Life in a Land of Many Gods
Some 2,000 years ago, the apostle Paul strolled through the marketplace in ancient Athens where a plethora of altars dedicated to manmade gods oﬀered Athenians a smorgasbord of pagan religions and lifestyles.In their eagerness to show tolerance for everything, the Athenians even had an altar “TO THE UNKNOWN GOD” (Acts 17:23).
As Paul addressed the philosopher-inquisitors grilling him, he told them about the God, unknown to them, who was the One and only Supreme Being “who made the world and everything in it” (v. 24).
His announcement was soon clariﬁed by direction. That is, Christianity spread west and transformed the course of history. From a quagmire of religious superstitions emerged a unifying faith unparalleled in history. The validity of Christianity would be evidenced in the transformation of individual lives through faith in Jesus Christ and the establishment of national norms drawn from biblical, Judeo-Christian standards.
For more than 200 years, those standards prevailed in America, stabilizing our Constitution and our culture. We shared an inherent sense of patriotism and loyalty for a way of life that had delivered so much.
The New Athenians
For anyone who took notice, things began to change when America began to lose its appeal with so-called liberal progressives. Led by unrepentant radicals left over from the 1960s and academic elitists who communicated their deep disdain for the country to their students, the rudder began to come oﬀ the ship of state.
In what was a stunning reversal of moral, social, political, and judicial norms, stridently aggressive subculture minorities were refashioning the country. To eﬀect a full transformation, Judeo-Christian values had to be dismantled. Christianity went from being the unifying standard to public enemy number one. Instead of clinging to truth and the message of liberation, peace, and life that comes from the God “who made the world and everything in it,” we are morphing into a 21st-century version of ancient Athens.
In 2009 President Obama articulated the progressive design for a new America: “Although…we have a very large Christian population, we do not consider ourselves a Christian nation or a Jewish nation or a Muslim nation; we consider ourselves a nation of citizens who are bound by ideals and a set of values.”1
Unanswered is the question, “If the Judeo-Christian foundation for values and governance is scrapped, what ‘ideals and…set of values’ will we use?” It isn’t enough to declare independence from the things of the past without revealing what will take their place. A culture by committee can only ensure the country’s eventual collapse.
The ongoing verbal assault on Christianity, coupled with expulsions from the public sector of anything Christian, is a means to an end. In the 2008 political campaign, candidate Obama promised to “fundamentally transform America.” The thought was not original but, rather, an expression of a reformation long in the making among liberal elitists.
The particulars of this fundamentally transformed America were deliberately undeﬁned. A few years ago, few public ﬁgures, including rabid secularists, would have jeopardized their careers by questioning the moral values and Judeo-Christian ethical norms woven into the fabric of America. But today cultural revolutionaries are eviscerating Christianity in favor of directionless, anti-God tribalism that has many voices but no unifying substance. This ideology’s stock-in-trade is to ridicule and marginalize dissenters until it destroys their credibility.
Therefore, in the proposed new scheme of things, Christianity is scripted to become a minor player. The God of the Bible is reduced to one among many, and thus emerges the post-Christian era that revisionist ideologues so deeply covet.
Anti-Zionism Prologue to the Future
The denigration of our traditional Christian heritage is, of course, nothing new. It is the recurring theme of religious, political, and social engineers who want to remake the world in their image.
Yet they create carnage everywhere. Consider the post-Zionist, post-Judaism struggle taking place in Israel. Anti-Zionist forces are waging a cultural war against the early Zionist movement that resurrected the Jewish state. They claim Zionism was invalid from the beginning and even question the moral basis for Judaism. Anti-Zionists don’t want to improve or reﬁne the Zionist idea; they want to destroy it. Yet they oﬀer nothing constructive in its place.
Given the extreme hatred for Jewish people in Europe and the Middle East and the fact anti-Semitism is increasing in North America, this ideology would consign Jews to their tormentors.
An article by Spanish author Sebastian Vilar Rodrigez depicts the consequences of stateless Jewry after the Nazis:
I walked down the street in Barcelona, and suddenly discovered a terrible truth—Europe died in Auschwitz….In Auschwitz we burned a culture, thought, creativity, talent. We destroyed the chosen people, truly chosen, because they produced great and wonderful people who changed the world.
The contribution of this people is felt in all areas of life: science, art, international trade, and above all, as the conscience of the world. These are the people we burned….
And thus, in our misery, we have exchanged culture for fanatical hatred, creative skill for destructive skill, intelligence for backwardness and superstition. We have exchanged the pursuit of peace of the Jews of Europe and their talent for a better future for their children, their determined clinging to life because life is holy, for those who pursue death, for people consumed by the desire for death for themselves and others, for our children and theirs.2
The situation today in Europe is an omen of evil and a philosophy that would again turn Jews into homeless wanderers seeking refuge in ghettos in the midst of hostile environments.
The Rip Van Winkle Syndrome
What is at stake for Christianity in America has nothing to do with partisan politics or disagreements over semantics. The war on Christianity is real and central to the future. Our world is awash in the blood of Christian martyrs. I prepared this piece a few days after ISIS beheaded 21 Coptic Christians in Libya.
I’ve received heart-wrenching photos of ISIS slaughtering children in the most grotesque fashion. Not since the barbarism of ancient pagan hordes and Adolf Hitler’s Nazi butchers has there been such a reign of terror.
Yet, though the evidence is overwhelming, it appears most Americans are in denial. Perhaps we believe what is happening elsewhere cannot happen here.
Even more disturbing is the silence of the vast majority of Christians, including a large swath of professing evangelicals.
Franklin Graham, president and CEO of Samaritan’s Purse, knows ﬁrsthand the threat of radical Islam and its unabashed intention to vanquish Christianity, destroy Western democracies, and establish a worldwide Islamic caliphate. Graham wonders why there is not a universal outcry against Islamist tyranny, and he has warned the West that a storm of Islamic persecution is coming.3
Some say Christians need a gentle wake-up call. Now it appears they need a resurrection of awareness. And it may be coming soon. If you listen, you can hear the thunder on the horizon. Reality may only be one bomb blast away.
America is not like the Athens of ancient days, and a return to the thinking and practices of failed pagan systems is not the golden road to the future. The apostle Paul, the Christian gospel, and our Founding Fathers took us in a different direction. Turning back is not an option. America has experienced four spiritual great awakenings, when throngs of people turned back to the God of the Bible. Pray there will be a ﬁfth and that it will come soon.
- “Joint Press Availability With President Obama and President Gul of Turkey,” The White House, Oﬃce of the Press Secretary, Ankara, Turkey, April 6, 2009 <tinyurl.com/dxrt93>.
- Sebastian Vilar Rodrigez, “All European Life Died in Auschwitz,” cited in freerepublic .com, June 12, 2012 <tinyurl.com/mkydzok>.
- Jessica Chasmar, “Rev. Franklin Graham: ‘Imagine the outcry if Christians beheaded 21 Muslims,’” Fox News <tinyurl.com/n62wymx>.