Over the years people have visited the United States and come to the same conclusion. The secret to America’s vitality and freedom is the self-control afforded to the people of this nation by virtue of their relationship with God. The Harvard professor featured in this video, Dr. Clay Christensen, is asking the right question: “Where are the institutions that are going to teach the next generations that they too need to voluntarily choose to obey the laws? Because if you take away religion, you can’t hire enough police.”

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One thought on “How critical is faith for democracy?

  1. Democracy began with the Bible, in which God is represented as caring as much for the poor and afflicted as for the mighty– in fact, throughout the Old Testament and the New, God clearly makes His constant concern for the poor known. Unlike the pagan nations surrounding them, the Hebrew people, even when they wrongly chose to be ruled by a king, understood that the prophets were superior to the kings, because the Word of God as revealed through these holy men superseded anything man, even kings, could decree. The king himself knew that the prophet spoke for God, or God through the prophet. The Mosaic Law trumped everything, because the Law had been given to Moses by God and the people knew it.
    In the New Testament, we read that Jesus was “no respecter of persons”– in other words, He did not care if a person were rich, poor, important, at the bottom rung of society, male, female, sick, or well. Each person had the same weight in His eyes; and in the calculus of Heaven, the widow with her two mites was far greater than those who gave from abundance.
    While the role of religion is crucial in democracy, all religions are not created equal. There are religions that do not acknowledge the equal inherent rights of all human beings. So what the Chinese visitor did not recognize was that it is specifically Judeo-Christianity that fosters the idea that people should freely accept Divine law as the basis of proper government. This began at Sinai, when the Hebrew people ratified the Covenant that God placed before them, by agreeing to it. Thus the contract, agreed to freely by the people, between the God of Abraham and the Hebrew people came into full force, and has continued into New Testament times. This is not the same as in Islam, which means “submission” and in which there is no concept of free acceptance of Divine Law, but rather complete, unthinking, uncritical submission. And in other religions of all kinds, the gods do what they do and humans, much lesser beings, are at their mercy and must be placated in various barbaric ways. Yet in our religion, “You have made them [mankind] a little lower than angels, and have clothed them with honor.” (Psalm 8:5) And again in Hebrews, the writer quotes this same Psalm and says that “You have appointed him over the works of Your hands; you have put all things in subjection under his feet.” So mankind is extremely important to God, beloved of God, and in fact, so valuable that God Himself came to earth through a woman, a mere human, thus raising her, as the hymn says, “…higher than the seraphim,” the mightiest of the angels.
    This ought to be a cautionary thing for legislators and academics who believe that religion, and specifically Judeo-Christianity, is a relic of the past, outdated and of no value. We can see in the news today what happens when law breaks down in our own country, when people disregard Divine law and do whatever they choose to do. We are looking into the terrifying face of a future, a new Dark Ages, when the concept of God-given laws, freely accepted and adhered to by the people, are no longer known or regarded in any way.