This morning, a local bible study group started the book of Hebrews. One in the group described the opening passages as having the same style as an ancient Greek tragedy. Very declarative, it states the hierarchy of heaven. Jesus sits at the right hand of God and the angels exist to serve God and those who have been saved at the cross.
But angels appear to be a bit thin on the ground these days. Matt Walsh underscored this when he published on Facebook, without comment, II Timothy 3:1-5, which in the New King James Version is headlined, “Perilous Times, Perilous Men”.
1 But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days. 2 People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, 3 without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, 4 treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God— 5 having a form of godliness but denying its power. Have nothing to do with such people.
Whether the world is “in the last days” or not can be argued, but with the presidential election only 29 days hence there is a lot of discussion that now being a perilous time and the candidates may bring peril to the country. One meme, out there nearly a year, incorrectly quotes John Calvin as saying, “When God wants to judge a nation, He gives them wicked rulers”. What he actually said was similar to that, but not nearly as pithy. The old testament echoes that belief several times* but now, given the latest leaks of unsavory behavior from both presidential candidates, the secular press on the conservative side is asking some questions of faith and values.
Erick Erickson of The Resurgent says that he cannot vote for the GOP nominee because he stands in opposition to his Christian faith and concludes his piece, “Trump Voters Are Not Immoral” with this.
I think Donald Trump is unrepentant and immoral. I think he revels in sin and Christians rooting for him are harming their witness and the effectiveness of the church in America. But I do not think most of his voters are immoral. They are just emotional right now and making a terrible decision because of it.
Is that it? Are they clinging to the latest incarnation of Howard Beale because their exasperation with the nation has them chanting, “I’m mad as hell and I’m not going to take it anymore”?
Yes, but that is not the whole of it.
American’s fundamental values (also referred to as “core principles”) have been changing with accelerating speed since the 1960s. Changing by way of their disappearance from today’s society.
An October 6, 2016 article in The Federalist, Maureen Mullarkey compares and contrasts the fall of the Roman Empire with today’s America and concludes that there are critical differences when it comes to core principles. Romans worshipped pagan gods and across the empire’s timeline the majority of Romans adhered to that religion’s code of ethics. She states,
Ethics remained the province of philosophers and moralists, who defended the sense of duty—pietas—at the core of what it meant to be Roman. Men might wonder about the nature of the gods, or to what extent they concerned themselves with humanity. But there was no question that they existed. They were significant powers on whom men depended. The pagan temperament was not nihilist.
By contrast, modern man has put God out of mind. Modernity declared him dead or missing some time ago, an outdated hypothesis.
So now secular humankind is increasingly unbound from core values. Inviolate truths that, for those who worship the God of Abraham are absolute. To transgress against them, and God himself, is to distance themselves from His love and the guidance He provides through His teachings and the works of the Holy Spirit. So to humanists, it means they can go it on their own, doing whatever they please for their own edification and satisfaction. And their justification, aside from selfishness? Science.
Scientific innovation has changed the world. No one living 50 years ago would have been able to imagine the technological advancements the world has made. It’s pervasive in all first-world societies. Empowering people to have almost anything they want using only their own free will and some money. But science is a funny thing. Some of it, like gravity, is pretty well settled but a great deal of it is not.
National Review‘s David French observes this in his October 6, 2016 article, Our Post-Christian Culture Often Replaces Faith with Nonsense.
For generations Americans have been taught by word and deed that there is a better way, that the lessons of the Judeo-Christian tradition should be discarded as so much oppressive hocus-pocus. Ancient moral teachings aren’t just false, they’re destructive. With my own eyes I’ve seen Christians — even pastors — refuse to make cultural and moral arguments based on scripture alone. Unless science is also on their side, they’ll keep quiet. Science, after all, is the universal language. Faith is divisive.
So science, without an inherent moral compass, replaces God now. It is not hard to predict the likelihood the tragic failure that has come, and is coming still, from this. It is out there for all to see as French describes. Knowing and understanding science is important. So is understanding its limitations and shortcomings.
E=MC2 emerged from Einstein’s mind before color television was widespread, and yet it is still called his Theory of Relativity. Decades later the science still is not settled on his big idea. Shouldn’t someone have proved it by now?
Although the Big Bang Theory will soon celebrate 100 years of existence there have been those, including Einstein, who were aligned with another view known as Steady State, described in a 2014 Huffington Post article by Davide Castelvecchi. Someone ask science how many more centuries they will need to prove it.
There are more. String Theory, Chaos Theory, Heisenberg’s Theory of Observation, the list goes on and on. With all of this still unsettled, basing one’s core values on scientific theories is akin to building one’s house upon sand. Eventually it will all go to tears.
When faced with today’s world and the available options in it, people can select from the following categories.
- Believe that science is the pathway to salvation for this world and that someday the scientists will figure it all out.
- Believe that each person can do whatever they wish without regard unintended consequences and reactions of others.
- Have faith in a God that is real and live as He taught traditional Judeo/Christian values in His Holy Word.
Yes. This leaves out Hindus, Taoists, Zoroastrians and a host of others but this discussion is about the war primarily between Christianity, science and cult of “Me”. Stories on the “War on Wicka” are hard to find in most press outlets.
So, is picking the right one from that list of three really that difficult?
Matt Walsh does a weekly podcast for theblaze radio network. Each week he concludes it with probably the best answer, “A cruce salus.”
* [Job 34:30, Vg.; Hos. 13:11; Isa. 3:4; 10:5; Deut. 28:29]