IN GOD WE TRUST
The Pitched Battle for the Soul of
Copyright � 2007 Victor Shane, all
the Cultural Stalemate:
the culture war reaches its boiling point, conservative Americans find
themselves on the horns of a dilemma. The nature of that dilemma—the
problem that is paralyzing Christianity today—can be understood in the
WRONG WITH THIS PICTURE?
Engineer:.......There is a right way and a wrong
way of building a skyscraper!
There is no “right way,” there is no “wrong
way”! “Right” and “wrong”
are situational and depend on one's point of view!
Engineer:........But if you build it the wrong
way, it will fall down!
Well, ok, fine, that's YOUR opinion and YOU are welcome to it, but
please don't try to force your worldview on other people!
(B) WHAT'S WRONG
WITH THIS PICTURE?
Christian:........God says abortion and
homosexuality are wrong!
There is no God and no such thing as “wrong” either!
Carl Sagan says cosmos is all there is, Darwin says we are accidents,
Einstein says everything is relative, quantum mechanics says reality is
observer-dependent, Karl Marx says ethics are situational, Kinsey says
morality is socially construed and the ACLU says right and wrong depend on
one's point of view!
Christian:........But we believe abortion and
homosexuality will destroy the fabric of American society and expose it to
the judgments of God!
Well, ok, fine, that's YOUR belief system, YOUR truth claim and YOU
are welcome to it! But there are
many other truth claims just as valid as yours, so keep your “morality”
this analogy (A) and (B)
similar controversies, the difference being that the engineer can ground his
argument in the nature of the physical world (laws of physics), but up to
now Christians have not been able to do something similar.
then? what are we to think? Is the Judeo-Christian
ethic grounded in the nature of the physical world, or is it stuff and
nonsense invented by some long dead “bigoted and homophobic
patriarchy,” as some radical feminists claim?
what about the Ten Commandments? What can we infer from the repetition of
the words, you shall not ... you shall not, in
the Decalogue? Obviously the
repetition of the words, you shall not ....you shall not,
presupposes a tendency to the contrary, i.e., “something”
in human nature that would tend to encourage murder, stealing, adultery,
covetousness, etc. But what?
Christians explain that “something” in rational/scientific
terms and go on the offensive in the culture war? NO! At the present time Christians
don’t seem to be able to explain themselves in rational/scientific
terms! THAT, is exactly what is paralyzing
Christianity today in the arena of academia in particular!
failure of the conservative right to show correlation between the
Judeo-Christian ethic and the nature of the physical world gives the
impression that Christianity is driven by “backward superstition” whereas atheism is
driven by “enlightened science.” In reality the reverse is true:
● Carl Sagan’s statement, delivered like a salvo at the
onset of his PBS Cosmos series
(“Cosmos is all there is, or was, or ever will be,”) ranks as
one of the most intolerant and arrogant pronouncements in history! Spoken from a posture
of superhuman infallibility, it smacks of absolutism that lies outside the
realm of scientific investigation and falsification. So then why did he
utter it? Why would any “scientist” make an overarching and
careless statement like that?
himself never claimed to know how life started on earth. Even today there
isn’t a scientist on earth who can explain the origins of life.
himself was incensed (steaming mad!) to find out that people were drawing
ridiculous analogies between physical and moral relativity.
“quantum indeterminacy” does not imply a lawless subnature in
which anything goes! While individual quantum events may, from an
anthropocentric and purely human perspective, appear to behave in
indeterminate and unpredictable ways, sufficiently large collections of
quantum events behave in very predictable ways, otherwise science
wouldn’t have a leg to stand on—scientists would not be in a
position to predict anything, let alone design such things as satellites,
atom smashers and superconductors.
Marx is dead and so are the 20,000,000 who were starved to death by Marxist
ideology (AKA “scientific socialism”) in the former Soviet Union.
Kinsey’s “scientific sex research” produced a Pavlovian culture now mired in permissiveness,
pornography, obscenity, sexually transmitted disease and every form of
sexual degradation, perversion and addiction imaginable.
truth be known, there is nothing “rational” or
“scientific” about the agenda of the liberal left. The house of
cards that has since come to be known as postmodern culture, sheltering
within its walls what may be called the liberal
view of human nature, is built on nothing more than shifting sand, and it
is about to crumble.
Worldview vs. Naturalist Worldview
ORIGINAL vs. DERIVATIVE
opening verse of Genesis provides the premise from which the
Judeo-Christian worldview flows. According to Genesis, “In the
beginning God created the heaven and the earth.” In this statement,
the Bible is telling us that the cosmos is derivative.
the words of the late Carl Sagan, delivered like a salvo at the beginning
of his PBS Cosmos series, embody
the premise from which naturalistic and atheistic worldviews flow.
According to Sagan, “The cosmos is all there is, or was, or ever will
be.” In this statement, Sagan is in effect saying that there is no
God and the cosmos is original.
belief that the cosmos is derivative is foundational to the Judeo-Christian worldview. The
belief that the cosmos is original
(has no creator) is foundational to the naturalistic-atheistic worldview.
The clash of these two worldviews is at the root of the culture war and the
pitched battle now raging for the soul of America. All the skirmishes of
the culture war, whether taking place on the battlefields of “abortion,”
“same-sex marriage,” or “death on demand,” divide
America along these two worldviews.
side believes that God exists and the cosmos is derivative (God-made).
The other side believes that the cosmos is original
and “gods” are derivative (man-made). One side believes that God is the head and
cosmos the tail. The other side believes the opposite, believing also that
all this talk about “God, Moses and Jesus” is stuff and
nonsense invented by ruling classes so they can arrogate political authority
from the perspective of the liberal left, Christian belief in an
“imaginary god” has now grown into an absolutist, fanatical and
intolerant tail that is wagging the head of a secular American society,
making it unfit for pacifist and socialist habitation...
from the perspective of the conservative right, atheistic denial of a
benevolent Creator has now grown into an idolatrous, perverted and insolent
tail that is wagging the head of the Founding Fathers’ America,
making it unfit for Christian habitation...
say that there is “profound disagreement” between these two
worldviews would be the understatement of all time! Therefore, the culture
war rages, its temperature rising toward some boiling point. Who is right and
who is wrong? Well, that would depend on the existence of God,
wouldn’t it? If God exists, the primacy
must be given to Him as Creator.
PRIMACY vs. SUBORDINACY
all branches of human endeavor, primacy
is given to creators and relative subordinacy to created things. Consider all the great works of art:
ancient, classic, medieval, Gothic, renaissance, Flemish, romantic,
realist, etc. In all these great works the primacy
is given to creators, and relative subordinacy to their works. Although we marvel at the great fresco
in the Vatican called School of
Athens, the primacy
belongs to its creator, Raphael. Although we marvel at the Mona Lisa, the primacy belongs to its creator, da Vinci. The primacy
belongs to Michelangelo, not his statue of David. It belongs to Velazquez, not his
masterpiece Las Meninas.
It belongs to Rubens, Rembrandt, Vermeer, Tiepolo,
Fragonard, Blake, Martin, Delacroix, Goya, Boudin, Degas, Renoir, Pissarro,
Monet, van Gogh, Gauguin, C�zanne, Rodin,
Matisse, Picasso, etc.—not their created works.
we give the primacy
to Brandenburg Concerto, or to
Johann Sebastian Bach? Does the primacy
belong to his Ninth Symphony, or
to Beethoven himself? It can be seen that in all these cases the primacy belongs to the creator, and
relative subordinacy to the created thing. Although
the created thing may be a truly wonderful, unique and priceless work of
art, although it may be a magnificent and moving symphony, although it may
be an awe-inspiring and fascinating cosmos, it is nevertheless derivative.
marvel at Brandenburg Concerto
and deny the existence of Johann Sebastian Bach would be irrational. To
marvel at the universe and deny the existence of God would be idolatry. Be
it ever so unimaginably huge, be it populated by billions of galaxies each
teaming with billions of stars, be it ever so magnificent, be it ever so
breathtaking, be it ever so grand and awesome, the cosmos is still derivative if God exists. Otherwise it would
be original and deserving the full measure of
the primacy, precedence and veneration that
naturalists of Sagan’s ilk would heap upon
THE WORLDVIEW OF AMERICA’S FOUNDERS
Genesis to Revelation the Bible separates between Creator and created thing
respectively, repeatedly warning mankind not to venerate the created thing
in idolatry, but always to give the primacy
to the Creator. Coincident with the Biblical worldview, America’s
Founders gave the primacy
to the Creator and relative subordinacy to the created state, binding God, man and government in
one indissoluble bond:
hold these truths to be self-evident, that all MEN are created equal, that
they are endowed by their CREATOR with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the
pursuit of happiness. That to secure these rights, GOVERNMENTS are
instituted among men....
(Declaration of Independence, emphasis added.)
Declaration of Independence is
the premise from which flow the Constitution and Bill of Rights. It was
only by giving the primacy
to the Creator that America’s Founders succeeded in rendering the
rights of Americans immune to the caprices of Caesars, Czars, emperors,
kings, queens, pontiffs, priests, pashas, dictators, despots, oppressors,
tyrants, autocrats, magnates, moguls, politicians, bankers, academicians
America’s Founders been atheists, there would have been no
“Creator” and no “unalienable rights” to speak of.
We should remind ourselves of the words of the internationally recognized
Christian philosopher Francis A. Schaeffer in the speech that he gave at
Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church in 1982:
must understand something very thoroughly. If society—if the
state—gives the rights, it can take them away, they’re not
unalienable. If the states give the rights, they can change them and
manipulate them. But this was not the view of the Founding Fathers of this
country. They believed, although not all of them were individual
Christians, that there was a Creator and that this Creator gave the
What we have, and take so poorly for
granted, is unique. It was brought forth by a specific worldview and that
specific worldview was the Judeo-Christian worldview.... All the benefits
which we know... which we have taken so easily and so much for granted, are
unique. They have been founded on a certain worldview that there was a
Creator there to give unalienable rights. And this other [naturalistic]
view over here, which has become increasingly dominant, of the material
energy final worldview (shaped by pure chance) never would have, could not,
has no basis of values in order to
give, such a balance of freedom that we have known....1
his book, A Christian Manifesto,
Schaeffer described the culture war in this way:
two [Christian vs. naturalistic] worldviews stand as totals in complete
antithesis to each other in content and also in their natural
results—including sociological and governmental results, and
specifically including law. It is not that these two worldviews are
different only in how they understand the nature of reality and existence.
They also inevitably produce totally different results. The operative word
here is inevitably. It is not
just that they happen to bring forth different results, but it is absolutely
inevitable that they will bring
forth different results.2
culture war is rooted in these two opposing worldviews. One side
believes in the God of the Bible. The other side doesn’t. One side
sees the cosmos as derivative. The other side sees the cosmos as original.
gives the primacy
to the Creator of the universe. The other side gives the primacy to the universe itself.
side believes man to have been created in the image of the Creator, endowed
with unalienable (absolute) rights that governments are instituted to
protect. The other side believes man to be a product of random processes in
a meaningless universe, invested with relative worth and situational value
determined by social consensus and prevailing zeitgeist.
the pages of In God We Trust you
will learn a great deal more about these opposing worldviews and the ways
in which they divide America at the eleventh hour of history.
1. Francis A. Schaeffer, A Christian Manifesto, speech given
in 1982 at Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church; video transcription made
available by Coral Ridge Ministries in 2006.
A. Schaeffer, A Christian Manifesto
(Wheaton, Illinois: Crossway Books, 1981), 18.
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