America the Godless?

I know. If you’re like me just seeing the question grates against my nature. America is great because it is good. But given the age we live in and this year’s events, we should at least stop and reflect upon the question.[1]

These articles used stewardship to frame the discussion. Stewardship is a duty—our duty. We’ve considered what this means. Its relevance to relationships; family, governance, and religion. We are left with just a couple of topics to finish the discussion. Those are society itself and creation. The first relates to us. Governance and religion’s leaders come from us. If we lose morality, then why should we expect to find it in our leaders? The second concerns what God created for man, granting him dominion over it.

God’s Plan Prevails

The last couple of articles looked at today’s corruption among governance and religious leaders. But no matter how corrupt man becomes; God’s ends are achieved—and those against Him follow their leader into Hell. (Rev. 20:10-15)

Magna Charta

We can look at our own history for proof. We previously wrote about Stephen Langton and Magna Charta. England’s bishops and some of its barons confronting a king’s corruption. But Magna Charta’s rights were not new. They reaffirmed rights recognized earlier by Edward I in the 11th century and Henry I in the 12th.

We don’t know when these rights were first recognized, but it could have been as early as the 6th century with the English Isle’s Christianization under pope Gregory I. From these efforts came the likes of St. Boniface (d. 672), the Venerable Bede (d. 735), and Alcuin (d. 804). If you don’t recognize these names, you should and I urge you to look them up. Whatever their source, Magna Charta is a medieval document where each side’s rights and duties are spelled out. These rights and duties express Biblical principles which is why they work.

Colonial America

Advance about 550 years. England’s governing and religious powers are once again corrupt. Some colonial upstarts took on one of the world’s greatest military powers of its day—and won. Our Founder’s ideas were shaped by religious leaders such as Cotton Mather, James Davenport, Samuel Davies, George Whitefield, Jonathan Edwards, and many others. The good fruit those ideas produced helped create prosperity the likes the world has never seen before.

Today

We once again face a great deal of corruption among our governance and religious leaders. Obama was right about one thing, there wasn’t a smidgen of corruption in his administration. Recently released documents are revealing how corrupt his entire administration was. The fix was also in to give Hillary Clinton the presidential nod. But along the way a man named Trump was elected. God often uses the most unlikely people to accomplish his will when leaders turn away from Him. I thank God every day for President Trump and those who support him. But he is a reprieve. We still have much to do.

Stewardship’s Relations

We’ve looked at the rights and duties within Godly relationships.[2] From family we have the right to procreate and duty to provide. As a society we have the rights to assemble and communicate. Those come with a duty to support the common good. What we see this week in the current protests is exercising rights without recognizing duty. These acts are therefore immoral. With governance we have the right to justice and a duty to serve. Those governor’s standing idly by while this week’s protests occur are not leading. They are not serving those they are to protect. They encourage lawlessness. Their actions are therefore also immoral. We’ll come to religious power in a moment.

Concerning our actions we have the right to choose—to make our own choices. This right comes with the duty to respect others; another reason why this week’s protests express a false idea. We also have a right to know God, but with this right comes the duty to obey Him. This is where religious power comes in. One way parents provide for their children is overseeing their education. The principles necessary for a moral society come from Biblical principles the church is to teach. Not abortion, nor same sex marriage. Not gender neutrality, or any of the other claptrap accepted today. Those reflect man’s values. Values contradictory to God’s and therefore immoral.

Why It Matters

I agree we have a natural right to education, but it is not education as the left defines it. Education in false ideas and ideology is not education, but indoctrination leading to man’s separation from God. We need to return to the original idea of education through teaching Biblical principles, provided under the parent’s care for their children. I can just hear the left’s support for this idea now. Their desire is to separate church from state. America’s public schools today embrace immoral ideas. They therefore teach corruption and are immoral institutions.

Our rights to know and choose (act or do), lead us to a further right—a right to happiness. This happiness does not come from material things, government, a church hierarchy or building; but only from a right relationship with God, and then with man. That right to happiness comes with the duty of charity to others. Real charity, not the giving of stuff we often pass off as charity today.[3]

These rights and duties have their basis in man’s nature—the way God created us. We have a right to love God. This right comes with the duty to have a relationship with Him—what God desires for us. This leads us to a brief look at creation and dominion. We’ll then finish with looking at Christianity in America today.

Creation and Dominion

God created everything that’s ever been created.(Gen. 2:1-2) All life comes from Him. This includes man. As all life is God’s gift, we have a duty to protect it.(Gen. 9:3-6) We belong to God through His act of creation. In this man has no choice. However, man chooses whether he obeys God or not. This arises from our right to choose noted above. Receiving life though comes with the duty to fulfill your purpose. That purpose is to do good in the form of charity, by both knowing and doing what God asks of us. This requires we each have a relationship with Him. We have the right to choose otherwise, but such an act is immoral as God is the source of all morality.

God gave man dominion over His creation.(Gen. 1:26-8) He’s only been given dominion to use it, which comes with the duty of stewardship to protect it—because it does not belong to man. Even the land is not man’s.(Lev. 25:23) No one can take anything from creation with them when they leave. If you think you’ve found a way, I’d love to hear it.

Our duty as creation’s stewards means we are to care for it today, so it in turn can provide for those who come after us. This is simply a form of charity across time. So how well are we doing today?

Christianity in America

Last fall, the Pew Research Center released its latest report on American Christianity.[4] There are just three items I want to mention. All are relevant to the subject at hand. First, those identifying themselves as Christians declined to 65%, while at the same time those describing their religious identity as “nothing in particular” grew from 17 to 26%. Church attendance continues to decline.

Second, this shift is most pronounced among Millennials. Those born from 1981 to 1996. Only 49% of this group now identify themselves as Christian. We as parents have failed in our duty to educate our children, and the church failed its duty to teach Biblical principles. But this did not occur in a vacuum. Government backed public schooling and judicial malfeasance facilitated the corruption. Another immoral act.

The decline in those identifying themselves as Christians occurs across gender and all races, education levels, and geographic regions. It also occurs among those identifying with a particular political party. This is the third item. Those identifying themselves as Christians among republicans decreased by 7% and 17% among democrats. “Religious ‘nones’ now make up fully one-third of Democrats. And about six-in-ten people who identify with or lean toward the Democratic Party say they attend religious services no more than a few times a year.”[5] This casts light on the democratic governor’s actions both during the pandemic and riots. But make no mistake, the same trends are present among those identifying as republicans. How can a society remain moral detached from God?

The Good News

There is good news, and it is appropriate to reflect upon it as part of Pentecost. We have a choice. We can fight to restore our heritage coming from God, just as Stephan Langton and America’s Founders did. God’s got this. He always has and always will. All that is required of us is to stand and do what we’ve been called to do; repent, pray to Him, and overturn the present corruption by leading others into the light. Live taking actions according to His will, principles, and values rather than man’s.

Becoming and doing good is the only road to true happiness, but this requires becoming a good steward—performing our duty. Electing leaders of good character this fall is a step. Choosing whether we follow man’s immoral actions based on their power alone is another.(3 John 1:11) The choices are ours.

Footnotes:

[1] Images. Ralph Northam, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ralph_Northam#/media/File:Governor_Ralph_Northam_Gives_Inaugural_Address_(39348612584)_(cropped).jpg, Andrew Cuomo, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Andrew_Cuomo, and Gavin Newsom, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Governor_of_California#/media/File:Gavin_Newsom_official_photo_(cropped).jpg. All accessed May, 2020.

[2] For more see Wolf, Dan, A Handbook of Natural Rights, Living Rightly Publications, 2018.

[3] Ibid, pp. 134-40.

[4] Pew Research Center, In the U.S., Decline of Christianity Continues at Rapid Pace, October 17, 2019, https://www.pewforum.org/2019/10/17/in-u-s-decline-of-christianity-continues-at-rapid-pace/. Accessed May, 2020.

[5] Ibid.

printAmerica the Godless?
Dan Wolf

About Dan Wolf

Dan Wolf is a researcher and analyst; examining complex, abstract topics. His writing’s premise is based on one simple idea. We do not receive the benefits of God’s gifts unless we are turned toward Him. Each generation needs to learn this lesson to pass on what’s important. What are those gifts? Freedom, faith, and grace among others. Our Founders considered education, religion, morality, and virtue to be the cornerstones for any successful society. Success requires an education in both the languages of reason and faith, reason alone is not enough. Unfortunately, our education system today no longer teaches what we need to be successful, so we risk losing our way. But it is not too late. In the end we each have the freedom to choose, and the ability to learn. There are many who have already blazed a trail for us; we only need the will to embrace the challenge and make the effort. Together we will restore the societal foundation that our Founder’s, and many after them, fought and died for. The choice is ours. My goal is to assist you on your way. His site is at:  http://www.livingrightly.net/