Subtitle: “Why I Despise Modern Western Civilization and How It Has Become So Aberrant.”
My life’s calling is talking with others about the Good News of God’s grace in the person and work of Yeshua, the Messiah (Jesus Christ). That grace is beautifully and sacredly portrayed in the Hebrew and Greek Scriptures.
Serving in Congress compared to teaching the Bible is like being a fisherman catching a carp or a tuna. Both can be eaten, but unlike the carp, the tuna is delicious, satisfying, and nutritional.
Serving in Congress may be necessary for a temporal national government, but sharing the Gospel of Jesus Christ is meaningful for all people eternally.
There’s no comparison.
So why did I choose to step aside for a season from regularly teaching the Bible on Sundays to run against a thirty-year Congressional incumbent who chairs the powerful Space, Science and Technology Committee, and has positioned himself strategically inside the political establishment of Washington D.C.?
I ran against the incumbant for Congress to try to stop the perpetual warmongering of the political elite who get comfortable with fighiing wars overseas.
In JFK and the Unspeakable: Why He Died and Why It Matters, biographer James W. Douglas says the reason JFK ran for Congress in 1946 was “to prevent another war” (p. 5).
When JKF announced his candidacy on April 22, 1946, he said:
“What we do now will shape the history of civilization for many years to come. We have a weary world trying to bind the wounds of a fierce struggle. That is dire enough. What is infinitely far worse is that we have a world which unleashed the terrible powers of atomic energy. We have a world capable of destroying itself. The days which lie ahead are most difficult ones. Above all, day and night, with every ounce of ingenuity and industry we possess, we must work for peace. We must not have another war.” (Cited by Hellen O’Donnell, A Common Good: The Friendship of Robert F Kennedy and Kenneth P. O’Donnell, New York: William Morrow, 1998), p. 48).
In centuries past, countries built on the principles of Western Civilization championed societal freedom, individual liberty, and the common good of all.
Peace is for the common good. Wars bring harm to everyone. Western Civilization has always been about peace and the common good.
Western Civilization’s Desire for the Common Good
The term “Western Civilization” refers to the cultural, intellectual, and social developments that have occurred in Europe and the Western Hemisphere from the 5th Century B.C. present day. It is characterized by a strong basis of Natural Law and its rule in society, a rich cultural heritage, and unique political, social, and economic systems built on individual liberty.
Here are some summary observations about Western Civilization:
- Characteristics of Western Civilization − Western Civilization is characterized by a strong emphasis on individualism, reason, and the rule of law, as well as a rich cultural heritage and diverse intellectual traditions.
- Key Historical Periods of Western Civilization − Western Civilization has gone through several key historical periods such as Ancient Greece and Rome, the Middle Ages, the Renaissance, the Scientific Revolution, the Enlightenment, and the Modern Era.
- The Geographical Scope of Western Civilization − Western Civilization has its roots in Europe, but it has also spread to North America and other parts of the Western Hemisphere through colonization and globalization.
- Key Cultural Achievements and Contributions − Cultural achievements such as the development of democracy, the concept of citizenship, the scientific method, the novel, and other literary forms, and the art of painting, sculpture, and architecture.
David Livingstone (1813-1873), the great Christian missionary from London, literally gave his life for the common good of the African people. Before he left his wife, children, and homeland of England to live and die among the people of Africa, David Livingstone became utterly convinced that there would be only one way to stop the worldwide slave trade of African people.
The principles of Western Civilization, according to David Livingstone, contained the answers for people being destroyed by economic, political, or individual serfdom.
Where did Livingston get this understanding that only the principles of Western Civilization bring about the common good of all peoples and nations?
At a public meeting on 1 June 1840, Dr. Livingstone heard Sir Thomas Fowell Buxton of The Society for the Extinction of the Slave Trade and for the Civilization of Africa offer a plan to resolve the problem of slave trading in Africa: open up the country to trade in other commodities that the inhabitants could produce or grow. As a leader of the antislavery movement, Buxton passionately believed in bringing the three Cs to the continent: Christianity, Commerce, and Civilization. It was a eureka moment for Livingstone: here was the way forward in Africa, to which he would devote the rest of his life.
Christianity, commerce, and civilization formed the axe that severed the root of slavery’s tree!
The three C’s are a concise summary of Western Civilization.
So what has happened to the principles of Western Civilization?
Modern Western Politicians and Perpetual Wars
How has Western Civilization (Europe and the United States) moved from individual liberty to societal tyranny?
Why do Western politicians push for endless wars?
Why are our children and grandchildren falsely taught in colleges and universities that Western Civilization creates slavery instead of it ceasing slavery?
Again, what has happened to Western Civilization?
Why has the culture of the United States and Europe changed so drastically in the last few decades, departing so far from the principles of Christianity, commerce, and civilization?
Toynbee on Why I Dislike Western Civilization
Recently, I came across an essay in the archives of The New York Times by British historian Arnold Toynbee.
Toynbee wrote the essay twenty years after the assassination of President John F. Kennedy.
In the essay, Toynbee explains Western Civilization seemed to be on the verge of a first-strike nuclear attack against Russia.
Remember, Toynbee wrote the essay in 1964; sixty years ago. However, reading it today is like reading the headlines of this morning’s newspaper.
Below, I highlight four reasons Western Civilization has collapsed since the assassination of President John F. Kennedy in 1963. These are the words of Professor Toynbee as articulated beautifully in his essay from 1964.
Four Reasons for the Collapse of Civilization
ARNOLD J. TOYNBEE’S WORDS
Reason #1 – Self-Complacent Sinfulness Characterized by Pride Rather than Christian Humility
I shiver and shake. Old-fashioned Christan humility, please come to my rescue. Please save me from contemporary post-Christian Western self-complacent sinfulness.
Reason #2 – Materialism and the Standardization of Spirituality which Leads to Religious Consumerism
I dislike the contemporary Western advertising business. It has made a fine art out of taking advantage of human silliness. It rams unwanted material goods down surfeited throats when two-thirds of all human beings now alive are in desperate need of the bare necessities of life. This is an ugly aspect of the affluent society; and, if I am told that advertising is the price of affluence, I reply, without hesitation, that affluence has been bought too dear. Another item in the price of affluence is the standardizaion of mass-produced goods and services. This is, in itself, a deplorable impoverishment of the material side of human culture, and it brings spiritual standardization (e.g. ‘religious consumerism’) with it, which is still worse.
Reason #3 – The Sexualization of Children in Western Cultures
Looking back into the past history of the West — a past which was still present when I was a child — I admire the 19th-century West’s success in postponing the age of sexual awakening, sexual experience, and sexual infatuation far beyond the age of physical puberty.
ALL human societes overcome death by creatng and maintaining, institutions that are handed on from one generation to another. Sex is a still more awkward feature of our biological inheritance than death, and our 19th-century Western society handled sex with relative success. By postponing the age of sexual awakening, it prolonged the length of the period of education. It is this, together with the 17th-century Western achievement of learning to think for oneself instead of taking tradition on trust, that accounts for the West’s preeminence in the world during the last few centuries.
Nineteenth-century Westerners condemned with justice the Hindu institutions of child marriage, and they deplored, also with justice, the spectacle of an intellectually promising Moslem boy being allowed to commit intellectual suicide by sexual indulgence at the age of puberty. The 20th-century West is now imitating the non-Western habit that the 19th-century West rightly—though perhaps self-righteously—condemned.
Our irrational contemporary Western impatience and our blind adulation of speed for speed’s sake are making havoc, today, of the education of our children. We force their growth as if they were chicks in a pullet factory. We drive them into a premature awareness of sex even before physical puberty has overtaken them. In fact, we deprive our children of the human right of having a childhood. This forcing of sex consciousness started in the United States; it has spread to Britain, who knows how many other Western countries this perverse system of miseducation is going to invade and demoralize?
OUR whole present policy in the upbringing of the young is paradoxical. While we are lowering the age of sexual awareness — and frequently the age of sexual experience, too — to a veritably Hindu degree, we are at the same time prolonging the length of education. We force our boys and girls to become sex-conscious at 12 or 13, and then we ask them to prolong their postgraduate studies until they are nearly 30. How are they to be expected to give their minds to education during those last 16 or 17 sex-haunted years?
We are proud of ourselves for providing secondary education, college education, and postgraduate education for everybody. But we shall be plowing the sands if we do not simultaneously revert to our grandparents’ practce of prolonging the age of sexual innocence. If we persist, in this vital matter, on our present Hindu course, our brand new would be institutions for higher education will become, in practice, little more than social clubs for sexual mating.
THIS relapse into precocious sexuality is one of the moral blemishes of contemporary Western civilization.
Reason #4 – The Splintering into Nationalism with Other Nations as the Enemy
One of its intellectual blemishes is its insistence on splitting up the universe into smaller and smaller splinters. It has split up the human race into a host of sovereign independent national states. It has split up knowledge and understanding into a host of separate watertight “disciplines.” I dislike nationalism and I dislike specialization, and both are characteristically Western aberrations.
As I said, Toynbee speaks for me when it comes to Western civilization. It may be collapsing right in front of our eyes.
However, the eternal Kingdom of Yeshua, the Savior of the world, will never end.
I may not run for Congress in 2024, but I will never stop teaching the Bible. In the end, the only hope for humanity is the Prince of Peace reigning in the heart of every human being.
Until He reigns throughout the world, I’ll do all I can to help Western politicians hold the line of peace and cease the desire for perpetual wars.
It’s the least I can do to uphold the once-cherished principles of Western Civilization.