You are currently browsing the monthly archive for July 2007.

 Was it World War One and World War Two? .  .  .  or WW6 and WW7?

First, a bit of a rant. I’m currently reading three books, one each on the American Revolution, World War One, and World War Two. I started this post thinking I would do a book review of at least one of them. But instead, I’ve produced a longer excursion in “setting the context.” I think its a useful piece all by itself. Let me know what you think. Book reviews to follow in later posts.

Calling the conflict that occurred in Europe between 1914 and 1919 the “First World War” is completely illogical. From 1689 to 1815 there were a series of five global conflicts – all fought between England and her allies and France and hers.

1689 – 1697 King Williams War / War of the League of Augsburg
1702 – 1713 Queen Anne’s War / War of the Spanish Succession
1744 – 1748 King George’s War / War of the Austrian Succession
1754 – 1763 French and Indian War / Seven Years War
1805 – 1815 Napoleonic Wars

Each of these wars was fought in both hemispheres, on multiple continents and involved global alliance systems. In some ways, this series of conflicts could be called the Second Hundred Years War between England and France. There’s a wikipedia article on precisely that topic which is worth reading. So are the articles on the French and Indian Wars and on the Napoleonic Wars.

After a century of global warfare, the destruction of Napoleon, the Congress of Vienna and the Holy Alliance (between Russia, Prussia, and Austria) led to a century of relative peace – in Europe to be sure, and for the rest of the world, mostly. At least, from 1815 to 1914, there were no further global conflicts.

Of course there were a few regional conflicts. The Chinese civil war (aka, the Taiping Rebellion) from 1850 to 1864 caused 20 million deaths. The American civil war (aka, the War for Southern Independence) from 1861 to 1865 caused 600,000 deaths. The Franco-Prussian War of 1870-1871 was a relatively short conflict that inflicted a humiliating defeat on the French (the Germans occupied Paris) and was the occasion for the unification of dozens of small German principalities with the kingdom of Prussia – the resulting state calling itself the Second German Empire.

The Spanish-American War of 1898 (with about 3,000 US casualties) was pronounced a “splendid little war” by the US Secretary of State. It featured the improbable six-month odyssey of the US assistant secretary of the Navy resigning, forming a volunteer cavalry unit, fighting in Cuba in the summer, and then returning home to be elected Governor of TeddyNew York in the fall. After serving two years as governor, the local party bosses persuaded President McKinley to put him on the national ticket as vice-president in his 1900 re-election campaign. Six months after being sworn in for his second term as president, McKinley was assassinated by an anarchist, and Teddy Roosevelt, six weeks before his 43rd birthday, became the youngest man ever to be president of the united states.

The Russians and the Japanese fought a nineteen month war between February of 1904 and September of 1905. Japan won an overwhelming victory, and Teddy Roosevelt won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1906 for negotiating the treaty that ended the conflict.

So… there were five global conflicts in the second hundred years war between 1689 and 1815, which by my reckoning would make 1914-1919 World War Six. And then 1939 to 1945 would be World War Seven. Unless you want to recognize the linkage between the two and call them collectively the Thirty Years War of the 20th century.

[sigh] That would make more SENSE, but I think at this point there’s very little chance that the names WW6 and WW7 will catch on. But now you know – and can amuse your friend by asking, “How many world wars have there been?”

-Rob Shearer
Director, Schaeffer Study Center


MacIvor Wedding

There’s a wonderful celtic saying that “going to a wedding is the making of another.” Its true.

We attended the wedding last night – one of four daughters of a family we’ve been great friends with for many years to a fine young man. The Shearer clan took up a whole row of seats. During the service, I looked over and was struck by how intensely interested our four youngest daughters (currently 9, 10, 10, and 11) were in the ceremony.

One of the purposes of a public wedding before friends and families is to make a public covenant between husband and wife. But surely another purpose is to set an example for younger friends and siblings. It sets a standard and gives them something to aim for. It teaches, without intentionally doing so but inescapably doing so, a number of profound things about what marriage is.

Publically exchanging vows makes the vows more solemn, more binding, more official. I know my generation has an instinctive reaction that this should not be so… but it is so. Publically exchanging vows also elevates the idea of marriage. It shows us an ideal picture of two people declaring their intention to forsake all others and commit themselves to each other, in sickness and in health, for richer for poorer so long as they both shall live.

And that’s the ideal that our children need to be aiming for. Its one thing to talk about it, or even to preach about it. Good things to do by the way. But showing two people actually doing it is very powerful.

Our friends did a great service for my daughters – and for all the other young people in the audience. They showed them a picture of what marriage and love should be like. They gave them something to aim for.

A special blessing for Jared and Annie. Thank you for inviting us to be witnesses to your faithful act of obedience.

-Rob Shearer
   Director, Schaeffer Study Center

Canute 2 (web)

Most people’s garbled version of the story of Canute is that he was the English king who’s sense of power and entitlement went to his head – leading to the arrogant attempt to command the tide not to come in. As if the tide were at all concerned with the wishes of a puny king.

There’s more than a little parallel with the demands that all of humankind join together to increase our use of bicylces and reduce our purchase of toilet paper in order to stop the earth from warming up. As if the earth and the sun were likely to pay attention to the likes of us.

Weather patterns do change over time. We have had centuries where it appears it was warmer (allowing Greenland to live up to its name) and when wine grapes were grown in Canada (hence the Vikings having called it Vinland). And we’ve had centures when it was colder.

We’ve had some winters / years which were exceptionally & unusually cold. In 1816, the eruption of Mount Tambora in Indonesia caused the “Year Without a Summer.”

What has any of this to do with Christianity? A lot actually.

We are charged to be stewards of all that God has given us charge of. And fallen men have often behaved irresponsibly and marred the physical beauty and usefulness of God’s creation. But it is not difficult to detect in the modern environmental movement a scapegoating of mankind – especially western european, and american societies. There is a repeated and thinly veiled theme that treats man’s mere presence on the planet as evil and corrupting. The implied environmental solution seems quite often to logically require the killing off of most if not all of the human race. And we know who’s ultimate goal THAT is.

Environmentalism has rapidly acquired all of the characteristics of a religion. The development of a mechanism to purchase forgiveness in the form of “carbon credits” makes one want to look around for the 20th century Luther who will denounce the practice of selling indulgences and condemn Pope Algore as the anti-christ. BTW, for a great bit of comedic relief, check out this website, which offers carbon DEBITS for sale – to offset the carbon credits your friends may be buying.

There is an arrogance in the environmental movement. They arrogantly proclaim that the science is settled. The best resource I know of for an overview of the scientific community’s views is an ongoing series of articles being written by Lawrence Solomon of the Canadian Financial Post called, “The Deniers.” He started in November of 2006. The 27th article in the series was published in June of 2007. See especially the 25th article, entitled, “They call this a consensus?” There was no consensus in 1992, when Algore first began announcing that there was. And there’s not one now.

There is an even deeper arrogance in the environmental movement. It is the arrogance that attributes all unexplained climatic change on planet earth to the actions of humans. Skeptics used to laughingly accuse theists of being simple-minded when they attributed to God anything that could not be understood or explained by science. But modern man is rapidly projecting “global warming” as the cause for all that is going wrong on the planet.

The tide came in, despite what Canute commanded. And the climate will continue to change, despite whatever practices Al Gore can demagogue the gullible into adopting. Less toilet paper and more bicycles are not the answer. 

-Rob Shearer
  Director, Schaeffer Study Center

And before anyone starts on the issue of overpopulation, please read the following article which decisively debunks the myths of overpopulation: Too Many People? By Dr. Jacqueline R. Kasun