Saving the West – Conclusion
The far right seeks a return to a golden past that never was. The far left seeks a utopian future that will never be. Religious extremists believe you can bring salvation by terror. Aggressive secularists believe that if you get rid of religion there will be peace. These are all fantasies. [Rabbi Lord Sacks]
To save the West we need to pursue hard reality not chase enticing fantasies.
Those things in Western cultures and nations which were good, humane and productive of happiness were achieved by the laborious application of Christian principals to further refine moral rules which had themselves evolved over millennia as bases for successful community life coupled with the determined suppression of wickedness, evil and vice.
Jeremiah prophesied in his day: “this people has forsaken me, a spring of living water and hewed out for themselves cisterns – cracked cisterns that can hold no water” This also is the sin of the West.
In France the Revolution ushered in an attempt to create a society without religion. In Germany, th elate 1800's saw a decline which by the 1930's saw a resurgence of Nordic paganism. England, perhaps as early as the beginning of the nineteenth century was showing signs of decline. Australia had revivals in the early 1900's (when some of my forebears were converted by a Methodist revival) and the 1950's with the Billy Graham crusades. But I would place decline visible in the late 1960's. The United States has maintained a much more visible religiosity, but deep it goes is another matter. In any case there has been opposition movements to any Christian influence visible from the late 1960's mirrored in the rise of Social Progressivism.
“We” have attacked the old rules and tried to formulate a new morality. That really was a high point of human arrogance – to think that we could in one go create a better set of rules that those which took generations to evolve, face the test of real life and be endowed with Christian virtues. Our self-hewn cisterns were also cracked: they did not take into account the sad srate of human nature depicted in the Bible, they paid no heed to the Creator's moral character and purposes, and they dismissed Divine aid – either in their project or in transforming human lives.
No wonder the West is teetering on the brink of destruction.
I come back to my original premise that the only hope is a Christian revival.
Jesus said his followers were like salt and yeast. As olden days mariners found, a bucketful of salt can preserve a whole barrel of beef. Just a little yeast can leaven a whole lump of dough. So even though past revivals have rarely converted more that 10% of the population to a sincere faith, this may well be enough to change the course of nations.
One reason is that, even in the present situation many, perhaps a majority have a sort of faith, but are cowed into submission and silence by the vocal Progressives – who will brook no dissent. Revival may firstly inform them better of the Faith they nominally hold and secondly liberate them to express it.
Another is that as discussed in previous posts there is no “golden age” to go back to: we must go on. This does requite continuous effort to apply the basic principles to new situations. As a student of engineering I learned the laws of thermodynamics. The first and second laws can be (very) simply expressed in a jingle that I remember after forty something years : “Heat is work and work is heat. And heat flows from hot to cool as a rule.” However actually applying these to real life requires much more complex formulations. So with our national malaises. Godfearing men and women are needed in every walk of life to formulate the complex solutions from Biblical teachings.
The third is God's intervention. The Biblical narrative should leave us in no doubt that walking away from God deprives us of his help. It also should leave us in no doubt that “God desires not the death of a sinner but rather that they should turn from their wickedness and live” So a revival where even say 10% truly turn to God may result in their prayers being answered and the whole nation being rescued.
This end the series “Saving the West”
No more posts for 2 weeks, then I begin a new series examining revivals in the Bible and history to see what can be learned from them