I have been writing about our transition, beginning in the 1960s, from a nation of God-fearing Puritans to self-centered pirates, all of which served to precipitate the decline of family, society, and culture in America and in past civilizations.
This transition was previously described in Princeton law professor Robert P. George’s paper “Solzhenitsyn’s Prophecy” based on a speech Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn delivered to Harvard in 1978.
Solzhenitsyn warned America of our slide into oblivion characterized by a loss of faith in our country, its institutions, its principles, its culture and its way of life. Solzhenitsyn viewed our weakness as the fruit of materialism, consumerism, self-indulgent individualism, emotivism and narcissism.
We had come to embrace a false idea of liberty, conceiving of it as doing as one pleases (pirates!), rather than the freedom to fulfill one’s human potential and honor one’s conscientious duties to God and neighbor (Puritans!).
Solzhenitsyn subsequently indicated our moral decline had to do with the fact that America had forgotten God. Specifically, that we worship ourselves, deify our own desires,and have fallen into an idolatry of self, and after that a catastrophe always ensues. His prescription to remedy our otherwise fatal ailment? What has been forgotten can be remembered. We must remember God to a world that has forgotten Him and resolve to live not by lies.
Accordingly, let’s go back and remember our beginning, “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all Men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness.” In this day, we have lost the meanings of these basic terms, including that which makes for happiness.
In the age of our founding, life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness were considered unalienable rights endowed by and found in our Creator as our biblical heritage informed to us that a Savior was born, Christ Jesus, who plainly stated that He is “the way (to God), the truth (the truth that sets men free) and the life (abundant and eternal)”.
Moreover, as stated in a concurrent document to the Declaration — the Constitution of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, which served as a model for the U.S. Constitution — happiness is defined as follows, “the happiness of a people and the good order and preservation of civil government essentially depend upon piety, religion, and morality, and as these cannot be generally diffused through a community but by the institution of the public worship of God and of the public instructions in piety, religion, and morality …”!
Unfortunately, today, America lives as if it no longer values piety, religion and morality and neither does it believe in sin. Instead, we succumbed to the fallacious concept of the separation of church and state as we suffer the consequences of the same. That is, consider what has happened to the soul and spirit of America as we abandoned the faith and truth cornerstone of our existence.
Students of history, such as Solzhenitsyn, understand that empires come and go, based upon their fidelity to faith and truth. Hence, our living in a post-truth society means we are desperately in need of being saved from ourselves!
America needs to remember and return to God again as the basis of our reconciliation with one another in our families, our society and our body politic. As the great Christmas hymn states, “Hark! the herald angels sing, ‘Glory to the newborn King!’ Peace on earth, and mercy mild, God and sinners reconciled.”
It would also behoove us to remember the spirit of, ironically, a 1960s hymn ….“Oh Happy Day, when Jesus washed my sins away and taught me to watch, fight, and pray,” as we pursue a truly heart-felt and soul-searching return to the true meaning of Christmas.
Andy Caldwell is the COLAB executive director and host of “The Andy Caldwell Show,” airing 3 to 5 p.m. weekdays on KZSB AM 1290, the News-Press radio station.