Who's godless now?

By S. Michael Houdmann, Got Questions Ministries

In a recent interview, Russian President Vladimir Putin, echoing statements from the Patriarch of the Russian Orthodox Church, described the United States and Western society as "godless." This is very interesting considering that, in the days of the Cold War, atheism was the official position of the Russian government and culture.

Now, I seriously doubt that Vladimir Putin has any personal belief in God or admiration for the Christian faith. Putin may view religion as a useful tool to control the Russian people. Putin likely recognizes that the decline in Russian birthrates will eventually result in the end of Russia as a world power, and views Christianity, with its emphasis on marriage and family, as a convenient fix for the problem.

Putting the question of Putin's and Russia's own godlessness aside, is his accusation against the United States valid? Is the USA a godless nation?

Yes and no.

How is the answer "no"? The vast majority of Americans still believe in God. Christianity still has an influence on American society. Despite its serious religious decline in recent decades, the USA is still likely the most Christian nation in the world.

How is the answer "yes"? The Christian faith is steadily losing its influence on American society. Fewer and fewer Americans identify as Christians, and even fewer truly seek to live a consistent Christian lifestyle. Sexual perversions, whether heterosexual or homosexual, are embraced, even promoted. Religious freedom is being squashed under the guise of tolerance and, ironically, religious freedom. The government is increasingly making decisions and passing laws that completely ignore and/or contradict what the Bible says about human nature.

Even if I was not a follower of Jesus Christ, I think I would endorse the "Christian ideal" as the best system on which to build a culture. Simply put, it works.

Imagine if no one had sex outside of marriage. Sexually transmitted diseases, unwanted pregnancies, abortions, and children born to single moms would virtually disappear. Pornography, prostitution, and sex trafficking would no longer exist. Imagine if men and women followed the Bible's instructions in regards to finding a spouse, and then followed the Bible's instructions on how to build a strong marriage that lasts. No divorces. No broken homes. Even secular psychologists agree that people who grow up in solid and loving families usually turn out "better" than people from difficult backgrounds.

What if instead of encouraging dependence, our government recognized what the Bible says about human nature, its selfishness, its ingratitude, its deceitfulness? What if our government sought to reward hard work, integrity, and honesty? What if the governmental safety net was a trampoline to bounce people back on their feet instead of a seat cushion that often gives people no reason to ever even try to get back on their feet?

People are the problem. A lack of laws and government is not the problem. As I shared in a previous post— "John Adams, the second President of the United States, said, 'We have no government armed with power capable of contending with human passions unbridled by morality and religion. Avarice, ambition, revenge, or gallantry, would break the strongest cords of our Constitution as a whale goes through a net. Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.'"

As the USA becomes increasingly godless, its people are becoming increasingly ungovernable. As the Christian influence on Americans wanes, we, as a people, will become more selfish, apathetic, lazy, greedy, and self-indulgent. Second Timothy 3:2-5 is an amazingly, and disturbingly, accurate description of American society.

"For people will be lovers of self, lovers of money, proud, arrogant, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, heartless, unappeasable, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not loving good, treacherous, reckless, swollen with conceit, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having the appearance of godliness, but denying its power. Avoid such people."

Vladimir Putin is wise to recognize that adherence to Christian principles produces a better society. But, "having the appearance of godliness" by trying to enforce a Christian morality is foolish and ultimately fruitless when you are also "denying its power" by neglecting to understand that without a transformative salvation experience through Jesus Christ, a consistent Christian worldview is impossible to create or sustain.

Russia is attempting to build a pseudo-Christian society without the foundation of personal salvation through Jesus Christ. The USA is seeking to abandon a Christian society, not recognizing that the nation will collapse without its foundation.

Who's godless now? We both are.

Image credit: Vladmir Putin and Patriarch Kirill; Vatican Insider

TagsCurrent-Issues  |  Political-Issues

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Published 1-31-14