I normally write on the Bible and theology nowadays, but occasionally I still include a cultural and social article from a biblical point of view.
Don’t dismiss the question with a chuckle: “We’ve heard all the doom before! She’s fine and everything will be perfect!”
It’s a serious question that cannot be dismissed with a wave of the hand or by personal, natural optimism. The 1700s, 1800s, and the first two-thirds of the 1900s were based on objective, moral standards, grounded in Scripture. What about today with the web?
The answer to the titled question depends on the answer to these questions: Is a society changed from the top down or from the bottom up? That is, which direction is more influential?
We’ll define “doom” later, by first illustrating it with examples and then coming up with a more or less inductive definition.
First let’s answer the question from the top down.
The executive branch is now extremely corrupt and confused. Yes, those two terms have described politics throughout our history, but never has this corruption and confusion been amplified as it is through the web and numerous platforms. We don’t need to review the executive orders and policies of the current president. He really has degraded the office. His deteriorating mental state is very sad. Let’s hope we did not get the president that matches the nation’s slow degradation, in some sort of parabolic warning!
Congress has lied about Trump and carried on a necessarily doomed impeachment, as was the second impeachment attempt. Perpetuating blatant lies demonstrates that the Congressional Democrat Party is very corrupt. On the conservative side, we attract self-righteous prigs (more on that, below). Many of these politicians still believe that Trump’s caveman personality was the real problem. They seem unable to figure out that his policies were great and his personality of no great consequence. They seem unable to figure out that the real problem has always been and is now and always shall be the left. What happens if the GOP takes back the House? Nothing will get done because of Joe and Kamala, and we all know many members in the House don’t get it.
SCOTUS? We shall see what their decisions will be in the near future, but right now, their silence about the unconstitutional voting (see below) does not hold out much hope. However, the lower courts may adhere more closely to constitutionalism because of Trump’s appointments, but we shall have to see how they work out.
The news media perpetuate the lies of the left, because the bulk of the news media is made up of leftists. These leftists grab power for their political party. Just one example apart from the Russian collusion hoax: ignoring Hunter Biden’s laptop. Okay, another one: “fact-checkers,” working for the major media outlets, actually say that it was the rightwing that burned down the cities this summer. The depth and scope of the lies are breathtaking. The news media have turned into liars and false prophets, to use biblical wording. Are Fox News and other conservative news on platforms like youtube enough? Things don’t look good so far.
Corruption and weakness on the state level can be seen in the election procedures in the six contested states (and no doubt other states, too). If we don’t get the election corruption fixed, America from the top down is doomed because conservatives won’t win enough key elections. In the elections on March 2, mail-in ballots were the norm. Now democrats from all over the country can mail in their unchecked ballots. And who’s “reforming” election laws with HR1? Democrats.
Hollywood? The education establishment? Big business? They have been lost causes for decades now. Their cancel culture and conformity to “Wokeism” are extreme and ferocious. They don’t appear to be getting any better, for they have no motive to change. Big Tech is the worst offender of all, having promised free speech but now censoring conservatives. Leftwing truth czars are next, morphing from the leftwing “fact-checkers.”
Abortion, same-sex “marriage,” marijuana legalization, gender confusion, softening or even eliminating the penalty for sex with a male minor as young as fourteen in California–all are symptoms of a sick Republic.
The church is very confused right now.
Example: if any leader has performed same-sex commitment ceremonies (also known as same-sex “marriage”) in church, he is wrong. Jesus endorsed the Edenic model of one man and one woman (Matt. 19:4-6).
Example: Various, left-leaning, treacly church leaders criticized the rank-and-file for supporting Trump. For these elites, the support was a “crisis.” They really thought we were sheep and did not see his extra-strong personality. Some even went in for Biden. But how’s that working out now? Not so good, if these leaders themselves were to think clearly for a change. They’re the ones in “crisis.”
Example: How rapidly did the church collapse in the face of the government imposing draconian rules to stop an extra-strong flu bug with a 99+% recovery rate!
Example: Unaccountable celebrity pastors and youtube teachers and prophets are all the rage right now. I just listened to a youtube “sermon” delivered on Sunday morning on deconstruction by a millennial pastor, instead of an exposition of Scripture. (They don’t seem to realize God will judge teachers more severely, says James 3:1).
Example: Christian TV networks or channels are moving leftward, as witnessed by their interviews with confused church leaders who claim allegiance to the corrupt and evil Democrat Party (yes, the party leadership really is evil, particularly now).
Example: Doctrinally the church as a whole is so confused that she doesn’t know what is up or down (I hope my website can help.) A black reverend just left the Texas Southern Baptist Convention (not my denomination), because this branch of the national SBC criticized CRT. So rather than abandoning CRT, the pastor is abandoning the SBC or his state convention. Institutionally, from the top down, the church, due to progressivism, is declining rapidly, yet she is supposed to offer solutions (see below).
All of those major national institutions, under an evil spell, have followed British journalist John O’Sullivan’s 1989 law: “Any organizations that are not actually right-wing will over time become left-wing.”
After all these examples, let’s now define “doom” by first laying out the right and original standard. Our nation, as originally founded, had been rooted in personal liberty and freedom of the press and religion, in a free market economy, and in basic, objective moral law and standards, all rooted in Scripture. However, our nation today is not adhering to those original visionary ideals, but abandoning them. This “slouching towards Gomorrah” (said Robert Bork) and towards socialism leads to our doom.
So, is politics downstream from culture? Or is culture downstream from politics? Or to broaden things out, is it more likely than otherwise that elite institutions influence culture so deeply that America really is doomed? In the above list of those corrupt, national institutions, it is clear that most seem irredeemable, unless God works a miracle of converting hard hearts or removes some of them.
Now let’s answer the titled question from the bottom up. This won’t take long.
“We the people” seem confused and need clarity.
Historically, one answer has always been Christian revival. This solution is not shallow, for wave after wave of revival has changed people for the better and enacted positive social change, since the 1700s. More recently, from the 1960s through the 1970s, the Charismatic Renewal and the Jesus Revolution combined to make society better. (I’m a product of both movements). They saved America during those two mammalian decades. (I shudder to think what America would have turned into without them.) After our consciences were trained in Scripture, we became conservative. It is not hard to figure out why. The Bible is morally conservative. But what happens when the authority of Scripture, which contains moral law and guides people towards right living, is denied by religious progressives?
As a reply, Christian colleges and universities were originally set up to change the world, both by evangelism and by moving into those now-degraded institutions and changing them from the inside out, for the better, by our being salt and light. But they are getting worse, so it is not clear that the original vision of Christian educators has been successful. (I can tell you that from my experience, substantive and long-lasting changes in state education are not forthcoming, but getting worse.)
And a further reply: the Moral Majority was formed in the late 1970s, and to some degree it stemmed the tide of sludge and still exists, but it produced some cringe-inducing Pharisees back then, and some leaders nowadays are also full-scale Pharisees. And the movement is being driven underground or is virtually invisible, due to the onslaught of religious progressivism (see a four-part series, below).
And yet another reply: the “bottom up” elected Trump. He was strong. Maybe he’ll be back or not. If he “drained” the swamp, it was lowered only about an inch. Rather, the corrupt, national institutions chewed him up and spit him out for four years and on Nov. 4-8 (give or take). One consolation: Trump was so strong that the only way that the “top-down” could take him out was by widespread, unconstitutional election fraud, with the full cooperation of the national media. In any case, I doubt that politics is our answer, anyway, because, as noted, those institutions seem so dazed and confused that they cannot be recovered withour divine intervention. However, maybe the president, if it is Trump, or someone else who is as strong, can slow down the top-down culture rot or at least call it out.
So, is America doomed? In my opinion, realistically speaking, without fake enthusiasm or whistling past the graveyard, America probably is doomed, because the web is both our nourishment and poison, and we don’t know how to distinguish between the two streams. The web offers us more knowledge, but not more wisdom or sound moral reasoning. But mostly America is probably doomed because the church as a whole is weakening. The only hope is bottom-up change, and this change has to come about through the true, Spirit-filled, Bible-believing and Bible-living church, which offers salvation, yes, but also moral, biblical law. But who is listening nowadays with a million American voices shouting a million messages through the web? “We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to our own way” (Isaiah 53:6). The last words in the Book of Judges: “every man did that which was right in his own eyes” (21:25).
So is there any hope? (You may believe there is, and so do I sometimes.) Will this prayer in “America the Beautiful” be answered?
God mend thine every flaw,
Confirm thy soul in self-control,
Thy liberty in law!
At this rotting stage in our history, God alone is our hope to mend our every flaw. Will the church repent and pray and lead the way to a revival and then social change after hearts are changed first?
America hangs in the scales of justice, and doom is currently outweighing a bright future. But as one wise motto says: Build the church, build the nation. By God’s grace, that’s our only hope.