PART 2 OF 2.
June 2017 – Understanding the two views of law and government presented in Part 1 (May AFA Journal) reveals why leftists are more outspoken than conservatives about loss of power. Leftists will be more radical and even militant in their opposition to conservatives governing than conservatives would be in the opposite position, because to leftists, government is their “church” and is a primary place where they can execute their god’s (that is, man’s) vision for life. To them, government is the place to advance man’s kingdom in the earth. Government is their highest source of authority, their highest place to appeal. They have no higher power or savior to trust in – no belief in a sovereign God who works in the hearts of men and events in history.
Conservatives only want to get control of government to slow it down, to keep government from trampling upon the unalienable rights of man. Christian conservatives have God as the highest source of power to which they can appeal. They have a savior Jesus Christ who brings positive transformation by changing the hearts of man.
Two warring worldviews
While the worldviews of those people reflected (See red/blue map from Part 1.) vary greatly, the general ideologies can be reduced to two positions: Christian versus humanistic. In short, a biblical Christian worldview has been the source of liberty in history, while a humanistic, man-centered worldview has promoted tyranny. The founders of America believed, in the words of Thomas Jefferson’s pastor, Charles Clay: “[T]he sacred cause of liberty [is] the cause of God.”1 Those who oppose God and freedom of worship, oppose true liberty.2
On one side of the war is a humanistic worldview. With this religion (and all worldviews are religious), there are no absolutes. Right and wrong are based upon what a majority says or what a minority in power says; hence, law is evolving. Law is whatever the people or courts or legislators say it is. This view began to be taught in various law schools and colleges around the turn of the 20th century, with state secondary schools following in succeeding decades. Over time, this evolutionary view of law began to impact the courts’ actions. Judges began to see our law as evolving. In the words of Charles Evans Hughes, Supreme Court Chief Justice from 1930 to 1941: “We are under a Constitution, but the Constitution is what the judges say it is.”3
Most people are not aware of how much a humanistic worldview permeates our society. It is predominant in the marketplace of ideas – in movies, newspapers, television, public schools, civil government, and most books, including dictionaries. As an example let’s compare the definition of immoral from a modern dictionary and from America’s first exhaustive dictionary produced by Noah Webster in the early 19th century and first published in 1828. Webster, as most of our founders, had a Christian worldview, which is reflected in his definitions. Under his definition of immoral, he writes: “Every action is immoral which contravenes any divine precept.” To him, divine precept is the standard to judge immorality.
The modern Webster’s New World Dictionary defines immoral as “not in conformity with accepted principles of right and wrong behavior.” Immorality today is usually presented in this light where man determines right and wrong conduct. He is his own god.
In great contrast is the Christian worldview, where there are absolutes, right and wrong. Since God is the source of what is right and wrong, He is the source of law. To those with a Christian worldview, God reveals His truth in the Bible.
Some would ask, “What difference does it make if we have a Christian or humanistic foundation just as long as I have my freedoms?” We must understand that ideas have consequences. The fruit we get is determined by the seeds we plant. It is important that we understand the seed principles upon which America was built. If we change seeds, we will get different results. The external state of nations today, as in all of history, has been determined by the foundational principles of the nations. Since these foundational principles are primarily rooted in the religion of the people, we should ask, “In what religion was America’s foundation rooted?”
One reasonable resolution
If you base your answer on what is taught in government schools, you would think we are a product of the secular European Enlightenment. But if you were to examine the laws, the schools, the writings, and the lives of early Americans, you would conclude, as did the U.S. House of Representatives in 1854, that “the great vital and conservative element in our system is the belief of our people in the pure doctrines and divine truths of the gospel of Jesus Christ.”4
This same view was summarized by President Andrew Jackson when he said on June 8, 1845, “[the Bible] is the rock on which our Republic rests.” Early Americans would almost universally agree that the religious, social, educational, and political life of America was primarily shaped by the Bible.5
Our states were colonized by people who desired to freely worship the God of the Bible; our schools were begun so that everyone would be able to read and understand the Bible for themselves; our universities were founded to train ministers who were knowledgeable of the Scriptures; our laws and constitutions were written based on biblical ideas; and our Founding Fathers overwhelmingly had a biblical worldview.6
The winner of the present battle of worldviews in America will have great impact upon everyone in our nation. If the forces of humanism prevail, the fruit will be loss of liberty, increased crime, more broken homes, and less prosperity.
The leftists rage because they have a wrong worldview. We must not only oppose them in the political arena, but we must also teach and demonstrate the principles and ideas that made America exceptional. Christianity has been the life-blood of America. If the Christian worldview prevails, it will once again nourish every aspect of the life of this nation producing freedom, justice, prosperity, and life for all.
1 Quoted in Stephen McDowell, The Bible: America’s Source of Law and Liberty, Charlottesville: Providence Foundation, 2016, p. 181. See Chapter 12 for more on “Liberty.”
2 For historic support of this, see Thomas S. Kidd, God of Liberty, A Religious History of the American Revolution.
3 Charles Evans Hughes, speech at Elmira on May 3, 1907, The Autobiographical Notes of Charles Evans Hughes, David J. Danelski and Joseph S. Tulchin, editors, Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1973, p. 144.
4 B.F. Morris, Christian Life and Character of the Civil Institutions of the United States, Philadelphia: George W. Childs, 1864, p. 328.
5 Stephen McDowell, The Bible: America’s Source of Law and Liberty, p. 15. See Chapter One for more on the influence of the Bible in the history of America.
6 See various books published by the Providence Foundation that document the Christian foundation of America, including America a Christian Nation, America’s Providential History, and The Bible: America’s Source of Law and Liberty.
Dr. Stephen McDowell is president of Providence Foundation and a prolific author who focuses on the Christian roots of the U.S. Find his resources at afastore.net or call 877-927-4917 (toll free). Find more at providencefoundation.com or 434-978-4535.
The “Happy Human” is an icon that has been adopted as an international symbol of secular humanism.