Culture & Religion Feldman Module 11-2
Religion & Culture • Religion can be the chief influence of a culture – Islam • Religion can be a unifying force for cultural morality. • Religion can be ignored in a culture – The “state church” of Denmark is Lutheranism. • Differing religious views within a culture can be a cause for conflict.
Culture Behavior patterns, beliefs, and all other products of a group of people that are passed on from generation to generation Ethnocentrism— tendency to favor one’s own group over other groups Sociocultural Influences
Cultural Worldview • Elements of the non-material culture (ideas, beliefs, values, etc.) are generally held together by an integrated and coherent worldview, which is a comprehensive but basic idea of how the world works and/or ought to work. • To the extent that this worldview is shared among the members of the culture, the worldview and the culture remain stable with low levels of change.
Socialization into a Culture • Children are taught the ways and ideas of their culture, and this provides a backdrop for their development • However, an inconsistent or multiple culture is more difficult to learn and often creates doubt and confusion.
America is a “Kingdom Divided” • Every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation; . . . • Matthew 12:25, Holy Bible, KJV
What are the major points of division? • Should we be globalists/world citizens or nationalists/patriots? • Being overtaken by an international, world government • Should we be socialist or capitalist? • Moving toward a European-style Socialist state • Should we have a large or small government?
The New World Order • What Is Globalism? • . . . The belief that events in one country cannot be separated from another and that the world is moving toward a form of government and economics that transcends traditional nation-states. • A small but powerful group of internationalists have been working for decades to bring various aspects of our society under one, universal system. • Kirby Anderson • Worldviewtimes.com
What is elitism? • . . . The belief that a small and certain group of people are, in fact, better equipped to rule the world than are others and that the rest of the people are best governed by the elite. • A group of about 300 families control most of the world’s wealth. • Some are apparently convinced that it is their right and duty to rule the world.
Who are the power elite? • Extremely wealthy international bankers from all around the world, with a larger concentration in Europe and the U.S. • European royalty, heads of state, & other extremely rich and/or powerful people. • Backed on the next level by heads of corporations & universities; powerful politicians, etc. • And who are not? • The rest of us
Why do we need a New World Order? • In response to need or desirability: • “Many think a solution that rises above any one nation must be found.” • Financial Times, Jan., 2009 • Reasons (Good solutions or just useful idiots?) • Peace • Saving the environment • Equality • Regulation of business Or is it just the enjoyment of money and power?
How about the U.S.? • As we become global, Americans should expect – • Loss of national sovereignty • Loss of prosperity • Erosion of freedom • Erosion of privacy • Enslavement to a lifetime of debt
New World Order: Proponents • Council on Foreign Relations • July 29, 1921 • Promotional arm of the ruling Elite in the U.S.A.: politicians, academics, media, most Presidents & Secretarys of State (Sometimes called America’s Shadow Government) • Original goal: to federate the English-speaking people of the world • Accused of desiring the overthrow of the Constitution & American sovereignty
New World Order: Proponents • Bilderberg Group (The Alliance) • Formed 1954, Holland • 100 elite picked by Lord Victor Rothschild & Lawrence Rockefeller • Initial purpose: Create the European Union • Current purpose: microchip world population by 2017 • 35 member steering committee • Annual meetings, surrounded by armed guards
New World Order: Proponents • Club of Rome • Established 1965/1968, Bellagio, Italy • 75 members, 25 countries • Connected to Round Table & NATO • Goal: to be a forum to discuss future world system; main concern, world population • 1973 – organized the world into 10 regions • 1976 – agenda, redistribution of wealth • Concern: world population control; Council on environmental action – aggressive sterilization, abortion, contraception
New World Order: Proponents • Trilateral Commission • Formed 1972 • Offshoot of CFR, Bilderberg • Rockefeller instrumental (Jimmy Carter, Zbignieu Brzezinski) • Called for management of America’s future (take over key policy positions), community of nations, world government (socialist) • Meets annually, closed to media • Reported to reject the idea of constitutional democracy
And, of course, the UN. What is sustainable development? • . . . Development that will not erode the world’s resources over time to the point that they cannot be replenished. • . . . A plan to eliminate as much as 85% of the world’s population • . . . Outlined in United Nations Agenda 21
Competing Worldviews • Traditional American • Representative Republic • Free Enterprise Capitalism • Nationalism/patriotism • (Christianity) • Opposing • Socialism (Progressivism) • Communism • Fascism (Nazism) • Globalism • Elitism
What were the founders of the United States seeking freedom from and freedom to do? • Freedom from government oppression. • Freedom to speak, worship, and generally live their lives without government interference.
Traditional American Perspective • Currently generally known as Conservative/”Tea Party”/(Republican more so than Democrat) • Small government/low taxes • Vs large government/high taxes • Rule of Law/Constitution • Vs. rule by those in power • Personal freedom & responsibility • Vs. government dependence • Patriotism/nationalism • Vs. globalism • Government exists to serve the people • vs. the people existing to serve the government
Preservation of Freedom • Rule of Law – the Constitution • (As opposed to rule by the powerful) • One thing standing in the way of socialist takeover is the U.S. Constitution and the freedoms or rights that it guarantees.
What freedoms are we worried about? • Bill of Rights – Amendment I to the U.S. Constitution “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.”
What freedoms are we worried about? • Amendment I: “. . . Or abridging the freedom of speech or of the press.” • Attempts to control the internet • Overt expressions of desire to silence FOX news and talk radio (e.g., Rush Limbaugh)
What freedoms are we worried about? • Amendment II: . . . “the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.” • Issues of legislating gun control have surfaced for several decades, and some laws have been enacted. • People are buying up guns and ammunition. • The underlying assumption of this right is that it is difficult to control an armed populace.
Limitation & Division of Powers between the Federal and State Governments • Amendment X: “The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States, respectively, or to the people.”
Sovereignty Bills • Worldnet Daily, Feb. 24, 2009 • “ The State of Oklahoma hereby claims sovereignty under the Tenth Amendment to the Constitution of the United States over all powers not otherwise enumerated and granted to the federal government by the Constitution of the United States.” • Sovereignty bills had been passed or introduced in 33 states by August 2009.
Socialism • Government regulation of private enterprise • Government provision of services to citizens (entitlement)/government control of those services • Big government/ high taxes • Redistribution of wealth (social justice)/few opportunities
Assumptions of Socialism • Government has the right to control the people. • Rule of the people by the powerful rather than rule of law/constitution is acceptable. • People exist to serve the government. • People need little personal responsibility or freedom and (in fact) are not capable of handling it.
Communism/Socialism • What are the similarities? • One leads to the other. Lenin said that the end goal of socialism was communism. • Progressive -> socialist -> communist • All agree that people need to be ruled, and do not have any rights other than what the government offers them. This is oppression.
Communist/Socialist Governments • Tend to lead to totalitarian dictatorships • Control the lives of their citizens: • Jobs & income: no competition, prescribed by government • Housing: no private property, government rental • Clothing: government stores, storehouses, possible uniforms • Travel: restricted, often not allowed outside country • Religion: official, state-sanctioned & regulated • Speech: no right to criticize the government • Healthcare (life and death): no choice of care • etc.
Communist/Socialist Governments • Generally imprison those who openly disagree with them (political dissenters) • Have track records of murdering their own citizens, sometimes into the millions • Tend to have poor economies because there is no incentive to work hard where income is redistributed
How about the Economy? • “Fascism should more properly be called corporatism because it is the merger of state and corporate power.” • Benito Mussolini • This was the form of government in Nazi Germany when Adolph Hitler was in power. • The “Third Way” currently being advocated by former President Bill Clinton and former British Prime Minister Tony Blair advocates an interlocking type of cooperation between government and business (nationally or internationally) that fits the definition of fascism.
Historical Relation to America • Communism did not really get a foothold politically until the early 20th Century • (Marx & Engels did not publish the Communist Manifesto until 1848.) • The United States spent much of the 20th Century trying to stop the spread of Communism. • Cuba/South America • Korean War • Vietnam War • Cold War • Ronald Reagan/Berlin Wall • And Nazism (National Socialism) • WWII
What is infiltration? • Working to get people of your worldview/political philosophy into key positions in government, media, education, and business • Using these institutions to indoctrinate the remainder of the citizens into agreeing to your rule • Tactics: control of information, creation of dependency upon the government through giveaways and promises; creation of crises and fear causing people to give power to the government in exchange for protection; creation of discontent among some groups • These are tactics of Fabian or Gramscian Socialists
Tactics to Destroy a Culture Destabilization of the family Issues with Religion Censorship of information in education Bias and withholding of information in the media Emphasis on social rights rather than responsibilities Rapid and uncontrolled immigration Sociocultural Influences
Just how socialist has the government become? • Four Socialist organizations in the U.S. House of Representatives, including chairs of 11 of the 20 committees. [Prior to the fall 2010 elections] • Progressive Democrats of America (6) • Congressional Progressive Caucus (74) • Congressional Black Caucus (43) • Democratic Socialists of America (?)
Individual Interface of Faith & Culture • George Barna – • “Every person’s central choices in life are driven by their worldview, and everyone’s worldview is greatly influenced by their spiritual inclinations. Their social and political preferences are closely tied to their spiritual beliefs and practices.”
ChristianityThe Foundational Religion of The United States is • “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. That to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed. That whenever any form of government becomes destructive to these ends it is the right of the people to alter or to abolish it, . . . . .
Where did our ideas come from?The Bible Equality • All men are created equal – • Endowed by our Creator with certain, unalienable rights – • Rights come from God
The Protestant Work Ethic • Hard work + thrifty living = prosperity. • This created a prosperous middle class. • Also rejection of the concept of royalty/nobility.
What about the Middle Class? • “The more I read, hear and research, the more I am willing to believe this financial crisis which was mostly birthed in the Clinton administration and continued by the George W. Bush administration, was possibly orchestrated in order to destroy the Middle class and implement radical, extreme socialism; . . “ Brannon Howse Christian Worldview Network
Our culture is no longer unified by identification with the Christian faith. • Christian by default? Barna. Jan. 12, 2009 • For much of America’s history, the assumption was that if you were born in America, you would affiliate with the Christian faith. • 50% in a recent survey said this is no longer true.
Christian Apostasy • Denial of Biblical beliefs; truth and authority of the Holy Bible (Apostasy) • Mentality of salvation by good works • Universal salvation of all faiths and those with no faith • The idea of many equal paths to God – universal religion • Liberation theology • Started around 1900 with questioning of the infallibility of the Holy Bible.
Who among Christians Has a Biblical Worldview? • Source: Barna Polls in 1995, 2000 and 2005 Respondents: self-described Christians yes no • Biblical worldview 9% 91% • Beliefs about truth: • Absolute moral truth exists 34% 66% • The Bible is accurate 50% 50% • Truth is discovered only through logic, reason, and experience 54% 46% • The Bible, the Koran (Qu’ran), and the Book of Mormon are different versions of the same truth 44% 56%
What Do “Christians” Really Believe? yes no • God is the all-knowing, all powerful • creator who still rules 70% 30% • The Holy Spirit is only a symbol 40% 60% • Jesus lived a sinless life 40% 60% • Satan is real 27% 73% • Demons are real 67% 33%
What Do “Christians” Believe about how to get to Heaven? Only 30% believed that salvation comes through correct beliefs. 50% believed in salvation (getting to heaven) on the basis of good works. Only 28% believed you cannot get to heaven by good works. 50+% believed some non-believers can get to heaven (42% included atheists) 75% believed people are not born sinful, but neutral
Secularization - The Emergent Church Critics Description • (Compromising) Generally apostate – questions doctrine • Ambiguous idea of truth (postmodern) • Universal salvation • Social justice gospel • Open to pagan (non-Christian) practices • Yoga • Meditation (contemplative prayer) • Walking the labyrinth
Is the Influence of Christianity in America Waning? • “at the close of 2008, few Americans perceive that religion is thriving in U.S. society, and a relatively small majority believe that religion is relevant to solving today’s problems. They also believe the overall influence of religion is declining.” 2008 Gallup Poll
With What Competing Ideologies are people trying to mergetraditional Christianity? • New Age/Humanism/Cosmic Humanism • One-world Spirituality • Liberation Theology/Social Justice (Marxist) • Socialism/Communism (atheist) • Islam (Chrislam)?
How about the New Spirituality? • New Age “Cafeteria” Religion • Based on personal experience • Cosmic Humanism • God is in everything. (Pantheism) • We are all gods. • Wicca is popular; reincarnation is popular; meditation and occult practices are popular