The Great Experiment

by Os Guinness

Western culture numbered many individuals and movements that eventually resulted in these United States. What prompted these individuals and groups to risk their lives, fortunes ,and reputations? For some it was economic opportunity. Others wanted freedom from oppressive governments. Still others fought for freedom to worship God as they best saw fit.

Os Guuiness has assembled original documents that allow the reader to examine some of the joys and fears that our forefathers experienced. American democracy was not born full-grown. It was, as the title suggests, an experiment. Conflicting ideologies jostled to have their particular view adopted into the fabric of the emerging government. That jostling still continues today.

The pattern that finally emerged from that patchwork of ideas was primarily motivated by strong religious convictions. A desire to worship and serve God was the undercurrent that fashioned our Declaration of Independence, our Constitution, and finally the Bill of Rights.

The final chapters sound a warning of our eroding national character. Disparate groups within the country jockey for more than their share of the nation's resources and power. Family life erodes at an alarming rate. Public indecency is fast becoming the norm rather than the exception. The historic role of fathers in the home continues to diminish at an alarming rate.

What does the future for America hold? The author concluded: "There is no basis for democracy except in a dogma about the divine origin of man."