The other day I reported on Patrick J. Buchanan's new book, "Suicide of a Superpower." The following essay I wrote in the 1990s supports Buchanan's thesis.
A Nation’s Decline
by Jim Bramlett
This is Part 6 of the series on "America's Christian Heritage," found at
Are we seeing the decline of our great nation, the United States of America?
Outwardly, we are prosperous and powerful. But like a muscular athlete with a terminal cancer, a disease is eating away at us from the inside.
Historian Will Durant once said that a great civilization cannot be destroyed from the outside until it falls first from the inside.
No matter how well we might arm ourselves against enemies outside our borders, the greatest enemies are those who place destructive devices inside our strategic institutions, causing us to morally implode, like an imploding building.
The late, brilliant British broadcaster Malcolm Muggeridge observed, "Since the beginning of the Second World War, Western Society has experienced a complete abandonment of its sense of good and evil. The true crisis of our time has nothing to do with monetary troubles, unemployment, or nuclear weapons. The true crisis has to do with the fact that Western man has lost his way."
Muggeridge described the danger of subtle changes to culture in his famous "pot of frogs" illustration. If you drop a frog into a pot of boiling water, the frog will immediately jump out. But if you place the frog in a pot of lukewarm water and slowly turn up the heat, the relaxed frog will just swim around, growing accustomed to the increasing warmth until it eventually boils to death. This is what happens with cultural decay. It is a gradual process that slowly dulls our senses until what was once seen as unacceptable somehow becomes acceptable.
Since the 1940s, America has allowed sin to creep into our nation as never before. (That ancient word "sin" is not used much today but it is still a good and descriptive word. It means missing God’s mark, and encompasses all that is not godly.)
As a result, we have become desensitized to sin and our moral judgment is impaired. Even worse, at each step along the way, we eliminated Jesus Christ from our lives and culture. Like the word "sin," over time, the gospel has become no longer politically correct, and many Americans are without a spiritual foundation. Dr. Charles Malik, former President of the United Nations General Assembly, addressed this crisis of faith:
In the years following World War II, General Omar Bradley warned America, "We have grasped the mystery of the atom and rejected the Sermon on the Mount...The world has achieved brilliance without conscience." Though we had helped to win a great military and moral victory in Europe, we were becoming a world of "nuclear giants and ethical infants." Success and power blinded most Americans to their need for God.
- "I really do not know what will remain of civilization and history if the accumulated influence of Jesus Christ, both direct and indirect, is eradicated from literature, art, practical dealings, moral standards, and creativeness in the different activities of mind and spirit...The heart of the whole matter is faith in Jesus Christ."
One by one, all across America, the great institutions that had been fountains of righteousness began to fall away from God. Like the frog, we had begun to swim in a pan of lukewarm moral water and never noticed the temperature rising.
The result? A flood of immorality, corruption and violence, as we have become a culture of death, from the womb to the streets. Many of our young people have no concept of God, have no knowledge of His revealed Word, and many are tragically dying in this state, without hope, some in drug stupors, some by gunfire.
How did this happen?
Many speak of the moral degeneration and wring their hands, but few pinpoint the root of the matter.
Primarily during the past 40 years, militant anti-God forces have been successful not only in rejecting our nation’s biblical heritage and our traditional values, but in rewriting history and convincing our people, especially students, that we never had this wonderful heritage.
Historians believe that the philosophical environment of the French Revolution spawned Karl Marx and his communistic and atheistic ideas. This in turn spawned Lenin and Soviet state atheism and socialism, turning Russia from its 900-year Christian tradition to 73 years of bloody, godless totalitarianism, costing untold human suffering and tens of millions of lives.
Marx's and Lenin's ideas spread to America, taking root among some labor leaders, academia and people such as John Dewey and Roger Baldwin, founder of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU). Dewey, of course, was the chief influence in modern American education. His anti-God emphasis has resulted in the present decadence and disintegration of our entire educational system.
Roger Baldwin wrote: "I am for Socialism . . . I seek the social ownership of property, the abolition of the propertied class . . . Communism is the goal." While communism may or may not still be the ACLU's goal, its history of attacks on religious expression is legendary.
The influence of Dewey, Baldwin, their followers and other kindred spirits has changed the character and nature of America. Such influence began to reach the top levels of government in mid-century and finally, in 1962-63, resulted in official national (via the U.S. Supreme Court) decisions rejecting the God of our fathers in the public life and schools of America. In effect, America said, "Stay out, God. You are no longer wanted."
Scholars actually trace our current social decline statistically to this very time period! Who would deny a cause-and-effect relationship?
America needs a great spiritual awakening, as she experienced in times past. Historically, because of the hardness of men’s hearts, such awakenings usually only come after Divine chastening. Let us hope that such will not be necessary. But whatever it takes.
On the other hand, there is evidence that we are we too far along on God’s prophetic time line of history for there to be a turnaround. That may be true nationally, but God always holds out His hand f mercy to those who sincerely turn to Him in repentance and faith.
Whichever, let us continue to proclaim the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ and the truths of His Word.