Why did traditional American culture, rooted in Scripture, make America great? One reason is that Scripture emits light, information essential for successful living we would not otherwise know. Scripture also infuses life into individuals and society, empowering them to live according to the light of Scripture.
A third commodity supplied to a society by Scripture is agape love, actions that benefit others. In my book, Counterattack: Why Evangelicals Are Losing the Culture War and How They Can Win, I give substantial attention to the nature of agape love and its powerful impact on society.
Why does Scripture endow a society with agape?
First, the light emitted by Scripture, just mentioned, teaches us what love looks like in various situations. For example, it tells us that a husband and wife in a committed relationship comprises the most loving arrangement for spouses, children, and society in general. When a society tries to figure out what constitutes agape on its own, it tends to make serious mistakes.
Second, the life engendered by Scripture, cited above, provides individuals and society with the power to love. Human nature tends toward selfishness. Scripture empowers us to rise above our self-centered inclinations to pursue that which benefits others.
In addition, Scripture provides us with several motivations to love. Reading Scripture reminds us that God commands us to display agape. Scripture also explains that God designed life to function optimally when characterized by agape, and therefore that agape-oriented behavior produces success. Beyond that, Scripture informs us that God blesses those who show love both in this life and the next.
Consequently, when Scripture reading constituted a prevalent practice, American society was characterized by love and success. Making America great again will require restoring the Bible to #1 on America’s reading list.