TITLE: The Decline of a Nation (revised) 10/5/15
By Richard McCaw
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In his play “Macbeth,” William Shakespeare, the famous English playwright, excellently depicted the serious consequences of deception and the lust for power. One day, three witches tell Macbeth, a successful soldier, that he is to become king of Scotland, but that future kings will descend from his fellow army captain, Banquo. When King Duncan nominates his son, Malcolm, to be his heir, Macbeth’s ambition causes him to be persuaded by Lady Macbeth that murdering the king is the swiftest way to become king.
When Duncan visits Macbeth’s castle, Macbeth is unwilling to murder him for fear of divine judgment. However, following revelry at the castle, his wife drugs the guards of the king’s bedchamber, then at a given signal, Macbeth enters the room and murders the sleeping king.
After Macbeth becomes king, he arranges the murder of Banquo and his son Fleance, both of whom, according to the witches’ prophecy, could one day become king. Later, he plots the murder of one, Macduff, his wife and children. But the play ends as Macbeth meets Macduff on the battlefield, and Macbeth is slain. Deception had led to gradual moral decline, which led Macbeth to his death.
The gradual decline of religion in America ought to awaken us to the subtle erosion of morals taking place, and how deception has stealthily led the nation to question God’s existence.
Before 1662, full membership in the Congregational Church required a testimony of salvation. However, because of declining attendance, in order to increase membership, the church invented the “halfway Covenant.” By 1770, non-believers were being accepted as full and active members, as long as they were respected in the community. A creeping compromise had entered, which weakened the spiritual power of the Body of Christ.
In 1859, when Charles Darwin published, “The Origin of Species,” the foundation for corruption was laid through the theory of evolution. Since then, more intelligent people have begun to doubt God’s existence, and to accept that nature’s complexities evolved from a single cell through gradual mutations over thousands of years. Therefore, for people who believe that God exists, science began to pose the greatest challenge.
However, God’s existence was not the only battle field. In 1878, Julius Wellhausen, a German scholar, stirred up a revolution against the church, when he suggested in his book, “Prolegomena to the History of Israel,” that Moses did not write the Torah, but that various writers compiled the stories after they had occurred.
Once the reliability of the Bible was questioned, it became easier to accept Darwin’s theory of evolution.
Sigismund Freud’s books published between 1895 to 1905 added to the moral dilemma. He taught that we should do what makes us feel good. Soon unbelieving members warmly welcomed this concept into the church’s shaky foundation.
The forces of evil were determined to establish a fragmented foundation upon the above three deceptions.
Firstly, when the theory of evolution questioned the biblical account of creation, many began to ask, “Is the Bible really the Word of God?”
Secondly, since the Bible was based upon the first five books of the Bible, faith in the Torah had to be torn down.
Thirdly, as in the time when Moses had been away from the Israelites for so long, people began to worship foreign gods, who satisfied their fleshly lusts. Thus, Freudian psychology approved human lusts.
In 1925, the “Scopes Monkey Trial,” became a turning point in America’s spiritual history. From its birth the United States of America had built its constitution upon the idea that God was the Creator of the universe, and its citizens’ sovereign king.
The Scopes trial in a Tennessee court highlighted this nation’s foundational philosophy. State law at that time prescribed that only “the story of the Creation as taught in the Bible” could be taught in public schools. Those who held the literal interpretation of the Bible were struggling against modern ideas that were creeping into theology and science.
The nation watched as John T. Scopes was convicted of teaching evolution. Soon, however, on a small legal detail the verdict was overturned, and Bible believers were mercilessly ridiculed.
Prior to that, after World War 1, from the 1920s and into the 1930s, a subtle revolution had begun in the behavior of women, both in dress and manners. The gradual decline of American culture saw women begin to dress like some of the actresses and prostitutes of those years. By the 1960s, the seeds of various “movements” and “revolutions” began to sprout.
In the 1920s and 1930s also, John Dewey vigorously opposed authoritarian, strict pre-ordained structures in modern traditional education. As an educator, he led the revolution against God in the school system, proposing that children should be removed from the traditional setting of home schooling and church schools and placed in the care of a state that rejected God. This subtle move supported humanism, a philosophy based on the idea that people are basically good and that problems can be solved not by religious faith, but by human reason. In this way, children would develop a self-confident view of the world. This move directly opposed the injunction of scripture that a child should be taught to “remember its Creator in the days of its youth.”
Therefore, a fourth outcome of the decline of religion in America was the targeting of the next generation.
Is there ever a time when God is not aware of everything taking place both in heaven and on earth?
The prophet, Isaiah, once asked, “Do you not know? Have you not heard? The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He will not grow tired or weary, and his understanding no one can fathom.”
And Scripture declares, “For every matter there is a time and judgment, though the misery of man increases greatly” and “God will bring every work into judgment, including every secret thing, whether good or evil.”
Yes, America’s judgment has begun. A more dreadful one now awaits .
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