July 03, 2012

Cycles of Freedom and Bondage





















                                                                                                                                                                         
Upon this Independence Day in 2012, Americans will likely view lots of fireworks. I'm hoping that there will be more than just the "oohs and aahs"of firework display reactions, but that the loud cracks and booms in the night will perhaps be symbolic of people waking up from a deep slumber. For those who have eyes to see, the legal freedoms Americans once enjoyed based upon the Constitution have been gradually eroded by both the Bush administration and the present Obama administration. If anything, these two administrations have proven that a constitution written on paper is not enough to keep people free with basic civil liberties secured. I could offer my own list of examples, but qualified legal and political analysts have already documented these facts. Jonathan Turly, for example, has outlined "10 Reasons The U.S. Is No Longer The Land Of The Free"[1] And even some famous rock musicians have outlined the same problem from their unique perspectives, as I'll show. It appears as though America is nearing the end of a cycle that all once great countries and civilizations have passed through in their rise and fall.

Both liberals and conservatives who seek the truth understand the reality of what America has become. Unfortunately, many Americans are in a general state of apathy and are not even aware of what has happened, as they depend on the superficial and deceptive mainstream news for their information. The same type of historical cycle that outlines how free nations become politically enslaved also applies in a spiritual sense. The book of Judges in the Bible outlines how both nations and individuals go through cycles of freedom and bondage based upon their levels of awareness and moral conditions.

The cycle of political freedom and bondage

In the very year that the US became a sovereign country, 1776, a European historian named Alexander Fraser Tytler published The Decline and Fall of the Athenian Republic. This book outlined the following:

"A democracy cannot exist as a permanent form of government. It can only exist until the voters discover they can vote themselves largesse from the public treasury. From that moment on, the majority always votes for the candidates promising them the most benefits from the public treasury, with the result that a democracy always collapses over a loss of fiscal responsibility, always followed by a dictatorship. The average of the world's great civilizations before they decline has been 200 years. These nations have progressed in this sequence:

From bondage to spiritual faith,
From spiritual faith to great courage,
From courage to liberty,
From liberty to abundance,
From abundance to selfishness,
From selfishness to complacency,
From complacency to apathy,
From apathy to dependency,
From dependency back again to bondage."[2]

If Tytler's theory is correct, then America has already exceeded the average by 36 years. Early in 2012, Southern rock musician Charlie Daniels wrote a song on this theme, Behold a Pale Horse.[3] And many are familiar with Frank Zappa's quote on the illusion of freedom, which may have been offered about 35 or so years ago:

"The illusion of freedom will continue as long as it's profitable to continue the illusion. At the point where the illusion becomes too expensive to maintain, they will just take down the scenery, they will pull back the curtains, they will move the tables and chairs out of the way and you will see the brick wall at the back of the theatre."

Capitalism, to a large degree, depends on a moral foundation in order to function properly. What we see today is a mix of socialism and crony capitalism wherein politicians are mainly serving the interests of the welfare state and mega corporations who lobby with monster lobbying budgets in return for favoritism. The largest genetically modified food producer, for example, has basically been regulating the FDA, as opposed to being regulated by the FDA.[4] The Venn diagram above shows the intermingling of personnel between Monsanto and the agency that is supposed to be regulating Monsanto. Also as a trend, Americans are becoming poorer with respect to inflation as politicians' salaries continue to increase well beyond the average.[5] The US government has, for the most part, become self serving.

The cycle of spiritual freedom and bondage.

Similar to Tytler's theory, the book of Judges in the Bible outlines how the nation of Israel experienced a repetitive cycle of freedom and bondage.[6] The book of Judges, however, emphasizes the spiritual reasons for this historical pattern. The nation of Israel went from a state of righteousness to a state of peace, happiness and prosperity. But, in its prosperity, apathy, decadence and idolatry became prevalent. This led to both political and spiritual bondage. Though God raised up prophets and watchmen to warn the people, they generally did not heed the warnings and did not repent. And so the pattern continued to repeat over and over a total of seven times as recorded. The main reason for this pattern of corruption is the sinful human nature outlined in scripture.

For individuals this applies in a spiritual sense. Living a life that embraces sin will always lead to inner bondage and deadness. A lifestyle of sin may appear glamorous and fun at first, but it ultimately leads to misery, bondage in the form of addictions and death in the long run.

Where do you stand?

While it is quite difficult for one person to change the course of history, you may ask yourself, "Where do I stand personally in the cycle of freedom and bondage?" This question applies both politically and spiritually. Are you informed politically and doing something to help inform others to help keep basic civil liberties alive in your country? Or are you apathetic and uninterested? Are you a person who is willing to stand for truth, both political and spiritual, though it may cost you a sacrifice of some kind? As you consider these types of questions, consider that our ultimate responsibility is before God and not men.

On the one hand, we may truly celebrate our spiritual freedom as individuals no matter what condition society is in. As Christians, we may go to our church buildings and enjoy singing worship songs to our Creator and Redeemer. But there is also a time to go out into the world to be salt and light, to go outside the camp, so to speak, even as Jesus did, and to bear the cross of Christ. We do meet Christ and His presence in fulness as the Church and family of God gathers, but we also meet with Christ as we step out of our comfort zones and take a stand for truth. As Americans accustomed to comfort and safety, it is quite difficult to comprehend that Christ Himself may be calling us outside the camp of our comforts. But Paul's writings imply that Christ's purpose in the world has been manifested outside the camp, not inside. And that we are to embrace this sense of purpose and sacrifice as our own. Hebrews 13:13 states, "Let us, then, go to him outside the camp, bearing the disgrace he bore."(NIV)

If you are willing to stand for the absolute truth of Christ's gospel and the sanctity and dignity of human life in today's society, then you will be in conflict with the agenda of the US government, which advocates indefinite imprisonment without a trial, water boarding, and other actions that are considered in scripture to be an affront to humanity.

If you take a spiritual stand in a society that is becoming entrenched with antichrist underpinnings, then, guess what, you are not only taking a spiritual stand, you are also taking a political stand. We Christians can sometimes forget that, as salt and light, we are to stand for truth and justice. And, because these ideas have universal applications, there will be both spiritual and political implications. According to scripture, the final phase of political bondage will be ultimately controlled by a brutal Antichrist leader. According to prophecy, this will be the last cycle of tyranny before Christ's reign and, based on the signs around us, we seem to already be at the point of no return.

It may seem as though the entire world is against us when we choose to take such a stand for truth. In a sense, it is. But, nevertheless, we don't have to be afraid. As the Apostle John showed, our spiritual lives hold primacy over our physical lives. And we have exceeding power and authority in Christ, even though we may appear to be weak and foolish in the sight of the world. John wrote, "You are of God, little children, and have overcome them, because He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world."[7]

References

[1] 10 Reasons The U.S. Is No Longer The Land Of The Free" you may read if you are interested
http://jonathanturley.org/2012/01/15/10-reasons-the-u-s-is-no-longer-the-land-of-the-free/
[2] THE RISE AND FALL OF GREAT CIVILIZATIONS
From Apathy to Dependence to Slavery, http://www.corson.org/archives/sociological/S27_090109.htm
[3] Templestream, Christian Charlie Daniels on Agenda 21 and US Tyranny, http://templestream.blogspot.com/2012/05/christian-charlie-daniels-on-agenda-21.html
[4] Rense, The Amazing Revolving Door - Monsanto, FDA & EPA http://www.rense.com/general33/fd.htm
[5] ABC, As Americans Get Poorer, Members of Congress Get Richer,  http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/politics/2011/12/as-americans-get-poorer-members-of-congress-get-richer/
[6] Templestream, Facing the Tests of Life, http://templestream.blogspot.com/2009/05/facing-tests-of-life.html
[6] I John 4.4, NIV

Image of hands in shackles is from a sculpture in Savannah, Georgia.
Image of Monsanto and FDA overlap is from Geke.UA Creative Commons.

Tags: cycles of freedom and bondage in Judges, 7 cycles of sin and repentance in book of Judges, from independence to decadence, Frank Zappa quote on the illusion of freedom. Monsanto - FDA revolving door - crony capitalism, US politicians making more money than average citizens, Christians as salt and light, Christians are to stand for truth and justice. FDA - Monsanto collusion, FDA - Monsanto corruption, 200 year cycle of freedom, cycle of great civilizations

Related:

Christians are to be Watchmen in the End Times

Obama Signs NDAA on New Year's Eve: Welcome to Prison Fellowship! 

New World Ardor
 
The Civil Rights Movement in Reverse: Who's Next?

Quotes on Freedom


28 comments:

  1. This is an interesting case -- because we agree on many political points, even as we vastly disagree on the origins of the problem. ;)

    I agree that the diminution of civil liberties over the past two administrations has been terrible; and yet there are also gains, and I am pleased to see them -- the end of Don't Ask, Don't Tell, for example.

    But I agree -- now, as always, is the time for people to stand for their rights, and see that we do not lose further what we have fought so hard to gain.

    Now, a few quibbles ;) --

    Capitalism, to a large degree, depends on a moral foundation in order to function properly.

    Any system requires a moral foundation to function properly -- because we have not yet managed to create an economic or political system that self-corrects for bad behavior.

    What changes is the way the system breaks down under a lack of moral function -- the evils of bureaucratization, for example, or the evils of crony capitalism; sadly, sometimes it seems we must pick our poison.

    Living a life that embraces sin will always lead to inner bondage and deadness. A lifestyle of sin may appear glamorous and fun at first, but it ultimately leads to misery, bondage in the form of addictions and death in the long run.

    Ironically, save for the definition of one word here -- and I may be wrong -- I agree with you.

    And that word is, as you might guess, "sin". For example, I consider the greed and lack of concern for one's neighbors that most Libertarians show to be a form of sin, while my gay married friends? No sin there.

    I also notice you quote Tytler at length:

    A democracy cannot exist as a permanent form of government. It can only exist until the voters discover they can vote themselves largesse from the public treasury. From that moment on, the majority always votes for the candidates promising them the most benefits from the public treasury, with the result that a democracy always collapses over a loss of fiscal responsibility, always followed by a dictatorship.

    Then what do you recommend as a form of government? (It is also worth noting that, given the way we had a drastic *reduction* in benefits to the majority during 2000-2008, for example, that Tytler was wrong.) Democracy has this great advantage -- more than most other forms of government, it self-corrects; anger enough people and they will rise to change things. We've seen it before in this country, and in other democratic states.

    What is your proposed alternative?

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  2. Imnotandrei,

    I'm glad that we can agree on some things. As far as the general population goes, both atheists and Christians tend to value basic civil rights and civil liberties.

    You wrote,

    "Any system requires a moral foundation to function properly -- because we have not yet managed to create an economic or political system that self-corrects for bad behavior."

    Of course, as a Christian, I believe the main problem is the sin nature, which you do not believe in. I would offer that atheists should not require a new system for correcting the problems of greed and corruption. Simply remove the "selfish gene" with genetic engineering and you're all set. Monsanto could perhaps create a new vaccine, "Greed Roundup" to address this. Of course, the executives at Monsanto should probably be the first to take it. :P

    To my understanding, however, the 'selfish gene' is pure theory and has never been discovered. And, on the other hand, there are testimonies of corrupt and selfish people having a complete several of morals after becoming born-again Christians. The song Amazing Grace, for example, was written by a successful and hardened slave ship captain who became a tender-hearted Christian.

    Cont...

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    1. Simply remove the "selfish gene" with genetic engineering and you're all set.

      When I read this sentence, I first thought it was a joke. Indeed, it may be that it's a joke that you're just being very dry about.

      If not -- the notion of the selfish gene is not about a gene that creates selfish behavior -- but about the notion that one could understand evolution by looking not at the level of the individual, or the group, but the gene.

      And, on the other hand, there are testimonies of corrupt and selfish people having a complete several of morals after becoming born-again Christians.

      And there are testimonies of people giving up narrow-minded thinking and bcoming better people by turning away from theism. A few anecdotes are not evidence for your position, before we even get to the reliability of your "anecdata".

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  3. >Democracy has this great advantage -- more than most other forms of government, it self-corrects; anger enough people and they will rise to change things. We've seen it before in this country, and in other democratic states.

    >What is your proposed alternative?

    - I personally believe that the US Constitution outlines the best form of government available. But, as I wrote, it depends on a moral people in order for it to function properly. The Founding Fathers seemed to believe this and advertise this:

    "Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other." - John Adams

    George Washington, General of the Revolutionary Army, president of the Constitutional Convention, First President of the United States of America, Father of our nation,

    " Religion and morality are the essential pillars of civil society."

    Benjamin Franklin, Signer of the Declaration of Independence "[O]nly a virtuous people are capable of freedom. As nations become corrupt and vicious, they have more need of masters."

    "Whereas true religion and good morals are the only solid foundations of public liberty and happiness . . . it is hereby earnestly recommended to the several States to take the most effectual measures for the encouragement thereof." Continental Congress, 1778

    Noah Webster, author of the first American Speller and the first Dictionary said,

    "[T]he Christian religion, in its purity, is the basis, or rather the source of all genuine freedom in government. . . . and I am persuaded that no civil government of a republican form can exist and be durable in which the principles of that religion have not a controlling influence."

    http://www.free2pray.info/5founderquotes.html

    Imnotandrei, I lived in a country, Ukraine, for 10 years that had experienced enforced atheism for 70 years, including the repression of church meetings. What I noticed is that serious corruption and bribery are considered normal aspects of business and government operations.

    Bribery is ubiquitous and no one questions whether or not it should be addressed as a problem. People just do it, except for an extremely small minority. The US has been statistically heading towards a more corrupt society since the 1960's, when the Supreme Court began denying the use of "Christian talk" in classrooms.

    What's interesting is that the West is increasingly becoming anti-Christian while the Chinese government, which is based on atheistic Marxism, basically supports the Christian ideals for its workers because it has recognized that Christians are more conscientious and better producers. This has been shown by academic research and by simple testimonies, such as the following ones outlined in a BBC article:

    Christian faith plus Chinese productivity
    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-pacific-10942954

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    1. - I personally believe that the US Constitution outlines the best form of government available.

      First, I have to ask -- do you mean the entirety of it as it now stands? In what level of detail?

      The Founding Fathers seemed to believe this and advertise this:

      1) I notice you carefully omit one of the major founding fathers, who would not so readily support your position, and don't mention that Franklin's mild deism is hardly strong support for your position.

      But we shall revisit that point later.

      2) I also note that your quotes come from people of a specific narrow perspective -- and that this is important to recognize when you're talking about how best to handle the world *now*.

      Imnotandrei, I lived in a country, Ukraine, for 10 years that had experienced enforced atheism for 70 years, including the repression of church meetings. What I noticed is that serious corruption and bribery are considered normal aspects of business and government operations.

      As they are in many parts of the world, including parts of the world where Christianity is the dominant religion; this does not make your case for you.

      The US has been statistically heading towards a more corrupt society since the 1960's, when the Supreme Court began denying the use of "Christian talk" in classrooms.

      Correlation does not imply causation -- and I would love to see your "statistics" on this point, because I simply do not believe this without very strong support.

      Chinese government, which is based on atheistic Marxism, basically supports the Christian ideals for its workers because it has recognized that Christians are more conscientious and better producers.

      Remember I said we'd come back to Franklin? " I see no harm, however, in its being believed, if that belief has the good consequence, as probably it has, of making his doctrines more respected and better observed;" -- speaking of his belief in the divinity of Jesus.

      Don't you find it ironic that a repressive government encourages Christian ideals -- to make people better workers? It's not because they think it's morally superior; but because it's more efficient. Because it will make the workers work better for their masters.

      In other words, to better support their own bondage. A reason also speculated for the support of Christianity among American slaves.

      So -- unsurprisingly, depending on who's using it and why, religion can be a tool both for liberation and for oppression. (What was that line? "Religion is the opiate of the masses"?)

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    2. Imnotandrei, in what respect? Mainly with respect to basic civil liberties. The right to freedom of speech, to a trial, to not be tortured, are just a few examples.

      2. Yes, I do find it ironic that China supports Christian workers. If Marxism is based on the glorification of work as the meaning of life, then, as far as this example touches upon the overall good of the country, yes, the Chinese leaders may realize that Christianity is morally superior to atheism, though they would probably not openly admit this for fear of reprisals.

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    3. Imnotandrei, in what respect? Mainly with respect to basic civil liberties.

      Oh, I agree -- but I always want to make sure when people start enshrining the Constitution which parts of it -- it's amazing how many people object to aspects of the 1st amendment, say, or some of the later ones -- the 16th, for example.

      If Marxism is based on the glorification of work as the meaning of life

      That's an awfully odd Marxism you've got there. Work is not the meaning of life -- but the dignity of labor is a key portion of human dignity, not to be casually alienated. Do you see the difference?

      yes, the Chinese leaders may realize that Christianity is morally superior to atheism,

      They don't -- they realize it produces (or may produce -- this was, after all, just a small example) superior productive value. In otherwords, it makes people into better slaves, whether the old-fashioned owned kind, or wage-slaves.

      There is a reason that Marx was not happy with religion -- it made people content with their lot, in conditions of oppression. It was not a revolutionary force, but a counter-revolutionary one, in many cases, supporting kings and tyrants.

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    4. >I would love to see your "statistics" on this point, because I simply do not believe this without very strong support.

      - Some researchers suggest that juvenile violent crime has tripled since 1960.

      According to a 1949 survey, school principals noted that there were no problems with interpersonal violence or destruction of property. A survey by Volokh and Snell (1998) illustrated the results of the top discipline problems in the 1940s in comparison to the 1990s. During the 1940s, the top disciplinary problems were talking out of turn, chewing gum, making noise, running in the hall, cutting in line, dress code violations, and littering. This survey also indicated that the most serious problems were lying and disrespect to teachers (Hennings, 1949). In the 1990s the top disciplinary problems were drug abuse, alcohol abuse, pregnancy, suicide, rape, robbery and assault. The National Education Association (NEA) in 1956 released a study that revealed that violence was beginning to become a concern in schools. A particular concern, from the evidence was the violence against teachers, particularly in the inner-city areas.

      Marshall University, The Status of Violence Prevention in West Virginia
      Elementary Schools : A Case Study, 2009, P. 13

      mds.marshall.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1161&context=etd

      >...the dignity of labor is a key portion of human dignity, not to be casually alienated. Do you see the difference?

      - I'm not sure if you are referring to the dignity of labor in an objective and universal sense, or, as it seems, labor has dignity for Marxists only if it is done while people are not religious.

      If people seem to be "content with their lot, in conditions of oppression" (in a Marxist regime :-) and they are religious people, then, apparently, their dignity as workers does not count because their mindset is not acceptable?

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    5. The National Education Association (NEA) in 1956 released a study that revealed that violence was beginning to become a concern in schools. A particular concern, from the evidence was the violence against teachers, particularly in the inner-city areas.

      I do not have time at this point to go into great length to point out the differences in statistics-gathering between the 40s and the 90s, nor to point out the differences in *reporting* in those time periods. Consider, for example, the differences in honestly reporting teen pregnancy in the 50s and the 2000s.

      I'll also note that you appear to be moving the goalposts -- I asked you about "corruption", and what you report is problems in schools. This is a remarkable narrowing of your assertion.

      I'm not sure if you are referring to the dignity of labor in an objective and universal sense, or, as it seems, labor has dignity for Marxists only if it is done while people are not religious.

      Please support your assertion here.

      I was referring to the universal sense. I do not consider any working person less because of their religion or lack thereof.

      If people seem to be "content with their lot, in conditions of oppression" (in a Marxist regime :-) and they are religious people, then, apparently, their dignity as workers does not count because their mindset is not acceptable?

      I was pointing out that their religion might be helping them to accept their lot, and remain in bondage -- a far cry from your attempts to portray religion as a positive force for human rights and the escape from bondage.

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    6. >I'll also note that you appear to be moving the goalposts -- I asked you about "corruption", and what you report is problems in schools.

      It is difficult to find comparative statistics on corruption in society. However, public schools to some extent offer a glimpse into the social condition of society. You have challenged the statistics of teen pregnancy. Would you also challenge the statistics of unmarried teens giving birth? The chart at the following link clarifies "Since the 1950s, the U.S. teen birthrate has declined while the proprotion of teen births that are nonmarital has increased."

      The Guttmacher Report on Public Policy
      February 2002, Volume 5, Number 1
      http://www.guttmacher.org/pubs/tgr/05/1/gr050107.html

      >I was pointing out that their religion might be helping them to accept their lot, and remain in bondage

      - Yes, but, the repressive bondage we are referring to in this example is Marxist. And, the Christians are serving the Marxist society better than Marxists, apparently.

      You wrote, "Don't you find it ironic that a repressive government encourages Christian ideals -- to make people better workers? It's not because they think it's morally superior; but because it's more efficient. Because it will make the workers work better for their masters."

      1) If Christians are better workers in a Marxist system governed by Marxist authorities in which all people are to work for egalitarianism and the common good, and 2) the dignity of labor is objective and universal, then in what respect would the Christians' work for the common good not reflect a higher moral example?

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    7. The chart at the following link clarifies "Since the 1950s, the U.S. teen birthrate has declined while the proprotion of teen births that are nonmarital has increased."

      In other words, the number of forced weddings have decreased, while the overall teen birthrate has declined since Christianity was removed from the schools?

      i consider this a good thing, and hardly evidence of an "increase" in corruption -- unless corruption is defined as "not doing things the way a Christian would want", in which case we're arguing radically different things.

      then in what respect would the Christians' work for the common good not reflect a higher moral example?

      Well, first of all, corporate Marxism as practiced in China is a rather odd offshoot of traditional Marxism. Bear that in mind.

      Second of all -- if you view Marxism as tyranny, and Christianity makes people support a tyranny more effectively, in what respect does Christianity reflect a higher example of supporting civil rights?

      As you can see, it depends on the framing of the question. And you began by asserting the need for Christians to stand against tyranny.

      The answer is: in this regard, Christianity (*if* you grant the improvement in performance as a given, and not extrapolating from insufficient data) is morally orthogonal to tyranny and bondage; as you would expect from what is, fundamentally, an extremely authoritarian worldview.

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    8. >In other words, the number of forced weddings have decreased...

      - Do you have some evidence to support your claim?

      Studies show that married people are generally happier in the long run:

      "A new study finds that married people aren’t happier than when they were single, but over time, and all things considered, married people are happier than those who are not married.

      "Our study suggests that people on average are happier than they would have been if they didn't get married," ...in a similar-aged study subjects who did not get married showed a gradual decline in happiness as the years passed.

      http://www.livescience.com/20649-married-people-happier.html

      In terms of health and happiness, marriage is generally considered preferable to a promiscuous lifestyle. It's generally better for children and for society.

      >Well, first of all, corporate Marxism as practiced in China is a rather odd offshoot of traditional Marxism.

      - This may be one of the reasons China survived and the Soviet Union didn't

      >if you view Marxism as tyranny, and Christianity makes people support a tyranny more effectively, in what respect does Christianity reflect a higher example of supporting civil rights?

      - It seems a stretch from acknowledging that Christians are better workers in China to 'Christians support tyranny...' According to scripture, Christians do all things as unto God - not merely for 'the system" as Marxist atheists are taught to. One difficult aspect of Christianity is the responsibility to stand up for justice while at the same time showing love. In my understanding, passive resistance is the most biblical example of civil liberties activism.

      You've pointed out a paradox in Marxist ideology, though:

      Who's to say what conditions in a Marxist regime constitute repression and demand a violent revolt? What is the objective basis for rallying a revolt against the Marxist leadership?

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    9. - Do you have some evidence to support your claim?

      All right -- that was a bit flippant. "forced" was strong. "teen" weddings, however, clearly decreased, as how else do you explain teen pregnancy going down, along with the teen marriage rate going down. As far as I'm concerned, the important factor is teen pregnancy going down -- a factor which has been shown to correlate positively with increased economic well-being and general happiness.

      In terms of health and happiness, marriage is generally considered preferable to a promiscuous lifestyle. It's generally better for children and for society.

      You are speaking in barely-supported generalities. "Generally" by whom? By the people you speak with? In which case we're talking massive selection bias.

      (Oh -- as a side note: I presume that you are then a supporter of same-sex marriage, as better for children and society?)

      This may be one of the reasons China survived and the Soviet Union didn't

      Of course, a massive arms race had *nothing* to do with it, nor the fact that one of the two countries followed a misguided imperialist policy that was in direct contradiction to the philosophy it chose early on in its path (when Communism-in-one-country was favored over permanent revolution). Nothing at all.

      - It seems a stretch from acknowledging that Christians are better workers in China to 'Christians support tyranny...'

      Well, they are being better workers in the service of a regime you find tyrannical -- making it more likely that it will continue to exist successfully. That's supporting a tyranny, with one's deeds if not with one's words.

      In my understanding, passive resistance is the most biblical example of civil liberties activism.

      And it's passive resistance to work better for your oppressors? This seems a most unusual definition thereof.

      Who's to say what conditions in a Marxist regime constitute repression and demand a violent revolt?

      The proletariat. And it's happened before; I refer you to three revolts in communist countries, that were struck down by outside sources -- Czechoslovakia, Hungary, and Poland.

      What is the objective basis for rallying a revolt against the Marxist leadership?

      Well, you see -- an entrenched leadership is not supposed to be the result of a Marxist system. Remember how I've been citing bureaucratization as the problem of Marxism? There you go.

      (Just to make it clear -- I'm not a Marxist. I see their problems as well, but I think you're making a significant strawman out of the viewpoint, and that is what I'm calling you on.)

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    10. I:nor the fact that one of the two countries followed a misguided imperialist policy that was in direct contradiction to the philosophy it chose early on in its path (when Communism-in-one-country was favored over permanent revolution).

      I think the better term would be an egoistic nationalistic policy for the SU. A permanent revolution, on the other hand, would have crushed the SU from the start since it did not have the resources for such thing. The main reason would be that after the second world war the population was obsessed with security issues. That is why such a huge amount of the budget went to the military and Eastern Europe was turned into a buffer zone. Stalin did give away Greece and Italy, though he could have easily taken over those countries. Also, no one did bother with Ygoslavia, even if it was antistalinist.

      To be honest, China had a stricktly imperialistic policy. Mao tried his best to make his country a super power, using his military and economy. He gave away precious resources (which his country needed itself) to potential allies and did try to conquer Vietnam to punish it for overthrowing the Kchmer regime. However, he failed miserably in almost every aspect of his policy. Chinese diplomacy only succeeded in Albania. In hindsight, it was a lucky turn of events, since China would not have had the resources to sustain an empire like that.

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    11. P.S. Though, the SU could be considered inperialistic when it came to the Baltic states, Finland and Eastern part of Poland at that time. Stalin and others considered those Russian lands and tried their best to restore the territoy of the Russian Empire.

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  4. R:Imnotandrei, I lived in a country, Ukraine, for 10 years that had experienced enforced atheism for 70 years, including the repression of church meetings. What I noticed is that serious corruption and bribery are considered normal aspects of business and government operations.

    I just had to comment on that point, Rick (for the third time, I think). You do seem to imply that corruption and bribery in Ukraine is the consequence of atheism. Then could you explain why during the late SU days that country had one of the highest standart of living in the world with one of the lowest levels of corruption?

    R:Chinese government, which is based on atheistic Marxism, basically supports the Christian ideals for its workers because it has recognized that Christians are more conscientious and better producers. This has been shown by academic research and by simple testimonies, such as the following ones outlined in a BBC article

    Sorry, Rick, but that s too much of a leap even for you. There is a hypothesis that Christians are better workers, but it still needs to be proven (there is still no conclusive evidence in academia studies). Furthermore, the economic boom in Asia has little to do with Christianity and that is an undeniable fact.

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    1. Anonymous

      >Then could you explain why during the late SU days that country had one of the highest standart of living in the world with one of the lowest levels of corruption?

      - Westerners would question the first part of your claim. Compared to the west the SU did not have an enviable standard of living.

      Many experts from within the former SU would challenge the second part of your claim. The entrenched corruption and low level of human dignity was the main reason for the collapse of the SU as many quotes show.

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    2. Compared to the west the SU did not have an enviable standard of living.

      Ironically, that depends on how you measure. From the average, or the top end, no. From the bottom? Definitely.

      The entrenched corruption and low level of human dignity was the main reason for the collapse of the SU as many quotes show.

      I have never heard "low level of human dignity" referred to as a main reason for the collapse of the Soviet Union; inability to compete in a giant arms race, massive bureaucratization (which, you'll notice, I pointed out in my original reply was the weakness of Marxism), and the rest, yes.

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    3. >From the bottom? Definitely.

      - Can you back that up with a reference?

      Many of the people I personally met in Ukraine are old enough to remember the bread lines of the Soviet Union and the fact that there were many products in which there was only one "choice" to choose from. That's hardly a good lot for the average or poor person compared to the US during the same time period.

      >I have never heard "low level of human dignity" referred to as a main reason for the collapse of the Soviet Union

      I suppose I should write an article on this outlining these quotes by respected authorities.

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    4. That's hardly a good lot for the average or poor person compared to the US during the same time period.

      1) You'll notice I said "for the average, no."

      2) How many people starved to death or died of nutritionally-related illnesses?

      "Food is the first thing, morals follow on/so make sure that those of us, who now are starving/get better helpings when we all start carving" -- Bertold Brecht.

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    5. >How many people starved to death or died of nutritionally-related illnesses?

      - "Between 1932 and 1933 Stalin was believed to have slaughtered 7,000,000 Ukrainians through forced starvation. Unreasonable grain quotas was forcefully taken from the Ukrainian farmers but little, if any, was given back to the local people who produced it. Borders were sealed off essentially making all of Ukraine a concentration death camp. Alexander Solzhenitsyn estimates the loss of life from state repression and terrorism from October 1917 to December 1959 under Lenin and Stalin and Khrushchev at 66.7 million.[13]"


      http://templestream.blogspot.com/2011/10/dawkins-craig-debate-genocide-israels.html

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    6. "During the same time period"

      I had thought we were speaking about the period around the fall of the Soviet Union. If we're not, then we'll have a different discussion -- one that includes bureaucratization, and whether Stalinism counts as communism or fascism; certainly, judging Marxism by Stalin is like judging capitalism by the worst excesses of the Gilded Era, or the depths of the Industrial Revolution, to put it *mildly*.

      Not to mention, as we've discussed many times before, deliberate governmental genocide is not restricted to one economic system, or religious belief (or lack thereof).

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  5. R:Westerners would question the first part of your claim. Compared to the west the SU did not have an enviable standard of living

    Look up UN statistics for that period. That s the most objective source presently available for us.

    Yes, the SU economy was inefficient. A shortage of common goods was a usual thing. However, the level of living is not only about the economy. The high level of education (free of charge), high social security rate, good and free medical care, low crime rate, high life span of the population did make a huge difference in the statistics.

    R:Many experts from within the former SU would challenge the second part of your claim.

    And they would be poor experts in that case. There was no basis whatsoever for a big level of corruption.

    1) The KGB did its job (it was not only about spies and the opposition). Corrupted officials would end up arrested in the end.

    2) The shortage of goods made it difficult for corruption to flourish. The value of money was not that high, since the number of things one could buy with it was limited. The goods in the SU were the same in most cases. There was simply nothing to offer for a bribe which would justify the risks.

    As imnotandrei has pointed out, the main reasons for the collapse of the SU was the inability to compete in the arms race, massive bureacratization... And one could add to that internal struggle within the party for power, lack of capable politicians, a huge disbalance in the economy in favor of the military industry, low prices for oil.

    In the end, your explanation, Rick, fails to take into account the fact that the level of corruption did rise tremendously after the collapse of the SU. And at the time religion was no longer suppressed.

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  6. >There was no basis whatsoever for a big level of corruption.

    1) The KGB did its job (it was not only about spies and the opposition). Corrupted officials would end up arrested in the end.

    - You also seem to be unaware of the reality of the situation. Time for an article.

    2) The shortage of goods made it difficult for corruption to flourish. ...There was simply nothing to offer for a bribe which would justify the risks.

    - Now you are helping to refute Imnotandrey's misguided understanding of the living conditions of the average and lower-level citizens of the SU.

    However, the poverty of a country does not eliminate the corruption of a country. The most corrupt countries in the world are also noted as the poorest. African countries and Haiti offer prime examples.

    >As imnotandrei has pointed out, the main reasons for the collapse of the SU was the inability to compete in the arms race, massive bureaucratization.

    - The theories that point to economics as the main reason for the SU collapse are mainly Western, as I noted. However, from within the SU, it is the moral vacuity of the atheist system (including the unique kinds of bureaucratic wrangling it spawned) that is considered the primary cause of collapse. Like I wrote, I should probably write an article to point out the many examples.

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  7. R:Now you are helping to refute Imnotandrey's
    misguided understanding of the living conditions of the average and lower-level citizens of the SU.

    Unfortunately, you still do not get it. The shortage of goods meant a limited set of choices, that is all. Yes, there were lines for food and basic commodities, but no one was starving or suffering because of that. It was extremely inconvinient, but nothing much.

    And the reason for the lack of goods was because of poor management. Some regions had an excess of shoes, but a shortage of pants, while others at the same time had an excess of pants and a shortage of shoes.

    The prices were also extremely low. Some even used bread to feed their private livestock.

    R:However, the poverty of a country does not eliminate the corruption of a country.

    It is not about being poor or rich. The system itself made it impossible for a huge scale of corruption. The value of money was extremely limited because one just could not physically spent a huge sum of money. A corrupt official just had no idea what to do with a bribe. The gains from a bribe were little, but the risks were huge.

    You should also be aware that there was virtually no difference between "upper" and "lower" citizens in the SU. Luxurious goods (the main difference between lower and higher class) did not exist in the socialist camp, at least in the understanding of the West.

    R:However, from within the SU, it is the moral vacuity of the atheist system (including the unique kinds of bureaucratic wrangling it spawned) that is considered the primary cause of collapse.

    As always, you have an extremely limited understanding of morality. The faith in communism and its morality was shaken mainly because there was a huge difference between reality and its premises. The politicians failed to deliver their promises from the 50s and 60s. It was certainly a factor, but not a major one.

    Besides, don t you find it odd, that it took almost 80 years for the system to break? There were quite significant period in the history of the SU, when communism was not that popular.

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  9. Rick; fair play to you having the patience to debate with eejits who just through up high sounding nonsense and any excuse rather than addressing the real issue ie where do you stand ? Men who have not got the Holy spirit in them will keep themselves in bondage and will reject all invitations of salvation. They won't repent because they won't admit they are sinners are even in the existence of sin. They have been hoodwinked by liberalism and the philosophies of men and always want more evidence are the question re worded. If it weren't so serious I'd be laughing my head off at them. But as it is serious I'll pray for them and suggest they read the Bible with an open mind and stop seeing things in a narrow minded way (which they accuse Christains off, again I'd lmho if it weren't so serious, eejits) colossians 2 v8 comes to mind and the whole book of Philipipians. God bless them. Keep up the good work Rick God bless you.
    Jon a sinner saved by Grace free from condemnation and guilt washed in the Blood of the Lamb, Jesus Christ. I'm a work in progress on my sojourn in this world safe in the knowledge of where I'll be spending eternity. All honour and glory to our Awesome LORD amen

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    1. Hi Jon,

      I agree with you and I like your suggestion:

      "I'll pray for them and suggest they read the Bible with an open mind and stop seeing things in a narrow minded way (which they accuse Christians of)."

      It's a good reminder of the power and necessity of prayer. When people are closed minded, there is no amount of reason, logic or facts that can overcome this blindness and obstinacy without supernatural intervention.

      Blessings in Christ.

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