After the death of Joshua in the time of Israel’s judges, the people living in this land of plenty lapsed into apostasy. They abandoned God by going their own way and doing what they themselves believed to be right in their own eyes. Much like today–standards crumbling. You might infer that we too live in a Godless society. When the fool says in his heart ‘there is no God’, that man is free to make up his own rules; he sooner or later becomes corrupt (Ps. 14 and 53). They used to say in World War II that there were no atheists in foxholes, but with this prevailing attitude today, there are no foxholes.
The enemy we now fight is more subtle than this. Recent surveys reveal that practically everybody believes in God, and a substantial majority in the idea of life after death. So we live in the kind of foxholes Thoreau wrote about, where the mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation . My thesis today is that we are fighting a secular society. It’s a great idea for government–religious freedom–but with both a secular society and a secular government, orthodox religious expression is inhibited. It seems that one must tolerate and even condone all sorts of behavior that would have affronted the vast majority of Americans in the 19th century. Today you can be accused of intolerance because of your religion. But these characteristics are not a manifestation of a secular godless system, but part of another religious system–another gospel, if you will.
This system, born of the deist philosophy, implies the existence of God, but it is a special kind of god, one which permits you to make up the rules, called by the philosophers Deus ex Machina. With no relation to revelation or authority, the philosophy had many ancient antecedents. But this rash excursion into the field of philosophy required rationalists. We could start with Plato. But the father of modern Deism was Rene Descartes (1596 - 1650), the great mathematician, philosopher who might be called the father of rationalism. He invokes God–Deus ex Machina–to endorse the validity of our thoughts . Thus individual consciousness, or thought, is the final criterion of truth, concluding human logic to be infallible. An idea all made more dangerous by Rousseau (1712 - 1778) who was a philosopher of the enlightenment. He believed man’s instincts to be good; they were victims. This philosophy came to a head in the works of the French Revolution. This natural theology led to Communism–man is good, and Nazism-- a special kind of man is good. And in the United States, Jefferson, a disciple of Rousseau, his preachments were evident in the Declaration of Independence. Free government insures freedom of everybody. How has this worked out?
By the time we arrive at Karl Marx in the 1850's, we find that all religion is the enemy of mans progress. Marx preached that religion was made by man, not the other way around, and called it the opiate of the people. He summoned workers of the world to unite-- you have nothing to lose but your chains. What happened in Germany led to utter degradation invoking a long and hard war to rid the world of its poison. In the United States this unfettered freedom led to economic Darwinism, and 100 years later to the Reagan years where the rich got richer, and the poor poorer.
Human history continues to prove Christ’s statement that it is out of the heart of man that proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornication, thefts, false witness, blasphemies: these are the things that defile a man. . .(Mat 15 19, 20). And just because you know how to give good gifts to your children does not make you good. Christ preached in his sermon on the mount, What man is there, whom if his son ask bread, will he give him a stone? . . . If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more shall your Father which is in heaven give good things to them that ask Him? (Mat 7. 9 - 11) Who can know the heart of man? It is not in him to direct his own steps. (Jer 10. 23). Not pretty, but the prophet speaks the truth. Four thousand years of history prove true the words of many writers over 1600 years who over and over corroborate this point. I hope I’m preaching to the choir, to those who will not Cast away their confidence, which has great recompense of reward. Who have need of patience that after they have done the will of God, they might receive the promise. For yet a little while
and he that shall come will come, and will not tarry. (Heb 10. 35 - 37)
Let us not be intimidated; let us use the power of logic as well as facts to support Christianity