It’s safe to say that America is the greatest single experiment of freedom in history. What began as a cry for liberty soon turned into a revolution, then a republic that would forever change the world.
However, from ancient Rome...to superpowers of the Twentieth century, all of the greatest nations in history have something in common: They share ten symptoms that inevitably led to their decline.
Yes, some great nations were suddenly conquered or overthrown, but the great majority of them collapsed from the inside out. This begs the question, “Just how healthy is America?”
On the next page, I have listed the ten symptoms of a nation in decline, as presented by author Jim Nelson Black. I encourage you to review it, then take a few moments to reflect. You’ll find that virtually every one of these symptoms is present in our nation today.
Here, I want to address just one of these symptoms—“A Weakening of Cultural Foundations.” It’s a symptom that threatens to alter America’s past and, therefore, our future.
“If You Can Keep It”
Change is good, right? Well, not always. The seeds of national decay are often planted when people insist on change for the sake of change. Youth, in particular, tend to want to change the “status quo,” whatever it may be at the time.
Cultural traditions are often at the top of the list. As time passes, the foundational principles that were once considered essential to a nation come to be seen as old-fashioned and undesirable.
However, it’s the proper knowledge of history and literature—our culture—that is the foundation of free society. If we are robbed of our past, we will accept any future.
Maybe the greatest cultural change we’ve seen in our time is the gradual weakening of morality and religion. John Adams once said, “Religion and virtue are the only foundations of all free governments.”1
In fact, when our Founders ratified the Constitution, they were counting on it. No other form of government had every allowed so much freedom to its people. And they knew it’s success fully relied on the morality of its citizens.
It’s what prompted this now-famous statement from Benjamin Franklin. On the day of its signing, a woman asked Franklin, “Well, sir, what have you given us?” He simply responded, “A republic, if you can keep it.”2
If you can keep it. These five little words would come to mean an awful lot in the years to come...and never more than they do right now.
You see, morality not only brings tremendous personal gain (see Proverbs 13:24), but it also serves a tremendous social purpose. Conversely, a lack of morals leads to social deterioration.
No matter how we try to rationalize it, we cannot flirt with moral weakness and hope to survive. Small sins eventually grow into big ones. But it doesn’t stop there...
The sins of a nation eventually infiltrate every level of society. As morals erode and decrease, crime and disorder increase. As a result, the people of a nation cry out to the government for help, believing they alone can provide protection and assistance.3
The result? In America today, so many people are looking to the government...when our government was originally formed to help us look to God!
The Cause and the Cure
Now, there’s nothing inherently wrong with change—we serve a God of change! He is constantly changing and transforming us. In fact, everything in life is subject to change. But there’s One Thing that won’t ever change—Jesus Christ.
Since the time of our Founders, the United States has seen many wonderful advances in medicine, science, and in nearly every area of society. However, the one area we should never advance beyond is God and the principles upon which this nation was built.
The truth is, we’ve already forgotten so many of our godly cultural traditions. In fact, in the last 60 years, most people have never learned them to begin with.
As a result, we’ve gone from a strong, godly nation, ready to fight for our liberties and moral principles...to one that’s complacent, allowing ungodliness to creep in little by little. We are yielding our rights and slowly becoming more dependent on the government—not God—as our source.
So, how do we deal with a critical loss of faith that threatens to destroy us from within? You and I must become engaged in the struggle.
So much good still remains, but things will not get better on their own. We must exercise our civil liberties and refuse to allow our heritage of faith and freedom to be dismantled and revised.
It all begins with re-discovering who we are as a nation and learning about our rich cultural history. It includes educating ourselves on what and Who made this country great.
We must recommit ourselves to the values from which American society was born. We must recommit ourselves to the very Source of our strength—to the one and only Truth that sets us free.
After all, it’s what sparked a revolution over 240 years ago...and it’s what will preserve America for future generations.
1. David Barton, “Original Intent,” WallBuilder Press, 2008, p. 162. 2. Gai M. Ferdon, PhD, “A Republic If You Can Keep It,” The Foundation for American Christian Education, 2008, p. v. 3. Jim Nelson Black, “When Nations Die,” Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., 1994, p.116.
America’s Most Un-Wanted
From ancient Rome...to superpowers of the Twentieth century, all of the greatest nations in history have something in common. Ten things actually: ten symptoms that signaled their decline. So, the real question is, How healthy is America?
- Crisis of Lawlessness
- Loss of Economic Discipline
- Rising Bureaucracy
- Decline of Education
- Weakening of Cultural Foundations
- Loss of Respect for Tradition
- Increase in Materialism
- Rise in Immorality
- Decay of Religious Belief
- Devaluing of Human Life