Thursday, August 29, 2019

Civilization Values, Part VIII: Marriage

This is the final part in the series on the values requisite for civilization. For the first seven parts, here are the links.

·         Part I: Life
·         Part II: Truth
·         Part III: Property Ownership
·         Part IV: God and Freedom of Religion
·         Part V: Civilizing Religion
·         Part VI: Repenting as a Civilization
·         Part VII: FamilyPerpetuates Civilization 

If we start with the values of honoring God, life, truth, and property ownership, family is how we teach and pass along those values. So we need to value family as well. The term “family values” has been tossed around for several decades, but for our purposes we need a more specific definition of what it means to value family. What is family?

As we’ve said, family is the basic unit of civilization. An individual is a unit even smaller, but it isn’t a unit of civilization—because society by definition requires at least two people to associate with one another. And civilization is a particular—good—kind of society. The fundamental relationship leading to civilization and its perpetuation, then, is family. We talked in Part VII about how well family does that.

Today we’ll talk about the relationship that founds a family.

This is not to say that individuals, unmarried people, grandparents helping raise children, foster care situations, and various other-than-the-ideal family structures don’t contribute. If the individuals in these other situations lead intentionally civilized lives, they do contribute to civilization. But the essential relationship—because it means a mother and a father raising their children to be civilized for the next generation—is a married man and woman. And what is essential for this relationship is complete fidelity and permanence.

There’s huge societal upheaval today trying to declare that other relationships are as deserving. But if any other relationship is designed not to produce children, does not require complete fidelity, and is not permanent, it does not offer society what marriage provides.

The section on marriage and fidelity in the Spherical Model website article “Family Is the Basic Unit of Civilization” is long. There’s a large section on why sex outside of marriage is always uncivilized. If there’s something our current society needs to learn, it is that. So here’s a portion of that.

Sex Outside of Marriage Is Always Wrong
This is such a simple concept, and so many problems would be settled if people would believe it. It’s an essential of civilization. Every time a society attempts to “progress” or “evolve” beyond the old-fashioned notion of virtue, it slides into decay. Every time. This decay happens so frequently and is currently so widespread that the need for virtue must not still be self-evident. So we might as well spell out the reasons.
Human Children Take Time and Consistency to Bring to Adulthood
image from here
Human children grow slowly. It takes close upon two decades to get them from birth to functioning on their own, capable of supporting themselves, reproducing, and raising a civilized next generation. It requires consistency and care from someone with a stake in the child’s success. It takes a pair of parents, providing both male and female role models and ways of nurturing.
The best (really, the only) way to plan for children to be raised by the same two (one male, one female) parents throughout their growing up life is for those two parents to be permanently bonded to each other. To be married. (See Why Marriage Matters.[i]) Marriage isn’t as ephemeral as just a declaration of love between two lovers; it is a commitment to each other and to the entire society that they will stay together for life. This commitment establishes a family, the most basic unit of civilization. There isn’t any way to break up a family that doesn’t harm civilization. Therefore, there isn’t any possible way for sex outside of marriage to be acceptable behavior without harming civilization. Without the attitude of its sacredness, it is impossible to maintain virtue (chastity). And without virtue, families are always harmed.
Look, for instance, at what happens when two young people, believing they are in love, give in to sex. They have just admitted to each other that they value their own desires over the needs of the society they live in. They are both lessened for that selfishness. But what if they recognize that, though what they did was wrong, they could marry and move on? Yes, they could alter their course—what religious societies call repentance, change their thoughts and actions for the future. And if it is true that they love each other, they could go forward making a happy home, with very little harm to society. So, while society wouldn’t condone the mistake, it can easily forgive.
What if the couple decides not to marry? What if they realize they were just young and foolish, and gave in to selfish desires? They could stop, and go their separate ways. Again, it would be possible to repent—change their thoughts and actions for the future—without society being very much degraded for their temporary lapse. Because society never approved. Nor did they require society to grant approval. They realigned themselves with civilization’s requirements following their lapse.
What if a pregnancy resulted from their foolish episode? If they have any hope that they actually can love each other, then they can marry quickly, because forming a family in which to raise their offspring is the highest priority (a much higher priority than the honor of a big wedding celebrated by all their friends). Even if they’re too young to know how to establish and maintain a healthy family, the society around them—their parents, their church, their friends, counselors—can give them guidance and assistance as they finish maturing. It makes the beginning of their family more difficult than a more reasoned, more mature decision, but with effort and help they can succeed in sustaining, rather than degrading, civilization. So, again, while society doesn’t condone the sex outside of marriage, it can forgive without being decayed.
If the couple find themselves in the very sad situation of being pregnant while also realizing they are incompatible, then, again, the highest priority is the need for a family for the child. There can be no civilized focus other than that child whom their behavior brought to life. A child needs, and is entitled to, a loving two-parent family. The two young people should do everything within their power to make sure the child gets this entitlement. This is a much greater concern than whether they themselves love the child and want to be near him/her.
[Note: I am not advocating here that some distant government entity step in and make these difficult decisions and insist that the child be adopted out. I am advising that, for the sake of society, the child’s welfare must be of greater importance than what the foolish accidental parents may want. There should be pressure from society—again, from their family, their church, their friends and mentors—to help these young people see society’s need for them to value the child. Societal pressure and expectation, even shame, coming from a truly civilized society, is much more likely to bring about the best choices following mistakes than rigidly written laws could do. But laws should make it possible for society to be supported in the pressure.]
Let’s assume that, if these two people are at all susceptible to civilizing influence, then they want for their child what every child is entitled to. If they themselves cannot provide the child’s family, then adoption is the most likely way to provide it. The least that can be expected from the young mother is to bring the child to term and then give the baby to a loving two-parent family, being willing to grieve at her own loss of the child because the child gains so much. That’s a lot to expect of an immature young woman, but civilization requires that it be expected.
The young man absolutely should be held accountable. (This has historically been a major failing of many attempts at civilization.) Society should decide how. My personal belief is that, if marrying the young mother was not what he could do, then he should, for the next 18 years at least, provide support, possibly a trust for the child’s college or other needs, taken out of everything he earns until that child is an adult. This should be done even though the adopting family is expected to be able to provide; it is necessary for the sake of civilization that the young man be held responsible. And the young biological father should have no expectation of visitation; he gave up that right by giving up the opportunity to be the father in a marriage with the mother. Sexual indiscretion does not entitle a male to being honored as a father; he has to actually be one, in partnership with the mother, to earn that. Individual communities may find other solutions, but civilization requires that the father be held accountable for his actions.
Adoption should never be seen as the mother not loving the child enough. It should be seen as the positive, probable, expected course for such a situation—without prolonged stigma to the mother, and certainly without stigma to the child. As long as both biological parents provide for the child’s needs, society can forgive without civilization being decayed.
Adoption family, image from here
I believe that, in a truly civilized society, there will never be insufficient families willing to adopt. Children are too highly valued, and fertility problems come up frequently in nature. [Note: Undervaluing children and celebrating or causing infertility to avoid inconveniencing adults who choose to be sexually active without forming a family are two signs of a decaying society. The documentary Demographic Winter is a good source.[ii]] But, hypothetically, if the young mother were unable to place her baby in an adopting family, she could, if her parents stepped in to assist, raise the child at home. This is, self-evidently, less valuable to civilization. There’s a child without both parents, and the mother’s choices caused that to happen. So her folly can never be condoned. But it can be forgiven, because civilization, no matter how far advanced, is made up of imperfect human beings. The way society sees the situation is what affects whether society is decayed by it. And if this type of situation were rare (which it would tend to be if there were serious stigma against it), then society could absorb the difficulty for the individual child. While maintaining that adoption should be the usual choice, I believe civilized society can allow the young mother to get her own answer through prayer about whether she should keep her child.

There’s more. I’ve written more about this issue than just about any other. Refer to “Defense of Marriage Collection,” from July 2013.  I’ve now written six more years of posts. Many of these appear to relate to LGBT issues, but to me this is always about defending real marriage in an effort to build civilization and repair its decay. Here are a few additional posts I believe are worth checking out:

·         Family Proclaiming, April 9, 2015
·         Millennia of Marriage, May 7, 2015
·         Another Nail, February 20, 2017
·         Surprise at Old News, August 10, 2017
·         Family Isn’t Extinct, October 12, 2017
·         Normalizing Has Already Gone Too Far, August 2, 2018
·         Stop Throwing Out the Baby, May 23, 2019

That’s it for this series on civilization values. In summary, civilization requires that we value God, life, family, truth, and property ownership—which, coincidentally, summarizes the Ten Commandments. It’s been good guidance for a very long time, and it works every time it’s tried. Simple, not easy, but worth trying from the family level on up.

[i] Why Marriage Matters: Twenty-one Conclusions from the Social Sciences, © 2002 Institute for American Values.
[ii] Demographic Winter, video available at See also the follow-up, Demographic Bomb.

Monday, August 26, 2019

Civilization Values, Part VII: Family Perpetuates Civilization

Family is the basic unit of civilization. That's our starting premise.

What did we do on our summer vacation?
Hung out with grandkids.

We’re in a series on the values of civilization, which are to value God, life, family, truth, and property ownership. The earlier parts of this series include:

·         Part I: Life
·         Part II: Truth
·         Part III: Property Ownership
·         Part IV: God and Freedom of Religion
·         Part V: Civilizing Religion
·         Part VI: Repenting as a Civilization

Today we begin talking about family.

God and family are taking larger places than the others, simply because they are the values undergirding all. Our rights either come from God—they do—or they are extended by earthly government and repealed at will by government. If you’re subject to the whims of government, whose views and powers change according to the opinion of whoever has power, you’re under tyranny. But if you have rights granted by God, government’s role is either to protect them or use unrighteous dominion to try to deprive human beings of those God-given rights.

Next to God in importance is family, because this basic unit of society is how we transfer all the values from generation to generation.

The first six parts of this series drew from the Spherical Model website article "Civilization vs. Savagery." Family is big enough to have its own separate article, “Family Is the Basic Unit of Civilization.”

Today we’ll cover the basic introduction, which is why family is important. It’s both a micro-civilization in itself, when it’s fully functional, and it’s a way to perpetuate civilization. And then, more on family values in the next post.

Civilized societies value family as the most important and basic unit of governance. Alternatively, a hallmark of totalitarian regimes, which are savage, is the replacement of the family with the state. Totalitarianism resents loyalty to any societal unit other than itself. And it is this absolute weakness that will always prevent a totalitarian state from offering true Civilization as you’d find it in a free strong-family society.
This is particularly important to know for people living in a sub-civilized society. As long as families are allowed to live among themselves (children are under the care of their own parents), it is possible to have a civilized society that is just one family in size. Then, if that family can find additional similarly civilized families to associate with, their society grows. If it could grow to the size of a village or township, all the better. The goal of the founding fathers was to have that civilization spread through the United States (and if that experiment worked, have other sovereign states adopt the plan). But a family doesn’t have to wait until the world changes; the family can live the laws of civilization and enjoy many of the benefits, at least within the walls of the home.
Families have the responsibility to safeguard women and children for the greatest benefit of both current and future generations. Families provide food, shelter, clothing, education, spiritual guidance, and training in how to live a civilized life in a civilized society. Elderly are honored for their wisdom. Youth are honored for their potential. Women are honored for giving and nurturing life, among their other abilities. Men are honored for providing and protecting, among their other abilities. Families are the main economic force, as well as the very means whereby civilization can perpetuate. Civilized societies therefore protect The Family as sacred.
Mr. Spherical Model, has been doing dad work
for more than three decades so far

A hallmark of civilized society is the importance of marriage as the only acceptable place for sexual relations. Every society that decides to try devaluing fidelity in marriage eventually (and often quickly) sinks into decadence. Sex within marriage not only provides offspring, it cements the bond between the two parents, so that the child will grow in a home of love and protection and guidance. No other situation is even remotely as beneficial for a child.
Humans being mortal, there will be incidents where some children will be raised without both parents. Ideally, there should never be divorce (a necessary evil in response to decidedly uncivilized behavior). But there will be death, which is inevitable. Nevertheless, in a healthy, peaceful society the abundance of intact, healthy families can help compensate for the few homes that don’t have the child’s two living parents.
It is probably possible to quantify what percentage constitutes a critical mass of functional families that can compensate for a smaller percentage of problem homes without an undue toll on civilization. But, in general, the more family health, the more civilized the society.

Over the years, on the blog, I covered some of the benefits of fathers and mothers, and families, often close to Father’s Day and Mother’s Day, plus a few other times. It has added up.

·       Honoring Fathers, June 17, 2011
·       Building Better Families, June 20, 2011 
·       Dad Rules, June 18, 2012 
·       Fathers, June 15, 2014 
This little guy is about to turn seven already.
·       Being a Dad, June 22, 2015 
·       Depend on Dad, June 27, 2016 
·       Mother Joy, May 8, 2014 
·       The Good Part, May 8, 2013 

·       Home Making, May 6, 2013 
·       The Motherhood Study, May 6, 2011 
·       Another Word about Life, January 30, 2013 
·       Family Superpower, July 29, 2013 
·       That Decision Mothers Make, November 3, 2014 
·       Motherless Princesses, June 17, 2013 

Just to sum up today, here’s a quote for fathers and one for mothers:

Imagine a world in which every lonely, confused adult going down the wrong road had had a dad that filled the role—maybe not perfectly, but with love, tenderness, and an unending will for the child’s life to go well. Not all the world’s problems would be solved; people still have free will, so some will just choose badly. But so many more will know what a good choice looks like. The holes in so many children’s hearts would be filled, and ready to pass that love along.
—(quoting myself from “Being a Dad.”)

If you were the grand designer, and you wanted to place certain people in charge of protecting, preserving, and passing along the ideas of civilization, for the happiness and well-being of all, you would design individuals with passion, who would pass along those ideas out of love to their young charges, believing that happiness in the present and future for those young charges was more important than any personal concerns. You couldn’t hire such caregivers. You couldn’t assign an institution to do it. You would have to create—mothers. Indeed, that is what the Grand Designer did.
—(quoting myself from “The Motherhood Study.”)

Thursday, August 22, 2019

Civilization Values Part VI: Repenting as a Civilization

We’ve been doing something of a civilization primer series here of late. Civilization requires valuing God, life, family, truth, and property—which is shorthand for the Ten Commandments. Part I of this series was on Life; part II was on Truth; part III was on property ownership. Next up is valuing God, in three parts of the series. Part IV was on Freedom of Religion, and part V was on defining Civilizing Religion. 

Today’s part VI is on turning a society away from savagery and back toward civilization. For individuals we call that repentance. So, what does repentance look like for a society?

We just did a road trip by way of Colorado and the Continental Divide.
The hairpin turns, making sharp changes in direction
 and heading upward, are a good metaphor for repentance.

I can describe what it looks like. I don’t pretend to know how to initiate it, to get it underway. But I think civilization is something most people prefer to savagery. When the chaos gets intolerable, people want something better. It has happened at times, historically. Phases pass. The world domination attempts of the past century were quelled, although possibly not wiped out forever. But good people stood up and fought for freedom, prosperity, and civilization, rather than succumb to tyranny, poverty, and savagery. We could catalog a few such turnaround examples, but we’ll save that for another day beyond this series.

My hope is that we don’t need to reach a near rock bottom before turning upward.

As in the past several posts, the material below is from the Spherical Model website, Civilization vs. Savagery section, published there in 2010.


Converting from Savagery to Civilization
As we find our society decaying further and further south into Savagery, the question is, what can we do to get back to Civilization? Repent. In religion, when you have sinned (committed an act that doesn’t qualify as civilized), you as an individual must follow a process to get out of the dishonorable position.
·       Recognize that you have done wrong—get past denial.
·       Confess that you are wrong (depending on situation, this may need to be public).
·       Make restitution. (Include your plans to make restitution when asking forgiveness of anyone you have wronged, which is part of the confession step.)
·       Change your way of thinking to prevent yourself from falling into the negative behavior again, and then live honorably from this point onward.
Steps aren’t that different for a society that needs to repent. When society has been going the wrong direction and decaying, it needs to recognize the wrong, then admit the wrong, make restitution, and then change and continue on the new path.
Society repents when a critical mass of individuals in the community take the necessary steps to change. When one person changes, that is a beginning. When an entire family changes, that family becomes a civilized societal unit. When that family joins with other families that have chosen to give up savage behaviors and continue with civilized behaviors, that becomes a larger civilized society. When a strong majority of families in a community choose civilization, they can benefit the large society and pull it upward, and have the strength, then, to separate out the savage actors, so that the civilization is no longer at risk of being decayed by them.
At every step it is a matter of choosing. Government cannot force Civilization on a people, so the solution isn’t governmental intervention. The role of government is, at the lowest possible level, to support people in protecting their hard-won Civilization. It has to be the Civilized people themselves who set the standard for living among them. A family has that right. A church has that right. A school has that right. And as you get larger, when the strong majority, a critical mass, choose to live in a civilized way, they can set law—as a municipality, a city or county, and a state. Civilization can only happen at a national level when the lower levels have already made the changes.
family illustration found here
The good news is that you can enjoy many the benefits of Civilization in even the smallest unit—the family. When parents and children live together in peace and love, adhering to the requirements of Civilization, they benefit. Beyond the family, the benefits grow as larger units become Civilized, but a single family in and of itself can flourish. So helping our own family, and then preserving the concept of family, is where most of us should be spending our energies. We’re almost ready for “Family is the Basic Unit of Civilization.” But first, let’s go through a reminder list (incomplete, as any list must be) of what civilized people will and will not do.

Civilized Behaviors
·       Civilized people work to support themselves and their families.
·       Civilized people welcome children into their family with rejoicing and commit to nurturing the child physically, emotionally, educationally, and spiritually to ensure that the next generation remains civilized.
·       Civilized people will give freely from their surplus wealth and time to help shore up people going through hard times.
·       Civilized people are honest in their dealings with others, in business and in personal relationships.
·       Civilized people are peacefully law-abiding in a community with fair, people-led laws.
·       Civilized people don’t get intoxicated or use recreational mind-altering drugs.
·       Civilized people never attack their civilized neighbors in anger, nor provoke their neighbors. If there are disputes, they work them out, with the help of courts if other negotiations fail to resolve.
·       Civilized people do not have sex outside of marriage. Once married they remain faithful and committed for life. When there are marital problems, they seek help to work through the problem, rather than leaving the marriage, as long as the spouse has not committed serious uncivilized acts that might not be recoverable: adultery, addiction, abuse (specifically defined), or abandonment.
·       Civilized people never participate in pornography, neither in production, dissemination, nor use. All aspects of pornography are savage.
·       Civilized people never even consider prostitution, as every aspect of the practice is savage.
·       Civilized people never even consider committing a sexual act that is not mutually desired; i.e., rape, incest, child abuse are nonexistent among civilized people. The acts can only be committed by a savage, and every effort should be made to keep such savages from having freedom to commit their crime within the civilization.
·       Civilized people will not allow uncivilized behavior among them; they hold people accountable. Depending on the uncivilized act and the willingness of the perpetrator to repent, being held accountable could include lawful punishment, ostracism from some segments from society (excommunication from a church, for example), limitations in employment (people shacking up together, for example, could be limited from having teaching or other positions that influence children), or simply a stern correction followed by an offer to help change.
·       Civilized people are quick to forgive the repentant, but never by releasing the wrongdoer from making restitution; both the person repenting and the society require the restitution to prevent Civilization’s decay.

One thing about a repenting society: it’s done by a critical mass of individuals doing the necessary repentance in their own lives. I have control over my own life. Maybe I have some influence over a small circle. I can share ideas that might help a larger circle. I pray it happens soon. My tolerance for savagery is low.

Upcoming is the remaining portion of the series, on valuing family. My guess is it will take more than one additional post.

Monday, August 19, 2019

Civilization Values, Part V: Civilizing Religion

We’re in a series on the values necessary for civilization. These, which summarize the Ten Commandments, are honoring God, life, family, truth, and property ownership. Part I was why valuing life is essential. Part II was on truth. Part III was on property ownership. 

Honoring God and family are even larger, so I’m giving them more than one part a piece. Part IV was on God and Freedom of Religion. Today we’ll cover the baseline definition of a civilizing religion and compare that to a savage religion. We’ll take a third day on God to talk about how a civilization can get back to being civilized—societal conversion, or repentance.

The material is from the Spherical Model website, the Civilized vs. Savage section, which I wrote between about a decade ago.


Religion of Civilization

While America’s founders constitutionally protected us from a state religious ruling sect, they did understand the need for basic religious principles that were expected from all free people, in order for freedom to thrive.
The Ten Commandments
at the Texas Capitol
In The 5000-Year Leap, author/historian W. Cleon Skousen summarizes the five necessary tenets of religion in a free society:
1.     There is a Creator who made all things, and mankind should recognize and worship Him. [first 4 of the 10 Commandments]
2.     The Creator has revealed a moral code of behavior for happy living which distinguishes right from wrong. [the rest of the 10 commandments]
3.     The Creator holds mankind responsible for the way they treat each other.
4.     All mankind live beyond this life.
5.     In the next life mankind are judged for their conduct in this one.
These were the basic beliefs of the founders of America. Arguments about slight differences in their religious affiliations or personal philosophical persuasions don’t change that these tenets were very nearly universal among the signers of the Declaration of Independence as well as the Constitution. And these beliefs were nearly universal among the citizens at the time as well. Forty years after the ratification of the Constitution, these are the beliefs that Alexis de Tocqueville described in his Democracy in America. The republican form of government they established was possible because it was put in place by a basically religious and ethical people.

Religion of Savagery

There are correlative beliefs that correspond with savagery.  These are:
1.     Degrading the position of God the Creator, often seen as agnosticism or atheism, or more often as replacing deity with a human, as seen in ancient Egypt, Babylon, Greece, and Rome. The corollary is degrading those who believe in and honor God the Creator.
2.     Devaluing human life, often by elevating the value of animals above human life, seen in worship of animals and often leading to human sacrifice to animal gods.
3.     Doing away with free will and consequences: Belief that sun, moon and stars—or something totally out of the reach of a person’s influence—control humans’ fate and actions, removing free will and thus responsibility for actions.
Degrading Position of God
It’s a bit astonishing how often we see versions of these beliefs in our modern world. The tendency to degrade believers as unsophisticated or ignorant is common. The insistence that believers are intolerant if they express their beliefs publicly is another indicator of the first rule of the religion of savagery. Oppressing the believers can’t possibly be a civilizing practice; the only alternatives, then, are that oppressing the believers is neutral or negative. When people have their God-given natural right to worship freely taken from them—a hallmark of tyranny—then you can see, by placement on the spherical model, that must be negative for society as a whole. Depending on the intensity of the persecution, society then resides anywhere from just below the freedom zone all the way down into savagery.
The most common occurrence of this repression in the US is insisting that religious symbols and practices be removed from public places. Disallowing schools from having prayers, so as not to make nonbelievers uncomfortable, is a gross distortion, not only of the Constitution’s freedom of religion clause, but of the idea of “separation of church and state” mentioned in a letter by Thomas Jefferson to the Danbury Baptists. Jefferson wrote to assure them that the “free exercise of religion” mentioned in the First Amendment was not a declaration that the right was granted by government, but that it was inalienable, and that there would not and could not be a religious sect favored by the US government to the exclusion of the others. It is simply wrong to say that Jefferson believed religious people should allow only their secular beliefs to be expressed in public. Jefferson, along with the other founders, valued religion and encouraged its practice in its various civilizing forms, to the betterment of the nation.
Devaluing of Human Life
The distortion from human beings as the sentient caretakers of the earth to evil overlords over the innocent animals is also common in the savage religious belief system. One evidence is summarily taking of people’s property or use thereof without due compensation, simply because some animals would have to relocate. A further distortion would be claiming we must give up technology that produces the naturally occurring substance carbon-dioxide because using it in the southern US could cause the death of polar bears in the arctic. [Notice the requirement for sacrifice for the sake of the animal or earth god.] Care for the environment and the wildlife are often elevated well above the well being of human life.
Likewise the idea that domesticated animals are deprived of their free life is fallacious, because the vast majority of those animals, if undomesticated, would not be living at all. While it is a mark of civilization to avoid unnecessary cruelty to animals, it is not required of human beings to starve themselves for the sake of preserving other species. No other species chooses such a sacrifice. And no other species has suicidal delusions that the planet would be better off if its species had never been given place here. Wherever you see human life devalued below animals or parts of nature, you can be certain those beliefs are part of the religion of savagery.
[Note: The current fad of buying and selling of carbon offsets looks suspiciously like the anachronistic religious practice of buying and selling indulgences—paying to sin. It doesn’t prevent the unwanted behavior; it just makes it more acceptable for the rich to commit it than the poor.]
Doing Away with Free Will and Consequences
Astrology has been around for millennia. Its purpose has always been to excuse people from responsibility for their actions. After all, if the alignment of planets on the day of one’s birth is the cause for what a person does or accomplishes, then it’s pointless to put effort into improving, since individual effort is futile. Similarly, if one has a tendency to do evil, and one believes that behavior is caused by an inborn trait or accident of birth, then why try to overcome the inevitable? Removal of free will is always an excuse for negative choices.
A more common assertion in our culture is the excuse that “society” is to blame for a person becoming a criminal. There is considerable difference between a single bad family or a bad section of an inner city contributing to the criminal tendencies of a person and saying the family or society as a whole is the criminal, and that therefore the actual perpetrator of the crime should not be punished. Creating behavioral “illnesses” such as sex addiction, drug addiction, alcoholism, or even impulsive ADD behaviors doesn’t help civilize. Finding ways to help people overcome bad behaviors is good, but that can’t be done to the exclusion of holding wrongdoers accountable. The solution is helping the wrongdoers see the consequences of their choices and find ways to overcome their evil urges; the solution is clearly not giving them a pass while blaming society. That is a mark of savage religion.

We’ll take an addition part of this series about valuing God to talk about how a civilization can get back to being civilized—societal conversion, or repentance.

Saturday, August 17, 2019

Civilization Values, Part IV: God and Freedom of Religion

We’re in a series on the values necessary for civilization. These big five are honoring God, life, family, truth, and property ownership. Part I was why valuing life is essential. Part II was on truth. Part III was on property ownership. Those were the simpler ones. I’ve saved for last the larger ideas of God and Family.

Here’s why these ideas are so essential:

1.     Not all religious societies are civilized (according to my definition), but every civilized society is a religious society. This absolutely does not mean state-sponsored religion or lack of religious freedom; in fact, the opposite is true. Freedom of religion is essential, and the flourishing of religion in general must be encouraged.
2.     The family is the basic unit of civilized society. Whatever threatens the family threatens civilization. So preserving and protecting the family is paramount in laws and social expectations in a civilized society.
Today we’ll touch on why honoring God is important.

This series is taken from the Spherical Model website article Civilization vs. Savagery, published online in 2010, plus a few of my additional comments. This section of the article is large, so I’ll try to pull out the essence. Such as this:

Why Every Civilized Society Must Be a Religious Society
If rights are God-given to every human being, then there must be a God from whom they come. Without God granting the rights, then “rights” would be totally dependent on whoever or whatever entity currently wields power over human beings. So, freedom from tyranny is only possible if we acknowledge God as the right-giver, and then we set up governmental systems for the specific purpose of protecting those rights—limiting governmental power to protecting rights rather than taking or granting them.
Freedom of religion is essential. So let’s look at that first.

Religious Freedom Is Necessary to Civilization
No one can be forced to believe something. It isn’t how our human minds work. We can be persuaded, shown overwhelming evidence, encouraged to believe, but we cannot be forced. The problem is, in an oppressive society (as most historical societies have been, and many are today) we can be forced to appear to believe.
There was an article in the Religion section of the local paper some time ago, in which several different religious leaders were asked what they thought were the most dangerous religious beliefs. The common answer was, “that you belong to the one true church.” And I thought, what’s dangerous about that? If you’re a pastor who makes your money by how many generous believers you have, then you, personally, might feel threatened that some people out there with different beliefs actually think they have the truth. But what would be the purpose of choosing a religion if you didn’t believe you were finding the truth? Wouldn’t you just keep looking until you found one you could believe held the truth about how we should worship God and how we should behave toward one another?
One clergyman, from a place where no proselytizing among members of his religion is allowed, said he thought proselytizing was the most dangerous threat. And I thought, in his country, it’s only a threat to those few who dare to believe something other than the state religion, who if they answer simple questions about their beliefs might be seen as breaking the law, which could be life-threatening to them. But a threat to his religion? I don’t see how.
I am still a little surprised they didn’t all offer the obvious answer: the belief that it is righteous to kill people for believing something different from you. That is clearly a lot more dangerous to religious people than people who believe they have found a true church or people who share their beliefs.
In religious thought there is nothing so dangerous—and illogical—as killing because of religious beliefs. If someone believes differently from you, it means that, based on what they know so far, in the context of their life experiences and interests, they haven’t been persuaded to believe what you believe. You can’t persuade them that you have found the truth by threatening to kill them; you can only persuade them, if you’re in that oppressive power position, that if they value their life they’d better pretend to have been persuaded, and better give every outward sign of belief.
80% of religious persecution in the world is against Christians.
screenshot from here

Oppression is uncivilized. Always. It’s untenable that a religion intended to improve people’s hearts and minds accepts summarily mowing people down because they were born into a different culture and taught a different belief. I don’t think this can accurately be considered religious thought; it is politically tyrannical thought. It is the thought of people who want to increase their power over others by eliminating their enemy, and they happen to choose the name of a religion as their excuse for power lust.
A religion’s strongest rightful punishment is excommunication, a declaration that an individual’s beliefs or behaviors are so far out of line with the religion that the church does not acknowledge that person’s claim of membership.
Wherever you see a religion claiming it has the right to execute people, not even for evil acts but simply for their beliefs, you can be absolutely certain you are not looking at people seeking closeness to God. You’re looking at the same run-of-the-mill tyrant types that have thirsted for power throughout history.
Likewise, there is no circumstance in which having a state-sponsored religion is actually intended to increase the faith of the people; it is always to eliminate dissent. The state—the governing entity that the people have ceded power to—has no moral sense in and of itself. So ceding to the state the decision of what religious beliefs to hold is more foolhardy than ceding just about any other personal responsibility related to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Belief that the state knows best is a weak populace’s excuse for giving in to oppressors.
[A smaller, non-political, unit of society, such as a family or a church community, can have a preferred religion. That belief can be a civilizing influence and philosophical bond. But that happens when the members choose the belief, and choose to associate, not because the governmental entity has prescribed it. At the time of the founding, only the federal government was constitutionally prohibited from establishing a state religion; the separate states were allowed. Several colonies had state religions. Connecticut continued for some time after the founding; Massachusetts continued to levy a religious tax so every man would support a church of his choice. I think we agree now, though, that any government entity at any level prescribing religion is taking from the individual’s freedom to choose. And it is only in the choosing that religion has power to improve the human heart.]
In ancient history, it was nearly always the practice of a tyrant taking over a people to force them to bow down and worship whatever idol the tyrant insisted on (quite often himself as deity). Religious uniformity was a unifying dictatorial force. And tyrants claiming religious reasons will use the very same methods for gaining power that atheist tyrants use.
In a number of countries in the world today, it is illegal to say anything against a particular religion with many violent adherents (adherents being a relative term, but they describe themselves as believers). I trust that 90% or more of the adherents of this religion are peace loving and live their religion because they are seeking to be closer to God. But a surprising majority in some countries believe that there are circumstances in which terrorism—purposefully killing innocents in as large numbers as can be accomplished (and not as part of a defensive war)—is an acceptable practice.
That is mental derangement on a grand scale. There are no such circumstances. Terrorism is a savage act. And it is a tyrannical act; the purpose is to create chaos to persuade the innocent to succumb to the rule of the tyrant. It is never a civilizing religious act. Never. Its perpetrators cannot have a civilized reason for committing the terrorist act. The only reason is savage desire for tyranny.
That terrorism increases in horror is purposeful—to instill greater fear. If there is enough chaotic fear, a sense of danger, that the oppressor can persuade people he is capable of curing, then the oppressor gains power, and that is his goal. That there are hundreds of millions of people in the world who are willing to accept such horror does not bode well for the planet. It was horrifying to find that the savages recruited suicide bombers, persuading them they were giving their lives in the pursuit of horror. In spring 2008 the horror level was raised when these tyrannists recruited two mentally deficient women to be suicide bombers, presumably without their understanding or consent. And the terrorists did this despicable act on purpose to increase the horror, since the run-of-the-mill suicide bomber no longer causes the same gut-wrenching reaction around the world.
Using the spherical model allows us to see that an act as uncivilized as terrorism against innocents is both savage and tyrannical; the behavior is polar opposite of civilization and freedom. There is no possible outcome for civilization to continue except to prevent, by every means necessary, any terrorist act, and in addition to persuade the world to choose civilization and be willing to sacrifice and fight for it, with absolutely no sympathy for terrorism.
I don’t know what means the peaceful, actual followers of this religion should use to root out the evil terrorist fringe. But they must condemn the terrorism—including any rationale the terrorists use to claim it is their right. Many have done so. But unless virtually all adherents condemn terrorism, and find a way to make that belief public, the overall religion will be rightly condemned for condoning savagery, which makes it by definition a false religion unworthy of society’s respect. I hope they find a way to bring forward the civilized sectors and expel the savagery from among them, so that their real religion can do good for society as a whole.
It is the misguided attempt to prevent state religion that has actually instituted a state religion of secularism—including actual persecution of religion, particularly Christianity. I’ll save the mounting evidence of that situation for another day, outside this series.

And I’ll do an additional part of this series on what a civilizing religion entails, before we move on to the civilizing influence of family.