. The fact that he was never a member of any church or congregation, held views that were extremely critical of Christian precepts and then went on to carry out a mass murder attack in complete contravention of everything the Gospels teach, is apparently irrelevant to a good anti-Christian headline.

Recent conversations with my children and comments I have seen posted to blogs that are Christian in character, made me do a bit more digging. What emerges is that many of the Atheist and Humanist 'information' leaflets and 'teaching information packs' actually contain material which ignorant teachers are taking as fact, when it is not.

The object of the exercise is to undermine the single book which underpins our faith. The Bible is described in many of the tracts I have seen as "composed by different authors and much amended by the church, to reflect a questionable 'history' for which there is little archeological evidence." The early books, namely the Pentateuch, the "Five Books" of Moses, are dismissed as "fantasy," a collection of fairy-tales and fantasies. The material I have seen cites Egyptologists as saying "there is no reference to Moses or the Israelites on any Ancient Egyptian monument. Given that the Egyptians had a habit of defacing any monument to any ruler who fell out of favour, or was overthrown, and you have to question that. They also had a good 'spin' going on other things.

Ramses II is generally depicted as always 'triumphant' yet other records from other kingdoms of the time show that he and his armies regularly got beaten and chased out of territories they invaded. The fact is that there may even be a mismatch between the currently accepted "dating" used by Egyptologists where they have the dates of the Pharaohs arranged consecutively, when in fact quite a number of them may have reigned simultaneously. Then there is the city excavated in the delta which actually fits a number of the Biblical description, and contains a deliberately destroyed important tomb and many defaced monuments. The official line is that it is the "wrong period" to be the city mentioned in the Bible, but you also have to recognise that the Muslim World does not want anything which would 'prove' any aspect of the Bible as it would legitimise the Jewish claims to Israel.

Turning to the next set of 'books' in the Bible we have Judges, Samuel, Kings and Chronicles. These are fragments of the originals, probably the work of many scholars piecing together remembered fragments of destroyed earlier 'Court' records. The current form of these books dates from the return from exile of the leading families after the nation was overrun and suppressed by the Babylonian invasions. How accurate are they? Probably pretty close to the original, though very incomplete. Ironically records from the southern Arabian peninsula, Oman and even Babylon (Modern Iraq) suggest that there is far more truth in these books than any archeologist is prepared to admit for fear, possibly, of upsetting their Muslim friends who control access to the sites they want to examine. Politics there fore dictate that anything which supports anything in the Old Testament must be suppressed. That, of course, plays directly into the hands of the Atheist and Humanist Secularisers who wish to destroy Christianity.

Destroy the Book which provides the foundations of Faith - and you destroy faith.

The remaining books of the Old Testament fall into a category which may be more readily labelled as "philosophy." The Prophets of old certainly wrote with passion and fire in their hearts and pens and one of the things any open minded reader soon spots is that many of the things they raged against in their society are observable in our own. Human nature certainly doesn't change a great deal and hasn't in the 3,000 odd years since those ancient writers began compiling these books. The books contain poetry, allegorical stories and political commentary, some of that last, again, is very close to the bone for some of our present political ideas.

Does their being "philosophical" make them any less valid than, say, the writings of Bertrand Russell? I would say no, but I can hear the screams of rage from the Atheist community even as I write. Certainly much of the historical reference they make is slowly being verified, though not without huge amounts of opposition, obfuscation and resistance from those for whom the Bible is an "enemy" artifact to be destroyed at all costs.

Our children are also painstakingly taught that the entire Gospel story is a fantasy, invented by the Roman Catholic Church in some of the more pointed papers, to "enslave" the hearts and minds of the gullible. According to what at least two of my children were taught, the crucifixion and the resurrection are pure fantasy, the invention of people trying to overthrow the religious leaders of the time. They draw heavily for this on later Gnostic Heresy documents and, when these are exposed as false, fall back on the arguments that "there is no mention of Jesus in any historical record of the period." This is not, in fact, true, but it depends on what you refer to as a "record" and how you read it. There is a brief reference in the "Histories" of Josephus, but more tellingly, there is a record of the fact that Pontius Pilate seriously botched something which led to his being replaced and sent to a lesser post as far as possible from Rome. That, plus the fact that he eventually committed suicide.

It is also not surprising that no records survive of these events in Jerusalem, the Romans made sure of that when they raised the Temple and Jerusalem in 70AD. The Sanhedrin records and all the Temple records were thoroughly and systematically destroyed. All the noble Jewish families were imprisoned, sold off as slaves and sent into exile all over the Roman Empire. Where the Babylonians probably left at least some in situ, the Romans made very sure that only peasants and workers remained. And they then went on the rampage against the Christians as well.

For me, perhaps the most conclusive proof that Christianity is founded on truth, is the fact that there was such a determined effort to erase all evidence of the events described in Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. The story, the evidence and the faith survived that and I'm pretty sure it will survive this latest assault. It was said by a far greater author than I, that the absence of faith does not mean an absence of belief. Now those who are faithless will believe in everything ...

As a Christian I am tired of being told by the terminally ignorant, that "there is no historical proof of anything in the Bible" or that "The Church" teaches that the earth is flat, that we are the centre of the universe or any of the other zany "evidence" they can and do dredge up from the extremities of faith. It is time for those of mainstream belief to stand up and refuse to accept these canards any longer. Does this make me an "extreme" Christian?

No it does not, but it does mean that, from now on, I intend to demand the same respect for my beliefs from public organisations and commentators that they show for atheists, humanists, Muslims, Buddhists, Hindus, Gays, Lesbians and everyone else that my Faith apparently offends. The laws that 'protect' the rights of all these others also 'protect' me and those who share my beliefs - it's time to start demanding their even handed application. It is time to expose the "hidden" agenda behind these assaults.

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