The foundation of any building is crucial to the stability of that structure. The most beautiful edifice will crumble if the foundations give way.

In our lives, the lives of our Soldiers and nation, we cannot build a society that stands for what is right and moral, with courage, stability, purpose and focus, while ignoring the all-important foundation. This is a foundation not of brick and stone, but of religion … a philosophical world-view and a vibrant relationship with God. This foundation answers our questions about our value, worth, and dignity as human beings, and what is morally right and wrong. It provides direction for our actions, and correction when we stray. It enables our nation to exist with its freedoms and rights. As Fyodor Dostoyevski, the Russian novelist so aptly wrote in “The Brothers Karamazov,” “When there is no God, everything is permitted. Crime becomes inevitable.” Abraham Lincoln said, “The only assurance of our nation’s safety is to lay our foundation in morality and religion.”

As this foundation collapses, we see our society collapsing in deteriorating morals and values, an increase of suicide and other dysfunctions, and violence in our schools. Attempts to fix the faulty structure through training, education or punishment are important, but they address the symptoms rather than the cause. A poor foundation may have already been poured and hardened. If we can understand the rationale and belief system that motivates such behavior, we may be able to repair the foundation that has already been laid.

We need to recognize a flawed world view where a weak or absent relationship with God is often a significant factor. Even many who claim to believe in God admit there is no realization of His power in their lives. If there is no God, there is no absolute standard for right and wrong, dignity and self-worth. Crime may be illegal, but not immoral; that kind of morality is a fantasy of our own creation. The result is our people feeling afraid, alone, purposeless, which can lead to anger, rage, anxiety and suicidal ideations. Attempts to instill values and morals seem good, but will not work if we ignore the factual basis for the defense of these concepts. Without God values are arbitrary. The poor behavior that baffles us is simply the logical acting out of what has been taught: survival of the fittest and the ultimate futility of existence.

Let’s all be sure a relationship with God is a priority in our lives. As we accept our creation by a loving God, in His image, we will have a reason for valuing people, freedom and individual rights.