America’s Moral Freefall - Part 1 (Transcript)

Dr. James Dobson: Well, thank you everyone for tuning into our program today. You may know that Family Talk is a listener supported program and we remain on the air by your generosity, literally. If you can help us financially, we would certainly appreciate it. God's blessings to you all.

Welcome everyone to another edition of Family Talk. I'm Dr. James Dobson, your host, and we're so glad you tuned in for today. We're going to hear one of the most powerful and timely messages I've ever heard. This ought to be heard and recognized by every Christian in Western civilization. It was delivered by the late Dr. Francis Schaeffer. He was a philosopher. He was the author of numerous best-selling books, including The Great Evangelical Disaster, Pollution and the Death of Man, How Should We Then Live? The Rise and Decline of Western Thought and Culture, Whatever Happened to the Human Race? That was written with future surgeon, General C. Everett Koop, and A Christian Manifesto: Christian Principles for Secular Politics. This man had a profound impact on me. The speech that you're about to hear was delivered in 1982, and yet it could have been ripped from today's headlines.

That's because Dr. Francis Schaeffer had a better understanding and a better fix on culture and what was happening then and what the implications were for the future than anything I've heard. He was literally a man for his time warning about where we are today. I was just beginning to understand public policy at that time, and I was alarmed by what I heard and frankly in the messages given by Dr. Schaeffer, I heard the echo of my father's words. He died in 1977 and this speech was given five years later and they were both saying the same thing.

One of the reasons I admired my dad so much and I have spoken reverently of him, there are many reasons for that, but one of them is that he also saw where this country was headed. Frankly, I left USC School of Medicine in Children's Hospital to start my own ministry because I also, having heard these men began to understand where this country was going and we are right there now. I can't afford to take any more time to explain this, you'll hear it for yourself in this two part program, and I frankly wish that you would get a pencil and piece of paper and write down some of the points that come from this great philosopher. He was a brilliant man and I had the opportunity to live contemporaneously with him and I wish he were here today to see how accurate he was in what he said. Here now is Dr. Francis Schaeffer speaking in 1982 about the world into which you live.

Dr. Francis Schaeffer: Instead of seeing things which are gradually begun to trouble Christians and others also of goodwill such as over permissiveness, pornography, the problem of the public schools, the breakdown of the family, abortion, infanticide, the killing of newborn babies, the increased emphasis upon the euthanasia of the old, many, many other things. They have seen these as isolated bits and pieces instead of understanding that they're the natural outcome of a change from a Christian worldview to a humanistic one. Humanism means the man is the measure of all things. If this other final reality of material or energy shaped by pure chance is the final reality, it gives no meaning to life, it gives no value system, it gives no basis for law, and therefore in this case, man must be the measure of all things.

You must realize that when we speak of man being the measure of all things under the humanist label, the first thing is that man has only knowledge from himself. That he, being finite, limited, very faulty in his observation in many things, specifically in this view, there is no place for any knowledge from God. And more frightening still in our country at our own moment of history is the fact that any basis of law then becomes arbitrary, merely certain people making decisions as to what is for the good of society at the given moment.

Now this is the real reason for the breakdown in morals in our country. It's the real reason for the breakdown in values in our country, and it is the reason that our Supreme Court now functions so thoroughly upon the fact of arbitrary law. They have no basis for law that is fixed. There are certain few people come together and decide what they arbitrarily believe is for the good of society at the given moment, and that becomes law. So if you hold this other worldview, you must realize that it is inevitable that we will come to the very sorrows of relativity and all these other things that are so represented in our country at this moment of history.

It should be noticed that this new dominant worldview is a view which is exactly opposite from that of the founding fathers who founded this country. Now, not all the founding fathers of this country were individually, personally, Christians. That certainly is true. But, nevertheless, they founded the country on the base that there is a God who is the creator, now I come to the next central phrase, who is the Creator who gave the inalienable rights. We must understand something very thoroughly. If the state gives the rights, it can take them away, they're not inalienable. If the state gives the rights, they can change them and manipulate them. But this was not the view of the founding fathers of this country. They believed though not all of them were individual Christians, that there was a creator and that this creator gave the inalienable rights, even the freedoms which are being used now to destroy the freedoms.

The reason that these freedoms were there is because they believe there was somebody who gave the inalienable rights, which in indeed therefore limited the power of the state and the government specifically by these inalienable rights. But if we have the view that the final reality is material or energy, which has existed forever in some form, we must understand this view never, never, never would have given the rights which we now know and which unhappily I say to you, those of you who are Christians, too often you take much for grounded. You forget that the freedoms we have had in Northern Europe after the Reformation, and the United States as an extension of that, as would be out of Australia or Canada or New Zealand, and so on. You forget that the freedoms which we have are absolutely unique in the world. Occasionally, some of you have gone to university, have been taught that these freedoms are rooted in the Greek city-states. That is not true.

All you have to do is read Plato's Republic and you understand that the Greek city-states never had any concept of the freedoms that we have. Go back into history, the freedoms which we have, the form, freedom, balance of government, all these things, they are unique in history and they're all so unique in the world at this day. A fairly recent poll of the 150 some countries that now constitute the world shows that only about 25 of these countries have any value, have any freedoms at all. What we have and take so poorly for granted is unique. It was brought forth by a specific worldview, and that specific worldview was the Judeo-Christian worldview and especially as it was refined in the Reformation, putting the authority indeed at a central point, not in the church and the state and the Word of God, but rather the Word of God alone.

We're now losing those freedoms and we can expect to continue to lose them. If this other worldview continues to take increased force power in our country, we can be sure of this. I would say it again, inevitably, mathematically, all these things will come for you. There's no possible way to heal the relativistic thinking of our own day if indeed all there is a universe out there that is silent about any values, none whatsoever. It is not possible. It is a loss of values and there's a loss of freedom which we may be sure will continually grow.

A good illustration is in the public schools. This view is taught in our public schools exclusively. By law, there are no other view that can be taught. I'll mention it a bit later, but by law, there is no other view that can be taught. By law, in the public schools, the United States of America, 1982, legally there is only one view of reality that can be taught and that is that the final reality is only material energy shaped by pure chance.

It is the same with the television programs. Public television gives as many things that many of us like culturally, but is also completely committed to a propaganda position that the last reality is only material or energy shaped by pure chance. Clark's Civilization, Brunowski, The Ascent of Man, Carl Sagan's Cosmos, they all say it. The new one that's on says it with great dogmatism. There is only one final view of reality that's possible and that is that final reality is material or energy shaped by pure chance. It is about us on every side, and especially the government and especially the courts have become the vehicle to force this anti-God view on the total population. It's exactly where we are.

The abortion ruling is a very clear one. The abortion ruling, of course, is also a natural result of this other worldview because with this other worldview, human life, your individual life has no intrinsic value. You are a wart upon the face of an absolutely impersonal universe. So what we find is the abortion case should not have been a surprise because it boiled up out of, quite naturally I would use the word again, mathematically, this other worldview. In this case, human life has no distinct value whatsoever, and we find this the Supreme Court in one ruling over through the abortion laws of all 50 states, and they made this form of killing human life because that's what it is. The law declared that this form of killing human life was to be accepted and for many people, because they had no set ethic. When the Supreme Court said that it was legal, for many people in the intervening years it has become ethical.

The courts of this country have forced this view and its results on the total population. And what we find that as the courts have done this, without any longer that which the founding fathers comprehend of law, and that is that there is a law of God upon which gives foundation. When the courts of this country cut themselves loose from the law of God, it becomes quite natural then that they should all or they would also cut themselves loose from a strict constructionism concerning the Constitution.

Everything is relative. So as you cut yourself loose from the Law of God in any concept whatsoever, you also soon are cutting yourself loose from a strict constructionism, and each ruling is to be seen as an arbitrary choice by a group of people as to what they may honestly think is for the sociological good of the community, of the country, for the given moment.

Now, along with that is the fact that the courts are increasingly making law and thus we find that the legislature's powers are increasingly diminished in relationship to the power of the courts. Now, the pro-abortion people have been very wise about this in the last, say, 10 years, and Christians very silly. And I wonder sometimes where we've been because the pro-abortion people have used the courts for their end rather than the legislatures because the courts are not subject to the people's thinking nor their will either by election nor by a re-election. Consequently, the courts have been the vehicle that has been used to bring this whole view and to force it on our total population. It has not been largely the legislatures, it has been rather the courts. The result is a relativistic value system, a lack of any final meaning to life. Why is human life have any value at all, if that is all the reality is?

If not only you're going to die individually, but the whole human race is going to die, someday. It may not take the falling of the atom bombs, but someday the world will grow too hot, too cold. That's what we're told on this other final reality, and someday all you people not only will be individually dead, but the whole conscious life on this world will be dead and nobody will see the birds fly and there's no meaning to life.

And as you know, I don't speak academically, shut off in a scholastic cubicle as of it. I have lots of young people and older ones come to us and from the end of the earth and they're not living in a romantic setting, they realize what the situation is. They can't find any meaning to life. And not only there is no meaning to life, but there is no value system that is fixed. And we find that the law is based then only on a relativistic basis and that law becomes purely arbitrary. And this is brought to bear specifically and perhaps most clearly in the public schools, in the courts of this country saying that it's absolutely illegal. It's absolutely illegal from the lowest grades up through university, for these schools, the public schools of this country to teach any other worldview except this worldview of final material or energy.

Now, this is done, no matter what the parents may wish. This is done, regardless of what those who pay the taxes for their schools may wish. The way the courts force this view of the false view of reality on the total population, no matter what the total population wants. We find that in the January 18th, just recently, Time Magazine, there was an article that said that there was a poll that pointed out that about 76% of the people in this country thought it would be a good idea to have both creation and evolution taught in the public schools.

I don't know if the poll is accurate, but assuming that the poll is accurate, what does it mean? It means that your public schools are told by the courts that they cannot teach this even though 76% of the people in the United States want it taught. I'll give you a word, it's tyranny. There is no other word that fits at such a point. And at the same time we find the medical profession has radically changed. Dr. Coop, in our seminars for Whatever Happened to Human Race?, often said that, speaking for himself, "When I graduated from medical school, the idea was not how can I save this life, but should I save this life?"

Believe me, it's everywhere. It isn't just abortion, it's infanticide. It's allowing the babies to starve to death after they're born if they do not come up to some doctor's concept of a quality of life worth living. So what we find is that the medical profession has largely changed. Not all doctors, I'm sure there are doctors here in the audience who feel very, very differently, who feel indeed that human life is important and you wouldn't take it easily, wantonly .

But in general, we must say, and all you have to do is look at the TV programs, all you have to do is to hear about the increased talk about allowing the Mongoloid child, the child with a down syndrome to starve to death if it's born this way. Increasingly, we find in every side the medical profession has changed its views. The view now is, is this life worth saving?

I look at you, you're an older congregation than I'm usually used to speaking to. You better think because this means you. It does not stop with abortion and infanticide, it stops the question, what about the old person? Is he worth hanging on to? Is he worth hanging on to? Should we, as they're doing in England in this awful organization, EXIT, teach older people to commit suicide? Should we help them get rid of them because they're an economic burden, a nuisance?

I want to tell you, once you begin chipping away in the medical profession at the intrinsic value of human life, founded upon the Judeo-Christian concept that man is unique because he's made in the image of God and his value is not because he's well, strong, a consumer, a sex object, or any other thing. His value is intrinsic because he is unique in the universe as made in the image of God. That is where whatever compassion this country has, and certainly it's rooted in the fact that our culture knows that man is unique as made in the image of God. Take it away, and I just say gently, the stopper is out of the bathtub for all human life.

The January 11 Newsweek has an article about the baby in the womb. The first five or six pages are marvelous. If you haven't seen that, you should dig it, see if you can get that issue. It's January 11th and about the first five or six pages shows conclusively what every biologist has known all along, and that is human life begins at conception. There is no other time for human life to begin except a conception. Monkey life begins at conception. Donkey life begins at conception. And human life begins at conception. Biologically, there's no discussion, never should have been, from a scientific viewpoint. I'm not speaking a religious now. But you flip the page and there's a big black headline, but is it a person? And I'll read the last sentence, "The problem is not determining when actual human life begins, five pages before that's shown that, but when the value of that life begins to outweigh other considerations such as the health or even the happiness of the mother."

We're not just talking about the health of the mother, it's a propaganda line, or even the happiness of the mother. Listen, spell that out. It means that the mother for her own hedonistic happiness, selfish happiness, can take human life by her choice, by law. Do you understand what I've said? By law, on the basis of her individual choice of what makes her happy. She can take what has been declared to be, in the first five pages without any question, human life. In other words, they acknowledge the human life is there, but as an open question to whether it is not right to kill that human life, if it makes the mother unhappily. And basically that is no different than Stalin, Mao or Hitler, killing who he killed for what he conceived to be the good of society.

There is absolutely no line between the two statements, no absolute line whatsoever. One follows along. Once from the other. Once it is acknowledged that is human life that is involved, the acceptance of the death of human life in babies born or unborn opens the door to the arbitrary taking of any human life. From then on, it's purely arbitrary. It's purely arbitrary. It was this view that opened the door.

Dr. James Dobson: Well, that was the first half of a message given by Dr. Francis Schaeffer, a philosopher, a writer, a culture watcher, and a man who loved God with all his heart. Tomorrow, we're going to pick it up right here and listen to the second half of that speech. I urge you to listen and take to heart the things that this man said because he was talking about our world in alarming terms, and he was dead right. He went on to be with the Lord in 1984, but I wish he were here to see just how accurate he was. With that, our time is gone. We will welcome you here again tomorrow.

Announcer: This has been a presentation of the Dr. James Dobson Family Institute.

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