Commentary: Mightier Than the Sword (Part Ten)
John W. Ritenbaugh
Given 01-Aug-15; 12 minutes
One of the more interesting facts of the lives of the philosophers I’ve given to up to this time is that each of those named began life and early preparation for adulthood being reared in fairly strong Christian circumstances. A major problem was that those circumstances were not influential in regard to true Christian circumstances. Every one of them grew up strongly influenced by a false religion posing as the true church. The Bible is correct saying Satan has deceived the whole world.
This is the very sort of circumstance in which the United States began its history as a nation. There is no doubt it was founded by men of generally high moral and ethical character, especially as compared with leaders of our time. But those men were not truly Christian either. They gave this nation a better foundation compared to most other nations of this world. They gave us a great deal that was indeed drawn from or paralleled God’s truths, but these men did not have God’s Holy Spirit. They did have some good influences to guide them.
Much of our Constitution was drawn from English Common Law and even the Magna Carta, though it was 600 years old, offered some help. In addition, a number of Founders were familiar with the commentaries of William Blackstone on English Common law. Blackstone was very conservative, pro-Christianity, and no friend of the humanistic philosophers.
I am going to mention three English born humanistic philosophers in this commentary. I am sure most of you have heard of at least one of them. They were unique in that they were closely related. It was not a family blood relationship but a relationship they chose to be involved in on their own. The family relationship lasted a long time. As far as I know, it did not end until the 1970s.
The first of these three philosophers was Jeremy Bentham. His life overlapped the death of Jean- Jacques Rousseau by 47 years. He was followed by John Stuart Mill. The one you may have some familiarity with is the third of this triumvirate:Bertrand Russell, who died in 1970.
Jeremy Bentham’s family and John Stuart Mills’ family were already very close to each other, but when John Stuart Mill was born, the Mill family chose Jeremy to be their newborn's (John’s) godfather. Later, when Bertrand Russell was born they chose John Stuart Mill to be Bertrand’s godfather. John Stuart Mill didn’t have a great deal of personal influence on young Bertrand because he about a year after Bertrand was born. The three families thought pretty much alike.
It seems as though so many of these philosophers, like Rousseau, had a screw loose in their thinking. Bentham, though undoubtedly the least known of the three, has gained a great deal of reflected glory in the philosophic realm from his two more famous students, Mill and Russell.
Bentham was very strongly anti-god, writing that the God of the Bible is capricious and insane. His arrogance was so great he would demand of God in his writings that God come to him and explain Himself. He threatened God that if He didn’t show up, He loses His right to exist!
An interesting aside to this is that the spiritual atmosphere in England was a great deal more challenging to him than France’s was to Rousseau. Rousseau was able to get away with saying things more freely than Bentham. In order to protect himself, many of Bentham’s writings were done under pen names so as to hide himself from the scrutiny of Englishmen who might do him physical harm.
It was Bentham, though, who was the driving force behind the push for open homosexuality. This fit in with what was his crowning achievement was. I said earlier that his students received more glory than he. His most famous disciple was John Stuart Mill.
Mill received far more glory than Bentham did. But in the overall picture, Bentham was the key to what they build. This is because Mill’s father so admired Bentham that he raised John according to Bentham’s system. Bentham called that system "utilitarianism."
Here is a brief description in Bentham's own words: “By the principle of utility is meant that principle which approves or disproves of every action whatsoever, according to the tendency it appears to have to segment or diminish the happiness of the party whose interest is in question.”
In everyday English, this is what he said. Utilitarianism recommends that action which produces the most pleasure or happiness for the most people in the long run. Let me simplify it even further as to what it means in actual practice: If it feels good do it. That is what it means.
His theory is literally so full of flaws that most sane philosophers of the time openly rejected it. The most obvious flaw is that in his system, no standards exist! What feels good varies widely from person to person, and what is appropriate for one person is not for another. The position he argued from—this is really rich—was that this is the way most people act anyway. In other words, it is natural. That is what carnality is. It is the natural mind. This man was teaching people how to be more carnal than they already were. He is a philosopher.
When men reject God as the source of creation, ethics, and morals, there is no absolute by which to judge either good or evil. That is so obvious! Feeling and personal experiences just won’t cut it. What if a person receives pleasure from inflicting pain on others? And there are people like that!
However, the barn door was open because John Stuart Mill was raised by his parents according to this weird system and he unleashed in his own conduct and what he taught others. John Stuart Mill was another man who was also exceedingly intelligent, and like Bentham, unbalanced—perhaps more so than Bentham was.
In 1785, Bentham authored a work he titled, Offenses Against One’s Self. However, it was not published until 1931 because it was so vilely offensive. Despite the strength of the Bible’s teaching against homosexuality and pedophilia, Bentham advocated both in this work.
The spirit of Jeremy Bentham and John Stuart Mill has swept across this nation, and I’m sure many others as well. In keeping with utilitarian ethical theory, he refused to recognize any moral difference between heterosexual activity and homosexual activity. Both were equal practices in his sight.
Toward the end of his life, he ordered his body dissected in a public lecture and his head was to be mummified and set in a wooden cabinet, displayed for all to see. What an example of pride. This is a man held by the people as being great—a wonderful philosopher.