In the modern US political context, the nation is at a tipping point. The old Judeo-Christian foundations of the nation are being eroded. They have been replaced with an Atheistic-Materialistic paradigm. The United States is no longer “one nation under God.” The United States is one geography being shared by two distinct “nations” – peoples with different moral and meta-physical visions for the country. While the US is at a tipping point, Europe has already “tipped” by repudiating the Judeo-Christian first principles.
In the US we witness the outworking of these “two nations” in a narrowly divided Supreme Court and electorate. We see this, on the surface, as a fight between Democrats and Republicans, between liberals and conservatives, between the cities and the heartland, between blue and red states. But the larger issue is unseen, below the surface; it is the moral and metaphysical vision for the country. For some people, the paradigm – worldview – that sets the vision is consciously held. However for most people, their assumptions are unconscious and unexamined. But because ideas have consequences, these two very different moral visions inevitably create two very different nations.
The two visions are rooted in Judeo-Christian Theism and Atheistic-Materialism (Naturalism). Is there a God or is there no God? Is human life sacred or is it a cosmic accident? Is there freedom of religion or freedom from religion? Is marriage a covenantal relationship between one man and one woman or is it a social contract between two or more consenting adults? Do we want freedom to do good, or license to do evil? Is there absolute truth and morals or is everything relative? The struggle is for the soul of America. Are we “one nation under God” or “one nation under man?” The tension that exists today within the fabric of the society cannot exist much longer. We are at a tipping point!
Because the issues are so large, impactful, and “below the surface” they create profound emotions. This is why there was a demonization by many on the “right” of Bill Clinton and Barack Obama. And this is why there was a profound hatred and revulsion by many of the “left” of George Bush and Sarah Palin. The intensity of the angst in these last election cycles exist because of the power of two very different visions for the nation.
To move beyond the polarization we need to begin to consciously examine the ideas and consequences of the two visions and engage in a civil discourse of our national – and perhaps global – future.
-Darrow L. Miller
See the other posts in this series and leave a comment to let us know your thoughts.