Seven Men Who Rule the World From the GraveStudy No. 133
One of the most difficult courses I was required to take in college was titled "Basic Christian Thought." Instead of covering basic Christian philosophies, the professor wanted us to delve into the "modern" philosophy of atheistic "God is dead" existentialists such as Sarte, Heidegger and Kierkegaard. Their self-contradictory, demented writings were impossible for me to understand. At length, I discovered that neither the professor nor anyone else in the class understood these philosophers either. In order to make an "A" grade in the course, I had to act as if I did understand these philosophers. As long as we all pretended that the emperor had new clothes, we did not have to face the fact that he was naked indeed!
There is a war going on in this world. It is a war of ideas. Satan and his thousands of little fiery darts versus the Bible, the Word of the Almighty. Satan has used many promoters of ideas to conquer and deceive the world, in a "death by a thousand cuts." Recently, evangelist Dave Breese of Christian Destiny Ministries, Hillsboro, Kansas, has written a most thought-provoking book, entitled Seven Men Who Rule the World from the Grave (Moody Press, 1990). The ideas of these men literally rule the world. Their concepts affect everyone, even the Church of God. You may never have to study Darwin, Marx, Wellhausen, Freud, Dewey, Keynes and Kierkegaard, but the principles these thinkers promoted are now affecting your life and may have insidiously infected your mind.
Devolution into Depravity
Charles Darwin, as we all know, popularized the theory of evolution, and revolutionized modern science. How do his ideas rule from the grave? Instead of staying in science, the theory of evolution is now thought to apply to society at large. "Social Darwinism" is a foundational belief of our culture. This concept says that the social structure is engineered and controlled by impersonal forces, natural selection, and the survival of the fittest, rather than by a personal God. Society has become secularized, and God is resented and opposed at every opportunity. Along with this, Social Darwinism has overthrown the authority of the Bible, made religious belief pluralistic, and destroyed the family and morals. Social Darwinism says society is moving upward from a mean past to an improving future. Utopia, the Millennium, comes not by the Messiah but through biological evolution ever upward, from "slime to divine."
The fact is, Darwinism is not true, not in science, and not in society. Man is digressing instead of progressing, just has God said he would, II Timothy 3:13. A prime example is our criminal "justice" system. Our "primitive" hang-’em-high 19th Century system of justice did a much better job in eliminating the criminal threat to society, than today’s "humane" system. In Oregon, for example, a conviction of first-degree sexual abuse, for a child abuser, for example, is a prison term of 16-45 months. An average child molester who stalks and sodomizes children, typically victimizes more than 50 girls and 100 boys before he gets caught. The Bible prescribes the death penalty for such wickedness, and warns that if such abusers are not executed, our nation will be spewed out of the land, Leviticus 18. But "Social Darwinists" and psychologists think nothing of God’s Word. In a futile attempt to "cure" sex criminals, State of Oregon psychologists, at tax payers’ expense, have prisoners visualize or write out detailed scripts of their past deviant behavior, such as raping a woman or molesting a child. The program had to be closed and the prisoners released to society to perform sex crimes again, as the state’s prisons are overcrowded and there is not enough money to continue the non-successful program of "rehabilitation" (Statesman Journal, Salem, Oregon, April 12, 1991). Instead of evolving into a higher life form, mankind is devolving into the depths of depravity.
Marx: Discredited, But Socialism is Alive and Well
The ideas of Karl Marx ruling the world from the grave? This may sound preposterous since the fall of Communism in Eastern Europe, and the end of the Cold War between the United States of America and the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. However, as Yogi Berra said, "It’s not over, ‘til it’s over!" Godless atheism produced in the wake of Communist revolutions in Russia and China has not been overthrown. Socialism and the welfare state is alive and well in Europe, North America and Australia and New Zealand. Marxism continues to have a profound influence on western intellectuals, who reject the Judaeo-Christian morality in favor of atheism.
Atheistic Communism (socialism) primarily is a denial that there is a just, holy, loving, and personal God who has created the universe and presides over its continuance. Communists are materialists, i.e., they believe that all is material, and deny the existence of immeasurable things such as love, honor, courage and fidelity. They do not believe God is working out a purpose here below, but that history moves in a dialectic wave, and that state socialism is the wave of the future and will inevitably triumph. Marxism, a form of evolutionary dogma, says that history is determined by economics, and the revolution of the working class will thrust out the bourgeois (middle class) societies. The Communist Party is the god of the Marxist. Any crime committed in the name of the party for the good of the party is "right". Some 60,000,000 people have died at the hands of blood-thirsty Communists. The revolutions in Eastern Europe in 1989, which overthrew corrupt Communist governments, brought a shocking fact to light: Communist dictators live like kings all the while claiming to be promoting a "classless society"! Far from bringing about a utopia where the working man enjoys the fruits of his honest labor, fifty to seventy years of Communist government have proven Marxist socialism to be an utter failure. Without God Almighty, any human system results in misery and suffering!
And yet, the beat goes on! Rather than learning the lesson that state control by wicked men results in disastrous consequences, the governments of the western "democracies" continue the path toward more socialism, more government control, more corruption in high places, more crimes being committed in the name of the country! The ghost of Karl Marx continues to haunt the world.
Wellhausen: Higher Criticism, Religious Liberalism
Why is the so-called Christian religion today a shadow of its former self? Why has it rolled over and played dead to the ideas of Darwin and Marx? Why has religious liberalism done so much damage, in destroying belief in God and the authority of the Bible? Why has the Church of God been so damaged by religious liberalism? Up until the middle of the 19th Century, if a person in the West called himself "religious" it meant something. The Bible was held to be God’s revelation of His will for mankind, the government was to be respected, and order in society was to be kept. Although human reason was admitted to be fallible, the Bible was held to be infallible.
Then, religious liberalism was born, and all that was changed. Julius Wellhausen, a German rationalist, Old Testament scholar, and theologian, declared that human reason was totally dependable and the Bible could not be seriously trusted. Moses, Wellhausen claimed, did not write the Torah. Rather than divine inspiration, the Old Testament was said to be a product of evolutionary thinking of several individuals (referred to as the Elohim, Jehovah, Priestly and Deuteronomy, or EJPD, sources). Wellhausen became a leader in a religious school of thought called "Higher Criticism." Basically, this consists in bringing Darwin’s ideas of evolution into biblical scholarship. The result was that the Christian religion became a complex set of human rationalizations, rather than the simple truth of God. The Spirit of God was taken from the Bible. Ministers quoted everything but the Bible, and what part of the Gospel they had was gone.
Religious liberals spawned by Wellhausen and others accepted biological evolution as a fact. They carried evolution to a next rational step: Man’s ideas have evolved upward from the primitive to the complex. And so, the religious liberal says that our ideas of God have evolved and are continuing to evolve. Religious change is the evolution of ideas, part of the natural order and survival of the fittest. We used to think of God as a judgmental ruler of the universe, but now know Him as a God of love. Hence, there is no sin of violation of God’s law. To the liberal theologian, sin is only lack of maturity, lack of proper evolution. The answer to sin is not the redemption of Jesus Christ, but education, man directing and controlling his own evolution. As mankind in enlightened, we will do away with war, hatred, famine and greed (see J.G. Machen, Christianity and Liberalism).
In contrast to religious liberals who are always changing (evolving) their religious concepts, based upon scholarship and human rationalism, we believe in the inerrancy of the Bible, the deity of Messiah and His pre-millennial return. That makes us "fundamentalists" in the eyes of some.
It would be all well and good if these religious liberals and "Higher Critics" just followed their rationalistic theories to their logical conclusion and left organized religion, because according to them, the Bible is a sham anyway, and God is merely the "ground of our being." But that’s not the way it works. Breese notes that liberals insist on calling themselves Christians, and are not apt to leave a church organization:
While denying the inspiration of the Bible, the deity of Christ, the virgin birth, the true nature of faith, and most of the other cardinal Christian doctrines, the liberals still want conservative Christians to think of them as "one of us." As a consequence, it is almost a rule of life that the liberals do not leave the visible church (Seven Men, p. 103).
Like a cancerous sore, liberals draw their strength by concessions made by conservatives, and labor subversively until they are the majority. Once this happens, they begin to exert their power to squeeze conservatives out of the church altogether. Whether in the Methodist Church, or the Church of God, their tactics are the same. Haven’t you seen them at work?
Here is an example that illustrates the point. Episcopal priest and seminary professor Carter Heyward is a professing Lesbian. Biblically, she has two strikes against her: the Bible pronounces the death penalty against her because of her deviant sexual preference, and Scripture does not allow females to be religious leaders in the Church. "Rev." Heyward receives lots of hate mail, but she does not give up. She tries to get her detractors to soften their views and deal with their own troubled minds which she feels causes them to emotionally reject her. She finds many in the Episcopal church who love and respect her, and wants to continue at her post to accomplish more "healing and liberation within or without the church." (Hank Arends, "Lesbian Keeps Religious Faith" Statesman Journal, April, 1991). I personally have known some "conservatives" in the Episcopal Church. Wouldn’t it be great if they put this person out of their church, and got back to the Bible? However, lest we point the finger at Episcopalians, we had better look at ourselves. Evil too often prospers because righteous men do nothing.
Freud: Looking for the Truth Within
If we are indeed the product of evolution, and the Bible is the product of evolution, and state socialism is the wave of the future, we might as well look some place other than the Bible for the Truth. Why not look within ourselves? Enter Sigmund Freud and psychoanalysis. Freud is the fourth man whose ideas rule the world from the grave, as explained by Dave Breese.
The basis for Freudian thinking is the idea that the driving force behind all human action is the sexual instinct or urge. What we do, and the cause of our mental problems, stem from repressed sexual urges or desires. We need to talk about those repressed urges, and get them out in the open. The way to salvation is to be analyzed by a Freudian psychologist. Expressing contempt for all religion, which Freud saw as "mental infantilism" or "mass delusion," the essence of psychology is the belief that God does not intimately interact with man, and that there is a force, or libido, within mankind that, properly analyzed and controlled, will lead him to greater social progress. Freud opened the door for the New Age Movement, which insists that man can discover and control his own "life force" and obtain a utopia. The Freudian influence from 1890-1930 led to the permissive society, where sexual urges and wrong desires are not only talked about openly, but practiced without society’s judgment. Christianity in general has moved along the Freudian path.
No, the Truth is not within ourselves, as Freud and the New Age Movement claims. Truth is revealed from the Almighty Creator of mankind.
Dewey and Humanistic Education
If man is no longer a sinner and can find the truth within himself, then we need to be educated rather than regenerated. And, the church is right in switching from a message of salvation through the cleansing blood of Christ, to a message of salvation through the improvement of the social structure. Enter John Dewey and our liberal education system.
The missing dimension in Western thinking is the Christian viewpoint. Western man thinks about economics, politics, government, education and many other things without ever once asking, "What does God think about these things?" They never ask this question because they are not taught to think in our educational system. In fact, the foundation of our educational system, developed by John Dewey, is that there is no foundational truth. Nothing is settled, final and sure, but only subject to further research. Nothing is constant, given, or finally true, but rather all is pragmatic, adaptable, and subject to reinterpretation deemed appropriate to the time.
In a word, Dewey’s educational philosophy can be summed up in one word: experience. Truth, he believed, was only found in experience. We must not concern ourselves with truth, but with meaning. What it means to you might be different than what it means to me. Final truth is illusory and we shouldn’t bother finding the impossible. Dewey presided over a "vast emergence" of ideas in the Twentieth Century which revolutionized education. Rather than instilling morals in students, teachers were led to teach by experiment, to mold students to be servants of the state. "Progressive education" took over not only public schools, but also churches and most of religion.
Today, as the result of Dewey, most churches believe in progressive revelation. They pragmatically adapt doctrines to fit changing times. They are open to everything and every idea, except those who claim to have absolute truth as taught in the Bible! The moment Christianity agrees with Dewey, that there are many forms of truth, its cause is lost, and it can merely meander along with the relativists and mumble sweet nothings about God. Dewey has done his job in convincing Western man that God’s Word is out of date, and evolving moral concepts and principles are "progressive." The fact is, Truth is once given, but many times forgotten and ignored, as men devoid of understanding throw it away.
Keynes: The Government is God
In Plato’s Republic, the wise philosopher king ruled over his kingdom. And so it is today, with God dethroned from His rightful position of Lord and Master of our lives, the government is thought to be god. One man has had a profound influence on the development of our government economic system: John Maynard Keynes. In the wake of the devastating global depression of 1929 through the 1930’s, economist Keynes came up with a recommendation to solve economic woes. His ideas were readily accepted by President Franklin Delano Roosevelt and formed the basis for socialistic governments around the world. To get the economy moving again, Keynes taught, it was the responsibility of government to create full employment, even if it had to borrow money and assume mounting debt to do so. Rather than get rid of the sins which cause economic depression, vanity, jealously, lust and greed, Keynes promoted the idea that government had all the answers. In the short term, Keynesian policies of excessive government spending and mounting public debt, appear to do some good. But in the long term, Keynesian economics only make worse the inevitable collapse of the whole nation. Keynes knew this, but did not care, for as he said, "In the long term, we are all dead."
In twenty years, no President and no Congress has even seriously promised to reduce the debt. "We owe it to ourselves!" some say, in a vain attempt to justify this flagrant spending frenzy. That is not true. The debt of the United States of America, the world’s leading debtor nation, is funded by foreigners such as the Japanese, Germans and British. The colossal public debt is a giving away of our sovereignty, and the establishment of a one-world government and economic system, the Beast. God’s economic system is not founded upon usury debt money. When the government becomes god, it opens itself up to satanic control in an increasingly vicious way.
Keynes’ ideas in economics have been carried over into religion. Some act as if their church organization is God. They believe it is the organization’s responsibility to prime the spiritual pump of the body of the Messiah. Some ministers say, "We will do the work of the church, you as a lay member just pay your tithes and pray for us." This is in reality no different than Keynesian economics, which relegates the humble citizen to paying his taxes and accepting whatever government programs are deemed good for him, at the cost of big public debt, which is a detriment to all. Self-reliant pioneers who were our forbearers knew that government could not and should not do for them what they could do for themselves. They believed the Word of God is the foundation of knowledge. Modern religious hucksters follow Keynes. They spend other people’s money to do what they think is best. These policies are spiritual economic disasters.
Kierkegaard: Confusion Everywhere
Finally, the seventh man whose ideas rule the world from the grave is a Danish philosopher few know much about, Soren Kierkegaard. During his short life (1813-1855), Kierkegaard’s ideas did not gain much prevalence. About one hundred years after his death, his philosophy was re-discovered and quickly conquered the world. His mission was plain: "I conceived it as my task to create difficulties everywhere." He intended to create religious confusion, and he has. Breese correctly states, "It is doubtful that anyone perfectly understands Kierkegaard." On one page, he seemingly contradicts what he has said on the previous page.
Why did Kierkegaard take the religious world by storm? They needed his message. Religious liberals, unwilling to repent and obey the Bible, and abhorring the idea of Messiah’s return to quell evil and rule the earth with a rod of iron, seized upon Kierkegaard’s philosophy of existentialism. The essence of Kierkegaard is expressed in the title of one of his books, Truth is Subjectivity. The refusal to belong to any school of thought, repudiation of any body of beliefs whatever, that is the heart of existentialism. The only thing that is real is "the moment." If it feels right, do it, now! This is insanity dressed up in a tuxedo, yet existentialist philosophy is the base of every department of philosophy in every major university in Western civilization. Existentialism is not just another point of view, it is a denial of all points of view. There is no truth, no right or wrong, only the moment, without causes and consequences. Moral relativism and situation ethics are the harvest of Kierkegaard.
For the believer, the Bible is the inspired word of God. For the existentialist, the Bible becomes the word of God only when the believer experiences "inspiration" and "does his own thing." Rather than a reconciliation with the Almighty, salvation is merely an experience with Jesus. Illicit sexual relations are believed to be neither "right" or "wrong," but relative. Modern followers of Kierkegaard preach a doctrine of "fornication without tears." When someone in the Church of God doesn’t know if his or her marriage is bound or unbound by God, when someone doesn’t know what to do when their minister preaches rank heresy, they are merely acting as Kierkegaardian robots, confused and unsure of the Truth.
Kierkegaard revolted against all religious doctrine. He put every doctrine on the table, subject to passionate, subjective picking and choosing. He renounced clear and distinct thinking altogether. The spirit of Kierkegaard is riding through the Church of God today. We have confusion in more flavors than Baskin Robbins has ice cream. Too many are quite willing to throw out their beliefs and try something new. They are not founded on the Rock, the sure, unchanging Word of God.
Conclusion: We Must Defend the Truth
Dave Breese concludes that these seven men rule the world because they astutely gave people what they wanted to hear. There was no forceful rebuttal from those who believed in the Word of God. These seven men rule the world not through fair speeches but through the sustained impact of the printed page.
Let’s not roll over and play dead. Unless we challenge the theories of Darwin, Marx, Wellhausen, Freud, Dewey, Keynes and Kierkegaard, their philosophies may yet undo us. We had better be able to defend ourselves against these "black belt" philosophical masters. We highly recommend you read Seven Men Who Rule the World from the Grave, written by Dave Breese. W