How Did We Get Here?
The nightly news has become like the proverbial train wreck. You want to avert your eyes in horror, but you just can't seem to look away. And the subject matter that now drives public debate has become more and more visceral and devisive over the past few years. Gay marriage, radical islamic terrorism, racist cops, transgender bathrooms, gun violence, and whether Tom Brady should take his "Deflategate" suspension to the Supreme Court, fill the airwaves with angry rhetoric from both sides. Politicians fiddle with the "Blame Game" while America burns.
The older generation mourns the passing of America's greatness, while much of the younger generation, having been raised to focus on the injustices inherent in human existence, ask "When was America ever great?" And the question on everyone's mind? How do we fix this?
It has been said, "If you don't know where you've been, you don't know where you are, and if you don't know where you are, you won't know where you are going." So to understand where we are, we have to look back at where we came from.
Our Founding Fathers came from a diverse religious and philosophical background, but for the most part they shared a common worldview. They believed that there was an Intelligent Designer behind all things and that mankind would one day give an account to Him. They recognized that mankind's liberty was found in understanding and abiding by the "natural law" that was evident in Creation. They based the Declaration of Independence upon the fact that we are "endowed by our Creator with certain inalienable rights..." and they saw their acceptance of "natural law" as the groundwork for an ordered and free society.
They understood that freedom demanded that individual's submit themselves to a "social contract" that would guide and govern their actions, and for the most part, they found the terms of this contract in the biblical mandates of the Judeo-Christian tradition.
In Colossians 2:8, the Apostle Paul warns believers against those that would "spoil" them, or take them captive, through philosophy and vain deceit. I believe that this is just what has happened to Americans over the past 150 years. They have been "spoiled," taken captive by philosophies that have robbed them of their freedom and undermined their peace. Let me explain:
There are four primary philosophies accepted by Americans today that are the underlying cause of much of the turmoil that we see in society.
1. Naturalism - the belief that there is a rational, natural explanation for all things occurring in nature. Belief in any outside, supernatural force, such as God, is simply superstition and is no more than ignorant man's explanation for things he does not understand. The pillar upon which this philosophy stands is Darwin's theory of evolution.
2. Humanism - the belief that man should be free from any superstitious moral shackles that would hinder his finding satisfaction and contentment. He should be free to do whatever makes him happiest.
3. Relativism - no one has the right to judge another person's "truth." Each individual must determine what is right and true for himself, without judgment of the determination of others. Since there is no prevailing authority outside of man, he is only responsible for and to himself.
4. Fatalism - Since there is nothing beyond the natural, with death comes simple annihilation. Therefore, we should live life for the moment and not look for anything of lasting or eternal significance.
Over the last 150 years, these philosophies have gained widespread acceptance, sadly, even among those who claim to believe in the God of the Bible. This underlying world-view is the reason why there is very little substantial difference between the political parties. The only real difference between them is whose self-interest they serve.
The conflict arises over issues like abortion, because where is the point of compromise between those who believe that human life is created in the image of God and is highly valuable and those who believe that any restriction on a woman's right to do as she sees fit is a hardship that society has no right to place upon her.
The discussion about gay marriage and transgender issues reveal an abandonment of "nature itself" and the conviction of humanists and relativists that we have no moral right to tell anyone that anything they do is wrong.
This explains why our president doesn't like to use the phrase "radical Islamic terrorism." Its not because he is a Muslim sympathizer. It is because he is an avowed "relativist." His worldview demands that he try to understand why people come to believe that they need to do these things.
What we are seeing is the natural decay of human civilization that always results when man abandons God and the moral guidelines that He has laid down.
How do we change things? We remember life's two most important facts: 1. There is a God. And 2. You're not Him.
Then we look to Him for the hope and change that He offers. A genuine encounter with Jesus Christ will change your worldview and people who have encountered Him can change the world.