Impossibility of Neutrality - RR148F12

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Professor: Rushdoony, Dr. R. J.
Title: Impossibility of Neutrality
Course: Course - Philosophy of Christian Eduction in Christian Schools
Subject: Subject:Education
Lesson#: 12
Length: 1:18:47
TapeCode: RR148F12
Audio: Chalcedon Archive
Transcript: .docx Format
Philosophy of Christian Eduction in Christian Schools.jpg

This transcript is unedited. It was:
Archived by the Mt. Olive Tape Library
Digitized, transcribed, and published by Christ Rules
Posted by with permission.

The Impossibility of Neutrality. Historically, there are three ways in which the church has viewed its relationship to the world. Not necessarily in the order that I’m going to give them, but all three have been present at some time or other, and sometimes at one and the same time.

The first perspective we can call the monastic point of view. In the monastic point of view, the church has felt that, because the world is evil and is hopelessly so, the only sound recourse for godly men and women is really a withdrawal from the world. As a result, those who are truly in pursuit of holiness must leave the world and withdraw into the convent or the monastery. This motive has been very pronounced in the Roman Catholic church. As a matter of fact, to this day, the monks are known as the regular clergy and the priests as the secular clergy, so that, technically, the monks have a higher status. This monastic point of view has not been without its strong proponents within Protestantism, although it has not been called by that name. As a matter of fact, many churches really constitute a kind of retreat from the world and in many a church, the perspective is one of withdrawal from the world to the point that, apart from the fact that they are married, the membership resembles monks and nuns. They withdraw from the world. They do not feel concerned with the things that go on around them. They feel emphatically that to get involved in anything such as Christian schools is a worldly exercise. Now, that point of view is becoming less and less common, but twenty years ago when I was first beginning to speak on Christian schools, it was one of the most common objections I encountered in church circles. Again and again, I would meet with that opinion that, “Well, aren’t you advocating a worldliness? If we get involved in Christian schools, what next?” Well, of course the answer is, the Lord granting and a great deal next, and I think we can rejoice, that here, at Pensacola, the next step is a nursing school. For Christian women to become nurses means, increasingly, that they must have a Christian training because the lines are being drawn more and more sharply there and also in every other profession. There is no area of life and thought that we Christians must not move into, because otherwise, we are surrendering an area that properly belongs to Christ. [00:04:28]

The monastic point of view, thus, involves a retreat...[edit]

The monastic point of view, thus, involves a retreat from the world. Sad to relate the monastic perspective owes a great deal to one of the greatest of the church fathers, Saint Augustine. Saint Augustine, when confronted with the Fall of Rome, felt nothing but pessimism, and so he formulated a doctrine of the Fortress Church, withdraw from the world into the walls of the church and there wait for the end, and it was this strain in Augustine’s thinking that led to the Medieval church. Although another strain, of course, led to the Reformation.

Much more sound than Augustine, in his view of things that happened, let me say parenthetically, was the Presbyterian Salvian. Read Salvian sometime or other, on the governance of God. Salvian welcomes the Fall of Rome. He said it was an evidence of the righteousness and holiness of God that Rome fell. He was a resident, at the time, of the barbarian invasions of Treer{?} in what is now northern France, and he describes what happened as the barbarians took over the city. Most of the people were at the Arena watching the games. They couldn’t be bothered with defending the city, and he said the shouts of the raped and the dying mingled with those of the cheering crowds in the Arena, and after the barbarians passed through and left a burnt out city, the survivors of the city council met and petitioned the Emperor for fund to rebuild the Arena in order to improve the morale of the people, and Salvian described the insaned man for more and more amusement and said, Rome dies but she continues to laugh as she is dying.” Salvian welcomed the fall of Rome. But this is one perspective that is still very much with us, the Monastic perspective that calls for withdrawal from the world.

A second perspective sees the world by and large, as an area of neutrality, so that it feels it can live at peace with the world in almost everything except a narrow area of church life and theology. Now this position, of course, was the latter position of Rome, so that after about 1200, with the rise of Scholasticism, the Monastic point of view began to decline and this accommodation with the world, the belief that most of the world was an area of neutrality began to take over in Roman Catholic theology. As a result, a very widespread worldliness began to set it. Men lived at peace with almost anything, provided particular doctrines were upheld, and the integrity of the church as an institution maintained. And this, of course, very quickly corrupted Rome. The preservation of doctrine and of the church became formal rather than vital, and because of this accommodation with the world, the belief that most areas are neutral areas, the church became cold and indifferent at its heart. It became apostate. [00:09:29]

The third position which was basic to the Reformation...[edit]

The third position which was basic to the Reformation, but which by and large Protestants have since abandoned, is that there is no area of neutrality, that is every area of life and thought, we must assert the crown rights of Christ the King. We must assert that man either thinks God’s thoughts after him or he thinks the thoughts of Satan after Satan. There is not a single neutral corner in all of creation. Now it is this third position which is again at stake in everything today. On the one hand, we have wide segments of Protestantism that have gone over to the accommodation with the world, the belief in the basic neutrality of things and, as a result, they have become modernists.

On the other hand, many churches have become monastic. They withdraw from everything. They forget the commandment of our Lord, “Occupy till I come.” We have no right to surrender any area of this world because all things are of God to the enemy of God. Now, this doctrine of neutrality is one of the key myths of humanism. Humanism asserts that the mind of man is capable of neutrality as it approaches the facts of the universe. The mind of man, as it works to clear itself of prejudices acquired from religion, can become neutral and objective as it evaluates facts, and therefore, the man who undergoes a good humanistic, scientific education can arrive at the truth because his mind supposedly, now, has the capacity of being objective. At the same time as the humanists affirm that the scientific method is the method of neutrality, they also assert the neutrality of the facts. We are surrounded by a universe of facts which are, supposedly in their perspective, neutral facts. The mind of man approaches them and evaluates them, and gives, therefore, an objective account of this realm of factuality. [00:13:28]

Thus, this doctrine of neutrality, which is so basic...[edit]

Thus, this doctrine of neutrality, which is so basic to humanism, presupposes neutrality in two areas. First in the knower, the person who is engaged in the pursuit of knowledge can be neutral, according to this doctrine, if he employs the scientific method, and acts in terms of the humanistic presuppositions which supposedly ensure neutrality. Then the second area of neutrality is the known, the facts that can be known. Well, of course, this comprises the whole of reality. The knower, the mind of man, and the known, everything in the physical universe, so that all things are either neutral or can be neutral if the mind of man will cleanse itself.

Now, let us analyze these two aspects; the knower and the known. First, the knower, man. In terms of the humanistic faith, man is not fallen creature. As a result, if he uses his mind properly, he is able to analyze impartially all the facts that are presented to him. Now there is a variation of this humanistic doctrine, which is today very prevalent in neo-evangelical circles. You will find this version in such schools are Fuller and Wheaton. It is essentially the same doctrine as that taught by Thomas Aquinas, so that neo-evangelicalism is really a Protestant version of Thomism, Scholasticism, in its apologetics. Thomas Aquinas held that, in the fall, it was the appetites, the emotions, the physical side of man that fell, but that man’s mind was not fallen. Thus, according to Aquinas, the mind of man is still as capable as it was before the fall, or assessing the truths of creation and coming to a valid conclusion. Now, of course, the logical conclusion from Thomism is that a man can, by reason, save himself. He can come to a valid knowledge of factuality. He can assess the data as God provides them. He can come to scripture without grace, evaluate it and say, “A sensible man must believe, and therefore, I believe.” Thus, in terms of Thomism, grace is not necessary. A man can, by reason, save himself. Of course, the Protestant Atomists will not go so far as to say that, but they do believe that, by their reasoning, they can convince the natural man and somehow at that moment when they’ve convinced him, grace will step in and give them a hand. [00:17:40]

But, there is no place in scripture that we are told...[edit]

But, there is no place in scripture that we are told that it was only one side, the physical side of man, that fell. We are told, not that it was the appetites of man that fell, but that man is fallen. There is none that doeth good, for all have sinned and come short of the glory of God, in the totality of their being. The mind of man is at war with God. The whole being of man is at war with God. There is not a neutral fiber or bone or atom in the being of man {?} the sinner. When man submits to the temptation as Adam did, “Ye shall be as God, knowing (determining) for yourself what constitutes good and evil. Man said that, “My mind now shall be the determiner of all things, not the mind of God. I am God.” His mind was totally and fully involved in his sin. Thus, it is man, as a unit, that is fallen. It is the whole man who is at war with God. It is the whole man in all his being who is dead in sins and in trespasses. It is this dead man, dead in sins and trespasses, who, in turn declares that God is dead. He is never neutral. There is no neutrality in man.

Therefore, to assert the doctrine of neutrality with respect to man is go against the plain words of scripture. It is to found your theology or your educational philosophy not on the word of God, but on Aquinas and ultimately, on Aristotle. So that we must say with respect to the knower, man, he is not neutral.

Now, the second area is the known. There is no neutrality in facts. Fact cannot be neutral, because every fact in the universe is a God-created fact, and the scripture is emphatic in this assertion. “The heavens declare the glory of God and the firmament showeth His handiwork.” “Day unto day uttereth speech, and night unto night sheweth knowledge.” There’s not an area in the whole of creation, the psalmist tells us, where their voice is not heard. No neutrality in the universe. Deborah tells us in her glorious psalm, “The stars in their course fought against Sisera.” [00:21:41]

This should teach us that we cannot look at the world...[edit]

This should teach us that we cannot look at the world around us as a neutral realm. We are so brainwashed that we think of it still, even though we do not believe in evolution but, as a result of our government school training, we look at it as though it were a neutral realm that we are moving in, but it’s God’s world. Our Lord Himself said that if the children should be silenced, the stones would cry out. This is why the psalmist says the heavens declare, the firmament showeth, the stars in their course fought against Sisera. Everything in creation witnesses to God, and everything works against those who work against God. We are told in scripture that the Lord is the captain of the whirlwind and the storm. So that, as Deuteronomy 28 says that if we depart from the Lord, the heavens will be as brass and the ground like iron to the ungodly. Drought, storm, drought, natural disasters, the scripture is clear-cut. God has a hand in them, the hand.

In my Biblical Philosophy of History, I point out that in the fifteen years after World War 2, we had twice as many natural disasters as in the fifty years before World War 2, and since I wrote the book, the pace of natural disasters has stepped up. I don’t believe it’s accidental. Just as the stars fought in their course against Sisera, all things in the natural world, because there is not a neutral atom in all of them, are working today in terms of God’s purpose of judgment, and of witness against the ungodly generation. How can a universe created by Almighty God be neutral to Him? Though it is fallen for man’s sake, and we are told that the whole of creation groans and travails. It’s a glorious groaning and travailing, because the very ground beneath our feet, the plants around us are groaning and travailing, waiting for the glorious redemption of the sons of God, the new creation. I don’t think that’s poetry or fantasy.

Just as my wife’s plants, which she likes to have flowers so that she can see them, never look at her, they turn outward towards the sun. She’s always turning the plants around so that she can see them, and they’re always turning around to see the sun, so all of the world around us groans and travails, moves towards the Lord, towards His eternal purpose, towards the grand consummation of all things, because He made all things and there is not a neutral atom in all of creation. [00:25:52]

Thus, for us to see any kind of factuality as neutral...[edit]

Thus, for us to see any kind of factuality as neutral is to fly again in the face of scripture. Things didn’t just happen. The universe is not a cosmic accident. It is the handiwork of the sovereign God. It witnesses to Christ the King. It witnessed to His birth. It witnessed to our Lord’s death, because He was the Lord of all things.

Thus, to hold that facts are neutral is to deny the word of God. Dr. Cornelius Van Til has written, “The war between Christ and Satan is a global war. It is carried on first in the hearts of men for the hearts of men.” He goes on further to say, this is from his essays on Christian education, and I commend the book to your attention. It is not easy reading, but it is magnificent reading. Van Til declares, “There is not a square inch of ground in heaven or on earth, or under the earth in which there is peace between Christ and Satan, and what is all important for us as we think of the Christian school is that, according to Christ, every man, woman, and child is every day and everywhere involved in this struggle. No one can stand back refusing to become involved. He is involved from the day of His birth, and even from before His birth. Jesus said, ‘He that is not with me is against me, and he that not gathereth not with me scattereth abroad.’ If you say that you are not involved, you are, in fact, involved, in Satan’s side. If you say you are involved in the struggle between Christ and Satan in the area of the family and in the church, but not in the school, you are deceiving yourself. In that case, you are not really fully involved in the family and in the church. You see, if you hold that you are going to concentrate on church work for the Lord’s sake, and you’re going to bypass the school, you’re also bypassing the church. You cannot expect to train intelligent, well-informed soldiers of the cross of Christ, unless the Christ is held up before them as the Lord of culture as well as the Lord of religion. It is of the nature of the conflict between Christ and Satan to be all-comprehensive.” [00:29:47]

This is why Van Til holds that there are essentially...[edit]

This is why Van Til holds that there are essentially and basically, only two philosophies of education; humanism and Christianity, an anti-Christian faith and a biblical faith, and you cannot escape choosing. If you choose a non-Christian position, what you are, in effect, saying is that the tempter was right, that man is the judge. All things must be brought before the bar of man’s mind for the mind to examine them and to pass judgment on them. Then man, being God, is ultimate. There is no truth outside of man. Man is the truth, not Christ. In modern thought, because they have pursued to its logical conclusion this humanistic presupposition that man’s mind is the judge, there is a denial of any absolute truths, and therefore, the search for knowledge is a perpetual quest because there is no end to it. Not because there are an infinite amount of facts, but because truth is nothing that can be realized. Man is the truth. All factuality is simply pragmatic and instrumental. It is something that the truth uses. A lie is the truth for man if it serves his ends because man is the truth. All things are tools for man. Man is the judge. Man is the standard. Truth is what works for man.

This, of course, is exactly what St. Paul was talking about when in 2 Timothy 3:7, he described the Greeks as ever-learning and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth. This was the essence of the philosophy and of the faith of the time. There was a tremendous curiosity about new data, but an unwillingness to accept any conclusions. There was a belief in the endless potentiality of the universe, but an unwillingness to believe that there was a truth, a final truth anywhere. When Paul spoke at Mars Hill, the philosophers of Greece at once were immediately interested when he spoke about the resurrection. This was tremendously appealing to the Greek mind, because the Greek mind likes to believe in infinite potentiality. What was the next step in the evolution of man? Greek philosophers, as Van Til has pointed out, were always interested in freaks. Why were they interested in freaks? Because a freak might be the next step in evolution. What is new was a major concern of Greek thought, the new, because the new might indicate a new development. Nothing was final, and so when he spoke about the resurrection they said, “Well, we’ve got hear you. This is a very interesting development. Perhaps it tells us something about the next step in the development of man, about the hidden potentialities of man, but when he spoke of Christ as Lord, and the resurrection, and the judgment, then they turned away, because now they saw that he was not talking in Greek terms but in condemnation of everything they believed. [00:34:59]

Then second, depending on our perspective, whether...[edit]

Then second, depending on our perspective, whether we approach things in terms of a biblical philosophy and faith, or a humanistic one, truth will be either abstract or concrete for us. Now what does that mean, to speak about truth as abstract and reality as abstract? Well, as the evolutionary believer, because evolution is a faith, not a science, approaches the world, he does not see the mind of God and the handiwork of God behind it. The flower is not a personal fact, but for us, a flower is not a personal, botanical fact. It is the personal creation of the very personal God. When God confronts Job, He speaks of His tremendous joy in creation, His delight in the wild ox and the hippopotamus, in the stars He made, and in the joyful sense of the angels when they saw the handiwork of God, and we are told that they shouted for joy. That’s hardly the impersonal, abstract view of creation that we get from evolutionary science. All these things are blind and accidental, supposedly.

Now, when you have an impersonal view of the universe, then the reality about the universe is impersonal. There is no mind beyond men, no mind behind the facts of creation. You will therefore, work for an abstract statement of all things. Ultimately, this means when you come to defining men, you will define men abstractly also. You will dehumanize man, as indeed, in our modern world, man is being dehumanized. He cannot be seen as a person. The title of a very significant, recent book which I know some of you have read, and perhaps a great many of you have read, is Beyond Freedom and Dignity by B.F. Skinner. How many of you have read that? Several of you. Now, of course, B.F. Skinner believes that we must stop looking at man as we have been, that is, in Christian terms. That, for the welfare of humanity, an elite group must control the whole of mankind, we must have something like brain implants, electrodes, so that we can control all men. People will be happier then, and society will function readily and easily. That is beyond freedom and dignity, is it not? And of course, you have other perspectives; Marxist and non-Marxist, which see the goal of society as the end of the alienation of man. Now, the word “alienation” is a word to stay away from if you are thinking in Christian terms because it is a word that it is a word that was coined by Marxism, and it does mean that man, by his historical development, has been alienated from his real self, by his self-consciousness, that when man’s alienation ends, he will be like the bees and the ants, an anthill creature. He will perform his function without any self-consciousness. He will not know himself as a person. It has been religion which has provided man, you see, with an opium and given him pipe dreams about being a person and having a possibility of life after death. But once man finds himself and his alienation has ended, he will no more think about being a soul than an ant or a bee will. He will find his happiness in an anthill society or in a beehive society. There are some cultures that have aimed at that. As a matter of fact, some time consider the implications of the fact that both for freemasonry and for Mormonism, a very basic symbol is the beehive. The beehive. It represents something of their goal for man. Read, some time, Albert Pike’s Morals and Dogma if you want a vision of his idea for humanity. [00:41:30]

Now, for us, truth is personal because everything is...[edit]

Now, for us, truth is personal because everything is the creation of a very personal God, but above all, because our Lord said, “I am the truth.” Therefore, the truth of things for us is not the nuclear facts. It is the God-given facts. We do not reduce man to his components. We see man in terms of God’s created purpose. Van Til has called the evolutionary perspective with regard to man the integration into the void. What does he mean by this? The evolutionist says we must understand man in terms of the child, the child in terms of primitive man, primitive man in terms of the animals, and animals in terms of their evolutionary past. So, you are reducing man progressively to the void, and you say it’s that void that is going to explain man, and because the mind of man is a latecomer in evolution, it is the least important in explaining man. So, there is a progressive reductionism in evolutionary thinking, in humanism, to essentially the nuclear facts. For us, as Christians, the understanding of man comes from the understanding of God. If we understand the Lord, then we know all things. John tells us in his first epistle, we have an unction from the holy one, and we know all things. We do not know all things exhaustively, fact for fact, but we know all things truly because we know they were made by God, and we have the key to a knowledge of them. We have the wisdom that unlocks the knowledge of all things. That’s {?} reality is never abstract. It is always concrete. [00:44:33]

As a result, we can never approach any area of life...[edit]

As a result, we can never approach any area of life and thought, and treat anything as though it were neutral. Two months ago, when I was speaking in a city on the Atlantic seaboard, a minister there who claimed to be an evangelical, became quite upset at something I said which was derogatory concerning rock music, and he was emphatic that rock gave us a tremendous potential for Christians. All we need to do is take rock music and set Christian words to it, and to utilize rock and rock concerts, and slip in some Christian songs now a days. This has actually been done. Rock bands have been hired and they’ve held rock festivals with an occasional Christian song in them, but it is impossible to do this, I believe, and have any godly results because rock music itself has defined itself as being rebellion against all constituted authority; the authority of God, the authority of the state, of the family, of the church, of the school, authority in every area. This is why rock, very quickly, became acid rock, associated with the taking of drugs. Now it is punk rock, going a step further, savage in its hatred of all things. It is anti-Christian to the core. To imagine that you can put it to a godly use is to assume that it is neutral. It is not, and the music that exists around us today is, by and large, anti-Christian to the core.

Modern music of the classical sort is developing a dry rationalism, squeezed of all emotions. Whereas, popular music like rock is emphasizing shear emotionalism or a totally amoral or anti-moral character., music without Christ increasingly manifests its schizophrenic character, its inability to have a wholeness. It cannot be neutral, as it develops, it manifests its reprobate character. This is why we need to develop Christian music, Christian radio stations, in one area after another, to develop the implications of our faith, and to develop the meaning of a Christian culture. You see, our faith is a total thing. It is not limited simply to the salvation of souls. It begins with that, and then it goes on to command our lives, to command our vocations, to command us wherever we are, whatever we’re doing. To command our children, to command our work and our rest, our play and our worship, the totality of our lives, and to make clear that in no area is there a neutrality. There is no area of our life where we can say, “This is neutral area and if I do thus and so here. I’m outside of the government of Christ and I’m not under Satan. This is a pre-play area, as it were.” This is impossible. Certainly then, in education, we must always move in terms of the reality that nothing we do can be done in terms of the myth of neutrality. Are there any questions? Yes? [00:49:55]

[Audience] {?}

[Rushdoony] What was that again?

[Audience] {?}

[Rushdoony] I’m sorry, the sound from this side is always a little difficult to get.

[Audience] Do you maintain that the drought we’re having right now is still God’s punishment?

[Rushdoony] Do I maintain that the drought we’re having now is a part of God’s punishment? Yes, I do. I very definitely do. I don’t believe that nature is neutral.

[Audience] {?}

[Rushdoony] Yes, I do. As we continue in apostasy, what Deuteronomy 28 says will become more and more true. You know, it’s an interesting fact that in the early days of this country, when the Constitution was written, and it spoke of an oath of office. Now an oath to us is meaningless. Even as Christians, we don’t appreciate what an oath meant then. It was a thoroughly biblical fact, and an oath of office was taken, in those days, on an open Bible, the last inauguration I watched, I’ve forgotten whose it was, some few years ago, as I recall that the Bible was closed, which is a fitting symbol of what goes on in Washington today, but it used to be on an open Bible opened to Deuteronomy 28. If you don’t remember what Deuteronomy 28 contains, read it when you go home, and you’ll see the significance of an oath of office taken on that chapter. It begins, of course, well, let’s just look at it briefly because it’s so great a chapter, and to our founding fathers and to others, it was so important.

Deuteronomy 28 begins, “And it shall come to pass, if thou shalt hearken diligently unto the voice of the Lord thy God, to observe and to do all his commandments which I command thee this day, that the Lord thy God will set thee on high above all nations of the earth: And all these blessings shall come on thee, and overtake thee, if thou shalt hearken unto the voice of the Lord thy God. [00:52:55]

Blessed shalt thou be in the city, and blessed shalt...[edit]

Blessed shalt thou be in the city, and blessed shalt thou be in the field. Blessed shall be the fruit of thy body, and the fruit of thy ground, and the fruit of thy cattle, the increase of thy kine, and the flocks of thy sheep. Blessed shall be thy basket and thy store. Blessed shalt thou be when thou comest in, and blessed shalt thou be when thou goest out. The Lord shall cause thine enemies that rise up against thee to be smitten before thy face,” and so on, and then it goes on in the 15th verse to say just the reverse, that if they will not harken unto the voice of God, if they will not believe and they will not obey, if they are neither justified or sanctified, then “all these curses shall come upon thee, and overtake thee: cursed shalt thou be in the city, and cursed shalt thou be in the field,” and so on.

Now it is interesting what the second verse and the fifteenth verse tell us. All these blessings, or all these curses, shall come on thee and overtake thee. The language there speaks of an irresistible blessing and an irresistible curse, so that it is as though an animal were pursuing and overtakes the one who is cursed, or the blessings pursue and overtake the one who is blessed. So, God says emphatically that this is the way, and I do believe emphatically that we are receiving warnings from God and judgment, which will only increase if we do not mend our ways.

Any other questions? Yes?

[Audience] Do you think that humanism {?} just because lack of discipline in fundamental churches?

[Rushdoony] Do I believe that humanism has anything to do with the lack of discipline in fundamental churches? Yes, very definitely. There are too many pastors and too many church officers who are more interested in pleasing man than in pleasing God, and as a result, they are undisciplined. After all, consider the major problem that so many, many Christian schools have across country. It’s with the parents, and I can cite cases where it’s with the pastor’s children and the pastor, being hostile to drill and being hostile to discipline, and to me the most blasphemous aspect is that they use the terms “grace” and “love” to try to undercut godly discipline, as though somehow you’re not scriptural if you don’t let their little Johnny or Jane get away with things in the class. So, very definitely it is humanism in the churches. Yes? [00:56:41]

[Audience] {?}

[Rushdoony] I’m not as familiar with what is happening at Gordon. I have read one or two things from them that I thought they were good, and one or two things that, just short articles by faculty men, that I was a little concerned about, but I really couldn’t pass a judgment because I’m not that familiar. Fuller, I am very familiar with. I was asked to speak there a couple of times to provide a horrible example of what biblical thinking represented. They weren’t altogether happy with the results of it. Yes?

[Audience] There’s an article {?} this week’s Newsweek magazine about the boom in Christian literature {?} do you have any thoughts on this {?}

[Rushdoony] The question was with respect to an article in Newsweek which I have not seen concerning the boom in Christian literature, and what are my ideas on the caliber of what is being produced. I haven’t followed enough the material that is being produced. For one thing, I simply don’t have the time to read the novels and that sort of thing that come off such presses. My off-the-cuff evaluation is that some of it is pretty lightweight as I glance through it. I believe that what you’re going to see, within a generation, is a tremendous body of Christian literature that begin to dominate the scene because of its caliber and importance, for the simple reason that you’re creating a market for it through the Christian schools. The kind of literature that we have today is marked by a will to fiction, and I’ve written in a couple of my books on the subject, “The Will to Fiction in the Modern World.” The desire of humanist man to create a world without God in which the will of man prevails, and that will to fiction is basic to modern fiction. It’s what you get on television, in the movies, everywhere. Now, as the Christian school movement develops further and further, you will have quite a few million adults who are readers and who will provide a market for a very superior kind of writing. I think this will change things markedly. Yes? [01:00:03]

[Audience] What do you think of classical ...[edit]

[Audience] What do you think of classical {?}

[Rushdoony] Could you repeat that?

[Audience] What do you {?} classical {?} musical {?}

[Rushdoony] Say in music or literature, or whatever?

[Audience] Music.

[Rushdoony] Music, alright. I had debated tonight whether I would take the second part of the hour and try to go a little overtime and illustrate this whole idea in music, so I’m very glad you asked that question. Now, music very definitely is not neutral, because, in music, very strongly and emotionally man expresses himself. Christianity is unusual in all the world because of its emphasis on music. If you go outside of the world of Christianity, you find historically a very small amount of music, and that music has a specific function. It will be magical, to cast spells and enchantments, or to arouse the gods to hear your petition, or it will have, as its purpose, to create a hypnotic temperament, either for debauchery or for the taking of drugs, or for some such thing, but apart from that, music, song, is not too important for man. Now, that goes contrary to the ideas that prevail, but music is not that prevalent outside the world of Christendom. As a matter of fact, one of the tremendous appeals of our faith on the mission field has always been music, especially if the missionaries have any aptitude in the area of music, and can adapt words and tunes to the ability of the natives in that particular area. In many cases, I have been told by missionaries, they get countless children and adults in for no other reason than to listen to the songs and sing them, because there is a sense of joy and exuberance and the music has an appeal. In the Far East today, because of the appeal of Christian music, Buddhists have gone in for music, too, something they did not have previously, and are simply borrowing Christian songs and changing the words. Thus, if you go to the Far East now, you can hear such songs as this, “Buddha loves me, this I know.”

Now, our faith is remarkable for the fact that one of the biggest segments of our Bible is given over to the words of songs, the Book of Psalms. We know that music was important in the early church, and that they were told to rejoice in the Lord, singing hymns and spiritual songs, as well as psalms. As a matter of fact, let me add that the tunes of the psalms were carried over into the early church, and in a great deal of the music of the older churches of Christendom; the Greek Orthodox, Roman Catholic, Church of Armenia, and so on, you simply have the hymns of the Book of Psalms actually carried over. We do have, in many of our hymnals today, some of these ancient tunes. For example, how many of you know “The God of Abraham Prays?” A few of you. Well, that comes right out of Old Testament times, although the version we have goes back to the early centuries. Then, “Of the Father’s Love Begotten,” in its original tune, that’s a very ancient one. We have a number of those. Oh, another which took its form and its words somewhere in about the twelfth or thirteenth century, “Oh Come, oh come, Emmanuel and random captive Israel, that waits in lonely exile here, until the Son of God appear,” now that’s a very ancient one. [01:05:55]

Now, of course, Rome cut its own throat by confining...[edit]

Now, of course, Rome cut its own throat by confining the music progressively to the choir and to Latin. So, with the Reformation, one of the tremendous powers of the reformers was that their music was in the language of the people and the people did the singing. This was especially true in Germany, and hymns became so important in the life of Germany that no other language has an equivalent amount of good, really outstanding hymns. It is estimated that there are perhaps 14,000 good hymns in German, and that the average person in Germany used to know over a thousand of those hymns very, very intimately. One of the problems in many of the countries at the time of the Reformation was that the hymns, as the Protestants sung them, were so appealing to many. Queen Elizabeth was very much upset that the Geneva jigs, as she called them, were so popular among the people and were propagating the theology and the faith of Geneva. Now, what happened to music thereafter? Well, with the Enlightenment, music began to move from the church to the court, so that more and more, music became background music for a nobleman, a king and his court. When you listen to the music, for example, of the eighteenth century composers, it’s still close to the music of the church and they were writing in part for the church, in part for the court, but there’s a subdued character to it. It isn’t supposed to dominate your mind because the noblemen and the courtiers did not want music that would overpower them. They simply wanted music that would please them as they chatted away and as they flirted one with another. So that the music did have, to a degree, the structure and the form that the church music had. It was a takeover, really, of church music. [01:09:11]

The last figure to represent in fullness and clarity...[edit]

The last figure to represent in fullness and clarity the centrality of the faith in music was Johann Sebastian Bach. Well, little by little, this note, music as kind of background music, still essentially church-oriented, but beginning to move towards a humanistic orientation, came to the floor in the Romantic movement. With the Romantic movement, the artist was born. He was now the prophet of the new faith. As a result, beginning with Romantic music, you have a drawing away from a specifically Christian orientation and impetus. Now, this was not true of all the Romantics. A great deal of nineteenth century music still had a very strongly religious character, even though it followed, to a degree, the canons of Romantic music. Perhaps no one was more flamboyantly Romantic in his orientation than Hector Berlioz, and yet Hector Berlioz still was capable of profoundly religious music. He had not broken with the faith, and you had men like Saint Saenz who was very thoroughly Christian in his approach to music, and he was not alone. You had Brahms, of course, whose music, while in the Romantic mood, was still expressive of his very profound faith, Catholic though he was. Brahms was a rather shy character and not the most aggressive, and there’s a rather pathetic story in connection with him. He was very much a part of the world of his time and his associations, and in his friendships and so on, but with it all, a very simple old fashioned Catholic, and very shy about expressing his faith among all these skeptics and cynics around him. One of the things Brahms regularly did, when at eventide he heard the bells tolling the Angelis was to take off his hat and bow his head in prayer, and on one occasions, this shy Brahms was with a very cynical, skeptical friend, and the bells began to toll the Angelis, and poor Brahms didn’t know what to do. He was afraid his friend would ridicule him, and he always got tongue-tied and didn’t know how to defend his position. So, he took off his hat and got out his handkerchief and mopped his brow. It was an ice cold day. He said, “Awfully warm, isn’t it?” I think that, in a sense, sums up a great deal of the music of the era. Much of it still reflected the faith, but in the spirit of Brahms. [01:13:00]

In recent years, music has become, very pronouncedly...[edit]

In recent years, music has become, very pronouncedly separated from the faith and anti-Christian. It seeks to exploit feeling, emotion for the sake of emotion, as though there were no purpose outside of music other than man’s ability to enjoy himself. This is why modern music incomprehensible for most of us. If our training is thoroughly Christian we cannot follow it, because we cannot separate ourselves from the government of God. We cannot pursue our emotions blindly. Let me illustrate that.

When I was on the Indian reservation, there was a cult, a pagan cult, among the Indians which the most old fashioned Indians who still worshipped the wolf, despised, because it was a relatively modern one, having grown up in the latter part of the last century. It was the peyote cult. It took the peyote, a narcotic, in its natural form, and ate it or brewed it into tea, and so on, and naturally had all kinds of drug-induced visions, a feeling of euphoria and bliss. Moreover, these visions would be in spectacular color. We normally dream in black and white. Color TV, as it were, hasn’t come to our dreaming yet. Our dreams are in black and white, but if you take peyote, you have spectacular visions in color. Now, various people who would come to study the Indians would try to investigate these peyote cults, and would go to their meetings, and I knew one anthropologist, a very fine man from Europe, who came from a very strict Christian family although he had abandoned the faith, but as far as his moral character was concerned, he was still faithful to that which his father, who I believe had been a Lutheran pastor, had taught him, and he tried to take peyote so he could undergo the experience. Well, what happened to him I could have predicted. He had the most horrible nightmares, so that even to think about them or to remember them made him ill. Why? Because having the background, you see, of a Christian discipline, when the drug took over, he could not surrender to it, and so it created a total conflict in his being. There was still enough of a Christian discipline in him, and he’d had Christian schooling, let me add, that he was unable to make that surrender to the drug, and so instead of the blissful euphoria, it was a nightmarish conflict. 1:16:53.5</audiopointer>

Now, it’s that way when one who has a systematic upbringing...[edit]

Now, it’s that way when one who has a systematic upbringing tries to listen to the new music. He cannot give himself to it. It seems insane. If he were able to bring himself to surrendering to it, it would be like that kind of drug experience. But of course, the language of the hippies was very graphic. When they would speak of rock music, or drugs, or whatever it was that they were espousing as “blowing your mind.” Well, they wanted their mind “blown,” you see, and they could go along with it readily. They had no resistance to it, but the Christian cannot. This is why music is a field that does concern us greatly.

Does that help at all? Well, our time is up and we’ll continue tomorrow morning. [01:18:05]

End of tape.