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Christian Debt

There is no doubt, no arguing, that we are in debt to God for our lives, our health, our talents.

  • Samuel L. Blumenfeld,
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There is no doubt, no arguing, that we are in debt to God for our lives, our health, our talents. When an infant opens his eyes and finds himself in the world, in reality, he does not know that he is the result of a miracle, a miracle that began when a sperm cell from his father joined with the ovum of his mother to create him, a new human being, in the form of an embryo.

Is it not amazing that in that tiny embryo we find the potential for an entire life, a program of physical development that knows the future as far ahead as a hundred years? That is the miracle that occurs every day, every hour, every minute all over the globe.

And yet, atheists deny that such incredible complexity housed in a tiny, barely visible, embryo, is anything but a fortuitous accident, the work of blind natural forces, without a creator, without a vision. How can such a blind force see the future? And how could skin and bones, a beating heart, eyes, ears, a digestive system, blood, a complex circulatory system of veins and arteries, a powerful brain, all begin as a tiny embryo encasing the most wondrous blueprint for all of this?

It takes only nine months for this embryo to become a completely viable human being who can look into the eyes of his mother, his father, his sisters and brothers, and enter the greater reality of other people. Reality is perceived in small increments, including one's need for nourishment and warmth. If the child is educated in the way God intended, prescribed in Deuteronomy 6, he learns that he belongs to God and is indebted to God for the gift of life.

No scientist has ever been able to prove the existence of a natural creative force that can spontaneously produce living organisms out of non-organic matter. In fact, it was Louis Pasteur who proved that living matter could only come from other living matter. It could not come from non-living matter. But what we find among scientists today is a willingness to believe in what is nothing but a fairy tale when it comes to explaining the origin of living matter. For example, we read in the Standard Family Reference Encyclopedia (p. 391):

Life probably first evolved from the primeval soup some 3000-4000 million years ago when the first organic chemicals were synthesized due to the effects of lightning. Primitive algae capable of synthesizing their own food material have been found in geological formations some 2000 million years old. Simple forms of animals and fungi then evolved. From that time there has been a slow evolution of multicellular organisms.

That's about the best explanation modern science has been able to come up with. By the way, there are no simple forms of animals and fungi. They are all pretty complex. The DNA of an amoeba is anything but simple. Indeed, this same encyclopedia's article on fungi indicates that they are quite complicated organisms. But the whole thing is a very useful fairy tale for those who wish to owe God nothing. By this belief they can separate themselves from God and thereby live in a kind of secular hell or drug-induced paradise of their own making. Separation from God is the ultimate evil. It leads to mass murder by communists and Nazis. It leads to human misery on a global scale. It leads to socialist poverty. It leads to nihilist terrorism. It leads to suicide.

Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold, the two students responsible for the massacre at Columbine High School, did not believe in the future. That is why they wanted to die. Separated from God, life had become unbearable for them. And so they succumbed to the nihilist love of death. We don't know what kind of religion their parents practiced, but whatever it was, it did not make these kids realize that their lives were a gift of God and that they owed something to their Maker.

How is it possible for two teenagers brought up in the affluence of middle-class America, given all of the material goodies produced by this society, living amid the natural beauty of Colorado, enjoying good health, could come to believe that hate was superior to love, that life had no potential for happiness, and that death and mayhem were the only answers for their lives.

Where did this self-destructive form of nihilism come from? The public school they attended preached and practiced the doctrine of the complete separation of God from schooling. Their education told them that they owed nothing to God, that God was neither needed nor necessary in education. And this nihilist worldview was drummed into their heads since grade one.

Of course, millions of children go through this education system learning that God is not important in their lives, but they don't become nihilist killers. Most of them get enough religion at home to offset what the schools preach. Some may even have Christian teachers who manage to convey spiritual values in the course of their teaching. But it's all a form of cultural Russian roulette. There is so much spiritual confusion in America today, that most young people drift in and out of beliefs as they experiment with drugs or sex. Their lives have been so bent out of shape by their dumbed-down humanist education, that they cannot understand the value of life — the value of the gift God gave them.

But the horrendous events of 9-11 have distracted us away from the problems of our education system. Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold have receded into the past like two monsters in a horrible nightmare. They were an aberration, some will say. Things at Columbine High School have returned to normal. The same humanist nihilism pervades the curriculum. Yet, on graduation these young people must make their way into the culture. Some will go into the military where certain traditions prevail. Some will marry and have families. Some will embark on ambitious careers. Some will decide that life is not worth living.

But Christians have a great advantage. By acknowledging their debt to God, they acknowledge that life is not only worth living, but that God has given them a calling, which makes their lives doubly meaningful. When we realize that God has given our lives meaning and purpose, we are able to plan a purposeful existence in conformity with the talents and abilities God has given us. As long as there are enough people in America who live in accordance with this understanding, we shall survive the shocks of 9-11 and Columbine and work to renew America's Christian faith and deep gratitude to the God who made us.


  • Samuel L. Blumenfeld

Samuel L. Blumenfeld (1927–2015), a former Chalcedon staffer, authored a number of books on education, including NEA: Trojan Horse in American Education,  How to Tutor, Alpha-Phonics: A Primer for Beginning Readers, and Homeschooling: A Parent’s Guide to Teaching Children

He spent much of his career investigating the decline in American literacy, the reasons for the high rate of learning disabilities in American children, the reasons behind the American educational establishment’s support for sex and drug education, and the school system's refusal to use either intensive phonics in reading instruction and memorization in mathematics instruction.  He lectured extensively in the U.S. and abroad and was internationally recognized as an expert in intensive, systematic phonics.  His writings appeared in such diverse publications as Home School DigestReasonEducation Digest, Boston Magazine, Vital Speeches of the DayPractical Homeschooling, Esquire, and many others.

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