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Summer 2009: Religious Doublespeak
Publish date: Feb 24, 2009
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An IntroductionThroughout history, language has always been a means of communication. God used language to communicate to us when He inspired the Holy Scriptures to be written. It was at the Tower of Babel that God created many languages (Genesis 11:7,9), making communication more complicated. It kept people apart and problems more localized. But because language is so critical to effective communication, people have overcome the language barrier, learning a second language in order to communicate better with another people group. During the Protestant Reformation, it was the translation of the Word into the common people’s tongue that helped them break away from tyranny and oppression by Rome. Nowadays, it seems like language is hardly a barrier at all. In our international world, business is conducted in every language and the UN Assembly meets in multiple languages to discuss world issues.
But language is not always used for helpful communication. It can also be used to exclude others, even within the same tongue. Imagine if you were to suddenly find yourself at a physics convention. Would you understand what was being said? Recently, I participated in a class on linguistics—the study of language and its structure. I thought the class would be easy to understand since it was all about how we communicate. Instead I found myself lost in a sea of academic jargon. Jargon is a specialized language or vocabulary that is specific to a particular trade, profession, or group. In the case of this class, the struggle to make sense of straightforward concepts couched in exhaustingly long words was maddening.
But of all language uses, the worst is when language itself is used to conceal the truth and deceive others. Clear communication is based on the assumption that the person speaking or writing is sincere. Even if language barriers pose a problem, a sincere desire to be understood is necessary and expected in order to achieve final comprehension of what is being said. We bring in interpreters or rephrase our sentences into simpler ones so that the hearer can better understand. But when language is used insincerely or deceptively, when there is a gap between one’s real aims and one’s stated aims, communication becomes dangerous because it can numb us into a false security. In this case, one message is being communicated to the masses while an entirely different meaning is intended that is purposefully not explained.
George Orwell writes in Politics and the English Language that instead of being “an instrument for expressing thought,” language can be a means “for concealing or preventing thought.” According to Orwell, “if thought corrupts language, language can also corrupt thought.” Could someone’s carefully formulated language actually corrupt the thoughts of listeners? Orwell was primarily referring to political communication, when he wrote his essay, but perhaps his observations can apply in other areas as well.
Language that is evasive, deceptive, misleading, or self-contradictory is known as “doublespeak.” Doublespeak is not rare. It is all around us and is causing a communication crisis of unimaginable proportions in the religious world. As we draw near to Christ’s Second Coming, we cannot afford to be confused. Many of the messages we are hearing from Christians, religious leaders, and the media are lulling us to sleep because we believe we understand what we are hearing. Thus, many of us are not alarmed and we raise no protest. I’d like to suggest that Satan plays the game of doublespeak best, hijacking words without our knowledge and making them mean something entirely different and then using them on us. But we, not knowing of the change in meaning, accept what is said without question.
The Bible teaches that we should test what we hear so we can properly understand it and prove its correctness (Acts 17:11). God counsels us to be wise as serpents (Matthew 10:16). He also warns us that at the end of time, deception will be so rampant that even the very elect are in danger of being deceived (Matthew 24:24). In this article, and future ones, we’d like to examine some of the words being used in Christian circles to find out what is really being intended.
Natural Law and Reason
On April 19, 2008, Pope Benedict addressed the world from New York. In his speech, the Pope upheld the UN as a crucial defender of human rights and a force for peace. He claimed that unless these human rights were considered “God-given,” they would be subject to erosion or revocation. The Pope urged the world to set human rights in stone, as they are the key to world peace and security. Human rights, he said, “are based on the natural law inscribed on human hearts...”
It all sounded very nice and very caring. To most people, the Pope didn’t say anything alarming at all. On the contrary, he seemed to be upholding the principles of brotherly love between all mankind. After all, if people paid better attention to human rights, this world would be a better place, wouldn’t it? People wouldn’t get massacred, and children would grow up in a better world with more access to education, medical attention, and be well taken care of, right?
Well, if we believe that, then we have been victims of the Pope’s doublespeak. Not only have we been unbelievably conned, but because of our ignorance as to what exactly the Pope was saying, we could be aiding and abetting the greatest oppression ever to be foisted on Planet Earth.
Now don’t get me wrong. The idea of treating others with dignity and equality, giving the right to life, liberty, and security, freedom of religion and thought are not wrong. Equality of mankind and freedom of choice originated with God. And His law does teach respect for others. In fact, it goes beyond that to loving our enemies and praying for those that are spiteful to us. There is more to the Pope’s speech than meets the eye.
Let’s put on our investigative hats, and do some research to better understand what the Pope is actually saying.
Background and History:Where did human rights come from?
Shouldn’t the head of a Christian Church like the Pope be proclaiming the law of GOD in his address in New York rather than human rights started during the French Revolution?
There was much more about the French Revolution than just human rights. It was an all-out war against the God of heaven, the dethroning of God, replacing Him with the sovereignty of another universal god. During the French Revolution, Bibles were burned. The two witnesses spoken of in Revelation 11 who were clothed in sackcloth and who are overcome by the beast from the bottomless pit in the great city which spiritually is called Sodom and Egypt (Zechariah 4:11-14; Revelation 11:2-11).
In 2005, Condoleeza Rice, then Secretary of State extolled the Bush Administration for continuing “the work of the 18th century French Revolution” (The New American, March 7, 2005). Considering that the French Revolution consisted of debasing debauchery and outright rebellion against God, such a comment from Rice is more shameful than praiseworthy. During that awful period of earth’s history, God’s reality was replaced with a different reality. And that is exactly what is happening today. It is doubtful if anything coming from the French Revolution could be a real key to peace and security on this earth, as the Pope would like us to believe.
Who does the Pope really think he is?
In 1455, Pope Nicholas V published the Decretal De Translat. Espiscop. Cap. where he said about himself:
“I have the authority of the King of Kings. I am all in all and above all. Wherefore if the things that I do be said not to be done of man, but of God, what can you make me but God? … Wherefore, no marvel if it be in my power to change time and times: to alter and abrogate laws, to dispense with all things, yea, with the precepts of Christ… The Pope has power to change times, to abrogate laws, and to dispense with all things, even the precepts of Christ. He can pronounce sentences and judgements in contradiction to the rights of nations, to the law of God and man... He can free himself from the commands of the apostles, he being their superior, and from the rules of the Old Testament.”iiSounds a lot like 2 Thessalonians 2:4 where the man of sin “opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God...” What is the connection between this arrogant attitude and the Pope’s interest in human rights? We all know from history how little respect the Catholic Church had for human rights. Has the Roman system changed?
Defining the Jargon:Before we go any further, we need to learn some of the jargon of the Catholic Church.
During the French Revolution, a Goddess of Reason was proclaimed by the French Convention. As personification for the goddess, a profligate woman was chosen. The goddess was celebrated in Notre Dame de Paris and put on the high altar in the Cathedral. This deification of women is a Luciferian theology,and is a basis for the Gaia Hypothesis that controls the current environmental focus. This, we shall later see, is part of the Pope’s interest as well.
In Facts for the Times, Pope Nicholas (Dist. 96) is quoted to have said: “The Pope’s will stands for reason. He can dispense above the law; and of wrong make right, by correcting and changing laws.”iii
So the Pope’s will stands for (or equals) REASON. We shall see that “reason” or “reasonable” are important words in the Pope’s doublespeak.
The Pope said that human rights, “are based on the natural law inscribed on human hearts...”
Thomas Aquinas, in his book Summa Theologica, was the first to set forward the principles of a natural law.
In The Chronicle Review: a Chronicle of Higher Education, Alan Wolfe, Jewish Professor at Boston College wrote an article entitled “The Intellectual Advantages of a Roman Catholic Education” in the issue dated May 31, 2002. He writes this:
“Among Catholic intellectuals, as well as some who are not Catholic, the most important Catholic inheritance is the natural law tradition, which is premised on the idea that there are certain truths in the world that remain true irrespective of whether the laws and conventions of any particular society adhere to them. At its worst, belief in natural law can lead to ideological rigidity and inflexible inhumanity...Catholics are likely to hold that the truth of God’s existence must mean the truth of man’s reason, art’s beauty, and morality’s universality.”
In other words, man’s reason is unfallen. God’s existence and man’s reason as well as art’s beauty and morality’s universality are all on an equal level. By reason we can change things.
Is this Biblical? Roman Catholic Natural law is derived from the premise that reason is unfallen. Protestant Law of Nature embodies reason subdued by the Word.
The Bible tells us that the whole head is sick (Isaiah 1:5), that the heart is deceitful above all things and desperately wicked (Jeremiah 17:9), that in our flesh there dwelleth “no good thing” (Romans 7:18), and that by our own selves, we can do nothing (John 15:5). But the Roman Catholic Church says “No.” Rome says that the Pope is the superior—that he can correct the apostles and free himself from the Word. Thomas Aquinas says that we may have fallen bodies but our intellect, our reason, is unfallen and therefore we can make decisions equal to the law of God.
Earlier we read that the Pope’s will stands for reason. So who will be the one deciding what is reasonable? The Pope, of course, who rules by divine right and considers himself equal to God Himself. By the end of this study, we shall surely see that under natural law, we become a number, and cannot rise above the thought pattern of the community (or leadership).
Richard M. Gula, Professor of Moral Theology at the St. Patrick’s Seminary in California wrote this in his book Reason Informed by Faith—Foundations of Catholic Morality:
Natural law is central to Roman Catholic theology...The advantage of using natural law is that the church shows great respect for human goodness and trusts the human capacity to know and choose what is right. Also by means of appealing to natural law, the church can address its discussion and claims for the rightness or wrongness of particular actions to all persons of good will, not just to those who share its religious convictions...The magisterium has appealed to natural law as the basis for its teachings pertaining to a just society, sexual behaviour, medical practice, human life, religious freedom, and the relationship between morality and civil law...In any case, the development of natural law tradition among Christian thinkers is due not so much to the scriptures as to the influence of Greek philosophy and Roman law (pp. 120-121).
Let’s pull this loaded quotation apart point by point.
#1: “Natural law is central to Roman Catholic theology...”
So now we know that whenever the words “natural law” are used in a speech by a representative of Rome, we should listen because they are speaking about a central issue of their theology.
#2: “...the church shows great respect for human goodness and trusts the human capacity to know and choose what is right...”
The human capacity can be trusted? The Bible doesn’t tell us that. Doesn’t goodness come from God?
#3: “the church can address its discussion and claims for the rightness or wrongness of particular actions to all persons of good will”
Note that it does not say that the Church can work with all persons. Only all persons of good will. There’s a difference. Who decides who is of good will and who is not? What are the criteria? We are left to wonder.
#4: “the development of natural law tradition among Christian thinkers is due not so much to the scriptures as to the influence of Greek philosophy and Roman law.”
So natural law, which is central to Catholic theology (meaning the basis of all its doctrines and teachings), comes NOT from the Scriptures but from Greece (the leopard beast) and from Roman law (the 4th beast).
#5: “...natural law as the basis for its teachings pertaining to a just society, sexual behaviour, medical practice, human life, religious freedom, and the relationship between morality and civil law.” So all of our lives, from the justice system, to medicine, to our religious freedom, to our civil laws, and even to our right to exist, are to be based on the principles of natural law according to the Roman Catholic Church.
Let’s summarize our findings thus far:
- The Pope has power to change laws, and to dispense with all things, even the precepts of Christ. He is above the law – even God’s law. Since the Pope believes he is God on earth, doesn’t have to follow any of Christ’s rules, and can do anything he wishes, anytime he discusses God, or theology, or law, he could very easily be actually discussing his own law, theology, or intentions.
- The tenets of the Roman Catholic church are based on something called “natural law” which, if the Pope has anything to say about it, will govern all aspects of our existence.
- The Pope did NOT extol God’s law. He is the champion of human rights. THEY are the key to world peace and security.
- Natural law recognizes only people of good will. Those deemed to be without “good will” do not fit in with world peace plans.
- Human rights are a part of that natural law. These are the same human rights that were formed during the French Revolution when the goddess of Reason was crowned. “Reason” is an important keyword in Catholic theology, as is “natural law” and “human rights”.
- The Pope’s will stands for reason (and all things reasonable).
Now let’s address one last point of Gula’s revealing paragraph.
#6: “the church can address its discussion and claims for the rightness or wrongness of particular actions to all persons of good will, not just to those who share its religious convictions”
The aim of historical Rome, which has always been one of total global domination, is still valid today. The Catholic Church would like to be the spokesman for and to ALL religions, not just Catholics. Its principles of natural law are to be the controlling principles over all religions. The Pope would like to be the universal ruler and to unite all religious systems under one law, a law based on “reason,” the natural law of the Roman Catholic Church. Do we not see him speaking and acting as one who has authority and influence over all areas of society, over nations and religions? Only the most uninformed could possibly not have noticed.
On July 7, 2009, the Pope made another speech calling for a “God-centered” global economy. Was he speaking of our true God? Or was he speaking of himself? In this most recent encyclical, the Pope calls for a reform of the UN that will establish a “true world political authority” with “real teeth” to manage the global economy with God-centered ethics.iv We should ask ourselves who this true world political authority is going to be. From ethics and human rights to the financial crisis to poltical authority, the head of the Roman Church has a solution for the world.
In Religious Doublespeak Part 2, we will study these issues further by examining Rome’s idea of economic health, and who the champion of world ethics really is.
Adapted from They Have Made Void Thy Law Part 1 in Professor Walter Veith's Rekindling the Reformation series.
ii. Ferraris’ Ecclesiastical Dictionary
iii. Facts for the Times (1893): 55-56.
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