by ProfDave, ©2020
(Dec. 24, 2020) — In 1776 we declared independence from England, but should we declare independence from God? There is a problem with American separation from God – not just separation of church and state (which is not in the constitution, by the way) but personal, social, cultural and national independence from the Judeo-Christian deity and associated principles. God, whether you like it or not, whether you believe in Him or not, stands for integrity.
This is not to say unbelievers lack integrity or anything. But Jehovah is the icon for our idea of the right, the good, and the true like the arrow is the icon for where to go. Banish Him and there is no right, no good, and no truth. Literally. There is no straight edge, no horizon, no plumb line for integrity.
“Educated” people now know that there is no such thing as truth – objective truth at least. [“There is no such thing as truth.” Is that statement true?] We wonder why they lie.
Right and wrong, good and evil are matters of opinion, right? “Intelligent” people have no way of determining which is which and wind up supporting the worst things and opposing the best (eg Boy Scouts, Salvation Army, Little Sisters of the Poor).
We can’t tell the difference between gold and iron pyrite (fool’s gold). If nothing else, God is a very handy organizing principle, without which life makes little sense.
Since God stands for the good and we want to get rid of God, what’s left? Is it Murphy’s law of society: anything that can be wrong will be wrong? Expect politicians to lie, businesses to cheat, customers (and employees) to steal, advertisers to deceive, dates to rape, spouses to cheat, parents to abandon, laws to be broken, and everybody to abuse and take advantage of everybody else. In the 21st century we are approaching that ideal (?). How is it working for us?
But God puts limits on our freedom – the chains of the “straight and narrow” – as opposed to the liberty of the “broad road that leads to destruction.” A careful investigation, however, reveals that, for example, the current orbit, tilt and rotation of the earth is just right and every other is wrong, making the planet uninhabitable. The same is true of the rest of the laws attributed to God – whether you believe in Him or like His rules or not. They prescribe the best way to live, the parameters of maximum well-being and optimum freedom.
You may claim the freedom to live a different way – or jump off tall buildings – but the other ways are wrong, and just will not work, any more than do levitation or planets leaving their orbits for outer darkness. Bad things will happen and it is not God’s fault. I am not saying atheists are bad people, it is just that God has all the good options sewed up. What is left?
Are we independent from God or just lost? There is a difference between being free and being merely unbuttoned. Free to soar and achieve a good life? Or unbuttoned to wander in the bramble bushes with your pants falling down? Sorry, folks. The rules and principles that, all things being equal, lead to the most free, happy, fulfilling, and productive lives and societies wind up being suspiciously like God’s rules and principles.
It is one thing to claim the liberty to believe or not to believe, to worship or not to worship, but to expunge all traces of God from the American house is a dangerous thing. Like an estranged wife, we keep finding more stuff with His name on it. Pretty soon the house will be empty – there goes Christmas! – oh, yes, the kitchen sink, too!
David W. Heughins (“ProfDave”) is Adjunct Professor of History at Nazarene Bible College. He holds a BA from Eastern Nazarene College and a PhD in history from the University of Minnesota. He is the author of Holiness in 12 Steps (2020). He is a Vietnam veteran and is retired, living with his daughter and three grandchildren in Connecticut.