When I was a child, smart as I thought I was, I lived under a few great delusions of naivete. It was nobody’s fault, per se–least of all my parents, who had far too much on their minds in simply scrounging up rent money and keeping roaches and rat turds out of our food. Fortunately they encouraged me to absorb information like a sponge and think critically, to question those in power, to out-fight those I couldn’t outsmart, and to outsmart those I couldn’t out-fight. But I believed a great lie. Not only did I believe it, I repeated it, spread it, and with patriotic fervor. It was a lie because I saw signs of its fundamental dishonesty and chose to ignore them, head firmly in sand.
Simply by virtue of lacking life experience and exposure outside my (sometimes dangerous) neighborhood, and sanitized news and facts that in the newspaper, TV and encyclopedias, and by ignoring those early signs, I bought into the lie: that the United States, magnificent as it is, bastion of freedom, might and power, will be that shining city on a hill of freedom and virtue for the world, for my lifetime and probably well beyond. I believed in the promise of this nation to overcome all that would stand against us.
This was despite the Cold War nuclear threat from the USSR, which I saw (correctly in that case) to be a doomed “Evil Empire”, and as it turns out, one that Reagan soon would both articulate in precisely that matter, then contribute to destroying. I had no idea we could destroy ourselves from within; I thought social order and moral standards would keep internal, corrupting cancers at bay for the foreseeable future, until some truly calamitous external event nuked it all, perhaps literally.
Outside a dark phase of youthful atheism, for which I thank God today because of the basal logical and probabilistic perspective it offered that led to a firm and permanent belief in Him, I thought that Biblical prophecy regarding the doom of great nations was an abstract, distant concept inapplicable to the America I knew. Sure, the Lord will come someday and strike down all nations after they have turned from Him, and become corrupt and infested with selfishness and evil; but “that’s not us!”
When one only has less than two decades of cumulative understanding, inertial thinking is easy. That’s my excuse, anyway.
The sociopolitical events and expanding, relativistic moral decrepitude of the last 15 years, and the last eight in particular, have proved how horribly wrong I was! To those I misled, including myself, I apologize; and for it I seek forgiveness from them–and most of all from the Lord.
The destruction of America, I now realize, doesn’t have to be a cataclysmic “Day After” holocaust of fire from nuclear warheads or an asteroid; it can be a process of cultural, social, political rot from the inside out. I believed in a promise destined to be broken, one paper-cut drop of lost collective moral and ethical blood at a time.
Contrary to prevailing political sloganeering, I acknowledge and face reality, instead of some rah-rah illusion or the false alchemy of wishes into actuality. The times after America’s greatest hour indeed are here, and have been for a long time. The descent off our former status as Greatest Nation Ever Built is accelerating its heretofore slow-creep pace. An asteroid or attack by an external enemy only would hasten a course already steered from within, and would be but an early death blow for the terminally ill empire.
All great empires wither; history proves this. Why be so smug as to think we are immune, and perpetuate that mighty delusion? I see our national downfall playing out here, now, front and center, plainly as the disorder and divisiveness on social media, the continual expansion of our national debt to new record levels on a daily basis, the ever-spreading and freedom-stifling malignancy of political correctness, the self-idolizing, “if it feels good do it” and “I don’t need God” ethos of culture, the increasingly open and pervasive hostility to our one true salvation, and also, the systemic corruption, unaccountability to the common man, and anti-democratic priorities of our economic and political elites.
Evil us upon us, not only from external forces such as Islamic terrorism and the physical and digital aggression of other large nations, but in our own states and communities, perhaps even in our circles of families and associates. Denying evil, and refusing to name its name, are tantamount to enabling and committing the evil. Do not be blind to this, or try to wish it away…won’t work.
The sociopolitical condition has gotten so twisted, so perverse, so bizarre, that the ultimate source only can be from Satan himself; the solutions cannot lie in any elected official(s), political parties, or governmental actions. I am not depressed over this development, just pragmatic and accepting of the truth. Instead, I am hopeful, I see light, and that side of truth is that the ultimate solution lies only in God himself, the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, through the promise of Jesus.
Yet not until now have I seen this articulated so well, so disturbingly, so fluidly, yet with a focus on that one ray of hope still available, as in this essay by Ravi Zacharias.
Ravi is an immigrant but longtime citizen, a Christian scholar and world-renowned apologist, global traveler and minister, and admirer of the American ideal that has been so poisonously corrupted. His life experience and perspective, his theological understanding, all are more vast than mine, and it is from that foundation that he uses recent events to illustrate how far we have fallen a nation, and how we might still be able to salvage it or at least forestall further degeneration (though time is nearly gone to do so). Please read his Independence Day message, then consider thoughtfully the notion that our hope lies in no nation or culture (not even our own)–but instead God. And when our nation strays from God and forces us to choose between the two, we must make the correct choice, even if it ultimately may mean official and societal persecution and torture in one’s Earthly lifetime (as is being seen in more and more cases, right here in the U.S.).
Otherwise, America will fade to the twin curse of internal social destruction and external irrelevance in the world. Even if it does, there is a hope and eternal salvation that promises riches of soul that dwarf any and all material wealth ever produced by our nation, and all nations. Be a part of that ultimately and inevitably victorious outcome for God. I plan to.
And I know that, in the meantime, in whatever bodily years remain enumerated for me, it could involve the development of hardship along the way as an entire nation that I have loved, and still do, gradually yet obviously turns against its founding values, against the ultimate Author of those values, and in turn, against we who profess that Author and His values as our saving grace.
Jesus is the greatest hope ever given to us. Yet mark my words, I will be denied, shunned, mocked, cursed, scoffed upon, targeted with contempt, for bearing witness to that promise. That too already has begun, in social media. So will you be targeted also, if you dare to declare. I also accept that hard reality; for Jesus Himself also foretold it, and He is never wrong. Bring it on. The roaches, heat and poverty may have been a preparatory blessing in disguise…