Atheist Displays Placed Alongside Nativity at Arkansas Capitol

This week the Freedom From Religion Foundation announced atheists in Arkansas placed a “Winter Solstice” display on the Arkansas Capitol Lawn proclaiming “Joy To The World — The Bill of Rights is Born” and advocating, “Keep religion and government separate!”

The atheist display appears alongside the state’s longstanding Nativity display carved by Arkansas artisans and another atheist display by the Arkansas Society of Freethinkers.

In 2009 a federal judge in Little Rock ruled Arkansas’ Secretary of State was obligated to allow a local group of atheists to put up a display marking the winter solstice on the Capitol grounds.

The Secretary of State and the Arkansas Legislature likely could prevent these types of displays from appearing on the capitol grounds each December by redesignating its lawn as a limited public forum intended to celebrate state and federal holidays like Christmas.

The irony is that America’s Bill of Rights — which the Freedom From Religion Foundation display celebrates — is the product of a Judeo-Christian worldview.

For example, historians have long recognized the Ten Commandments as one of the earliest examples of the rule of law in human history, and they profoundly shaped our nation’s legal system and ideas about justice.

That’s why there is a carving of Moses holding the Ten Commandments at the apex of the U.S. Supreme Court Building in Washington, D.C.

The Christian understandings of personal liberty, self-government, and rule of law were woven into the founding of our country. Without the birth of Christ, the Bill of Rights arguably never would have been born either.

As Founding Father John Adams put it in 1798, “Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.”

Or as President Ronald Reagan said at the 1984 Ecumenical Prayer Breakfast in Dallas, Texas:

Without God, there is no virtue, because there’s no prompting of the conscience. Without God, we’re mired in the material, that flat world that tells us only what the senses perceive. Without God, there is a coarsening of the society. And without God, democracy will not and cannot long endure. If we ever forget that we’re one nation under God, then we will be a nation gone under.

The Nativity Scene above adorns Arkansas’ Capitol Lawn each year.

Americans Still Believe in God … “But”

Statistical data from the General Social Survey shows that, contrary to what many think, the overwhelming majority of Americans—a whopping 86%—believe in God at some level. For every American that doesn’t believe in God, there are seven who do. 

Of course, just because 4 out of 5 Americans think God exists doesn’t mean they believe in the same God or, for that matter, in the God that actually exists. What we believe about God is a defining aspect of our lives. As A.W. Tozer wrote, “What comes into our minds when we think about God is the most important thing about us.”  

What we believe about God shapes what we believe about the rest of life, including those ultimate, worldview-shaping questions of origin, identity, meaning, morality, and destiny. And the more a group of people is unmoored from the truth about these things together, the more disconnected they are from those essentials of a healthy and functioning society, such as justice, human dignity, and the care and protection of children.

Copyright 2023 by the Colson Center for Christian Worldview. Reprinted from BreakPoint.org with permission.

What the Popularity of Jesus Revolution Shows

Jesus continues to do pretty well at the box office, not to mention streaming online. The recent movie Jesus Revolution, which tells the story of a 1970s California revival, has so far made double what its critics predicted, grossing over $51 million in domestic ticket sales. In fact, the movie has already grossed more in sales than most of the 2023 Oscar nominees—combined.  

Though guardians of high culture prefer movies that demonize Christianity, Americans are hungry for something else. As John Calvin pointed out, humans possess a longing for God. This can either lead to superstition and idolatry, or to the true God revealed in Christ. Jesus Revolution is the latest case study of how artful storytelling can tap into this longing. 

The question in any era of human history is not whether we worship, but rather what we worship. The success of Jesus Revolution is a reminder that art can still capture the imagination and affirm the fundamental human desire for God we all share.

Copyright 2023 by the Colson Center for Christian Worldview. Reprinted from BreakPoint.org with permission.