I’ve wrestled with this question for a very long time. The conclusion I draw is that we have no moral compass. I believe we lost it when we eliminated God from our lives and our country. I think that what we see around us today is the price of this folly. There is a lack of conscience, ethics, and responsibility in our lives that stands as evidence. We see it in the news and our apathy to these events. How we react speaks decisively about our need to examine our morals as individuals and society.
Our founders understood that human tendencies could lead to our demise if left undirected. After all, they left Europe’s tyranny for the promise of a better and free life in America. They embarked on a grand experiment by creating a new nation using a creative idea for our new government.
They called upon God to inspire and shepherd this new country. I believe they did it because they understood human nature. They knew that we would degenerate into anarchy without a moral foundation. Belief in a higher power provides that foundation. Constitutional vocabulary also suggests that humankind will give in to narcissism when left to own devices, if not nihilism.
The US Constitution, in the Bill of Rights, guarantees our freedom of religion. Is does not guarantee our freedom FROM religion, but it allows us to choose how we worship our God, god, gods, etc. Which includes not worshiping at all, by the way. It does not propose a state-sponsored church or religion. I think it implies that we would hold ourselves accountable to some higher power or entity.
Our societal ability to twist intent to our purposes is astounding. I reference the removal of prayer from schools and the removal of God from our government and public buildings. Lawyers used the phrase “freedom of religion” as the basis for their argument supporting these actions.
Our nature is not the devil or Satan or anything other than our inability for self-control. We can’t manage ourselves, so we needed someone to blame for our failures. Enter the DEVIL or Satan or The Evil One. He has a hundred names, but they all point back to our lack of self-control. Flip Wilson said: “The Devil made me do it.” Now it’s the rationale’ for several generations.
What example do we have? Looking inward only shows our base desires towards selfishness. Without a belief in a higher power to provide an immutable standard, we will never take responsibility for our actions. Most of us already exhibit this tendency. We blame everyone and everything but ourselves for our choices and our situation.
Listen to the rhetoric from BLM or Antifa or most poor folks. They all – yes all, blame someone else for their lot in life. Being born poor or being poor is not a crime and, indeed, not the problem. Giving up is. A belief in destiny or predestination shackles you to a hopeless and resigned existence. We have freedom of choice. Therein are the problem and solution.
Our belief in God is much more important than the existence of God. Regardless of the lack of tangible evidence, God can exist in our lives. You can’t see air, but you breathe it without thinking about its existence. Our moral component needs to be like the air we breathe, the air that gives us life. A moral compass should be automatic. Many people call it conscience or our personal censor, but it keeps us on the right path.
Religion is defined: a particular system of faith in which someone ascribes supreme importance. Two beliefs come to mind immediately; technology and socialism. We rid ourselves of God, replacing the old religion with a new and shiny thingy we can touch. Socialism, or its promises, give us everything we think we want. Together these are the new centers for American worship.
We replaced the spirit of God with our trust in technology. It provides real answers in a world hungry for substance. It’s something we can understand (sort of), but at least we can hold it in our hands. We can touch it and caress it, and it does our bidding. We never need to feel alone again because there is someone like us on the other end with the same needs and the same ardor for technology.
These new tactile and substantive technological marvels became our religion. But, do they provide moral guidance missing in our lives? Does socialism answer the question of how to deal with a complicated situation? NO, it leaves these decisions in the hands of the government. Are these decisions for the individual or the collective, or for the government itself?
Civil servants worked for 30 plus years to receive a pension, yet the municipal governments file bankruptcy to avoid paying that retirement debt. They need it to fund social programs like welfare. Now that’s socialism in action.
Over the past several decades, we’ve use history to rationalize our behavior. We justify today’s actions as appropriate because of our past misdeeds — things like slavery and bigotry. We neglect the lessons available from these past actions and how they can shape our country today.
We don’t need another holocaust to understand the danger of a totalitarian government. But we’re headed in that direction morally. The conclusion I draw is that there is a missing moral component. What past action can justify murder, or bigotry, or slavery, or hatred?
Socialism is approaching religious status for many uninformed and easily lead taxpayers. They believe that all of our troubles will end when we let the government take control. The catastrophe that is socialism is evident in so many places, yet we court it thinking we can control it. We believe that because “We are American,” we will not fall into the trap that this political and economic theory espouses. “Allowing a government to control the means of production, distribution, and exchange for all commodities.” It never works.
Look at the examples in our country. States are financially insolvent, and many cities are already bankrupt because of massive deficits and debts. Many cannot honor the retirement payment commitments to public employees, so they legislate away their responsibilities. The infrastructure is crumbling, yet they pour precious capital into welfare and social programs.
I’m not against social programs, but I stand firmly against those in our society that are on a ‘life long free ride’ and those that enter this country illegally to participate in this ‘socio-economic feeding frenzy.’
We can see the example of a Socialist government in Venezuela but insist on entertaining and incorporating Socialist ideals for our government. We fail to learn from others’ mistakes. We forget that our nature is corruptible without faith in a higher power. Again, I do not recommend that anyone join a religion. There is value in fellowship with like-minded people. There is strength in numbers and encouragement to gain from it. All I suggest is that we come to grips with our need for moral direction and an honorable and righteous source for it.
A well can still provide water, even though it be poisoned.
Many believe that the mistreatment of people years ago justifies the actions of Black Lives Matters and Antifa. They reconcile the riots and murder with the ill-treatment of slaves over one-hundred-fifty years ago. They see this rationale as a sort of quid pro quo. I suppose there is a connection but not sufficient to warrant the current events. I can see an opportunity to learn from our mistakes not to use them as a club.
There is a long-standing theory among psychologists that we become what we feed our minds. If you concentrate on hate- you become hateful. If you focus on peace, you become peaceful and so on. Self-improvement guru’s use this principle extensively. They call it “The Power of Positive Thinking.”
Focusing on past appalling events like slavery ingrains those images and the injustice in our minds. It is important to remember these events and their lessons, but we don’t need to live them every waking hour. Listen to a black person speak about their heritage, and the conversation will turn to slavery at some point. BASTA!*
Listen to the rhetoric from BLM and Antifa. It is their oral perception, interpretation of past mistakes, and inequities. These accounts, these events, these memories are all sources for valuable lessons. Now they are the anthem for these leftist groups. These are the verbal clubs they wield. We should not forget or ignore these events – but we don’t need to relive them continually. Learn the lessons and move on. BASTA!
The best moral summary I’ve found is the “Golden Rule.” Treat others as you want to be treated. Bill & Ted simplified it – “Be Excellent To Each Other!” I like this version and use it frequently because it expresses the sentiment, I believe. I use this as my moral compass.
WHY did these things happen – Because our new gods supersede our old God in our lives and our country. We found new religions that provide what we want – WHAT WE WANT. It’s all about the individual now, not the country.
Be Excellent to Each Other!
* BASTA is Italian for ENOUGH! -Said Emphatically!