Discussing
Is our culture on a downward moral slide?

Andy Rau

Benjamin Smith
May 12, 2008

I feel like every generation has a tendency to call itself the worst (because it often also calls itself the most evolved and the most developed as well) but this does not mean that earlier generations were any better. Crusades, world wars, etc. still happened before our time. But with the abundance of people and constantly new forms of injury and death abounding with the development of technology, it certainly seems as if we are on the decline.

Rick
May 12, 2008

While I agree with Anne Dillard that our basic character has remained unchanged throughout the centuries, I think we are really approaching a catastrophically low watermark. Here’s why:<br>In an earlier age, the Corinthians could walk to the local cult prostitutes temple and pay the price to watch or play. Today we have the cult prostitutes’s temple in every home, even clergy. In seconds, for free, without anyone having to know, the average man, woman or child can watch or participate vicariously in the vilest forms of sexual abuse. Ease of access, proliferation of temples has multiplied exponentially.<br>In the Middle ages one could walk to the center of town and be entertained by gruesome hangings, beheadings or bear baiting. Today we can watch gruesome death and torture anytime of the day either on video games, TV shows or movie screens. Films like the Saw2 series enlarge horrific torture to 30 or 40 feet and employ THX sound for maximum effect. This is more powerfully graphic than any time in history. I think this would sicken even people of the dark ages.<br>Thirdly, the scope and scale of brutal totalitarian dictatorships has been greatly enhanced. Mao Tse Tung created the largest mass famine in history intentionally by putting all the people of China on a 1200 calorie diet for several years to finance Soviet weapons purchases. 70 million people died needlessly during the “Great Leap Forward”. The scale of atrocities today, whether 2 million by the hands of the Khymer Rouge, 3 million by the Nazis or 60 million by Stalin in the death camps eclipses former records and capabilities for evil. <br>Today we have the technology and means to express evil more completely.<br>conversely, we have the technology and means to broadcast the gospel to every corner of the planet, the Bible is available in every country in their own language and literacy has increased to better appreciate God’s word.<br>So yeah, I think the words of 2nd Timothy are truer today than any time in history.

Aotearoa
May 12, 2008

I would especially interested to know if the 'myth of the good old days' is pervasive in every culture on Earth, and if this has been throughout the case through all of recorded (written and/or oral) history. And how, exactly, does one define 'good' and 'bad?' For example, I would consider the recent growth of the global video game music industry as a good thing. However, others might see this as cultural decadence. Or does the idea apply to strictly moral criterion? Can moral and cultural criterion even be separated?<br><br>I have bookmarked this blog entry and will be checking it out regularly for at least a few things, I think. It is sure to be a thoughtful discussion with intriguing commentary. God bless you all brothers and sisters! Kia kaha i te ingoa o Iehu Karaiti, keep striving in the name of Jesus Christ :-).

James McGrath
May 12, 2008

I don't think there can be any doubt that things are better than they once were. Even though they may not always be respected, has there ever been as much agreement among human beings that there are human rights that everyone has or should have? That there are rules of war that should always be respected? That people are aware of the plight of others, appalled by it, and take action more than ever before?<br><br>If this creates problems for the eschatology of some fundamentalists, that doesn't trouble me. There are plenty of other things in the Bible itself that can (and should) have the same effect! :-)<br><br>As for rick's comment, I think it is only someone living in North America or Western Europe, enjoying the benefits of our improved society and yet still feeling bound by the Bible to regard it as worse than ever, who could regard someone making the Saw movies as worse than the actual gladatorial games...<br>

Lisa
May 13, 2008

My immediate response to this argument is, "Judge not, lest ye be judged". After all, how can we make an empirical assessments, being the flawed instruments that we are? The premise is more simply defined by my priest who asserts that the level of morality in a society is inversely proportional to level of technology. However, the access to technology and the information access it grants us may merely make us more aware of the level of immorality not only in our midst, but world wide.<br>My answer to the question? Well, I guess I'd have to say I'm worried more about my own morality and flaws than I am to worry about the world's.

Mark
May 13, 2008

Tens of millions of spectators viewing human slaughter vs tens of thousands...<br>Tens of millions of child sacrifice/infanticide victims s tens of thousands...<br>Tens of millions of vicims of totalitarian regimes vs tens of thousands...<br>Tens of millions of cult prositute patrons vs tens of thousands...<br><br>It wasn't so great before...but it's worse now.

John
May 14, 2008

Trust in me, isn't that what he said so long ago? Technology has a lot to do with what we see and hear on a daily basis, but we can and should shut it off. If there is something available that is not in standing with WWJD, then why watch it or listen to it. James comment, "it doesn't trouble me", is what has happened. That feeling that if it feels good, it must be good, so why should you care what others think or do. We need to understand that both good and evil can and are communicated within the relms of today. As Christians we need to stop, look and listen to what is being said or done. Then with faith step out to change what is there for he good of others. We are not going to change all, but we can and have gathered others for the trip home. We need to care for others as Jesus cared for us. In God's Grace John

NotAshamed
May 14, 2008

We are living in the time of the proverbial frog in the pot of water that is increasing the temperature of the water degree by degree. The frog remains in the pot of warming water until when the water starts to boil the frog attempts to jump out but cannot and dies.

Rick
May 14, 2008

James I don't understand your comments. <br>What I am saying is that in earlier times you could be one of the privileged citizens living in Rome and you could go to the colesium, sit way up in the bleachers and watch the tiny gladiators fight below. That's one kind of spectator. Or you could join the millions in every home in america who pump in extremely graphic, torture and sadism movies into their living room...up close and personal in THX sound. It's not that technology is bad...it only allows us to express our evil and magnifies it's effects. It's a matter of SCALE. Instead of hitting 2 people with a club and killing them, we can pull the trigger and kill hundreds or drop the bomb. Now we kill hundreds of millions of unborn babies. SCALE. Sure we have rules for war today but we still have ethnic cleansing in Darfur, Mass torture in Cambodia, mass murder in Rwanda...one could go on and on.

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