Occam, Blackstone, Witherspoon, Newton

One thing I have always admired with North was his willingness – and ability – to take on Sacred Icons in the church.

For example, take his article Tithing and Submission. Of course both subjects are innately despised by most Christians… as they continue to crawl on their belly before the governments that despise them.

And paying 40% taxes and the souls of their children (via government schools) for the privilege.

But I am not writing for these traitors and losers. I am writing for Christians who actually want their rightful King to win, in time and on earth – and are willing to make real sacrifices to regain their liberty (a.k.a. publicly live under God’s law, instead of the law of their enemies, be they Islamic or Secularist.)

Occam

In the article, North writes (the bold is mine – AP):

The modern church is consistent. It does not preach the mandatory tithe because it does not preach the mandatory law of God. By abandoning five-sixths of the Bible as “God’s Word, emeritus,” it has cut its own purse strings. When it preaches that God has no legal claims on modern man’s institutions, it places itself under another God with another law. God is presented as if He had no legal claims on modern man. “God loves you, and has a wonderful plan for your life” has been substituted for “God claims you, and has placed you under an eternal bond, which you have broken.” The doctrine of a claims-less God has had financial consequences for the churches, just as it does for the people in them who refuse to pay:

Then came the word of the Lord by Haggai the prophet, saying, is it time for you, O ye, to dwell in your celled houses, and this house lie waste? Ye have sown much, and bring in little; ye eat, but ye have not enough; ye drink, but ye are not filled with drink; ye clothe you, but there is none warm; and he that earneth wages earneth wages to put it into a bag with holes (Hag. 1:3-6).

This warning is easily dismissed today as “Old Testament stuff.” Non-judicial preaching has regarded the church as a voluntary institution, contractual rather than covenantal. Such preaching treats the communion table just as it treats the law: an occasional ritual for remembrance’s sake alone. The church is barely distinguishable theoretically from a non-profit social club, and very often in fact. There is no sense of the judicial presence of God anywhere in modern church liturgy. Men may sing, “All hail the power of Jesus’ name; let angels prostrate fall,” but neither angels nor the power of Jesus’ name are taken seriously. At best, such events are seen as non-historical; at worst, mythical.

With such Christian “believers”, no wonder the authority of God is openly laughed at, in the courts, in the legislature, in the universities, in the bars… and in more than a few churches.

This hardcore contempt for the Christian God, deeply rooted in both the Christian laity and the pulpit, is going to come to an end.

To continue:

The church sets the pattern for the world. This, too, is not believed by the modern church. We find that there is no sense of the judicial presence of God in the civil courtroom, the voting booth, and on inauguration day. The following phrases are mere formalities: “So help me, God” (courtroom oath), “In God we trust” (slogan on U.S. money), and “God bless you all” (tagged onto the end of televised speeches by American Presidents). Government is seen as strictly voluntaristic. It is a matter of mere convention. This is the triumph of philosophical nominalism: Occam’s famous razor has been used to shave God out of history. That was its purpose from the beginning.

Occam

All of the bold bits are meaty, and worth chewing over mentally: but right now, I just want to point out how North firmly put William of Occam in his place.

From Wikipedia (footnotes shaved off):

William of Ockham (/ˈɒkəm/; also Occam, from Latin: Gulielmus Occamus; c. 1287 – 1347) was an English Franciscan friar and scholastic philosopher and theologian, who is believed to have been born in Ockham, a small village in Surrey. He is considered to be one of the major figures of medieval thought and was at the centre of the major intellectual and political controversies of the fourteenth century. He is commonly known for Occam’s razor, the methodological principle that bears his name, and also produced significant works on logic, physics, and theology. In the Church of England, his day of commemoration is 10 April.

I am unsurprised that Occam has a feast day among the Episcopal Church (a.k.a. the Anglican Church) whose sole reason for existence is to give the government what it wants, from Henry VIII’s divorce to the glories of Darwinianism to today’s homosexualist visions. A creature of political power, that will die when its creator and master dies.

And – again, no surprise – it isn’t looking too healthy right now, in this era of disintegrating political legitimacy, impending economic bankruptcy, and decentralizing political power. “No tears will be shed.”

Rev. John Witherspoon

But on to the more interesting cases of the American Revolution. In North’s glorious work Political Polytheism, there is an appendix, “The Theological Origins of the American Revolution”. In it, we see how well-educated, celebrated Christians like Rev. John Witherspoon and William Blackstone sold Christianity down the river, in the name of the Enlightened State.

North writes (footnotes deleted, but italics kept):

I begin my discussion of apostate covenantalism where Rushdoony began his discussion of what he regards as covenantally Christian America: with Rev. John Witherspoon. He was the teacher of the man who is often called the Father of the Constitution, James Madison. He was a signer of the Declaration of Independence, the only minister of the gospel to do so.

Witherspoon serves as perhaps the best example in the history of the Christian Church as a man who defended a halfway covenant philosophy and subsequently pressed for an apostate national covenant…[he was] the representative of the Church in that era. He did not merely sign the Declaration of Independence; he symbolically signed his brightest student’s 200-year (or more) jail sentence for the American Church.

Witherspoon, in the name of Calvin’s God, substituted Locke’s compact theory of civil government for biblical covenantalism: society as contractual, not covenantal. He did not distinguish society from the State. (Pages 319-320)

I can feel the disgust rising within me. I mean, just how Enlightened and Secular and Modern and Statist can you get?

Society is a “voluntary compact” among equals. Most important, his discussion of oaths was limited strictly to contracts (person to person) and vows: personal promises between God and an individual. Oaths, he says, “are appendages to all lawful contracts;… ” He did not discuss covenants as oath-bound contracts among men in which God is the enforcing party. Had he done so, he would have had to abandon Locke and the whole Whig tradition.

Witherspoon made the assumption that there is a common sense logical realism that links the logical processes of all men, Christians and non-Christians. He appealed to this common sense realism in his defense of the Christian faith. This was the heritage of eighteenth-century Scottish rationalism, the birthplace of the right wing of the Enlightenment.

Because he believed that there is such a realm of neutral human reason… (Page 319)

OK, I’m done with Witherspoon now.

I mean, does any educated man, anywhere, actually believe in such a thing as Objective Pure Reason? I am confident that neither the seriously secularist professors nor the uncaring students in any Western university will bother with such an obsolete concept. Certainly no believing Christian can touch it, in the post-Van Tillian era.

Blackstone

On to Blackstone!

Who Taught the Lawyers?

William Blackstone’s Commentaries on the Laws of England was published in 1765. Almost immediately, it became the standard textbook for apprentices in law in the American colonies. It is occasionally referred to in American history textbooks, but it is seldom read today. (Page 321)

Having disposed of Biblical law (via a slight-of-hand trick, in this case), Blackstone can now be safely ignored by the Establishment. But, I am sure that there are many Christian intellectuals who long to get back to Blackstone, when you had to murmur a few pious words before doing exactly as you please…

Undermining Biblical Law

Having said this [a bunch of pretty pious words about the Bible – AP], he then spent four volumes describing English common law with only a few footnote references to the Bible. In the first three volumes, running almost 500 pages each, each has one footnote reference to the Bible. The fourth volume, on criminal law (Public Wrongs), has ten references. Not one of them was taken by Blackstone as authoritative for civil law; they were seen merely as historical examples. There is not a single reference to “Bible,” “Moses,” or “Revelation” in the set’s index.

How could this be if he was persuaded that biblical law and natural law are the same, but with biblical law so much clearer to us? Blackstone’s preliminary remarks were commonplaces for the era. Englishmen commonly tipped the brims of their epistemological caps to God and the Bible, but they did not take off their caps in the presence of God. They pursued their academic specialties just as Christians do today: with no systematic study of what biblical law specifically reveals regarding those disciplines. It was considered sufficient for Blackstone to have formally equated biblical law with natural law. Having done so, he could then safely ignore biblical law.

Today’s apostate decadence (and indebtedness… and perversions… and sterility… and tyranny… and murderousness…) came in stages, rather than all at once.

I will be bolding the key sentence here:

This raises another question: Was Blackstone in fact deliberately lying? [when equating Biblical and natural law – AP] In a perceptive essay by David Berman, we learn of a strategy that had been in use for over almost a century: combatting a position by supporting it with arguments that are so weak that they in fact prove the opposite. This was a tactic used by those who did not believe in immortality to promote their skepticism. Berman makes a very shrewd observation regarding academic historians and scholars: “Most of us do not like liars or lying; nor are we inclined to accept conspiracy theories or explanations that postulate secret codes or cabals. These aversions may explain why the art of theological lying has been so generally ignored. . . . “ There is at least reasonable suspicion that Blackstone was lying; if he was not, then he was naive beyond description, for his lame defense of biblical revelation greatly assisted the political triumph of the enemies of Christianity in the American colonies.

I strongly doubt that such an intelligent and well-educated man like Blackstone was naive in the slightest.

Newton

And then there is Newton.

Isaac Newton: The Trojan Horse

It was with Isaac Newton that we can mark the overwhelming triumph of Enlightenment faith in the English-speaking world. From 1690 to 1790, we can date a major and nearly self-contained intellectual era that laid the philosophical and cultural foundations of modern atheism.’ Because of what was done during that century — begun by Newton and ended by the French Revolution – and also because of what Darwin did in 1859, we live in a culture in which, for the first time in mankind’s history, belief in God is optional, a world in which “The option of not believing has eradicated God as a shared basis of thought and experience and retired him to a private or at best subcultural role. The bulk of modern thought has simply dispensed with God.”Gs It began with Newton, of whom Alexander Pope wrote:

Nature and Nature’s Laws lay hid in Night.
God said, Let Newton be! and All was Light.

It was American Christians who consented, step by step, to the transformation of this nation into a theologically pluralistic republic.

[…]

They did not know that he had abandoned Trinitarian Christianity and had become an Arian, though a very private and cautious one, at least a decade before the Principia was published. They also were unaware of another side of Newton, a side which was suppressed by his followers immediately after his death, and which was then forgotten for two centuries (and is known only to highly specialized historians today): his occultism.

For the record:

Arianism is a nontrinitarian belief that asserts that Jesus Christ is the Son of God, created by God the Father, distinct from the Father and therefore subordinate to the Father. Arian teachings were first attributed to Arius (c. AD 250–336), a Christian presbyter in Alexandria, Egypt. The teachings are opposed to mainstream Christian teachings on the nature of the Trinity and on the nature of Christ. The Arian concept of Christ is that the Son of God did not always exist, but was created by God the Father.

We have done far past Arianism in this culture. However, when the existence of God is again seen to be self-evident, I wouldn’t be surprised in the slightest if a solid majority of intellectuals plays with Deism & Arianism for a while, before settling on a variation of Animism (cloaked in environmental language), or some flavour of escapist religion (of the Hindu or Buddhist variety).

Note that these are all escapist religions, which can endure for a while longer than the power-worshippers. Power-worshipping religions – Statism, Socialism, Communism, Islam, and variations of Emperor-worship – are going to fall apart, as they lose the ability to freely suppress and oppress and kill as they please (due to technological advances.)

Without God and Law, and without a State to give their lies bite, these intellectuals are destined to irrelevancy… perhaps even more irrelevant than the lawless and antinomian Christian Church is today!

But right now, we are stuck with the desire for self-deification, of the Glory of Man and Politics, that Newton left us with.

They do not understand, or choose to ignore, the deeply mystical and magical goal of alchemy: the self-transcendence of the alchemist. The alchemist, by a manipulation of the elements, seeks to achieve a leap of being, what today would be called an evolutionary leap. The familiar legend of the philosopher’s stone – the alchemical means of transforming base metals into gold — neglects the real goal which this transformation merely symbolizes: the transformation of the alchemist, and by implication and representation, of humanity. “Gold, we repeat, is the symbol of immortality.” To dabble in alchemy, even for intellectual y technical reasons, is to come very close to the messianic impulse of the deification of man. It is like dabbling in magic; it has consequences.

One of the consequences was the French Revolution.

People – even true geniuses like Issac Newton – want salvation without going through Jesus Christ.

It ain’t happening.

There is no secret knowledge or science that will provide a joyful immortality.

There is no level of political power and control that will provide salvation and healing for mankind.

There is no man-made legal system that will insure justice, that will stand the test of time,

There is only one Way to Salvation: Jesus Christ.

And Jesus Christ, as King of Heaven and Earth, rightfully demands actual obedience to His commands. “If you love me, keep my commandments.”

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