In the classic science fiction movie, The Day the Earth Stood Still, the question of how mankind would respond to a choice of obedience or certain destruction is posed. A representative of life from outer space delivers an ultimatum to earth. If mankind does not stop fighting and producing nuclear warheads, all life on earth will be destroyed. The viewer is left to ponder, will humanity stop waging war and subject itself to this ultimate authority?
A brief overview of history might help resolve the question. According to the Bible, the originally created set of human beings were given the same choice: obedience or death. Because they chose disobedience, they died spiritually and started to die physically. [Note: had God not allowed for this possibility of dis-obedience, mankind would be no different than animals – not really possessing the freedom to love or reject their Creator]. Since that time, the history of humanity has been a history of continual conflict and bloodshed. This is not to say that mankind has not achieved magnificent artistic and intellectual accomplishments over the years, or that there are not isolated examples of sacrificial love and kindness.
However, to deny the savagery which humans are obviously capable of is to deny reality. Modern man has been capable of these atrocities:
• Six hundred thousand killed during the American Civil War because of the desire for wealth based on slavery.
• The murder of approximately 60 million people under the last 70 years of Communist oppression.
• The murder of 6 million Jews due to Nazi prejudice.
• Millions of deaths from starvation due to the Hindu religious caste system. There are enough cows to end this starvation, but they are considered more sacred than human life.
• The deaths of a hundred million unborn children worldwide from abortion. The vast majority were disposed of because their births would have been an inconvenience.
Many other examples of the cruel side of humanity could be cited. The overall picture is not a pretty one. It is not pretty because we continue to rebel against the absolute moral authority of God as clearly laid out in the Bible.
Returning to the dilemma raised in The Day the Earth Stood Still, history shows a consistent answer to how humanity would respond to such a challenge – man has always crossed the line. The reality of human history is that humans are rebellious. Historically what force has been able to hold the masses in check? Only three are apparent:
1. Brute force as in the case of Communism, Fascism, Marxism, and to a lesser degree, socialism.
2. Rigid religious systems with stiff social penalties for disobedience such as is found in Buddhism, Hinduism, or Islam.
3. The freedom and liberty which
comes with acknowledging the
Christian absolutes as reality.
Our founding fathers clearly understood that these were the choices which any society faced. That is why John Adams said, “Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate for the government of any other.” Yet our society is moving rapidly down the road which removes all influence of Christianity from public life!
One last note:
In The Day the Earth Stood Still a mother had no hesitation letting her ten-year-old son spend the entire day in Washington, D.C. accompanied by a total stranger. This was 1951; there was no fear letting a total stranger watch a child unsupervised. How far we have fallen in just 5 decades.