“Beware, lest you forget the Lord who brought you out of the land of Egypt, from the house of slavery.” Deuteronomy 6:10
In the latest Gallup Poll on America’s view of religion (dated December 12, 2018), nearly 3 out of 4 (72%) Americans claim that religion is important to them, with over half (51%) saying it is very important. On the down side, for the first time in more than six decades, a record-low 46% of Americans believe that religion can solve all or most problems, with 78% believing religion is losing its influence on American life.
Megan Brenan of Gallup explains that they first started this poll on religion in America in 1952, 66 years ago. Back then, 75% of Americans said religion was very important. When Gallup ran this poll again in 1965, it was again close to 75%. By 1978, only 52% of Americans viewed religion as very important. Since 1978, this percentage has only risen two times: in 2001-2002, immediately following the 9/11 terrorist attacks, when it rose to 65%. Since then, religion’s high importance in American life has stayed at 50%.
The good news: we still see nearly three-quarters of Americans who see religion as important. While this poll covers all religions in America, we remain predominantly Christian and bible centered. So, here’s the obvious question: with Congress blocking a bill that would have protected babies born alive after a botched abortion from being murdered, with leftist socialism gaining popularity among millennials, with college campuses promoting a ban on free speech, how can three-quarters of us say religion is important?
The answer is that we praise the God of the Bible in our founding documents, even though in our everyday lives we have forgotten Him. GK Chesterton once commented in his article ‘What I saw in America’: “America is the only nation in the world that is founded on a creed that is set forth with dogmatic and even theological lucidity in the Declaration of Independence… It enunciates that all men are equal in their claim to justice, that governments exist to give them that justice, and that their authority is for that reason just. It certainly does condemn anarchism, and it does also by inference condemn atheism, since it clearly names the Creator as the ultimate authority from whom these equal rights are derived.” That is why the left is hell bent on removing God from our creeds. It only takes a few generations to destroy what our founders built.
Professor Daniel Dreisbach of American University’s Department of Justice, Law & Criminology earned his doctorate in philosophy from Oxford University and his juris doctor degree from the University of Virginia. His principal research is in American constitutional law and history, and First Amendment law. He explains why the Bible is the key to why most of us still view religion as important in our lives. It comes back to our founding: “In a now-famous study published in the American Political Science Review, which is the flagship publication for political scientists, Donald Lutz surveyed the political literature of the American founding. He wanted to see who it was that Americans were citing. He reports that the Bible was cited more frequently than any European writer or European school of thought, such as Enlightenment liberalism.”
“The Bible accounted for one-third of the citations in the literature. The book of Deuteronomy alone was the most frequently cited work, followed by Montesquieu’s The Spirit of the Laws. In fact, Deuteronomy was referenced nearly twice as often as John Locke’s writings, and the apostle Paul was mentioned about as frequently as Montesquieu and Blackstone, who would have been the two most-cited secular theorists.”
Why the Old Testament book of Deuteronomy? Dreisbach explains that
“Deuteronomy is a condensed version of the preceding four books of the Pentateuch (Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus and Numbers). We know from history that the books of Moses exerted a tremendous influence on colonists, going right back to the Pilgrims and the Puritans. So, it’s not surprising that this is a part of Scripture that Americans would have been very familiar with. And here they find it in a condensed version in the book of Deuteronomy.”
And it is from Deuteronomy that we take our verse for this week, which contains a warning that now is a prophecy – we have forgotten who has given us our wonderful, free way of life: “It shall be, when the Lord your God brings you into the land which He promised to your fathers, to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, to give you large and beautiful cities which you did not build, houses full of all good things, which you did not fill, hewn-out wells which you did not dig, vineyards and olive trees which you did not plant – when you have eaten and are full – then beware, lest you forget the Lord who brought you out of the land of Egypt, from the house of slavery.” (Deuteronomy 6:10). Our only hope is in returning to His Bible and His values.
The Evidence of Faith’s Substance – Article #336