Cloudy Thoughts
by Dan Juster, Director, Restoration From Zion

My thoughts are scattered and they're cloudy
They have no borders, no boundaries
They echo and they swell
From Tolstoy to Tinker Bell ...
They don't know where they are going, and, my friend, neither do I.

(Simon and Garfunkel)

The Educated Generation?

Many say this generation in the West is the most educated in history. This is a misleading statement and mostly false. They certainly know how to navigate electronic devices and complex technologies. I do not define education this way. For me, 'education' is education in the cultural and historical treasures of civilization, and the center of that cultural treasure is the Bible.

A higher percentage of the population does graduate high school and college. However, there has been a dumbing down of the curriculum. Cultural-historical education is the most diluted in the history of Western education. Multiple surveys have demonstrated an appalling level of cultural ignorance. Students cannot find China on a globe. They cannot grasp many important aspects of World War II, and know barely anything about literature. One young graduate was asked if she knew about Martin Luther. She responded by asking, "You mean the civil rights leader?" The cultural deposit of the West is simply being squandered. Why?

Cultural Relativism

This problem is rooted in the pernicious influence of cultural relativism. This philosophy teaches not to judge any religion, culture, art or philosophy as superior to another. This is a postmodern orientation. In a self-contradictory way, new values are dogmatically asserted, but cannot be defended. These new values are anti-colonialism, multi-culturalism, and "non-judgmentalism". They cannot be defended as more truthful or more ethically established than the ones they replaced since - according to these relativists - there is no objective basis for ethics and morals.

So how does this affect a school curriculum? Education becomes a potpouri of whatever interests the teacher or student. The Harvard 100 Great Books for the educated are dismissed. Why should one read the books of white oppressors? The values of the American Founding Fathers are suspect since they were slave owners. Evangelicals were the key to ending slavery in the British Empire and America, but who knows that?

The Values of the Western Heritage

Not long ago public schools asserted that there was a valuable heritage to convey, a heritage that has led to greater freedom and human respect. It was considered central to the purpose of education to pass this on. This was the key to a democratic republic so that an educated public could safely be given the power of voting!

In my school days we did learn about some of the faults of the Founders, but did not judge them by the standards of our day. Rather, we respected how they transcended the limits of their time and moved history toward greater human rights and freedom. That was a long historical process. We learned Western Literature in high school where biblical references were pervasive.

The Loss of Judging Good and Evil

So we have produced generations of young people who no longer think in terms of good and evil. Their concept of right and wrong has no basis in classic biblical values. There is a loss of history since university leftists (who dominate the humanities and social sciences) teach young people that historical writing was merely the skewed narratives of white male oppressors, merely the assertion of power by the ruling class. So history must be deconstructed. Yes, there is prejudice in history writing, but is it so hopeless? What history does post-modern deconstruction leave us?

Political Implications

All of this affects politics in the West. It empowers demagogues who can easily sway a public devoid of wisdom and discernment. It prepares the way for an anti-Christ. The saddest thing is to see Evangelical young people weakened by this influence. My recent experience at Wheaton College revealed an alarming problem of young people without the categories to understand authority or moral judgment.

The contradictions are numerous. For example, feminist leaders of American universities voted to boycott Israel, when Israel is the only country in the Middle East with full women's rights! Why? Their anti-colonialism simply abandons the women who are so oppressed in the Muslim world. Christianity is despised, but Islam is respected!

The same trends are affecting Israel and weakening the nation, as some Israeli educators here reject the legitimacy of the existence of the State of Israel. There is no historical balance in their judgment: Israel is the oppressor of the Palestinians, and that is the whole story.

The Discipleship Challenge

It is even hard for people to fully embrace the Gospel, since that requires that they embrace God's objective truth. There is right and wrong. It is difficult for the young to commit to congregations and submit to the authority of elders and even to submit to the Bible's commands.

Let's stop wringing our hands, roll up our sleeves and engage meaningfully in the great battle. It will take fervent prayer, preaching the Word and consistent discipleship to deliver our younger generation.

My book The Biblical World View, an Apologetic anticipated these trends. I recommend it for those interested in exploring this topic in greater depth.

Cloudy Thoughts
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The Book of Revelation provides a picture of judgments in the last days just before the return of Yeshua. It gives aid and comfort to believers who are under persecution and assures us of God's righteous justice.

The most important Biblical pattern for these judgments is found in the deliverance of Israel in Passover and Exodus. The plagues are parallel: water turning to blood, darkness, insects (supernatural level locusts), boils, painful sores, and death (Revelation 8, 9, 16). Indeed, the progression in Revelation is very much like the book of Exodus. Israel is in the eye of the storm, and it ends with God's people entering into the Promised Land!

Salvation in the Midst of Judgment

In Revelation 7, we read of a 144,000 member, Jewish male remnant that is saved and marked for God's protection. This implies that there are more who are saved. Then we read of those redeemed from every tribe and nation, before the throne. During this period the everlasting gospel is proclaimed to all who live on the earth (14:6). The ministry of the 2 witnesses in Revelation parallels Moses and Aaron. They also call down plagues. Jerusalem turns to God: "At that very hour there was a severe earthquake and a tenth of the city collapsed. Seven thousand people were killed in the earthquake and the survivors were terrified and gave glory to the God of heaven" (Revelation 11:13).

Great and Awesome Days Ahead

As we move into the trumpets and the bowels of God's wrath, the levels of judgment portrayed go beyond anything yet seen in history. We can see how they could happen soon. Islamic terrorists develop biological war weapons and plans for nuclear war. (And they even are working to shut down the electric grids of the West.) It seems like the whole world's safety hangs by a thread. We will see the greatest harvest, the greatest miracles and the salvation of Israel. So indeed, the glory of God will be revealed in His salvation in the midst of judgment.

This article was previously published on 21Jan16 here on the Revive Israel website and on 22Jan16 here on Kehila News Israel

FollowingCmment(10:03 02Mar16 Tom Dolph, In 1957, my last year of high school, I began hearing bad things from previous high school graduates who were now at Universities. They were all in shocked agreement and were warning those of us who were about to graduate, to be careful in college. This was the first time I heard the expression, "They teach people WHAT to think, not HOW to think!" Dr. Juster, you have it all exactly right!) FollowingCmment(00:43 03Mar16 Wayne D Fleming, The articles are excellents in depicting the declining state of moral values of our younger generation as a result of moral degeneracy and embracement of all religions being on an equal planes. This situation is exacerbated by social media which has an element of communicative beneficience, but isolates social interaction in the general public. The emphasis displays a disparity in be being attentive to the cell phone, rather than vital social interaction.
The parallelism between Exodus and Revelation is truly Amazing. Yeshua will truly have a remnant who will not bow the knee to Baal and do mighty exploits in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation.
Thank You Mr.Juster for your tenacity and boldness to lay hold to those things which are important and your uncompromising Spirit. Be encouraged!!! Yeshua Reigns!)

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