October 14, 2014

God & Christopher Columbus

The Politically Correct now celebrate Indigenous People’s Day instead of Columbus Day, as the above photo tweeted from a liberal Methodist caucus illustrates.

There were two especially worthwhile blogs yesterday on commemorating Columbus.

Justin Taylor at The Gospel Coalition quotes Christian historian Steven Keillor on Columbus, with Keillor noting that the discoverer believed his exploration was key to biblical prophecy by delivering the Gospel to the far reaches.

“Without justifying his actions, or those of other explorers and conquerors, we can say that Columbus was correct here,” according to Keillor. “By starting the process whereby this dynamic European culture became globally dominant, Columbus made global history an irretrievably linear history.” God used Columbus and Spanish conquest for His purposes without approving their methods. Here’s more from Keillor:

So, paradoxically, both Columbus and the revisionist writers who condemn him are correct. His voyages advanced God’s long-range goals and yet were profoundly ungodly. That is so because of a deeper paradox: the Christianity carried by Europeans to the New World was divinely revealed truth, yet those who carried it were in serious rebellion against it. As divine revelation, it provoked human rebellion. Exploration brought rebellion to a world that had not known rebellion as destructively dynamic as was Europe’s.

Less darkly, Maureen Mullarkey in First Things cites Columbus biographer Samuel Eliot Morison, whose work won a 1942 Pulitzer, and which described Columbus this way:

He had his flaws and his defects, but they were largely the defects of the qualities that made him great—his indomitable will, his superb faith in God and in his own mission as the Christ-bearer to lands beyond the seas, his stubborn persistence despite neglect, poverty, and discouragement. But there was no flaw, no dark side to the most outstanding and essential of all his qualities—his seamanship. As a master mariner and navigator, Columbus was supreme in his generation. Never was a title more justly bestowed than the one he most jealously guarded—Almirante del Mar Océano, Admiral of the Ocean Sea.

Mullarkey regrets that modern historians of the Left reduce Columbus “to an excuse for moral outrage: a symptom of European egocentrism and a genocidal calamity,” for which they “would have us repent one of the most significant achievements of human history,” wrought by an “imperfect man of imperfect times,” who’s “been dissolved in the acid bath of the self-flagellating ideologies of our time.” Mullarkey trembles “for a generation raised against itself, instilled with suicidal guilt, and poised to denounce protagonists of the civilization that sustains them.”

The hyper politically correct who demonize Columbus might merit more serious regard if they didn’t so lavishly romanticize “indigenous peoples,” who vigorously practiced their own conquests, slavery and genocides long before Columbus appeared on the horizon. Today’s anti-Western, angst-ridden ideologues likely wouldn’t have lasted many moons under the old “indigenous” cultures. The natives likely would have spliced up such irritating persons as sacrifices in their temples, while lamenting that the pagan deities deserved better than such languid spirits.

Anti-Western ideologues don’t really revere indigenous cultures, they just exploit them for historical and political polemics. For them, Columbus is chiefly a useful icon for what they despise about modern civilization, Christianity, capitalism and progress. Not believing history has divine purpose, they contort their villains and victims into a pseudo-Marxist dialectic.

Columbus was a sinful, unworthy instrument of Providence, whose courage and skill deserve admiration, and whose discovery ultimately offered a suffering world a dramatic new avenue for civilizational advance. His holiday deserves more celebration than protest.


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19 Responses to God & Christopher Columbus

  1. Carlos IMG says:

    It’s very well established that the people Columbus dubbed “Indians” were not the original inhabitants of America, they too were invaders. Amazing the ignorance of Political Correctness.

    • MarcoPolo says:

      It isn’t Political Correctness that is ignorant…it is the ignorance of some who espouse it poorly.
      Political correctness is simply an attempt at being civil minded and compassionate. Something that Christians should be practicing more often.

    • Walker Brault says:

      Would you mind sharing a source or two about this “well established” fact? There’s very little about the history of migration to/around the Americas that is well established and not hotly debated.

  2. Greg says:

    Following their logic train, it would seem that the same Leftist idealogues should call the influx of Latin and South American natives into the United States an “invasion.” I mean, the white man has been here for 500 years, and before and simultaneous to that, the red man. But what business do Mestizos from Central America and Aztecs from Mexico have being in New York or Oregon?

    • MarcoPolo says:

      And as has been recently proven, the Aztec culture was ‘here’ first!
      To whom the Native Americans owe their ancestral history.

      Though it seems wrong, that we as a nation don’t have a Day of celebration for the indigenous peoples. I wonder which season would best honor that group?
      Personally, I’ve always thought Columbus got more credit than others…like Amerigo Vespucci?!

      • Namyriah says:

        Those Aztecs were adorable – ritual slaughter of thousands of conquered people, cutting their hearts out, eating them, dumping the dead bodies in a lake to appease the sun god. What a shame the Europeans had to ruin this peaceful scne.

    • Walker Brault says:

      A few key differences are that the current influx of Latin American (South America is part of Latin America) aren’t committing mass genocide and killing off more than half the population, purposely providing said population with highly infectious diseases laced items (i.e. small pox blankets), physically forcing people off of their land and onto reservations while continually making said reservations smaller and smaller, and forcing a good portion of those who weren’t killed into slavery.

      It’s not the fact that people were moving around, it’s the way they dealt with the unexpected problems and people that they encountered.

      • Greg says:

        Walker – The illegal immigrants from Latin America are committing plenty of crimes. Sneaking across the border, being the first one. According to DHS statistics, 20% of the prison population are newly arrived illegal and legal immigrants, 15% of the total prison population being foreign born. So, the difference is, they don’t have the power of the state behind their offenses . . .at least not officially. It sure seems they have the tacit approval of their home countries, and our own, to come here and do as they wish.

        And what about the diseases they are bringing to our country? Scabies, TB, MRSA, and more.

        But basically I agree with your premise . . .the American Indians have been poorly treated. Therefore, I wonder, if it was wrong for the white man to push them off the land, why is it OK for the South American to come in 500-150 years after the fact and start squatting on “their land” today?

        • Walker Brault says:

          It definitely clearly isn’t our wish for illegal immigrants to be here, Obama has deported more people than any other president.

          There were cases of scabies in the concentration camp that Anne Frank was in, so clearly not just a SA disease, TB is far more common in Africa and our health system can easily combat it… at least until strains develop resistances (which is becoming much more common), most common place to get MRSA is from a hospital or other health care setting such as a nursing home (taken directly from Mayo health website). Yes there are people with diseases coming form Latin America to the US, but we also have a much better health system (not saying it’s good, just better) than most LA countries which is probably part of the reason they came here.

          Not quite sure what you’re getting at with your last sentence, so I’ll avoid touching on that at this time.

          • Greg says:

            Read the last two paragraphs of Mark Tooley’s article. That sums up the gist of my point as well.

          • Walker Brault says:

            Most people who are pushing for an Indigenous People’s day instead of Christopher Columbus day aren’t demonizing him, they just have a non-Eurocentric world view. And every time that I have learned about Christopher Columbus, it was about how he wanted to find a shorter route to the East, to trade, not to expand Christianity.

            Leif Erikson had “discovered” the Americas centuries earlier. If the southern/western Europeans of that time would have paid attention to the advancements of other cultures (discoveries of Vikings, Muslims, Chinese, etc.) they would have gotten much farther than they did by calling them demonic (the number 0 was outlawed for some time because it came from the Arabs).

        • Walker Brault says:

          That’s not a data point, it’s a story. One story does not a data point make, you must show a continued correlation and causation between the two.

          No matter what we do, things like this will still happen.
          Remember that shooting in Ottawa last week? The guy could have LEGALLY come into our country at any time, even without a passport, and done the same thing or something far worse. Not to mention the fact that the longest unprotected border in the world is the one between the US and Canada.

          You don’t say anything about your other link, although it is data. Just putting it out there does nothing. Am I supposed to assume that you think that Obama is having the right people deported or that most illegal immigrants are criminals and therefore we should deport them all and build a massive wall to keep them all out?

          Only 56% of illegal immigrants are from Mexico, the other 44% are from other countries, a good portion of them from Asia, just building a wall and adding more patrols along the border won’t do anything to stop those people who are coming in in a completely different way.

          No matter what we do, there will always be people coming into our country illegally. A good portion of illegal immigration is just people overstaying their visas, in other words, people who came here legally and just stay here.

          The only way that we can stop illegal immigration is to pick the country up and move it to mars and shoot down any spaceship trying to fly to us.

          • Greg says:

            It’s interesting that you facetiously posit shooting down any illegal spaceships trying to land on our new home Mars, but claim that building a wall and increasing the patrols along the border won’t do anything to stop illegal immigration here on earth. What utter nonsense. A wall and increased security may not be as effective as shooting everyone sneaking across our southern border, as we might do on Mars, but it will stop a lot of illegal immigration. You know. I know it. Everyone knows it.

          • Walker Brault says:

            You’re misrepresenting my argument. I never said a wall wouldn’t do anything. I said that it wouldn’t do anything about all the people coming in other ways such as over sea or over staying a visa.

            Building a wall isn’t as effective as you may think. We know that people are willing to climb over the sections with walls instead of walking around to an area without. We build a 40 ft wall, they get a 41 ft ladder or dig a 5 ft tunnel (probably a little deeper but still very fesable).

            If we had beefed up security those cops may very well be alive today, they also could very well been shot an hour later by a person born and raised here. Improving border security isn’t the main problem with what that article addresses, it’s reducing crime.
            Buffing up border security won’t stop everyone, no matter how hard we try. Reducing crime won’t keep all our cops alive. But neither of those mean that we shouldn’t try, there are just better ways of addressing the problems.

    • Namyriah says:

      Are you kidding, you think leftists have a “logic train”? More like a train wreck.

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