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In my last column, I posed the question of whether we, as a society, are going up or going down. In other words, are things getting progressively better with only small bumps along the road to further advancement, or are things getting progressively worse with only temporary reprieves?
I gave examples from the areas of technology, economics and education and promised that a look at others areas was to come. So, today, we will briefly look at our collective morality, social mores and emotional health to see what evidence they provide.
The decline in morality in America should be so obvious as to not need explanation, so I’ll let one statistic suffice: More than half of births to American women under 30 occur outside of marriage. In all, 73 percent of black children, 53 percent of Latinos and 29 percent of white babies are born without a married mom and dad.
It is difficult to believe anyone would call this progress, especially considering that a recent study from the Brookings Institution found that for young people who graduate from high school, get a full-time job and wait until age 21 before they marry and then have their first child, the probability of being poor is 2 percent. Conversely, if those factors are absent, the study found the probability of being poor jumps to a whopping 76 percent.
Given these remarkable findings (in other words, God’s way works!), wise government officials would begin doing everything they could to promote marriage and curb out-of-wedlock births, particularly in the black and Hispanic communities. Unfortunately, the current administration has gone in exactly the opposite direction, undermining marriage and further subsidizing out-of-wedlock births.
Regarding our social mores, it is difficult for me to see how anyone could scan the television channels to see what passes as entertainment and conclude that our culture is heading in a positive direction.
The vast majority of TV offerings are banal and disgusting at best. Of course you could insist that this is just my opinion, and that “beauty is in the eye of the beholder.” But as Kenneth Myers points out in his excellent book about Christianity and pop culture, All God’s Childrenand Blue Suede Shoes, there are (or at least used to be) objective standards by which we can (and should) evaluate art.
Though there are myriad of negative examples, allow me to point out just one: Consider the popularity of MMA, or mixed martial arts, where two men get in a cage and proceed literally to beat the life out of each other.
If the barbaric nature of this “entertainment” doesn’t put you in mind of the Roman Colosseum, it’s probably because you received a government education and have never heard of the Roman Colosseum.
Finally, how are we doing emotionally? In addition to being the most medicated people ever, our psychological handbooks continue to expand as more and more “diagnosable issues” are invented to make us feel better about ourselves and so that we don’t have to take personal responsibility for our behavior.
Children no longer simply participate in unruly behavior; they now have a “condition” that causes them to do so. So instead of being disciplined, they are given a diagnosis and a pill.
Where once we had character flaws of which we were embarrassed and that we tried to correct, we now have “issues” that we nearly celebrate in our quest to accept ourselves as we are.
Taken together, it seems painfully obvious to this observer that our culture is not “evolving” into a continually better state. In fact, if one were truly “on the cutting edge of societal evolution,” I’m afraid all that would really mean is that he or she would be the first to arrive in hell.
Actually, if one looks at the world from a Biblical perspective, our well-documented cultural descent is to be expected. The Bible teaches that God created a perfect world about 6,000 years ago, into which he placed the first humans, Adam and Eve.
In the beginning there was no death, disease or hardship of any kind – as even the “wild” animals, like tigers and dinosaurs, were vegetarian. Unfortunately, the perfect world that God created didn’t last very long.
In Genesis chapter 3 we find the account of sin entering the world through Adam and Eve’s disobedience, and with it, death, disease and decay. The Bible goes on to teach that everything has been slowly degenerating since then and will continue to do so until things are finally set right at Christ’s second coming.
Again, this account makes sense if you observe the ongoing downward spiral around us physically, morally and in most every other arena. The Bible’s account of a decaying world lines up well with observational science and well-established physical laws such as the 2nd Law of Thermodynamics – which says that things go from order to disorder and not the other way around.
The view that society is continually on the upswing, which so many espouse today, meshes with Darwin’s evolutionary theory; unfortunately, it doesn’t mesh with observational science or our real-world experiences.
In fact, believing that everything is continually getting better is only one of the hard-to-swallow ramifications of Darwin’s theory. One also has to believe that everything came from nothing – a clear violation of common sense – and that life came from non-life – a clear violation of the Law of Biogenesis, which says that living things must come from other living things.
Because evolutionary theory has these (and many other) unsolvable problems, secularists try to deflect criticism of Darwin by coming up with other even more outlandish hypotheses. Francis Crick, a co-discoverer of the structure of DNA, and noted atheist Richard Dawkins have both promoted the idea that life on earth could have been “seeded” by aliens.
As humorist Dave Barry used to say, I’m not making this up. And to think, it is Christians who get labeled as “unscientific.”
When I think of all the scientifically and logically impossible things that must be true for Darwin’s theory to be accurate, I’m reminded of the Queen of Hearts from Alice in Wonderland, who recommended that Alice believe something that was clearly impossible. Said Alice, “There is no use trying; one can't believe impossible things."
Replied the Queen: "I dare say you haven't had much practice. When I was your age, I always did it for half an hour a day. Why, sometimes I've believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast.”
Going up or going down? All the evidence, and the clear teaching of the Bible, suggests that our culture as a whole is in the “down” elevator.
Of course, this doesn’t keep many, perhaps even most, people from believing otherwise. The Queen would feel right at home here.