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Today there is widespread recognition that religious liberty is a basic human right (via United Nations Human Rights Council international agreements). Even so, many people are unable to fully exercise this vital privilege due to increasing persecution and constraint.
There is no doubt a war on God is taking place in today’s world, affecting people in many countries. For the purposes of this article though we will focus on how the influence of God and His way of life is under attack in the United States, a country that has been the bastion of Christianity for centuries. Needless to say, similar trends can also be identified in other western nations.
It is well known the Pilgrims and other Christian groups sought religious freedom when they landed on American shores, and this right was ultimately enshrined in the First Amendment to the United States Constitution in 1787: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof...”
Few will deny biblical teachings have had a profound effect for good in America, as well as Western civilization and the world. Christian principles played influential roles in ending or severely limiting the abominable practices of human sacrifice, infanticide and slavery. They also upheld sexual morality and had a positive influence on the sanctity of marriage and family life.
Paul Maier, writing the forward to the book How Christianity Changed the World by Alvin Schmidt, Ph.D., said the following: “No other religion, philosophy, teaching, nation, movement—whatever—has so changed the world for the better as Christianity has done.”
However profound and disturbing changes have taken place over recent decades in the United States that are also being mirrored in other countries.
For example, in 1962 the United States Supreme Court ruled prayer in public school was unconstitutional. In 1963 it declared public schools could no longer allow the Bible to be read in classes. In 1973 abortion was legalised, striking at the heart of the Sixth Commandment prohibiting murder, and in 1980 the court ruled posting the Ten Commandments in public schools violated the Constitution, to name just a few of similar rulings. (The link to the full article below contains a more comprehensive list).
These and other court decisions effectively disallowed the teaching of moral, Christian values and, since then, pressure has been relentless to realign society to be more secular, agnostic and even atheistic.
Religious individuals and groups are facing increasing demands to hide their faith or sacrifice their beliefs in order to keep their jobs and maintain their livelihoods. Following are a few headlines illustrating this trend:
What does the future hold for America and other Western countries if this situation continues? Let’s examine what happened in ancient Israel when many of its people ceased honouring and obeying their Creator and Sustainer.
During the time of the prophet Amos many in ancient Israel lived in a secular world of their own making and couldn’t have cared less about anything to do with God. They were filled with pride, self-satisfaction and self-indulgence, which is not much different from today. As a result of their sinful attitude God allowed the whole nation to be conquered and carried into captivity (Amos 5).
The Apostle Paul accurately describes a similar situation in our society today in Romans 3:18, “There is no fear of God before their eyes.” He also wrote in Romans 1:28 of those who “did not like to retain God in their knowledge.”
Just as He did with ancient Israel God warns over and over again that sudden destruction will occur that will utterly shock the world’s citizens (1 Thessalonians 5:3). A time of punishment is approaching for God-denying, God-defying society and “life as usual” will come to a crushing, grinding halt! But thankfully, that will be followed by an amazing time of restoration when Jesus Christ installs His Kingdom on earth at His second coming.
Given the godlessness of our societies and the knowledge that God will soon intervene the Apostle Peter put a vital question to you and me: “Therefore, since all these things will be dissolved, what manner of persons ought you to be in holy conduct and godliness?” (2 Peter 3:11).
The only answer for us in this God-defying world is to turn wholeheartedly to God seeking His divine forgiveness, strength and support.
Beyond Today Magazine