Posts Tagged 'Benjamin Franklin'

Whatever Happened To America’s Moral Center?

            I believe we are in the midst of a crisis of conscience in this country.  What was once considered normal is suddenly considered abnormal.  What was once considered abnormal is suddenly considered normal.  It truly is a world turned upside down.  Matters that seemed unthinkable only a decade ago are suddenly becoming the standard by which we are measured in public.

            The biggest change we have experienced is a loss of our moral center.  Our founding fathers understood the moral center that comes from a biblical world view—even the founding fathers who were not Christians understood this value.  Our grandparents and our parents understood the value of the Ten Commandments.

            Benjamin Franklin summed it up when he said, “I believe in one God, creator of the universe; that He governs it by his providence, that He ought to be worshipped,…As to Jesus of Nazareth,…[I] have some doubts regarding Jesus’ divinity.”

            My point is this; Christianity was so prominent in our founding that even those who did not believe felt that there was a great value in the system of Christianity that allowed the governance through democracy in a republic form of government.

            We no longer have that moral center.  Now, we find ourselves in a culture that not only does not believe, but actually mocks belief in one God.  We have gone from the place where it is okay to make fun of belief in God in limited cases, like a Hollywood movie or a book.  At the same time, it was not okay to make fun of the core beliefs that surrounded the belief in God.

            Now we do not have the mockery limited to Hollywood, it is the core of how our average citizen thinks.  We cannot offer any type of spiritual help to struggling youth because we have no place for God in our schools.  We have nothing to base our moral core on because we suddenly do not believe in moral absolutes.

            Then we wonder out loud why it seems that evil is so much more present in our society.  Why is there a problem with drugs?  Why do we have an increase in out of wedlock pregnancy?  Why are we in a seeming downward spiral?

            I believe it is all tied into the fact that we no longer value the things that God values because we no longer really believe in God.  He was good for our ancestors.  He was okay for children, but we are enlightened and have no need for God.

            Where once we started with the understanding that Christian morals were valuable in the here and now because they were principles that permitted us to get along in society, we now believe that no man or deity has the right to set absolute standards that govern this world.

            Without the eternal value of life that Christianity embraces we find ourselves giving our moral core to meaningless things.  We are more concerned with protecting animals than we are with protecting human live.  We give our life to living “green” and ignore the devaluing of human life at every turn.

            What is the solution?  We, those who still believe in the value of God and His system of morals, must take a greater stand for the issues that matter here and now and the matters that are important for eternity. 

            We must be the leaders in cultural change.  We must be the ones who value individual rights.  It is the Christian who must fight for the right of the nonbeliever to not belief.  After all, who are we to condemn a right that God gave to us.  He has chosen to let us decide for ourselves—I will do no less.

            The church has to regain its moral center and return to doing His work, His way.  We have to be the standard bearers.  It is easy to point out sin.  The challenge is to offer real life solutions to the world’s real life problems—that is what we must be doing.

            While doing that I will also demand more of myself and those around me. I will demand more from a moral standpoint and more for the betterment of the world.

            It is a disgrace that those who have no faith offer more to the betterment of this world than those of us who know the key to understanding and living in eternity.


Daniel and Babylon; America and Me

Daniel served both God and the king.  He did not step out of the kingdom of the world when he served in the kingdom of God; he merely kept the heart of his religion while serving a godless, pagan king.  Unlike most of Israel, Daniel kept the law and stood up for God in the face of a king who demanded that he be worshipped like God.


To do this Daniel put everything on the line.  At several points in his career men of great power were seeking to have the king put Daniel to death because of Daniel’s obedience to God.  God shut the mouths of lions to protect Daniel.


Daniel’s obedience to God is important and in fact, all of us who have been to church or synagogue have heard great inspiring oratory regarding the faithfulness of Daniel—including how we should strive to be just like him.


What we seldom hear is great inspiring oratory regarding Daniel’s equal faithfulness to the king.  Daniel helped build the kingdom of Babylon.  Nebuchadnezzar made Daniel ruler over the whole province of Babylon and chief prefect over all the wise men of Babylon.  Daniel was at the king’s court.


It is not hard to understand why we seldom hear much about this side of Daniel’s faithfulness.  Here is Daniel, the faithful servant of Jehovah, ruling over one of the most godless kingdoms in the history of the world.  The great whore Babylon, a kingdom that in modern times was headed by the late Saddam Hussein—this is a claim Hussein made himself on numerous occasions.


I am sure there are theologians who will insist that I am missing the point of Daniel’s great life.  I will not argue with them.


My point is simple.  There are those in the Christian community who say we should not be involved in the current elections and political systems because our choices are not godly men.  Daniel did not have any godly choices—except to defy the king and worship God publicly.  He was then promoted.


In his promotion Daniel served the godless king of Babylon—still considered a part of the anti-Christ system by many—and lead the king to a confrontation with God.


I am sure there are those who will not vote for Obama because he is a democrat or a black man.  I am sure there are those who will not vote for McCain because he has a woman on his ticket and they know that a woman’s place is in the home.


To all of those I say that we must serve the king of the universe in the kingdom of this world.  It is not an option; it is a requirement at the very core of Christianity’s nature.  The first century church did not have the luxury of serving in a peaceful environment.  They served in a religious community that used the local government to put them to death, but they served publicly.


Jesus told us to render to Caesar what was Caesar’s and to God what was God’s.  He did not tell us to step out of the world.  He expected his followers to change the world, by being in the world but not of the world.  This means that we are to work within the world systems without becoming immoral like the world systems.  We are not to withdraw to the mountains and hide; we are to be on the front row, taking risks, showing the way to real change.


Obama is right, we do need change.  Where he is wrong is that we do not need change we can believe in, we need to believe in change that matters.  The only change that really matters is change that is eternal and permanent—change that redirects a man or a woman’s life from hopeless to hopeful, on an eternal basis.  Anything less is folly.


It is not change to continue murdering babies in the name of convenience.  It is not change to continue to deny people the right to acknowledge God in public places and at government events.  It is not change that matters to continue to reinforce a world system that denies access to faith based organizations.


Regardless of whether you are a believer in any religion or not you have to admit, like Benjamin Franklin and Thomas Jefferson, that true religion, when practiced by real believers is a positive thing for a person and a people.

Books Worth Reading

C.S. LEWIS--Mere Christianity; CLAIRE BERLINSKI--Menace in Europe: Why the Continent's Crisis is America's Crisis, Too; BRUCE BAWER--While Europe Slept: How Radical islam is Destroying the West from Within; DAVID LEVERING LEWIS--God's Crucible: Islam and the Making of Europe, 570-1215; THOMAS SCHIRRMACHER--The Persecution of Christians Concerns Us All; PHILIP JENKINS--God's Continent: Christianity, Islam, and Europe's Religious Crisis

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