Ascending the Temple Mount: A Firsthand Account



That’s the given reason for dozens of stabbings in Israel over the last month. Palestinians stabbing Jews over rumors.

What rumors, you ask?

Why, the rumors that Israel is changing the status quo on the Temple Mount, of course!

What’s the status quo on the Temple Mount?

Read for yourself. Below is a firsthand account from a Messianic woman who visited the Temple Mount just days ago as part of the HaYovel group.

“We spent the day yesterday in the old city of Jerusalem. In the last few days, we’ve had speakers each evening and have learned so much about Jerusalem and the Temple Mount that I felt like I knew Jerusalem much better this time as we came into the city. One of our speakers was named Ezra and he was one of the soldiers who fought in 1948 for the survival of Israel in its earliest days of statehood. He experienced an incredible number of miracles and God saved his life on a number of occasions. A couple of his stories had us all literally on the edges of our seats, eyes wide, just waiting to hear how he made it out of the situation.

“Our Jerusalem has been waiting for us for 2000 years!”

His words and his face showed so much love and passion for the Land as a whole and for Jerusalem specifically. They had tried to liberate Jerusalem in that war and it touched me deeply to hear him recount how he had told his commander how they needed to focus on Jerusalem because... “our Jerusalem has been waiting for us for 2000 years!” He said that as the soldiers gathered together to fight the Jordanians for Jerusalem, they were all excited...“We were on wings of excitement! Everyone looked so different, so bright. I thought the Maccabees must have looked the same before they went to liberate Jerusalem.”


They weren’t able to keep the city and they lost it to Jordanian control until 1967. Ezra told us that he lived those in-between years “with one eye on Jerusalem.” And then as he told us about the miracle of finally liberating Jerusalem in 67, he quoted the words of Psalm 118 – “I shall not die, but live and proclaim the works of the Lord!”

I wish I could repeat the whole evening for you word for word. It was amazing.

Back to yesterday morning: I helped in the kitchen, getting breakfast ready and serving it, and then ran to gather my things and to get on the bus. This time, because of the security situation, once we reached Jerusalem, we didn’t walk down the Mount of Olives like we have done many times in the past; we just drove down it, across the Kidron Valley, and then up to the Old City. We entered through the Dung Gate and then stood in line waiting to be able to go up to our first stop - the Temple Mount.

The Temple Mount and the Status Quo

The Temple Mount has been a big deal lately in Israel and the world – it’s been in the discussions of the Israeli government, it’s been all over the media, and the Palestinians have been rioting because their religious leaders have been claiming that Israel is going to allow Jewish people and others (anyone other than Muslims) to pray on the Temple Mount. They also have been claiming that Israel has no historical connection to the Mount, that it’s always been Muslim and that Jewish people going up on it defiles it. You always hear government leaders of the world speak of needing to “maintain the status quo” on the Temple Mount.

A little modern history lesson – in 1967, Israel recaptured the Old City of Jerusalem from the Jordanians who had held it since the Israeli War for Independence in 1948. The Temple Mount came into Jewish hands for the first time since the Romans destroyed the Temple back in 70 AD. Moshe Dayan, the Defense Minister at the time, (in what I consider to be a misplaced and irresponsible attempt of a “good neighbor”, “gesture of peace”) gave the Temple Mount back into the control of the Jordanian religious leaders, the “Waqf”. The Muslims saw it as a sign of Israeli weakness. Since then, until today, the Jordanians have religious control and the Israelis have police/security control. It makes for a very tense and volatile combination.

Tour groups, and especially Jewish groups of people, who go up on the Temple Mount are often harassed by the Palestinians.

No one is allowed to wear any kind of religious symbol like a cross or a Star of David on clothing or jewelry. You’re not allowed to bring a Bible or prayer book onto the Mount. If you’re not dressed according to their modesty standards, (which can change from day to day) they will make you buy a shawl to cover up. Women call or scream things like “Allah huAkbar!” (meaning “god is great”), over and over at the groups, and usually the Muslim religious “guards” will come and harass the groups. (The guards don’t actually have any authority.) They watch to see if anyone is praying so that they can have them arrested, they try to get them to leave, they block their way and try to intimidate or anger them so the Jewish people or tourists react and then get escorted from the Mount. Lately the screaming ladies have been blocked from coming up on the Mount during the morning “visiting hours” so things have become a bit more peaceful. Because of all this, we didn’t know what it would be like as we visited the Temple Mount. The last couple times the HaYovel groups had tried to go up, their times on the Mount were very short.

Our group split into 2 different groups and were led by tour guides. I was in group #1 and our guide’s name was Oren. We entered the platform and moved around the Mount in a clockwise direction and stopped a few different times and learned about the Mount and about the 2nd Temple.

A couple of fascinating facts that we learned...

  • In the 1870s, a sign/plaque was found in a house in an archeological dig right next to the Temple Mount that said basically, “No gentiles past this point.” It would have been posted on the wall that separated the Court of the Gentiles from the rest of the Temple area in the days of Yeshua (Jesus).
  • There were several gates in the walls surrounding the Temple showing a heart of hospitality and welcome...a way of saying, “Please come as much as you can!”
  • The building called the Dome of the Rock was built in 691 AD and only after it was built did the Muslims attach a tradition to it.

Then, at our 4th stop, a handful of Waqf guys (Waqf is the Jordanian religious authority) came over and spoke to our guide in Hebrew and Arabic, telling him that he couldn’t be there, that we all had to leave. They kept interrupting him when he tried to speak. One man in our group knows Arabic and he told us later that the guards were confused about who we were. They thought we were a Jewish group and wouldn’t believe the tour guide when he told them we were a Christian tour group. When asked to speak in English, one of the Waqf guards answered that he didn’t speak English.

The next several minutes were a bit chaotic. The guards were yelling, an Israeli policeman came over and Oren was talking to him, trying to explain. We all slowly moved forward along the path. The Waqf guards would stand in front and talk loudly and try to make us stop, and then someone in the front of the group would start moving (usually our friend, Mr. Pauls) and we would all just keep walking forward – around and past the Waqf guards.

Eventually Oren left the Israeli policeman to work it all out and just went back to giving us our tour – speaking loudly over all the noise. One of the young ladies in our group, Erica, had helped him focus by asking questions; raising her hand and calling loudly...”Excuse me? I have a question. Could you tell us ...” I was proud of her. : )

Another of our ladies, Teresa, approached one of the Waqf guards, asking if he wanted to see her passport, and trying to visit with him. At one point, he stepped closer and explained quietly that he didn’t have a problem with us being there, but that they didn’t want our tour guide there and that he was telling us lies. He said, “He’s telling you this is the Temple Mount and it’s not! It’s the Al Aksa.” (The Arabic/Muslim name for the Temple Mount) Teresa thought to herself, “You say our tour guide is the one who is lying? You just said a few minutes ago that you didn’t speak English!”

After several minutes, the Israeli security guard reaffirmed our right to be there on our tour and we continued walking. The Waqf guards and a handful of others continued to walk alongside of us, watching Oren closely, and sometimes taking pictures of us. Toward the end, a group of Muslim ladies shouted at us, but they kept their backs turned so they couldn’t be identified. We ended up being able to walk around the entire perimeter of the Mount and were able to conclude our whole tour so we were very thankful.

I experienced a strange mix of feelings while there. I was so blessed and thankful that we serve a God who can hear our prayers that are spoken only in the heart. I was praying a lot while I was there, and the Waqf guards had no idea. I was grateful for the opportunity to be up on the Mount at all. Many times people are turned away. I was also angry – that even the most simple and basic religious rights, such as prayer, are not allowed in a place so precious to those who believe the Bible. I can pray silently inside, but I shouldn't need to in that place. Yeshua loved the Temple. It made me wonder what He would have done if He had been there with us. I prayed about my feelings...I want to always stand for Truth, for what’s right, and not back down...but in a kind and honoring way, not nasty or bitter. I was proud of our tour guide and the others who held their ground and didn’t let the intimidation push them back. The rest of us, our “group 2”, experienced more opposition than we did (I’ll hopefully share the videos when I get my photos put together) and yet everyone kept their cool and didn’t give the Waqf the satisfaction of getting a reaction.

I also felt a quiet joy, a bit of satisfaction in the fact that I had an Israeli flag patch on my backpack that the Israeli security hadn’t noticed when we went through security, so I was able to take it with me up on the Mount. (Israelis have been arrested for waving the Israeli flag on the Temple Mount.) The colors blended in with the rest of my backpack so it wasn’t obvious at all and no one saw it except our Israeli friend, Doron, who was with us (who had arranged the opportunity to buy the backpack a few years ago). But other people seeing it wasn’t important to me. I was just glad that I could take an Israeli flag up on the Temple Mount.

Once we had left the Temple Mount area, we gathered in the street. Our tour guide told us, “Many many thanks for coming to this ancient holy site. Thank you for being brave, for not listening to the Waqf, for keeping on going. Thank you for joining us and supporting me, my people and country.”


We went straight from there to the Kotel (the Western Wall) and had a time to pray. The Jewish people welcome and allow anyone who wants to, to come and pray at the Wall – no matter their religion, their nationality, etc. It was a quiet morning at the Wall and our time there was sweet. I was able to quiet my heart and have a time of praise and thanks, and prayer and petition. I was struck by the extreme differences I had experienced. In a matter of a couple hours I

“The Jewish people welcome and allow anyone who wants to, to come and pray at the Wall – no matter their religion, their nationality.”

felt exclusion and welcome, harassment and acceptance, shouting and intimidation and peace and quiet. I was filled with gratitude for the Jewish people who have allowed the world to come to their most special place (since the Temple Mount is, for the most part, off limits to them right now) without any kind of censoring. There’s respect, honor, and hospitable welcome. I’m challenged to remain generous with what God has given me, by their example.

In case you hadn’t guessed, : ) I’m not at all politically correct about the Temple Mount. I fully support the right of the Jewish people and everyone else to be able to pray on the Mount. I greatly look forward to the day...I pray for the day, when prophecy is fulfilled and the next Temple is built and that mountain becomes, once again, “a house of prayer for all nations”. (Isaiah 56:7)

Thanks to Ardelle Brody, an acquaintance of mine, who relayed this story from a friend, Megan, who visited the Temple Mount just 4 days ago.

Sadly, the status quo on the Temple Mount is unlikely to change. The Israeli Prime Minister has pledged to uphold the status quo. It will take bold leaders who are unafraid of world opinion to do otherwise.

Thinking outside the religious box on universal healthcare

Performing a checkup

Here’s a little thought experiment which might lead to some unpopular-but-righteous directions: should disciples of Yeshua support universal healthcare? And if so, who provides and pays for that care?

Followers of the Jewish Messiah have a religious obligation to support universal healthcare:

For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’

“Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?

“The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’

-Messiah to his disciples, Matthew 25:35-45

Universal healthcare – the idea that healthcare should be provided to everyone – is an idea with some support in the gospels. Is a brother or sister ill? Then we are to take care of them and visit them when they are sick. Think of this as the original “universal healthcare.”

Does this require us to support social justice policies such as government-enforced universal healthcare? The question has been on my mind lately, given the recent introduction of universal healthcare in the US and the leftist politicians who are promising to further that policy.

Before we can answer that question, we must first clarify what we mean by universal healthcare, severing political ties in the process. Political bias clouds the mind, so let’s analyze this issue outside of politics and look at it from a strictly moral perspective. Let’s pretend no political party is affiliated with universal healthcare; let’s look at it with fresh eyes from a Biblical perspective.

Universal healthcare. “Universal” is hyperbole, of course: it’s more accurately called “worldwide healthcare.” (I’m always amused by titles involving the universe, such as “Miss Universe.” SmileI digress.)

When we in the US talk about worldwide healthcare, we’re actually talking about healthcare specifically for this nation. While the political left may desire healthcare implemented worldwide, when we speak of universal healthcare in the US, we’re really just talking about it in our nation; it is more precisely called national healthcare.

And it isn’t enough to call it national healthcare, because what we’re really talking about is national healthcare provided by and paid for by the US government. We’ll call this government-sponsored national healthcare: the idea that every person in the nation should receive healthcare, and the government pays for that.

Should disciples of Messiah support government-sponsored national healthcare?

Alas, we’re still not done severing the politics from this one. The simple person will stop here and say, “The government wants to pay for something I previously had to pay for? Are you kidding? Why not!”

But the wise person understands the government has no money to pay for anything. It’s like saying your dog is going to pay for your dinner at a fancy restaurant; you dine exquisitely, only to discover you are required to stay and wash the dishes. 

Let’s not wash the dishes. Since the government has no money of its own, the government must borrow money from someone to pay for it.

Unfortunately, the government doesn’t have to borrow. It can forcibly take money from its citizens. And since it writes the laws, the government can transform this form of theft into something legal: taxes.

So, the government is going to use the money it confiscated from its citizens to pay for government-sponsored national healthcare.

But wait! The government already used up all the money it confiscated from us; from whence cometh the coin to care for the health of 300 million citizens? Smile

The answer is new taxes and more confiscation.

Why would citizens ever allow their own government to increase their own tax burden? It’d be like seeing a proposition, “Will you permit us to take more of your money by force?,” and deciding to vote YES. Lunacy, yeah?

Ah, but the political left in the US has very effectively demonized a minority in the US to suit this very purpose, and they plan on confiscating money from that group and duping people to go along with it.

The group is, of course, “The 1%”, a faceless, conspiratorial-like cabal of super-wealthy people. By most measures, they’re people who earn $300,000/year or more in income, which is a lot of money to be sure. But since the Evil 1% are a tiny minority who have lots of money, the majority of the citizens feel it no great sin in coveting their wealth, demanding they share it with the rest of us. (It’s hard to call it sharing the wealth, since sharing implies a voluntary action.)

The 1% is a societal outgroup, a minority that society does not identify with and feels justified in persecuting. This outgroup is demonized, and we openly discuss passing laws that would make seizing their funds easy and legal, and thus, pay for the greater good of government-sponsored national healthcare for the rest of us.

With a outgroup in place and  thoroughly demonized by left-leaning media and politicians, many citizens are ready to pull the handle and vote YES on the Take Money Away From Citizens proposal, as long as that money is being taken from somebody else, and for the purpose of giving us free stuff.

So, we’re really talking about government-sponsored national healthcare paid for by confiscating money from wealthy citizens.

Does God require the righteous to support that?

We’re pretty sure God wants us to take care of people’s health, especially in our own communities. But the Bible is silent when it comes to the role of government in healthcare.

One could argue the Bible gives us the example of setting up a government (kings, judges, elders of Israel) with a military for the defense and wellbeing of a nation, and by a big stretch one could argue that’s a form of healthcare. But whether a government should also tax its citizens additionally in order to pay for that, there is no real example.

So, what are we to do when the Bible is silent on an issue?

The first step is to be honest. God is silent about government providing healthcare for its citizens. Since God is silent about this, we cannot claim, as some religious leftists do, that God commands government-mandated healthcare, or that this government-sponsored form of social justice helps create the Kingdom of Heaven.

(Side note: The socialist utopias leftists dream of and try to institute through government policy may, in fact, be an emanation of the deep-seated longing humanity has for the real Kingdom of Heaven, where suffering and injustice is taken away. But I digress again.)

So, we acknowledge it’s extra-biblical; an idea without biblical evidence for or against.

OK, but that still doesn’t answer whether followers of Israel’s Messiah should support it. To answer that, we must look at existing Biblical principals and apply them to our question.

Let’s do this by applying the biblical principal of charity. Charity is a great analogy to healthcare, because healthcare might be considered a form of charity, and because God requires of us both charity and healthcare, and because giving to charity is considered a righteous act by leftists and rightists alike, by Judaism and Christianity, it crosses political and religious boundaries. It might be considered a universal (wink) good work.

God explicitly commands charity in the Bible. One example:

Every third year, you must set aside 1/10th of all your produce and give it to the fatherless and the widow, the Levite and the foreigner, so that they may eat and be satisfied.

-God speaking to Israel, Deuteronomy 26:12

How can we apply this principal of charity to the question of government-funded healthcare?

Since God commanded both charity and healthcare, let’s play a game where we peer into the future and imagine the tables turned, swapping healthcare for charity.

City of the futureSuppose 20 years from now, in the year 2035, there is a movement among right-wingers called Universal Charity. An idea which provides a basic good – giving to charity – for all people in the United States. Everyone should give to charity; who can argue with that?!

But, there’s a problem. Not everyone has money to give to charity. Some people are too poor to give to charity; some cannot afford to give to charity at all!

How does the US Republican Right of the future implement Universal Charity? How can they pass the Affordable Charity Act of 2035?

They do so by having the government give to charity for you. On behalf of each citizen, the government will donate to a charity of its choosing. (The President at the time had promised, “Don’t worry, you can keep your charity, and use the charitable organization of your choice!”, but that turned out to be a false promise, a political play meant to pass the bill into law.)

Alas! In the year 2035, the government is inefficient and bloated and not very frugal; all of its monies are spent on other things. There is no money left for the Affordable Charity Act.

But the 2035 Republican Party had a solution to this, too: they would increase the taxes on the top 0.5% (half of the top 1%!). A tiny sliver of the population of the US, even in 2035. image

By requiring the top 0.5% to pay more taxes, citizens no longer have to give to charity; the government simply gives tzedakah for you. Now, everyone’s righteous! Everyone’s giving to charity!

Would this be a good thing? Would God deem a person righteous for giving to charity, seeing as how they taxed the top 0.5% and used that money to give to charity?

Well, it’s not really giving to charity at all, is it.

If I take your money and give it to charity, I’m not really giving to charity. I’m stealing from you and giving it away. The fact that I gave your money to charity does not cancel my theft of your dollars, no matter how rich you might be.

I think this answers our question.

“Should disciples of the Jewish Messiah support government-sponsored national healthcare by increasing taxes on the top 1% wage earners? No, clearly not.”

Should disciples of the Jewish Messiah support government-sponsored national healthcare by increasing taxes on the top 1% wage earners? No, clearly not. Just as a person taking your money and giving it to the poor does not fulfill the mitzvah to give to charity, neither does taking money from the top 1% and using it to fund national healthcare release a person from the divine command to visit and care for the sick.

Who should provide the healthcare?

I began this post by asking, “Should disciples of Yeshua support universal healthcare? And if so, who provides and pays for that care?”

We have answered the first question: we have a command from the Master to care for the sick, thus, we should support healthcare for at least those in our community, if not for all people.

As for the 2nd question, who provides and pays for that care, the answer is not the government. The divine command to care for the sick is on us, as individuals, not on the government. We cannot use the government as our crutch and say, “I pay taxes, therefore, I do not need to care for the sick.”

But this is an insufficient answer, then, isn’t it? We asked, “Who provides and pays for healthcare”, and we answered, “Not the government!”

OK, if not the government, then who?

Today, we have a problem that didn’t exist in the 1st century: healthcare is prohibitively expensive. Even wealthy people today would have difficulty paying for healthcare out of pocket. Treatment for serious diseases can easily surpass 10 years’ wages. So, we pay for healthcare insurance, which spreads the exorbitant cost over a lifetime. Contrast this with the 1st century, in which seeing a doctor may have cost some money, but not likely on the same scale as today.

In the 1st century, a man who was ill may have stayed at home and rested until he was well, or until he died. Hence Messiah’s words, “I was sick, and you looked after me”, speaking as though no one may be looking after the sick.

Some might argue, “Then we should not visit doctors or go to hospitals at all!”

But this is foolish and obtuse; physicians certainly existed in Biblical times – Bible scholars even suggest that Luke, author of the book of Acts and the gospel of Luke may have been a physician himself – and there is no biblical injunction against seeing physicians. Indeed, many Western hospitals were – and still are today – founded and staffed by the devoutly religious, and this is why we have hospitals named after saints image(“St. Thomas Hospital”), religious sects (“Minneapolis Methodist Hospital”) or righteous and holy things (“Sha’arei Tzedek Jerusalem Medical Center”). We even associate religious symbols with healthcare, such as the Red Cross, the snake raised on a pole, or Magen David Adom.

So the answer is not, “God doesn’t want us to have healthcare at all; just stay home and get well (or die).” This answer is foolish and disconnected with reality.

Some religious purists might argue that God intended healthcare to be faith healing. Heal all the sick through faith, the laying on of hands, anointing with oil, and prayer. But this doesn’t seem to align with the Bible, given that Messiah commanded us to visit and care for the sick. (Why would we visit and care for people we could simply heal through faith?) Nor does it align with reality: if faith healing worked this way, hospitals would be empty and religious people would not suffer, yet reality shows otherwise.

So the answer is not, “God didn’t expect anyone to remain sick; everyone should be healed through faith.” While God does command us to lay on hands and indeed God can and does heal people, the sick will always be among us. This is a reality of a world in an imperfect state.

We as individuals are still on the hook to keep Messiah’s command to visit the sick and care for them and their families in any way we are able, and that can include procuring professional healthcare by doctors and hospitals; often, they are your best chance at getting well, and throughout the Scriptures, God favors the preservation of life.

Who should pay for that healthcare?

Given that ultra-expensive healthcare is a phenomenon foreign to the original audience of the Bible, God is silent about who pays for healthcare. Can we apply a similar Biblical principal to give us an answer?

One example that comes to mind is how God does indeed account for the poor in the Scriptures: while a family was required to bring an offering to God – say, a whole ram, a valuable and expensive offering – a poor person was permitted to bring only a bird, or even grain in some cases.

Applying that principle, I’d suggest that if a person is unable to afford expensive healthcare, he should do what he is able. Sometimes this means fewer visits to the hospital, opting to stay home and avoid expensive treatments where possible. A man begging for food need not require organic filet mignon.

The principle in which the community helped their poor by directly giving 1/10th of their produce could also be applied here. Should an ill person require expensive healthcare – say, surgery – and he is unable to pay for it, it is our duty as the religious community to care for our own and come together to pay for the cost. Just as the community provided food for their own, so should the community provide healthcare for our own.

Keep in mind, this does not imply indirect care, such as paying taxes to provide care for others. Nor does this imply care through confiscation, such as raising taxes on others to provide healthcare for all. Rather, this is direct care, individuals helping individuals. No government or taxes or politics involved.

Finally, should both the individual and community be unable to pay for required medical care, righteous and responsible religious healthcare providers, such as the myriads of religious hospitals and doctors, should provide a final safety net and provide the care regardless of payment. (And the righteous individual receiving the care, and his religious community, should reciprocate by paying for the care over time.)

Conclusions on our thought experiment

We did a little thought experiment about healthcare. We followed that trail wherever it led, politics be damned.

In my honest observation, a righteous people who follow the God of the Bible ought to:

  • Be in favor of healthcare for all. Messiah commands us to care for the sick among us.
  • Ought not support the Affordable Care Act. Government-mandated healthcare paid for by the confiscation of wealth of others is neither righteous nor a divine command. It is the product of a covetous society that demonizes a minority group, the 1%, and wishes to confiscate their wealth. While its intentions – to provide healthcare for everyone – is indeed a noble goal, the means to this end is not. It is a human corruption of a divine ideal.
  • Visit and care for the sick, regardless of who is providing and paying for healthcare. This is an imperative from the Master; doing this is valued as though we were caring for and visiting the Messiah himself.
  • Lay hands, anoint with oil, and pray for our sick. James, the brother of the Messiah, commands that the elders of a community should practice this and the confession of sins to one another. These, coupled with the prayer of a righteous and faithful person, and God will heal the sick among us.
  • Get medical treatment as needed. The reality of a sinful and fallen world is that disease plagues humanity. This is a divine law set in place due to human sin, and this law that sickness will be upon mankind appears very early in Biblical history (in Genesis!) and isn’t taken away until the restoration of all things (in Revelation). Like the poor, the sick too will always be among us. If a person is ill and needs medical attention, we should seek to preserve life through medicine; there is no shame in doing so, and indeed modern medicine is a blessing from God which can alleviate suffering and even cure disease.
  • Get treatment within our means. The Biblical example is not that the poor pay nothing, but rather, that the poor pay what they are able. This is shown to us in how God accommodates, but doesn’t exempt, the poor in their offerings in the Temple.
  • Help pay for the medical needs of their community. The Biblical example is that the community took care of their poor directly, by setting aside 1/10th of their produce every 3 years and feeding them with that holy portion. Likewise, a Biblical community could set aside funds to help the poor within it by directly helping with medical care.

It seems to me universal healthcare is a good and righteous thing that should be provided for not by the government through confiscation of wealth, but by the righteous charity of individuals, religious communities, and religious hospitals.

What do you think? Sound off in the comments.

The Spirit of Our Times

The German word zeitgeist describes the spirit of a period of history, the status of society and where it’s heading.


Consider where our culture is at today, in the 21st century United States. What is the spirit of our times; what are the ideals and philosophies driving us forward?

I’m no cultural expert, but I do have finger to the pulse of the culture – I’m a public speaker, a news junkie, an entrepreneur, a technologist, a congregation leader, an avid reader of subjects ranging from science to technology to religion. Through these mediums, one can sense the spirit of our times.

As I see it, the spirit of our times is:
  • Increasingly secular, if not atheist. Science is pitted as the enemy of religion and faith in public discourse and in Hollywood media. People of faith are portrayed as ignorant weirdo bigots, unwilling to progress with the times.

    This, despite many of the scientific pioneers of the West being devout religious men, including Newton, Kepler, Copernicus, Bacon, Galileo, Descartes, Pascal, Faraday, Mendel, and a host of others. Likewise for medicine, with many hospitals founded and staffed by devout men and women of faith.

    In the past, science has not been the enemy of faith. Why now?
  • Antagonistic towards religion. Despising forms of absolute morality, especially the Judeo-Christian perspective. The only morality permitted is the relativistic, make-up-my-own-as-I-go morality which is regarded as no worse than the the respected, detailed moral systems that produced Western Civilization.
  • Irreverent of human life. Lovers of abortion; making it quick, easy, and legal to murder an unborn child for almost any reason.

    Worse still, recent undercover investigation revealed that Planned Parenthood, a leading abortion provider in the United States, actually profits from taking whole unborn children, extracting and killing them, then selling their body parts to the highest bidder, roughly $120,000 month for one local Planned Parenthood operation.

    What great irreverence of life! That we’re willing to not only abort an unborn child for almost any reason at almost any point in the pregnancy, but we’re also profiteering off the human remains of the bloody butchery.
  • Suppresses the proliferation of life. The spirit of our times regards the traditional life-creating family of a man and a woman as passé, and instead amplifies as equal the non-traditional unions which are unable to produce life.

    Despite nature’s central role for women in childbearing and rearing, being a female homemaker today is frowned upon. Career equality with men is amplified instead, resulting in an a generation with much education and skill, but little wisdom. A low birth rate, a high abortion rate, and the amplification of alternative lifestyles that do not produce life has resulted in dozens of nations experiencing a decline in population.
  • Cheapens human rights. The founders of the United States wrote that “man is endowed by his Creator with certain inalienable rights”, ascribing a divine origin to human rights.

    By contrast, today’s “social justice warriors” remove the divine origin from human rights and reassign that role to government, create new rights out of thin air, dole them out to whomever demands them, and demonize as backwards bigots those who question the newly-minted “rights.”
  • Celebrates drunkenness and foolishness by favoring the legalization of drugs and downplaying -- often ignoring! --the societal side effects of a healthy and productive population now seeking to get high on marijuana and other illicit drugs. It seems to me the public favoring drug legalization is in part a result of a media which glorifies drug usage.


    It is difficult to imagine a mother of 4 getting high in front of her kids. Hard to imagine the destructive effect that would have on a family. And yet, it’s already legal in several US states and will likely push through the remaining states within the next 5 years.
  • Covertly despises Israel. Because Israel is a symbol of traditional values and the source of the hated Judeo-Christian morality, the one that birthed both Judaism and Christianity, the spirit of the times produces a double standard that singles out Israel and the Jews, resulting in anti-Semitism veiled as political activism.

    This happens on an individual, societal, and national levels.

    imagesIndividual: last month, after pressure from the anti-Semitic BDS movement, a Jewish music artist was disinvited from a multi-national music festival unless he issued a public statement defaming Israel.

    National: the UN repeatedly singles out Israel and condemns the world’s only Jewish state for human rights violations. Meanwhile, the UN remains silent on real human rights violations in North Korea and among the Palestinian terror groups; revealing a double-standard against Jews, a classic anti-Semitic play:

    Societal: it happens through old fashioned anti-Semitism, veiled today as anti-Zionism. I didn’t have to search too hard to find this top-rated commented on the above video of the Israeli Prime Minister:

    And again on the international level:

  • imageIncreasingly lazy; promoting a weak work ethic through government handouts and assistance. The welfare system in the United States has grown unruly and gargantuan – costing citizens nearly $680,000,000,000 (Six-hundred eighty billion dollars) in 2013 alone.

    For many struggling families, especially those broken homes with absent fathers and single mothers, this reliance on the government has produced a perverse incentive in which it is more cost effective to receive heaps of government welfare than to attempt to work for a living.
    “A democracy will continue to exist up until the time that voters discover that they can vote themselves generous gifts from the public treasury.”
    To further the laziness, the fringes of the technology community has begun to advocate Basic Income: the idea that the government should just pay us all a basic income for doing nothing. No need to work!

    If the spirit of our times despises work and a hard work ethic, it’s no surprise, then, to see a socialist running for the 2016 US Presidential ticket, promising “free” government-supplied handouts as a key platform initiative in his run for the head office of the United States.
  • Considers nothing holy. Sacredness, holiness, and the beauty of something sanctified – set apart for a higher purpose – is lost through the irreverent spirit of our times. The internet has produced an irreverent and mean-spirited people. I stumbled on a great example of this while writing this post: the 2nd Google image search result for Declaration of Independence is a defaced image with a hand-drawn penis over it, with “faggot” scrawled over the top. (Thanks, Reddit!)

    Nothing is sacred because the spirit of our times says morality doesn’t exist. Holiness is a superstitious idea from ancient fools with no place in the modern world. And while irreverence isn’t a new problem, it is amplified today via the internet.
  • Feigns goodness but practices wickedness.
    • Social justice has become the term post-religious people use to make themselves feel better about living a life separated from God.
    • Social justice warriors fight for an ever-increasing number of newly minted "rights" which are granted not by the divine – as the US founders asserted in the Declaration of Independence – but are manufactured by the very ones demanding them. They are warriors for faux rights imagined by a lawless society aiming to justify its rebellion against God.
    • Hating downwards (poor, minorities) is passé, but hating upwards (wealthy, police, authority, God) is in vogue. Social justice warriors in self-righteous rants harp on eliminating downwards hate, meanwhile they practice and glorify upwards hate.
  • Unwilling to confront actual evil. The spirit of our times says morality is subjective, and thus, real evil doesn’t exist. Because evil doesn’t exist, there’s nothing to stand against.

    A person with no moral compass and nothing to stand against – what is such a person to do?

    Instead of confronting real evils – such as Iran’s fanatical ayatollah who openly calls for the murder of  all the world’s Jews – people busy themselves fighting make-believe evils like carbon emissions and income inequality.
  • imageContemptuous of the wealthy; covetous. Those who have worked hard to build their wealth are demonized as “the 1%”, a conspiratorial-like, faceless cabal who by devious means extract the wealth of the world from the rest of us. They hoard and flaunt their wealth over the have-nots, and are unwilling to pay their fair share of taxes.

    Meanwhile, no one can define what “fair share” actually amounts to, everyone wants the other guy to share his wealth, but no one wants to share their own wealth. The media harps on about the perceived evil of income inequality, resulting in hatred and contempt upwards; covetousness.
  • Promotes sensuality through the normalization of promiscuity, pornography, and homosexuality. Through print, television, and movie media, sexual deviancy is normalized, while those who see these as great moral failures are demonized as backward bigots who need to mind their own business.
  • Hates discourse and suppresses opposition. Are you pro-life? The media labels you anti-choice and against women; Sexist. Are you a supporter of the traditional family, a life-creating man and woman with their children? Your label is Intolerant and Homophobe.

    Once one of the 7 Demon Labels has been applied – Sexist, Intolerant, Xenophobic, Homophobic, Intolerant, Racist, Bigot, or SIXHIRB – no discourse nor engagement is required with you, you intolerant bigot! Just label and demonize, and voila, you’ve suppress your opposition without having to engage the subject matter.

    This effective form of the ancient practice of societal shaming has resulted in people unable to speak and act their conscience for fear of being shamed and their names dragged through the mud. After all, who wants to be called a bigot?
  • Despises law and societal order through the demonization of the police force. Riots and year-long protests arise because a policeman shot and killed a law-breaking thug, yet one is not allowed to speak this reality for fear of being labeled a racist.

    Riots in Ferguson, Missouri. A fair trial and a jury of peers found the police officer who shot a man in self-defense to be innocent of crimes. Even so, the protestors turned violent, characterized by looting of businesses and destruction of property.
  • Loving the obscene; our magazines and media are covered in sexualized, objectified women, with banners of gossip, obscenities, and sensationalist garbage that slanders public figures.

A write this not as a complaint – I feel utterly blessed to live in this age.

Rather, I write this because it’s helpful to understand where we are today. To survey the obstacles and figure out where we need to go. Only then can we move forward, beyond the so-called progressive – better called regressive – agenda of the spirit of our times.

The spirit of our times is increasingly secular, hates discourse, loves the obscene, promotes sensuality, despises work and covets the possessions of those who work, is unwilling to confront evil, feigns goodness, considers nothing holy, celebrates drunkenness, hates Israel and the Jews, cheapens human rights, and does not revere human life.

This is how I see the spirit of our times, the zeitgeist of 2015. How do you see it? Sound off in the comments.