Can There Be an “American Dream” Without God?

The idea of the “American Dream” has normally been considered something good. It is the freedom to dream and the freedom to pursue those dreams. Many people from other countries have risked much to make their way to America in order to live the life they imagined could be found here. The initial idea of the “American Dream” was a worthy one.

However, like so many things, it has become something it was never intended to be. Regardless of the details, the underlying foundation of this nation was a life lived with God in mind. Those who first settled here were not running from God, they were running from an oppressive government. Many, possibly most, of them relied on God, and His guidance, in their daily lives. That is the way God designed us to live. It is when we leave Him out of our lives that our lives go off course.

God has given us this world, and everything that comes with it, to use. However, without God’s guidance, we end up abusing it. R. J. Rushdoony, writing in 1967, commented on our situation as a society, which has only gotten worse since then,

“The problem of our time is not material: it is spiritual. Technology has given man more material wealth than he has ever before possessed, but man’s condition is regularly described as a desperate one, and man lives in a chronic state of anxiety.” 1

Possessing more things will not make man truly happy. Without God, the tendency of humankind is to lust after more, bigger, higher, shinier, taller, faster, etc. We are never content, never satisfied. The only way we can live a truly satisfied life is to live for God. Only He can truly fulfill us.

When we live our lives for God, we have freedom within our relationship with Him. Man’s problem has often been that he desires freedom from God. Lost humanity wants no authority to rule over it. It wants what it wants, when it wants it, and as much as it wants. Gregory Koukl writes that,

“We think that life is about giving us pleasure and making us happy. That’s what we think. This view is very prevalent in the United States. Our personal happiness, pleasure, and enjoyment are the most important things in life. That’s not what the Bible teaches at all, though. There are aspects of enjoyment, but the ultimate reason we were created was not so we can have fun and enjoy life God’s purpose for creating us was to develop us into certain types of people who were fit to spend eternity with Him. He does that by conforming us to His image by helping us grow through the process of living in a fallen world.” 2

Jesus himself said that there will be trouble in this world, but He said He would be with us to see us through it (John 16:33), if we have a relationship with Him.

Like civilizations before us, if America keeps moving away from God, we will destroy ourselves from the inside out. Our “American Dream” will become a nightmare.

“Unfortunately, we’ve bred a society that are, in many ways, like a bunch of adult two-year- olds, grown-ups who believe it’s their divine right to feel every pleasure they can possibly feel, to never encounter any difficulty, any pain, any suffering. And if they do, then God must be a cruel God.” 3

Freedom is normally a good thing. The human heart craves freedom. However, too much freedom, living without boundaries, ends up being chaos. There must be parameters within which our lives are lived out. These parameters have been set by God. When we live the way He has designed us to live we have true freedom:

So if the Son makes you free, you will be free indeed. (John 8:36 NASB)

Then, life here in this country will truly be the “American Dream”.

1. Rushdoony, R. J. The Necessity of Creationism. Chalcedon. September 12, 2011.

2, 3. Koukl, Gregory. A Good Reason for Evil. Stand to Reason. September 15, 2011.

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