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Atheism#7 Its Rejection Is Our Only Hope!  

31 Oct

In 1917 as the American “Doughboys” were preparing to take their places on the battlefields of France and Belgium, the New York Bible Society asked Theodore Roosevelt to pen a brief message in the New Testaments that each soldier would be given.

 

Roosevelt wrote the following which demonstrated his superb character.

The teaching of the New Testament is foreshadowed in Micah’s verse: “what more doth the Lord require of thee than to do justice, and to love mercy, and  to walk humbly with thy God.” Do Justice; and therefore fight valiantly against those that stand for the reign of Moloch and Beelzebub on this earth. Love mercy; treat your enemies well; succor the afflicted; treat every woman as if she were your sister; care for the little children; and be tender with the old and helpless. Walk humbly; you will do so if you study the life and teachings of the Savior, walking in His steps. And remember: the most perfect machinery of government will not keep us as a nation from destruction if there is not within us a soul. No abounding of material prosperity shall avail us if our spiritual senses atrophy. The foes of our own household will surely prevail against us unless there be in our people an inner life which finds its outward expression in a morality like unto that preached by the seers and prophets of God when the grandeur that was Greece and the glory that was Rome still lay in the future. [1]

 

President Roosevelt was quite correct in his assessment that a nation’s survival is intricately connected to its ethical basis. Without the compass of an ethical foundation a society quickly dissolves into chaos and anarchy. Such is proven by history as great nations rise to peak of supremacy and then fall into corrupt chaos because its ethical footing has been lost. This sobering fact exposes the final weakness of Atheism that will be examined in this study. Atheism is a philosophy void of any ethicism! As such it can only lead to futility and despair.

 

Is there any hope for a society permeated with the poison of Atheistic tenets? This question is addressed by the peasant prophet Micah. The dreadful plight of Micah 7:1,2 is common today. Micah prophesied with Isaiah. These two prophets lived in a society controlled by avarice, injustice, and falsehood. Corruption was found from the priests to the magistrates to the false prophets.  Their society was without respect for God and His will.

 

Micah paints a clear picture of what an Atheistic society is like. A nation that refuses God will be blind to Jehovah’s mercies (6:3); demonstrate selfishness in pursuing materialism at the expense of their  fellow man (6:10‑11); have cities filled with evil, violence, and sickness (6:12‑13); its security will vanish and satisfaction will not be found (6:14); destruction and derision are its future prospects (6:16). The horrible summary of Micah 7:1‑6 presents the tragedy of the atheistic philosophy. Who wants to live in a society like this?

 

The modern American society unfortunately shares a number of similarities with the Israel of Micah’s time. In our day violence is rampant, corruption is pervasive, and one’s fellow men are seen as expendable for selfish pleasures. Israel tried a number of “band aid” cures of her ills but none was successful (Mic 6:1‑7). Our society recognizes that it too is beset with many “ills.” We too are offered a number of “band aid” cures. But like Israel, modern America faces a cancer that cannot be remedied with secular cures. Modern society is struggling with a disease just as Israel (Is 1:4‑6). This disease will destroy unless it is quickly checked. There is hope for our society! Even as bad as ancient Israel was the nation had the prospect of hope. In the midst of Micah’s tragic passage there is offered hope. Micah 6:8 offered a “cure” to Israel’s illness and that cure is prescribed for society’s illness in the modern times.

 

The Cure Proposed

In this brief text Micah says that the security of men and nations depends upon faithful adherence to three factors. Look at each and see how it helps “cure” the disease that will destroy.

 

First, “do justice”! This mandates an unyielding commitment to the just application of laws that are designed to bring fairness and equity to the land. Justice is a concept that is frequently mentioned in Scripture (cf Ro 2:11‑24; Jas 2:8‑13). Those who abuse, prejudice, and extort justice will not go unpunished. All citizens cry for “justice.” This is an inalienable right of humans. But this “justice” is not possible unless one acknowledges “righteousness.” We can only define “justice” in regard to “right” doing. Apart from righteousness there can be no justice! This is why God urges, “Preserve justice, and do righteousness … how blessed is the man who does this” (Is 56:1,2; cf Amos 5:24).

 

Roosevelt understood the imperative of “justice” and he urged it upon our soldiers of W.W.I. No society can endure unless it upholds both the just and the good. This is a simple point that is often ignored – “justice” can only be defined by “goodness.” But Atheism removes “goodness” as an ethical basis when it rejects God. Atheism thus leaves us without any basis for “justice.”

 

This realm of “justice” is often skirted by believers. It seems that most Christians have convinced themselves that they have no business being involved in matters of legal justice, legislation of civil laws, and events within the political arena. Consequently, “We have not only rendered unto Caesar what is Caesar’s, we have rendered unto him what is God’s as well” [Grant, p. 133]. This “ostrich” mentality is unbiblical. The Holy Scriptures teach that man was created to “rule” (superintend) earthly matters (Gn 1:28); believers are to leaven society for good (1 Pt 1:13‑16; 2:11); and we should pursue righteousness and justice in governmental ways (1 Ki 10:9). The Bible is clear – God does not want His followers to be isolated and dumb regarding society.

 

The consequences of Christians failing to pursue “justice” are shocking. Because of Christian silence society has reshaped morality and values; the pursuit of happiness has become lust achieved; the unborn are slaughtered; the family is redefined; and, the sacred is ridiculed! If our modern society is to be cured from a destructive illness, we must uphold biblical justice! (Job 29:14).

 

Second, “love mercy.” This is a practical concern for those unfortunate in this life. It is the tender regard that was urged by Roosevelt, “treat your enemies well; succor the afflicted; treat every woman as if she was your sister; care for the old and helpless.” It is this mercy that distinguishes “pure” religion (Jas 1:27), subdues selfishness (Philip 2:4), and extends “comfort” (2 Co 1:3‑7). But, again the philosophy of Atheism erases this necessary factor in curing society’s illness. Atheism upholds basic tenets that deny God and thus removes any basis for morality. Atheism, when practically applied, denies the validity of mercy. Its advocation of “mercy killing” is a misnomer for it possesses no mercy! “Mercy” is the quality which has strengthened America. It has built hospitals and orphanages. It has brought about the establishment of charitable services, rescue missions, and all others services that benefit man. All that is good springs from this mercy that is found in Theism but is missing in Atheism!

 

Third, “walk humbly with God.” This refers to an admission of man’s weakness and God’s omnipotence (cf Ac 10:34,35; Pr 1:7). A civilization that refuses to acknowledge God’s power will soon vanish. History has proven true that “Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord” and “Righteousness exalts a nation, but sin is a disgrace to any people” (Ps 33:12; Pr 14:34). A nation who honors God will find these rewards: suffer no want (Ps 34:9); be ever blessed (Ps 115:13); and, be set above all nations (Dt 28:1). The exalted role which America has played in world history hangs in judgement at the present. Society’s illness will lead to ruin unless this “humility” is rekindled.

 

The necessity of humility is emphasized by this comment of George Washington, “It is the first duty of all nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to obey His will, to be grateful for His benefits, and to humbly implore His protection and favor in holy fear” (Programs And Papers, Washington, D.C.: United States George Washington Bicentennial Commission, 1932, p. 33).  Atheism will never allow a civilization to ennoble itself with this humility for the Almighty!  Atheism rejects humility for pride. Such a practice leads only to madness and despair as proud Nebuchadnezzar discovered when he spurned humility and followed pride (Da 4:30‑33). A like disaster awaits all who fail to “walk humbly with thy God.”

 

The Cure Realized

Having observed the cause of the illness and observing the prescribed cure, Micah’s words now help us understand that hope for a cure does exist!  The hopeless pit of despair can be escaped! The prophet held hope for Israel and in his words modern man finds a glimmer of light as well. Micah’s closing chapter encouraged the wayward nation to live with a practical faith in God, “But as for me, I will watch expectantly for the Lord; I will wait for the God of my salvation. My God will hear me” (7:7). Those who follow the threefold formula of 6:8 will find vindication and satisfaction, “He pleads my case and executes justice for me. He will bring me out to the light” (7:9). Those who refuse the cure by denying God will face shame, “And shame will cover her who said to me, ‘Where is the Lord your God?’ My eyes will look on her; at that time she will be trampled down, like mire in the streets” (7:10). The possibility of escaping from hopeless despair is illustrated in Nebuchadnezzar. He had spurned Jehovah’s counsel and turned to pride. This led him to total despair until he turned his face upward and admitted God’s sovereignty (Da 4:34‑37).

 

To be cured from a tragic illness is wonderful. To have the opportunity to escape from the dismal despair of atheism is the most wonderful news modern man can possibly hear. But this escape will come only to those who are willing to do justice, love kindness, and walk humbly with God! When this prescription is followed a wonderful “cure” is realized (Micah 7:17b‑19).

 

Concluding Thoughts

In our world of violence and evil, there is only one viable hope – faith and obedience in God! If we are to live in a society marked with justice, mercy, and humility we must begin with ourselves and our families first. Therefore it is essential that we take a long, honest look at our attitudes toward Jehovah God. Let us respect the Almighty’s will and there will be justice, mercy, and humility in our lives.

 

In one of his final addresses to the newborn nation, our Founding Father remarked,

I now make it my earnest prayer, that God would most graciously be pleased to dispose us all to do justice, to love mercy, and to demean ourselves with that charity, humility, and pacific temper of mind, which were the characteristics of the Divine Author of our blessed religion, for without an humble imitation and example in these things, we can never hope to be a happy nation. (Evan Davis, Our Greatest President, New York: Bedford Co., Pub., 1861, p.  366). [2]

 

Let all recognize what Roosevelt understood as he penned those words to our troops heading to the European front lines in W.W.I. He understood that a nation’s greatness is found only in its criteria of justice, practice of mercy, and attitude of dependance upon the Almighty’s power. These three factors are sadly missing in our current world view. They have been displaced by the deceptive tenets of Atheism. Let us recognize the futility of Atheism. Many will reject “intellectual” atheism ‑ they admit that there is a God. But many will accept a “practical” atheism ‑ they refuse to humble themselves in obedience to the Almighty’s will! May all recognize the Almighty and follow His commands.

He has told you, O man what is good; and what does the Lord

require of you but to do justice, to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?
[1] (The Foes Of Our Own Household, New York: Chas. Scribner’s Sons, 1917, p. 132).

 

[2] For further reading and research on this lesson:

Grant, George, Trial And Error: The American Civil Liberties Union And Its Impact On Your Family. Wolgemuth & Hyatt, Publishers Inc., 1989.

Machen, J. Gresham, Christianity And Liberalism. Grand Rapids: Wm. B Eerdmans Publishing Co., 1923.

 
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Posted by on October 31, 2014 in Article

 

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