“Experts” say America’s on the “Brink of Collapse” but why is that so?

Feb 24, 2023 by David Fowler

“Experts” say America’s on the “Brink of Collapse” but why is that so?
A recent Fox New headline trumpeted its new three-part series on America with this headline: “America ‘unrecognizable’ and on the brink of collapse, experts warn: ‘Turning on our own legacy.’” The series will look at the “pivotal changes that signal the nation's exponential decline in the last 30 years that created the country we see today.” I think C.S. Lewis will provide a far better understanding of the pivotal point than Fox News. I hope you benefit from it. 

Finding the Pivotal Point

Pivotal points in history are hard to peg because “wherever one starts in the past, there are always earlier beginnings.”[1]As Pollock and Maitland put it so well in their History of English Law, “Such is the unity of all history that anyone who endeavors to tell a piece of it must feel that his first sentence tears a seamless web.”

For example, one could go back to Rene Descartes in the 1600s who, in search of a foundation for knowledge and authority amidst disputes between Catholics and Protestants, said, “I think, therefore I am.” This was a pivotal point in reason being elevated to the place of absolute prominence it now has, but any Christian would tell you this emphasis can be traced back to the Garden of Eden. 

Eve reasoned that the fruit of the forbidden tree was pleasing to the eye and good for food. In choosing to eat the fruit, she “divorced” her reason from what God had said about the nature of things. The rest, as they say, is history.

C.S. Lewis Explains the Pivotal Point for Modern History

Thus, the Garden really is a good place to start. As Lewis said in any number of ways, our present environment is the product of a change in our thinking about the nature of the cosmos (what constitutes the “show” we live in) and how it works. 

In 1943, he wrote that the change would eventually bring about “the abolition of man,” which, as I will explain, is manifested in a culture that accepts pornography, hooking up, and run-away divorce, let alone those things political conservatives often fuss most about, homosexuality, transgender ideology, and drag queen story hour. 

All these cultural changes are simply the product of a change in the way we understand the cosmos. Our understanding of the cosmos and how it works produces a certain anthropology (view of what it means to be human), and that always procedures a certain sociology (a culture, the way society works, or, in our case, is not working). Karl Marx understood that when you change the heavens, you change everything else. 

The Pivot Point is Subtle But Its Implications Huge

Up to the time of Marx and his materialistic disciple, Darwin, mankind had been at war with God’s word, that by which the cosmos was created (Genesis 1) and by which it is sustained (Hebrews 1:3, “uphold[s] all things by the word of His power”). 

That God’s Word creates, sustains, and directs things around us sounds crazy to modern ears. Today, moderns know that, however the cosmos may have come into existence, it proceeds strictly on account of and in conformity to the laws of nature. That was the contribution Darwin made that made Marx’s materialism (and atheism) sound plausible to moderns.

C.S. Lewis Skewers the Cosmological Worldview of Marx and Darwin

But C.S. Lewis correctly noted that this view of the laws of nature is not true to any thinking person. In Chapter 8 of God in the Dock, Lewis described the false view of the “laws of nature” that modern science has foisted upon us as the cause of all things:
The laws of physics, I understand, decree that when one billiard ball (A) sets another billiard ball (B) in motion, the momentum lost by A exactly equals the momentum gained by B. This is a law. That is, this is the pattern to which the movement of the two billiard balls must conform. Provided, of course, that something sets ball A in motion. And here comes the snag. The law won't set it in motion. (emphasis supplied)
Lewis explained what he meant by the foregoing this way:
It is usually a man with a cue who does that. But a man with a cue would send us back to free will, so let us assume that it was lying on a table in a liner and that what set it in motion was a lurch of the ship. In that case it was not the law which produced the movement; it was a wave. And that wave, though it certainly moved according to the laws of physics, was not moved by them. It was shoved by other waves, and by winds, and so forth. And however far you traced the story back you would never find Laws of Nature causing anything. (emphasis supplied)
Based on that, Lewis reaches this conclusion:
The dazzlingly obvious conclusion now arose in my mind: in the whole history of the universe the Laws of Nature have never produced a single event. They are the pattern to which every event must conform, provided only that it can be induced to happen. But how do you get it to do that? How do you get a move on? The Laws of Nature can give you no help there. . . . Up till now I had had a vague idea that the Laws of Nature could make things happen. I now saw that this was exactly like thinking that you could increase your income by doing sums about it. The laws are the pattern to which events conform: the source of events must be sought elsewhere. 
Finally, Lewis sums up what should be obvious but for the fact we have allowed modern thinkers to pull the wool over our eyes and fill our brains with evolutionary goo: “This may be put in the form that the Laws of Nature explain everything except the source of events. But this is rather a formidable exception.” Indeed it is!
The answer to the exception is Hebrews 1:3 quoted above—the God who speaks and whose existence would be evident in everything we see if the eyes of our heart could but see it. But hearts turned in on themselves can see only themselves.

From Enchanting Symphony to Cosmic Machine

The laws of nature went from being a metaphor explaining what happens as a result of this mysterious “putting into motion” things around us into a “law” that now puts everything into motion and also acts on them was aptly described in “From Symphony to Machine,” chapter 4 in Richard Baxter’s wonderful book, The Medieval Mind of C.S. Lewis. Baxter, quoting Lewis on this point, writes:
Our modern world…is haunted by a sense of loss: “This is what we sense, and often regret the passing of, when we contemplate the medieval cathedral. God-forsakenness is an experience of those whose ancestral culture has been transformed and repressed by a relentless process of disenchantment, whose deprivations can still be keenly felt. 
In sum, modernists succeeded in disenchanting the universe, and now only disenchantment remains.

What Happens When Only a Disenchanted Cosmos Remains

Disenchantment is perhaps a good a description of what one feels when he or she one no longer has a real, significant, and meaningful place in the world in relation to anything else. This disenchantment expresses itself in many forms.
It can be covered over by many things, drugs, alcohol, workaholism, false patriotism, and one of my favorites for its deceptive charm, churchiness. Any of these things can be a way to escape our sense of being all alone in a mechanical world of mere cause and effect. We drown ourselves in something until we die.
Disenchantment can also be put off by making up fantasy worlds where pornography, drag shows, transgenderism, and fantasy sports (aptly named) are prevalent. Through them, for a moment, we escape our misery.
Finally, we can rage against disenchantment by destroying all norms, including historical institutions and ways of doing things, thinking them to be the real culprit. Surely, we think, with a “better form” we will “fit” in better. Right, and I’ve got clothes in my closet that will fit again if I’m just formed better.
We are desperate to find some explanation for our disenchantment with the way things. Therefore, we will consider anything—even Donald Trump or Joe Biden, Democrats or Republicans—rather than the possibility that we did it to ourselves. 

How We Disenchanted the Cosmos and Ourselves

We did this to the cosmos, and thus to ourselves, by reducing things like this force we call “energy,” whose mysterious and utterly unknown essence and origin moves things like cue balls, to nothing but a mathematical formula: E = MC2.  But that is not what energy is. That is only a mathematical formulation of what energy can do. We’re still waiting on a modernist to tell us what it is.
Surely knowledge of such a formula is much greater encouragement to modernists when hell is breaking loose around them than the possibility of knowing a Heavenly Father whose Spirit is the energy that will uphold and sustain them in those moments.

Is America Really Collapsing?

America is not in “collapse” mode, no matter what Fox News may tell you. Rather, it is in judgment mode, God’s judgment. 
Herbert Schlossberg, in his book Idols for Destruction—The Conflict of Christian Faith and American Culture, notes that the Old Testament “never assesses [societies] as being on the rise or decline, as progressing or regressing, as growing to maturity or falling to senescence.” Rather, he says, it uses the “concept of judgment,” depicting “them as either having submitted themselves to God or else having rebelled against him.” 
That is the true state of affairs in America. 
When we collapse the Heavens into Earth and no mediating Word between them remains, God, so to speak, falls on us, and that is a weight of glory, as C.S. Lewis put it, under which no puny human being can stand. Indeed, as Isaiah put it, we come undone (Isaiah 6:5).
Only by a Godly repentance that recovers the heavens we rejected will America’s trajectory change. Only then can we start to build again the empty cathedral of culture falling into disrepair. 
I suspect that will not be the conclusion Fox News’ three-part story reaches.
[1] Harold J. Berman, Law and Revolution-The Formation of the Western Legal Tradition, p. 49.


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