The following blog article is an expanded adaptation from the April edition of Forcing Change, which examines the transhuman movement – including a brief look at virtual reality.
Note: If you’re a member of Forcing Change and haven’t read the latest issue, “Transhumanism and Mormonism: Encounters in Salt Lake City,” then log-on and download your copy today. If you’re not a member/subscriber, then please consider partnering with us as we explore, document, and analyze our changing world. Your support is greatly appreciated.
The virtual world of Second Life (SL) has been in operation since 2003. Here, you control an alternate of yourself – an “avatar” – in a 3D “physical” cyber environment, moving and interacting in real-time with other avatars in a myriad of landscapes called “regions.” Each region is a 16 acre parcel (yes, 16 “real acres” in size) where users build homes, shops and stores (SL has its own economy and currency), parks and forests, art galleries, dystopian cities, museums, castles, beach resorts… the list is endless, including “adult” and “cyber-sex” locations. Over 20,000 regions exist. And while some are populated and popular, like the virtual settings of London, New York, Moscow’s Red Square and 1920s Berlin, others are seldom visited – similar to the “real world.”
“Virtual world” entertainment opportunities are varied in SL; Dance clubs, fashion shows, movie theaters, treasure hunts, and live concerts. There’s even a “Miss Virtual World” pageant. And of course, you can build 3-dimensional objects. In fact, all of the towns, shops and houses – and practically everything else – is designed and built by users. This “you-engineer-it” component is certainly part of the interest in virtual spaces, as it allows for free-form creativity on a number of levels.
Today there are more than 20 million registered Second Life accounts, but it’s estimated that only 600,000 are active, with approximately 50,000 people participating at any given time.
For myself, I’ve been an active user since 2009 – partaking in discussion groups, sitting in live-streamed university lectures (there are over 150 universities and colleges with SL campuses), attending conferences, and exploring interesting places. In fact, the picture of the man reclining is myself as an avatar while attending a transhumanism conference at the Terasem SL theater. All the others you see around me are connected to a user behind a computer in another part of the world, interacting at the same time in the same “virtual” space.
If this makes you feel like we’re living in “strange times,” you’re not alone. One Sunday morning when I was home from church with the flu, I attended a “church service” in Second Life. My son, who was fourteen at the time and had stayed back with me, just shook his head – “Dad, this is too weird.”
I couldn’t argue with him as I sat in my living room, watching “myself” sit on a virtual pew in a virtual church building, surrounded by other alternatives of individual people from around the world, all listening as the pastor – being streamed to the virtual pulpit – preached to us. Some avatars where more charismatic as they stood and lifted their hands during the worship songs; some where dressed in flowing gowns and their “Sunday” best; and others came as animals – avatars that looked like cats or dogs or a hybrid of different creatures. I listened as an avatar by the door greeted people entering the sanctuary, and it was obvious that many attendees knew each other as friends in this surreal setting.
Other “religious” locations exist in Second Life, including Islamic mosques, Buddhist and Hindu temples, an island dedicated to Mormonism, and a large number of New Age and mystically oriented places.
But Second Life isn’t the only virtual world platform; InWorldz, Kitely, and OS Grid (part of OpenSim) are other examples of such environments. Massive multi-player online games like World of Warcraft (WoW) also fits the description of a “virtual world,” however, WoW is a dedicated game with game-based objectives. Facebook’s “Farm Town” also counts as a game-based virtual world. Second Life and the other similar platforms listed above are not game-oriented, although gaming areas do exist within certain regions of those worlds.
Although media hype over SL was notable during its early years, especially with online tech-publications, it now appears that general interest in SL has waned – due in part to value differences between long-time users and the corporate owners of Second Life. Nevertheless, Second Life has proven itself as a working platform, “a seed,” if you will, for the ongoing development of virtual reality.
And where is it going? In the near future, virtual-world graphics are expected to become “movie quality,” and brain-computer interfacing – which is poised to move into the marketplace (the first NeuroGaming conference happened a few weeks ago in San Francisco) – will heighten the experience to a new and dizzying level, blurring the boundaries between what is “real” and “virtually real.”
Yes, it’s a strange new world.
Dear Friends of Forcing Change,
Sometimes doors open that are wholly unexpected.
This was the case when the Mormon Transhumanist Association contacted myself with a request; Would I be willing to attend the 2013 MTA conference and present a “Christian critique”?
As many of you already know, I took the MTA up on their offer, and on April 5 spent time with this group in Salt Lake City, Utah. It was a memorable experience in many ways – rubbing shoulders with transhumanists, Mormons, and people interested in the changing role of technology – and I really enjoyed spending time with the organizers, other speakers, and attendees. I found them all to be hospitable, respectful, and genuine. Did I agree with the MTA and the Mormon foundation that girds the organization? Not at all. And that was the point of attending – they wanted an outside, critical voice at the table.
In this edition of Forcing Change, I tackle the issue of Transhumanism and Mormonism, and how the two interlock. Along the way we explore what transhumanism is, what it seeks to achieve, and some of the different ways the movement manifests itself. We particularly look at the use of “God-talk” in the transhuman community, and then explore and critique the Mormon concept of exhalation – to become a God – and conclude by identifying the commonality between the Latter-day Saints and the transhuman idea.
Other features in this edition of Forcing Change include a short piece on “Second Life,” a selection of quotes by social and techno-critic Neil Postman, an interesting selection of items from Freemasonry and Theosophy (each claiming “Godhood” as a goal), the complete transcript of my speech to the MTA, and the opening presentation by Lincoln Cannon – the president of the Mormon Transhumanist Association.
If you’re not a member/subscriber, then consider signing up. Not only will you have access to the latest issue of Forcing Change, but you’ll have over six years of back editions at your fingertips – an incredible educational resource.
- I attended the conference of the Mormon Transhumanist Association where I gave a fifteen-minute talk as a “Christian Critic of Religious Transhumanism.” The event took place in Salt Lake City on April 5, and I have to thank the MTA and its president, Lincoln Cannon, for the invitation. Lincoln and the entire MTA team were gracious and considerate, and I enjoyed spending time with them. Obviously we did not agree on issues of religion and transhumanism, yet we could voice our disagreement with respect and courtesy. You can watch the video of my talk below.
- The next day, after the Mormon Transhumanist Association conference took place, the MTA provided a ticket to attend the opening session of the Latter Day Saints 183rd General Conference. It was a huge event, with approximately 21,000 Mormons attending that Saturday morning, and total estimates for the weekend placed the number above 100,000. Afterward, Lincoln Cannon arranged for MTA board members, transhumanist attendees, and invited speakers for an informal yet highly educational tour around the Temple grounds. This afforded us the time to ask questions and discuss different aspects of Mormonism. As one MTA speaker explained, Mormonism is a “Masonic-based religion.” This was emphasized with a quote taken from the First Presidency Statement, October 5, 1911, and printed on a handout given to me; “Because of their Masonic characters, the ceremonies of the temple are sacred and not for the public.”
- Radio shows I was on during the month of April: Fairdinkum Radio out of Australia, Erskine Overnight, Call to Decision, VFTB, and Worldview Weekend Radio.
- Spoke at the Worldview Weekend Annual Family Reunion Conference in Branson, MO. This was a fantastic event as it gave my wife and I an opportunity to meet so many people, to share the challenging message of “world change” and the hope of Jesus Christ, and to make new friends. Other speakers included Brannon Howse, Jesse Johnson, Ken Ham, Chris Pinto, Mike Gendren, Jason Carlson, Jimmy De Young, and Jared Carlson. Marty Goetz and Brannon provided music. Approximately 1300 people attended the event.
- For the first week, we as a family were in Indiana, re-connecting with friends and spending time in the Noblesville-Tipton area. On April 1, my friend Andy Gilmore, his son Evan and I, attended a cooking class at K-Bistro in Marion. After cooking up a storm with the owner of K-Bistro, our wives were treated to a fantastic meal!
- After the weekend of the Mormon Transhumanist Association meeting, I flew back to Indiana and connected with my family, then, two days later we struck for home. The first day on the road was comprised of rainstorms and wind, and the second day we traveled through a blizzard. Fun… lots of fun.
- Leanne managed to spend a few days in her hometown of Virden, Manitoba. Here, she adjudicated a speech arts festival and had the opportunity to be with her parents. Although the work of adjudicating was intense, she returned home with a smile on her face.
- Leanne traveled with me to the Branson Worldview Weekend conference, and because of flight plans we managed to have an extra part day to spend in Branson, MO and Arkansas, where we flew out from the NW Arkansas Regional Airport. Upon arrival in Winnipeg late in the evening, we found out that a major snowstorm was forecast to hit our part of the province. So, instead of staying in the city and striking out the next day, we decided to drive the two hours back home – and we’re so glad we did! The next day a blizzard hit and dumped a pile of snow across our region. In fact, after I post this write-up on the blog, I’ll be heading outside to shovel our way out!
- Judy Robertson, Out of Mormonism (Bethany House, 2011).
- Paul McGuire, The Warning (M House, 2007).
The March edition of Forcing Change tackles the issue of social change, Communism, and world transformation. In it, there is a section of quotes detailing Communist aspirations, internationalism, and “world government.” Taking these Forcing Change quotes, I have added others to the mix and present them here for your consideration. By doing this, it is my hope you will better grasp the breadth and scope of Marxism and internationalism.
Note: Most the quotes are from Marxist-Communist leaders and socialist thinkers, however, a handful come from non-Marxist political researchers. You will notice the difference.
Final Note: If you appreciate the research effort and ongoing work of Forcing Change, consider taking out a membership subscription to the Forcing Change monthly journal. Your partnership plays an integral role in keeping this endeavor moving forward. Moreover, a donation button has been set-up on this blog. If you wish to directly contribute, you can do so through the PayPal “Donate” button provided on the right side of the page.
1. “…the French Revolution gave rise to ideas which led beyond the ideas of the entire old world order. The revolutionary movement which began in 1789… gave rise to the communist idea which Babeuf’s friend Buonarroti re-introduced in France after the Revolution of 1830. This idea, consistently developed, is the idea of the new world order.”
– Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels, The Holy Family (Progress Publishers, 1975), chapter 6, section 3, italics in original. This volume can be found at Marxists.org, and it was first published in 1845. Note that the Foreign Language Publishing House version, released in 1956, translates the “new world order” as the “new world system” on page 161.
2. “…the Communists everywhere support every revolutionary movement against the existing social and political order of things… They openly declare that their ends can be attained only by the forcible overthrow of all existing social conditions.”
– Karl Marx and Frederick Engels, The Communist Manifesto (Penguin Books, 1985, originally published in 1848), p.120.
3. “…the very cannibalism of the counterrevolution will convince the nations that there is only one way in which the murderous death agonies of the old society and the bloody birth throes of the new society can be shortened, simplified and concentrated, and that way is revolutionary terror.”
– Karl Marx, “The Victory of the Counter-Revolution in Vienna,” Neue Rheinische Zeitung, No. 136, November 1848 (as posted on Marxists.org).
4. “…the first step in the revolution by the working class, is to raise the proletariat to the position of ruling class, to win the battle for democracy.”
– Karl Marx and Frederick Engels, The Communist Manifesto (Penguin Books, 1985, originally published in 1848), p.104.
5. “People have learned by bitter experience that the “European fraternal union of peoples” cannot be achieved by mere phrases and pious wishes, but only by profound revolutions and bloody struggles; they have learned that the question is not that of a fraternal union of all European peoples under a single republican flag, but of an alliance of the revolutionary peoples against the counter-revolutionary peoples, an alliance which comes into being not on paper, but only on the battlefield.”
– Frederick Engels, “Democratic Pan-Slavism,” Neue Rheinische Zeitung, No.222, February 1849 (as posted on Marxists.org).
6. “All the other large and small nationalities and peoples are destined to perish before long in the revolutionary world storm… The next world war will result in the disappearance from the face of the earth not only of reactionary classes and dynasties, but also of entire reactionary peoples. And that, too, is a step forward.”
– Frederick Engels, “The Magyar Struggle,” Neue Rheinische Zeitung, No. 194, January 13, 1849 (as posted on Marxists.org).
7. “You will have to go through 15, 20, 50 years of civil wars and national struggles not only to bring about a change in society but also to change yourselves, and prepare yourselves for the exercise of political power.”
– Karl Marx, speaking at the last session of the London Central Authority, September 15, 1850. See, Revelations Concerning the Communist Trial in Cologne, 1853 (as posted on Marxists.org).
8. “A revolution is certainly the most authoritarian thing there is; it is the act whereby one part of the population imposes its will upon the other part by means of rifles, bayonets and cannon – authoritarian means, if such there be at all; and if the victorious party does not want to have fought in vain, it must maintain this rule by means of the terror which its arms inspire…”
– Friedrich Engels, “On Authority,” The Marx-Engels Reader (W.W. Norton & Company, 1972, paperback edition), p.665 – first written in 1872.
9. “…it was always our view that in order to attain this [proletarian revolution] and the other far more important aims of the future social revolution, the working class must first take possession of the organised political power of the state and by its aid crush the resistance of the capitalist class and organise society anew.”
– Frederick Engels, correspondence, April 18, 1883 (as posted on Marxists.org).
10. “Let those who labor to live understand, that this monster cannot be tamed, nor be made harmless or useful to man; let them learn to know, that there is but one means of safety: unrelenting, pitiless, thorough, war of extermination!”
– Jonathan Most (German-American Marxist), “The Beast of Property,” speech given in 1884 (as posted on Marxists.org).
11. “We would be deceiving both ourselves and the people if we concealed from the masses the necessity of a desperate, bloody war of extermination, as the immediate task of the coming revolutionary action.”
– V.I. Lenin,” Lessons of the Moscow Uprising,” Proletary, No.2, August 1906 (as posted on Marxists.org).
12. “But democracy is by no means a limit one may not overstep; it is only one of the stages in the course of development from feudalism to capitalism, and from capitalism to Communism.”
– V.I. Lenin, State and Revolution (International Publishers, 1917/1969), p.82.
13. “For the complete extinction of the state, complete Communism is necessary.”
– V.I. Lenin, State and Revolution (International Publishers, 1917/1969), p.78.
14. “We shall begin by launching the most spectacular peace movement on record. There will be electrifying overtures and unheard of concessions. The capitalist countries, stupid and decadent, will rejoice to cooperate in their own destruction. They will leap at another chance to be friends. As soon as their guard is down, we will smash them with our clenched fist.”
– Dimitri Manuilsky, Lenin School of Political Warfare, 1930, as quoted in Soviet Analyst, Volume 22, Numbers 7&8, p.7.
15. “I sympathize the first, the direct and single-minded attack [Red Revolution]. I believe it to have been necessary and inevitable in Russia. It may someday be inevitable in this country [United States of America]. I am not seriously alarmed by the sufferings of the creditor class, the troubles which the church is bound to encounter, the restrictions on certain kinds of freedom which must result, nor even by the bloodshed of the transition period. A better economic order is worth a little bloodshed.”
– Stuart Chase (American technocrat, economist, and engineer who is considered an intellectual father to the New Deal), A New Deal (The Macmillan Company, 1932), pp.155-156.
16. “…revolution can give what no other road promises to give so directly and forcibly – a new religion. It will be based not on rewards in the Hereafter, but on peace, goodwill and plenty on earth today. It will be materialistic, if you please, harsh on sinners with an acquisitive bent…
We need a new religion… Great religious movements have usually been grounded in collectivism, in the brotherhood of man, leaving laissez-faire, in the last analysis, a cold and ferocious anti-Christ. Capitalism, though officially blessed by Christian priests, has all but killed Christianity. Western mankind is thirsty for something in which to believe again. Red revolution is a creed, dramatic, idealistic and, in the long run, constructive.”
– Stuart Chase (American technocrat, economist, and engineer who is considered an intellectual father to the New Deal), A New Deal (The Macmillan Company, 1932), pp.164-165.
17. “All the parties of capitalist society, all its moralists and all its sycophants will perish beneath the debris of the impending catastrophe. The only party that will survive is the party of the world socialist revolution…”
– Leon Trotsky, “Moralists and Sycophants Against Marxism,” New International, August 1939 (as posted on Marxists.org).
18. “Today the whole world depends on communism for its salvation, and China is no exception.”
– Mao Tse-tung, On New Democracy (Foreign Language Press, 1960, originally penned in 1940), p.41.
19. “…the transition from capitalism to Socialism and the liberation of the working class from the yoke of capitalism cannot be effected by slow changes, by reforms, but only by a qualitative change of the capitalist system, by revolution. Hence, in order not to err in policy, one must be a revolutionary, not a reformist.”
– J. Stalin, Dialectical and Historical Materialism (Lawrence & Wishard, 1941), p.11.
20. “…a great army of the proletarian party [must be] prepared to smash the reactionary forces and to clear the way for the advanced forces of society.”
– J. Stalin, Dialectical and Historical Materialism (Lawrence & Wishard, 1941), p.17.
21. “We are indebted to Marx, Engels, Lenin and Stalin for giving us a weapon. The weapon is not a machine-gun, but Marxism-Leninism.”
– Mao Tse-tung, On People’s Democratic Dictatorship (Foreign Language Press, 1959, orig. penned in 1949), p.2.
22. “It was the Russians that introduced the Chinese to Marxism. Before the October Revolution, the Chinese were not only ignorant of Lenin and Stalin but did not even know of Marx or Engels. The salvos of the October Revolution awoke us to Marxism-Leninism.”
– Mao Tse-tung, On People’s Democratic Dictatorship (Foreign Language Press, 1959, orig. penned in 1949), pp.4-5.
23. “…it is impossible for a genuine people’s revolution in any country to win victory without various forms of help from the international revolutionary forces.”
– Mao Tse-tung, On People’s Democratic Dictatorship (Foreign Language Press, 1959, orig. penned in 1949), p.9.
24. “The state machine, including the army, the police and the courts, is the instrument with which one class oppresses another. It is an instrument of oppression against all hostile classes; it means violence and is certainly not anything ‘benevolent.’ ‘You are merciless.’ Quite so. We definitely do not adopt a benevolent policy towards the reactionary activities of the reactionaries and the reactionary classes.”
– Mao Tse-tung, On People’s Democratic Dictatorship (Foreign Language Press, 1959, orig. penned in 1949), p.2.
25. “The dictatorship of the proletariat and the leadership of the Marxist-Leninist party are indispensable conditions for the triumph of the Socialist revolution and the building of Socialism.”
– Nikita S. Khrushchev, “The Historical Necessity of the Transition from Capitalism to Socialism,” Khrushchev’s Mein Kampf (Belmont Books, 1961), p.33.
26. “Soviet foreign policy and foreign propaganda efforts continue to be linked to the objectives of fostering and accelerating world-wide social revolution.”
– Frederick C. Barghoorn (analyst on Soviet policy), Soviet Foreign Propaganda (Princeton University Press, 1964), pp.43-44.
27. “In October 17 we departed the old world and irreversibly rejected it. We are travelling to a new world, the world of communism. We shall never deviate from this path.”
– Mikhail Gorbachev, television broadcast, November 2, 1987, as quoted by Maurice Tugwell, Peace with Freedom (Key Porter Books, 1988), p.214.
28. “In principle as a philosophy, a model of organising society, Communism has to be respected. As regards the use of certain methods to advance social justice and greater regulation by the state, there are certain methods that are useful. What we need is a new society, a new civilization and convergence of all that is best in both [Communism and Capitalism]”
– Mikhail Gorbachev, speaking on Larry King Live, November 6, 1993, quoted in the Soviet Analyst, Volume 22, Numbers 9&10, p.13.
29. “The Cold War may be ‘over’ for the West. For the Soviets it has entered a new, active and promising phase.”
– Anatoliy Golitsyn, The Perestroika Deception (Edward Harle, 1995), p.127.
30. “…the West’s main weakness remains unchanged: it cannot grasp the fact that it is facing an acceleration in the unfolding of Soviet convergence strategy which is intended to procure the subservience of the West to Moscow under an ultimate Communist World Government.”
– Anatoliy Golitsyn, The Perestroika Deception (Edward Harle, 1995), p.143.
31. “The time has come to develop integrated global policies.”
– Mikhail Gorbachev, In Search for a New Beginning (HarperCollins, 1995), p.26.
32. “The time has come to choose a new direction of global development, to opt for a new civilization.”
– Mikhail Gorbachev, In Search for a New Beginning (HarperCollins, 1995), p.69.
33. “Over the next 20 to 30 years, we are going to end up with world government. It’s inevitable… There’s going to be conflict, coercion and consensus. That’s part of what will be required as we give birth to the first global civilization.”
– Jim Garrison, President of the Gorbachev Foundation USA, “One World Under Gorby,” San Francisco Weekly, May 31, 1995.
34. “On the world scene, it is our position that there is a resurgence of socialism taking place. The world’s socialist and Communist forces are now on the move to restore socialism in the former socialist countries and to strengthen the existing socialist countries… there is a new socialist world on the horizon, a resurgence of the world revolutionary process.”
– Gus Hall, American Communist leader, as quoted in the Soviet Analyst, Volume 23, Number 4, p.14, extracted from the 1995 Communist Party USA journal.
35. “New approaches are needed, new orientations in both thought and action. We must make the transition to a new civilization…We are talking of a transition toward a new civilization. No one knows what it will be like. What is important is to orient in that direction… I am convinced that a new civilization will inevitably take on certain features that are characteristic of, or inherent in, the socialist ideal.”
– Mikhail Gorbachev, On My Country and the World (Columbia Univ. Pr., 2000), pp.73-74.
36. “Socialist and Marxist ideas will gain a mass audience as the left recaptures the workers’ organisations. The Marxist tendency must base itself upon the capacity of the working class to struggle. On their shoulders rests the fate of society and the future of humankind. The working class will be propelled on the road of socialist revolution in one country after another. Armed with correct tactics and strategy, the coming to power of the proletariat in one important country will transform the entire world situation. It would set the world alight, resulting in the establishment of the Socialist United States of Europe as a stepping stone to the World Federation of Socialist States.”
– Ted Grand and Rob Sewell (contemporary Marxists thinkers), “Marxism, Socialism and the New Millennium,” published in a variety of places, including Marxist.com, January 2000.
37. “Obviously the goals of global management cannot be achieved all at once, in a great leap… Thus it is necessary to approach this goal step by step, to try to enhance the role of existing institutions and encourage coordination of the efforts of various governments. Above all, we are thinking about the United Nations.”
– Mikhail Gorbachev, On My Country and the World (Columbia Univ. Press, 2000), p.227.
38. “We retain unshakable confidence in the correctness of Marxism, in the revolutionary potential of the working class and in the final victory of socialism. The present crisis exposes the reactionary role of capitalism, and places on the order of the day the revival of international socialism.”
– “For the Fifth International,” as published on Marxist.com, March 17, 2010.
39. “…the capitalist system is indeed dying. If it is not replaced by socialism, it threatens to take the whole of society back into an age darker than humanity has seen in a thousand years. We would also add that it will not breathe its last gasp of its own accord; it will require the conscious and organized efforts of the united working class to give it a final push over the cliff of history. Although many on the left are pessimistic about the future, we Marxists are optimistic. By keeping the big picture in mind, we understand that the perspective for humanity is bright, despite the capitalist horrors that take place every day… Only socialism can give humanity a new lease on life.”
– “Is Capitalism Dying,” Marxist.com, February 5, 2013.
40. “Only collective action at the global level can establish the fundamentally new society that we call socialism.”
– “Venezuela: Hugo Chavez and 21st Century Socialism,” World Socialist Party USA website, March 14, 2013.
Yes, I know it’s mid-April, but the last six weeks have been too busy to do much on my blog. So here’s the March update!
- The February issue of Forcing Change wasn’t released until early March, but it was an important edition, focusing on a personal study of Genesis chapter 1 and how our perspective of Genesis determines so much of our worldview.
- Spoke three times at the Red River Bible and Prophecy Conference in Fargo, North Dakota. The titles of my talks were: 1) Playing God: Laying the Foundation for the Permanent Revolution, 2) Is God Green? Bowing to Creation, 3) From Babel to Babel: The Utopian Dream.
- Finished the rough edits for Gary Kah’s quarterly newsletter, Hope For The World Update.
- Gave a twenty minute speech to the Neepawa Rotary gathering on behalf of the Yellowhead Trail Toastmasters Club. Afterward, I was interviewed for the local cable access channel about the Toastmasters program.
- Our friend Raymond Dyck, who works for Husky energy, needed to give a presentation to a school group on ethanol production… so, our children and some other friends who are home schooled were used as guinea pigs. Raymond came to our house and went through his presentation, allowing us to bounce questions and comments, and this better enabled him to gauge his talk and modify his speech to accommodate a larger public school audience.
- Volunteered as a spot light operator for the Hamilton County (Indiana) passion play, “Behold the Lamb.” This production plays to an audience of about 1000 per performance, and there are seven showings in total. What I appreciate is the solid gospel call that rings clearly, both in the play itself and in the intermission – a twenty minute period between stage sets where Pastor Don Jennings lays out the case for Jesus Christ alone. My wife, Leanne, and our two children all participate in different areas of the production.
- While in Indiana we spent many hours visiting with close friends – our “American family” – and renewing acquaintances. This time together will definitely be a highlight for the year.
- Did a tour of the Brickyard 500 race facility, spent time at the Indiana War Museum and War Memorial, enjoyed a day at the Indianapolis Museum of Art, and spent an afternoon in the State Capital where we touched base with friends who work in the building and with the administration.
- Frank Crane, War and World Government (New York Globe, 1915).
- George F. Wilkin, Control in Evolution: A Discussion of the Foundational Principles of Social Order and Progress (A.C. Armstrong and Son, 1903).
- frank Karsten and Karel Beckman, Beyond Democracy (CreateSpace, 2012).
- Nigel Graddon, Otto Rahn and the Quest for the Holy Grail (Adventures Unlimited, 2008).
Dear Friends of Forcing Change,
“They weren’t human beings, they only count as animals…”
The above statement comes from an interesting source; the secret recordings of Nazi Generals held in a British World War II prison. These “tapped conversations,” done by planting hidden listening devices and making gramophone recordings, are very revealing on many important fronts – including the division in the German rank over Nazism (not all were supporters), their views of Adolf Hitler, their knowledge or ignorance about extermination camps, and some of the dilemmas faced on the battle field.
One conversation that struck me was between General Wilhelm Ritter von Thoma, who was considered by British Intelligence to be “violently anti-Nazi,” and General Heinrich Eberbach, who initially supported the Nazis during its early years, then became disillusioned, believing Hitler’s regime was a “criminal body.” The brunt of one of their private talks was about General Thoma’s experiences on the Eastern Front, and particularly, the conduct of a small group of German officers who made themselves “at home” in a Russian peasant’s house.
“I can’t stand the sight of these peasants’ faces,” exclaimed one officer while sitting at the peasant’s table. On-the-spot, he drew his pistol and shot the father dead. The wife, screaming in panic, ran to a corner of the room with her three young children, including a two-month-old. “I want my peace; clear them out…” came the command from the Oberleutnant, and in-turn, each member of the family – including the baby – was murdered.
When the report of this incident reached Thoma’s ears, he had the men arrested and put on trail. When asked during the hearing why they had killed the peasant family, the officers responded;
“They weren’t human beings, they only count as animals; nothing at all can happen to us… the Fuhrer says they are not human beings, we do not admit the fact that we can be charged with murder, for they are not humans.”
General Thoma didn’t buy their argument and demanded the death penalty. Moreover, he wanted the men publicly shot by their own troops. A Nazi Judge Advocate interfered and explained that these men could not be executed without the Fuhrer’s consent. So a petition was forwarded to Adolf Hitler, and one week later Thoma received a reply from headquarters; “…the Russians are not human beings.”
No penalty was imposed.
Why am I telling you this?
A person’s worldview – how one thinks of God, man, and nature – will shape how a person acts. Adolf Hitler’s worldview was shaped in large part by a Darwinian-racial perspective that placed Jews and Slavs into a sub-human category. To Hitler, they were simply not human. Added to this was Hitler’s god-like standing in German society. He was the “savior,” or as historian Robert Waite puts it, “the psychopathic god.” For those who accepted Hitler’s worldview, the act of butchering a Russian family wasn’t something to lose sleep over.
Obviously, the Nazi worldview was in opposition to the Biblical standard, particularly the Genesis perspective – which gives the basis for the Ten Commandments and the foundation for Jesus’ command,
“You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind… You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets.”
Genesis and “all the Law and the Prophets” were of no value to the Nazis. In fact, Nazi sympathizers and collaborators went out of their way to denounce the Old Testament – and with it, Man’s value as a special creation was disregarded.
In the latest edition of Forcing Change, we examine the importance of a Biblical worldview, focussing on the vitality of Genesis chapter 1. The first essay, written by myself, is actually a collection of thoughts that were penned as I wrestled with some of the core teachings of Genesis. While Darwinian evolution is not the main thrust of this essay, it is explored in one section, as is the erronous view that nature is above humanity.
Two other articles are of interest. One is a piece written by a guest author on the “greening” of the Nazi movement. Don’t miss this important article! And lastly, fitting into the first essay on Genesis is a short piece comparing the “First Adam” and the “Last Adam.”
Download your copy of Forcing Change today: The Genesis of a Worldview.
Here are a few of the highlights from February.
- Both my children competed in our local Speech Arts festival, one of the longest running festivals of its type in the province. And they both did well! Good enough, in fact, to move on to the provincial level, which is slated for later in the spring and will be held in Winnipeg. Way to go!
- Managed to go skiing with my daughter, along with some home school friends, for one day. I hadn’t skied for a long time, and had almost forgotten how enjoyable it was. And the hill wasn’t busy, so it was “life up,” make the run, and do it all again without any lineups – the only stop was for a twenty minute lunch break. Otherwise, ski, ski, ski.
- My son was interviewed for a summer scholarship program with Air Cadets. The prep work for the review process was heavy, but if he’s accepted, it will give him a shot at obtaining his glider license. Just waiting to hear, one way or another, what his summer will entail.
- Spent time visiting family and good friends, which is always fun… and challenging. We are very blessed to have good people around us, who can enjoy a laugh, and yet willing to dive into deeper waters – to talk about faith in Jesus Christ and serious matters of life and living.
- Took an afternoon and did a “treasure talk” to a Hutterite elementary school class. It was a blast! I brought rock and mineral specimens, metal detectors, and other “treasure” items. The youth asked more questions than I could answer, and were enthralled with the display. The real treasure, of course, was the smile on their faces!
- Worked to finish the January edition of Forcing Change, which focused on Agenda 21. I also worked on the February edition, which was posted in early March. This latest issue is different: The main article is based on a series of notes I did while wrestling through thematic issues in Genesis chapter 1. If you’re a member, go to www.forcingchange.org and download your copy!
- Radio shows I participated in as a guest; Worldview Weekend Radio, VFTB, TruNews, and Fairdinkim Radio out of Australia.
- Worked on arranging the Spring edition of Gary Kah’s Hope For The World Update, and I’m still pulling together items for this issues.
Only one book was finished in February: Jacques Ellul, The Meaning of the City (Wipf and Stock, 1970/2003). Although it was short, 209 pages, it was a slow read – not because the content was boring, but because Ellul offered insights and ideas that caused me to pause and think.