A nation numbed by Mammon
This column is intended mainly for the “Christian nation.” Some who do not subscribe to the Christian belief system and world-view, and some who do, may find what follows a waste of their time.
People and nations define themselves, largely, according to the subscribed philosophical/religious tenets that shape their thought and belief. America and many of its long-held beliefs, the very beliefs about freedom that inspired the Revolution, have changed. This change may not reside inside your heart or in the hearts of those you know. But the transition has occurred nonetheless in the American culture.
I believe this transition has occurred incrementally over many decades that span at least a century. The people and their states, no longer sovereign or in control of their own destiny, have over many years been relegated to an increasing degree of subservience on multiple levels, the result of which, shamefully, would make us barely recognizable to those citizens who dared to rise up against the British Crown.
The transformation of the United States has devolved to a point that the belief in and acknowledgment of a Creator God, through the efforts of establishment science (a religion in its own right), academics, government, entertainment and the various media, has been replaced with a more Spartan assessment of humanity that has its philosophical roots in the following:
• Materialism. For example, mind springs from matter and there is no God ... man alone can save himself.
• Mechanism. For example, man and the universe as a machine and the brain as a computer, all explained by the use of “scientific” reductionism.
• A form of humanism meant to replace the need for God. Worshipping the creature more than the Creator.
• A materialistic theory of mind, one that insists that consciousness comes from the brain.
• And egoistic hedonism that has us convinced that the self-serving approach of “looking out for number one” is the pinnacle of rational motivation and experience, among others.
For their part, Christians largely stand by as observers, as if their silence in the face of the transformation is something called for, something to be expected. We say we will not take the mark, yet will we not rise up and fight to keep laws from being enacted that will bring that mark to bear?
Being an observer is not possible in God’s participatory universe. Heisenberg and others proved that. So did the Bible.
When a man strays from what once defined him, he becomes less than he was before and more willing to be subservient to the powers around him, powers against which he is told he cannot prevail.
So, too, with a nation. Whether complying with the politically correct axiom that “you can’t fight city hall (so why try?)” or with the sometimes unspoken requirement to cover up, and even lie, for an employer (think of the people you know, including Christians, to whom this applies), acts of subservience accumulate in conscious behavior over time to become patterns of thinking and believing. So, too, with a nation.
And as subservience is cemented, the people, as participants in the transformation, become increasingly malleable and unwilling to confront the authority that shapes their world-view and convinces themselves that they are to believe what they are told to believe, and without question.
We were reminded in the 1st century that we are wrestling (denoting a cognitive and/or physical action) against authorities and powers and world rulers of the darkness that exists. Maybe that’s why in the following verses Paul talked about outfitting ourselves in an armor by which we could resist and stand our ground in the day of evil.
But many Christians believe that America is a good, godly nation. So how could it possibly foster evil?
Some of you will remind me that Christians have biblical foreknowledge that mockery and persecution is to be expected and is unavoidable. This is true. But where is it said that Christians are supposed to be accomplices to that persecution?
Are we supposed to sit by in silence as our children are taught theory disguised as fact by academics and textbook publishers? Are we supposed to turn a deaf ear and a blind eye while our faith is slaughtered continuously in the media for the past three decades? Are we to act like obedient children when Christianity is torn down, yet other religions go unimpeded, even promoted, through the actions of local, state and federal governments?
Most people acquiesce to being followers and are easily swayed. No wonder Christ likened us to sheep. Would that it were true that Christians are not so easily swayed. But over the generations they have proved themselves to be just the same as their brothers and sisters who are not believers.
It is not that they compromise their Christian beliefs in church, it is that their willingness to stand up for their beliefs outside church and in the face of unrelenting public condemnation has been compromised.
We today, by our failure to stand for our beliefs, are more like a house built on shifting sand. The power of Caesar has essentially invaded our homes, our lives, our beliefs ... even the very consciousness that some of us believe was manifested at once when God breathed in the breath of life (neshama in the Hebrew) and man became a living soul.
It is difficult to bind a strong man when challenging and or trying to modify his beliefs. It is not so difficult to subdue that strong man who speaks strong words in his house, but weak ones in society, and to shape his world-view while allowing him to retain some of his spiritual beliefs. This was the Roman tactic that worked so well and helped facilitate the assimilation of nations and religions, including Christianity, on three continents.
We are much like Esau, who sold his birthright for a bowl of soup. Christians in America over the past century sold theirs, as did non-believers, for a different kind of nourishment.
People will fall for nearly anything if they are kept fat and relatively comfortable in the land of plenty, in the Land of Mammon (Money).
And with the otherwise innocent promise of “anything is possible in America” our silence and subservience was bought with a price.
The price was not spiritual. The price was material. You may say it’s not so, but in the broader American culture, Mammon became god. The proof is all around us.
(Part 2 of this column will follow in a future issue.)