Monday, November 14, 2011

God and Liberty - Part V

The following is part of a five-part series discussing the inextricable link between God and Liberty in the context of challenges to religion on the fallacious notion that our Founding Fathers intended a secular nation.  The consequences of a Godless society are considered and the historical precedence for religion in U.S. politics is explored.

Part V shows the direction we must go as a nation to preserve liberty and provides recommendations for achieving it.

Part V – So now what?

Did the Founding Fathers intend the United States to be a Christian nation?  It depends upon how you define “Christian nation.”  The Founders most certainly did not intend for the free exercise of religion to be restricted provided the practice of other religions did not infringe upon the natural rights of the population, were moral, and did not break the law.  However, they clearly intended Christianity to be a part of American government and central to the derivation of proper law.  For 171 years the United States fulfilled that intent; it wasn’t until the 1947 Everson v. Board of Education trial that supreme court justices, 8 of the 9 appointed by uber-progressive FDR, that the Establishment Clause was perverted into its present day legal interpretation.  The question is: What do we do now?

First, we must recognize the current trend is a problem and understand the ramifications.   Recall that only meaninglessness can be derived from an a priori belief the universe, and everything contained within it, is a result of completely random, naturalistic phenomena.  Consequently, morality and therefore law cannot be objective under an atheistic view.  Similarly, Part III showed that non-Judeo-Christian religions cannot provide an objective basis because they also lack cogent logical derivations for morality.  Thus, if we abandon our Judeo-Christian religious values we are destined to erode into amoral practices and eventually degrade as a society.

Atheists like to counter that they act morally and therefore this concern is unwarranted.  However, this missed the point entirely.  Confined to an atheistic worldview, one cannot know what is or is not moral; therefore, their moral behavior can only be understood in a Christian context.  Because the universe and all life is created by God and mankind is created in the image of God we should rationally expect people to have a general sense of right and wrong.  Under any other worldview this would not be a reasonable expectation.

This by no means implies that abolition of all religion (particularly Christianity) from government would immediately result in moral decline.  General societal sense of morality and legal precedence would still be in effect.  However, as time progresses, upon what basis would the courts adjudicate their decisions; namely on matters involving ethics and morality? Because the Court would no longer be permitted to base its judgment on the objective moral principles it must resort to some other measure or morality.  Is it whether or not someone is injured?   This might be an acceptable method for some cases, but what defines injury?  Is injury only physical harm or does it include psychological harm?  What if the defendant was also injured, perhaps in a case of self-defense – wouldn’t the victim also be guilty of injuring the defendant?  Morality could be decided democratically by majority vote, but what happens when the majority is immoral?  More poignantly, what happens if the majority is Christian and they decide morality on the basis of their worldview – wouldn’t this still be an unacceptable outcome to the likes of the ACLU?

No matter which alternative scenario is envisaged, the result always ends with irrational subjectivity.  The need to maintain an objective reference for morality is evident.  However, we’ve already come far down the path of extricating the Judeo-Christian religion from our nation’s governance.  This leaves us with two choices. The first is to lobby our government to act legislatively to change the law and give our courts a new basis for evaluating future cases.  Doing so would probably require a constitutional amendment to revise the wording of the First Amendment and is, quite frankly, highly improbable.

The second option is feasible but requires a new perspective: properly recognizing atheism as a religion.  According to the atheist faithful, their positions are based upon science and are irreligious.  However, a lack of belief in God is not a lack of belief in anything.  Quite to the contrary, atheism is the arduously held belief that there can be no supernatural explanation for anything.  It presupposes that all unknowns can eventually be explained in a naturalistic way – an obvious statement of faith.  In addition, an atheist answering the fundamental question posed in Part I, why does the universe exist, is unable to answer without imbuing purely ideological opinions.  Atheism is, by definition, a religion.

By officially (through legislation or legal precedence) declaring atheism a religion the impetus to remove Christianity from government is eroded.  Atheism and its beliefs have been indoctrinated into our public schools, national parks, colleges, news, and politics without the legal challenge of “separation of church and state.”  Once this same treatment is applied, those raising legal challenges to “religion” in government will likewise be obstructing their own beliefs.  Of course, this only curtails the suits against Christianity and does not reinstate it into our judicial code or national ethos.

Reviving the Christian ethos requires enough time to overcome generational inertia.  Our schools’ curricula should be revised to include specific and arduous instruction in logic and reasoning.  Specific attention should be paid to the derivation of morality, the eternal questions of right and wrong.  Such instruction could be, and rightfully should be, completely devoid of any particular religious indoctrination.  However, it must be rigorously taught.  This means oxymoronic liberal-logic is not permitted – in other words, statements like, “whatever makes you happy” or “it’s not fair” cannot go unchallenged.  Students must be tested on their ability to construct positions on the basis of sound logic and they must be made aware of their presuppositions.  This instruction cannot begin in grade school through high school, it must begin in the colleges where new teachers are receiving their instruction so that they can pass it down to their students.  Otherwise, the current whimsical, irrelevant ideology espoused to them – and subsequently by them – will make it impossible for them to instruct our children about proper logic and reason.

This approach may seem anti-religious itself, but remember the discussions in Parts I through IV showing how other presuppositional ideologies implode when taken to their logical ends.  Instruction in logic compels students to consider these ends and reformulate their own presuppositions into rational, logically defensible a priori beliefs.  Secondly, this concept favors no religion or ideology so it should face no opposition (aside from atheists who realize the fallaciousness of their beliefs but hold to them out of dogma).  Third, you may disagree with my entire dissertation, but in proposing this approach I am willing to let logic be the ultimate test of truth at the risk of being proven wrong – a risk I consider extremely improbable.

Note also that I am not proposing Christianity be inserted as a State religion.  The free exercise of religion was, is, and should always be an important aspect of the United States of America.  Requiring citizens to practice a particular religion does nothing to instill someone’s faith in that religion.  Bona fide faith in God is the ultimate hope, but it most come to everyone on a personal level; not at the threat of being punished by government.  On the contrary, my proposal de-establishes atheism as the state religion and equips everyone with the proper intellectual tools to make the decision on their own.

If I did not believe in the logical robustness of a God based presuppositional belief I would never be willing to leave the fate of my nation to chance.  Because I have evaluated the logical ramifications of alternative beliefs I am confident the outcome of my proposal is a resounding reinstatement of the moral principles and unalienable rights that can only be justified in the context of the Judeo-Christian God.

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