An outline of our course to depravity can be found in the writings of the Apostle Paul. In Romans chapter one he states that the road to destruction for a nation begins when its institutions decide to "suppress the truth in unrighteousness," an action that will ultimately lead to people worshiping the creation rather than the Creator (Romans 1:18, 25).
The decade of the 1960's proved to be the turning point for America. But the cultural revolution against God that characterized that decade was rooted in developments that occurred early in the 20th Century. The two most influential were intellectual tides that swept into America from Europe. They arrived almost simultaneously.
One was Darwinism with its atheistic attack on the very concept of God. The origin and purpose of Man was called into question. Man was reduced to a mere animal, a product of chance with no particular purpose.
The other was the German School of Higher Criticism which challenged the Bible as the infallible revelation of God. The Bible was viewed instead as Man's search for God and was therefore considered to be full of myth, legend and superstition.
The Christian worldview suddenly came under attack from without and within the Church. The faith of many was shattered.
Embracing Moral Relativism
As the authority of God's Word was undermined, and Man's purpose became meaningless, moral relativism gradually took center stage. People began to challenge traditional concepts of right and wrong. As in the days of the Judges of Israel, people began to do what was right in their own eyes (Judges 21:25). They called it, "different strokes for different folks." Each man became a god unto himself, able to determine for himself his own values and ethics, if any. And anyone who would dare judge someone else's actions was declared "intolerant."
By the 1980's America had reached the point referred to in Judges 2:10 — we had produced a whole generation "who did not know the Lord..."
We had "suppressed the truth in unrighteousness" by banning prayer from public schools, prohibiting the posting of the Ten Commandments, and declaring that evolution was the only theory that could be taught about the origin of the universe.
Suddenly government was actively promoting all sorts of abominable activity such as gambling, abortion, and homosexuality. Eastern religions and mystical intellectual philosophies like the New Age Movement began to penetrate Christianity.
Earth Day became a national celebration. People gathered to worship "Mother Earth" rather than the Father God who created the earth. They joined hands and hummed to get synchronized with the rhythm of "Mother Earth." They further celebrated their new religion by hugging a tree or stroking a salmon.
Millions of people paid hundreds of dollars each to attend self-discovery seminars of various types. What they all had in common was the teaching that God resides in each of us, and that we must learn how to release our "god power."
Wallowing in Despair
By the 1990's, America had fulfilled another prophecy of the Apostle Paul about the end times. It is found in 2 Timothy 3:1-5:
But realize this, that in the last days difficult times will come. For men will be lovers of self, lovers of money, boastful, arrogant, revilers, disobedient to parents, ungrateful, unholy, unloving, irreconcilable, malicious gossips, without self-control, brutal, haters of good, treacherous, reckless, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, holding to a form of godliness, although they have denied its power...
Notice that this prophecy predicts that the society of the end times will love three things: self, money and pleasure. The love of self is Humanism, the religion of America today. The love of money is Materialism, America's god.
When your religion is focused on self, and your god is money, the result is always a lifestyle based on the love of pleasure, which is Hedonism. Needless to say, that is the lifestyle of the "liberated" American as he enters the 21st Century.
But God cannot be mocked (Galatians 6:7). Humanism, Materialism and Hedonism constitute a deadly combination. They always produce the same pay-off. It is what philosophers call Nihilism, which is a sixty-four dollar word for despair.
Look again at 2 Timothy 3:1-5. The passage describes a society wallowing in despair. The description reads like the news that we witness on TV every evening. The news reports are full of boastful, arrogant revilers who are ungrateful and unholy — as well as stories about rebellious children and reckless, conceited haters of good. And we are constantly bombarded with the opinions of those "professing to be wise" but who in reality are fools (Romans 1:22).
In the next segment of this series on the decay of society, we'll look at how God disciplines the nations when they get to this sad state of decline.