2020/06/30

Another Definition of Civilization


You've heard civilization defined as old men planting trees in whose shade they'll never recline. I submit another definition:

George Mallory because it's there

Chances are you've come across that quote somewhere. it's attributed to George Mallory, the legendary English alpinist who took part in the first British--and possibly the first successful--attempt to summit Mount Everest.

Not only was Mallory willing to brave such a challenge simply because it beckoned, he was willing to accept the possibility of death regardless of success or failure.

That possibility sadly came to pass.

Short video on the 1999 discovery of Mallory's body 75 years after his death. WARNING: Contains imagery some may find disturbing.


Why do I cite the grand achievements and lonely death of George Mallory as a mark of civilization?

Here was a man from a culture whose mastery of science and the arts enabled him to answer the call of adventure from a world away. It was a culture informed by a spirit so enduring that even seventy-five years after his death, Mallory received a Christian burial from men much like himself.

Civilization is what gives men the confidence to explore the ends of the earth in the sure hope that their posterity will remember their names and honor their deeds for years to come.

Christianity gave Western civilization not only faith in Christ, but faith in itself.

We will not weather the current crisis without it.

Nor can the Pop Cult and the Death Cult make up for what we lack.

10 comments:

  1. “Christianity gave Western civilization not only faith in Christ, but faith in itself.”

    To know that upon this earthly death is a better life in heaven with our Creator, frees a man to live life to the fullest. And to believe that this life on earth is it, and to embrace that cold nihilism leads a person to become a living corpse.

    Our loss of faith in God and his offer and promise has lead us to not see ourselves, our nations(tribes) and our cultures are worthy of remembrance, honor and life. We are dying because we have forgotten how to live. We are dying because we have already surrendered to Death rather than turn and take the lighter burden offer led by Life itself.

    Great reflection. The trees comment is true but so is this one.

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    1. The Great War begat the great turning away. The demolition of Christendom took a century. It may take another century to recover.

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  2. My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge

    Where there is no vision, the people perish.

    I would propose that we should tear the Modernist edifice down to make room for the next phase of Christendom, but Modernism seems to be imploding already. My Sunday school class has been spending a lot of time lately on the idolatry of the Israelites, and the pre-Exilic prophets. It seems very, very apt just now. We're bouncing around a bit, and hopped into Isaiah 10 this morning, after a chapter of Ezekiel yesterday, and a whole week in Hosea before that. There's a reference in Isaiah 10 to a yoke and a burden that reminded me of Matthew 11. We refused the light burden, as Durandel said, so now we face the heavier burden, which is still far lighter than eternal damnation. May God grant us godly sorrow.

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  3. Brian

    A really thoughtful post. I hadn't thought how civilization especially Christendom gave people a sense of adventure and daring. It makes sense looking back as say the pulps for example.
    xavier

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  4. I was a teenage atheist. I now call myself an agnostic. I see no proof of a god. However, as someone wiser than I observed man needs religion and religion nowadays is what people think of as science, environmentalism socialism or whatever fills that godshaped hole. I don't think have that hole. But there is a great amount of wisdom in the bible and by their fruits you shall know them and Christianity has the best fruits. I support you guys even if its not for me. Wish it was but it isn't.

    The reading of psalm 303 under those circumstances moved me to fucking tears. Beautiful.

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    1. You just gave at least two proofs for God.

      Every human need is directed toward some real good that satisfies it. Hunger would be absurd if food didn't exist, for instance. Not only would the human need for God be absurd if God didn't exist, it would be doubly absurd because it would be the ONLY human need with no corresponding good to satisfy it.

      Likewise beauty. When you call the psalm beautiful, you rightly assume that beauty has an objective meaning everyone else can understand. But not every beautiful thing is equally beautiful. Since beauty admits of degrees, there must be such a thing as ultimate or perfect beauty which sets the standard for all beautiful things. One integral mark of beauty is that it expresses being. Therefore, supreme beauty must also be Supreme Being.

      TL; DR: Go to church.

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    2. It was deeply moving, indeed. The profound respect they showed for that man and his earthly remains in the act of burying him and the prayer they said over him, and their very clear desire to be understood as having shown him the proper respect offers another proof, I think. The sense that we get that what they did was right and good and proper reflects a sense of the innate value of a human life. We are sacred because God made us in His own image. If there were no God, and thus no standard of goodness or meaning, we would have no reason to understand that treating the dead with respect was right, because our bones would have no more meaning than those of a dead animal in the woods.

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    3. To amplify your point, they took the time to conduct a proper burial, which at that location means moving heavy rocks, in what is aptly called the Death Zone. Only 1/3 as much oxygen was available to them there as at sea level.

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