Edward Snowden and The Abolition of Man: America’s Rejection of Morality | Inside Classical Education

    • The power of these technologies are increasing rapidly, and while they may bless the man on the street, they also bolster the man at the bureau. 

    • Lewis notes that when a culture has jettisoned objective value (what he also calls the Tao)—real, knowable truth and goodness—then gradually the way it wields power shifts from serving people to conditioning them to act the way the power-holders think best.  And what a power-holder thinks best is not determined by an objective standard of what is right and good, precisely because such standards have been rejected.

    • Could it be that immense power in the hands of few, in a culture without objective value will lead to man-moulding policies that seek to shape citizens into conformity with the prevailing ideals of those exercising this power?

    • In Orwell’s 1984, the protagonist Winston Smith (after a great deal of conditioning) learns to love Big Brother, with tears in his eyes.  But Lewis suggests that Big Brother never loves the little brother, the man on the street.   Neither does Orwell.

    • do we regard even Edward Snowden as good?  If so, by what standard?

    • I think that roughly half of all American have rejected objective value, and we are the midst of living out the consequences of this

    • Could it be that half of the people working in the FBI, CIA and NSA are themselves without a polished moral compass?

    • We may call for investigations and committee hearings and protest loudly, but until we return to the Tao, we will have no basis to criticize or demand reform.  Instead we will pit the impulses of the man on the street against the impulses of the man with the power, with no doubt as to who will win.

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That Irresistible Force

A pilferer, grown to be a thief, soon became a monster, balancing an innocent life against thirty denarii. ~ De Witt S. Clark, The Possibilities Of A Human Life Illustrated By The Downfall Of The Traitor [Judas].

(from The Biblical Illustrator Copyright © 2002, 2003, 2006 Ages Software, Inc. and Biblesoft, Inc.)

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Finding Satan

If you really want to know something about Satan, go away to that wilderness where our Lord spent forty days and forty nights.

~ Martyn Lloyd-Jones, Studies in the Sermon on the Mount

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How My Actions Affect Christ’s Honor

First, consider the instance of His disciples in their failure to remove an evil spirit from a child in Mark 9:14-29.

Mark 9:14-29 When they came back to the disciples, they saw a large crowd around them, and some scribes arguing with them. 15 Immediately, when the entire crowd saw Him, they were amazed and began running up to greet Him. 16 And He asked them, “What are you discussing with them?” 17 And one of the crowd answered Him, “Teacher, I brought You my son, possessed with a spirit which makes him mute; 18 and whenever it seizes him, it slams him to the ground and he foams at the mouth, and grinds his teeth and stiffens out. I told Your disciples to cast it out, and they could not do it.” 19 And He answered them and said, “O unbelieving generation, how long shall I be with you? How long shall I put up with you? Bring him to Me!” 20 They brought the boy to Him. When he saw Him, immediately the spirit threw him into a convulsion, and falling to the ground, he began rolling around and foaming at the mouth. 21 And He asked his father, “How long has this been happening to him?” And he said, “From childhood. 22 “It has often thrown him both into the fire and into the water to destroy him. But if You can do anything, take pity on us and help us!” 23 And Jesus said to him, ” ‘If You can?’ All things are possible to him who believes.” 24 Immediately the boy’s father cried out and said, “I do believe; help my unbelief.” 25 When Jesus saw that a crowd was rapidly gathering, He rebuked the unclean spirit, saying to it, “You deaf and mute spirit, I command you, come out of him and do not enter him again.” 26 After crying out and throwing him into terrible convulsions, it came out; and the boy became so much like a corpse that most of them said, “He is dead!” 27 But Jesus took him by the hand and raised him; and he got up. 28 When He came into the house, His disciples began questioning Him privately, “Why could we not drive it out?” 29 And He said to them, “This kind cannot come out by anything but prayer.”

Then compare two similar statements found on two separate occasions.

Mark 9:22 “It has often thrown him both into the fire and into the water to destroy him. But if You can do anything, take pity on us and help us!”


Matt 8:2 And a leper came to Him and bowed down before Him, and said, “Lord, if You are willing, You can make me clean.”

What stands out as the difference?

But, if thou canst do any thing, have compassion on us, and help us. The leper was confident of Christ’s power, but put an if upon his will; If thou wilt, thou canst. This poor man [with child] referred himself to his good-will, but put an if upon his power, because his disciples, who cast out devils in his name, had been non-plussed in this case. Thus Christ suffers in his honour by the difficulties and follies of his disciples. (from Matthew Henry’s Commentary on the Whole Bible, PC Study Bible Formatted Electronic Database Copyright © 2006 by Biblesoft, Inc. All Rights reserved.)

Although God has not given me the authority and power to cast out demons, what He has given me is to be exercised in pure faith without doubt. Failing to do that hinders the work He has given me and obstructs what people could see of Him through me.

How does one amass the faith required for such feat? Well, it is not the amount that is needed, but the purity that should be sought.

Mark 9:28-29 When He came into the house, His disciples began questioning Him privately, “Why could we not drive it out?” 29 And He said to them, “This kind cannot come out by anything but prayer.”

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Don’t Let Defeat Have the Last Word

We are all working on what the Hill Foundation points out below in varying degrees, because we all suffer failure of one kind or another in our lives. I have been encouraged to not let defeat defeat me by what I have been reading recently. In Mark 9-12 I see the miserable failure of a couple of hard headed disciples. Jesus went to great lengths to make clear to them the importance of servanthood in the kingdom of heaven.

Mark 9:33-37 They came to Capernaum; and when He was in the house, He began to question them, “What were you discussing on the way?” 34 But they kept silent, for on the way they had discussed with one another which of them was the greatest. 35 Sitting down, He called the twelve and said to them, “If anyone wants to be first, he shall be last of all and servant of all.” 36 Taking a child, He set him before them, and taking him in His arms, He said to them, 37 “Whoever receives one child like this in My name receives Me; and whoever receives Me does not receive Me, but Him who sent Me.”

A pretty clear and simple illustration wouldn’t you say? When it comes to receiving believers, don’t take the role of a parent, but be humble and childlike; be a sister; be a brother.

To keep the principle in the forefront of the mind, Jesus reminded His followers with the severest of warnings.

Mark 9:42 “Whoever causes one of these little ones who believe to stumble, it would be better for him if, with a heavy millstone hung around his neck, he had been cast into the sea.

Regardless, nevertheless, as if Jesus had been talking to a wall, not many days later to our astonishment we read this.

Mark 10:13 And they [those in the crowd] were bringing children to Him so that He might touch them; but the disciples rebuked them.

If this is not failure, I don’t know what it is. Jesus, now upset and not willing to let them slide on this crucial principle, repeated Himself.

Mark 10:14-16 But when Jesus saw this, He was indignant and said to them, “Permit the children to come to Me; do not hinder them; for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. 15 “Truly I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child will not enter it at all.” 16 And He took them in His arms and began blessing them, laying His hands on them.

So by now you might think they got it, right? Jesus settled it, right? Well, you know how stubborn and slow of hearing we can be.

Mark 10:35-45 James and John, the two sons of Zebedee, came up to Jesus, saying, “Teacher, we want You to do for us whatever we ask of You.” 36 And He said to them, “What do you want Me to do for you?” 37 They said to Him, “Grant that we may sit, one on Your right and one on Your left, in Your glory.” 38 But Jesus said to them, “You do not know what you are asking. Are you able to drink the cup that I drink, or to be baptized with the baptism with which I am baptized?” 39 They said to Him, “We are able.” And Jesus said to them, “The cup that I drink you shall drink; and you shall be baptized with the baptism with which I am baptized. 40 “But to sit on My right or on My left, this is not Mine to give; but it is for those for whom it has been prepared.”

41 Hearing this, the ten began to feel indignant with James and John. 42 Calling them to Himself, Jesus said to them, “You know that those who are recognized as rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them; and their great men exercise authority over them. 43 “But it is not this way among you, but whoever wishes to become great among you shall be your servant; 44 and whoever wishes to be first among you shall be slave of all. 45 “For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.”

Oh, what an example Jesus went on to be. What ever became of James and John? At this point, not half, but all 10 of the apostles were highly irritated at what these two sons of thunder had become. Did they ever learn? Did they die defeated? Far from it. James, according to Acts 12:2 was the Church’s first martyr. He died serving His Lord, not his own interests. Likewise, John would rather be banished to the island of Patmos than deny His Lord. He would write a significant portion of the New Testament and come to be known as the apostle of love. Message received; they finally got it.

Therefore I say all this to say this, (and as Hill says below), we can’t let our mental attitude toward our own failures overcome us. Persevere. The Lord is not done with us yet.

From: NHF World Learning Center

Sent: Tuesday, July 19, 2016 3:10 AM
To: Robert Coss
Subject: Napoleon Hill’s Thought for the Day

It isn’t defeat, but rather your mental attitude toward it, that whips you.

There are many things in life that you cannot control, but you can always control your attitude toward them. Defeat is never permanent unless you allow it to be so. When you have a positive attitude, you will recognize failure for the impostor that it is and realize that it is really a learning experience, a valuable lesson that will help you succeed with the next attempt. Ask yourself: What could I have done differently that would have altered the outcome? What can I do in the future to minimize problems and mistakes? What did I learn from this experience that I can put to good use next time? If you approach obstacles and setbacks with a positive attitude, you will be surprised how quickly you can turn defeat into victory.

Permanent link to this post: It isn’t defeat, but rather your mental attitude toward it, that whips you.

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Bible Study Tip

When questioned upon the lawfulness of divorce, consider how Jesus answered.

Mark 10:2-5 Some Pharisees came up to Jesus, testing Him, and began to question Him whether it was lawful for a man to divorce a wife. 3 And He answered and said to them, “What did Moses command you?” 4 They said, “Moses permitted a man TO WRITE A CERTIFICATE OF DIVORCE AND SEND her AWAY.” 5 But Jesus said to them, “Because of your hardness of heart he wrote you this commandment. NASU

He resorts to Scripture. He draws attention not only to what God said, but why He said what He said.

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Bible Study Tip

Upon defending the doctrine of the resurrection, consider how Jesus did this.

Mark 12:26 “But regarding the fact that the dead rise again, have you not read in the book of Moses, in the passage about the burning bush, how God spoke to him, saying, ‘I AM THE GOD OF ABRAHAM, AND THE GOD OF ISAAC, and the God of Jacob’? NASU

He resorts to Scripture. He draws attention not only to what God said, but how He said what He said.

“Is this not the reason you are mistaken, that you do not understand the Scriptures or the power of God? (Mark 12:24)

How many things are we mistaken of because, being superficial, we do not consider the how?

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