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ReVision

Great Awakening?

  • November 29, -0001

Speaking at The American Enterprise Institute recently, sociologist Charles Murray called for a Great Awakening to deliver America from its decline into socialistic stasis and to renew the vision of the nation's Founders. He doesn't mean a spiritual Great Awakening, such as occured in the 1740s and during the first thirty years of the 19th century. What Murray wants to see is a kind of Great Awakening, but one limited only to the "elites" of society - scholars, media types, politicians, and others, you know, like Charles Murray. i have appreciated Mr. Murray's work in the past, in particular his excellent study of poverty in America, Losing Ground. But I think he's missed the mark here. Or, rather, he hasn't set the mark high enough. To believe that all that's necessary for renewing America's vision and future is for a few thousand elites to "once again fall in love with what makes America different" is to beg more questions than it will solve. What exactly does make America different? Mr. Murray says "self-reliance" rather than reliance on the government. OK, that's part of it. But what about those real Great Awakenings, and all they did to bring this country into being and set it on the course it followed for so long? These spiritual revivals were certainly not limited to the elites; however, they brought into being a culture of humanistic, political, educational, artistic, and entrepreneurial power such as the world had never seen. It was a revival of true Christian faith among millions of ordinary folk, not a renewal of political insight among a handful of the elite that made America the kind of nation it began to be. Mr. Murray doesn't suggest how such a "revival" as he proposes might be brought about. But the followers of Christ know what is necessary to see real revival come to the nation: "If my people...will pray..."

T. M. Moore

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