Nice over-view of America's religious foundation.
Few people in history have been as self-flagellating as the American emerging from the decade of the seventies. The people who astounded the world for two centuries with their hope and enthusiasm suddenly seemed rudderless, losing themselves in soap operas and superbowls, but sensing deep within an impending collapse. Even those in power, who often had preached a Pollyanna message of future glory, declared that we as a people were experiencing a "national malaise."
It seemed as though the loose-knit coalition of secular values was coming apart in the "me generation." Time-Life publications examined this phenomenon in detail in a special project called The American Renewal. In the March 1982 edition of Life, Henry Grunwald summarizes well our dilemma.
"The belief in an even better tomorrow, the conviction that obstacles exist to overcome and that the U.S. has a strong and beneficial role to play in the world -- these constitute the American secular religion. For some time now, that religion has been corroded by doubt. Intractable inflation seems to have turned the good life into a treadmill and shaken our confidence in the future -- America's last frontier. Our industry appears to have lost its productive magic, its daring, and sometimes even its competence. Our government is intrusive, inept -- and expensive. Our democracy too often produces mediocrity and deadlock."