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One online Dictionary defines Judeo-Christian values as, “of or relating to the religious writings, beliefs, values, or traditions held in common by Judaism and Christianity.”
For most conservative Christians Judeo-Christian ethics or Judeo-Christian values form the basis of America, the building block of American society, American politics, law, and morals. In recent years, the phrase has been resurrected from disuse by the conservative movement, but the phrase with many different concepts has frequently been used in the rhetoric of leaders across the political spectrum. Most have no understanding of what “Judeo-Christian values” means, for them it is vague, some even believing that historically flawed, while others see it as incendiary. This is even more true today when we have such a deep rift in American society. The political spectrum has been pushed to the extremes by the left.
Core Judeo-Christian Values In a Nutshell
Most Americans really without knowing the historical use of the term “Judeo-Christian value” still have somewhat of a sense that it describes a religious and moral consensus between Jews and Christians. While it might seem that the Jewish people and the Christians technically have two different books, the Hebrew Old Testament for the Jews and the combination of the Old and the New Testament for the Christian, the Bible is really one book, with shared moral principles and values. Moreover, there were 2,090 years of shared history and cultural values from the birth of Abraham 2020 B.C.E. to the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 C.E. Both Judaism and Christianity affirm one God (Deut. 6:; Lev. 19:18; Matt. 22:37-39), and the Jews possess a covenant between God and the Israelite people (Deut. 5:2; 29), while the Christians also have a covenant with God (Jer. 31:31-34; Heb. 8:8-12), both valuing the importance of human life. This is the foundation of the United States Constitution and the heart of Western civilization, the Judeo-Christian values summon within the patriotic person shared values and a connection through time.
Yes, Judeo-Christian values have political ends to it as well, as it rightly should. The Judeo-Christian values is a principle system of American national identity. “And I don’t care what it is” is a famous phrase by U.S. President Dwight Eisenhower. He said,
And this is how they [the Founding Fathers in 1776] explained those: ‘we hold that all men are endowed by their Creator…’ not by the accident of their birth, not by the color of their skins or by anything else, but ‘all men are endowed by their Creator’. In other words, our form of government has no sense unless it is founded in a deeply felt religious faith, and I don’t care what it is. With us of course it is the Judeo-Christian concept, but it must be a religion with all men are created equal.
President Ronald Reagan was one man who held dearly to the Judeo-Christian values both as the Governor of California and as the President of the United States and he drew on these moral principles in the policies he wanted to be established for the people, for example, abortion. He once famously said, “I’ve noticed that everyone who is for abortion has already been born.” A Reagan speech on Abortion and the Conscience of the Nation, February 03, 1983,
Abraham Lincoln recognized that we could not survive as a free land when some men could decide that others were not fit to be free and should therefore be slaves. Likewise, we cannot survive as a free nation when some men decide that others are not fit to live and should be abandoned to abortion or infanticide. My Administration is dedicated to the preservation of America as a free land, and there is no cause more important for preserving that freedom than affirming the transcendent right to life of all human beings, the right without which no other rights have any meaning.
Many wonderful values come from the Hebrew Old Testament and the Greek New Testament that could make for a loving, peaceful, joyful human society right now if applied. In the 20th century and now into the 21st century, there have been literally hundreds of wars, including two world wars. Nevertheless, essentially all world leaders have repeatedly said that they want peace. It would be nigh impossible to find one human that does not want peace. If everyone desires peace, why has it been so elusive? The answer in short is human imperfection. Genesis 6:5 and 8:21 tells us that all humans are mentally bent toward evil. Jeremiah 17:9 tells us that we all have a treacherous heart that is unknowable. Romans 7:21-25 tells us that when we want to do right, evil lies close at hand.
Karl Marx (1818-1883), a 19th-century German sociologist and economist wrote,
“The first requisite for the happiness of the people is the abolition of religion.”
Karl Marx had many Jewish rabbinical ancestors on both sides of the family, yet, he was baptized as a Protestant at the age of six. However, at an early age, he became disheartened with religion and politics. He contended that if humankind were going to ever achieve true happiness, both religion and politics would have to be changed drastically. Marx openly considered religion an obstruction to human progress. He maintained that mankind’s needs could best be satisfied by materialism, a philosophy where there was no God or any traditional religion. Before looking deeper into Marxism-Leninism, secularism, and skepticism, let’s consider how we are to interpret the United States Constitution that is based on Judeo-Christian values.
Reader Response and Understanding the United States Constitution
The idea that the reader is the one who determines the meaning is known as the “reader response.” Each of us must determine if an interpretation is correct. However, this is based on the rules and principles of interpretation, as well as a sound knowledge of these rules and principles, which is applied in a balanced manner.
The “reader response” is not of that nature, though. For those who hold to this position, all meaning is equal to another, and all are correct. We can have an article of the constitution, and 20 people may give different interpretations, and many may seem the opposite of others. Those believing in the “reader “response” will say that all are correct. Under this position, for them, the text allows each reader the right to derive his or her own meaning from the text. This is where we hear “I think this means,” “I believe this means,” “this means to me,” and “I feel this means to me.” The problem with this is that the text loses its authority; James Madison, who drafted the American Constitution loses all authority over his intended meaning of the text that the United States Founding Fathers signed at the Constitutional Convention. These men expressed their will and purposes for America, there was the intention of one meaning, what James Madison meant by the words he used. If anyone can come along and give it whatever meaning pleases them, then James Madison’s authority over the meaning of his words is lost, and there is no real meaning at all. The reader does have a responsibility in the discovery of the meaning. He must seek out the intended meaning of the author. What did James Madison mean by the words that he used?
The Cancer of Hyper-Secularism
Yes, the founding fathers of America wanted to live by the principle of separation of the state from religious institutions. However, that was in a relative sense, it was not to be applied in an absolute understanding. The Second Amendment of the United States Constitution reads: “A well-regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.” Jesus said to his disciple in the end after the world had rejected him, “But now let the one who has a moneybag take it, and likewise a knapsack. And let the one who has no sword sell his cloak and buy one. (Luke 22:36) “The point is that the world has made its decision about Jesus, so those who follow him had better be prepared to be treated similarly. Disciples are to engage the world, but they will have to take care of themselves.”
Article I Section VIII of the American Constitution deals with uniform immigration among other things. What about the Bible? James K. Hoffmeier, Professor of Old Testament and Near Eastern Archaeology at Trinity International University, writes, “The very positive statements about the treatment of strangers in the Bible, some of which were already quoted, show compassion for the alien in ancient Israel. The defenders of illegal aliens point to these passages as the rationale for rewriting current laws. The problem is that they make a simplistic correlation between the ancient Israelite social law and the modern situation as if the Bible was addressing the same problem. Three important questions must be raised before one attempts to apply Israelite law to the modern situation: 1) Was there such a thing as territorial sovereignty in the second millennium B.C. when these laws originated; 2) Within that socio-legal setting, what was a “stranger” or “sojourner;” and 3) How does one obtain this status?” The nations in the days of Moses both small and large had distinctly recognizable borders that were well known. In fact, went sojourning in the wilderness for 40 years, Moses repeatedly had to request permission to pass through certain lands. (Numbers 20:14-21) Indeed, the Edomites not only refused them permission, but they also sent out their army to make certain that the Israelites stayed out. On another occasion, even though Joseph was the highest-ranked official in Egypt, his brothers still sought permission from the Egyptian Pharaoh to sojourn in the land of Egypt. – Genesis 474:3-6.
James K. Hoffmeier, asks and answers, “what about the “stranger” or “alien”? The Bible is not “a living breathing document” that can mean whatever you want it to say. This question must be answered contextually and based on what the key words meant when they were written before we apply what that might mean in our own times. The most significant Hebrew word for our discussion is ger, translated variously in English versions, which creates some confusion, as “stranger” (KJV, NASB, JB), “sojourner” (RSV, ESV), “alien” (NEB, NIV, NJB, NRSV), and “foreigner” (TNIV, NLT). It occurs more than 80 times as a noun and an equal number as a verb (gwr), which typically means “to sojourn” or “live as an alien.” The problem with more recent English translations (e.g. TNIV and NLT) is that they use “foreigner” for ger, which is imprecise and misleading because there are other Hebrew terms for “foreigner,” namely nekhar and zar. The distinction between these two terms and ger is that while all three are foreigners who might enter another country, the ger had obtained legal status.”
From the Hebrew Old Testament (Genesis 47:3-6; Exodus 2:18-22; 3:1), it is all too clear that in Bible times countries had borders that were respected. Moreover, if a foreigner wanted to reside on a particular land, he had to get permission and be obedient to their laws in order to receive certain privileges and rights. The description between the “alien” or “stranger” (ger), as opposed to the foreigner (nekhar or zar) in biblical law, is quite admittedly clear. For example, the “alien” or “stranger” (ger) after having received permission to be a resident could obtain some benefits from the Israelites such as the right to pick up the leftovers on the ground after a harvest, which harvesters had deliberately or inadvertently left behind for the poor (Lev. 19:9-10; Deut. 24:19-22) and they could get resources as well from the tithes. (Deut. 26:12-13) The legal system applied to them as it would for the Israelites. (Num. 15:15-16) The “alien” or “stranger” (ger) was to be paid the same as the Israelite. (Deut. 24:14-15) In all these areas, it did not apply to the foreigner (nekhar or zar). The “alien” or “stranger” (ger) was much more than just persons who sought permission to be in Israel; they were actually viewed as converts to the Jewish way, a proselyte Jew, similar to American citizenship. In America only, no other country, once you become a citizen, you are also an American. You can get Chilean citizenship, but you do not become a Chilean. Once the “alien” or “stranger” (ger) had permission and viewed as a convert, they could participate in the religious celebrations right next to the Israelites, as well as keep their dietary laws. (Ex. 12:13; Lev. 16:29-30; Leviticus 17:8-9 & 10-12) Under Israelite law, you were not to lend money from one Israelite to another with interest. However, an Israelite could lend money to the foreigner (nekhar or zar) with interest.
The ceremonial aspects and many of the legal aspects of the Mosaic Law are no longer applicable to Christians, as Christ nailed them to the cross. (Col. 2:14) However, the principles behind the Mosaic Law are still very much applicable. The Judeo-Christian values were very much a part of the founding of the United States of America. But the spread of the Communist philosophy of the late 19th and early 20th century had weakened those values. This was compounded with scientific developments that were misunderstood to be at odds with the Bible, and the popular theory of evolution, all feeding into religious skepticism.
Developments such as these had fed the growth of secularism. What is secularism? Webster’s Dictionary defines secularism as “A view of life or of any particular matter based on the premise that religion and religious considerations should be ignored or purposely excluded.” Secularism became instrumental in Communist and non-Communist lands at removing religion from the town square. Happily, secularism and Marxism-Leninism alone were not capable of fully weaken the influence of Judeo-Christian values that had stood the test of time. It would be the liberal-moderate churches of “Christianity” that share much of the blame as well. Why? Higher criticism of the Bible, now biblical criticism or literary criticism got its start in earnest during the 18th and 19th centuries. Biblical higher criticism is especially uncertain and skeptical in the extreme, interpretation carried out without confidence; hesitant to believe. The German Bible critic Julius Wellhausen (1844-1918) popularized high criticism and the Western world succumbed to its influence. Regardless of its weakness, higher criticism became extremely popular among intellectuals in the 20th and now the 21st century. Higher criticism is severely flawed, but its assault on the Bible has been relentless. Higher critics have taught that much of the Bible was composed of legend and myth, that Moses did not write the first five books of the Bible, 8th century Isaiah did not write Isaiah, there were three authors of Isaiah, 6th century Daniel did not write Daniel, it was penned in the 2nd century BCE. Higher critics have taught that Jesus did not say all that he said in his Sermon on the Mount and that Jesus did not condemn the Pharisees in Matthew 23, as this was Matthew because he hated the Jews. These are just the highlights for there are thousands of tweaks that have undermined the word of God as being inspired and fully inerrant.
Higher critics have dissected the Word of God until it has become the word of man and a very jumbled word at that. Higher criticism is still taught in almost all the seminaries, and it is quite common to hear so-called Evangelical Bible scholars publicly reject that large sections of the Bible as being myths, legends, full of errors, and contradictions. Then, in the mid-20th century came the popularization of the watered-down interpretive Bible translations (NIV, CEV, GNB, TEV, NLT), technically called dynamic or functional equivalents, which have largely displaced literal translations. (ASV, ESV, CSB, NASB) The primary purpose of a literal is to give the Bible readers what God said by way of his human authors, not what a translator thinks God meant in its place. The primary goal of a literal translation is to be accurate and faithful to the original text. The meaning of a word is the responsibility of the interpreter (i.e., reader), not the translator. Speaking of the original text, since the 1990s, textual scholarship as a whole is unwittingly or knowingly moving the goalposts for some unknown reason. In textual criticism, it is now the earliest knowable text instead of the original text, the sociohistorical approach to New Testament Textual Studies, and, the newest trend of trying to redate our earliest New Testament papyri to later dates. Consequently, many Christians were so weakened spiritually that they were unable to withstand the assault of secularism. In reality, the churches themselves largely gave in to secularism.
The Fading of Secularism
Secularism came to its pinnacle point in the 1960s and 1970s. Then, Christianity seemed to have a comeback. Throughout the world of the late 1970s and the 1980s into the 1990s, there was an increase in new religious groups. It was an awakening of sorts. the apostle Paul wrote, “Do not be deceived: God is not to be mocked, for whatever a man sows, this he will also reap.” (Gal. 6:7) Oh, how this proved to be true, as there was temporary freedom from God, and man was reaping what had sown in their pride and vanity, specifically, extreme delinquency, an increase in divorce, AIDS, inundated with drug abuse, and rising suicides. There was but a momentary collapse of Marxism-Leninism that had peaked in the 1960s and 1970s during the presidency of Bill Clinton (1993 to 2001) and George W. Bush (2001 to 2009). However, Marxism-Leninism came back with a vengeance during the presidency of Barack Hussein Obama (2009 to 2017). This brought out the Christian vote in 2016 and gave us the presidency of Donald J. Trump (2017 – ).
Renewed Interest in Christianity
This worldwide sense of disillusionment that was suffered from 9/11/2001 up to and during the Obama presidency of (2009 to 2017) caused a number of Christians to recognize the need for spirituality in their lives. They saw the need for the Judeo-Christian values of the forefathers and the missing patriotism in America. They were very dissatisfied with the country heading onto a path to socialism, and some also having doubts about the future of America, and the future of their children. However, the Trump presidency only galvanized Marxism-Leninism element of America that saw Hilary Clinton as an easy victory that did not materialize. Since Trump assumed office on January 20, 2017, the leftist Marxist-Leninist fanaticism has reared its ugly head. The Corona Virus has only served as a platform wherein the radical left has capitalized its movement by terrorizing America with violence. So, yes, religion has made a comeback of sorts. But is such a return permanent and is it enough to save humanity from another empire crash? Indeed, will America go the way of Egypt, Assyria, Babylon, Medo-Persia, Greece, Rome, and the British Empire?
United We Stand, Divided We Fall
Luke 18:8 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)
8 I tell you that he will bring about justice for them quickly. However, when the Son of Man comes, will he find the faith on the earth?”
The problem we face is Christianity and people of the Jewish faith are like a cord made up of many strands, all of them are pulling America in many different directions. This will only lead to disaster, for Jesus’ words, are a living reality for us: “Every kingdom divided against itself is laid waste, and no city or house divided against itself will stand.” (Matthew 12:25) Historian Will Durant states: “Celsus [a second-century opponent of Christianity] himself had sarcastically observed that Christians were ‘split up into ever so many factions, each individual desiring to have his own party.’ About 187 A.D. Irenaeus listed twenty varieties of Christianity; about 384 A.D. Epiphanius counted eighty.” (The Story of Civilization: Part III—Caesar and Christ) Today, there 41,000 different varieties of Christianity. Today, there four major branches of modern Judaism: Reform, Orthodox, and Conservative, and Reconstructionist movements, with many smaller movements as well. Sadly, unless we find some way back to our Judeo-Christian values, there is the possibility that one of Jesus’ other prophecies coming true as well, “For then there will be great tribulation, such as has not been from the beginning of the world until now, no, and never will be.” – Matthew 24:21.
 Darrell L. Bock, Luke: 9:51–24:53, vol. 2, Baker Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic, 1996), 1747.
 The Immigration Crisis: Immigrants, Aliens, and the Bible (Crossway, 2009).
 The Immigration Crisis: Immigrants, Aliens, and the Bible (Crossway, 2009).
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