Hardly anyone dares to speak up against the lack of morality. This lack of solidarity and kindness has resulted in wars in the Middle East, wars at home, ethnic clashes, racial hatred among groups on a scale that has not been seen for many decades. We who should “love one another” have ended up hating each other more than ever. America has become a culture of hatred.
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Christian Publishing House: It has been such a pleasure to publish your new book, The Culture War. How the West lost its Greatness and see, in the Charisma Magazine segment, the impact your book has so far.
Your book outlines how the West lost its morality, this being one of the reasons for our current cultural decline. Yet, you seem to especially attack what you state is “the extreme-liberal elites” in society, the mainstream media and its intolerant elites and the new type of capitalists and landowners, devoid of the old responsibility to serve the community.
(Interview republished with permission)
You state that right has become wrong, that we now hail the criminal and let politicians get away with the most hideous crimes against humanity. Why did many people in the West embrace the antireligious ideas that seem to permeate the media today, the notion that atheism is the only valid explanation of life and that the world itself is meaningless?
Scandinavian bestselling author, Hanne Herland: You are correct in asserting that the mainstream media has exceptionally low respect for religion, whether it is Christianity, Islam, Buddhism or other faiths. This seems to correlate with the illiberal and intolerant ideas of the current politically correct elites – those who own the media, represent much of the financial elite in the US.
The goal seems to be pushing us all into thinking like them, with remarkably little respect for plurality. This is what I speak about in my new book, The Culture War. How the West lost its greatness. Get it in your local bookstore or on Amazon.
Yet, does this fervent disdain towards the belief in God really reflect what the majority of the people think? Or is it yet another suppressive trend that demonstrates the lack of respect for the voice of the people? According to Pew Research Forum and Encyclopedia Britannica, IISP 2008 and others, around 80 % of Americans believe in God, 75 % in Europe believe that Jesus Christ is the son of God. Then not even counting the millions of Muslims and other faiths. So, who is intolerant and not reflecting the interests of the people? It seems that the elites do not respect the people anymore. Their views and beliefs are considered worthless?
Today, many believe the anti-Christian authoritarian push within the mainstream media to be the main obstacle to religious freedom. They simply do not respect the voice of the people and the millions of believers across the US and the West. I would argue that the lack of morality we have today has opened the floodgates for greed, selfishness and a shocking lack of moral standard in the West. It was a mistake to push Christian ethics out of the public sphere. The result is a massive loss of civility, politeness, kindness, and solidarity. Today, egoism, greed, and rudeness seem to be the hailed values.
Hardly anyone dares to speak up against the lack of morality. This lack of solidarity and kindness has resulted in wars in the Middle East, wars at home, ethnic clashes, racial hatred among groups on a scale that has not been seen for many decades. We who should “love one another” have ended up hating each other more than ever.
What is wrong is hailed as right. Hatred has become the new American value. This is what Americans are known for all over the world, how “they hate each other”, so eloquently stated by Dr. Paul Craig Roberts.
Christian Publishing House: What about atheism, are the atheists to blame?
Hanne Herland: There is nothing wrong with atheists, really, we should all be respected for our faiths. Statistics show that approximately 2-8 % of the world population are atheists. Again, looking at mainstream media we get the impression that the whole Western world is atheists nowadays, again, this is not correct. I write about this phenomenon in The Culture War.
Atheism, you know, may easily be defined as a religion and a faith like any other belief. They believe that “God is dead” or non-existent, that there is no Creator who loves his creation and wants us all to be children of God. They believe that the universe is empty, devoid of spiritual powers and that there is no life after death. It resembles the nihilists who felt that life is meaningless and the universe above us, empty.
So, we have our different beliefs and religions. Fair enough. It is supposed to be that way, it sums up the concept of freedom of religions which has stood so firm in Western thought and constitutions for generations. The right to be respected, whether you are Jewish, a Muslim, a Christian or an atheist. Yet, this traditional Western freedom is profoundly challenged today, as not regular atheists who respect other people’s right to differ from their view, but an intolerant, totalitarian new type of extremist-atheists have risen to power. They seem to have no sympathy for any of freedom at all, or the right to have different opinions on various matters. All they care about is quenching everyone who does not think like them.
Atheism, of course, relies on the assumption that there is no God. No atheist has, as far as I am aware of, been able to empirically establish the non-existence of demons and angels. Or God, for that matter. They assume, based on faith like any other religious, that there is no God and that the universe does not contain any spiritual forces that affect our lives on earth.
It would be hard to prove God’s existence only relying on the tangible, in the first place, because the spiritual exists in another realm. Yet, atheists only acknowledge the observable, the materialistic, tangible world. That is the only realm they believe in, the empirically provable through a testable hypothesis of precisely the observable world. The spiritual realm lies in another dimension, just as man is not only body but also soul and spirit. (The article continues below)
Still, pure reasoning points to a strong, force of creation in nature, for example. We would all agree that to make a perfect Rolex watch, there needs to be a skilled craftsman who first lays out his plans for how to create this watch, then puss out his tools and carefully handcrafts the artwork that leads to the making of the beautiful Rolex.
If there was an accidental explosion in his factory, he would suddenly feel the forces of destruction, as his watches would explode and he would have to clean up and do it all again. To me, it is highly unlikely that something as beautiful, artistic and intricately functioning in such a balanced setting as nature, was made by itself from nothing. Following that argument, the atheist believes in “nothing” and the believer believes in a Creator. You could easily argue who has to be the strongest believer?
Christian Publishing House: What do you mean, exactly? We may see the beauty of nature, and tangible touch it as we are all part of nature. Still, how are we to reasonably know that nature was made by someone, by God?
Hanne Herland: Look, all the products we know, watches or glasses or cars or houses, they all have a maker – an architect – who carefully thought about how to make the product. Let us take an example: A glass. It clearly exists physically, as it stands on the table. We may scientifically measure the amount of sand the glass was made from, what kind of liquids it may contain, its weight, the weight of the liquid and so on. We may state, or assume, that the glass was produced in a factory; we may study which factories make such glasses and the production process.
The problem with empiricism is that it only gives us information about the product itself and its production process. It is not able to access and prove the mind of its maker, his ideas, his intentions, his emotions. It is unable to measure the mental link between intention and its product, only its effects. Empiricism only reflects the materialistic realities and may only test hypothesis from the narrow scope of the tangible, touchable world.
The glass is actually the product of its maker. There was an industrialist somewhere who decided to make glasses and sell them, with, we may assume based on experience, the idea of earning money by producing things that people needed. The glass is the result of a thought – the thought of its producer, as it first came as an idea into his head, maybe triggered by need. That particular glass would never have ended up on the table, if it were not for the thought process and then, creational process of its maker. The glass and its maker are interlinked.
What we see when looking at the glass, is only the glass itself. We do not see its creator, we only view the results of his thought process. The weakness of empiricism is its lack of access into the non-materialistic dimension. We may not empirically prove the initial thought process of its maker, neither how his ideas influenced its creation. We may only study the result of the production process and the glass itself, and assume or believe that we understand the mind of the producer.
Empiricism does not have the ability to access the creator’s mind and prove by testable hypothesis the insight into his intentions, as it is confined to the purely observable.
Empiricism does not even measure intentions, ideas, thoughts, feelings, spiritual matter. One may, of course, look at the effects of the ideas of the creator, and thus profess to have proven his intentions. Yet even here, there are myriads of variables that empiricism does not access.
Thus, even a small example like this, illustrates the many limitations of testable hypothesis, since many of them simply are not testable from a materialistic viewpoint alone.
Christian Publishing House: What interests me is your attack on what you call “a new form of atheism”, not the regular atheist guy who like any other simply does not believe, but a new generation of extreme-liberal, totalitarian atheists who do not respect religious freedom at all.
Hanne Herland: Well, you certainly have totalitarian Christians too, who shout hallelujah on Sundays and are happy when Muslims are killed. I would be the first to say that some of my best friends are atheists. They are wonderful people, – just non-believers as they have not had any real experience of the existence of a spiritual dimension. Some grew up in atheist families and simply were never aware of the possibility of deeper levels of awareness. Yet, they respect me as a Christian. They respect our right to be different, to think differently. There is no totalitarian push that we all have to think alike and have the same opinions about everything.
We have no problems with that. I prefer a kind atheists who lives his life, respecting humankind and trying his best to relieve the pain of others to the selfish, egocentric Christian who only thinks about his own blessings. We would achieve much more with atheists who care than Christians who are not interested in practicing what they preach. Jesus himself was irritated at these kinds of lip-service, stating that “Why do you call me Lord, yet do not what I say?” Hypocrites have always been a problem, whether they are Christians, atheists or of other faiths.
For example, by speaking up for international justice, solidarity with the poor and helping people the best he can. I would much rather have such a friend, than an empty-shelled Christian who goes to Church, yet does nothing to practice what he preaches.
Christian Publishing House: When I read what you are writing, it seems to me that you feel that the lack of openness in many Christian Churches, what we traditionally would call “Christian hypocrisy” is the main obstacle to true spiritualism?
This is one of the biggest problems we face today. We speak about love and justice, but few are willing to stand up for these values. We talk about Jesus and say that we love him, but often do not what he asked of us. This is a very serious matter, Jesus spoke fervently about it too. There are some clear warnings here.
The lack of love among Christians towards their fellow human beings. We simply do not care, it seems, how many Muslims are killed in the Middle East by the bombs we shower them with – to put it in plain terms. We should have cared, Jesus cared about the Samaritan woman, he helped the Roman centurion, he cared for the lepers and the sick who had no one to defend them. He cared about those who are outside of our scope of relevance. If you only feed your own sons and give them that which is good, there is no greatness in that. Everyone does that, even the evilest among the evil. Stated Jesus. We need to rise above the petty personal matters. Why are Christians not out in the streets protesting against international injustice?
Or national injustice, to add that. Look at the inner cities in the US, there is horrifying crime. I love the rapper 2Pac, not to mention spiritual people like Kendrick Lamar. These are the voices in our generation that speak important messages that we should listen to. You don’t need to agree with me, but Christians should listen to Kendrick Lamar and get out of their comfortable Churches and go into all the world, with love and compassion for those who suffer.
Yet, many stay inside their Churches, selfishly content, steadily looking for “more blessings for me”. The apostle Paul spoke about this, that we should be grown up by now, not only drinking the milk of babies. We should be ready, by now, to follow the example of Christ and be everywhere – in the bars, in the clubs, at parties, at the university campus, in Churches, at Seminars, in restaurants, everywhere speaking about that which is more important than everything else: Our calling to love one another and to bring the revolutionary message of Jesus to those who would listen.
We should be willing to stand up and take the discussion and be unpopular and willing to “carry the cross”. This is what I speak about in my new book, The Culture War. How the West lost its greatness. Get it in your local bookstore or on Amazon. Let’s change our culture and begin loving one another again. It would end a lot of wars.