How many times in the last decade or more have you heard the state of our nation compared to the rise and fall of Rome? Or compared to the demise of all ancient empires, for that matter? I think it is the arrogant attitude of Americans to think we are invincible, and somehow immune from the defective character flaws and blunders that brought down the great Roman Empire.
But I would like to show you some parallels that I discovered in an enlightening article by Bruce A. Ritter, on The Real Truth website. The article was titled "Seven Signs Of A Falling Nation", and I think you will recognize the soundness of his premise.
Ritter cited an interview with former U.S. Comptroller General David Walker, in the Financial Times, in which Walker stated that the United States government “is on a ‘burning platform’ of unsustainable policies and practices with fiscal deficits, chronic healthcare underfunding, immigration, and overseas military commitments threatening a crisis if action is not taken soon…”
In full disclosure, Walker served as United States Comptroller General from 1998 to 2008, and is Founder and CEO of the Comeback America Initiative. He has been a vocal critic of profligate spending at the federal level, and it has been his desire to "sound an alarm and issue a wake-up call."
Walker wants Americans to know that there are "striking similarities" to our current condition as a nation and Empire, and those factors which succeeded in bringing down the mighty Roman Empire. Although Rome was able to maintain its power for just over 500 years, we are declining at a rapid rate -- and in only half the time! If we choose to recognize it, the warning signs are there ... the factors that we share with ancient Rome, and which point to a declining civilization are as follows:
The Destruction of the Family Unit -- As happened in ancient Rome, our society has seen a decline in the stability of the family unit. The role of Fathers in instructing, training and educating their sons is diminished, as mothers oftentimes assume both parental roles. Romans taught their children the importance of obedience, deference to civic authority and respect for the laws of the land. But then Roman society became enamored with the temptations of adultery and the fabric of a strong marriage broke down; the family unit was weakened and fragmented. The result was unmanaged, spoiled kids who grew to hate the ways of their elders. It is the same today, as our kids have a sense of entitlement, and show a lack of respect for authority and their parents' ways.
The Failure of the Education System -- The Roman educational system sought to develop the whole person; to impress upon the young a strong moral sense, patriotism for country, a principled character, and social values that would benefit everyone. But then they adopted a philosophy of "relativism" ... no moral absolutes; and right and wrong was "relevant" to each person's situation. That has become the byword of our modern educational system. Today, we see that God's character and commandments have been removed from our schools, which opened the door to a dismissal of civic duty or love of country. In fact, personal achievement has been sacrificed to accommodate the lowest common denominator, and our children and our society suffer "for lack of knowledge".
The Rejection of Religion -- One might think that we in modern America might have stood above the Romans, with their worship of pagan gods. Besides the panorama of false gods and their lewd religious rituals, the Romans were known for Temple prostitution, drunkenness and other vices, such as deceiving, stealing, getting drunk and committing fornication, adultery, even rape! Surely, we here in America haven't stooped that low, right? But do we truly worship and show reverence for the God of the Bible? If so, why do we see adultery, child molestation, acceptance of homosexuality, worship of false idols including money, power and self in the Church -- all forbidden by the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob? Mr. Ritter's article correctly states, "The religions of Rome, which encouraged and empowered the people to live a life of excess, contributed to the empire’s death. The religions of the West, especially in the U.S., are no better."
Blatant Narcissism -- Ritter's article referred to this warning sign as "Pleasure-Seeking", but I contend that narcissism -- the excessive interest in one's self -- is at the root of our national demise. We've all heard of the Romans' delight in watching the Gladiators fight to the death, or Christians being eaten by lions; and they were famous for their sensual bathhouses and drunken orgies to honor Bacchus, the false god of wine and sensual pleasures. But how are we any different with our insane obsession with "reality TV" and our worship of Hollywood stars and overpaid athletes? Our media and advertisements sell materialism and covetousness; while our kids imitate the poor character traits and sexual promiscuity of godless entertainers. It's hard to tell the difference between ancient Rome and the Present!
Economy, the Government and the Military -- Ancient Rome soon found itself drowning in over-taxation and a massive consumer population that focused on services rather than production and growth—sound familiar? And just like today, Roman government and bureaucracy became expensive to maintain, and as Ritter explains, "To compensate for inflation, Roman emperors in the second and third centuries produced more coins, but these were no longer made of silver and gold alloys, which had become scarce. Roman currency dwindled in value." I couldn't have expressed our current economic situation any better! Just like in Rome, a belief system of independence and self-determination was replaced with a sense of entitlement, as citizens drowned in debt. That warped sense of fiscal responsibility has also transformed our military, as like Rome, we are stretched too thin and over-extended in foreign lands. Ritter points out, " Roman soldiers, once known for their precision in battle and rigid obedience to authority, eventually became demoralized." Can we say any less of our modern-day soldiers?
A Sense of Indestructibility -- Like ancient Rome, we in America, tend to think the "party will never end." We are blinded by our own failure to face the truth and see that we have made some mistakes, and these errors may just become the impetus for our destruction. The failure to recognize the other six warning signs will be a significant factor in the demise of our short-lived Empire.
While it saddens me to see the once bright future of this great nation dim and dwindle, I truly believe it is a sign that we can celebrate. I believe it means that there is a kingdom and government on the horizon that will be all the things both we and Rome could not achieve ... it will be incorruptible; it will teach true family values and educational principles that will "train up a child in the way he should go"; we will see a religion that glorifies God instead of self; there will be no need for war, and we will enjoy an economy in which the righteous flourish and prosperity abounds... in short, the Kingdom of God will reside on earth and all thoughts of "worldly empires" will be forgotten. So, while Rome lasted a little over 500 years, and this Empire is only 238 years old, this future "government" will last forever! I can't wait to claim my citizenship!
2 Timothy 4:18 "The Lord will rescue me from every evil attack and will bring me safely to his heavenly kingdom. To Him be glory for ever and ever. Amen."