Last year I wrote about the natural rights we possess, where they came from, and why we have them. But over the last several weeks, as I lay in a hospital, I had lots of time to think—and of course watch movies. There wasn’t much else I could do. What I noticed made me realize I’d missed an important point about our natural rights. This article addresses that omission.
At the Movies
We’ll start with the thing that started me thinking—movies. I love old movies. Just ask my wife. I surely drive her crazy sometimes. Those movies tell stirring stories with compelling characters—unlike most movies today that try to wow us with special effects. What struck me most was the morality underlying many of these older films. I cannot begin to name all of the movies that ended with hymns such as The Battle Hymn of the Republic, Shall We Gather at the River, Onward Christian Soldier and such. Most had very little connection with religion; they merely tried to consider some aspect of life.
This was also the era of the great Biblical epics such as The Ten Commandments, The King of Kings, Ben Hur, Quo Vadis, The Robe, The Greatest Story Ever Told, and so many more (Lilies of the Field also comes to mind). Many of the films just mentioned were made and remade in both silent and sound versions.
Compare them to today’s movies, which often glorify evil or work to undermine biblical values. A few recent examples include; It: Chapter II, John Wick: Chapter 3, Resident Evil, and Frozen. And who can forget all the slasher movies featuring characters such as Jason, Chuckie, and Freddie, or today’s zombie craze. The difference could not be starker.
Why the Change?
I believe man has moved from following God’s values to creating his own. Take society’s views today on abortion, same sex marriage, and the transgender insanity as examples. Man defining what life is and when it begins. Man defining his most basic relationship in a way lying outside both the laws of nature and Nature’s God. Finally, man creating his own identity and defining what he chooses to be—thereby becoming his own creator. In each case man either putting himself up on a par with God, or bringing God down to him. Both are wrong.
This change is the fruit of such ‘enlightenment’ writers as Machiavelli, Hobbes, Spinoza, Locke, and Rousseau—a subject of my next book. All these author’s ideas spring from the same pagan root underlying the ancient state religion societies such as Rome, Egypt, and Greece. Spinoza’s work is especially relevant as he attempts to change Christianity by removing the difference between Creator and creation, a childish notion at best. Every creation has a creator, and I dare anyone to find an example contradicting that idea. When man creates his own values, he goes wherever he pleases. Man’s reason is replaced by his appetite.
Our Greatest Natural Right
These thoughts bring me back to this article. What is our most important right? Many would say our right to life; true from a strictly material perspective. Without that right none of the others matter. From an individual perspective those natural rights include not having our life, ability to know God, doing good (exercising free will), or obtaining God’s happiness taken from us. As a single society of believers they also include not having creation’s dominion, or our abilities to procreate, assemble, and communicate taken away. However, these rights all have their basis in the material world. They guide us in how we are to be in the world, but not of it. Each right is also God’s gift and comes with a corresponding moral duty.
But what about the spiritual side? Are there natural rights in that area as well? I believe the answer is yes, there is at least one. It is the natural right not to have our love for God denied us—that is, His grace. Without this right none of the rest matter, because the earlier ones pertain only to the material world—they provide the means for attaining the spiritual. This last natural right provides the basis for attaining eternal happiness—true peace. It is the ultimate natural right. This spiritual right is the one most frequently under attack within our society today. We’ll end by briefly looking at its greatest threats.
America’s Great Awakenings
I believe America has had three great awakening opportunities so far. The first occurred in the 1730’s and led to our War for Independence and America’s founding. The second began in the 1790’s lasting into the 1830’s. This second awakening led to the War Between the States and the eventual recognition of equality for minorities and women. Freedom does not mean you get what you want, only that you have the same opportunity to pursue it. The world owes us nothing.
The third opportunity came in the 1930’s during the Great Depression and subsequent world war. Unlike the first two opportunities, where we as individuals and a single people turned toward God, this time we turned toward man—through government. This was true in both Europe and North America. It is also when movies began to change, with the creation of noir films and other such genres exploring man’s darker side. I’m not saying movies led America in that direction. Rather they reflected when and how we changed as a people.
Witness FDR’s new deal. It was really a very old deal, one uttered by every pagan empire ever existing, and we as a people chose to submit. If you think otherwise, I suggest you read an analysis of that period such as Burton Folsom, Jr’s excellent work New Deal or Raw Deal before going too far down that path.
Our Next Opportunity
History repeats itself and I believe we are fast approaching another great awakening opportunity. I also believe the die is cast as to what it will be, another choice between turning to man or God. This time the choice will be between the pagan ideas and principles underlying socialism, progressivism, Islam and the like; or following the Judeo-Christian principles derived from God’s word. America thrived because we honored God and did our best to live out His will. Even though we messed it up at times, we still received His Blessing because we tried.
I mentioned earlier all natural rights come with a moral duty. If we accept our right to love and honor God, then don’t we take on a moral duty to obey Him? One cannot serve two masters. We cannot profess to love God but obey man. The only choice is serving either man or God. Satan owns the fence. Which will we choose as individuals and a people? It is never too late, because God is always right beside us. But the time is fast approaching, and we must be ready to choose.
 Wolf, Dan, A Handbook of Natural Rights, Living Rightly Publications, 2018.
 Folsom, Burton, Jr., New Deal or Raw Deal: How FDR’s Economic Legacy has Damaged America, Threshold Editions, 2008.