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Providence- is it God or government?

Between now and the midterm elections in November, the battle for the constitutional liberty of the American people will be decided. From day one, Obama’s behavior and that of his factional cohorts, has confirmed that the “change” they intend to impose on the United States is a change of regime- from a constitutional government that recognizes and respects the sovereignty of the people to an elite party dictatorship that imposes its will regardless of their consent.

Though some are still blind enough to believe that Obama is the cause and focus of this battle, others are finally waking up to the reality that Obama is simply an historical figurehead. He embodies the spirit of elite domination that transcends contemporary lines of party and ideological division. As that astute observer of history Alexis de Tocqueville realized, the United States of America emerged as part of a general movement in which the people as a whole challenged the rule by domineering elites that had been the invariable pattern for government throughout human history. Tocqueville thought that the special circumstances of the Americans, with respect to geography and politics (in the broadest sense), as well as moral and intellectual character, made their assertion of self-government the most promising salient of this democratic movement, which is to say the most likely to produce a stable result, reasonably consistent with justice and basic human decency. Something of the outward luster of human ambition would be lost, but the general material and spiritual contentment of humanity would be well served.

It’s fair to say that until the present day the results far exceeded Tocqueville’s expectations. Keep in mind that Tocqueville was no cheerleader for democracy. He understood its inherent dangers, including especially tendencies that combined the dissolution of natural social institutions (like the family) with a taste for the concentration of political power. This portended a gradual elimination of intermediary human agencies, which would leave isolated individuals helplessly subject to the irresistible power of one pervasive and controlling tyrannical power. Tocqueville saw hope for democracy in America precisely because the religious character, and the social and political habits of its people, worked to mitigate democracy’s decline toward tyranny.

By and large, the people who most profoundly shaped and influenced the establishment of the United States government appreciated the dangers of democracy just as Tocqueville did after them. Given that fact, and what should have been the effect of their own elite self-interest, it seems a miracle of Biblical proportions that a substantial proportion of the most influential American elite at the time sincerely understood and embraced the promise of greater justice involved in the democratic political principle. They accepted the premise that just government had to consult the will of the whole people when making judgments that affected their common good. But because they reflected, and meant to respect, the social and political habits of Americans (what they called the ‘genius’ of the American people) the founders of America’s constitutional republic consciously crafted political institutions that embraced democracy in principle, but in which the implementation of republican and federal principles served to mitigate its most dangerous effects.

Tocqueville thought it likely that among Americans the republican form of government would outlast the government of the United States. He argued that the moral effects of slavery would divide the character of the people, leading, perhaps inevitably, to conflict and separation between the slave states and the free. As it turned out, he has so far been proven wrong in both respects. Tocqueville understood that the religious, moral character of the American people was crucial to their ability to understand and preserve the political institutions that implemented their sovereignty. But because he did not foresee the moral developments that preserved the Union through civil war, he could not foresee the intellectual developments that would provide the basis for an elitist movement first to subvert and then to overturn the historic movement toward government based on the consent of the people. Where liberty was concerned, the “genius” of the American people combined an understanding of justice derived from the authority of the Creator, God (natural right); with an understanding of human nature that makes human liberty a function of the equality by God’s will of all human beings (natural rights). This recognizes and relies upon God as the source of the basic provisions for justice in human affairs. It is in this sense that the authors and signers of the Declaration of Independence especially relied upon God’s Providence for protection as they embarked upon what they knew would be a difficult struggle to sustain it.

This appeal to Providence had to do with God’s moral and spiritual provisions, the ones that guide conscience and sustain moral confidence amidst the dangers of battle and imminent death. It has little to do with provisions for material comfort, or even the necessities of life. The signers of the Declaration expected death and wounds in battle. They expected the loss and destruction of material possessions. Most of them were not disappointed. What they expected and got from God was the moral assurance that their actions were justified; and the courage born of knowing that, as subjects of God, human beings enjoy an objective worth and dignity that cannot be measure or destroyed by any material thing. This is the courage that with no false bravado taunts “O Death, where is thy sting? O Grave, where is thy victory?”

Such courage, and the successful assertion of self-government it makes possible, was especially the historical fruit of maturing Christian faith. Without the prideful ethos connected with aristocratic heritage; without the violent hatred and resentment that fire the uprisings of desperately brutalized and downtrodden masses; people at large could find the courage deliberately to undertake the dangerous work of resisting injustice, whether on their own behalf or for others. When the America revolution occurred Americans were materially pretty well off, not economically desperate. They acted with deliberate courage, and in light of passions stirred and moderated by a sense of justice. This led to the establishment of national democratic republican institutions that avoided the hate-filled excesses of the French revolution and could even survive the excruciating anguish of the Civil War and its aftermath.

Yet ironically, the ostensible triumph of freedom over moral and economic slavery in the nineteenth century may have set the course on which moral, economic and political slavery (totalitarian centralism) stand poised to triumph over America’s republican form of government in the twenty-first. This tragic irony is all too aptly confirmed by the personal background of the man now set up to be the focus and figurehead of the relentless, elitist effort to overturn the constitutional sovereignty of the American people. Though in skin color he superficially resembles the people freed from slavery by America’s bloody civil conflict, both his claimed African tribal heritage and his lifelong commitment to Marxist-Leninist ideology place him among the elitist enslavers of humanity.

Obama’s indoctrination in Marxist-Leninism also identifies him with an understanding of human history that conflicts with any reliance on God’s providence as the basis for understanding human justice. Yet as Lincoln articulated it, the common sense of the American people understood the Civil War to be a consequence of God’s provision for human justice. Thanks to the moral confidence that resulted from that understanding, the Union survived the division caused by slavery. But the triumph of the North was also the triumph of the Northern industrial base. It marked the emergence of a society that would come more and more to reflect the mores of urban life. Over time those mores have become increasingly materialistic, increasingly centered on human arts and sciences, technology, and engineering (the works of human hands). Such mores began to produce people with little interest in or tolerance for an understanding of God’s providence that defines human equality in terms of human rights (i.e., the human obligation to do right) rather than human needs and material desires. Though the words of the American Declaration of Independence still stir their feelings, such people are increasingly indifferent to the invocation of God’s authority without which the words lose any claim to stand upon objective truth.

The fact that most American’s still profess to believe in God and even in His Creation should offer some hope that America’s allegiance to its founding creed can be restored. That ought to be the aim that fuels the deliberate purpose of those who must rally now to drive from office the elite subversives bent on replacing liberty for all with the renewal of elite tyranny. But who is there now to call them to that firm and true reliance upon God’s providence that is the key to a sustained effort, that will not ebb and flow with every turn of events, or every deceitful maneuver aimed at mollifying their rightful indignation? If only there were true Republicans, truly committed to preserving the real meaning of the term. If only there were true Democrats, who really cared to preserve the government of, by and for the people- instead of arrogant elitists who subvert and overturn “the liberties of republics…paying obsequious court to the people; commencing demagogues and ending tyrants.” And if there are such true partisans of American freedom, if only, despite all our prideful rejection of Him, God will bring us to those places of the heart where we will rally to His cause and so restore our own.

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  • Matt Harder March 28, 2010, 8:27 am

    No words arranged otherwise could better describe our present situation.

    Thanks Dr. Keyes!

  • tj marz March 28, 2010, 2:10 am

    “It is one thing to see the light, it is another to have it burn brightly inside of you” tj marz

  • francis March 23, 2010, 9:03 pm

    “Love Not The World”

    ”For the WHOLE world(not just a portion) is under the control of the evil one”…….(I John 5:19)

    “Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world. And the world will pass away, and the lust thereof: but he that does the will of The Only True GOD will abide for ever.” (I John 2:15-17)

    “If you were of the world, the world would love it’s own: but because you are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hates you. Remember the word that I said unto you, the servant is not greater than his Master. If they have persecuted Me, they will also persecute you; if they have kept My saying, they will keep yours also.” (John 15:19-20)

    “Where do wars and fighting among you come from? Do they not come of your lusts that war in your members? You lust, and have not: you kill, and desire to have, and cannot obtain: you fight and war yet you have not, because you ask not. You ask, and receive not, because you ask amiss, that you may consume it upon your lusts. You adulterers and adulteresses, don’t you know that friendship with the world is to be at enmity with The Only True GOD? Therefore whoever will be a friend of the world is the enemy of The Only True GOD.” (James 4:1-4)

    “The world cannot hate you; but the world hates Me, because I testify that the works of this world are evil.” (John 7:7)” and “The Messiah gave Himself for our sins, that He might deliver us from this present evil world, according to the will of The Only True God, Our Father.”(Gal 1:4)

    The Messiah testified: “If the world hates you know that it hated Me before it hated you.”(John 5:18) Truly, Truly, I say unto you, except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abides alone: but if it die it brings forth much fruit. He that loves his life in this world shall lose it; and he that hates his life in this world shall have it unto life eternal.” (John 12:24-25)

    John testified: “Marvel not, my brethren, if the world hates you.” (I John 3:13) “ James testified, “Whoever would be a friend of this world is the enemy of GOD”(James 4:4)

    The “earth and it’s life forms” are The Creation of The Only True GOD, Father of ALL! The “worldly” systems are the creation of, and under the dominion of “the god of this world”, he who is “the father of lies”, he who “has blinded the minds of those who believe not The Messiah”! All the nations of this world are under the dominion of, and serve, the evil one for he provides the fuel that feeds mankind’s “imag”ination, and mankind’s “imagination is destroying Creation(land, air, water, vegetation, creatures) and perverting that which is Spirit(Light, Truth, Life, Love, Peace, Faith, Simplicity, Wisdom, .etc.) ;-(

    Once again, the “earth and it’s life forms” are The Creation of The Only True GOD, Father of ALL! The current “worldly” systems are the creation of, and under the dominion of “the god of this world”.

    Those who “love this world” all serve “the god of this world”, and play their part in the processes that seek to destroy The Creation of The Only True GOD. “And The Only True GOD will destroy them who destroy the earth.” (Rev 11:18c)

    Global warming, polluted air, land and waters, toxic wastes, sexual perversion, evil inventions of destruction, greed, hate, carnal warfare, dis-ease ,,,etc,,, are all destructive processes that have their root in “the lust of the eye, the lust of the flesh, and the pride of life”.

    The Truth Is Alive in those who have been born of The Spirit for “they no longer love this wicked, evil world and it’s things”, and they do not “love their own lives in this world”.

    They but seek and desire The Will of GOD, HE WHO is their Father and Creator, as they await their final transformation. “Corruptible to Incorruptible” indeed and Truth!

    Now “the ground was cursed for Adam’s sake” because he “hearkened unto the woman”.

    Adam listened to a woman rather than obeying The Only True GOD. Yet because of Faithful Noah, The Only True GOD “no longer would curse the ground for man’s sake” because Noah obeyed The Only True GOD! (Genesis 8:21-22)

    And the Faithful today are exhorted to “love not the world, neither the things that are in the world.”

    Be not of those who deny and defy “The One GOD, Father of All”. Be not of those who are destroying Creation(land, air, water, vegetation, creatures) and perverting that which is Spirit(Light, Truth, Life, Love, Peace, Hope, Mercy, Faith, .etc.)!

    “Set your affections on things above”. Desire heavenly, eternal things. Quit serving ‘time’ in the prison that is this world and take heed unto The Call of “The Only True GOD” to ”Come Out of her, MY people!”

    “Come out” from among those who are destroying Creation and perverting that which is Spirit. Be of those who follow The Messiah on “The Way to The Truth of The Life”.

    “Come out” of the worldly systems, which are the product of mankind’s “imag”ination, especially the systems of religion. “Pure religion and undefiled before GOD The Father is this, to visit the fatherless(those who know not their Father[Creator]) and widows(those who have not experienced The Messiah and The Power that raised Him from among the dead”) in their affliction and to keep oneself uncontaminated by the world.” (James 1:27)

    Simply, all other religions are impure, defiled and of this wicked, evil world…….

    “religion” is personal(oneself), not corporate…….

    Faith will not create a system of religion!

    Faith is Family, not “religion”, and The Brethren of The Messiah seek and desire that which The Messiah sought and desired above all else:

    “Father, not My will, But THY Will Be Done”…….

    Peace, in spite of the dis-ease(no-peace) that is of this world and it’s systems of religion, for “the WHOLE world(not just a portion) is under the control of the evil one” indeed and Truth……

    Truth is forever, lies never existed and never will……. francis

    • Chiu Chun-Ling March 24, 2010, 1:31 am

      “Or what man is there of you, whom if his son ask bread, will he give him a stone?”

      Yes, the quest for God is innately personal. So is the quest for food. After all, nobody can be nourished by what another eats. Does this mean that the baker is therefore the agent of famine?

      If humans truly want to solve a problem, they turn to each other for help. Even when the problem is one so fundamentally individual as nutrition. Or do you assert that a man, having tasted of the tender love of God, will not aid his brother in the quest to likewise enjoy such a blessing?

      Consider, why are you trying to share your ‘wisdom’? Is this not the seed of the very evil you decry, ‘corporate’ religion?

      Not to say that most religions are perfect or even not evil. But no matter how obvious it is that not all religions can be true, it does not follow that all are false. The true religion will conform to all the precepts of God, no matter that some of them may be imitated by false teachers. And one of those precepts is community and fellowship among all who love God.

      It is the very essence of humans’ nature to share what is good with those they love. To the extent that any man has the love of God in him, and thus learned to love his fellowman, he will administer of that goodness the Lord of life has granted him.

      Well, not that I have any real first-hand experience with this principle.

  • Parrfection March 23, 2010, 1:01 am

    Dr. Keyes,
    Where do you suppose faithless defenders of liberty (i.e. Ayn Rand, etc.) place the basis for their arguments? After all it follows, to me anyway, that without God there would be no objective moral values and therefore no good reason to suggest that it would be wrong for a government to abridge the freedom, property, or lives of its citizens to serve any seemingly necessary or even arbitrary purpose. Why might such an abridgment be perceived by atheist libertarians as evil? Without God, such moral perspicacity seems unwarranted. What’s right or wrong, under such a worldview, would be best defined by individuals or cultures, parties or elites. I just don’t understand from where their objections stem. Thoughts?

    • Chiu Chun-Ling March 23, 2010, 9:40 pm

      Well, it is important to remember that God is an actual entity with particular characteristics. That is to say, just because a person “believes in God”, that doesn’t logically imply that the God in which they claim belief actually exists. That singular and ultimate who is truly a Supreme Being not just in name but substance will defy the limited understanding of even the earnest seeker of Him, and of course those that simply abuse the name of God for their own self-justification are no better off than the professed atheist in true knowledge.

      The natural foundation of most ‘atheism’ is simple pride, a desperate refusal to admit that any person could really be unalterably and irrefutably better than the atheist. But this is not too different from many other forms of prideful self-righteousness in which the name “God” really is taken to mean the special destiny of the self-proclaimed theist. That is to say, sometimes people lie or are really self-deceived about what they profess. For example, in some countries the term “atheist” really just means “non-Catholic”. In others it means “not-insane”.

      For a person that is deterred by the evident logical impossibility of all the various Christian doctrines being true, and discouraged by the impossibility of sorting out all them without merely creating a new splinter of Christianity, the label of “atheist” can seem reasonable and much more definite than “agnostic” (particularly given that all professed atheists do have entities which serve as replacements for “God” in their private thoughts). That is not to say that these individually invented conceptions of deity will have much to recommend them to the serious religious thinker, just that often they are not really that different from the ideas that outwardly professing individuals may have about “God”.

      Socrates asserted that his main claim to wisdom was his realization that he didn’t know anything. However sophistical that insight may seem in certain lights, it is a vital truth when it comes to religious knowledge. Self-proclaimed atheism is sometimes a step along that path of humility, as it was for C. S. Lewis. Disbelief in the concept of God that you learned as a child is technically not true atheism, but it is hard to expect those who are growing out of a childish belief system to realize this.

      That said, the Randian substitution of “Genius” for God is not terribly superior to belief in “Gaia” or “Posterity” or any of the other false idols which the more sophisticated atheists worship. It does have quite a bit of a lead on the egotistical nomination of the self as the ultimate being, but naturally enough most of those who deem themselves worthy of worship try to hide behind a greater image, as did the wizard of Oz.

      In short, everyone does worship something, and no human can truly claim to worship God perfectly. So it isn’t like there is a categorical separation between those who believe what they worship should be called “God” and those who believe it should be called something else. The worship of Genius is a little better than the worship of nature and a lot better than the worship of Allah, and while it is clearly inferior to the worship of Christ many of those who claim to worship Christ will one day be told, “I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.”

      For myself, while God is the ultimate example of most the principles I worship, I do not worship or even understand the primary characteristic of God, which is mercy. In that sense I might be construed as not worshiping God, since I utterly fail to comprehend the most essential aspect of His character. And I can hardly make the claim that mercy is the only thing I don’t understand about God. I do assert with some confidence that if I did understand it, I would like it, because I admire everything I do understand about God. But this is an inductive generalization rather than a logical certainty.

      • Parrfection March 25, 2010, 1:29 pm

        A worship of “Genius,” or some other vague substitution, would not satisfy the requirement incumbent in the reality of the existence of good and evil. Regardless of if one chooses to worship God, in this context — The Optimal Good, he ought to recognize that without God’s existence there would be no basis for discernment of good and evil; so that either God exists or else there is no objective value placed upon the two terms.

        With regard to the notion that religious knowledge cannot be obtained:
        “Prove to me that I do not know them, you who do not deny that such matters pertain to philosophy and who maintain that none of these things can be known.”

        • Chiu Chun-Ling March 26, 2010, 5:33 am

          As I understand it, Randian thought doesn’t accede to the reality of Good and Evil, only genius and the lack thereof. I’ll admit that seems a trifle Nietzschean to me, except that Randian values are individualist rather than racist.

          I do have my doubts as to whether Good and Evil can be said to have any independent meaning other than in relation to God. Certainly, before I knew of God, I did not know myself to be Evil. So if I didn’t already know about God I probably wouldn’t believe in Good and Evil.

          But the point I was making is that atheists (including Randians) still worship something, even if they do not call it God. And in the case, of Randians, what they worship is closer to the truth about God than the concepts that many supposed theists mean by invoking the term “God”. Which is, after all, just a word. One could quite as well say “Elohim”. Terms like “Almighty” or “Eternal Father” or “Lord” might be even better in that they identify particular qualities of God.

          The key point is to remember that whatever you may come to know about God, there will always be a good deal more that you do not know. God is like that.

  • DixHistory March 22, 2010, 9:21 pm

    The Twelve Basic American Principles by Hamilton Abert Long, ©1976 See @ http://www.lexrex.com/enlightened/AmericanIdeal/index.html

    Worth the read.

  • R.A. March 22, 2010, 6:41 pm

    Love you man.

  • Guy c. Stevenson March 22, 2010, 6:35 pm

    Well Done,.. Dr. Keyes!

    The basic struggle today is not between individualism and collectivism, free markets and socialism, democracy and dictatorship. These are only the superficial manifestations of a deeper struggle which is moral and spiritual and involves above all else whether man shall exist for the state, or the state for man, and whether freedom is of spirit or a concession of a materialized society. It has been given to our own, for we have a double incentive to work for the peace and prosperity of the world: the first is the Gospel in its fullness, our faith, and the second is the totalitarianism of America, tyranny. The first teaches us that happiness comes from living rightly; the second, that misery comes from acting wrongly.

    If there is no fixed concept of justice how shall men know it is violated? Only those who live by faith really know what is happening in the world; the great masses without faith are unconscious of destructive processes going on, because they have lost the vision of heights from which they have fallen. The tragedy is not that the hairs of our civilization are gray; it is rather that we fail to see that they are.

    Therefore the punishment that falls on the existing exploiting order comes from the inevitable results of its own activity… God’s justice is outraged by disobedience; disaster comes as the inevitable result of the working of God’s moral law, not as irrational thought and anger. Have we all gone mad?

    “America will return to the faith from which she springs or she will perish.”

    Fulton J. Sheen –

  • Tom Hoefling March 22, 2010, 6:23 pm

    An excellent piece. Outstanding.

    I’ve shared it on AIPNews.com, FreeRepublic.com, and at Facebook.

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