How To Offend God
Americans have their daily concerns just as all human beings: food, clothes, housing, transportation, employment, etc. Most people give some thought everyday to such concerns, along with the broader issues that occupy national attention—the economy, foreign enemies, etc. But how many Americans ever give any thought whatsoever to whether the God of the Universe is offended by their conduct? How many contemplate the idea that the Great Ruler of Nations would actually punish an entire country for its citizens’ violations of His will? Should this consideration be of any concern to society? Should the U.S. Congress discuss this question? Should state legislatures across the country give any time or attention to such a matter?
The Founders of the American Republic most certainly shared this greater concern (Miller, 2009). They repeatedly expressed their conviction that the successful establishment of the nation was dependent on the approval of God. They insisted that it was imperative that Americans not be guilty of offending Him or earning His displeasure, lest their entire national enterprise fail. For example, four months before officially declaring independence from Great Britain, the Continental Congress issued a proclamation to the entire country:
In times of impending calamity and distress; when the liberties of America are imminently endangered…, it becomes the indispensable duty of these hitherto free and happy colonies, with true penitence of heart, and the most reverent devotion, publickly [sic] to acknowledge the over ruling providence of God; to confess and deplore our offences against him; and to supplicate his interposition for averting the threatened danger…. Desirous, at the same time, to have people of all ranks and degrees duly impressed with a solemn sense of God’s superintending providence, and of their duty, devoutly to rely, in all their lawful enterprises [sic], on his aid and direction, Do earnestly recommend, that Friday, the Seventeenth day of May next, be observed by the said colonies as a day of humiliation, fasting, and prayer; that we may, with united hearts, confess and bewail our manifold sins and transgressions, and, by a sincere repentance and amendment of life,appease his righteous displeasure, and, through the merits and mediation of Jesus Christ, obtain his pardon and forgiveness; humbly imploring his assistance…. (Journals of…, 4:208-209, emp. added).
Subsequent proclamations contained similar sentiments regarding the wrath of God, including such phrases as: “to acknowledge GOD in all his Ways, and more especially to humble themselves before him when evident tokens of his Displeasure are manifested” (Journals of…, 10:229-230, emp. added); “that so he might turn from his Wrath” (Journals of…, 13:343-344, emp. added); “humbling ourselves before him, and turning from every evil Way to avert his Anger and obtain his Favour” (Journals of…, 16:252-253, emp. added; cf. 19:284-286).
Who, today, believes the perpetuation of a blessed America depends on appeasing God’s righteous displeasure over the sins of Americans? How many Americans are actually and vitally concerned about offending God? Perhaps a key indicator was the number one concern of the vast majority of Americans during the last presidential election—the economy, not morality (“Economy Top Issue…,” 2010)! Since the Bible is proven to be the only book on the planet that conveys the will of God (Butt, 2007), what does it say about offending God? How are Americans offending God today, and consequently endangering the existence of the Republic? The Bible delineates a number of such offenses that merit divine displeasure, but please consider three.
When Harry Reid invited a Hindu priest to open a session of the U.S. Senate with a Hindu prayer, neither he nor a host of others apparently gave the slightest thought to whether such an action was an offense to the God of the Universe. After all, political correctness demands that all religions and ideologies be celebrated and treated as equally authentic. To fail to do so would be “intolerant” and “judgmental”—the only ultimate evil in the minds of many. But to give credence or credibility to pantheistic religion (“God” inside the Earth, sky, etc.; see Miller, 2007b) that advocates belief in thousands of “gods” and that cow-killing is a sin, while rejecting the one true God of the Bible, would be unthinkable in America in 1776. It was equally unthinkable for most Americans until the last 40-50 years. The politically correct climate now enshrouding America literally is suffocating the moral and religious sensibilities of society. The nod to Hinduism follows closely on the heels of the election of a Muslim to the U.S. House of Representatives, as well as the first atheist in Congress (see Miller, 2006; Miller, 2007a).
But wait! The fact is that the God of the Bible exists, He is the only one that exists, and both atheism and polytheism are an affront to His righteous character (cf. Warren and Flew, 1976; Butt and Barker, 2009). Consequently, human behavior that violates His will displeases Him. Rather than being overly concerned with whether our Christian beliefs offend our misguided fellow human beings, we would do well to show greater concern for whether our behavior offends God.
Second, whereas at one time in American culture, the average citizen understood the concept that using God’s name in vain was taboo, now it is common place. Both adults and children regularly use God’s name in a flippant, thoughtless, frivolous way (“Oh, my God!”). Yet, God informed the Israelites that such disrespectful misuse of His name would bring His displeasure: “You shall not take the name of the LORD your God in vain, for the LORD will not hold him guiltless who takes His name in vain” (Deuteronomy 5:11, emp. added). God holds guilty those who misuse His high and holy name.
Third, the gross and flagrant immorality that has blanketed American civilization, becoming commonplace and comfortable to the population, is an offense to the God of Heaven. The very actions that most Americans disdained for most of American history are now widespread, rampant, and defiantly defended or downplayed: stealing, lying, murder, covetousness, adultery, homosexuality, pre-marital and extra-marital sex, rape, gambling, intoxication, the killing of the unborn, and the list goes on and on. The Great Governor of the Universe is offended by such conduct, and historically, He will allow it to progress only so long and so far (e.g., Genesis 6:5-7; 19:24-25; 15:16; Deuteronomy 7:1-4). Legion are the nations that were destroyed for their wickedness, now lying in rubble, ruins, and the dust of antiquity (see Miller, 2005).
Writing from Mount Vernon on June 29, 1788, the Father of our country, George Washington, wrote a letter to Major General Benjamin Lincoln. In that letter, remarks were made to which every American today ought to pay earnest heed:
No one can rejoice more than I do at every step the people of this great Country take to preserve the Union, establish good order and government, and to render the Nation happy at home and respectable abroad. No Country upon Earth ever had it more in its power to attain these blessings than United America. Wondrously strange then, and much to be regretted indeed would it be, were we to neglect the means, and to depart from the road which Providence has pointed us to, so plainly; I cannot believe it will ever come to pass. The great Governor of the Universe has led us too long and too far on the road to happiness and glory, to forsake us in the midst of it. By folly and improper conduct, proceeding from a variety of causes, we may now and then get bewildered; but I hope and trust that there is good sense and virtue enough left to recover the right path before we shall be entirely lost (1788, emp. added).
The only remedy and the only hope for America to perpetuate its national existence is to swallow the antidote prescribed by God Himself:
Now it shall come to pass, if you diligently obey the voice of the LORD your God, to observe carefully all His commandments which I command you today, that the LORD your God will set you high above all nations of the earth. And all these blessings shall come upon you and overtake you, because you obey the voice of the LORD your God… But it shall come to pass, if you do not obey the voice of the LORD your God, to observe carefully all His commandments and His statutes which I command you today, that all these curses will come upon you and overtake you: The LORD will send on you cursing, confusion, and rebuke in all that you set your hand to do, until you are destroyed and until you perish quickly, because of the wickedness of your doings in which you have forsaken Me (Deuteronomy 28:1-2,15,20, emp. added).
Butt, Kyle (2007), Behold! The Word of God (Montgomery, AL: Apologetics Press).
Butt, Kyle and Dan Barker (2009), Butt/Barker Debate: Does the God of the Bible Exist? (Montgomery, AL: Apologetics Press).
“Economy Top Issue for Voters; Size of Gov’t. May Be More Pivotal” (2010), Gallup, October 26, http://www.gallup.com/poll/144029/Economy-Top-Issue-Voters-Size-Gov-May-Pivotal.aspx.
Journals of the Continental Congress, 1774-1789 (1904-1937), ed. Worthington C. Ford, et al. (Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office), Library of Congress, http://memory.loc.gov/ammem/amlaw/lwjc.html.
Miller, Dave (2005), “Is America’s Iniquity Full?” http://www.apologeticspress.org/apcontent.aspx?category=7&article=1528.
Miller, Dave (2006), “A Muslim Now in Congress?” http://www.apologeticspress.org/APContent.aspx?category=7&article=1999.
Miller, Dave (2007a), “First Atheist in Congress,” Reason & Revelation, 6:17,20-R, May, http://www.apologeticspress.org/APContent.aspx?category=7&article=2140.
Miller, Dave (2007b), “Hindu Prayer in Congress,” Reason & Revelation, 27:57-63, August, http://www.apologeticspress.org/apPubPage.aspx?pub=1&issue=592.
Miller, Dave (2009), Christ & the Continental Congress (Montgomery, AL: Apologetics Press).
Warren, Thomas B. and Antony Flew (1976), The Warren-Flew Debate (Jonesboro, AR: National Christian Press).
Washington, George (1788), “George Washington to Benjamin Lincoln, June 29, 1788,” George Washington Papers at the Library of Congress, 1741-1799: Series 2 Letterbooks, Letterbook 15, Image 172 of 341, The Writings of George Washington from the Original Manuscript Sources, 1745-1799, ed. John C. Fitzpatrick, http://memory.loc.gov/cgi-bin/ampage?collId=mgw2&fileName=gwpage015.db&recNum=171.