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I grew up in a very conservative, biblically based, Christo-centric home.
Yeah, that is a mouthful, but each description is pregnant with meaning; meaning that I have come to realize is lost to, not only this generation, but many to my generation, and surprisingly, to more than I would have imagined in the preceding generation.
I won’t mince words; I do not believe there is a better environment to raise a family. No, I’m not suggesting that I am better than anyone raised in a different environment, or that anyone who was raised in a different environment necessarily has suffered a great injustice or much less inhumane treatment if they weren’t.
I’m just simply stating my belief that, as I understand the biblical design of the home and the family, I believe that those ingredients — conservative, biblically based, Christo-centric — are the “house [built] on the rock. And [when] the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house, … it did not fall, because it had been founded on the rock.” (Matthew 7:24,25, ESV)
The “rock” alluded to is the clear, undefiled and undiluted teaching of Jesus. (see Matthew 7:24 “Everyone then who hears these words of mine and does them will be like a wise man who built his house on the rock.”)
Now, lest you think that my parents were saints — they were not — or that my home hovered above the earth on a cloud — it did not — or that when entering my home, you were encountered by an eerily, thin cloud of the “Shekinah glory of God,” — you would not.
I’m not remotely suggesting that my home was a perfect example of what the Christian home was or should be, not in the least. But as I nostalgically look back, it was pretty darn close.
One of the primary foundations that my childhood home was built upon was the undeniable importance and unquestioned authority of God’s Word. The Bible was the bedrock of our home, and in its pages, we understood that everything that was needed for a person to find joy, peace and salvation was found in that book.
Which brings me to the main point of this piece; in the most recent Gallup Poll on the question of how Americans view the Scriptures and their importance, primarily as it relates to whether or not it is the “literal” word of God, “fewer than one in four Americans (24 percent) now believe the Bible is ‘the actual word of God, and is to be taken literally, word for word,’ similar to the 26 percent who view it as ‘a book of fables, legends, history and moral precepts recorded by man.’ This is the first time in Gallup’s four-decade trend that biblical literalism has not surpassed biblical skepticism.”
The findings go on to state that “Meanwhile, about half of Americans — a proportion largely unchanged over the years — fall in the middle, saying the Bible is the inspired word of God but that not all of it should be taken literally.”
As alluded to in a prior column, I spent four years studying this sacred text, and much of my life has been devoted to mining its wisdom and meaning, especially as it relates to the human condition and not only national, but global events.
What I have found is that the further a society drifts from its instruction and design for humanity, the closer to oblivion that society edges. And I am in no way alone in that belief.
Time, much less space, does not allow me to cite the innumerable men and women of renowned intellect and faith who have come to the same conclusion. What is so utterly appalling is that after so many of the people that we admire and honor in our society and have relegated to the annals of our history as people who should be duly held in esteem, their wisdom about such things has been nearly completely forgotten, or worse, annulled by those wishing to rewrite history.
The absurdity is like the man who visits his physician for a check-up. The doctor tells the man he is 50 pounds overweight, needs to excise more and quit smoking. He needs to cut out fatty foods and starches, eat more fruits and vegetables and limit his consumption of alcohol to a minimum.
On his way out, he pays his co-pay (which is exorbitantly high if he is a victim of the Affordable Care Act — sorry, just couldn’t help myself) leaves and stops at the nearest Krispy Kreme for a dozen doughnuts, then stops at the grocery store for a case of beer and a carton of cigarettes before going home to sit in front of the television for four hours.
When that man is laid to rest at an age considerably less than the average expected lifespan, some fool is undoubtedly going to say, “It was just a shock. Totally unexpected.”
The same ignorance can no doubt be applied to a society that has been given “a lamp to guide [their] feet, and light to guide [its] path” but instead, has settled for groping around in the dark.
Alvin R. Bass Jr. is a Wilson native. He and his wife, Robin, have two children, one granddaughter, three dogs and a cat. Follow him on Facebook at “The Lovable Bigot.”