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Are we living today what philosopher Jean-Paul Sartre observed, “If there is no God, then everything is permitted”? 

Hi, I’m Rex Rogers and this is episode #123 of Discerning What Is Best, a podcast applying unchanging biblical principles in a rapidly changing world, and a Christian worldview to current issues and everyday life.

Sociologists of religion, and other scholars of civilization, used to talk about a “Judeo-Christian consensus.” The phrase referred to a shared, broadly agreed-upon set of values about morality and civic virtue, based upon the theological understandings of Judaism and Christianity.

The scholars believed this Judeo-Christian consensus helped form the foundation upon which Western Civilization, then the United States of America, were built. This foundation made E Pluribus Unum possible.

Many earlier and conservative scholars said America’s founding was unique, giving rise to a perspective called “American exceptionalism,” a concept addressed in the 1830s by French social critic Alexis de Tocqueville in his seminal work, Democracy in America. While no doubt some individuals took this view to an extreme of arrogance, triumphalism, or manifest destiny, most citizens simply viewed it as a recognition that America’s founding was different, coalescing around values and a political system creating opportunities for life, liberty, enterprise, and well-being like no other country in history.

The late political scientist Seymour Martin Lipset argued, “this ideology, which Lipset called Americanism…is based on libertyegalitarianismindividualismrepublicanismdemocracy, and laissez-faire economics.

The idea of an exceptional society has a long history traced to the ideas espoused by the Founding Fathers of the United States during the American Revolution. This uniqueness or exceptionalism did not just happen. “America’s uniqueness is based in the Christian consensus of the Founding Fathers, who penned documents guaranteeing religious and personal freedom for all. This nation was not founded by atheists, secularizers, or monarchists who thought the elite educated class should rule over the common people. 

America’s founding was based more on biblical principles than any other nation’s on Earth—and that’s the main reason this country has been more blessed by God than any other nation in history. No other nation has enjoyed freedom of religion, freedom of electoral choice, and freedom of vocational pursuits for a longer period of time than the United States.”

But things are changing, and indeed have been changing for some time.

Since at least the 1960s, what’s been happening, first gradually, now rapidly, is an intentional rejection of Judeo-Christian values of morality and society, followed by a replacement of these traditional values, first by secularism, then by radical so-called “progressive,” Marxist values based on irreligion if not atheism, along with an idolatry of race, sex, class, diversity, equity, and inclusion, victimhood, and statism.

This means that the culture and society in which many of us as older adults grew up, is no more. What we are experiencing now, the culture in which we live, is fundamentally different from the culture in which we came of age.

Judeo-Christian values once were enshrined in our cultural mores, defining criminal justice, meritocracy, education, commercial enterprise, and freedom. 

The late Francis A. Schaeffer called them, “borrowed Christian values.” These values were the glue that helped hold Western culture together.

Christian values helped define American vision, purpose, and meaning. Christian ideas about the future, about progress, and about social change helped Americans craft a forward-thinking, optimistic, can-do, confidence that encouraged innovation, risk-taking, investment, and work ethic. This is why America became one of the most productive engines of abundance the world has ever seen.

As these values have been lost—or I should say, tossed aside, openness to false ideas and values increased, because, like nature, the heart abhors a vacuum. Human hearts cannot exist without something to worship and give purpose.

In this vacuum, this moral collapse resulting from the dechristianization of postmodern society, individuals increasingly embraced a godless, Marxist ideology that appeals to the sinful nature.

As Judeo-Christian values were rejected, so was the idea of objective truth, the understanding that regardless of what any given person concludes, there is real truth, real facts, in a real world. Now, we hear about the oxymoron “alternative facts,” or “your truth and my truth,” which is to say no standard of truth at all.

We heard this recently when Harvard University President Claudine Gay apologized for her widely condemned congressional testimony on campus antisemitism, in which she said, "I failed to convey what is my truth."

“My truth”? This from the president of a university whose 387-year-old motto is Veritas, which is Latin for Truth. Harvard originally adopted the Latin phrase, “Veritas Christo et Ecclesiae,” as its motto in 1692, which means “Truth for Christ and the Church.” But this was reduced to just “Veritas” in 1836. Discovering truth these days is an exercise in, “Who are you going to believe, me or your lying eyes?”

Judeo-Christian values are being replaced by a godless sense of no responsibility and no accountability, and Judeo-Christian values are being replaced by fear, distrust, dishonesty, lack of confidence, loss of patriotism, then the inevitable disillusionment, despair, alienation, anomie, hopelessness, and nihilism.

The practical outgrowth of this shift in values is extensive.

Education from kindergarten to grad school has become a vast wasteland where teaching and learning are dumbed down and activism is the new holy grail.

As parents have “parented” less, or as parents have rejected traditional values for their brave new world values, or as the family unit itself has come under attack as something unnecessary or limiting, and as children have increasingly come of age spending more than one third to one-half of their day on screens, mental illness and anxiety have soared among youth, as has sexual promiscuity.

Political leaders promote the killing of the nation’s progeny as a matter of women’s healthcare and a human right. Think of that, a human right to kill other humans. This is perversity.

Political leaders promote the physical mutilation of children in the name of sexual liberation. And oh, by the way, no need to inform their parents. This is not freedom but enslavement to debauchery and a lifetime of drugs and regret.

Educators, medical professionals, celebrities, journalists, and of course political sycophants, claim men can menstruate, breast feed, and have children. These are supposedly sophisticated individuals, but if so, it is sophisticated ignorance. This is “the godlessness and wickedness of people, who suppress the truth by their wickedness” (Rom. 1:18). It is the result of the rejection of timeless values, the rejection of virtue.

City streets and retail stores are now fair game to “smash and grab” gangs, thugs, and thieves who know they will not be prosecuted and who have such little fear, they no longer wear masks and look directly into security cameras.

America is no longer a “kinder, gentler nation” and is instead an everyone for themselves “do what’s right in your own eyes” nation.

In business, making an excellent product has been replaced with a decline in quality in almost every industry. And the old aphorism, “the business of America is business,” has been replaced by the business of America is advocacy.

Since the internet became functional, every form of evil has increased, led by pornography and gambling.

Historian Mark Lewis reminds us, what Edmund Burke said, “But what is liberty without wisdom, and without virtue? It is the greatest of all possible evils; for it is folly, vice, and madness, without tuition or restraint...Men are qualified for liberty in exact proportion to their disposition to put moral chains upon their own appetites.”

Further, James Madison said, “To suppose that any form of government will secure liberty or happiness without any virtue in the people is a chimerical [fanciful] idea.”

According to Madison (and all our Founders), virtue (goodness, self-control, godly morality, responsible behavior, unselfishness) is absolutely essential to true liberty.”

Today in America, people are denying the existence of virtue, in the name of freedom. But instead of freedom, we’re getting lawlessness, licentiousness, and chaos, none of which sound much like freedom.

Yes, there is a direct link between rejecting God, truth, morality, and virtue,  and the breakdown of American culture. It’s not good out there, and it’s going to get worse.


Well, we’ll see you again soon. This podcast is about Discerning What Is Best. If you find this thought-provoking and helpful, follow us on your favorite podcast platform. Download an episode for your friends. For more Christian commentary, check my website, r-e-x-m as in Martin, that’s 

And remember, it is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm.

© Rex M. Rogers – All Rights Reserved, 2023   

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