When Christian Restraints are Removed

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Those countries that enjoy the most civil liberty are those societies where the Gospel of Christ has penetrated the most. The worst violence and oppression in the world today is raging where Biblical principles have been rejected or neglected.

Noah Webster, the statesman, educator, and author of Webster's Dictionary wrote: "The Bible is the chief moral cause of all that is good and the best corrector of all that is evil, in human society, the best book for regulating the temporal concerns of men, and the only book that can serve as an infallible guide . . . The principles of genuine liberty and of wise laws and administrations are to be drawn from the Bible and sustained by its authority. The man, therefore, who (undermines) the divine authority of that Book may be accessory to all the public disorders which society is doomed to suffer."

The lawlessness, crime and violence which South Africans are suffering at this present time are the inevitable results of turning away from the Word of God. "All the miseries and evils which men suffer from: vice, crime, ambition, injustice, oppression, slavery and war proceed from their despising or neglecting the precepts contained in the Bible." (Webster)

The frightening reality of atheism is that there is no higher authority beyond man to which one can make an appeal. If you came from nothing and you're going nowhere - then life is meaningless! As Dostoevsky said "If God is dead then all things are permissible." The humanist belief in evolutionism destroys the concept of all men being created equal and endowed by the Creator with inalienable rights.

In a secular state your rights, which the state so effortlessly grants you, can be as easily withdrawn or "suspended." The humanist state inevitably leads to tyranny and despotism. When atheism takes hold of a society, moral relativism becomes the order of the day. Then nothing is sacred and human life becomes cheap. When you devalue God, you devalue human life. Hence humanists who believe in evolutionism can regard man as "a hairless ape" (Schoenberg); "a jest, a dream, a show, bubble, air . . ."

(Thornbury); "an accidental twig (Gould); "A mere insect, an ant . . ." (Church); "A rope stretched over an abyss" (Nietzsche); "A fungus on the surface of one of the minor planets" (Du Maurier); "I see no reason for attributing to man a significant difference from that which belongs to a grain of sand." (Oliver Wendel Holmes).

Once this evolutionary view of mankind has been applied the most appalling crimes against God's creation have been committed. In Nazi Germany, Hitler's holocaust began with euthanasia (70 000 insane and incurable people were killed) and abortion. In communist Russia, Stalin's attempt to liquidate the entire Christian church resulted in the slaughter of 40 million people. In Mao's Great Proletariat Cultural Revolution" in Red China over 60 million people were murdered. Pol Pot's Khmer Rouge, in Cambodia, wiped out over 2 million people in order to establish a "socialist classless society." Mengistu's marxist regime in Ethiopia slaughtered millions more in a vain attempt to establish communism in that ancient Christian kingdom.

When one also considers the massacres perpetrated by secular states in Vietnam, Cuba, Romania, Mozambique, Angola, Afghanistan, Rwanda, Zaire and so many others it becomes clear why historian Paul Johnson has concluded that the secular state of the twentieth century has "proved itself the greatest killer of all time." Just as terrible as these atrocities has been the hidden holocaust of abortion. Many hundreds of millions of innocent babies have been murdered in the womb in accordance with humanist situation ethics and the principles of evolutionism. When the restraining influence of Christianity is removed from a country or culture, then gross abuses of human rights will naturally follow.

Even historian Will Durant, in the Humanist Magazine (Feb 77), had to admit: "There is no significant example in history . . . of a society successfully maintaining moral life without the aid of religion."

The existentialist writer, Jean-Paul Sartre, realised what the consequences were of rejecting God (as he had done): "Without God all activities are equivalent . . . Thus it amounts to the same thing whether one gets drunk alone, or is a leader of nations."

Napoleon observed that he had seen men without God in the French Revolution: "One does not govern such men; he shoots them down (they have descended to the level of beasts)."

Nietzsche wrote in 1886: "The greatest event of recent times - that `God is dead', that the belief in the Christian God is no longer tenable - is beginning to cast its first shadows over Europe." He predicted that the "collapse of the religious impulse" amongst the "advanced races" would leave "a huge vacuum." Modern history would be the story of how that vacuum was filled.

The tragic fact of twentieth century history is that the vacuum created by rejecting the Bible has been filled with totalitarian states, concentration camps, slave gulags, the abortion holocaust, the drug epidemic, terrorism, the pornography plague, increasing suicide, infanticide, euthanasia, the most savage wars in the history of the world and the explosion of crime. Those advocating pornography, abortion and euthanasia are not offering us progress at all but a regression to pre-Christian paganism.

With atheism there are no objective moral absolutes. The humanist is in "an unguided world adrift in a relativistic universe" which has proved to be a "summons" for "gangster statesmen" like Lenin, Stalin, Hitler, Amin, Mobuto and countless others (Paul Johnson, Modern Times).

"The fool has said in his heart, `There is no God.' They are corrupt, they have done abominable works, there is none who does good." Psalm 14:1

As Edmund Burke so eloquently phrased it: "What is liberty without wisdom and without virtue? It is the greatest of all possible evils; for it is folly, vice and madness without restraint. Men are qualified for civil liberty in exact proportion to their disposition to put moral chains upon their own appetites . . . Society cannot exist, unless a controlling power upon will and appetite be placed somewhere and the less of it there is within, the more there must be without . . ."

There has been much discussion about the violent crime wave which is plaguing South Africa. Some have pointed to economic or social conditions, others have questioned the judicial and legislative aspects. All of these are important, but underlying it all is the tragic fact that South Africa as a nation has turned away from God and His Law.

The foundations for a truly free and prosperous nation can only be laid in characters, minds and lives changed by the grace of God. In order to be successful, a society needs to be made up of honest citizens who will not steal from their neighbour. Lawlessness will increase unless our society returns to a consensus that our Creator exists and He has given us His eternal Law by which He will judge us. That God actually holds both individuals and nations accountable to obey His Law is the cornerstone of civilisation. A nation which is made up of individuals, families and congregations which fear God as the eternal judge will be a nation which is stable, where property is respected and whose citizens are secure.

THE CRISIS OF CRIME IN S.A.

The brutality and callous disregard of criminals for the lives and property of others in South Africa is horrific. In 1996 there were 334 301 cases of housebreaking, 118 755 robberies, 107 352 vehicles were stolen, 50 481 rapes and 25 782 murders. These statistics are a terrible indictment of our society especially as each single number represents untold hardships, suffering and grief for individuals and families.

As Police Commissioner George Fivaz has observed: "The culture in South Africa has become so deformed that we no longer have respect for the rights of others." Indeed there is something very wrong when the criminal is presumed to be innocent, but the policeman who arrested him is presumed to be guilty! The primary responsibility of civil government is to protect lives and property by punishing criminals. South African citizens are paying exorbitant taxes for safety, security, defence and justice. However, the SA government is patently failing to fulfill its duty. Only 9 out of every 101 murders results in any kind of prison sentence at all.

Many cheerfully blame this anarchy on apartheid. However that oversimplification conveniently overlooks the ANC's own strategy of encouraging lawlessness, school boycotts, non-payment of rates and taxes, economic sanctions and general violence. The "liberation before education" policy was a completely unnecessary recipe for chaos. The burning down and vandalising of thousands of schools and the terrorising of teachers and pupils to enforce the class boycotts eroded the foundations for the future for 5 million uneducated and unemployable youths of the "Lost Generation."

The ANC's strategy to make South Africa "ungovernable" was all too successful. The international sanctions and disinvestment campaign sabotaged the economy and ultimately put millions out of work. The religious justification of "the armed struggle" by the World Council of Churches and the subsequent assassination of hundreds of black town councillors, businessmen and policemen encouraged a culture of violence which still plagues SA today.

The previous National Party government is also much to blame for the current curse of criminality in SA. By promoting their own version of national socialism and racism which was humanistic to the core, the NP undermined the Christian values they sometimes claimed to adhere to. The disgraceful toleration and official encouragement given to pornographers to publish ever more explicit material further eroded moral standards. The farcical situation where the Appeal Board would unban virtually everything that the Publications Board banned stimulated further lawlessness. Similarly by allowing prostitution and gambling to flourish whilst going through the charade of commissions to rewrite the legislation governing these vices was immoral, inept and incompetent. The abolition of the death penalty for murderers and the releasing of over 100 000 criminals (including murderers and rapists) from prison unleashed a tidal wave of crime and violence upon the long-suffering citizens of South Africa.

The shameful legacy of the present and previous governments is a "human rights society" where human life and private property is not respected by the hoard of criminals rampaging through this country. The main growth industries in the new South Africa have become pornography, prostitution,
gambling,corruption, drugs, car theft, armed robbery, child abuse, abortion, rape and murder. All these are the inevitable results of rejecting God's Law and accepting evolutionism and the other tenets of humanism.

The churches in South Africa must also acknowledge our responsibility in allowing this catastrophic crime wave to swamp our land. We are commanded by God to be "salt and light" (Matt 5:13-16) in our society. We are to pray for God's will to be done on earth as it is in heaven (Matt 6:10). We are to stand up and oppose evil (Psalm 94:16); intercede for our land (Ezekiel 22:30); and "make disciples of all nations" (Matt 28:18-20). If the pastors had consistently proclaimed the whole counsel of God and if church members had faithfully evangelised and served with integrity in the schools, shops and streets of SA then we would not have been engulfed by evil. The core solution to the current crime crisis in SA has to include spiritual revival and Biblical Reformation.

The newly released "Contract with the South African Family" (which the President of UCA, Dr Ed Cain, helped to draft) highlights the foundational principles which, if applied, would dramatically improve the security situation in SA. (The 95 page Draft Document "Contract with the South African Family" is available for R20 each from UCA).

In a recent editorial of Firearm News Gerald Hymns comments on the government threats to further restrict the rights of registered gun owners: "Thus the legal firearm owner, who is law-abiding and therefore easy to control, becomes the scapegoat in a situation for which he is not responsible. The real failure in firearms control is not inadequate legislation but lack of law enforcement. We should stop wasting time and human resources in endless wrangling and tampering with the Arms and Ammunition Act, which, as it stands, is perfectly adequate to control the situation, if it is effectively enforced."

In an official letter to the Portfolio Committee of Safety and Security, UCA submitted the following:

". . . Gun control deprives potential victims of their best means of protection. A free people need to be armed. Disarmed people can easily be exploited and oppressed. If the government doesn't trust its citizens with weapons, then the citizens cannot trust the government with power. The government that fears its people is itself to be feared. No government should ever have a monopoly of force or weaponry.

"During my missionary tours in East Africa, I have travelled across Rwanda and conducted extensive research into the horrific holocaust that occurred there in 1994. The killing fields of Rwanda provide another graphic warning against the dangers of gun control. As the Tutsi population had previously been disarmed, they were helpless to defend themselves against the mass murderers. The confiscation of weapons made the massacres possible by disarming the targeted victims. The first step in this process was the restricting of access to weapons and a whole host of completely unnecessary laws which ended up in disarming the potential victims, and making the working environment for mass murderers so much easier. (The 65 page "Holocaust in Rwanda" book is available from UCA for R15 each).

"For these and many other reasons, the members of Christian Action Network would strongly urge that the government concentrates on controlling crime and not firearms, punishing criminals and not penalising law abiding citizens, on strengthening the police, rather than restricting the abilities of citizens to defend themselves and bringing back the death penalty for murder rather than criminalising law abiding citizens for merely having means of self-protection."

Rev Peter Hammond
Director

Permission to quote from or reproduce any UCANEWS is encouraged, provided that due acknowledgement is given.

Christian Action P.O.Box 23632 Claremont 7735 Cape Town South Africa [email protected] - 021-689-4481 - www.christianaction.org.za
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