40 at 40: Is our culture today really worse than it used to be?

Many Christians like to reminisce about more noble times long ago.  They say things like:

“Our country was founded on Christians values.”

“Our culture is becoming worldly and evil.”

“The young people of today are so selfish and corrupt.”

Just the other day someone said to me, “I wonder what San Francisco was like before the sexual revolution.  It’s such a beautiful city.  Too bad it’s been so contaminated by people of low character.”


It’s seems to me that the Bible is chock full of screwed up people.  Some of the great heroes of the faith include King David – an adulterer and conspirator to murder, King Solomon – a man who makes Tiger Woods look like “Pa” on Little House of the Prairie, Rahab – the prostitute, Tamar – the seductress, Peter – the power-happy betrayer, Paul – the murderer…and those are merely the biblical characters.  A brief look at the history of Christianity turns up an even more sordid array of questionable characters.

To the person who longs for a San Francisco prior to the Sexual Revolution, he will need to deal with the truth-twisting that comes with a narrative that ennobles the men who came in the late 1840’s searching for that great “American dream” of a new life.  Those same men, who we venerate as heroes and pioneers, left their families in search of the dream of wealth, but also found the need to fulfill their sexual dreams, too.  They ultimately paved the way for rampant prostitution and sexual exploitation of young Asian women, in particular.  Sometimes, we glorify the past and venerate the great heroes, but do we really believe they were any different than David and Solomon?

I heard a television personality bash President Obama the other day as a man who dares to call into question the great and noble history of our American nation.  Does it really help when we say, “How dare you question our country’s noble Christian history?”

Have we forgotten about original sin?  Are we really naïve enough to believe that sin suddenly escalated in the late 60’s and 70’s, and now finds its headquarters in Hollywood and San Francisco?

It’s time to go back and learn our history.  It’s time to read our Bibles.  And, perhaps more importantly, it’s time to look in the mirror.

~ by Chuck DeGroat on August 15, 2010.

4 Responses to “40 at 40: Is our culture today really worse than it used to be?”

  1. Very thoughtful. Thanks for the this – it provides some fodder to ponder as I head into the week.

  2. Well said.

    In all this talk of the world getting worse and worse Christians have forgotten that they are created with the DNA of redemption – not doomsday.

    Looking in the mirror leaves us scared and alone – forced to admit we are no different then the ones we criticize – forced to look at the Gospel with fresh eyes and tender hearts.

  3. I completely agree. I find it annoying (maybe very annoying) whenever anyone says that things were much better in the past than they are today. If I recall correctly, St. Augustine said something about how people always think that the time that they live in is more sinful than any other time in history.

    I think after the 1906 earthquake, there were pastors in other parts of the USA who said that the earthquake was caused by God punishing San Francisco’s sinfulness and in particular the sexual exploitation of Asian women. If there were another big earthquake tomorrow, some pastors would say something very similar: it’s God’s punishment for San Francisco’s sinfulness. Really, not that much has changed.

  4. My name is Thomas Jefferson, and I beg to differ with your post, Chuck. My colleagues and I have always striven to found this nation on Christian principles, and it is a crying shame how far this generation has backslidden from the values we sought to establish.

    I’d write more, but one of my slaves is acting up, and he must be disciplined. Please excuse me.

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