Friday, October 16, 2009

Five Thousand Year Leap

I can't believe it has taken me 30 years to read W. Cleon Skousen's The Five Thousand Year Leap. I have always loved the Founding Fathers; I love them even more now. His 28 great ideas that changed the world (from the table of contents):

1 - The genius of natural law
2 - A virtuous and moral people
3 - Virtuous and moral leaders
4 - The role of religion
5 - The role of the creator
6 - All men a created equal
7 - Equal right, not equal things
8 - Man's unalienable rights
9 - The role of revealed law
10 - Sovereignty of the people
11 - Who can alter the government
12 - Advantage of a republic
13 - Protection against human failure
14 - Property rights essential to liberty
15 - Free-market economics
16 - The separation of power
17 - Checks and balances
18 - Importance of a written constitution
19 - Limiting and defining the power of government
20 - Majority rule, minority rights
21 - Strong local self-government
22 - Government by law, not by men
23 - Importance of an educated electorate
24 - Peace through strength
25 - Avoid entangling alliances
26 - Protecting the role of the family
27 - Avoiding the burden of debt
28 - The Founders' sense of manifest destiny

It is fascinating how the Founders viewed the role of religion. As part of a formal education they felt was essential for all Americans, they felt three subjects were of highest importance: religion, morality and knowledge. Religion and morality were not options; today they are off limits unless through a private school.

Ben Franklin described five fundamental religion points or beliefs that should be shared by all, the world over:

-- Recognition and worship of a Creator who made all things
-- The the Creator has revealed a moral code of behavior for happy living which distinguishes right from wrong.
-- That the Creator holds mankind responsibility for the way they treat each other.
-- That all mankind live beyond this life.
-- That in the next life mankind are judged for their conduct in this one.

Religion in American was a major cultural observation made by Alexis de Tocqueville. He said
"religion in America takes no direct part in the government of society, but it must be regarded as the first of their political institutions... I do not know whether Americans have sincere faith in their religion -- for who can search the human heart? -- but I am certain that they hold it to be indispensable to the maintenance of republican instutions. The opinion is not peculiar to a class of citizens or to a party, but it belowns to the whole nation and to every rank of society."
Oh how we have fallen. Thanks goodness there are tens of millions of Americans that love God, try to follow his commandants, and actively serve their fellow man. That's the hope that really matters.

No comments: