In 1987, Allan Bloom, then a professor at the University of Chicago, published The Closing of the American Mind. The book was hailed by conservatives and liberals alike. The New York Times wrote that it “hits with the approximate force and effect of electroshock therapy.” The Washington Post called it, “Rich and absorbing… A grand tour of the American mind.”
Bloom showed how the relativism taught at universities leads to closed minds. He lamented “parents’ loss of control over the children’s moral education at a time when no one else is seriously concerned with it.” The book was influential, but I wish its influence had been even greater. The Closing of the American Mind was like a sandcastle trying to hold back a rising tide.
Over time, the entertainment, political, media, and religious establishments joined the educational establishment in pushing the deadly ideas Bloom warned against. Today in America, the establishment has imprisoned the nation’s young within walls of closedmindedness, superstition, and paganism. The results have been devastating.
According to a new study released by the CDC, one in three high school girls admits to considering suicide in the last year. 57% of high school girls and 29% of high school boys say they experience persistent feelings of sadness and hopelessness. Almost half of LGBTQ+ students have considered suicide and 37 percent of them have formed a suicide plan.
These numbers are staggering. What’s going on? Relativism, though a huge problem, is really the symptom of a bigger problem. You’ll find the real problem laid out in Romans 1:1832. Those verses speak of human beings “who suppress the truth in unrighteousness” (vs 18, NASB). It says, “Professing to be wise, they became fools” (vs 22). “They exchanged the truth of God for a lie” (vs 25).
God’s judgment is to allow his repudiators to have what they desire. “God gave them over to degrading passions” (vs 26). In Greek, the words translated “gave over to” carry the connotation of “surrender.” In a sense, God simply lets go. Romans 1:28 is one of the saddest verses in the Bible. “Just as they did not see fit to acknowledge God any longer, God gave them over to a depraved mind.” God surrenders them to the consequences of their own choices and desires.
Romans 1:29-31 gives us a taste of how depravity of mind manifests itself into the world. It leads people to “unrighteousness, wickedness, greed, evil; full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, malice.” It goes on to say, “They are gossips, slanderers, haters of God, insolent, arrogant, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents, without understanding, untrustworthy, unloving, unmerciful.”
We now live in that world. And we see the pain, sadness, loneliness, misery, and mental illnesses it causes. God remains all-powerful, but He allows us to choose whether we will push Him away or invite Him in. Americans as a whole have actively pushed God away for generations. We now see the sad, ugly results.
We should pray for a spiritual awakening in America and the world. But most of, let us pray for revival within ourselves and among our fellow Christians, so that we may effectively share God’s light in a darkening world.