Many Americans don't realize how fortunate we are to live in an overwhelmingly culturally Christian country. We daily enjoy the tremendous benefits that have been derived from being founded as a Christian nation and an earlier generation's determination to establish a solidly and unapologetically monolithic Christian culture. Our citizens, even the most vicious critics of the Faith, are reaping incredible fruit harvested from the belief structure planted centuries ago. However, we must not assume that our prosperity will continue unabated if we forego the Faith that has liberated mankind and return to religions which kept nations locked in superstition and fear.
For an idea of what our country would resemble if we forsook Christianity we need not look to the past, but to a common story that has unfolded in "modern" India, a nation that is "multi-cultural" if ever there was one. (India is very proud to be known as the home of the proverbial "three hundred thousand gods.") The people of India are facing a deadly plague carried by rats; hundreds are dead and the possibility of thousands more dying soon is very real. Although the plague can be literally wiped out overnight by getting rid of the rats, health officials are helpless to act. According to Hindu mythology, the rats are not to be killed, but to be worshipped!
A recent Associated Press news report from New Delhi, India described the scene as follows:
It's a health official's nightmare: Tens of thousands of rats racing across the floor, feasting on fruit and candy. At the Karni Mata temple in the desert state of Rajastan, the effort to stifle the first outbreak of plague in 28 years takes a back seat to an old Hindu practice — rat worship.
In Hindu mythology, the elephant-headed god Ganesh is accompanied by a rat whenever he travels. No Hindu worship is complete without an offering to Ganesh and his small companion.
Unfortunately, there are many people who would like nothing more than to eradicate America's Christian heritage and replace it with the quagmire of superstitions, hopelessness, and helplessness that has bogged down pagan nations such as India. Paganism and pantheism have kept entire nations mired in human degradation based on fear and ignorance. This drive to diminish the influence of Christianity here at home is reflected in movements as diverse as what attempts to pass as "environmentalism," but is in reality more often a subtle form of pantheism (turning all living and non-living things — such as trees, ants, spotted owls, etc. — into gods that must be worshiped, i.e. Hinduism), to business people reviving the ancient Chinese practice of feng shui.
Feng shui is the practice of using a shaman (a nicer name for witch doctor) to "interpret signs from the elements on where to build a house or cemetery to best harmonize with nature," and shamans "have been revered in the Far East for centuries as priests able to read the heavens and take the pulse of the Earth." They are making huge profits by giving men like Donald Trump advice about where to put fish in the hotel lobby to absorb "negative energy" and where to hang mirrors to "reflect spirits" so they'll make lots of money. In a nutshell, the resurgence of feng shui once again places man at the whim of mystical nature spirits and returns us to the dark ages where roofs had pointed spirals to keep demons from sitting on housetops!
Christianity and Science
Although we hear a constant crescendo of opposition to Christianity, it is belief in God and Jesus Christ that has lead to the incredible scientific breakthroughs we enjoy in our country. Christianity has been pivotal in lifting men and women — indeed, entire nations — out of the pit of superstition and fear to provide the foundation for scientific advancement and human progress. It shouldn't come as a surprise that as far as scientific discoveries are concerned, Christians, or those heavily influenced by Christian thought, have been on the cutting edge of progress. Someone once said, "It is just the Bible which sees both together: creation and Creator, nature and revelation, the visible and the invisible, man as the king of the earth and the earth as his kingdom."
Erich Sauer, a brilliant German theologian, points out that "we cannot rule over nature without first discovering its laws. It is a fact that only after the pagan deification of nature had been conquered did true inquiry into nature enter the history of the sciences. For as long as men, even in classical antiquity, believed that nature was animated by gods or evil spiritual powers, awe in the face of these gods and demons was a restraint on the objective study of nature."
To illustrate his point, Sauer gives several powerful examples:
- Anaxagoras, a personal friend of Pericles, the great Athenian statesman, and of Phidias, the most outstanding Greek sculptor and artist, was accused of atheism and exiled from Athens because he taught that the sun was a glowing mass of stone and that the stars also consisted of stone. He also taught that the moon received its light from the sun and that they were subject to the same gravitational force as earthly bodies. Because the people of his day believed the sun, moon, and stars were the divine rulers of earth he was condemned for blasphemy and banished.
- The Emperor Nero, although undoubtedly personally irreligious, had to capitulate in an important plan in face of the nature-deifying superstitions of his subjects. He stopped the very important cutting of a canal through the Isthmus of Corinth, by which the voyage from the Adriatic to Athens could have been shortened by about 200 miles, because many of his contemporaries felt it to be an unwarranted intrusion into the secrets of the earth and desecration of spirit-animated nature, and so feared the wrath of the gods.
And finally Sauer writes, "Those who deify nature are always, through awe of the mysterious spirit forces that rule within it, kept from looking more deeply into the life of nature and from penetrating into its laws. . . . For their deification of nature stood in the way of all scientific progress."
Scientific progress is a natural result of Christianity precisely because we do not deify nature. Christians enjoy nature, care for creation as stewards and realize that all creation points to God "since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. For since the creation of the world God's invisible qualities — his eternal power and divine nature — have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse" (Rom. 1:19-20).
The Biblical View of the Creation
God's original revelation to man was that he had created all things and that creation was simply that: creation with man as the crown jewel made in God's image given dominion over all the earth. Splendid, majestic, beautiful, incredibly intricate and fascinating, yes. But still only a creation that could do nothing of itself except to point to and praise the One True God (see Psalm 148 for details). To understand nature was to understand the Creator. In this sense scientific investigation became a form of acknowledging, praising and worshiping God. The writer of Psalm 8 understood this as he declared, "O Lord, our Lord, how majestic is Your name in all the earth! When I consider Your heavens, the work of Your fingers, the moon and the stars, which You have set in place. . . . How majestic is Your name in all the earth!"
However, as man sought to escape from his responsibilities to God, he lowered himself to the point that he worshiped those things that God had placed him over. The apostle Paul declares in Romans 1:21-25 that "although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to Him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened. Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images made to look like mortal man and birds and animals and reptiles . . . They exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator."
The Deification of Nature
Today we are witnessing a powerful resurgence of the deification of nature — the devaluing of human life combined with an exaltation of nature as something that is above man and requires us to "get in tune" with its mystical powers. This movement, if successful, will take us back to the pagan dark ages where men and women were intimidated and enslaved by unseen ghosts and goblins behind every tree and under every rock. It will attempt to overthrow scientific progress — human progress — as incompatible with nature. The end result of the re-deification of nature (Gaia worship) would be the elimination of the nation of Holland because the sea god, Neptune, doesn't take kindly to dams and barricades keeping him off of land occupied by "inferior humans."
For those who think that America is too "enlightened" to return to this pagan nonsense, consider the following:
- In Illinois, crews refurbishing Route 1 have been told to take extra precautions so they don't disturb rice rats.
- A farmer in California recently had his $70,000 tractor confiscated because he inadvertently killed a rat while working in his field.
- A corn farmer in Missouri was prosecuted for repairing a sunken levee on his property, thereby restoring 150 acres of brushland to crop land, on which he planted corn. However, the Army Corps of Engineers considered his cornfield a "wetland" with cattails (the "cattails" actually were sorghum, planted by the farmer himself) and therefore the improvement was a federal violation.
- Malaria is on the increase because "environmentalists" have persuaded the EPA to outlaw pesticides that kill mosquitos, which are one of the main carriers of the disease. Why? "The smallest form of life, even an ant or a clam, is equal to a human being," says one leading environmental spokesman.
- Congress has passed animal-rights legislation to make medical research more expensive. One amendment requires researchers to protect the "psychological well-being" of monkeys.
- Ingrid Newkirk, former head of People for the Equitable Treatment of Animals (PETA) placed mankind on the same moral level as chickens when she complained on national TV, "Six million Jews died in concentration camps, but six billion broiler chickens will die this year in slaughter houses."
And these are just samples of what is taking place across the nation. The time is upon us when we, as Americans, must make a choice and that choice is a clear-cut one. Either we recommit to our faith in God who made us the greatest nation in history, or we return to the pagan nightmare of centuries past that will produce nothing except doom and despair. The Old Testament hero Joshua's words are words that need to be proclaimed today. After giving example after example of God's blessing upon Joshua's people, he ended a speech by stating "Choose you this day whom you will serve . . . but as for me and my household, we will serve the Lord" (Jos. 24:15).