Be Holy

November 2nd, 2020 Posted by Thought Tools 3 comments

Tomorrow is Election Day. But, even if the results are known on Wednesday, the fight for America’s culture will continue—no matter which party wins. Each one of us is busy on so many fronts: family, earning a living, synagogue or church, and our many daily tasks. However, it is a deadly mistake to pay attention only when elections roll around. Swelling secular sentiment imperils us all because beliefs have consequences.  The consequences of a changing culture occur as people act upon their beliefs.

Powerful ideas can be false and lead to great evil. When enough people believe in a powerful idea, subsequent social and political trends march in step with that idea.  It was a political genius who thought up the idea of advancing homosexuality by labeling as hateful and intolerant everyone who considered it sinful.  When caring about babies in-utero is classified as “hating women,” reasonable discourse is over.

Change people’s hearts and you change the way they vote. One of my regular radio mantras is, “Politics is nothing other than the practical application of people’s most deeply held beliefs.”  Secularism uses emotionally charged words and slogans to promote itself. Even if you are not religious yourself, you should be very scared of a secularized culture.

The American poet, T. S. Eliot who won the Nobel literature prize in 1948, put it this way during a speech at Oxford University in 1939.

As political philosophy derives its sanction from ethics, and ethics from the truth of religion, it is only by returning to the eternal source of truth that we can hope for any social organization which will not, to its ultimate destruction, ignore some essential aspect of reality.

Belief in secularism leads inevitably to results that contradict reality.  Often, good people don’t foresee the calamitous consequences of secularist policies.  One way to clarify where one best fits is to ask oneself which of the following two choices in each of the three sets comes closest to how one feels.

A)

  • Humans arrived on the planet by a process of unaided, materialistic evolution.  It follows that humans are no more than sophisticated animals.
  • God created us in His image and placed us here. Humans are unique creatures touched by the finger of God.

B)

  • There is no outside source of wisdom and truth. People should look into their own hearts for moral guidance.
  • People are born knowing no more about morality than about calculus.  Most of us are born with an appetite for evil, and we find good by knowing God, loving Him and obeying His Word.

C)

  • The ‘g’ of government is nearly always good while business is nearly always bad.  Without government regulation, business would run amok. Driven by greed, business relentlessly exploits employees, customers, and the environment.   
  • The ‘G’ of God is always good. Business is about serving customers and customer service is related to worship service because serving His children is closely related to serving Him.  Business has less potential to tyrannize than government because you can choose not to give your money to a business.

As these three examples of secular belief, and many others, have become more and more accepted they have significantly changed the way we lead our lives.  Yes, beliefs do have consequences and in these examples, not for the better.

Take the first belief, that humans are really nothing more than sophisticated and evolved chimpanzees.  It follows from this that like all other animals, humans are also incapable of true creativity.  If I seize a banana, there is naturally one less banana available for you.  If I work hard and achieve something and you don’t, it can only be because systemic problems kept you from getting your bananas. The zookeeper must supervise the distribution of bananas among all the primates.  Thus, redistribution of positions and complete economic equality become ultimate values.  Have you noticed how ‘accomplished’ and ‘rich’ have become pejoratives in America?

The second belief is that nobody—except today’s elites—may tell you what is moral or immoral, good or bad.  That is for you alone to decide (as long as you are properly “woke”).  Among the consequences of this belief is that villains are seen as virtuous or at least blameless while the truly virtuous are portrayed as villains.

The third belief, that government solves problems while business creates them, encourages governments to increasingly tax businesses in order to fulfill its own unkept promises.  Furthermore, government schools teach your children to believe the worst about how you earn your living.  Know-nothing street rioters destroy an economy they don’t even begin to understand.  All they know is that profit equals plunder and business is bad.

Yes, beliefs do have consequences and when wrong-headed ideas become popular we all suffer. Ancient Jewish wisdom explains that this is why the entire nation of Israel is told to be holy.

Speak to the entire assembly of Israel and say to them, Be holy…
(Leviticus 19:2)

We can certainly protest the consequences of secularism.  We can campaign against increased taxation.  We can wring our hands at soaring rates of illegitimate births even as we know that many of today’s babies without fathers are tomorrow’s children without futures.  We can object to our schools collaborating with gender-reassignment programs and encouraging confused sexuality for fifteen-year-olds.

However, that is locking the barn door after the priceless racehorse has escaped.  A better target for our energies would be combatting the bad beliefs in the first place that led to these undesirable consequences.

The best way we can all help defeat false and evil ideas is by promoting true and good ones. Absolutely, get out and vote tomorrow. Shame on you if you don’t. But, most of all, combat secularism with life-affirming Bible-based Judaism and Christianity.

Can you articulately, rationally, and logically explain your principles to others? 
Help is here. 
America’s Real War: an Orthodox Rabbi Insists that Judeo-Christian Values
are Vital for Our Nation’s Survival

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3 comments

Kathleen Gregor says:

Just as exceptionally well said as the writing in your book, America’s Real War. I pray hearts and minds are moved and changed in time.
Thank you for putting your God given wisdom in print to alert and incite thought provoking movement in a population that has been apathetic, asleep and inactive to the things of God.

Al Hoffman says:

Schism Perversity
Subtleties
Rabbi Lapin, You are correct , for too many have worked up a crowd to riotousness. The misuse of worries and emotion needs caution. No Koraks!

Paul Crowell says:

Thank you for always trying to shine the light of God on issues.

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