by Robert Arvay, Contributing Writer
We can, and should, separate church from state, but we can no more separate faith in God from public policy than we can separate rights from the Constitution.
The inception of the United States of America is rooted in two opposing philosophies. One of them is the Greek tradition of democracy and reason; the other is the Hebrew tradition of faith and discipline. Or, one might ask, are they really opposed?
These two philosophies somehow fused during the years that saw Christianity rise from an obscure cult of Jews into a major world religion. During that time and later, the Greek idea of democracy gradually took ever firmer hold in Europe, which alongside Christianity, began its thousand year journey toward parliamentary democracy.
This unnoticed revolution took hundreds of years to work its way into the psyche of western thinkers. The pinnacle of that revolution was the founding of the United States.
While many secularists deny that America was founded as a Christian nation, the evidence is just too overwhelming to draw any other rational conclusion. Yes, many of the Founders were Deists, not Christians, but all of them were so well versed in the Bible that their writings are saturated with references to the God of Abraham. The Judeo-Christian influence on their thinking was a dominant factor in the formation of our country. Not one of their statements of principle comes from any other major religious tradition.
Despite the fusion of the Greek and Hebrew worldviews, despite their being joined in the formation of the idea that, “all men are created equal, endowed by their creator with certain inalienable rights,” despite all that, the two worldviews never quite completed their merger. They remained quietly at odds with each other for centuries during a period of truce.
That truce is over. America is once again separating, philosophically speaking, into two warring factions.
One of them is the familiar Christian faith, along with its Jewish root, the belief in a creator God who intervenes in the lives of individuals and nations, and who reveals to us what is morally right, and what is morally depraved.
The other is the secular worldview, which combines atheism and naturalist-materialism. This worldview holds that there is no credible evidence of God, and therefore no reason to believe in what it calls the myths of Christianity. That view avers that nature is all that there is, and that nature is composed only of material governed by mathematical rules.
Such worldviews have consequences. One of the consequences of the Christian worldview is that all humans are regarded as specially created by God for a divine purpose, and are therefore to be treasured in their own right, not at the whim of an earthly ruler.
The consequences of secularism are much darker. While one of the tenets of secularism is that, “Man is the measure of all things,” natural-materialism considers humans to be nothing more than a happenstance by-product of natural processes. If we are considered to be nothing more than biological processes, doomed to oblivion in an uncaring universe, then that cannot help but shape social policy, one that instead of being humanist, is inhumane.
That dark effect has not yet reached its nadir, but only because the old moral traditions are still deeply embedded in our culture. They will not disappear overnight, but with time, the Biblical underpinnings of our culture will continue to erode. Legalized abortion is only one visible effect. It has already redefined what it is to be human, defining it downward. We have seen only the beginning.
As American society turns further away from God, so it will also turn further away from human rights, from liberty and freedom, and toward tyranny.
The monstrous tyrannies of the mid twentieth century serve as dire warnings. Communism and fascism massacred untolled numbers in Europe, and the imperialism of a false god (emperor) murdered millions in Asia . All were based in a world view that considered individual humans to have no sovereignty, no inherent rights of their own. People were deemed to be simply tools of the state, to be sent to their deaths by the millions, in the pursuit of evil purposes.
Faith is not, of course, a political tool. We do not embrace it for political purposes. That, indeed, would be contrary to what faith in God really is.
Instead, faith is embedded in our human nature. Birds fly, fish swim, and humans worship God. We freely choose to accept faith or to reject it. In doing so, we also choose the consequences, which are either humanity or inhumanity.
Faith is not contrary to reason. True, we can no more reason our way to faith than we can count by ones to infinity. In both cases, we get there all at once. Faith gives context to reason. It affirms that our lives have a plan, a purpose and a meaning far beyond merely the biological. Our deeds have eternal consequence.
Apart from faith, nothing makes sense. Apart from faith, there is no plan, no purpose, no meaning.
Natural materialism strays so far from reason as to even deny that free will exists. Free will makes us into independent, sovereign entities, capable of choosing other than as nature would dictate. Therefore, natural materialism falls apart as soon as it accepts that free will is our nature. Free will cannot be the product of a cold, uncaring universe; it can only be the gift of God creating us in His own image and likeness.
Faith will not destroy reason but uphold it. Faith will not conquer democracy, but give it meaning.
There should be no war between reason and faith, but those who have rejected faith are drawing the battle lines. History is about to repeat itself, but the future is ours.