The British Historian Edward Gibbon (1737-1794) was no fan of the Christian faith, but his History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire is still worthy of being read, particularly because of his insights into the reasons for the collapse of the empire and the way they should be a sober warning to Western Culture that we are repeating many of the same patterns that destroyed Rome.
Gibbon listed the following five primary reasons for the collapse of the Roman Empire:
- First: The rapid increase of divorce, with the undermining of the sanctity of the home, which is the basis of society.
- Second: Higher and higher taxes; and the spending of public money on bread and circuses.
- Third: The mad craze for pleasure, sports becoming every year more exciting and more brutal.
- Fourth: The building of gigantic armies to fight external enemies, when the most deadly enemy, the decadence of the people, lay within.
- Fifth: The decay of religion; faith fading into mere form, losing touch with life, and becoming impotent to guide it.