Shaeffer's very excellent book 'how should we then live?' traces the development and decline of western thought from the Roman Empire to now. It's great, instructive, helpful and not always encouraging. Towards the end he quotes from Edward Gibbon's decline and fall of the Roman Empire, about the five steps that marked the end of the empire.
1) An increasing love of show and luxury.
2) A widening gap between the very rich and very poor, either in the individual sense or from country to country.
3) An obsession with sex.
4) A freakishness in the arts masquerading as originality and enthusiasms pretending to be creativity.
5) An increasing desire to live off the state.
Given Gibbons wrote this book between 1776 and 1788 and Shaeffer wrote his book in 1976, it could be viewed as an incredible piece of prophecy of what happens when God is left out of the equation...
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