IN GOD WE TRUST
The Pitched Battle for the Soul of
Copyright © 2007 Victor Shane, all
1) You shall have no other gods before Me.
2) You shall not make a god out of any created
3) You shall not take the name of the LORD your
God in vain....
4) You shall remember the Sabbath day, to keep it
5) You shall honor your father and your mother....
6) You shall not kill.
7) You shall not commit adultery.
8) You shall not steal.
9) You shall not bear false witness....
10) You shall not covet anything belonging to your
ANTIDOTE TO DERIVATIVE LIVING
is a pitched battle raging for the soul of America at this eleventh hour of
history. One side believes that God exists and the cosmos is derivative. The other side believes the
opposite, believing also that all this talk about “God, Moses and
Jesus” is stuff and nonsense invented by some long dead patriarchy to
enable it to arrogate political authority to itself.
is right? Who is wrong? What is “right?” What is
“wrong?” What is “moral?” What is
“immoral?” What is “good?” What is
“evil?” Is there an objective standard or measure that can be
used to judge between the two sides?
the Judeo-Christian ethic relate to the nature of the physical world or
doesn’t it? Is Christianity just another “belief system,”
or is it a true consciousness based in something real? Facts, if real, are
in their nature capable of proof. What then? Is the Judeo-Christian ethic
based on fact or fiction?
NECESSARY vs. CONTINGENT
the history of ethics the general rule followed by great thinkers is that prescriptions
should follow descriptions of the world. From Plato onward, great
thinkers have also argued about the distinction between the necessary and the contingent. The German philosopher Immanuel
Kant (1724–1804) was among modern thinkers who went on to categorize necessary truths as a priori, and contingent truths as a posteriori. These
two terms, a priori and a posteriori, have since come to
be used to describe two species of truths, namely those whose knowledge
does not depend on human experience (literally a priori), and those
whose knowledge does depend on human experience (literally a
example, “2 + 2 = 4” is a necessary truth that can be known a priori. However, “The rain in Spain falls
mainly on the plain,” is a contingent truth that may or may not be true, and can only be known
posteriori. Let us define these terms for purposes of this
NECESSARY: Ideally the necessary would
correspond to something universal, something fundamental, something objective,
authentic and transcendent, something whose reality is not subject to the
limiting adjuncts of human experience and observation; i.e., a real and
true state of being.
CONTINGENT: The contingent would correspond
to the opposite of the necessary; i.e., a false consciousness, judgment,
proposition, concept, idea or argument lacking universal truth to anchor
it; an unreliable interpretation of reality based on something
circumstantial, something situational, something relative, something
incidental or accidental, something whose truth is very much subject to the
vagaries of human experience and observation.
us expand our understanding of the concepts of the necessary and the contingent by way of an analogy relating to
building and construction codes. When it comes to building a skyscraper,
for example, a scientific description of gravity must
precede prescriptions relating to construction codes. Are these
construction codes necessary? Yes, they are necessary because they correspond to the nature of gravity here on
nations, races and cultures have similar construction codes because the
nature of gravity is uniform throughout the earth. The contractor who
violates the law by building a weak or unsafe structure—one that
gravity may cause to collapse, killing or injuring occupants—might
then be judged unethical and have his license revoked in any nation on
analogy may be all too simple, but it serves to demonstrate the
relationship between ethical prescriptions and descriptions
of the physical world. The determination as to what is necessary and what is contingent—what is the right way of
building a skyscraper, and what is the wrong way of building a
skyscraper—can’t be based on societal moods, cultural swings,
political expediency, political correctness or feel-good emotionalism. It
has to correspond to something real, in this analogy, gravity.
let us take a quantum leap and apply the principle to the nature of the
cosmos itself. As a description of the nature of
gravity had to precede prescriptions relating to
construction codes in our skyscraper analogy, so also a description
of the nature of the world must precede prescriptions
relating to moral and ethical codes here on earth.
then? What shall we say about the Biblical code of ethics? Are the Ten
Commandments necessary in the building of prosperous societies?
codes are necessary because of the nature of gravity. But why should the Ten
Commandments be necessary? If it is gravity that renders construction codes necessary, what is it that renders the Ten
PITFALLS OF CREATION
sea is a wonderful playground, but its pitfalls have drowned many a sailor.
To navigate the sea, mariners must abide by certain rules. The mountains
are wonderful playgrounds, but their pitfalls have killed many a climber.
To overcome Everest, a climber must abide by certain disciplines.
simpler illustration may be sought in a beautiful mansion set on a high hill.
Is the mansion a friendly place? The children playing in it would say
“yes.” Their father might worry about its pitfalls and
institute certain rules for their protection—“no sliding down
the banisters, no leaning out of windows, no running up and down the
stairs, no swimming in the pool unless grown-ups are present, no horseback
riding or hiking in the hills without supervision.”
reporter once asked Albert Einstein, “What is the most important
question a person can ask?” Einstein answered, “I think the
most important question facing humanity is, ‘Is the universe a
friendly place?’” It seems we are asking a similar question
here, not so much whether the physical world is a friendly place or not,
but whether it conceals certain pitfalls that would render the Ten
Commandments necessary, in the same way that gravity renders construction codes
physical world (the universe) is indeed a wonderful, grand and magnificent
playground, but does it conceal pitfalls that would cause our Heavenly Father
to institute certain rules for our protection—rules like the Ten
for example, the physical world had some subtle property capable of
producing within human nature an orientation toward violence, then the
commandment “you shall not kill” would be necessary. If the physical world had some
subtle property capable of producing within human nature a tendency to
steal, then the commandment “you shall not steal” would be necessary. If the physical world had some
subtle property capable of producing within human nature a temptation to
commit adultery, then the commandment “you shall not commit
adultery” would be necessary. So on and so forth.
if the physical world had no such properties, if the cosmos (the sum of
physical reality) was completely inert, passive, transparent and exerting
no influence whatsoever within the sphere of human nature, then that in
turn might render the Ten Commandments contingent and unnecessary. So then which is it? Is the gigantic
behavioral field of the cosmos devoid of properties? Or does it have some
subtle property capable of producing within human nature an “evil
tendency” that would render the Ten Commandments necessary?
put the question to the reader: Are the Ten Commandments necessary, or are they contingent? Christians would say that they
are necessary, presumably because they resist
some property or orientation inherent to the physical world. Contrariwise
naturalists and atheists would say they are contingent, presumably because the world doesn’t have any
fixed nature, property or orientation to speak of.
THE CULTURE WAR
culture war pits the tenets of the Judeo-Christian worldview—embodied in
the Ten Commandments—against those of the atheistic worldview. What
exactly are the tenets of the atheistic worldview? They may read as
is no god—cosmos is all there
is, or was, or ever will be.
are no absolutes.
enjoys a gratuitous existence in an indeterminate universe.
is observer-defined and depends on one’s point of view.
is no such thing as sin or sin-nature.
and evil are situational and socially construed.
is situational and socially construed.
truth claims are subjective, relative, and equally valid.
decides what is real or unreal.
decides what is truth or untruth.
decides what is good or evil.
decides what is right or wrong.
is his own god.
are the foundational premises of a derivative age that has jettisoned all frames of reference and
tried to cut itself free from all anchors to the real world. 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 premises such as these, premises that are reinforced by
a description of the physical world supposedly derived from the Copenhagen
interpretation of quantum mechanics. Postmodern society, it seems, has now
become the embodiment of so-called “quantum indeterminism.”
THE NATURE OF THE WORLD
The Derivative Nature of Man
his New York Times bestseller Slouching
Toward Gomorrah, former United States Acting Attorney General Robert H.
Bork catalogs the events and legal precedents by which the liberal house of
cards was built in America, producing in the span of a few decades a
culture that is now in moral free-fall with no bottom in sight, a culture
in which rationality itself is now frowned upon, as Bork explains:
another form of irrationality afflicts portions of our intelligentsia: the
astounding claim that rationality itself is neither possible nor
legitimate. We have seen that some radical feminists make this claim ...
that what counts as rationality is socially constructed, that there are
different ways of knowing, which means that reality has no stable content,
not even in principle.1
reality have stable content? Does it exist independently of the limiting
adjuncts of human experience and observation? Most Christians would tend to
answer “yes.” Contrariwise most naturalists, atheists, radical
feminists, homosexuals, abortionists, and their ACLU lawyers would tend to
answer with a resounding “NO,” perhaps adding: “Where
have you been? Haven’t you ever heard of Einstein and relativity?
Haven’t you ever heard of quantum indeterminacy?”
atheists and radical feminists tend to view the Christian notion of reality
with a jaundiced eye, pointing to the moral and ethical prescriptions of
the Bible as the source of all intolerance, injustice and misery on earth.
Perhaps the accusation that they would now lay at the doorstep of the
Christian Church would read something like this:
Christians are trying to arrogate political authority to yourselves in the
name of your make-believe god, basing your opposition to such things as
abortion, homosexuality and euthanasia on contingent truths that you yourselves have invented!
propaganda aside, this is a serious charge, but it isn’t new.
Millennia ago the same charge was leveled against Moses and Aaron by Korah’s mob, accusing them of trying to arrogate
political authority to themselves in the name of God (refer to the 16th
chapter of the Book of Numbers). A few decades ago the same basic
accusation was made by Marx and Engels in their Manifesto of the Communist Party:
selfish misconception that induces you to transform into eternal laws of
nature and of reason the social forms springing from your present mode of
production and form of property ... this misconception you share with every
ruling class that has preceded you.2
there any substance to these charges? Can those who have positioned
themselves on the left side of the culture war make these charges stick?
Presently the answer would seem to be yes. Yes, they can make these charges
stick because we Christians have yet to show a rational, scientific
connection between the nature of the world and the Ten Commandments. Until
we can do that, we might as well be arguing with the wind, trying to
explain ourselves in religious terms that always evoke the same response:
“You Christians are entitled to your own worldview, but there are
many other worldviews just as valid as yours!”
we Christians can affirm the necessity of the Judeo-Christian ethic in rational and scientific
terms, those who don’t believe in God will own the microphone and
occupy the podium in the mainstream of public opinion in America and
elsewhere in the world where the culture war is now raging. On the day that
we Christians finally do affirm the necessity of the Judeo-Christian ethic, we will have reframed not
only the culture war, but also the issue of history in its entirety.
the pages of In God We Trust you
will learn how to affirm the necessity of the Ten Commandments in a rational, scientific way,
confirming everything that the Bible has been saying about the fallen
nature of man from Genesis to Revelation.
1. Robert H. Bork, Slouching Towards Gomorrah (New York: Reagan Books, 1997), 264.
2. Karl Marx and
Frederick Engels, The Communist Manifesto (English version published in 1888),
Part II: Proletarians and Communists.
Back to top
- Back to Home