Two Causes of Western Decadence
|Should you not be able to see
the decadence and decline of America and the Western
Civilizations, perhaps because of the mirages of materialism, no
argument will make
you see it. The convincement and conviction of sin whether of the
nation or the world comes by illuminating grace.
Often it needs one kind of illuminating grace to see the problem, another special grace to say the problem, another type of grace to recognize the truth when heard, and a yet another saving grace to respond to the truth. Very few people are so rounded in grace as to have all types, but most are one grace people while some are almost no grace people. If you are have been blessed with only one of the graces needed, do not reproach yourself for not being everything, but be pleased you can do one thing. (You should consider living at that level of grace you are uncomfortable in, since that way you are growing and stretching towards what you know to be right but is painful to acknowledge.)
Any religion which says there is a God has some grace and gives some spiritual awareness to balance a mere materialism. Some religions are fuller in grace than others, but all provide some spiritual balance to solely materialistic living and awareness. I am also confident the good works and efforts of a good person in any religion will be seen as sacred by God.
The decadence of the West comes from at least two factors. One is nearly all religions of today have substituted believing in creeds for the presence and spreading of a Gospel of an Immanent Spirit. This flaw must be corrected by religions themselves if they are to make maximum contributions to the world. So I advise people of any faith to go for a direct relationship with God rather than settling for a clubby creedal organization interested primarily in selfish self-extension rather than spiritual transcendence. While creeds are helpful, only spiritual transcendence is The Way. When I knew the creed, I knew a few strange facts, but only when I met Christ did I know what the creed was all about. It was about the touch of a Transcending and Transcendent Spirit.
Western civilization has fallen low from the high spiritual awareness that is needed to balance materialistic living. The values of Western ex-Christians countries generally have become non-spiritual, warped, one sided, overly materialistic and grotesquely lacking in furnishing any spiritual harmony or balance to life. Life generally is viewed as selfish, materialistic, mean, and short. The idea of a material life balanced by spiritual values and immortal awareness has been laid aside. Look around you. This ought to be obvious. Our societies are often values-disasters and their priorities are upside down. It is up to us to reclaim these for Christ as best we can.
Man was created by nature’s God to have a dual nature of material interests balanced by spiritual awareness. This union has for some time been dissolved. The result has been an increasing spiritual misery for mankind while in the midst of more new wealth than mankind has ever had. (Poverty is depriving also. Spirituality is rare in poverty. Life is not meant to be an either/or choice between material things and spiritual awareness. Life is meant to be a balanced union of the two, a marriage, a walking together.)
A full life and a healthy religion is a balancing of the tension between materialism and spiritual awareness. The one fulfils and orders the other. A sacred tension has to exist between material wants, fleshy desires and spiritual teachings. None blot out the other but spirituality touches raw nature with civilizing compassion and grace.
Science and technology do not mean there is no God. They just mean God works indirectly and in a very subtle manner. One must go through a hundred cars to get to the engine of the train of life. Or we might call it an Omega Point which God is pulling life towards.
The horrible decadence and obscene vulgarity of our world today comes partially from the elimination of spiritual awareness from most lives. The result is a one sided, warped insensitivity to humanity that is not what the human condition at its best was created to be.
The false idea abroad today is that God is not supposed to be real unless proved first. That is exactly backwards. God can be believed in until it is proved there is no God. And that time is not now, nor will it be soon at hand. Some but certainly not all intellectuals have tried to foist an unhealthy and unnatural skepticism on mankind. No, it is natural to believe until God is disproved. Because God is like air. It is proved by health from partaking of it. God is proved by believing for it shows man’s good and best wholeness and health. The nurturing of mankind by God is an assumed fact of good health. That is the way of nature, common sense and happier living.
However, as we naturally believe in God, we must be cautious about the kind of God we believe in. So I would urge you to be conscious of and avoid low grace religions and their false religious values. You must, as Jesus warned, be wary of wolves in sheep’s clothing. (Matthew 7:15)
Mankind was created to have two legs to walk upon; one spiritual and one material. By their walking together, a balanced walking and a certain rhythm in life was to be achieved. By our denying this, we are seeing the results in the decadence, disharmony and spiritual ugliness around us and the decadence and decline of our civilization. There has been a loss of balance, a sacrifice of the right quality of life and living. Instead, mankind is drowning in a whirlpool of materialism.
Some of the results of this divorce between spirit and flesh have been a ravaging money mad materialism and a lack of the intangible and spiritual virtues: morality, character, balanced living, unselfishness, and the nobler aspirations.
I might at length point out in detail the decadence and decline of America and the West, because I wish to sound no uncertain trumpet, but I am convinced that effort would be useless. Those who do not wish to change will not hear why they should. We badly need in the West and in America an effort to restore the sanity of mankind by reintroducing spiritual awareness and religion. This is not a popular idea among the materialistic half-people of today who are out of touch with their inner selves.
Will everyone be converted to Christ as we reintroduce religion? Of course not. But we as Christians are different. We are called by divine grace to hold a light. That light will not shine for all, but for many the light can and will help much. What then are we to preach? What else but Christ and Him crucified. (I Corinthians 1:23) He is unto the liberals a stumbling block, and unto many overly intellectual, foolishness, but He is to us “the wisdom of God.” (I Corinthians 1:24)
A knowing of God is not impossible for I have met Christ, and I know Him to be real. I would not council you to take false measures for what is not real. Many others also have walked in grace or have been made aware of the reality of God. I would not deem it wise to urge you to go where I (as well as many, many others) have not been. Jesus said that in His father’s house were many mansions, and if it were not so, He would have told you. (John 14:2)
I suggest to you that you most prayerfully and seriously consider living a spiritually balanced life. That is a life comprising material concerns balanced by some spiritual awareness. Then develop a spiritually balanced faith by walking towards and seeking to balance spiritual concerns and the material interests deep in your being.
Almost any religion of spiritual awareness may help you in achieving a balanced life of faith and flesh. That is the kind of life that Nature’s God of flesh and grace created for everyone to have and to enjoy. Even if the religion you are in seems tame or crippled, it is better to limp along than not walk at all. But be patient with others. Are we not all of us sinners limping to Jerusalem? Be gracious one to another.
Dr. James MacLeod may be contacted through the Neill Macaulay Foundation.