Is our world sliding towards hell in the proverbial handbasket? Is society today more evil than previous generations, and is it going to keep getting worse until Jesus returns?
There's an interesting post at the IMAGE blog about the fall of 'declinism', in which the author Gregory Wolfe suggests that belief in the "everything is getting worse" school of thought seems to be on the decline.
He closes with a provocative quote by Annie Dillard that I'll reproduce here:
There were no formerly heroic times, and there was no formerly pure generation. There is no one here but us chickens, and so it has always been: a people busy and powerful, knowledgeable, ambivalent, important, fearful, and self-aware; a people who scheme, promote, deceive, and conquer; who pray for their loved ones, and long to flee misery and skip death. It is a weakening and discoloring idea, that rustic people knew God personally once upon a time—or even knew selflessness or courage or literature—but that it is too late for us. In fact, the absolute is available to everyone in every age. There never was a more holy age than ours, and never a less. There is no less holiness at this time—as you are reading this—than there was the day the Red Sea parted, or that day in the thirtieth year, in the fourth month, on the fifth day of the month, as Ezekiel was a captive by the river Chebar, when the heavens opened and he saw visions of God
What's your reaction? Pretty much everybody who's ever lived has believed that their generation was the worst, most sinful generation in history; and Bible passages like 2 Timothy 3 are often used to support the idea that the world will get increasingly sinful in its final days.
Is that how you interpret those verses, and others that talk about the apostasy and evil that precedes Christ's return? Are things steadily getting morally worse? Or are things about the same, morally speaking, as they've ever been? In a generation that has witnessed both the mass-murder of millions and massive global relief efforts to imperiled parts of the world, it might be tough to gauge whether we're on a downward moral slope, an upward trajectory, or a flat plane....
(Via Looking Closer.)