CultureWatch

Bill Muehlenberg's commentary on issues of the day...

On American Decline

May 19, 2015

I have now lived outside of America for as long as I have lived in it. With five years in Europe and almost 27 in Australia, I have been able to look at America with a bit of perspective that those who never leave the country may not so readily obtain. And I see a lot which troubles me greatly about my home country.

During my lifespan there have been plenty of changes to this nation. Being back in the US right now for a few weeks, it becomes even more apparent how much things have changed, and often for the worse. While there still are plenty of wonderful, friendly and terrific Americans, the cultural, political and religious decline is shocking to behold.

America 2Of course I lived through and in small part contributed to some of these negative changes. Before becoming a Christian I was very much a part of the cultural revolution of the late 60s and early 70s. I did my bit to foment revolution and cultural change, as I and my radical friends sought to take over the political and social institutions.

My conversion in August of 1971 put an end to my involvement in the cultural Marxist upheaval, but it certainly kept on going, even without me. For a look at how I left radical politics, drugs, eastern religions and the hippy culture, see my testimonial here: billmuehlenberg.com/2012/06/27/coming-home-my-testimony-part-1/

The decline in American life has been proceeding apace, and the past 6 years of the reign of terror by Obama may well bring America to an inglorious end, barring some sort of miracle. Repentance and revival is the last real hope for America.

But the way so much of the American church is today, this does not look very promising. However the answer to America’s problems will have to be the stuff of another article. Here I just want to look at more of the evidence of American decline.

There would be many observers to draw upon here, but let me utilise a recent article by Dennis Prager entitled “America’s Accelerating Decay”. He basically takes the same viewpoint as I do, and he offers a helpful brief summary and overview of the sad state of America. He begins:

I write the following words in sadness: With few exceptions, every aspect of American life is in decline. We see it in the family, in education, in morality, in art. As one who loves America — not only because I am American, but even more so because I know (not believe, know) that the American experiment in forming a decent society has been the most successful in history — I write the following words in sadness: With few exceptions, every aspect of American life is in decline. “Decay” is the word.

This is what he says about the decline of the family:

Nearly half (48 percent) of American children are born to a mother who is not married. Forty-three percent of American children live without a father in the home. About 50 percent of Americans over 18 are married, compared with 72 percent in 1960. Americans are having so few children that the fertility rate fell to a record low 62.9 births per 1,000 women in 2013. And in an increasing number of states, there are now more deaths than births.

Related to this is the end of male and female:

Whatever one’s position on same-sex marriage, one must acknowledge that at the core of the argument for this redefinition of marriage is that gender doesn’t matter. Marriage is marriage and gender means nothing, the argument goes. So, too, whether children are raised by mother and father or two mothers or two fathers doesn’t matter. A father has nothing unique to offer a child that a mother can’t provide and vice versa.
Why? Because — for the first time in recorded history — gender is regarded as meaningless. Indeed, increasingly gender doesn’t even exist; it’s merely a social construct imposed on children by parents and society based on the biological happenstance of their genitalia. When signing up for Facebook, one is offered nearly 60 options under “gender.” In various high schools across the country, boys are elected homecoming queen. A woman was recently kicked out of Planet Fitness for objecting to a man in the women’s locker room. She was accused of intolerance because the man said he felt that he was a woman.

This can be traced to the end of right and wrong:

At least two generations of American young people have been taught that moral categories are nothing more than personal (or societal) preferences. Recently, an incredulous professor of philosophy wrote an opinion piece in the New York Times titled “Why Our Children Don’t Think There Are Moral Facts.” In it he noted, “Without fail, every value claim is labeled an opinion” (italics in original). This extends to assessing the most glaring of evils. Since the Nazis thought killing Jews was right, there is no way to know for sure whether it was wrong; it’s the Nazis’ opinion against that of the Jews and anyone else who objects. I have heard this sentiment from American high-school students — including many Jewish ones — for 30 years.

And this of course is all due to the end of religion:

There are no moral truths because there is no longer a religious basis for morality. More than the Enlightenment, it was the Bible — especially the Hebrew Bible (which was one reason America’s Christians were different from most European Christians) that guided the Founders’ and other Americans’ values. Not any more. Instead of being guided by a code higher than themselves, Americans are taught to rely on their feelings to determine how to behave. Instead of being given moral guidance, children are asked, “How do you feel about it?”

Prager is of course Jewish, while I am a Christian. We both share the Judeo-Christian worldview. So we have much in common. And both Testaments speak to the need of repentance and revival. If America is to survive, it needs to change course radically – and soon.

And the only real hope of this happening is if God’s people humble themselves and repent, and God graciously sends revival. If not, we are toast. There is nothing more vital, more crucial, more important that we can work for and pray for.

A quote attributed to Alexis de Tocqueville is well worth closing with here: “America is great because she is good. If America ceases to be good, America will cease to be great.”

www.israelislamandendtimes.com/americas-accelerating-decay/

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21 Responses to On American Decline

  • Obama has been a disaster. A strong Christian leader might turn thing around. Or at least stem the flow.That would certainly not be Hillary Clinton. I don’t know all of the Republican contenders. But Gov.Mike Huckabee sure looks to me like he’s got the goods.

  • In the novels of Harold Bell Write and Gene Stratten Porter, christian american writers around the turn of the 18-19 centuries I detected a worrying coupling of christian with american. This worried me because of the very fact that the dependence of greatness on goodness as described in your final quote was not understood in the sense that it was not recognised that greatness directly depends on goodness and that it, greatness rather was taken for granted and its unqualified perpetuity expected. I detected a similar moral superiority attributed to being american, rather than to being christian in George Bush’s II speech shortly after the 9/11 attacks and worried that this boldness rooted in patriotism rather than faith in God would let America down in the end. It does us good once in a while to have our feet knocked out from under us to remember who we are and who deserves our true worship and allegiance. Maybe Australia because of its unglamorous humble beginnings is well placed to receive a touch of God’s mercy and favour to provide a haven for the true Christian faith in the end times. I certainly pray so.
    Many blessings
    Ursula Bennett

  • wow!
    Prager has hit the nail on the head.
    so clear,
    so insightful,
    so profound.
    Thank you for sharing Bill.
    Keep up the very needed work!
    Jeremy Hopwood
    A.C.T

  • It is sad to watch Bill, but the reason for the slide is made absolutely clear by the Bible: Deuteronomy 6:10-12. Moses tells the Hebrews that when they enter the Promised Land and they inhabit cities they did not build, barns they did not construct, wells they did not dig; he goes on to paint a picture of ease. when this happens, he warns them to BE CAREFUL. Why? Because they will forget the Lord.

    The 1950s commenced a period of ease, the war was over, the economy was flourishing, people had labor-saving devices (fridges, washing machines, hot water on tap, motor mowers etc) and life was good. People started to forget the Lord in the early 1960s as evidenced by two Supreme court ruling. In 1962 it removed the simple invocation to God said by school children before they went to class:

    “Almighty God, we acknowledge our dependence upon thee and beg Thy blessing upon us, our parents, teaches and country.”

    Then in 1963 the Supreme Court banned all school sponsored Bible reading and prayer.

    David Barton in his book To Pray or Not to Pray, shows staggering graphs of downfall of the American society with respect to sexually transmitted diseases, pregnancy to unwed girls,birth rates for unwed girls,single parent households,unmarried couples living together, divorce rates, violent crime and even the lowering of SAT Scores. All moving in the wrong direction abruptly from about the mid sixties.

    There is no doubt that the same would be true in Australia.

  • “…..In previous generations citizens walked down main street USA and looked upwards to set their watches to the town clock.
    Then town ‘progressives’ announced the town clock should be lowered so citizens would not need to ‘strain themselves’ by looking so high.
    The result is that the citizens now all walk down main street USA, stop to look at the lowered town clock, look at their watches, and then all procede to change the hands of the town clock.
    We can draw our own conclusions from that….”

    I got that comment from the comments section at American Thinker – under a post titled – “I don’t need no Daddy.”
    I thought it was appropriate Bill.

    God Bless and keep up the great work Bill.

  • The American cultural influence on Australia has been and continues to exercise great power. With few exceptions, the Australian film industry imitates it and relies on overseas sales as to which stories will be made.
    American television has always had a dominance in Australian culture, contributing to the superiority of the West in its treatment of indigenous cultures and subsequent environmental degradation.
    The Australian cultural cringe compares itself with American success. Australian media apes American media. We see the same retributive morality at work.
    Australia is in the same moral decline as America.
    We get the same drugs and are ruled by the same alcohol consortiums.
    How many Australian ministers of the Gospel are glued to their televisions night after night and offering only one weekly meeting in their churches?
    I’m willing to bet that it’s the great majority, even if they’re watching American content on God TV.

  • Every time i go to write a new blog, you have already made the case and far better than I can!

    Faith

  • What are we leaving for our children and grandchildren?

    A broken world spiralling up to a demonic crescendo. Will we see repentance? I don’t know. It seems different in that the world has finally become a smaller place through current media/the internet etc, which has made it far easier for evil to spread world wide.

    I think courtesy of the current technological advances (with the ability to send a message world wide immediately) and the rise of bodies such as the UN, that this is the last decade or two before one world government truly occurs.

    There has been evil in every generation, tribe and regime, but it seems the last 20 years has seen evil and depravity celebrated and venerated in a previously unparalleled manner in Australia and other Western countries. At the same time, Christianity has been pilloried and hated.

    Someone once said, they will hate you because they hated me. It’s coming folks. Get ready for it.

  • Unfortunately for all the relativists out there, they are going to find out that there are absolute truths. And they will find out the hard way.

  • Hi Bill. I know this is not germane to your post above but I send it by way of information as it is a very important test case for Christians standing against the homosexualist agenda. The following is a letter I immediately sent to my MP:
    “Today a judge in N. Ireland gave a ruling on the case of Ashers Bakery which refused to bake a “wedding” cake which the defendants insisted should carry an ideological slogan supporting “gay marriage” which they refused to do. The refusal was on the basis that to do so would compromise their Christian beliefs.

    LGBT activist Gareth Lee, who placed the order, also wanted a picture of Sesame Street’s Bert and Ernie in an embrace, and a logo of the homosexual pressure group, QueerSpace, where he acted as a volunteer.

    Management informed Mr Lee that the bakery, run by the McArthur family, would be unable to produce the cake on the basis of a conscientious objection and offered to give him a full refund.

    But the Equality Commission for Northern Ireland, a Government-run quango, launched a civil action against the bakery, claiming that it had discriminated against Mr Lee on the grounds of sexual orientation.

    In my view this is a disgraceful judgement and one that directly challenges religious freedom under our Common Law and directly contrary to Article 9 of the Human Rights Act. However, the judgement has been made and no doubt an appeal will be made to reverse this.

    As the defending Christian organisation Christian Concern rightly states:

    “This judgment undermines religious freedom in Northern Ireland. Freedom means the freedom to both agree and disagree. The McArthur family did not refuse to bake the cake on the basis of the customer’s sexual orientation – but rather because they felt they were unable to promote same-sex ‘marriage’. The family would have been prepared to bake any other cake for the customer that did not violate their Christian faith.

    “People should be free to run their business in accordance with their ethos. The Christian faith of the McArthur family is intrinsic to their life; their identity as a family and as individuals. Their faith cannot be ‘switched off’ as the judge and Equality Commission seem to think is possible. The freedom to live as Christians is recognised by Article 9 of the European Convention on Human Rights which provides strong protections for freedom of thought, conscience and religion.”

    If this is the way “equality” law works then the law needs to be changed and urgently, so that further outrageous demands of a similar nature are not imposed upon people who have conscientious objections to such proposals.

    As you will appreciate the ruling potentially opens the floodgates for many similar arbitrary demands which this test case will open up.

    I write to ask therefore if you will support a change in existing equality law to accommodate those who exercise their rights of freedom of conscience under Article 9 of the HRA as mentioned. It is intolerable that supporters of civil and religious freedom should be at the mercy of a State imposed morality standard.
    Graham Wood

    Yours sincerely

  • Amen, best way I’ve heard it put is America is like a person who has jumped off the 60 floor, passing the 20th floor, still a nice breeze but sensing something is ahead.

  • Thanks John Bradford. I list and discuss the various Republican options here:

    billmuehlenberg.com/2015/04/10/on-the-us-2016-presidential-election/

  • Sorry Faith! We must be on the same wavelength!

  • @Gary Baxter
    I agree that Americans started to forget God in the early 1960’s. That said, do not discount a major ‘challenge Christianity’ event that took place well before then: the 1925 ‘Scopes monkey trial’. The trial was a major event at the time and sadly, the Christian side (done by William Jennings Bryan) did not do too well, either compromising at times with Christian doctrine or unable to answer questions like ‘who was Cain’s wife’ thus implying Christianity was rationally indefensible. The poor ‘public performance’ of the Christian side was said to have been a turning point in American Christianity:
    creation.com/the-scopes-monkey-trial-80-years-later
    creation.com/scopes-trial-facts-v-inherit-the-wind-fiction
    creation.com/images/pdfs/cabook/chapter8.pdf

    Also, three court cases from the 1940’s that were precedents for the disastrous 1960’s court cases concerning religion in public schools:
    en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Everson_v._Board_of_Education
    en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zellers_v._Huff
    en.wikipedia.org/wiki/McCollum_v._Board_of_Education

  • Thanks Bill. What a sobering article followed by just as sobering comments. I can’t imagine how it must make you feel although I know your sights are heavenly minded.

    I have never been back to England since 1962 but I have read enough to know she will not recover without a miracle turning people back to God.

    I am not sure that America can be blamed for the moral direction Australia Russell. The Christian West has been white-anted by anti-Christian ideologies for many decades with what seems to be little resistance from the conservatives. We have been won over by the idea that personal pleasures are more attractive then then living a Christian life. This has made waking people up to the perils we are facing very difficult.

  • Much of the blame in the moral decay both in the U.S. And here lies with the media. An institution which has been taken over, Fabian-like by the aetheist left.
    It’s all to do with the theory of relativity really. The members of the leftist commentariat have jettisonned all moral absolutes and therefore can choose any issue they wish, with which to beat an enemy ( in the case eg. Abbott as the archetype of the moral absolutist- he’s white, male, conservative and Christian) So any issue at all whether good, bad or Indifferent, is fair game as long as it achieves their ultimate goal which is (to put it in Clement Ford’s words )-to” F..k Abbott”.That is their sole purpose in life-its what they live for- it’s why they get up in the morning.
    Which leaves me pondering- is this what happens when the left’s version of moral relativism becomes an absolute? God save us, literally.

  • The way to destroy a country:
    1. Infiltrate the schools, bring up a generation of liberals to teach the party line to future teachers in the colleges and universities.
    Dumb down the curriculum. Train up non-thinkers. Take out religious guide lines like the Ten Commandments.
    Teach self centered generations. Me, me, me.
    2. Infiltrate the churches. Make the non-thinkers want entertainment, not the gospel. Enforce all that matters is me, me, me.
    3. Garantee that congress and the president are secretly destroying the constitution and weakening the country. Flood the country with illegals to put on the government hand outs.
    RESULT: America is ready for violent take over for the New World Order.
    Voting for new congressmen or presidents is a farce. They are all lined up behind the plan.
    I cry for our country and our loss of real Christianity.
    Pray to our Lord for strength to endure our terrible future.
    May Jesus come soon.

  • Graham Wood, what is even more cracked is that same sex marriage is not even recognised in law in Northern Ireland where this outrageous case took place.

  • Dear Bill, I understand your concern about the US because I feel the same about old England.

    I have lived in Australia for almost fifty years emigrating in 1968 and the changes in English society have been dramatic. The Methodist chapel in my village which I attended as a child has closed and the building, once the hub of anniversaries,Sunday schools and such wonderful fellowship looks neglected and decaying.

    This is happening all over England. Once known as Our Lady’s Dowry because the people loved her so much England has been getting steadily more godless since the Reformation.

    Another fond childhood memory is the American penfriend I had in the post war period when Britain was a bleak and difficult place to live. Carlotta and her parents were kindness itself and brought a little brightness into our lives with the lovely parcels they sent. She was the daughter of a Protestant clergyman. I remember my mother swooning over the packets of cake mixes they sent something we had never seen.They also sent me books which I still have.Paper was scarce in post war England and children’s books and toys were very hard to come by. These parcels were motivated by a true Christian generosity and compassion which was fostered in American society at that time and as a recipient of it I will never forget it. Therefore I too have some idea of what kind of a society America used to be. It is very sad.

  • Patricia- I think you are overlooking the great spiritual results of the Reformation period of the 16th century, the Puritans of the 17th century, the great revivals of the 18th century and the people who came to Christ through the preaching of Spurgeon and other in the 19th century, despite much irreligion in those times. But you are right in deploring the conditions apparent today.

  • And in the end, isn’t this the truth?
    “For our fight is not against any physical enemy: it is against organisations and powers that are spiritual. We are up against the unseen power that controls this dark world, and spiritual agents from the very headquarters of evil.” Eph 6:12 (PHILLIPS)
    Unfortunately that spirit has infiltrated the camp- with those denominations, here and in the US who, out of “love” have been prepared to embrace the homosexual agenda. Maybe its why these churches numbers are declining rapidly.

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