I don't know whether you have been following the tragic news coming out of England regarding the riots that are sweeping London and other cities.
British Prime Minister David Cameron called the violence the result of a "slow moral collapse" and English historian and journalist Max Hastings writes in the "Daily Mail," "The people who wrecked swathes of property, burned vehicles and terrorized communities have no moral compass to make them susceptible to guilt or shame...
"They know no family role models, for most live in homes in which the father is unemployed, or from which he has decamped. They are illiterate and innumerate, beyond maybe some dexterity with computer games and BlackBerries."
He then concludes, these young miscreants "are the product of a culture which gives them so much unconditionally that they are let off learning how to become human beings."
Analyzing the problem, Hastings conclusions as to the process that has resulted in a generation of young people whose only belief involves satisfying their own urges sound ominously familiar.
First he says that they lack any real guidance. They have never been challenged to consider that maybe they have some accountability or responsibility beyond themselves.
Second, Hastings concludes that the breakdown of the nuclear family has played a major role in setting this generation morally adrift.
Third, he points out that the educational system has failed these young people because teachers have lost control of the classrooms. They (the teachers) are the object of constant threats and cursing.
According to Carl F.H. Henry's book "The Christian Mindset in a Secular Society," when Aleksandar Solzhenitsyn, Russian novelist, dramatist and historian, was asked during his acceptance of the Templeton prize for Progress in Religion his view on what lead to the communist revolution which had resulted in the brutal executions of some 60 million Russians by Josef Stalin he said, "I could not put it more accurately than to repeat: 'Men have forgotten God; that's why all this has happened.'"
Why the riots in London? "Men have forgotten God."
Now, I am neither a prophet nor the son of a prophet, but we in America are headed down this same slippery slope. Make no mistake about it: as the foundation of God is removed from our children and our society, we are producing our own generation of functional nihilists.
By the way, the dictionary defines the philosophy of nihilism as (1) a viewpoint that traditional values and beliefs are unfounded and existence is senseless and useless and (2) a doctrine that denies any objective ground of truth and especially moral truth.
What we have observed for these five days of riots throughout England and are seeing in germane form among young people in our country can be traced directly to our mad rush to rid ourselves of what we feel to be God's chains.
The Bible is right when it says, "The fool says in his heart, 'There is no God.'" (Psalm 14:1, NIV).
We deny God only to our own peril -- the London riots reveal clearly the peril of godlessness in life and the Bible warns of the peril of a godless life in eternity.
Often people complain of the harm that religion has done over the centuries, but seldom does anyone bother to consider the great harm that has been done in the world in the absence of religion.
Adolph Hitler's aim was "to raise a generation of young people devoid of a conscience, imperious, relentless and cruel." Whether we realize it or not, what Hitler failed to do through Nazism, we are accomplishing through humanism.
Remove the foundation of God from our lives and we remove the rug of morals from under our feet. London Bridge has fallen down and there is no way to rebuild it apart from a spiritual awakening.
Dr. John Pearrell is pastor of Gateway Community Church in Covington, GA.. For more information visit the Gateway website at www.gatewaycommunity.org