Monday, October 12, 2020

Clashing Worldviews between kingdoms in conflict

 I’ve made several claims in the previous blog posts. Pulling the lever for Trump does not necessarily amount to an endorsement for the man, but could be a legitimate strategic move to block the progressive takeover of the country. By the same token, pulling the lever for Biden does not necessarily amount to an endorsement of abortion, but could be a legitimate strategic move to get rid of Trump, whose character is viewed as a cancer on the body politic.

Genuine Bible-believing Christians can (legitimately) find themselves on opposite sides of this see-saw, and it is important to the unity of the Church that we not slander one another in our disagreements. It boils down to what you consider the more compelling negative factor as you attempt to glorify God in the exercise of your stewardship to vote: the dismal character of Donald Trump, or the dangerous trajectory of the Democratic party. There is inescapable cognitive dissonance no matter which path you take. There is no decision in this election year exempt from critique—including my own. I do consider my argument to be compelling; I do not consider it to be bullet-proof.

From a wisdom perspective, however, in my opinion the choice does not amount to a zero-sum moral equivalence. I don’t see the two options as roughly equal, and this is because of the overt and aggressive hostility the various factions of the progressive movement take toward biblical Christianity. I view it as self-evident that the Democratic leadership is joined at the hip to the progressive movement; the Republicans are not so joined.

When I say that the Democratic party and its closely associated progressive movement are deeply hostile against Christianity, I’m not talking about the average Joe but the cultural and political leaders, the organizers, thinkers and philosophers of the movement. I am not referring to the genuine Christians who feel compelled to pull the Dem lever because of the terrible deficits on the Republican side. I have before stated my belief that Christians following their convictions can be on either side of this binary choice based on which factors seem to them to be more weighty.

So how is the trajectory of the progressive movement and their Democratic enablers deeply hostile against biblical Christianity? Perhaps the most critical is in their view of the nature of truth and reality, but that’s a pretty complex topic, so I won’t deal with it in this post. I’ll identify five critical areas that can be readily understood.

Sanctity of Life

The abortion movement is killing living persons in the womb at a genocidal rate. Think about it: from 2007 to 2016 nearly as many living human beings were slaughtered in the womb as comprised the entire combined populations of Washington DC, Wyoming, Vermont, Alaska, North Dakota, South Dakota, Delaware, Rhode Island, and Montana. The abortions reported to the CDC during that ten-year period were 7,211,569 [CDC figures]; the combined estimated populations of those states in 2019 were 7,388,666 [Wikipedia]. The abortions reported to the CDC in that period are over seven times the high estimate of the Rwandan genocide in 1994 [Wikipedia]. It’s almost impossible to find a federal-level Democratic politician that will even consider the most modest limitations on abortion. And yet, Psalm 139 clearly indicates life begins at conception, and is precious to God.

The burgeoning industry of euthanasia is another evidence of the progressive disregard for the sanctity of life. The states permitting euthanasia are California, Colorado, Hawaii, Maine, New Jersey, Oregon, Vermont, Washington. Every single one is reliably progressive and was controlled by the Democratic party and Democratic governors when they passed bills legalizing euthanasia. “Whoever sheds man’s blood, By man his blood shall be shed, For in the image of God He made man.” (Genesis 9:6)

Human Sexuality

The Bible clearly states that God created mankind “male and female” (Genesis 1:27). The progressives of the Democratic Party have bought into the notion that gender is unrelated to one’s biological sex, that both gender and sex are socially constructed, and that gender is fluid and is a matter of personal choice from a palette of unlimited possibilities. Besides being a stunning disconnect from objective reality, this notion has led to conflict even among progressives: feminists, for instance, insist there is something unique to a woman’s experience, whereas the trans movement insists that anyone (including men) can be women—there is nothing unique about it.

The progressive insistence that gender and sex are not objective realities but mere social constructs has resulted in mind-boggling legislation harmful to women, ranging from permitting biological men in women’s locker rooms to allowing biological males to compete in women’s sports. California’s Governor Newsom signed a bill on September 29th that permits convicted criminals who claim to be “trans women” (i.e. biological males who identify as females) to be housed in womens’ prisons. This is not going to end well for some women sharing cells with “trans women.”

Some individuals desire help in regaining a normal gender/sexual identity through what is called conversion therapy. The progressive movement has pushed both sides of the aisle to ban conversion therapy in many states and cities across the country. In other words, you are permitted to enter the LGBTQ+ lifestyle, but you are never permitted to leave it. There undoubtedly are some “therapeutic” techniques that should be banned, but a general ban on helping someone reacquire a normal sense of identity simply reveals the intolerance of the progressives. They employ the law to force others to comply with their ideology.

It’s sad enough that the progressives encourage and enable such confusion, but it’s tyrannical when they try to force everyone else to enter into the delusion. Unwilling to tolerate those who disagree, the progressives demand that people use language perpetuating the lie or risk their jobs. People have already lost careers and been mobbed on social media because they refuse to use the “proper pronoun.” While many Republican politicians tolerate gender confusion and don’t legislate to restrict it, the Democratic politicians aggressively promote it and criminalize opposition to it.

The claim that gender and sexuality are social constructs, and that one can freely choose his identity is not a morally neutral position. Instead, it reveals deep hostility and rebellion against the sovereign God who created us as male and female.

Marriage and the Family

Whereas the Bible indicates marriage is between one man and one woman, and uses that model to illustrate the reality of the relationship between Christ and the church, progressives have changed the definition of marriage to include homosexual relationships and altered the definition of a family to include polyamory, among other things. They have also been very successful in lobbying for the privilege of adopting children into these distorted relationships, thus creating additional confusion in the minds of children.

This is an attack on the basic social unit of society upon which nations are built. Stable families are essential to a flourishing civilization. But not content to redefine marriage from a legal standpoint, the progressives are attempting through legislative and judicial means to make Christians celebrate the perversion. A classic example of the progressives’ use of the force of law can be seen in the multiple cases brought against Colorado’s Masterpiece Cakeshop, first in trying to compel the baker to create a custom wedding cake celebrating a same-sex marriage, and then trying to force the baker to create a custom cake celebrating a gender transition. Jack Phillips does not refuse to serve homosexuals or transgenders—he simply refuses to apply his custom artistry in support of that which violates his religious convictions. The Colorado Civil Rights Commission, which along with the plaintiffs pursued prosecution against Phillips, was found by the US Supreme Court to be overtly hostile to Phillips’ Christian convictions. It is precisely such an atmosphere of open hostility to biblical Christianity that is energized by the progressive movement and their Democratic enablers. It is rapidly gaining the force of law across the land.

Parental Sovereignty

Whereas the Bible gives parents the responsibility for raising children, the progressive movement views children as better served by coming under state supervision and state-mandated education. For example, Elizabeth Bartholet (identified by the Harvard Gazette as a “nationally renowned child welfare expert, and as the faculty director of the Child Advocacy Program at Harvard Law School”) is agitating for a “radical transformation in homeschooling.” She claims that the state should strictly regulate homeschooling to ensure that children are not being abused (by their parents, no less!). She’s concerned that children are not learning basic academic skills, and that they aren’t “getting the kind of exposure to alternative views that enables them to exercise meaningful choices about their future lives.” Referring to families with religious convictions, she claims that children in those families might not be able to choose to “exit these ideological communities” and that “society may not have the chance to teach them values important to the larger community, such as tolerance of other people’s views…” Aside from the fact that the progressive movement is the single most intolerant collection of ideologies to appear in a long time, her concerns would be laughable if they weren’t taken so seriously by progressives.

There are multiple problems with her assertions. For one, the state is not doing a particularly good job at present protecting children from abuse, as anyone who brushes up against the system can see, and Bartholet conveniently does not mention the bullying and abuse (sometimes even sexual) that goes on in the public schools. Secondly, many public schools are doing a decidedly mediocre job teaching basic academic skills. Third, her statement about “alternative views” and “meaningful choices” are fine for her to exercise with her own children, but neither she nor the state has the right to impose her values on families that hold different values. Christians aren’t interested in their children being indoctrinated with “values important to the larger community,” but rather in passing along their own values to the children (which, historically, have included values which make for excellent communities). The progressive movement only goes in one direction: greater government regulation and control, and enforcement of their values by force of law.

Socialism

The progressive movement and their Democratic enablers is pushing socialism as a means of ensuring equal outcomes for all people. On the one hand, I share the desire that every person should be valued and treated fairly and justly in all aspects—it is a proper goal towards which we should all strive. But people are different (i.e., possessing genuine diversity), with different natural abilities, different interests, different motivations, different commitments, and different values—which means the only way to achieve equal outcomes is by government force.

The end-goal of socialism is expressed in a statement employed by Karl Marx: “from each according to his ability, to each according to his needs.” The idea was that when socialism finally buds into full flower there will be such a supply of goods and services that there will be enough to provide for everyone. Socialism assumes that each worker will work to maximum efficiency, not because he is individually rewarded for it, but out of a natural altruism. Socialism assumes that no one will cheat, no one will be lazy, no one will hoard or collect more than he needs, and that no official of the state will abuse his position or role in the distribution of goods. Socialism assumes the benevolent redistributive power of the state. And because there is no legitimate creation of wealth in a socialist construct, socialism also assumes that the presence of wealth is prima facie evidence of oppression.

Ideological socialism is both atheistic (God does not exist) and idolatrous (the State is the ultimate reality and ultimate authority). Socialism therefore denies the most fundamental facts of human nature: first, that man is created in the image of God. With the loss of this truth, you lose genuine inalienable rights; instead your rights are whatever the State says they are, and can be changed at the State’s whim. You also have the loss of the inherent dignity of each human life. Old people a drag on your economy or lifestyle? How about a little euthanasia to take care of the problem? Is that pregnancy interfering with your goals? Why not kill the baby? When the dignity, equality, and value of each person is not set by a transcendent, sovereign Creator, the table is set for racism.

The second fundamental fact socialism denies is that man is born a sinner, with a powerful self-interest that trumps all other interests. This denial alone commits socialism to unending failure, as it is a denial of a fundamental human reality. Socialism cannot work because people are not naturally altruistic. A fascinating observtion is that every strongly socialistic economy has a flourishing capitalistic black market running just below the surface. Why? The success of socialist ideology did not create it—rather, the abject failure of socialism necessitated it.

Every society requires some proper level of benevolence on the part of the government in order to help the helpless and protect the disadvantaged. America is no exception—we have a necessary social safety net. But that’s not socialism. The closer a government moves toward controlling the means of production, and the greater the percentage of personal income levied as tax for redistributive purposes, the closer that government edges toward socialism, which will ultimately issue in tyranny and failure.

Having denied the sin nature of man, socialism takes a reductionistic view of man: man is no longer morally responsible, but is a basically good blank slate that can be molded at will through education, indoctrination, and reprogramming. Is Joe a misogynist? Send him to sensitivity training. Is Suzy a racist? Send her to a diversity reeducation camp. Is Bill a criminal? All he needs is education.

Because socialism does not believe in the universal sin nature of man, it is incapable of restraining it through the philosophical structure of the system. Which explains why all socialism—all progressivism—eventually turns brutally repressive. Repression is the only way it can stem the natural inclination of its citizens. It also explains why the lie is such a common thread in the fabric of socialism (North Korea being a prime example): you cannot admit the utopia has failed, so you must obfuscate that fact through deception: “war is peace; freedom is slavery; ignorance is strength.”

The Democratic leadership, in lockstep with progressives, is moving in an inevitable trajectory toward full-bore socialism. The Republican party is not. The Democrats have gained virtually all the cultural levers of power in America and are politically ascendant. The party leadership has joined itself to radical progressivism, which now provides both the reigning ideology and the emotional energy of the party. It is a dangerous combination, in my opinion.

In Closing

In both my blog posts and my book The Candidate, I have excoriated the Republican leadership for its failures to hold to the Constitution and the conservative principles of small government and individual responsibility. I’m not so partisan that I cannot openly condemn the failures of either the Republican party or conservatism in general. In both my writing and my preaching I have often said there is nothing stinkier than Christless conservatism.

I do not back off from that opinion in these series of posts. What I am advocating is that the demonstrable and accelerating trajectory of the progressive movement and their Democratic enablers poses a far greater danger than the offensive character of Donald Trump. Trump is an anomaly, not a revolution or a trajectory. Other than Trump himself, you’re not going to be able to cite any movement-wide tendency in the leadership of the Republican party towards racism, white-supremacy, or unconstitutional tyranny.

I don’t hold out much hope for this country. I believe we are now experiencing the righteous judgment of God for our national sins. But when I pull the lever for Trump, I will not be voting for an offensive character, I will be voting against the trend of this present darkness sweeping over our land. Perhaps God will have mercy on our sinful nation.

Tuesday, September 29, 2020

Personalities and Parties and the stewardship of kingdoms in conflict

The culture today does not like binaries, but like it or not this election is a binary situation: Biden vs Trump, the Dems vs the Repubs, Progressives vs Conservatives. You can’t get away from it, and you can’t honestly deny it.

Yes, you can refuse to vote—which I think is a failure on your part to exercise your stewardship. Or you can vote for a third party or write-in candidate, which can be a legitimate, Christ-honoring decision. At least you are voting your conscience.

At the end of the day, however, the result is an inescapable binary: Biden will win, or Trump will win. No matter who you vote for, or even if you refuse to vote, your stewardship of your earthly citizenship is going to be a factor contributing to whomever wins or loses. You are playing a part in the outcome: it’s unavoidable.

There are personalities on the ticket: Biden/Harris, Trump/Pence. A significant portion of the voting public will use their vote to express their like/dislike, respect/disdain for the personalities on the ticket. Character counts.

We pause from our regularly scheduled post for a personal confession: in 2016 I voted third party because I could not bring myself to vote for a character as offensive as Donald Trump. I wrote posts against Donald Trump, because I believed (and still believe) that character counts. My vote four years ago was a considered exercise of the stewardship of my Christian responsibility to engage with this fallen world. This year, however, I will pull the lever for Trump. My reasons will become clear as you read. It has far more to do with worldview than with Trump, Republicans, politics or power. More on that in a minute.

Character does count. The character of our leaders provides a (hopefully) good model for our kids. It creates (or destroys) the president’s credibility with not only world leaders, but our own legislators. It signals to the society at large what sort of behavior is going to be considered acceptable. Character is vital.

But in a presidential election, character is not the only factor; sometimes it isn’t even the most urgent factor. When we are electing a president, we are also electing a party along with its platform and its historic trajectory.

A party’s platform is comprised of its stated intentions in a variety of different areas, typically including things like fiscal priorities, domestic priorities, foreign policy, defense, entitlements and so forth. Usually some portion of the platform is successfully implemented during a president’s term while other portions wind up getting blocked, depending on who controls the Congress.

Everyone knows about platforms, but what about trajectories? Trajectories have to do with where a party has taken the country in the past; in other words, what the party has actually accomplished. The trajectory of a political party is the best, most reliable indicator of where it is going in the future. Trajectory reveals the direction and speed of momentum, regardless of the personalities on the ticket. Presidents come and go, but the momentum of the party tends to continue along the same basic lines it has established in the past.

You can look back fifty years and observe the trajectories established by the two major parties. The Republican party has stood for a conservative, originalist interpretation of the Constitution, conservative moral values, the sanctity of life, support of the family, parental sovereignty, educational choice, freedom of religion, limited government. The sins of the Repubs are many, and I have written about these. Crony capitalism, fiscal irresponsibility, graft, corporate welfare, plenty of examples of high-profile hypocritical moral failure—its all there in the Republican party. But with all its failures, the overall trajectory of the Republican party has been to stay the course and stick to the Constitution.

Over the past fifty years the trajectory of the Democratic party has been very different. While there have been good things produced by the party, the historic path has been a full-bodied support of the sexual revolution, a non-negotiable fanatical support for virtually unrestricted abortion, a growing love of socialism and redistribution, a growing hatred of America and its history, a diminishing of parental sovereignty and the importance of families, limitations on educational choice, encouraging dependence on government, and viewing the Constitution as a “living document” that can be interpreted in whatever way the culture demands.

This momentum in the Democratic party, especially with regard to the LGBTQ+ movement in the last 15 years, has been breathtaking. It is accelerating rapidly, to the point that our country in four years probably will not bear a great deal of resemblance to the America of 2000.

Perhaps you prefer the path on which the Democrats are taking the country. Perhaps you prefer the Republican’s path. Whatever your preference, the trajectories are undeniable—and the party you put in power with your vote will continue its trajectory regardless of the particular personality at the helm.

I published a novel in August, 2016, entitled The Candidate. It was about a fictional character, Henry Marshall, who found himself an independent candidate in a presidential election. Many who read that novel contacted me to say they wished they could vote for Henry Marshall. So do I. But we can’t. Marshall is not on the ticket. The binary possibility is Biden or Trump.

Given the quandary this election presents, I believe that a straightforward vote based on the candidate is not necessarily the wisest decision—in fact, it might be rather short-sighted. Far, far more important in this election is the fact that we are choosing between two well-established, undeniable trajectories. One is aggressively hostile against Christianity, against families, against moral sanity. One is not. When you are presented with the difficult choices this election represents, I am suggesting that what Christians should vote for is trajectory, not personalities.

Many people are not voting FOR as much as they are voting AGAINST. In other words, some Christians are not voting FOR abortion when they pull the lever for Biden (though some are), they are voting AGAINST Trump. Other Christians are not voting FOR Trump (though some are) when they pull his lever, they are voting AGAINST the established Democratic trajectory that threatens the moral sanity and well-being of the country. In fairness to one another, when we disagree we must not accuse each other of moral compromise, because most Christians caught in this Gordian knot will be honestly voting their conscience. But we are going to have to live with the extended consequences of our vote.

My goal is to persuade your conscience that this year, in this difficult election, the weightiest, wisest consideration is not the character of the two men involved (important though that consideration is), but the trajectories their respective parties have established. Given the established record of the past, where will the winning party take the country in the future? Do you really want to live there? Do you want your children to live there?

When you vote for a trajectory, you are voting for a worldview. In my next post I’ll give evidence of the deeply hostile, aggressive posture of the progressive movement (to which the Democratic party is beholden) toward biblical Christianity.

Monday, September 28, 2020

Biden, Trump, and the stewardship of kingdoms in conflict

 We are living in a day in which Bible-believing Christians seem to have difficulty connecting the bright lines of Scripture to the dots of life. One of the spheres in which this is readily apparent is that of politics.

Having said that, let me quickly affirm that God is not a Republican or a Democrat. Some of you might be shocked to learn He’s not a Libertarian, either. He is not a liberal or conservative. He doesn’t belong to the now-defunct Moral Majority, nor is He hiding out in the chapel of Liberty University. God does not fit under human rubrics or categories. Quite the opposite, in fact. Humans fit under His rubric as either Christ followers or rejectors.

It’s possible that Christians have lost the ability to interact profitably with the political world because we have an amazing citizenship that trumps all others: our citizenship is in heaven and we are participants in the reign and rule of Christ. Sometimes pastors and theologians can speak and teach as if that’s the only citizenship that matters. We’re told not to be concerned about elections because “no matter who wins, God is still on the throne.”

Well, of course He is. But that sort of statement can be little more than Christian fatalism, and can potentially be very irresponsible. God is wholly sovereign over all things, yes, but the Bible also teaches that our actions are consequential (Galatians 6:7, James 5:16). We make a difference by what we do. (Contact me in about two thousand years, and maybe I can shed some light on the paradoxical mystery between divine sovereignty and human responsibility.)

The point is that we also have earthly citizenships, and while they must never take priority over our heavenly one, neither can they be neglected. Our opportunity to rub shoulders with fellow earthly citizens is a stewardship that cannot be shrugged off as though God does not care. Our concerns about good government and the ordering of human society, about justice and equity, about opposing oppression and racism, about families and family stability, and about sexual morality are political concerns, to be sure, but more importantly they are biblical concerns. The stewardship of our vote, and how we interact with other citizens and our elected leaders should be matters of biblical concern to Christians. The Bible actually speaks to these things.

Even the most cursory perusal of the Scripture will show that God wants us to be involved. Joseph served pagan Pharaoh and virtually saved the kingdom of Egypt. Daniel served the wicked Babylonian kings with distinction, and while serving them even rebuked them for their bad behavior (Daniel 4:27). The exiles in Chaldea were told to seek the good of the city where they lived.“Thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel, to all the exiles whom I have sent into exile from Jerusalem to Babylon, ‘Build houses and live in them; and plant gardens and eat their produce. Take wives and become the fathers of sons and daughters, and take wives for your sons and give your daughters to husbands, that they may bear sons and daughters; and multiply there and do not decrease. Seek the welfare of the city where I have sent you into exile, and pray to the Lord on its behalf; for in its welfare you will have welfare.’” (Jeremiah 29:4–7, NASB95)

In the New Testament, Paul tells us human government is appointed by God (Romans 13:1-7). In 1 Timothy he admonishes us to pray for governors and kings and all in authority, implying that good government (1 Timothy 2:2) is useful to the advancement of the gospel of Christ (vv 3-4).

So here is the point: as believers we should be involved in elections, in politics, in the commercial world and marketplace, and in our communities, supporting good legislation and governance, good policing and a just legal system, and the safety, value, equality, and dignity of all of our citizens.

And here is precisely where so many Christians stop connecting the dots. Our citizenship is dual: heavenly and earthly. We have responsibilities and a stewardship to both. But one and only one citizenship is preeminent. Our citizenship in the kingdom of Christ sets boundaries around what we can endorse in earthly kingdoms. We cannot support in our communities or our politics what is forbidden by our Savior.

But what do we do when it seems we are presented with two bad choices? I’ll look more at this in the next post, but let’s put down a ground rule first, regarding the differences between Trump and Biden. To establish this guideline, I’m looking only at the negatives for the moment.

Trump is an immoral man of poor character and poor communication skills. Remember, we are only looking at the negatives. Each candidate also has some positives.

Biden is a reliable supporter of abortion and the progressive left and sometimes has trouble telling the truth. See disclaimer above.

Here is the trap: in disputing with one another, if you can accuse a Christian Trump voter of hypocrisy and compromising his values because he is voting for a scoundrel, then it must also be fair and accurate to accuse a Christian Biden voter of precisely the same thing: voting for abortion and the progressive sexual revolution. That sword of accusation cuts both ways.

But neither accusation is necessarily true, and slinging these sorts of charges is not helpful. The situation is considerably more complex than such reductionism implies. Am I arguing that it is a moral equivalency? No, definitely not. I believe one choice is far better than the other, and for very solid reasons. There is more involved here than the personalities of the two candidates. But if we're going to discuss this rather than fight about it, let's drop the slanders so we can talk with mutual respect.

In the next post we'll look at why I don't believe the two candidates pose a moral equivalency, with respect to our vote.

Monday, September 7, 2020

Why you—and your teens—should read The Candidate

 First, it’s an exciting tale about a Christian conservative who suddenly finds himself an unlikely independent candidate in the presidential election. Filled with action, intrigue, and characters you will love, the novel provides a fascinating (fictional) behind-the-scenes look at the machinations of national campaigns and the agenda-driven reporting of mainstream media.


More importantly, the tale is a teaching tool about the Founders’ intention standing behind the text of the Constitution. In addition to reading books and articles on presidential campaigns and contemporary constitutional issues, while researching the story I also read the Constitution (of course!) and the Federalist Papers. The Federalist Papers, a series of articles written by Alexander Hamilton, James Madison, and John Jay in 1788, was an effort to explain the thinking behind the Constitution and to encourage the states to ratify it. Each chapter of The Candidate is headlined with a relevant quote from the Federalist Papers, or other significant historical documents.

Readers will gain a fundamental working knowledge of our three branches of government and the checks and balances written into the Constitution. The Candidate will also provide responses to several of the slanders the modern progressive movement throws against the United States and its history.

The pacing of the book might cause you to miss your bedtime, and by the end of the story you’ll be wishing Henry Marshall was an actual choice on the ballot. I certainly wish he was! The tale is written from a biblical worldview, contains no obscenities or sex scenes, but does have a few scenes of violence. Available in print or ebook format from Amazon or from your favorite bookstore through the Ingram catalog. Signed print copies are available from me.


Comments from Amazon readers:

  • I recommend The Candidate, with one warning. It's hard to put down.” -Laura V

  • I skipped class today so that I could finish the book. I've read all Cobb's books and this one is near the top…” -T Setliff

  • I started reading books by C. H. Cobb a few years back. His works are really what got me back into reading. The Falcon series being the first and then on to the Outlander Chronicles, with his unique writing style and outstanding attention to detail of the locales and characters in his novels. The Candidate is no exception. . . . While it is a novel, it's obvious that the author has once again done his research into what our founding fathers intended as they formed our nation, wrote the Constitution, and established the three branches of government, specifically as it relates to the federal government. A definite must read.” -C Denlinger

  • Just finished this last night and was sad to see it end as it was such an interesting read. While it is a novel, it was also very educational about our Founding Fathers and the Constitution. A very believable plot and set of characters. So real, in fact, I wish we could have Henry Marshall as an actual candidate.” -A Nilsen

  • Excellent and thought provoking read that I could not put down!” -J Mattheis

 

Thursday, August 27, 2020

Review of Nancy Pearcey’s Saving Leonardo: A Call to Resist the Secular Assault on Mind, Morals, and Meaning

 Saving Leonardo is an extremely well written, heavily documented and illustrated exploration of how the dominant Christian, Western worldview of the Middle Ages evolved into contemporary Postmodernism. Pearcey’s thesis is that worldview drives culture and the artistic expressions of culture.


One of the foundational concepts of the book is the historical splintering of the concept of truth. The Western worldview for centuries viewed truth as unified; in other words, the material truths of the natural world pointed to equally certain spiritual truths. The design of nature revealed the moral intent of the Creator. The book of nature and the book of Scripture pointed to the same unified truths. But the Enlightenment began splitting the concept of truth: empirical, material facts versus religious/moral opinions and values. Facts are certain and objective; religious/moral values are subjective and therefore relative.

Pearcey demonstrates the beginning, widening, and final bifurcation of the fact/value split with numerous quotations from the preeminent philosophers of each age (Enlightenment, Romanticism, Modernism, Postmodernism). She then illustrates how the shifting worldviews were represented in art, providing examples of architecture, paintings, musical compositions, etc., and quotations from both the artists themselves and art critics.

In a word, Saving Leonardo is a virtual instruction manual for identifying the links between the spirit of the age, art (in all its forms) and the artist’s worldview. The book is heavily documented, which will be useful for researchers wishing for further exploration. Nancy Pearcey is one of the premier modern writers on the the philosophical concepts truth, worldview, and how they intersect with and drive culture. I’ve read Total Truth and Finding Truth and now Saving Leonardo, and found them all fascinating and instructive.

Note to the reader: if you are not already familiar with philosophical systems (materialism, existentialism, positivism, and a host of others), something that will greatly help as you read Saving Leonardo is to make a brief list of the various philosophical systems and their meanings when she initially defines them, because she will be referring back to them frequently throughout the book. There are so many it is easy to forget the salient points of each.

Saving Leonardo reminds me of Francis Schaeffer’s How ShouldWe Then Live: The Rise and Decline of Western Thought and Culture. Pearcey has been greatly influenced by Schaeffer’s thought, but she does a good job of moving the ball forward (I recommend both books highly).

Five stars—highly recommended.