Culture arises from the cult … when belief in the cult has been wretchedly enfeebled, the culture will decay swiftly. The material order rests upon the spiritual order. … The culture can be renewed only if the cult is renewed; and faith in divine power cannot be summoned up merely when that is found expedient. (Russell Kirk, Civilization Without Religion?, 1992, emphasis added.)
That sentiment will look familiar to regular readers of this blog. At the Disciple Nations Alliance we often talk about the close relationship between the worldview of a culture and its level of poverty vs. development. Nations thrive to the extent that they worship the Creator and live within the created order. Nations tend to be impoverished when they worship mankind or animistic deities.
A nation reflects the nature and character of its citizens’ God, or gods. What about your nation? What is the nature of its God or gods? Look at the culture and you will discover the cult. Nations die when they fail to worship the Creator God. A decay in cult (worship) will result in the death of a culture and the nation founded on that cult. Nations are restored through spiritual revival, reformation of culture, and the rebuilding of laws and institutions that reflect the nature of the character of God.
Kirk, a literary and social critic, writer, historian, and political theorist, was a traditional conservative moralist who helped lead a revival of conservativism in the United States in the second half of the twentieth century. One of the books that had an impact on shaping my life and thinking is Kirk’s The Roots of American Order. His essays, Civilization without Religion? and Renewing a Shaken Culture will give you more insight into his thinking.
You will find more about the themes of culture and nation building in my new book Emancipating the World, in the chapters “The Culture Wars,” “Captivating Culture,” and the “Reawaking of the Cultural Commission.”
- Darrow Miller