Eric Metaxas: Is atheism the enemy of freedom? Here’s how retreating from religion makes US much less free
Although nobody in America is compelled to go to church, we have now had extra churchgoers in our historical past than any nation on the planet. Religious liberty – which means we will selected any religion or none – was a wild idea when the Founders determined to attempt it 250 years in the past. But it has made America some of the non secular nations on the planet.
When Alexis de Tocqueville visited in1826 he was astonished to see freedom and religion working collectively. In his personal France – and in most of Europe – the other was the case. Each nation’s established church was allied to the highly effective state. Consequently religion was not free, which despatched so many from that continent to America, looking for freedom of worship.
The American Revolution enabled us to create a nation that enshrined non secular liberty in its legal guidelines. But the French Revolution did the other. The Jacobins noticed the monarchy and the church as two elements of the identical oppressive system. As they shouted their slogan of liberte, egalite, fraternite, they butchered clergymen, monks and nuns alongside monarchists and aristocrats.
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So it was America’s founders who uniquely understood that non secular liberty was the important thing to all different liberties. Liberty – or self-government – required a virtuous individuals, which was normally the results of freely held religion. Those who answered to a “higher power” didn’t want authorities to coerce them into doing the suitable factor. They did it on their very own.
It was an incredible historic gamble. But we will see practically 250 years later that it labored, making America the wealthiest and freest nation that ever existed.
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In current years, nonetheless, America has lurched towards secularism. The concept of a “separation between church and state” was meant by the Founders to maintain the state out of the enterprise of the church, nevertheless it has been dramatically recast as a approach of hold the state – and tradition – nearly freed from all non secular affect.
Consequently we hardly ever rejoice the concepts that movement from religion as we as soon as did. Virtue and honor and responsibility are not advocated in our public colleges, and in most universities and in common tradition they’re typically mocked, together with faith itself.
But this retreat from religion has inevitably made us much less free.
When we grow to be much less energetic in governing ourselves we glance to the federal government for options. Government thereby grows and our talents to control ourselves rapidly atrophy.
The Democrats in 2012 even selected to take away point out of God from their political platform, and their decades-long advocacy for giant authorities has since grown into an embrace of socialist and culturally Marxist concepts, resembling crucial race principle.
If the individuals in a free nation abandon religion – and virtuous habits – and even let it erode away slowly, the federal government will inevitably step into that vacuum.
For examples of the place this development ultimately goes, we observe that governments the place the state has overwhelming management over its citizenry don’t merely lean away from God however grow to be formally atheistic. The former Soviet Union and right now China and North Korea are two chilling examples. In such nations those that imagine in God grow to be a direct menace to the federal government’s energy.
This, after all, is the good paradox of freedom. A free nation can not drive anybody to imagine, or to be virtuous and self-governing. But if the individuals in a free nation abandon religion – and virtuous habits – and even let it erode away slowly, the federal government will inevitably step into that vacuum and can develop to implement its views with growing brutality.
And whereas a free nation can not and shouldn’t attempt to coerce atheists towards perception, individuals of religion, whereas we nonetheless have a voice, have an pressing responsibility to alert our fellow residents that, though non secular freedom protects atheists, atheism itself nonetheless has an inherent and – alas – well-established tendency to work not solely in opposition to non secular freedom, however in opposition to all freedoms. Let the reader perceive.
He has additionally written the New York Timesbestsellers “Bonhoeffer,” “Martin Luther” and “If You Can Keep It,” and is the host of the nationally syndicated “Eric Metaxas Show.” His web site is www.EricMetaxas.com.
Credits : foxnews