Every American school-child knows the opening paragraph of the Declaration of Independence: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.”
In his book, Sapiens, A Brief History of Humankind, (one of Bill Gates’ five favorite books for the summer) Yuval Noah Harari argues that the Declaration of Independence would look starkly different if it were re-written to reflect secular science. According to Harari, if we stripped the foundations of the Christian faith from its wording, and replaced them with evolutionary science, it would read like this:
“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men evolved differently, that they are born with certain mutable characteristics, and that among them are life and the pursuit of pleasure.”
Without God, we cannot be “created.” Instead we are reduced to the random result of evolution. Neither can we be “endowed by our Creator,” since there is no Creator to endow us with self-worth. We are left with an accidental existence unrelated to value. Therefore, no human being has any more inherent worth than the spider or the ape.
And regarding liberty, “There is no such thing in biology,” Herari contends, “liberty is something that people invented and exists only in their imagination. From a biological viewpoint, it is meaningless to say that humans in democratic societies are free.” Since science has not been able to define happiness, we will have to settle with the “pursuit of pleasure.”
There appears to be a headlong rush to de-Christianize our society. Faith is being pushed from the streets of intellectual commerce and dismissed in the dark alleys of superstition. We may be well on the way to re-writing the Declaration of Independence into the secular terms Harari has proposed.
Unless we recapture the “faith of our fathers,” our future may look like the forbidding landscape of science fiction movies with human beings consigned to violence and anarchy. Without faith, we could return to a survival of the fittest.
Where would we be without the statements of Jesus? “The very hairs of your head are numbered. Love one another as I have loved you. In that you have done it to the least of these my brothers, you have done it to me.”
Hitler followed secular science to its logical conclusion and implemented a policy of eugenics that eliminated the weak and infirm as “life unworthy of life.” Over 400,000 were sterilized against their will. Millions were extermiated. Marriage was strictly controlled to foster eugenic purity.
Others, like Mother Theresa, Corrie Ten Boom, William Wilberforce and Abraham Lincoln followed a faith that compelled them to care for the poorest of the poor, to set the captive free, to bind up the nation’s wounds
Jesus introduced Himself saying, “The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to set the oppressed free, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.” (Luke 4:18-19)
Only faith can give us the framework for human dignity and worth. Only faith can safeguard our freedom.