Recent articles have centered upon the decline of our country in the area of moral values. If this be true, and the quantifying of it has been substantiated, as William Bennett has pointed out (Wall Street Journal, March 15,1993), then it is proper to ask what will guide us in the future, and will that guide be adequate to elevate our culture and insure peace and tranquility for all?
It would be said that our constitution has been the standard by which we have formulated our behaviors and relationships, as well as the Judeo-Christian heritage upon which our country was founded. But, in the recent past, and over various supreme court decisions our constitution has been pilloried back and forth, so that it seems as if it is no longer a worthy guide, and only by hanging on to it are we able to have any semblance of order, and even that is questionable at times. Upon what then can we depend for a guide in the future?
In reflecting upon the thirteen founding fathers, it has been noted that ten were strong Christians, one was a deist, one a Unitarian, and one was unknown as to his beliefs. It is easily seen that this overwhelming Judeo-Christian concept was transmitted to the Constitution. Over the past two hundred years this has been the foundation upon which our country has become great.
Two other elements have contributed to building our country, our educational system and our religious teachings. Together with the political foundation we have had a triumvirate that has provided us with a solid framework upon which to construct our country. Over the past two centuries we have been able to launch various programs, accept peoples from many nations, integrate them into our culture, be pluralistic ethnically, religiously, politically, and still be one nation, under God, and yet be progressive.
At the beginning of the twentieth century there came some major significant changes that affected our country in an increasing cumulative manner. First, came the industrial revolution that brought material blessings, but became disruptive of our family structure, and injected material greed to a great degree. Then came a relativistic humanistic philosophy that permeated first our universities and colleges, then filtered down to our public schools, which bred the selfish "Me" generation of today, and a jettisoning of spiritual, moral, and ethical principles of the past. There has been a great movement in our country over the past hundred years from being basically a principled nation to becoming a pragmatic country. Instead of an objective standard and guide upon which judgments are formulated, we have shifted to what the majority of society desires, and that becomes the norm, right or wrong. Our ideas have been largely molded by Hollywood, the media, and by unprincipled selfish people, who have wormed their way into places of power, with agendas that have undermined our Judeo-Christian heritage and the Constitution, and have used our school system to promote their self-centered, pragmatic philosophy. The result is what we see today going on in our public schools, with the crime and sexual perversion that predominates. Our religious denominations have succumbed to a liberal higher critical view of the Bible, which has emptied our churches, decimated the teaching of the principles that marked our heritage, and have by and large caused many splits in our denominations, with a wide divergence between mainline denominations and fractured groups. All of this has produced a significant re-alignment of our society, so that today we have "liberals" and "conservatives", politically, economically, philosophically, and religiously. There is some crossing of the lines, but our country has become divided primarily into two great camps, that are quite divergent from each other, and tend toward further dividing our once unified society.
If we are to save our country from self-destructing, and the pattern as seen from past civilizations would indicate that we are well on our way out, upon what foundation or basis can we re-construct ourselves so that we can provide a secure future for our children and grand children? It certainly can't be upon any subjective elements or philosophies. It can't be through any group of people who are intellectually better than the average, or by those who are in power or authority. It must come from an outside, objective guide, beyond the pale of mankind, yet pertinent to meeting our needs, giving us guidelines that will insure peace, tranquility, and guidance, so that politically, economically, educationally, spiritually, and morally and ethically we can live, be productive, and secure in ourselves. I believe that the only element that will be able to adequately provide all of this is the Bible and its principle tenants.
John H. Stoll, Ph.D.
Executive Director, ASK, Inc.
4105 N. Lexington, #320
St. Paul, MN., 55126