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Providence and Predestination

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A s the year 2016 slouches toward its deplorable end, it is hard to remember that Americans once believed they lived in a “favored land.” Given what we have just experienced, we might more easily imagine that we are a nation under chastisement than one guided by the beneficent hand of divine providence.

 

  • THE AMERICAN MIRACLE

    By Michael Medved VIEW BOOK

In his deeply countercultural new book, The American Miracle, Michael Medved attempts to restore some of that lost faith. Lest we surrender to the cynicism and cultural relativism of our secularized age, Medved reminds us that from the earliest days of the Pilgrims, Americans “embraced the core concept of a divinely determined destiny.” Medved admits that in middle of current events, including a political campaign that is “both grating and degrading,” the notion of depending on “supernatural deliverance would seem childish and naïve.” But he reminds us that “our forebears faced circumstances far less favorable while holding fast to the expectation that destiny would rescue and renew the Republic.”

Medved’s theme is threefold, and each part is profoundly out of sync with the zeitgeist: (1) that the American experience is, despite President Obama’s rejection of the idea, genuinely exceptional, (2) that the rise of America is not an accident, but the result of divine providence, and (3) that many of the lucky turns in our nation’s history ought to be regarded as miracles.

These themes are, of course separable, and readers will likely react in accordance with their pre-existing views about the role of the divine in modern history and the existence of the miraculous. But Medved notes that this belief in God’s active role in the rise of the American experiment was, until quite recently, a central part of what David Gelernter has called the “American Religion,” which saw our ancestors as “a chosen people in a chosen land.”

“Whatever our current doubts about the nation’s present and its prospects,” Medved writes, “this sense of a divinely directed destiny is never more than a generation or two in the past.” That faith was the spiritual engine for Americans from the beginning. The Founders, says Medved, “believed with unanimous and unwavering confidence in a larger scheme in which they played a part.” In recent decades, this belief has been replaced by “emphasis on guilt over gratitude” in the teaching of history, battered by our brutalized political debates, and sneered at by a culture weary of both patriotism and faith.Scissors-32x32.png

 

https://www.commentarymagazine.com/articles/providence-and-predestination/

 

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