ON THE NATURE OF OUR DECAY: A SEQUEL TO WHAT IS SPEAKING TRUTH TO POWER?

freedomconscienceWhen I posted WHAT IS SPEAKING TRUTH TO POWER?, that initiated a discussion between myself and   Keith DeHavelle provided good reasons (link here) for disagreeing with the following:

Nonetheless, BECAUSE OF WHAT THEY BELIEVE AND DO NOT BELIEVE, when non-Christians try to operate a constitutional republic, they will for the most part fail. Although non-Christians may have the right instincts, that is all they have, and the temptations of the flesh are mighty. (from here)

 observed:

This suggests a hypothesis: Non-Christians have done worse than Christians in the care and feeding of the United States’ Constitutional principles.

Observation: Apparently not. Almost everyone who has presided over and contributed to the loss of these principles has been Christian. Thus, I don’t think the hypothesis is supportable, as people (non-theist to Christian) each seem quite capable of pursuing other agendas which may conflict with the idea of a free-market Constitutional republic.  Sad, but quite evident. (from here)

Because  is so gracious, he disagreed reluctantly with my assertion. So why did he? Here are his words.

So how far apart are we on this topic, in reality? The only difference is whether being a Christian should be considered mandatory to re-establishing and maintaining the US’s guiding principles. I don’t see evidence suggesting that it is, and see the insistence that Christianity is the only way as (1) something of a distraction, and (2) leading in many cases to hostility toward people (like me) who would be allies. On most conservative forums, I don’t discuss religious issues, as even mentioning my own non-theism tends to cost me the audience. It is disappointing to me. (from here)

Because of our pride, we like to see our own views mirrored in others. Hence, too many of us only patronize those news outlets and bloggers that mirror our views. Thus, because of his non-theism,    risks ostracism, and that is not something I approve. Christianity requires the freedom to choose Christ Jesus, not a government that enforces my beliefs. What Christians desire from government is fundamental to freedom, the protection for everyone’s right to believe what they want — to follow the dictates of their own conscience.

Of course, the observation that those with an unusual set of beliefs, like ‘s, risk inappropriate ostracism, is nothing new. Nevertheless, in order to set the stage for what comes next, I think the reminder important.

Why is it we reject people whose views do not mirror our own? What we do not like is the implication we don’t measure up, and when someone chooses to be different from us, aren’t they implying they don’t like our choices?

Yet the truth is we don’t measure up. As a nation we are just coasting along, taking advantage of the momentum built up by those who went before us. Meanwhile, we ignore any unpleasant observations that might deflate our egos. Instead, we elect politicians and listen to advertisers who tell us how wonderful we are and how much we deserve.

When 18th Century Americans founded the United States, they tried to create a government suitable for followers of Christ Jesus. Today? We have no such thing. Instead, we retain vestiges of a Christian heritage. What is the difference? In a post that still receives numerous hits, DEISM AND THE FOUNDING FATHERS, I considered what some of those founders that many called Deists believed. Did they deny worthiness of Jesus’ teachings? No. Each of them saw great value in what Jesus taught. What these supposed Deists had trouble believing is that Jesus is God. Thus, both the Christians and the non-Christians founders recognized the value of Jesus’ moral teachings. Moreover, the educated people of that era had steeped themselves in the Bible. They had read the Bible. They were both educated with it and in it. So they understood what it meant to be a follower of Christ. Even the most serious doubters appreciated the significance of being born again in Christ Jesus.

In our era, relatively few people read the Bible. Even fewer study it, but that is what a Christian does. Christians educate their children with the Bible, and they study it themselves.  Consider these passages.

Here Moses instructs Israel.

Deuteronomy 6:4-9 Good News Translation (GNT)

“Israel, remember this! The Lord—and the Lord alone—is our God. Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength. Never forget these commands that I am giving you today. Teach them to your children. Repeat them when you are at home and when you are away, when you are resting and when you are working. Tie them on your arms and wear them on your foreheads as a reminder. Write them on the doorposts of your houses and on your gates.

And here the Apostle Paul instructs Timothy.

2 Timothy 3:10-17 Good News Translation (GNT)
Last Instructions

10 But you have followed my teaching, my conduct, and my purpose in life; you have observed my faith, my patience, my love, my endurance, 11 my persecutions, and my sufferings. You know all that happened to me in Antioch, Iconium, and Lystra, the terrible persecutions I endured! But the Lord rescued me from them all. 12 Everyone who wants to live a godly life in union with Christ Jesus will be persecuted; 13 and evil persons and impostors will keep on going from bad to worse, deceiving others and being deceived themselves. 14 But as for you, continue in the truths that you were taught and firmly believe. You know who your teachers were, 15 and you remember that ever since you were a child, you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to give you the wisdom that leads to salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. 16 All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful for teaching the truth, rebuking error, correcting faults, and giving instruction for right living, 17 so that the person who serves God may be fully qualified and equipped to do every kind of good deed.

Do we fill our children’s lives with Christian instruction? Do we set a proper example of Christian conduct? Do we seek to let the Word of Christ dwell within us — doing everything in the name of the Lord Jesus (Colossians 3:16-17)? If not, are we truly disciples of Christ?

What happened? Sometime in the not so distant past (but much longer than a man lives), the people of our nation began to turn their eyes from God. Instead, in slowly increasing numbers Americans started putting their hopes in an idol of their own making — their government. So slow we did not notice — were even indifferent to — the stench of our decaying morals.

Absurd you say? Who trusts a politician? Even so we trust politicians to educate our children. We give our children over to a system design by politicians for instruction, instruction that warps their souls. For instead of God’s commands, our children’s teachers fill their days with many strange isms. So it is our children know of multiculturalism, environmentalism, secularism, collectivism, and so forth. Yet they know almost nothing of Christ Jesus.

In WHAT IS SPEAKING TRUTH TO POWER?, I suggested it is useless to speak truth to the principalities, the powers, and the dark rulers of this world. Why? Christ Jesus commanded us to spread His Gospel (Matthew 28:16-20).  Ultimately, God is the real power, but He acts through fathers and mothers — friends and neighbors. Unless we take our duty as Christians seriously, we will continue to see our nation’s slow moral decay, and with our sin of neglect we will lead those who follow us into tyranny.

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About Citizen Tom

I am just an average citizen interested in promoting informed participation in the political process.
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4 Responses to ON THE NATURE OF OUR DECAY: A SEQUEL TO WHAT IS SPEAKING TRUTH TO POWER?

  1. I enjoyed reading this. And thanks for the pingback!

  2. Thank you for the kind and thoughtful treatment.

    You know, looking back upon your Deism post (about the religion of the founding fathers), it occurs to me that you would likely, based upon my own writings, have described me as a Deist from the viewpoint of many years later. Alternatively, each of the three founders you discuss (Washington, Franklin, Jefferson) could easily be non-theists like myself.

    There is, as we’ve discussed before, a distinction between the “public personae” of political figures, which have generally been quite overtly religious, and their private philosophies which are sometimes less so. This is not always different; Ronald Reagan, for example, was quite devout bother privately and publicly. But for years — centuries, really — it was necessary to be publicly religious in order to be seen to be fit as a leader in the US. You would not be criticized for being Christian here. The newer sort of evangelical faith was accepted by both political sides; our first evangelical president so far as I can recall was Jimmy Carter (for whom Pat Robertson campaigned).

    This attitude is being replaced, in recent decades, with a media-led outright hostility to Christianity. And in a curious juxtaposition, the modern trend is one of supplanting it in some respects with Islam as the protected faith. We now have officially appointed US Attorneys (such as Ed Killian) warning us that we are subject to prosecution if we write comments on social media considered demeaning to Islam. This was not something ever officially sanctioned by the US when it came to Christianity. In the described presentation, the US Attorney in Tennessee makes the assertion that posting something that is offensive to Muslims violates their civil rights, and is subject to prosecution. An excerpt:

    “We need to educate people about Muslims and their civil rights, and as long as we’re here, they’re going to be protected.”

    Killian said Internet postings that violate civil rights are subject to federal jurisdiction.

    “That’s what everybody needs to understand,” he said.

    There is now a “civil right” against being offended discerned by the current administration, exactly in accordance with Sharia (and United Nations) principles. Interestingly, Killian makes quite a few false statements in his presentation, if he is quoted accurately. Most are aimed against Christians. It is interesting to speculate whether US Atty Killian is subject to prosecution for violating the “civil rights” of Christians with his offensive statements.

    Ah, but do not hold your breath while waiting; Christians are not afforded such rights by our uneven current government. The change in attitudes means that professing a Christian faith is becoming more and more risky. Thus, in many circles, you are at risk of being ostracized for your beliefs just as I am in other venues. Would that this was not a part of America’s modern culture (and government) for either of us!

    And it brings me back to your central topic: We are hamstrung, those of us concerned about the rise of jihadism as a threat to Western civilization, by an ever-increasing environment of rules and attitudes that make it dangerous to speak that truth to those in power — or publicly at all.

    You mentioned “many strange ‘isms” and I completely agree. You’re familiar, I think, with the short film Make Mine Freedom from 1948 that touches eloquently on that topic. In that post, I wound up in a lively discussion of racism — because the film showed black and which schoolchildren together in 1948. But its message about “isms” is an important one, and needs to be spoken, even if the “power” (from government to bureaucracy to most of the media) seems thoroughly infected with them.

    Best wishes.

    ===|==============/ Keith DeHavelle

    • Citizen Tom says:

      Thank you for your great comment and for agreeing to peacefully disagree.

      Sorry the spam filter dropped the various versions of your comment into the “moderation queue.” Hope I got the right one.

      Off to work.

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