How America lost its way & freedom
By Berit Kjos – March 2, 2009
“‘Who controls the past controls the future; who controls the present controls the past,’ repeated Winston obediently.” George Orwell’s 1984
“The classroom must and will become an arena of conflict between the old and the new – the rotting corpse of Christianity… and the new faith of humanism.” The Humanist
“…a reconfigured collective memory will also allow individuals to see their personal experiences differently and place events… in a new matrix of meaning.” Memory and Power in Post-war Europe
“As the memory of the Christian base grows ever dimmer, freedom will disintegrate…. The [old] system will not simply go on, divorced from its founding roots.” Francis Schaeffer, How Should We Then Live
“If you by any means forget the Lord your God, and follow other gods… you shall surely perish….” Deuteronomy 8:19
My favorite book as a child was a Norwegian translation of an old British book titled “The Wide Wide Word.” It tells about a young girl sent to live with a distant aunt after the death of her mother. Since Ellen had already learned to trust Jesus, she knew He was with her in the midst of her dark and lonely surroundings. She saw His love in amazing ways — especially through a kind young woman who uses every painful hurdle in Ellen’s early life to point her to God’s ever-present comforts.
Since my family rarely mentioned God in those days, this book opened my eyes to His loving sovereignty. It became my life-line to His special strength during Norway’s post-war years. And when we moved to America, it was the main treasure I brought with me.
Such books may soon be forgotten — banished by a law that prohibits the sale of children’s books published before 1985. The justification for such an outrageous decree is that the print might contain a tiny amount of lead. Testing books for lead is prohibitively expensive. According to an article titled, The New Book Banning,
“no one seems to have been able to produce a single instance in which an American child has been made ill by the lead in old book illustrations—not surprisingly, since unlike poorly maintained wall paint, book pigments do not tend to flake off in large lead-laden chips for toddlers to put into their mouths.”
Could political goals have prompted this specific ban? I don’t know. But if I were a postmodern change agent, I would want to hide old books that refresh young minds with moral absolutes and the unadulterated memories of our historical roots. Truth and freedom are incompatible with today’s evolving standards for global solidarity.
Today’s Christian books are different. Actual Scriptures are usually missing, and new marketing schemes have led even Christian publishers to adapt their books to postmodern demands. Since entertainment is vital to sales, their new children’s books often show silly images of our holy God — designed to amuse, not show reverence. We seem to have forgotten God’s admonitions:
“I will not let them profane My holy name anymore.” Ezekiel 39:7
“You thought that I was altogether like you; but I will rebuke you.” Psalm 50:21
Changing our Memories
Nothing speeds America’s memory loss faster than its spreading boundaries for Biblical truth. And it’s no accident that today’s emphasis on politically correct tolerance rarely applies to Christians.
Like Obama’s Faith-Based Partnership, our schools and colleges are silencing “faith-based” expressions. So when little Sallie wanted to tell her friend about Jesus, the principal scolded her. When Antonio included a small drawing of Jesus in an Earth Day picture (after all, He made the earth) the bewildered kindergartner faced humiliation. Do you wonder what happened to their free speech?
When Christian words are confined to homes and churches (or dismissed altogether), they soon fade from public awareness. Francis Schaeffer, founder of L’Abri, saw coming amnesia more than thirty years ago. In How Should We Then Live, he describes the consequences:
“As the Christian consensus dies, there are not many sociological alternatives. One possibility is hedonism, in which every man does his own thing. Trying to build a society on hedonism leads to chaos….
“In the days of a more Christian culture, a lone individual with the Bible could judge and warn society, regardless of the majority vote, because there was an absolute by which to judge. There was an absolute for both morals and law. But to the extent that the Christian consensus is gone, this absolute is gone as a social force.”
“Much of the church is no help… because for so long a large section of the church has only been teaching a relativistic humanism using religious terminology.”
Why didn’t we notice it sooner? What are the consequences of such blindness? Shaeffer explains:
“We see two effects of our loss of meaning and values…. [First] degeneracy, decadence, depravity, a love of violence for violence’s sake…. [Second] Society cannot stand chaos. Some group or some person will fill the vacuum.”
“At that point the words left or right will make no difference. They are only two roads to the same end. There is no difference between an authoritarian government from the right or the left: the results are the same. An elite, an authoritarianism as such, will gradually force [a totalitarian] form on society so that it will not go on to chaos…. And most people will accept it… That is just what Rome did….”
“Will the West be able to stand against the totalitarian nations now that the Christian base of the Western freedoms is largely gone? Obviously this could be related to… the possibility of economic breakdown in the West.”
Writing new Rules for the Global Community
“Let us remember,” wrote Francis Schaeffer, “…Hitler was perfectly entitled to do as he wished, if he had the popular support.”
Hitler did have the needed support. His rousing oratory persuaded the masses, and his brutal paramilitary “Brownshirts” quenched opposition. His pragmatic orders and Darwinian values became the new absolutes. “On this basis,” continued Schaeffer,
“it would become ‘right’ to kill the old, the incurably ill, the insane — and other groups could be declared non-persons. No voice could be raised against it.”
Could that happen here? Yes! When nations ignore Christian values, life becomes cheap and expendable. Consider the new Oregon Health Plan:
“The plan ranks various surgeries and diseases and conditions in order of importance and places abortion high on the list…. ‘the rapid and complete treatment of medically correctable problems and diseases’ are now lower.”
President Obama’s stimulus bill is even more alarming. In an article titled, “Ruin Your Health With the Obama Stimulus Plan,” we read:
“Your medical treatments will be tracked electronically by a federal system…. One new bureaucracy, the National Coordinator of Health Information Technology, will monitor treatments to make sure your doctor is doing what the federal government deems appropriate and cost effective. The goal is to reduce costs and ‘guide’ your doctor’s decisions. … Hospitals and doctors that are not ‘meaningful users’ of the new system will face penalties.
“‘Meaningful user’ isn’t defined in the bill. That will be left to the HHS secretary, who will be empowered to impose ‘more stringent measures of meaningful use over time.’… In his book, Daschle proposed an appointed body with vast powers to ma
ke the ‘tough’ decisions elected politicians won’t make….He praises Europeans for being more willing to accept ‘hopeless diagnoses’ and ‘forgo experimental treatments,’ and he chastises Americans for expecting too much from the health-care system.”
Few books illustrate this materialistic view of human life more vividly than the popular classroom novel, The Giver, winner of the 1994 Newbery Medal. It immerses sixth graders into a totalitarian world where children are born to professional “birth mothers.” The newborns are placed in Nurturing Centers where older children help care for them during their mandatory service hours. To free the community from stress, handicapped babies and low-weight twins are “released” to go to a mystical “Elsewhere.”
At age twelve, Jonas and the other “young adults” receive their permanent service Assignments from “Elders” who observe and assess each child. Jonas, who had intuitive power to “see beyond,” is chosen to be the Receiver of Memories — the only one who would actually know the past. The previous Receiver now becomes the Giver, who transfers all past memories to the boy. Eventually, Jonas would become the community’s only source of historical information.
The Giver fits into the flood of classroom literature that forces children to think the unthinkable, dialogue [see dialectic process] with their classmates, and re-evaluate the Christian values they learned at home. Dismissing the past, this book suggests a “safe” and benevolent future — an Orwellian “common good” that brings unthinkable “common” restraints!
Such “common good” means government surveillance and control over everything — health, attitudes, beliefs, values, parenting and work assignment. Yet God still reigns!
“Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine…? [In] all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us.” Romans 8:35-37
Redefining “Christian” in a Postmodern context
Our president calls himself a “Christian.” But what does that word mean in today’s diverse culture?
When people forget God’s standard for truth and error, how do they define “Christian”? In the light of current cultural standards, a good “Christian” would apparently have to believe in a universal “God” and be tolerant (toward all that conflicts with God’s guidelines), accepting, always ready to compromise for the sake of an illusive “common good.”
How does that view match the Bible? How does it fit Obama? Ponder his description of his faith in this 2004 interview with Cathleen Falsani:
OBAMA: I am a Christian. So, I have a deep faith…. On the other hand, I was born in Hawaii where obviously there are a lot of Eastern influences…. I believe that there are many paths to the same place, and that is a belief that there is a higher power, a belief that we are connected as a people….
FALSANI: Have you always been a Christian?
OBAMA: I was raised more by my mother and my mother was Christian. …a deeply spiritual person, and would spend a lot of time talking about values and give me books about the world’s religions….
FALSANI: So you got yourself born again?
OBAMA: Yeah…. And I’m not somebody who is always comfortable with language that implies I’ve got a monopoly on the truth…. I’m a big believer in tolerance….
FALSANI: Do you have people in your life that you look to for guidance?
OBAMA: Well, my pastor [Jeremiah Wright] is certainly someone who I have an enormous amount of respect for…. I am a follower, as well, of our civic religion. I am a big believer in the separation of church and state…. I am a great admirer of our founding charter… and its resolve to prevent disruptive strains of fundamentalism from taking root in this country….
FALSANI: Do you believe in heaven?
OBAMA: Do I believe in the harps and clouds and wings? …if I live my life as well as I can… I will be rewarded….
FALSANI: What is sin?
OBAMA: Being out of alignment with my values….
FALSANI: …An example of a role model, who combined everything you said you want to do in your life, and your faith?
OBAMA: I think Gandhi is a great example of a profoundly spiritual man who… never slipped into intolerance or dogma.”
As history repeats itself, the old crumbling foundations are replaced with flexible ideals, tempting illusions, and a bewildering scaffold of unthinkable controls. Typical of Marxism, America’s new “freedom” is reserved for supporters of the system, not resisters. Even churches are touting heresies and “tolerating” immorality. No wonder we face uncertainty, chaos and temptations to conform!
Long ago, God warned us about such a time:
“…they are without excuse, because, although they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God, nor were thankful, but became futile in their thoughts, and their foolish hearts were darkened. Professing to be wise, they became fools…. Therefore God also gave them up to uncleanness, in the lusts of their hearts, to dishonor their bodies among themselves, who exchanged the truth of God for the lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator….” Romans 1:18-25
“My people would not heed My voice…. So I gave them over to their own stubborn heart, to walk in their own counsels. Oh, that My people would listen to Me….” Psalm 81:11-14
To those who do listen, God promises victory and peace — even in the midst of the turmoil:
“Be strong and of good courage; do not be afraid, nor be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” Joshua 1:9