commentary: Conspiracy Theory (Part Thirteen)
John W. Ritenbaugh
Given 07-Mar-15; Sermon #1256c; 14 minutes
John Ritenbaugh, suggests that, although humanism as a philosophy came onto American campuses approximately 50 years ago, it has been a part of the world's culture since 1600, when technology enabled secular universities to counter-attack the explosion of Biblical knowledge, unleashed by the Protestant Reformation. Actually, humanism has been alive and well for thousands of years. American culture, steeped in materialistic humanism, is decidedly non-Christian in its current outlook, as Satan has achieved a measure of success by twisting and distorting the information disseminated by secular universities, savagely destroying faith and creating doubt in God's existence, let alone His ultimate authority.
I was really pleased to hear what Joe Baity talked about ["A Disagreement With the Truth"], especially as he got toward the end of of what he was commenting on, because it fits right into the commentaries that I've been giving, especially in the last five or six or so when I started talking about when I believe that Satan had to begin to do his part to prepare the world for the way it is right now. So much of what he has done had to do with listening. Are we going to listen to God? Is mankind going to listen to God, whether it's reading it from the pages of His word or hearing it over some electronic instrument?
Up to this time, I have not given you any names of those that I believe were involved in this conspiracy, and I will not give you any names during this commentary either. But none that I do eventually name are contemporary with us. They are all dead. However, when they lived, they were even then in their lifetimes considered as great. To this day, most of them are still considered as great.
What do I mean by great? Greatness, in this context, is synonymous with influential. They had great followings among others who mattered within a society. I do not mean that they were great in terms of character, nor great in terms of good services that they rendered to mankind. The overwhelming majority of them were educators, and their influence was in the philosophies that they expounded on in print and taught—usually in universities. In many cases, they also lived according to the principles that they expounded upon. I am unsure, but I do not believe that any of them were educators in a religious or theological sense, unless it was but for a short time. But on the other hand, they were all educators in the humanistic sense.
Humanism is a religion. It is not—this might surprise you—an anti-god religion. It is a religion of many gods. In fact, it can even be said that humanism has as many gods as worshippers. But by way of contrast, it is specifically an anti-Creator God religion. There is quite a distinction there.
Every one of these great men that I will eventually name paved a goodly part of the way for some of the way of life that we are experiencing at this time. We may think that humanism arrived on the scene fairly recently, like, say in the past 50 or 60 years or so. However, that is not even close to being correct. It is the name "humanism" that came on the scene in the past 50 or 60 years, but its beliefs and its practices as we know it today have been around for many hundreds of years. The name can rightly be applied to any religion that is not the true religion.
Judges 21:25 For in those days, there was no king in Israel. Everyone did what was right in his own eyes.
That provides us with a general statement regarding any human-devised religion, and it can also help us to understand that humanism has been practiced for thousands of years, not mere hundreds of years. Humanism has ancient roots. But in the past 50 or 60 years, a particular body of beliefs and practices has emerged and been more clearly defined so that it can be more clearly identified than it ever was before.
Humanism, as we know it in our time, had its revival beginning in the 1600s. The key thing in regard to this is the statement I made, "as we know it." It's the key phrase there, and the 1600 date places its modern beginning right on the heels of the Protestant Reformation and provides us with another reason why I believe that Satan has been preparing for our time for hundreds of years. An explosion of true biblical knowledge was being uncovered because the Bible had become much more generally available as a result of the development of mass printing. Satan believed that he had to make moves to counter the truths being revealed, so he used the secular universities and their philosophy and science schools as the foundation for his counter attack. He has been eminently successful as any fair evaluation of the cultural decline of the Israelitish nations will show.
A good definition of "culture" is "religion externalized so it can be seen." The reason this definition is true is because people always live out their fundamental beliefs. Jesus said, "Out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaks." A corollary to that is, "Out of the abundance of the heart, a person acts or conducts his life." A person always lives his fundamental beliefs. That's why what Jesus said is true. So, Jesus could honestly say that "out of the abundance of the heart. . ." or "by their fruits, you shall know them."
In the 1600s, were they living the truth? Of course not. The lies were already being mass disseminated through printing. On the basis of that judgment, our culture is not Christian because people are not living Christianity. This tells anybody very strongly and clearly who knows what Christian life should be that Satan's educational conspiracy against Christianity is fine-tuned and it is working precisely.
Our culture still retains a gauze-like remnant of true Christianity within it in order that a witness of God's truth is still available. We find elements of it still in government, in our languages, music, law and science. But in our day, materialistic elements of humanism have gained control.
What is the main thrust of Satan's attack in the universities that grew ever stronger since the 1600s? As an American, you may ask (since I mentioned universities), "What universities? What relationship does that have to the 1600s? How could they even exist around AD 1600? Well, brethren, Americans are Johnny-come-latelies in the university business.
Nobody knows exactly when Oxford University was founded, but it is known that it was already established and teaching before 1096 AD. That's over 1000 years ago that Oxford has been in existence. Cambridge University began AD 1209, and a university was operating even before then in Paris. And the reason Cambridge was begun—part of the reason—was so that English people could send their children to English universities.
So the question is, what has been and remains the main thrust of Satan's attack? Well, God's word tells us. Romans 1:17 says that "The just shall live by faith." Hebrews 10:38 adds,
Hebrews 10:38 Now the just shall live by faith; but if anyone draws back, My soul has no pleasure in him.
Hebrews 11:6 clinches it when it says,
Hebrews 11:6 But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.
Satan openly or subtly attacks to destroy faith in God's existence, faith in God's word, faith in any element of anything pertaining to God's way of life. If one hasn't faith, the gut is absolutely ripped right out of a relationship with God. It's impossible.
Isn't that the attack he used against Adam and Eve right in the beginning? There it is! He destroyed their purity by destroying their faith in what God said. It must be the thrust of his attack because he must destroy the ultimate authority in any area of life he can, because whoever is the ultimate authority is God. He said, "I will be the Most High." That was his brag. That tells you what he was after.
His battle plan was and is the undermining of man's thinking processes by means of confusing the information the mind has to work with. He chose the universities to accomplish this in because it is in them that the next generation's leadership is being prepared to lead. Those trained would then leave the universities for the business world, for government, churches and schools, thus spreading the twisted information in a more believable and rapid way into every facet of life.
od-willing, I should get to some names in the next commentary.