I was having a conversation with my son-in-law (at the time) about God. He told me God had never done anything for him. I replied that indeed He had, that God had kept him alive. He gave me a questioning look and I continued, “If not for God, I’d have killed you years ago,” and he knew I meant it. He had not been good to my daughter, and I was not happy with him.
There are two forces at work in the world: good and evil. Each of us has to make a choice daily as to which road we will take. Sometimes the choice is easy, and other times, it is not. Sometimes we make the right choice and sometimes we do not. Things are made more difficult when we do not receive praise or reward for making the right choices or we do not receive punishment or consequences for making the wrong choice.
First, we have to understand and agree that all things good originate with God and all evil originates with Satan. If you don’t or can’t agree with that then we have nothing further to discuss.
Whether we make the right or wrong choice, it is “our” choice. Self-restraint, personal responsibility, and self-reliance are all vital to a people living in a free society. Our founders understood a very basic principle. “Only a virtuous people are capable of freedom. As nations become more corrupt and vicious, they have more need of masters.” -Benjamin Franklin
I wrote a two-part article entitled “A Bridge Too Far.” I hope you’ll take the time to go back and read them because I detailed what Franklin meant by “virtuous.” Our language has evolved over the years and it does not have the same connotation today as then.
Franklin’s statement above deals with the two choices we have: we can control ourselves, or we can have someone (or something) control us. One of Paul Harvey’s famous sayings was that “With increased freedom and liberty we must have increased personal responsibility.” In Federalist 51, James Madison stated that “If men were angels, no government would be necessary.”
Of course, men are not angels, but that does not mean they are not capable of self-control and self-restraint. Our form of government was designed to allow for maximum liberty and limited control. The control was limited to protecting the rights and liberties of the citizens. How did we end up where the government decides what cars are legal to sell, which toilet, and light bulb, and which healthcare plan we MUST buy, just to name a few? Mostly not just how, but WHY?
Mankind is capable of truly horrible and sadistic brutality. The attempted extermination of Jews, the starving of the people in Ukraine, the tortures used in medieval times, all, in addition to the violence of war and conquering nations. It is little wonder we see some of the vile comments on social media— vocal insults leave no physical scars. However, regardless of whether we are vocally or physically abusive to each other, we return to the notion that Satan rules when we take God out of the equation.
As we look at our relatively short history, we have seen swings in the way the nation, in general, relates to God. The Great or American Enlightenment lasted about 100 years from 1714-1818 and played no small part in the Revolution and foundation of our Constitution and Republic. The Black Robe Regiment, preachers of the early 18th century, taught of personal responsibility, liberty, and God-given rights giving the people a feeling of purpose and broke the notion that the King was God’s chosen leader.
There was another shorter era during the Civil War, but then there was a concerted effort to remove God begun by the early progressives.
Sir William Blackstone’s philosophy and writings were infused with Judeo-Christian principles. The Ten Commandments are at the heart of Blackstone’s philosophy. Blackstone’s Commentaries were used as a basis for law and legal decisions. Blackstone heavily influenced the founders, and in some cases, is still quoted today. However, there was a concerted effort to replace Blackstone in the post Civil War law schools.
Blackstone based his principles on “Natural Law,” as in our Declaration’s assertion of “the laws of God and nature’s God.” The theory was that God created man with free will and also set him in a world with certain immutable laws of human nature. Man also had the god given ability to reason. Human laws are therefore to be the product of people comprehending God’s purposes and fashioning their own regulations of human conduct to reflect the Divine will.
In 1859, Darwin published The Origin of Species. People who could not bear to think of embracing God had been looking for something to anchor their beliefs. Darwinian evolution gave them just that.
The president of Harvard, Charles Eliot, hired Christopher Langdell as Dean of Harvard’s law school. He began to introduce evolution into the teaching of law, and to do this, he changed from using Blackstone’s Commentaries to using case law and studying the writings of judges. This began a slow change in American jurisprudence that would set the stage for progressive successes decades later. If people evolved, then so should the law.
Another notable influence in this time frame was SCOTUS Justice, Oliver Wendell Holmes. Serving on the highest court for 30 years (1902-1932), he penned an article in The Harvard Law Review 1897 titled “The Path Of The Law.” Holmes broke from Blackstone, and any idea morality and natural law and that truth was to be determined by judges. “I often doubt whether it would not be a gain if every word of moral significance could be banished from the law altogether, and other words adopted which could convey legal ideas uncolored by anything outside the law.”
Also, the era that brought us Woodrow Wilson also brought us John Dewey and his influence on education. Darwin was no small influence on Dewey who helped usher God out of education and evolution and situation ethics in. Government and elites became our “god,” telling us what was good and evil while spawning eugenics to control the quality of the population and the likes of prohibition to be our conscience rather than personal responsibility and self-control.
In the 1950s we had another resurgence of putting God back in our national lives, adding “In God we trust” as the national motto and to our money. “Under God” was added to the Pledge. However, the attacks on reading the Bible in school which began in the 1920s, revived in the 1960s along with the attacks on prayer. It has come to the point where a cross or nativity scene throws some into a conniption.
Is something like the 10 Commandments so offensive we must remove them? What is there about not stealing, lying, cheating and murdering so offensive? Perhaps it is the fact it comes from a higher being rather than ourselves?
It seems to this writer that the conclusion is rather basic: We as people need to have some sort of control over our actions. Ideally, this control comes from within. For instance, I did not kill my son-in-law— not because it was illegal, and I might go to prison, but because God tells me is it wrong and I stand to pay a much stiffer penalty than jail. Progressives, for the most part, cannot fathom the idea of God, so to them, control must come from government. Progressives are not against making life and death choices for others using eugenics, abortion, and other population control measures— thus they further the idea of taking the place of the Creator.
The departure from God in our society has been a slow deliberate one, one which we have embraced in many ways. It is my hope and prayer that we can stop and reverse this train before we run out of track.