In 2010, Thomas Grip, Jens Nilsson and Mikael Hedberg created a survival video game called “Amnesia: The Dark Descent,” based on a story of a person named Daniel who wakes up in a haunted castle.
He can’t remember anything from the past, but he must explore the castle, where darkness, monsters and haunting flashbacks make his journey a nightmare. I have not played the game, nor do I recommend it, but it provides a perfect backdrop to what is happening in our country today.
In a sense, America is suffering from amnesia. We have forgotten our roots and what has made us great. We have traded our Judeo/Christian traditions for uncharted territory, where the outcome is unknown and even destructive to our civilization. We have forgotten the tragic lessons from our history and the price that was paid to gain and maintain our liberty and independence.
The Bible is not just a rule book of do’s and do not’s. It is a history book containing the ebb and flow of civilizations. It is a chronicle of people who prosper when they follow God and are destroyed when they do not. The flood came to the people of Noah because they had forgotten God. Noah and his family were saved because they remembered to call upon God and obey his commandments.
The people of Sodom and Gomorrah were consumed by fire while Lot and his daughters were saved because they listened and followed God. Abraham, Isaac and Jacob were righteous, but their children were not. The children of Jacob, Israel, spent hundreds of years in bondage and 40 years wandering in the wilderness.
The older generation died off, while the younger generation learned to follow God and were able to enter the Land of Promise. The centuries that followed were filled with wars and bloodshed. When the people followed God, they triumphed and had peace. When they forgot God, they were destroyed or carried away into Babylon.
The Bible is not the only place where history lessons dictate the rise and decline of civilizations. At one time, the Greek Empire was the leader of the modern world. They were the center of culture and literature, but they adopted practices contrary to family values, and their society declined morally and finally came to ruin. A Greek historian records:
In our own time, the whole of Greece has been subject to a low birth rate and a general decrease of the population, owing to which cities have become deserted and the land has ceased to yield fruit, although there have neither been continuous wars nor epidemics.... For as men had fallen into such a state of pretentiousness, avarice and indolence that they did not wish to marry, or if they married to rear the children born to them, or at most as a rule but one or two of them, so as to leave these in affluence and bring them up to waste their substance, the evil rapidly and insensibly grew.
The Roman Empire was one of the greatest empires of all time, but they fell to the same fate as the Greeks. Rome was great until corruption and greed took over. This website gives several reasons for the fall of the Roman Empire.
- Antagonism between the Senate and the emperor
- Decline in morals
- Political corruption and the Praetorian Guard
- Fast expansion of the empire
- Constant wars and heavy military spending
- Barbarian knowledge of Roman military tactics
- Failing economy
- Unemployment of the working classes (the plebeians)
- The “mob” and the cost of the “games”
- Decline in ethics and values
- Slave labor
- Natural disasters
- Barbarian invasion
The Dark Ages followed the Roman Empire. The Dark Ages were not known to highlight human freedom and personal choice. We might call it another time of bondage and wandering in the wilderness where frightened people groped their way through the dark nightmarish halls of life. It took centuries of wandering in darkness before the people were able to rise again to even dream of personal freedom.
It took the Renaissance, exploration of the New World, the Pilgrims’ rebellion against the religious status quo, the American Revolution, the drafting and signing of the Declaration of Independence, and the Constitution before personal freedom became a way of life.
The Constitution became the supreme law of the land, ensuring every human being equal protection under the law, ensuring that every human being had the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.
Many American have forgotten the price that was paid for our freedoms and how precious the Constitution is. When the Constitution was first signed, people were excited.
“The deliberations of the Constitutional Convention of 1787 were held in strict secrecy. Consequently, anxious citizens gathered outside Independence Hall when the proceedings ended in order to learn what had been produced behind closed doors. The answer was provided immediately. A Mrs. Powel of Philadelphia asked Benjamin Franklin, “Well, Doctor, what have we got, a republic or a monarchy?” With no hesitation whatsoever, Franklin responded, “A republic, if you can keep it.”
The founders were Christian men and recognized that the document they had drafted and signed came by divine power. They understood how precarious freedom is and how easily it will be lost without the protection of God. Benjamin Franklin said:
“We have been assured, sir, in the sacred writings, that ‘except the Lord build the house they labor in vain that build it.’ I firmly believe this; and I also believe that without His concurring aid we shall succeed in this political building no better than the builders of Babel; we shall be divided by our little partial, local interests, our projects will be confounded and we ourselves shall become a reproach and a byword down to future ages. And, what is worse, mankind may hereafter, from this unfortunate instance, despair of establishing government by human wisdom and leave it to chance, war, or conquest.”
Freedom is not like a penny, easily lost and easily found. It is the lifeblood of American youth. It is the wealth of every nation, state, community, family and individual. It is the free will of the mind and heart of every citizen to create and foster the future to his or her liking. It is life itself. When freedom is gone, what is left? Only the dreams of yesterday.
The Civil War was fought “that this nation, under God” should “have a new birth of freedom – and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.” (Abraham Lincoln)
We are engaged in the same battle for our freedom, except now we are suffering from amnesia and are walking though a castle of horrors. We have forgotten our past. We have forgotten the evils of war and desolation. We have gone to sleep at the wheel, and our children will feel the crash.
On every side, and in every newscast, there is talk of deceptions and insidious behaviors unheard of in days past. These acts are being ignored, heralded as normal and even acceptable. Our children have not been taught to remember the mistakes of the past. Many have not been taught to turn to God. They rely on the wisdom of Google and place their trust in the Internet. They, like the Greeks, would rather engage in pleasure than family life.
I don’t know where it will end, but I do know that we as a nation must stop playing the game before it becomes a reality. We must turn to God with all our hearts and teach our children history lessons of the past before amnesia becomes a permanent condition and we descend into another Dark Ages where freedom is a commodity available only to a few. PD