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Subject: A Larger American Vision, Part III (of 3 Parts)
(Wed., October 12, 2005)
(approx. 5865 words, 10 pp.)
One Nation under God. . .
If Moral Integrity is the final Solution to all of our national problems,
A larger "vision" for American "good" is necessarily one Nation "under God"?
Moral Integrity with a Fear of God & Love of God's Good is "Man's all" on Earth?
Last time we concluded Part II of this Series on A Larger American Vision by saying: If mere self-interest of the individualist "right" or mere group-interest of the collectivist "left" is not the foundation of the good and just society, and cannot be the foundation of a true Republic, then what is, or must be? The Good, the Right, and the True, clearly, and how we relate to the Good, the Right, and the True, as individuals, which is known as moral integrity. That is, there are ultimate or real "moral" rules of "the game" (of life and social organization) which constrain us and ultimately are the very point of "the game" of life, and it really does not matter if one is talking about the role, function, and purpose of a good legislator or of a good business man in the larger society. It just does not matter. . . There is, quite simply, an ultimate moral "Good." And, the implications of all of this are "out of this world"! Quite literally, even obviously, but the tendency inevitably is to look at such pure idealism's being the very point and goal of life as so-called "unrealistic," rather than as absolutely necessary and foundational to "the good life" and "the just society."
Isn't this all overly "idealistic"? No, it is the very point of life on earth. . .
I know you, my readers, and I know that no one is following this. So, look at it this way: The issue in life whether generally or as a legislator is not whether one is pursuing one's self-interest (group's interest, etc.) with intelligence, but rather is one pursuing one's self-interest (or group's interest) with moral integrity (in good faith, in fair play, for the overall well-being of the society, and so forth). Moral integrity is doing what is Good and Right. Not complicated? That is why it is "foundational" to life, no less, and why doing the Good and Right thing require both a good heart and right wisdom. Quite simply "moral integrity" gives the bounds or limits within which one pursues one's interest or one's group's interest. And in a very practical sense the Good and the Right is "God" or the Truth "of God," so to speak, philosophically speaking anyway. Put the Good, the Right, and True first in life (or legislation, law, education, and so forth) and everything else will take care of itself, and then one can pursue one's so-called "self-interest" or self-fulfillment all one wants, as it were, and you will not do it in an illegitimate (or, that is, immoral or illegal) manner. Taking bribes, for example, does not necessarily corrupt one's judgment, but it does create a conflict of interest and places one in a compromising situation, inevitably, no? Therefore, they are forbidden. ("Well, I would have done so-and-so anyway!" Well, then don't take the money, etc.)
Not simply a legislative matter. . .
Do not want to hit this too hard, but this is not simply a legislative matter. The legislature is just a case in point, and in fact there can be honest or good faith disagreements about things. I am fully aware of that. But, regardless, in truth, generally "the good life" is a matter of having a vision for the moral or right thing to do and the will (or heart) and wisdom (understanding) generally to do it, and this is exactly the same with the legislature, which must have a vision for "the good society" and have, again, the will and wisdom to do it. This is just not complicated. Otherwise, we just have competing groups vying for ever increased benefits or legislative favors, which inevitably will be detrimental to the whole or commonwealth and hurtful to a common vision for the good of all over the long haul.
But, again, if we have lost the vision of what the legislature in particular is supposed to be doing (namely making good and just laws for the benefit of the whole society) then there is hardly a moral integrity factor which can come into play (short of outright bribes) for violating that supposed "proper" role and purpose and function and vision of the legislature. In fact if mere interest group advocacy is the purpose of the legislature, there are no bribes, one might even say, nor can there be! One is simply a paid advocate, serving in the legislature. Not complicated. What's wrong with that? ("There are no bribes, nor can there be! I'm advocating!") And how did we get to this situation and state of absurdity? The answer is we have simply lost sight of the proper role and function of the legislature which is to make good laws for the benefit of the whole society, and we have lost sight of the role and function of moral integrity concerning the Good, the Right and the True as the foundation to society and life generally as well as politics. Little more, and little less involved? The alternative to this, clearly, is simply seeing the legislature as merely a place for interest group advocacy whether of the liberal left or the libertarian right. (Moral depravity or at least moral corruption is all very "logical"?)
But, in fact, we are one nation, "under God"! But why?
But, in fact, we are one nation "under God"! But why? Well, "one nation" (and not simply 93 interest groups) should be speaking for itself at this point! But why "under God"? Simple question, simple answer. "God" is the Good, the Right and the True, and that is what is foundational or the umbrella we have to operate "under" in order to pursue (or that is, justly limit our pursuit of) our own individual self-interest or our own group's interest. ("Now it all makes sense!") If you stop and think about it, what does it take to have "the good society"? Everyone pursues their own interest, careers, roles, functions, etc. with "moral integrity"! Not a whole lot more, not a whole lot less! What about a "the good legislature"? Same answer, no? If you stop and think about it, everything is either "under God" (that is, has overall moral limits) or it is every man, woman, and child for themselves, or banded together in groups to take advantage of other groups! (This is called 'Humanism' or 'the City of Man'? Maybe?)
Now stop and think a second. God "died" in the 1960s in America, right? (It was even on the cover of one of the national news magazines, I do believe.) What does this mean practically, not theologically? It means no foundation of the Good, the Right, the True, no umbrella for legislatures (or even Courts) to be "under." Since the 1960s in America, quite consistently, what has tended to be the function or actually dysfunction of the legislature (let alone the courts)? Merely interest group advocacy, as one would expect. And tragically, it is even seen to be the proper role and function of the legislature!!! Why? Because the opposite of "under God" inevitably is, both theoretically and practically, under mere competing interest groups of "man" with no real foundational Good, Right, and True to life in general or government in particular. Pretty simple really when you get right down to it. In fact, this is known historically over, say, the last 2 or 3 thousand years as Philosophy 101, is it not?
Hence, We are "one" nation "under God"? And, "necessarily" so?
Look, many of these comments could have been taken right out of a Ronald Reagan speech. Why? Because Reagan was about the only political visionary we have had in America in the last 40 years, to my knowledge anyway, and perhaps even in the last 100 years? Bush One, for example, bless his soul, had the "vision problem," right? He had it so bad it is said he could not find the helicopter on the White House lawn, bless his heart. He was a man of great personal moral integrity, no doubt, but "the vision thing" becomes crucially important in the bigger picture of society and history because it says what the role and function of government are generally in order for the legislature to then make good laws in particular toward that end, which is, again, its role and function.
To call American politics of the last few decades since the 1960s "dysfunctional" is, well, "kind." Clearly our politics are excessively partisan and excessively liberal and libertarian, and we have lost sight almost completely of the very role and function of government to have and carry out a larger vision, and again this is a much larger issue than simply the role and function of the legislature in particular, which is merely a case in point. Certainly such mere interest group thinking (of the libertarians or liberals) is not in the national good domestically nor internationally, and in practice it is certainly no way to run a country over the long haul? Hence, you can consider this writing "A call back to a larger vision," that is, a larger vision of common purpose for the true liberty (not license) of all and for the true justice of all (economically and otherwise), or, you might say, we need to return to a sense or notion of a republic as a commonwealth and consider things in terms of the good of the entire country or society, including the economy, which so often concerns us, of course. But, in truth, this larger vision of "under God" and the good and just "rule of law" is the solution to all of our problems in life, in government or otherwise.
George Washington more than anyone else understood these practical realities
In any case, the specific political problem we have in this country in our politics and in the legislative branch (as Ronald Reagan pointed out to a degree, anyway, decades ago) is excessive self-centered or interest-centered groups and, even worse, in this writer's opinion, it is thinking this is the way government and life are supposed to work! Ridiculous? But this, in essence, man-centered view of things is inevitable when we no longer see ourselves or understand ourselves as "under God" in the larger sense of those words whether this is seeing "God" as the moral absolutes of the Good, the Right and the True (which limit or constrain our individual or group interests), or "under God" quite literally in a more traditional way as George Washington understood our being under a "literal" not "philosophical" God and under His ultimate "Judgment," quite literally and practically!
Washington actually thought if we took oaths of office before God that the fear of God's literal judgment (if we violated our oaths) would cause public officials to do the right thing to the best of their ability or with "moral integrity," etc. Is this really true? Yes, probably if we really think there is a God who will one day judge us (in the next life, if not in this one), that is, if we do not exercise moral integrity in our various "jobs"! But, again, such "a fear of God" causing people to act or behave with moral integrity to avoid God's judgment is a larger general truth of life more than it is a particular truth for public officials. Washington just wanted this general truth of life applied in the political arena for the protection of the Republic against possibly corrupt politicians and public officials!
If everything is a matter of vision, & will and wisdom to it, then . . .
If everything in life, and politics as a part of life, is a matter of vision and the will and wisdom to such a larger meaningful vision then, the Love and Fear of "God" become very practical realities whether for a society generally or its government in particular. In truth, if we all "feared God" and were constantly trying to do the right or moral thing out of fear of God's possible judgment (as Washington thought) or merely out of a Love for the true Good and true Right of life (of "God" so to speak), then we would live if not in a near "perfect society," certainly in "the good society"! Would we not? A true "fear of God" and his Judgment and a true "love of God" and His Good improves the citizenry in general and not just the legislator or public official in particular!
In the big picture, the legislator is just a small cog in the machine of society with great power to do harm? Still, if one could say that almost all our social problems tend to be due to a general lack of moral integrity because we lack the vision, will, and wisdom to do the right thing or good (in the legislature or otherwise), then virtually all of our problems in the society could almost be reduced to two things and one simple statement? "No proper fear of God" as well as "no true Love of God's Truth, Good, and Right"?
There are two notions of "God," but "we" choose regardless. . .
At any rate, God historically and practically exists in two ways. One is as an ultimate conscious creator Supreme Being and Sovereign of history and the universe, and the other is philosophically in representing the moral absolutes of ultimate Truth, Good, and Right or Righteousness. Clearly the "mere" philosophical conceptual "God" (of the Stoics and others) of the Good, the Right, and the True is not one which literally "judges" history or man, though such a "God" is an absolute standard of course, but to have a conscious creator Supreme Being and Sovereign of history, one must have a notion of God as an actual Being in Heaven who is all-knowing, all-powerful, and ever-present and who will judge all history, indeed He scripts all history. History is God's play, and He is its Playwright. And we all, each and every one of us, merely play out our roles with moral integrity, or we do not. This means some play out a part to freely choose otherwise than to do as they should with true or proper moral integrity. (And, some of us fail in this way in bigger ways than others! "No kidding?")
This is the mystery and paradox of human existence, as long understood. How can we be "free" in a play (called history) given a part for good or ill? The answer is, of course, presumably the play of all history is written so that we could have chosen otherwise (than we do) in any given situation, without disrupting God's sovereign overall story, though certainly we can change our individual parts in the overall story! In a sense everyone has the opportunity to be a "hero" and to "do the right thing" in his given situations, but not everyone seizes the day in every way, obviously, and hence, we sometimes "fall" into another part (than God wishes) to one degree or another. And of course, plays need outright bad guys as well heroes, do they not, and all those somewhere in between, but we are free to make our own decisions and choose our own directions and foundations without undermining God's Sovereign overall story and play of history, though even the very hairs on our head are numbered, are they not?
Still, "religion" is a personal not political matter. . .
In this larger existential sense, however, how we personally relate to a "God" of absolute Good, Righteousness, and Truth, or a literal conscious Supreme Being is not really a political issue, as such. Rather it is more an issue of freedom of conscience. Hence, we tend to separate our personal religious views, as such, from the sphere of political social organization and laws, as such, which by their very nature tend to deal with the morality of people's social conduct or, that is, the impact or the desirability of activities in relationship to the overall well-being of others in society generally, and not in relationship to a "God," as such. This means, quite simply, we are back where we started in terms of the proper role and function of the legislature! We need good "moral" or "just" or "desirable" laws for the social good of the society, not its religious good, or, that is, how we chose to relate individually to God. And this social good of the society is the very purpose of the legislature. (My Goodness.)
But we need individuals committed personally by conscience to this larger Good ends or larger vision of life and law in order to limit unrestrained amoral (or even immoral) self-interested or group-interested behavior in the legislature, or otherwise. And in the larger sense government and the society as a whole is built on one of two of foundations, no? Either on the ultimate Good, True, and Right (of "God") or on some form of humanism and relativism. I believe some guy named Augustine may have said something about two foundational cities, did he not? Something about those of God and those of man? Interestingly both Liberals and Libertarians, each for their own reasons, tend to reject both moral absolutes philosophically speaking, as well as a literal God of history. Interestingly, Jefferson as well as Washington believed in both of these notions of "God" as both a literal Creator Supreme Being and as the absolute Good, Truth and Right. And that God in both senses is generally necessary to securing our rights and liberties or freedoms in a way the state cannot. As Jefferson and the Founders realized in the Declaration, the state must acknowledge "God" in order to secure the rights and liberties of the people, otherwise all you have is the changing positivistic will of the people, no? ("O, how the mighty have fallen"?)
What does this mean? Solomon was correct. . .
What does this mean? Solomon was correct when after surveying all of history and all of life, he concluded that everything for mankind could be summarized simply as a practical matter by the statement "fear GOD and keep his commandments, for this is man's all, for GOD will bring every work into judgment (including every secret thing), determining whether it is 'good' or 'evil'." (Ecclesiastes 12: 13-14) The practical, social, and political importance of this understanding of "man's all" for us is that it will almost certainly, as we have seen, create "the good society" generally and "the good legislature" in particular! It is a true solution to all of our problems! (My Goodness.)
But, further, since neither Liberals nor Libertarians believe in any significant "ultimate" or "absolute" Truth, Good, or Right as the foundation for their societies or their lives, or their legislatures, or their legislation, then Liberalism and Libertarianism are, again, the two "problems," the two "extremes," the two foundationally flawed "evils," as it were, which we face today in the social political arena. Why? Two reasons: The Good, Right, and True (of God) are neither real nor necessary for the true tolerant Liberal nor the true self-centered Libertarian. (Not pretty?)
Neither Liberalism nor Libertarianism believe in ultimate Good as God
Neither Liberalism nor Libertarianism believe in ultimate Good as foundational, nor as even necessary for the Good Society or Just Republic, and in doing so they deny not simply the "reality of" but the practical "need for" the so-called "sine qua non" of the Good and Just society, namely, "God." That is, they deny the very "thing" which must be present to make the Good or Just society occur, legislatively, socially, practically, personally, or culturally, etc., namely an absolute moral "God" in the larger sense of the term. Quite simply we as a society need to return to an idea of "God" or absolute "Good" as a "practical" matter for our individual personal lives as well as for the society as a whole (and not merely as a "religious" matter) in order to restore moral integrity and larger purpose to our lives (personally speaking) and to our legislatures and laws (practically speaking).
Look at it this way. If you ain't shooting for "the Good" or feel yourself constrained by it, you probably are not going to hit it nor be confined by it! And certainly not if you do not even believe "it" exists as a "standard" or as a "ultimate being," let alone the point of human existence. In the larger sense, this ultimate Good not a political matter, as such, but it is what is necessary for us personally to have the will or wisdom as general citizens or legislators to pursue the Good or Moral life (individually) and the Good or Just society etc. (collectively). Righteous or just government is necessarily "under God" philosophically (as Jefferson realized) because positive or legislative "laws" deal primarily with moral issues, inevitably, (killing, stealing, lying, and so forth), but religion and conscience tend to deal more with personal spiritual matters, as such, and are generally not political issues. Look at it this way: If you want to "get right with GOD" don't go to the capitol, go to church. Not really very complicated, but we need people of moral integrity with a true vision for good government and the good or just society (and the will and wisdom to carry it out) to go the capitol to do the people's political, moral/social business. Pretty basic stuff here? (Poly Sci 101?)
Religion and Politics, and Man's "Problem" with God
The "Problem" of God is not a political matter. The problem of God for mankind is that God is perfectly holy, just, right, good, and true, and of course, we are not, and that is "the problem" of God, so to speak. The state cannot fix or resolve this matter. And indeed this is the "question" of religion, not of politics, historically. How does one, as an imperfect human being, bridge the gap, as it were, to a perfectly holy, just, good, righteous, and true God? Evangelical Christians, of course, think one does it by trusting in Christ's atoning sacrifice, or, that is, accepting that sacrifice for one's self personally, and thereby entering into that Covenant in order to live for God, but to be fair it is perhaps still an open question of history if other religions provide other ways which are equally satisfactory or useful for the God-centered life or society.
But the key philosophically and practically for society (not the individual) is, as Jefferson and Washington realized, that there is a God, Who is perfectly holy, just, right, good, and true, and is the author of our Rights, no matter how one seeks to bridge the gap personally (as a "Christian" or otherwise) and thereby not come under God's condemnation or judgment eternally. But, regardless, almost definitionally the society must be Good, Right, and True centered (or at least seek to be) if it is to be a Just and Good society. That is, this is true in theory by definition and in actual practice, and, hence, The Declaration and then its actual application in the Constitution. In any case, the perfectly holy, just, right, good, and true upon which we must base our lives individually and our society collectively is a practical matter for having "the good life," generally, or "the good society" or "the just republic," in particular. And, of course, again, we also individually need the heart and insight to establish this vision. But, regardless, the "good society" is inherently or necessarily God-centered, that is, in the Good, the Right and the True (or has such a foundation) in the larger philosophical sense of "God-centered," but it is certainly not necessarily "Christian" as such. You might say, this is all the practical or rational "philosophy" of Logos meaning and truth in understanding human existence, government, and history, as well as the good and just society in a larger sense.
But, the normal reaction to all of this is to ask. . .
The normal reaction to all of this is to ask, "But can't I, as a Liberal or Libertarian, go to the legislature as a legislator and not believe in the Good, the Right and the True and merely represent various particular groups' interests without being concerned about the good of the whole society?" And the entire point of this essay is, of course you can! That is the problem. But if it is the problem, the question becomes how do we fix it? I think rather obviously the answer is we get sufficient people in the society generally to become interested in voting for legislators who are also interested in the good, the right and the true of the society generally, and not merely or simply in one group's interest over and against another, that is, we get people to vote for legislators who are not merely "self-interested" or "group-interested" liberals or libertarians, but rather who are interested in the good, the right, and the true, as a practical applied legislative matter, not a theoretical one. Not complicated?
Of course, a legislator wants to make sure his people or group or constituency is not "left out" of the (supposed) overall good of the legislative process, but this is assuming one is not representing criminals, thugs, and thieves or any other group with less than honorable intentions! Certainly when you vote for someone, you assume they will look out for your good as a part of the overall society! "Is it really necessary to raise taxes, again, for my good?" etc. "Is this really the best social policy or what is truly most effective for the economy and just for everyone?" etc., etc., etc. The good and the just do not deny self-interest or the interest of groups, but rather constrain it, and keep mere self-interest from being the ultimate foundation for one's life or for the society.
The practical reality of the Good, the Right and the True
The practical reality of the Good, the Right, and the True is that it is opposed to a meaningless, irrational existential despair with no sense of true or ultimate purpose personally, historically, socially, culturally or politically, which inevitably results from a man-centered nihilism or even relativism. There are only two alternatives! This is not complicated in speaking of "foundations" personally, socially, culturally or politically. Look at it this way: It would have been "impossible" to write the Declaration of Independence without God and related notions of moral and historical justice. Otherwise all you have is, "We don't like you, and we are going to shoot you!" It is the Good, the Right, and the True (of "God") which give meaning to life, history, and government and to our own personal lives. And, again, we live for God either out of a love for His Goodness, Righteousness, and Truth or out a fear of a literal God's Judgment in this life and the next. And, in fact, often the Judgment (of "God") can just be the natural consequences of immorality, or, you might say, "unwise living." But, regardless, the Good, the Right and the True give people motivation and a sense of direction and purpose individually, and they give meaning and reality to a larger vision of government and society as a whole in history.
The place of the Just Republic in History. . .
Indeed, the Good, the Right, and the True, rationally speaking, give the very idea of a truly meaningful larger vision, and they give us individually our meaningful role and place in the larger society and give our Republic its role and place in history as a nation. And, again, this is why we are necessarily "under God" and "His" Good, Right and True. This is not only the nature of truly meaningful Freedom and Justice, it is the nature of the meaningful story of history, so to speak. Because, if we are not ultimately and really "under God," there is no meaningful right and wrong, good and bad, true and false, and hence, life and all history are indeed a meaningless "tale told by an idiot full of sound and fury signifying nothing."
If there is no God, there are no real human rights. . .
If there is no God, there are no real human rights, and further there is no real Truth, no real Justice, and no real Good, and no true Republic, no City on the Hill, and no Righteous society for the common good of all the body politic, no? We just have competing groups of men and women vying for top of the hill! One might even say, not only can the state "acknowledge God" in a broad or general philosophical sense, but the state must "acknowledge God" at least philosophically (as in the Declaration) to secure the rights and liberties of the people. But, equally, the good or just society needs and can only exist with a citizenry committed to pursuing their own individual interests within the larger limits of the good, the right, and the true, as well. No other foundation than moral virtue will support an individual life nor produce the result we all want, namely, "the good society."
This is not primarily a political or economic truth but a general social truth where Adam Smith's "Invisible Hand" works only if everybody does his or her part with moral integrity, not just legislators, judges, and executives. But if everyone did so act, the news would be boring! But, then again, it would not matter if you watched it, or listened to it, or read it anyway, except to keep the politicians honest, which will be a cold day in July, some would say? Let's hope we do not have to wait so long for that! However, a national revival is perhaps likely, at some point, one must assume or at least a general spiritual awakening to the general condition of mankind in life and history and before God, a "God" who is perfectly holy, just, right, good, and true?
Bottom-line: Cleaning up politics and the entire nation in historical terms
Look, cleaning up politics and the entire nation is not complicated. If everyone does his (or her) job with moral integrity, we will have "the good society," "the right-centered society"! Just do the right thing. Not complicated, and fairly simple if we each have the will and wisdom to lead righteous and just lives generally apart from the legislature. However if our interests are not limited by the moral good and only reflect personal self-centered interests (and we are not so-called "enlightened" to do good moral self-interests) then we will fail, and become a notorious byword among the nations of history (as Ben Franklin more or less said), and then we will inevitably slide into some misguided, amoral, egalitarian, utopian collectivism of the "left" or some misguided, amoral, individualism of the "right" (both, as in the last 40 years?). Not "pretty" but "pretty much" where things stand today with the two major political parties as well as with the electorate? (If probably half of Republicans are "libertarian," then probably 90% of Democrats are "liberal"? What to do? Return to the GOD of our fathers for both libertarians and liberals?)
But, in any case, now we are back where we started (this 3 Part Series) with dysfunctional Liberals and Libertarians and not with lofty political philosophy of the good and just society, and the practical realities of it, but with the political realities of the day, namely, special interest legislation by unions, politicians, corporations and various other interest groups bogging down budgets and bankrupting states. "You mean to tell me that all life is just a matter of personal moral integrity?" Well, obviously, you fool, you lost soul, but of course one needs the requisite will and wisdom, as well as the vision for the (morally) Good life in order to firmly establish or re-establish the just Republic. . ."under God," necessarily, I think one might say, in order to have true liberty (and not license) and true justice for all?
Postscript on amoral, irrational humanism whether collectivist or individualist
Tragically, there are essentially two primary forms of humanism in the world day, which tend to be morally relative and to make a "god" of man. One tends to be somewhat spiritual "collectivist" and the other tends to be a more radical almost asocial "individualism," which tends not to be spiritual at all, but overtly materialistic both in a worldly money/mammon sense and in a materialistic philosophical sense. But both the extremes of humanistic individualism and collectivism are essentially amoral and opposed to the traditional rational absolute moral theism of the Western tradition as foundational for the good and truly desirable life, and the just and truly desirable society. And these two forms of "humanism" are essentially Liberalism and Libertarianism, since they, by their very formulations, deny traditional notions of absolute Good, Right, and True. Obviously, this means the sum of the matter, and indeed the solution, the ultimate final solution, historically and practically speaking to all of mankind's problems, is the same today as it was in Solomon's time almost 3000 years ago when Solomon laid the foundation for the good life and the just Republic, namely: Fear God and keep his commandments for this is man's all (no less) and because all things will be brought into Judgment (quite literally) as to whether they are truly Good or not-Good.
"Truly man's 'all'?" Truly. . .
But is this truly man's proper "end" and "all"? Well, it would seem if we each and every one fear God and keep his commandments, we will, quite practically as a consequence, have almost, inevitably, "utopia" on earth, no? Or, at least, as close to it as one could ever expect or hope for in a fallen world! And the alternative? No God, no absolute moral Commandments nor such general Principles, and no Good, only meaningless Chaos and ever increasing laws to impose order with one group or individual vying for power over another! The choice is ours as human beings on this ball flying through space, and through time. But if we choose wrongly, as Solomon says, we will ultimately then face the eternal consequences of our foolish lives of rebellion against God's Will and Ways, and against His Truth, Good, and Righteousness. And, tragically, we will go down in history as failures not just as individuals in finding no real meaning and truth in life but as a nation in history in God's Sovereign Plan and Play for planet earth in the whole of creation and time. Could we live in more historic times? No, we could not.