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From multiculturalism to environmentalism, from post-nationalism to “human rights” doctrine, Western progressives have fixated upon universalising ideas which reject values anchored in the particulars of religion or culture. All that matters is a theoretical future in which war, want and prejudice will be abolished: the return of fallen humanity to a lost Eden. And like all utopian projects, which are by definition impossible and unattainable, these dogmas are enforced through coercion: bullying, intimidation, character assassination, professional and social exclusion.

The core doctrine is equality. Not the Biblical doctrine that every human being is owed equal respect because they are formed in the image of God: equality has been redefined as identicality, the insistence that there can be no hierarchy of values of lifestyles or cultures. There can no longer be different outcomes depending on different circumstances or how people behave. To differentiate at all is to be bigoted and on a fast track back to fascism and war.

So the married family was kicked off its perch. Sexual restraint was abolished. The formerly transgressive became normative. Education could no longer transmit a culture down through the generations but had to teach that the Western nation was innately racist and exploitative.

Subjective trumped objective. There was no longer any absolute truth. Everyone could arbitrate their own truth. That way bigotry and prejudice would be excised from the human heart, the oppressed of the developing world would be freed from their Western oppressors and instead of the Western nation there would be the brotherhood of man.

All this was done in name of freedom, reason and enlightenment and in opposition to religion, the supposed source of oppression, irrationality and obscurantism.

At the heart of it was an onslaught against the moral codes of Christianity. Those moral codes are actually the Mosaic laws of the Hebrew Bible.

Christianity underpins the West. But Christianity rests in turn on the precepts of the Hebrew Bible. Jesus, after all, was a Jew. It is Judaism, the mother-ship of Christianity, which laid down the moral law which placed constraints upon personal behaviour in the interests of others — a revolutionary creed which forms the very foundation of Western morality. Although Christianity embedded those laws into Western society, it is those Mosaic codes themselves which are the real target of the onslaught upon sexual continence, duty and truth.

Consider, for example, what Professor Richard Dawkins wrote in his book The God Delusion:

The God of the Old Testament is arguably the most unpleasant character in all fiction: jealous and proud of it; a petty, unjust, unforgiving, control-freak; a vindictive, bloodthirsty ethnic cleanser; a misogynistic, homophobic, racist, infanticidal, genocidal, filicidal, pestilential, megalomaniacal, sado-masochistic, capriciously malevolent bully.
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August 9th, 2018
2:08 PM
Mac, the Moshe Ben Maimon text is clearly in Hebrew, not Arabic.

July 29th, 2018
12:07 AM
Appears Mūsā bin Maymūn was writing in Arabic. I wonder if the author is aware of that.

July 4th, 2018
6:07 AM
Regarding "Christianity and its moral origins in the Hebrew Bible..." Whatever else Jesus may have or have not said, and whatever other words 'theologians' may have put in his mouth over the past 2,000 years, there's no escaping the fact that the Sermon on the Mount--the crux of his teachings--are as thoroughgoing a renunciation of Jewish theology as may be imagined. Indeed, there have been *Endless* contortions among Christian theologians ever since Nicaea to try and reconcile this House Divided Against Itself. They cast Marcion aside, branding him forever a heretic, and did their best to erase his work from history. At least the Jews don't have to reconcile these two antithetical canons. But this raises the question of why they strive to include Jesus among their Tribe. I say it's for the same reason they try to claim that the Testament of Jesus Christ doesn't actually contradict the Torah and Tanakh, despite the clear words of the Antitheses. Marcion promoted a version of Christianity which was indeed more ‘pure’ and ‘beautiful’–because it was more accurate. More accurate in the sense that it represented the teachings of Jesus Christ in their essence, particularly as transmitted through the Sermon on the Mount, and especially as they renounced the primitive, bloodthirsty, and hate-mongering “Old Testament” Torah/Tanakh/Bible. It’s been said many times that the “Judeo-Christian” Bible is a ‘House Divided Against Itself’. Taken together, the two ‘testaments’ describe two antithetical Gods and promote two antithetical theologies. Early Christian Councils, such as that of Nicaea and of Constantinople, were inevitably political as much as religious, with predictable results. It would seem that the revolutionary teachings of Jesus Christ were acceptable only within limits. Jesus Christ didn’t just renounce Jewish law, he renounced it in the most forceful and definitive terms imaginable. He said– repeatedly–’you have heard the elders (prophets) telling you that, but instead I say this.’ And then went on, point by point, to preach the diametric opposite of Jewish Law. Supposedly he framed this within ‘I come not to defy the elders (prophets) but to redeem them’ and if he said that he could have been trying to save his skin (didn’t work!) or retain his audience (sort of worked), or any of a dozen other possible interpretations. But there is NO possible interpretation of the Sermon on the Mount which does not recognise that Jesus is casting aside Jewish theology lock, stock, and barrel. Jesus was a revolutionary, an apostate, and ‘righteous judaism’ indeed spat him out. Torah: “you are to take life for life, eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot, burn for burn, wound for wound, bruise for bruise.”(Exod. 21:22-25) Jesus: “But I say to you, do not resist one who is evil. Whoever strikes you on your right cheek, turn the other to him also. If anyone would sue you and take away your coat, let him have your cloak also. And whoever compels you to go one mile, go with him two.” (Matthew 5:39) It's possible that many ‘hebraics’ get caught up on this point simply because they cannot understand Jesus Christ’s admonitions. An alternative possibility is that they are simply infuriated by his admonitions. Another (more relevant) discussion here: A Jewish scholar, William Klingaman, (who is quite skeptical of Jesus's potential divinity, by the way): > > "Jesus deviated radically from conventional Judaic tradition when he > raised these moral imperatives to an extreme and seemingly unattainable > level. According to him the ancient prescriptions of the Law were no > longer sufficient for salvation." (*The First Century; Emperors, Gods, > and Everyman*, 1990; p.171) About Jewish integration vs separation, note Steven R. Weisman in the NYT: “No Jews today see the Hellenizers as role models.” He refers to “wealthy, educated Jews [who] were especially attracted to Greek culture, philosophy, sciences and athletics…” and says that Hanukkah “celebrates a stunning military victory in which strictly observant Jewish forces crushed the Jews who favored assimilation into the larger secular culture and expelled them from the Temple in ancient Jerusalem.” [Steven R. Weisman, "The Celebration of Hanukkah, Then and Now", NYT 20 Dec 97] The essence of the story: Jews who favor integrating themselves with others are worthy of violent death–at the hands of their own Orthodox. ‘Old-Testament Hatred’, which may be a tad redundant frankly. Jesus told Pilate: "My kingdom is not of this world: if my kingdom were of this world, then would my servants fight, that I should not be delivered to the Jews: but now is my kingdom not from hence." (John 18:36).

Alicia Sinclair Portland
April 11th, 2018
6:04 PM
Have read Melanies magnificent book on a couple of occasions, and this is an excellent primer and adjunct. She nails the contemporary culture brilliantly, and with both force and inexorable logic, so can`t thank her enough. The Christian Church really needs to grasp what she`s saying. Jesus was a Jew, and -as He says-came to fulfil "the Law" as opposed to abolish it. But as we know, there is contextual analysis to give us all the understanding of what exactly, the gospel writers were trying to convey. And then we`ve got Paul and church histories to pile on top of that if we`d rather do that that stick with Jesus alone.But once we`ve been to the Cross and understood what trhe empty tomb nearby means to us, then we`re free to do what we like, think as we want. But knowing that we`re a heartbeat away from Jesus the Judge. I see the Hebrew Bible as the perfect blend of Gods Love and Gods righteous anger. Dawkins, being a theological illiterate takes the worst of Joshua and Judges to parody what his version of his non-god would be. Maybe that line through the human heart between good and evil, fight and wrong has a crossbeam at the top of it. But Islam is a third rate tribute act to half heard bits of the Judeao-Christian traditions. Like atheism, it need not detain us-as long as we actually know our OWN scriptures as well as they do their Koran and their Kapitals.

April 8th, 2018
12:04 PM
Good read. Inspires thought.The breakdown of moral code that constrained the individual for the sake of the community seems a good explanation for the axe being laid to the root of the tree we see happening. This is a story of human morality rising up from an ego driven rule of life governed by the need to survive. A morality that extends to preserving communal life unconsciously, like animal behavior that seems moral but is an involuntary response to the law of survival. So, this law of survival that in human nature creates attachments to family, tribe, and clan becomes stressed and unable to extend to the outer reaches of state or nation. A sense of 'otherness' inevitably results as the community enlarges and it's borders become to porous to keep the contamination of 'otherness'from coming in and infecting the body. The law of survival because it emerges from the individuals need to survive and spread genes is not able to unite a world populated by many peoples, races and nations. A law from beyond the human animal mode of living that transcends the law of survival is necessary. A new law to place again within the sight of intellect the objective good that it may replace the inferior subjective good that hid the true object of the human will. The true object of the will reentered the human sphere as the Ten Commandments. From that revelation, a moral code able to transcend the law of survival and overcome it's limitations has continued to this day to develop and transcend even it'self. God said let there be light. And there was light. The light divided the darkness and God called the light day. The first day God called very good. It's interesting now that the moral code established by the revelation to Moses, for millenia stabilized societies and formed institutions that increased the quality of human life, are being usurped and replaced by an incapable and inferior morality, not only fails to credit the origin of these gifts to humanity but claim these gifts as it's own. As the culture rejects religion the state becomes a religion worshiped by the masses who congregate faithfully and listen intently to the new ecclesia. An ancient ministry hidden from view finally appearing as a new light of life to save humanity from it'self. Another God is preparing it's seat on the throne hidden within the human heart.

Cedric Michael
March 28th, 2018
8:03 PM
Claire Khaw: No, Christianity is not and never has purported to be the antithesis of Judaism, nor has Islam ever purported to be the synthesis of that supposed dialectic. Jesus was not only a Jew but a deeply loyal Jew whose own conviction was that his very life embodied the essential meaning of the Mosaic Law.It is true that the question of his divinity within a Holy Trinity of divine persons consisting of a Father, a Son, and a Holy Spirit, has been a contentious one, but the aspect of this that you seize on as absurd, namely, that the eternal absolute creator of all that exists is capable of having come into existence in time,is not actually absurd, but completely compatible with the understanding that space-time and everything in it must necessarily not only have eternal absolute being as its historical origin, but as its present substantive foundation. Space-time is not some absolute 'other' created from sheer nothingness by absolute being, but a creation with a creaturely nature created by absolute being from nothing but absolute being itself. Absolute being is one with space-time, and space-time is one with absolute being. This is St Paul's view: "We . . . have our being in God." If that is so, then God not only can but does have his being in us and can enter into his creation as one of us. Far from being absurd, this becomes eminently thinkable once you realise that the creation is not absolutely other than God, or vice versa.

Gavin Stoffberg
March 14th, 2018
3:03 PM
Thanks for a great article. Loved it!

Madge Hirsch
March 14th, 2018
10:03 AM
It is obvious that Melanie Phillips has never bothered to aquaint herself on any but the sketchiest level with Hinduism. One could argue that the order of the 10 incarnations of Vishnu were an example of evolution just as much as anything to be found in Genesis.I would suggest that the arrested development of science in Hindu India has a lot more to do with the devastation caused by neverending Islamic invasions and the reduction of the Hindu population to dhimmi status rather than cyclical notions of time. As for the tyranny of atheism there was plenty of tyranny around before the 20th century.And just look what that wonderfully vibrant Bible Belt has produced- a great deal of hypocrisy, lots of people who believe the earth is only 6,000 years old and Trump for POTUS. As for asserting that the stuff in the OT is more factual than the so called miracles of Christianity because "it happened to us"- pathetic.

Naomi King
March 12th, 2018
7:03 AM
The comments above simply prove that atheism is irrational and stupid.

Elisabeth Holland
March 12th, 2018
2:03 AM
The Hebrew Bible reveals that God is holy/pure/ righteous/just and as such is the true judge of sin. It is very hard for us to comprehend the holiness of God and just how bad sin is. Sin always perverts truth. There are so called Christians who deny the resurrection of Jesus but this is to fail to recognize the nature of God as holy, the creator and redeemer who indeed makes rational the resurrection. The Hebrew Bible points to redemption of our sin-sick sorry world through the unexpected means of the death of Jesus and its story is brought to fruition in the New Testament, but we need to read both books carefully as ask God to reveal himself to us as we do.

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