14 July is celebrated in France as Bastille Day. It commemorates the storming of the Bastille and the launch of The French Revolution.
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A Time of Turmoil
The French Revolution was one of the most influential events of modern history. The ten-year period from 1789 to 1799 when France went from a Monarchy to a Republic, to a Reign of Terror, to Dictatorship was one of the most tumultuous times in European history.
Myth and Reality
Much myth and romantic legend has been written on what some politicians would like the French Revolution to have been, but the reality was that the French Revolution was a monstrous horror. In the name of "liberty, equality, fraternity or death!" over 40,000 people lost their heads to the guillotine, 300,000 people were publically executed by firing squads, drownings and other methods of mass murder and ultimately many millions died in the 25 years of war and upheavals that resulted.
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Despite anti-Christian prejudices, it is to the teachings and example of Jesus Christ that women owe most of their freedoms. The advent of Christianity raised the dignity, freedom and rights of women to levels never before known in any other culture or religion. Indeed, as one historian put it: “The birth of Jesus was the turning point in the history of women.”
As a result of the teachings and example of Jesus Christ, women in much of the world today, especially in the West, enjoy far more privileges and rights than at any other time in history.
Women in the Middle East
By way of contrast, one only needs look at how women are treated in those countries where Christianity has had little influence, for example in the Muslim Middle East. Christian women have been publicly stripped and flogged in Sudan for failing to wear the Islamic Abaya (a black garment that covers the head, face and the entire body). Under the Taliban in Afghanistan women were forbidden to go to school, to work outside the home, or even to walk without their whole face and head being covered under the Abaya. Women have been arrested and jailed in Iran for wearing lipstick. In Saudi Arabia, it is illegal for women to drive a motor vehicle.
9 November, marks the 30th Anniversary of the Fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989.
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A speech at Westminster College, Fulton, Missouri, 5 March 1946, declared, “An Iron Curtain has descended across the continent”. From Stettin in the North to Trieste in the South barbed wire and barricades, walls and machine gun towers were going up, sealing off the captive nations occupied by the Soviet Union from their neighbours in the West. The Iron Curtain divided a continent and trapped hundreds of millions of people under communism. Soviet dictator, Joseph Stalin, declared that the Second World War was not a disaster but “a great opportunity” to extend communism into the very heart of Europe.
The First Bill of Rights
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"…I will make you a great nation; I will bless you and make your name great; and you shall be a blessing…and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.'" Genesis 12:1-3
15 June marks the 804th anniversary of the proclamation of Magna Carta. Magna Carta has been one of the most valuable exports of Great Britain to the rest of the world. Magna Carta has truly blessed all the families of the earth. Magna Carta was the first Statute, the first written restriction on the powers of government.
Excellence in Engineering
Even secular architects and engineers have to admit that the greatest examples of excellence in architecture are the cathedrals.
Extraordinary Sacrifice and Dedication
When you consider the limited technological resources available to architects, builders and craftsmen, who built the medieval cathedrals - with wooden scaffolding, hand tools and boats that transported the stones from quarries to the building sites, each of these cathedrals represent staggering sacrifices and amazing achievements.
Many of the great cathedrals of Britain were built a thousand years ago! These cathedrals are far more than monuments to a vibrant and living Faith. They have been meeting places for generations of Christian communities, the focal point of Christian work and witness throughout the Middle Ages to the present day.
America's Greatest Theologian
Jonathan Edward (1703-1758) played a leading role in The Great Evangelical Awakening (1735-1744) and in defending the Reformed Faith against the attacks of Deists and Arminians. Jonathan Edwards has been recognised, even by secular historians, as one of the most original thinkers, and influential intellectuals in the history of New England and of American theology. He has also been described as: "America's greatest theologian."
Certainly the writings of Jonathan Edwards have attracted more attention and study in England, Europe, and further afield, than any other American theologian over the last two and a half centuries.
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"There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way of death."
The “cattle killing” national suicide of the Xhosa in 1856 in Transkei, now the Eastern Cape of South Africa, was one of history's strangest socio-economic disasters. Within twelve months the population of Xhosaland plummeted by 80%, mostly through starvation. This bizarre episode was initiated by the niece of a witchdoctor. Through mass hysteria the Xhosa convinced themselves of the need to kill all their cattle, destroy all their food and sow no crops for the future. It was economic suicide and it led to mass starvation.
1989 was a momentous year. Across the world, from Trafalgar to Tiananmen Square, voices long repressed began to be heard. Unrest became pandemic. Nation after nation began to shake off the shackles that had bound them and assert their human rights and religious freedom. Those were heady days.
Decades of Bible smuggling and Gospel radio broadcasts, behind the Iron Curtain, had supported the tenacious persecuted Christians who were winning their neighbours and even some of their persecutors, to Christ.
Throughout the English speaking world, the 11th November is observed as a Remembrance Day to solemnly recall the end of hostilities of World War One at the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month of 1918. In time, it has come to be observed as a Memorial Day for all who died in both World Wars and in other subsequent conflicts.
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"Why should I care about dates and dead people?"
Frequently we hear expressions of exasperation against the teaching of history.
"What possible relevance could all those events of long ago have for me today?"
Real History Has Great Relevance
Well, take 9/11. Did those responsible just choose an arbitrary date for the aircraft hijackings and terror attacks on 11 September 2001?
The Strategic Significance of September 11
Those who know the history of Islamic Jihad can point out that September 11 is a most significant date for Jihadists. It was on 11 September 1565 that the Ottoman Turkish siege of Malta was decisively defeated.