Junior Ganymede
We endeavor to give satisfaction

The Haves and the Have Nots

April 22nd, 2017 by Bruce Charlton

I hvae often seen people pondering about their good fortune in being born among the Haves rather than the Have Nots of the world (and of human history) – meaning that those of us born into the modern West and to wealthyish parents have undeserved good fortune.

(And therefore a reason to feel guilty, or perhaps grateful, for being who we happen by sheer chance to be.)

But for Christians and in a spiritual sense; this is to put matters exactly the wrong way around.

Those of us born into a society of material peace, plenty, comfort and convenience – but of spiritual poverty incuding value inversion the likes of which is unprecedented in its badness.

The compensatory supposed-imperative of the Developed ‘helping’ the Undeveloped nations (via so-called ‘aid’) therefore ends-up being also an inversion: inversion of the traditional idea of Christian mission: because – insofar as it is effective, rather than counter-productive (e.g. funding guns and thugs for warlords) – Western redistribution acts as a potent materialist corruption to infect those more spiritual parts of the world.

We are the spiritual Have Nots; therefore by spreading around our ‘fortune’ we act to make the rest of the world more like ourselves – in our irreligion, alienation, nihilism, anti-morality and despair.


(Note: The spiritual reality is that we in the prosperous West, now;  have been born into the most difficult, challenging environment that humans have ever experienced.)

Comments (11)
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April 22nd, 2017 07:53:28

April 24, 2017

This reminds me of something Brigham Young said about the Saints and prosperity: “The worst fear that I have about this people is that they will get rich in this country, forget God and his people, wax fat, and kick themselves out of the Church and go to hell. This people will stand mobbing, robbing, poverty, and all manner of persecution, and be true. But my greater fear for them is that they cannot stand wealth; and yet they have to be tried with riches, for they will become the richest people on this earth.” There are several more pertinent quotes from various General Authorities about this topic here.

April 24, 2017

I was just telling my teenagers a version of this last week. Just not in such sophisticated language. I must be smarter than I realized!

T. Greer
April 26, 2017

This is silly. The cultural revolution was a thing.

T. Greer
April 26, 2017

Where is it easier to live the gospel: In modern Great Britain or in modern North Korea?

T. Greer
April 26, 2017

Who is more spiritually impoverished: The Barbadian slave cut off from all traditional religion, family, and social structure, refused even the chance to contemplate anything better, and worked to death by age 26… Or the master who monthly raped her? Or perhaps the slave driver–himself a slave, willing to do unspeakable things to kin and kith because that is the only way to get one step ahead in this world?

Oh, I know, it is some Brooklyn kid with a porn addiction!. He’s the one who has done nothing forgivable, nothing redeemable, *his* is the world that offers no possible chance for improvement or integrity.

The sacrifice anybody commenting on the site has to make to live a spiritually honest life are nothing. The temptations to evil incentivized in our society are wisps of candlefire compared to the hellish flames found in mankind’s past–or in some places, in its present.

Bruce Charlton
April 26, 2017

@T Greer – My assumption includes that judgment occurs after death when we know for sure the nature of reality.

I believe that most people in the past (of whatever religion) would have gratefully accepted the salvation offered by Christ – on the basis of natural knowledge and common sense.

As Pascal said 400 years ago – anyone who knew that Christianity was true, would be a Christian, because it is the best religion: the one we would most want to be true.

But now, in The West, there are many people who apparently regard salvation as evil; they seem to reject it – not because they haven’t heard of it, nor because they believe it is untrue; but because they actively do not want Christianity – they regard modern secular morality as having transcended Christianity. They hate the sound of Heaven – and would prefer to be annihilated at death.

I would say that such salvation-rejecting views are, if not a majority, then at least very common; and not just mainstream but nearly universal among the rulers and leaders.

Sean Cory
April 27, 2017

The man who never heard of Christianity or is forcefully denied any access to it is not held accountable to any of the law of which he is ignorant. A man cannot be held responsible for a choice he was never allowed to make.

All men are accountable in regards the basic sense of right and wrong summed up in the golden rule. But only those men who are able to understand the consequences of their actions are held to account. Little children and people who are not in possession of their faculties and unable to discern right and wrong are not accountable.

What used to be Christendom is now undergoing a spiritual rebellion not seen in the past. Inversion is the order of the day and rank evil is celebrated as the greatest good and true good is decried as wholly evil. At one time Christendom was a real thing. Today, except in relatively small, scattered groups, Christendom is dead and replaced by a celebration of spiritual denial and spiritual death. This is voluntary impoverishment and does not compare to enforced ignorance.

April 27, 2017

Sean, but now that atheists have been in charge of secular culture (entertainment, news, academia) for at least a generation, aren’t people who’ve grown up in this new secularism in the same state of innocent ignorance that so-called heathen/savages/remote tribes had in the past?

If family, neighbors, school, entertainment, news, and government has never taught Christianity to someone, isn’t that person, today, also in a comdition/state of enforced ignorance?

Sean Cory
April 30, 2017

Atheists and secularists imply they have such great knowledge of the religion that they can reject it in full. I wonder how that will play out when final judgement does arrive.

As a practical matter it appears to me that the tenets of Christianity are so interwoven into western culture that it would be unlikely any sane person could argue they were never aware of them. These may be inverted and twisted into pretzels by interpretation and “logic” but the fact remains that an awareness of the basic principle exists. So we get the elevation of sexual degeneracy to the level of a celebrated civil right and the denigration of sexual morality to the level of a social evil. The knowledge of sexual morality is still in place just inverted. Add to this the implicit awareness that the inversion has, in fact, taken place but is fully justified based on contemporary notions of right and wrong and the person who advocates for teaching homosexual practice to children will have, I believe, a pretty hard time arguing ignorance of the law as a defense.

It would be interesting to lay out all the Christian teachings that have been turned upside down by our common enemy and then sold as “truth”.

April 30, 2017

@Sean, I agree with your summary. However, I would add that since the inversion started, or at least started to gain major momentum over 50 years ago (mid 60’s), there have been two generations brought up since then.

(Societal changes rarely happen at a point in time, they’re usually phased in or spread over a generation.)

I would point to the mid 80’s as the time when the “forces of inversion” became dominant over all others in controlling academia, entertainment media, and news media.

So that first generation from the mid 60’s had mixed exposure to both Christianity, and the inversion. Religious believers still had control over most of the media and academia up until some point in the 80’s.

But the next generations, born in the 80’s and later (generally everyone age 36 and under now), if they were not raised in a Christian home, or if their Christian parents abdicated all teaching to schools and the dominant media, were _totally_ educated and “rasied up” by those who either did the inversion or had bought into it.

I see a parallel to the book of Mormon. Laman, Lemuel and their group were the inverters. But the BoM describes their descendents as blinded by “the traditions of their fathers.” The BoM pretty much says those descendents had less culpability.

If you haven’t already done so, you’d probably enjoy reading Bruce Charlton’s book Thought Prison, which covers the anti-Christian and inversion aspects of political correctness.

Bruce Charlton
May 1, 2017

To continue from Books’s analysis – I would say that we are now decades-into the realm where mainstream culture is not ‘merely’ contradicting and inverting specifically Christian values; but also spontaneous pagansims, common sense.

This is most obvious in the sexual revolution. Initially it was pretty much a backlash of paganism – advocating removing the Christian structures and restraints (sex to be within marriage, marriage to be conceptualised as life-long).

But now the sexual revolution is into the realm of permanent lying and arguing that human nature, and common sense is not just insufficient (as Christians would usually argue) but meaningless, arbitrary, and open to wholesale re-writing as often and in whatever way is expedient. So – sexual distinction and attraction and sexual acts are arbitrary (indeed constructed by a repressive – patriarchal, racist, upper class, implicitly Christian – society) and could (and indeed should) be reversed as a positive ‘good’.

To know the wrongness of modern sexual ethics does not require teaching, it does not even require virtue; it merely requires honesty.

The pervasive dishonesty of modernity is the main problem – everybody is lying to/ misleading everybody (soon including themselves) pretty much all of the time…

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