Moral decline (or degeneration) refers to the process of declining from a higher to a lower level of morality. The condition of moral decline is seen as preceding or concomitant with the decline in quality of life, as well as the decline of nations. In the words of British lawyer and jurist Judge Devlin (1905–1992), "an established morality is as necessary as good government to the welfare of society. Societies disintegrate from within more frequently than they are broken up by external pressures."
- 1 Moral standards
- 2 Causality
- 3 Examples of development and decline
- 4 See also
- 5 External links
- 6 References
In order for morality to be upheld and for degeneration to be effectively measured, standards must exist as points of moral reference. While legal philosophy may hold that immorality is whatever a moral person considers immoral, these judgments are typically based on or are derived from either transcendent religious sources or established secular ideology. On a corporate scale, all governments and their legal and educational institutions operate out of some basic moral beliefs, making complete separation of State from moral ideology impossible. In America, it was widely held that, in the words of Theodore Roosevelt, "To educate a man in mind and not in morals is to educate a menace to society", with the morality referred to being foundationally that of the Bible.
In the realm of formal religion, moral codes are passed on via sacred scriptures and traditions, which usually transcend time. However, cultural adaptations may be made as needed, while upholding the principal of the original. This adaptation is an area of theology.
According to the New Testament, conscience and creation reveal essential moral truth, with the holy Scriptures being the more comprehensive revelation, and the objective and immutable authority by which the truthfulness of any light of conscience is determined.
While all major formal religions usually possess many basic moral commonalities, they can critically differ in some areas, including their manner or degree of cultural adaptation, such as are seen in the contrasts between the Bible and the Qur'an.
Under secularism, religiously based laws may be upheld without requiring formal assent to one formal religion, as was the case in most of the history of the United States. However, as changes in spiritual demographics occur, one ideological basis may be exchanged for another, such as is seen in atheistic humanism increasingly becoming the basis for morality in America, and essentially being State-sponsored, and supplanting that which was more Bible-based.
In the ideology of secular humanism, which the most prominent Western form of secularism advances, moral values are highly subject to change, being based upon the presumed superior reasoning of man, who is set forth as the supreme lawgiver. Being basically atheistic, it operates out of a materialistic foundation, and lacking an objective, transcendent moral authority and its moral absolutes, it offers no assurance of moral stability, and is prone to extremes of moral relativism.
How materialism assesses morality is described by William Provine, a professor from Cornell University,
|“||Modern science directly implies that the world is organized strictly in accordance with mechanistic principles. There are no purposive principles whatsoever in nature. There are no gods and no designing forces that are rationally detectable... Second, modern science directly implies that there are no inherent moral or ethical laws, no absolute guiding principles for human society. Thirdly, human beings are marvelously complex machines. The individual human becomes an ethical person by means of two primary mechanisms: heredity and environmental influences. That is all there is. Fourth, we must conclude that when we die, we die and that is the end of us.||”|
The cause of moral degeneration continues be a subject of study. In the Bible, moral decline was always a result of spiritual declension, that of falling into idolatry (the worship of false, gods), which is evidenced in the Bible to be the mother of all sins. In addition to the transitory and finite nature of such created gods, these are seen to be forbidden due to their being the product of man's corrupt nature, such as is expressed in Romans 1 in the Christian New Testament. Man also tends to become more like the object of his highest devotion and allegiance. (Psalm 115) God, who is stated to need nothing, (Acts 17:25) and being omnipotent, omniscient and perfect, (Dt. 32:4) is seen to command man to worship Him as a matter of righteousness, and for the good of man. (Dt. 6:1-13; 28:1-14; 30:16)
Certain environmental conditions are also seen as being conducive to idolatry and its spiritual and moral decline, these conditions most primarily being that of an abundance of sensual and material satisfaction, as well as ego fulfillment (pleasures, possessions and power). The Bible states that these created things are what the world "lusts" after, (1 John 2:16) and exhorts believers to set their controlling affection upon God and holy things. (Dt. 6:5; Col. 3; Phil. 4:8) The book of Deuteronomy expresses that after Israel was blessed for its obedience, then the people "waxed fat" and then "forsook God which made him, and lightly esteemed the Rock of his salvation." (Dt. 32:15) Ezekiel 16:49,50 states that the overall sins of Sodom were "pride, fullness of bread, and abundance of idleness", and indifference to the poor and needy, and who committed abomination (revealed to be fornication, and that of a most perverse manner) resulting in their utter destruction. See: Homosexuality and biblical interpretation
2 Chronicles 26:16 records that when King Uzziah increased in power, then "his heart was lifted up to his destruction", after he presumed priestly powers which were not his. In contrast, some of the greatest examples of Godly men in the Bible are those who maintained their faith and spiritual relationship with God in both adversity and abundance, in affliction and affluence, such as Job, Daniel and the apostle Paul, (Phil. 4:12) in addition to Jesus Christ Himself. (Heb. 4:15)
In early America, the tendency to drift away from faith in times of prosperity was observed early by Puritan preacher Cotton Mather (1663-1728) who stated, "Religion begat prosperity, and the daughter devoured the mother".
A latter acknowledgment of this guilt and the need to place priorities where they should be was eloquently expressed by President Abraham Lincoln in his Proclamation for a National Day of Humiliation, Fasting, and Prayer, issued in the midst (1863) of the American Civil War, which reads (in part),
|“|| Whereas, it is the duty of nations, as well as of men, to owe their dependence upon the overruling power of God, to confess their sins and transgressions, in humble sorrow, yet with assured hope that genuine repentance will lead to mercy and pardon, and to recognize the sublime truth announced in the Holy Scriptures and proven by all history, that those nations only are blessed whose God is the Lord.
And, insomuch as we know that, by His Divine law, nations like individuals are subjected to punishments and chastisements in this world, may we not justly fear that the awful calamity of civil war, which now desolates the land, may be but a punishment inflicted upon us for our presumptuous sins, to the needful end of our national reformation as a whole People. We have been the recipients of the choicest bounties of Heaven. We have been preserved, these many years, in peace and prosperity. We have grown in numbers, wealth, and power as no other nation has ever grown.
But we have forgotten God.
We have forgotten the gracious hand which preserved us in peace, and multiplied and enriched and strengthened us; and have vainly imagined, in the deceitfulness of our hearts, that all these blessings were produced by some superior wisdom and virtue of our own. Intoxicated with unbroken success, we have become too self-sufficient to feel the necessity of redeeming and preserving grace, too proud to pray to the God that made us!
See also: Atheism and morality
Moral decline begins when transcendent moral values, which have proven to be beneficial over time, are discarded in preference to various ideas which man finds more conducive to achieving ultimately destructive lustful desires.
While people without religion may sometimes be considered relatively good, and contrasted with evil people, yet, in contrast to the Bible, atheism offers no objective transcendent authority which comprehensively defines good and evil, and which is proven to provide beneficial morality. In addition, the moral foundation of atheism is seen by many as having allowed atheists such as Mao Zedong and Pol Pot and others to easily justify their atrocities, these being pragmatically reasonable to them. The corresponding responses from atheists, such as which invoke Hitler as an example of a Christian, and or charge God with immorality (paradoxically, by Biblical standards), is part of a renewed conflict.
Examples of development and decline
General Douglas MacArthur once stated,
|“||History fails to record a single precedent in which nations subject to moral decay have not passed into political and economic decline.||”|
The Bible, containing extensive historical narratives, provides many personal and corporate examples of spiritual and moral development declension, otherwise know as backsliding. Israel was provided much grace by way of superior laws, and leaders such as Moses and Joshua, and enjoyed blessings of obedience, as recorded in the Torah (and in such overviews as Psalms 105). But soon they overall "dealt proudly, and hardened their necks, and hearkened not" to God's commandments, as succinctly rehearsed by Nehemiah (cp. 9) and Psalms 78, 105, 107, Acts 7, and Old Testament prophets such as Hosea. The grace given to men such as King Saul, David, Solomon, Asa and Hezekiah, and their subsequent failures, provide examples of souls who walked in disobedience, to their and Israel's hurt, though in such examples as David, earnest repentance enabled continued usefulness. In the New Testament, a higher plane of holiness is exhorted and enabled, (Rm. 8:4), with 1 John delineating what manner of faith is efficacious to salvation. Most individual examples of backsliding (which presumes a period of growth first) are more incidental, such as Peter's denial of Christ, (Mk. 14:66-72) and of Gentile equality, under pressure, (Gal. 2:9-14) but are followed by repentance, and their sins counterbalanced by overall holy lives in which such sins are an exception.
Other souls, such as Demas (who "hath forsaken me [Paul], having loved this present world", [2 Tim. 4:10]) indicate a more willful spiritual and moral departure. Biblical texts such as Galatians 5:1-4 and Hebrews 3:12; 10:38 warn believers (as believers) of falling from grace, making Christ of no effect, departing from the living God, and drawing back into perdition. The apostle Paul's letters to the Corinthians reveal the most detailed example of corporate backsliding of a Christian church, and in response to which God works to motivate repentance through chastisement, lest one be condemned with the rest of the world. (1 Cor. 11:32)
China's long recorded history testifies to both various degrees of moral virtue as well as moral declension and its consequences, and to some degree of reform. Recent evidence indicates moral decline is seen an increasing problem in China today. One influential contemporary moralist comments, "The problem isn’t that people don’t follow moral standards; the problem is that there no longer exist moral standards.” He attributes the loss of morality to five decades of atrophy under Communist political power, plus two decades of corrosion under the money and wealth brought by the Western market economy.
While pagan Rome evidenced that its people had retained a somewhat strong degree of adherence to many basic moral values for much of its history, without which it could not have been a great empire, their gods themselves (mainly being forms of Greek deities) were immoral, and the Roman Empire followed the path of moral degeneration that would be its ruin. The moral deterioration of the Empire is seen to have attained its highest point in the dissolute age of the immoral Roman Emperors, almost all of which were active homosexuals, and who often claimed godhood themselves in order to legitimize their rule.
J.W. Shepard states,
|“|| The religion of the Romans had no power to cope with the degeneracy of the times. The philosophies of the Greeks failed. None of the philosophies could meet the deep moral needs of the times. The emperors were monsters of crime.
Thousands of lives were sacrificed in the arena to furnish entertainment for the Emperor and a bloodthirsty population. Luxury was beyond description. The horrible character of vice and crime is witnessed to by the excavated objects of Pompeii.
Seneca testified that children were considered with great disfavor and infant exposure was prevalent. Tacitus said that the spirit of the times was "to corrupt and to be corrupted."
Paul gives a picture in the Roman epistle of a people who had departed from the God revealed in nature and conscience, to set up for themselves, through vain independence, gods like unto creatures. From this idol worship they had gone on into moral degeneracy and crime until they were lost in a world of darkness and destruction.
This was the condition of the world morally when Jesus came, who was to "overcome the world" with His Gospel.
Alfred Edersheim (1825-1889) adds,
Slavery was not even what we know it, but a seething mass of cruelty and oppression on the one side, and of cunning and corruption on the other. More than any other cause, it contributed to the ruin of Roman society. The freedmen, who had very often acquired their liberty by the most disreputable courses, and had prospered in them, combined in shameless manner the vices of the free with the vileness of the slave. The foreigners - especially Greeks and Syrians - who crowded the city, poisoned the springs of its life by the corruption which they brought. The free citizens were idle, dissipated, sunken; their chief thoughts of the theatre and the arena; and they were mostly supported at the public cost. While, even in the time of Augustus, more than two hundred thousand persons were thus maintained by the State, what of the old Roman stock remained was rapidly decaying, partly from corruption, but chiefly from the increasing cessation of marriage, and the nameless abominations of what remained of family-life.
See also: Roman Homosexuality
At the hight of the British Empire, Britain had a strongly Christian culture, and there was a strong sense of morality and Victorian values. However, in the modern United Kingdom, morality has declined to the point where multiple laws are passed protecting "animal rights" while the rights of unborn human beings are ignored.
The United States
America is seen to be somewhat unique in the degree of moral foundation which was it founded upon, with a strong Biblically based influence, which was strengthened as a result of religious revivals, and which affected a strong union of faith and civil life in the new Republic. French historian Alexis de Tocqueville commented,
|“||The Americans combine the notions of Christianity and of liberty so intimately in their minds, that it is impossible to make them conceive the one without the other; and with them this conviction does not spring from that barren traditionary faith which seems to vegetate in the soul rather than to live.||”|
The Puritans in New England, and later, other Christian groups were instrumental in forming a country with a distinctive Christian character. Noted evangelical author and commentator Os Guinness states,
while America has never officially been a "Christian Republic," for much of its history the Christian faith has been a leading contribution to its unofficial civil religion.
Though the extreme of creating theocracies ruling over those without the church (contrary to the charter given to the church in the New Testament) was rightly resisted by men such as Baptist Roger Williams, yet all 50 states referred to God in their Constitutions. Evangelical Calvinism (then the predominate faith) is seen as fostering a fervent American nationalism, and the effect of a Bible-based Christianity is credited with working to bring souls to be ruled from within, by the Spirit of Christ and a sound conscience. This helped to enable relatively small government and yet promote stability in a vast and fertile country with a multitude of different peoples, and to endure and progress in overcoming many serious negative consequences of the abuse of power, and the iniquity of unjust bondage.
Primary in establishing a strong moral foundation was education. In elementary schooling in early America, the overtly Christian New England Primer was used in New England, which is estimated to have sold upwards to 3,000,000 copies from 1700 to 1850. Introduced in 1690, this reader was used in what now would be the 1st grade, and taught multitudes of children how to read for 200 years, until 1900. The Alphabet was taught with Bible verses that began with each letter of the alphabet. Lessons had questions about the Bible and the Ten Commandments. An example of the Primer is, A = In Adam's fall, we sinned all. B = Heaven to find, the Bible mind."
In addition, approximately half of all American children learned from the McGuffey Reader, a series of textbooks of which 122 million copies were published (during a time when the population was much less than today, and books were passed on more). The first Reader was published in the 1830's, and was followed by five additional Readers, the last being published in 1885. This was an advanced teaching system for its time, written by William Holmes McGuffey, who later became a Presbyterian minister, and a work which earned him the title, “the Great Schoolmaster of the Nation.” McGuffey believed religion and education were to be interrelated and were essential to a healthy society. McGuffey exalted the Lord Jesus Christ, and used the Bible more than any other source, though the later revised editions (which used McGufey’s name though he neither contributed to them nor approved their revisions) became more pluralistic in their moral instruction. The Readers were filled with stories of strength, character, goodness and truth, working to instill standards of basic Christian-based morality for more than a century.
McGuffey Readers became the standardized reading text for most schools across the United States, especially throughout the West and South, during the mid to late nineteenth century, and were used widely in America until just after World War I. This resulted in the Readers becoming a unifying force in American culture, giving America a common value-laden body of literary reference and allusion, and “a sense of common experience and of common possession”.
The first elementary schools also taught Christian morality, and even the Unitarian (a religion which essentially denies Christ and Divine biblical authority, but which then overall upheld Bible morality, much unlike it does today) Father of the Common School, Horace Mann (May 4, 1796 — August 2, 1859), who became Massachusetts Secretary of Education in 1837, not only understood the impossibility of separating education from religious moral beliefs, but held that it was lawful to teach the truths of the general Christian faith, asserting that the “laws of Massachusetts required the teaching of the basic moral doctrines of Christianity.” Mann, who supported prohibition of alcohol and intemperance, slavery and lotteries, dreaded “intellectual eminence when separated from virtue”, and that education, if taught without moral responsibilities, would produce more evil than it inherited.
In higher education, the second requirement of Harvard Universities Lawes of 1642 (after requiring literacy in Latin, which language the Scriptures were then mostly written in), was that "Every one shall consider the main end of his life and studies to know God and Jesus Christ which is eternal life. (Joh. 17:3) Overall, the nature of early colleges and universities was religious, and which continued at least until the Civil War. Even State colleges had significant religious (most always Christian) components, such as mandatory religion courses and attendance at chapel services, while large numbers of their faculties had formal religious training.
By 1820 American publishers had produced almost 300 different editions of the King James Bible, and by 1870 the number had increased to almost 1,900 in the English language alone. By the mid-800'sBiblical literacy so high that, as these historians state,
Authors throughout this period used biblical stories and phraseology as a kind of cultural anchor in their own works. They were able to allude to the biblical narrative—or how that narrative was worded in the King James Version of the Bible—with an un-abashed fluency and confidence. Readers were so familiar with certain biblical stories, characters, and passages that authors could build upon these narratives in their own works without feeling any need to point out the biblical roots of their thinking. Frederick Douglass could write of weeping "near the rivers of Babylon" and Harriet Beecher Stowe could underline the Christlike character of Tom in Uncle Tom's Cabin (1852) by lacing his conversation with unattributed biblical allusions, knowing that their readers would know the parts of the Bible they were so freely referencing.
While iniquity was always a significant part of America, it was generally held as shameful and overall resisted by Church and State. Early on, in a pamphlet for Europeans titled Information to Those Who Would Remove to America (1754), Benjamin Franklin wrote, in part:
|“||...serious religion, under its various denominations, is not only tolerated, but respected and practiced. Atheism is unknown there; Infidelity rare and secret; so that persons may live to a great age in that country without having their piety shocked by meeting with either an Atheist or an Infidel. And the Divine Being seems to have manifested His approbation of the mutual forbearance and kindness by which the different sects treat each other, and by the remarkable prosperity with which He has been please to favor the whole country.||”|
During certain periods of America's growth moral degradation increased, and a strong correlation was felt between loss of Christian religious devotion and the increase in iniquity. America's faith saw revival as a result of the First Great Awakening in the 1730s and 1740s, and which is held to have began the modern Evangelical Christian movement. During the period of approximately 1800-1830's the Second Great Awakening took place, and a Third Great Awakening occurring from the late 1850s to the early 1900s. These revivals had a profound spiritual and civil impact on Christian faith within America and England, and worked toward the abolition of the well-entrenched historical institution of slavery.
As a Library of Congress exhibit notes,
|“|| The religion of the new American republic was evangelicalism, which, between 1800 and the Civil War, was the "grand absorbing theme" of American religious life. During some years in the first half of the nineteenth century, revivals (through which evangelicalism found expression) occurred so often that religious publications that specialized in tracking them lost count. In 1827, for example, one journal exulted that "revivals, we rejoice to say, are becoming too numerous in our country to admit of being generally mentioned in our Record."
During the years between the inaugurations of Thomas Jefferson and Abraham Lincoln, historians see "evangelicalism emerging as a kind of national church or national religion." The leaders and ordinary members of the "evangelical empire" of the nineteenth century were American patriots who subscribed to the views of the Founders that religion was a "necessary spring" for republican government; they believed, as a preacher in 1826 asserted, that there was "an association between Religion and Patriotism." Converting their fellow citizens to Christianity was, for them, an act that simultaneously saved souls and saved the republic. The American Home Missionary Society assured its supporters in 1826 that "we are doing the work of patriotism no less than Christianity."
The 1800s and onward also saw a notable increase in the charitable work by private persons and agencies. In 1835 De Tocqueville noted that early America had no distinct class of wealth that could be turned to in times of need to relieve suffering. Associations necessarily formed to create the means to deal with problems and reflected a compassion for all those in trouble. Many agencies created during that time exist today.
Benevolent societies were a new and conspicuous feature of the American landscape during the first half of the nineteenth century. Originally devoted to the salvation of souls, although eventually to the eradication of every kind of social ill, benevolent societies were the direct result of the extraordinary energies generated by the evangelical movement—specifically, by the “activism” resulting from conversion.
While not preventing the American Civil War, a heightened moral sense of guilt and accountability is seen expressed in President Abraham Lincoln's Proclamation for a National Day of Humiliation, Fasting, and Prayer (1863), which states (in part),
|“||We have been preserved, these many years, in peace and prosperity. We have grown in numbers, wealth, and power as no other nation has ever grown. But we have forgotten God. We have forgotten the gracious hand which preserved us in peace, and multiplied and enriched and strengthened us; and have vainly imagined, in the deceitfulness of our hearts, that all these blessings were produced by some superior wisdom and virtue of our own. Intoxicated with unbroken success, we have become too self-sufficient to feel the necessity of redeeming and preserving grace, too proud to pray to the God that made us!||”|
This growth of evangelical faith thwarted the hopes of some men such as the anti-clerical Thomas Jefferson, who had came to imagine that complete liberty of conscience would result religions based on on "reason" versus Biblical revelation with its supernatural aspects, stating in 1822,“There is not a young man now living in the United States who will not die a Unitarian.” However, in reality the withering of much of institutionalized "religious establishments in the wake of the American Revolution proved to be the making of bible-based, evangelical Christianity. By the middle decades of the nineteenth century, only a minority of Americans adhered to Unitarianism and other rationalist religions, but hundreds of thousands had embraced evangelical Christianity. And those revival converts of the Second Great Awakening were investing their energies in an ever-expanding number of voluntary associations promoting moral and social reform, which immeasurably strengthened the influence of evangelical Protestants on public opinion and political culture in the United States." 
And as it is impossible for a constitutional government to separate its laws from the ideology of its founders, and which in a democratic society will also reflect that of the people, this growth of evangelical faith affected the understanding of separation of church and state, as has America's later spiritual declension in Christian faith.
Early to mid 20th century
Religiously, the early 1900s saw a revival of Pentecostalism, as well as the rise of Evangelical Christian Fundamentalism as a distinct form. The latter was manifested in response to the growth of liberal Christianity and doctrinally labored to combat liberalism's move away from historical Christian faith, especially as concerned Christ and salvation, and the Bible's strong emphasis upon personal morality. Liberal theology also placed primary emphasis on a social gospel, while Fundamentalism was rightly committed to uphold the primacy of basic doctrine and to tend to the spiritual needs of souls. However, opportunities to meet material needs of those without tended to be marginalized, an overreaction that some later recognized as an imbalance.
Educationally, the rise of Darwinism worked against the view of man as being made in the image of man and reduced him to being simply a higher order of primates, with morality having no firm foundation. High schools and places of higher education increasingly became places of rampant STD's, inflated grades, and the marginalization of core subjects.
Morally, much effort was expended in passing Prohibition in the United States (1920 to 1933), while during the same period the Roaring 20's manifested a marked degree of cultural rejection of traditional moral decency. The following Great Depression (1929-1940's) signaled an end to the economic boon, and post Word War Two saw the traditional family focused on, as many men and women married and raised children.
The overcrowding of cities was seen as contributing to moral corruption, and in 1890 the New York Society for Parks and Playgrounds, described as a “moral movement not a charity”, was incorporated. Its purpose was to provide healthy recreation for the 500,000 boys and girls in New York city, and so help to counteract "the physical and moral degeneration" which so often follows densely populated cities. In 1897, New York city Mayor William L. Strong appointed the Small Parks Advisory Committee, which advised constructing playgrounds with equipment and trained recreation specialists, for "the physical energies of youth, which, if not directed to good ends, will surely manifest themselves in evil tendencies.” In addition to recreation, children took part in drills, singing, a salute to the flag, a talk by the school principal, and occupation work, etc. These early reformers saw recreation not as an end in itself, but as properly carried out, a program directly linked to “social morality.” “If our boys . . . are going to acquire the habit of subordinating selfish to group interests, they must learn these things through experience and not from books or the bleachers . . . ” 
In the 1950s, the danger of Communism worked a renewed affirmation of America being a basically Christian nation, though no significant religious revival was evident, and liberal ideology increased its influence through colleges and universities, as well as the film industry.
1960 and beyond
The decade of the 1960s would begin the most dramatic moral change in America's history. While a more developed moral social consciousness helped to effect beneficial and needed changes, such as in the area of civil rights, as regards such non-moral aspects as race and color, this recognition of basic equality was used by liberal moralists to advocate liberty for immorality in word and in deed, most predominately in the area of sensuality. The 1967 "Summer of love" saw hundreds of thousands of teenagers leaving their homes in search for deeper meaning, as well as satisfaction of fleshly lusts, with "turn on, tune in, and drop out," being a favorite phrase. Vast multitudes made their pilgrimage to the Haight-Ashbury district of San Francisco, an area home to many rock icons, and known for its liberalized ideology and culture. The civilization that resulted was a testimony to the practical result of the prolonged practice of this ideology, and when the infrastructure of tradition society, which they both rebelled against and depended upon, could no support them. While the liberal media tended to celebrate it as a positive attempt at Utopian culture, indolence, homelessness or unsanitary living, and drug use (and overdoses) abounded, along with marked increases in crime and disease. "By the fall of 1967, Haight-Ashbury was nearly abandoned, trashed, and laden with drugs and homeless people. Most of the kids that descended upon the Haight with such hope and optimism in June returned home sick and out of money by September."
The 1960s culminated with two major distinctive concerts in 1969, Woodstock and the Altamont Speedway Free Festival. The former would become the world's most celebrated rock concert, being peaceful despite over 500,000 people, while the other was the largest rock disaster ever, with security being provided by Hell's Angels (whom many saw as counter-cultural brothers), and a murderous man being killed while the Rolling Stones sang "Sympathy to the Devil".
As regards moral decline, overall much of the generation of that decade and those that followed evidenced increased rebellion against authority in general(though usually not to living off the government) and against capitalism, and the promotion and practice of pre-marital sex, recreational drug use, the rise of feminism and the advocation of liberal ideology. While most of the main stream media and University professors in America are seen to treat this revolution and its foundational ethos as liberating and beneficial, its effects have been manifestly deleterious, as evidenced by multitudinous studies and statistics.
While promoting tolerance within its culture, and (in the beginning) rejecting the idea that materialism brought fulfillment, the 1960s cultural revolution birthed an unprecedented intolerance of traditional values, while its affection for drugs - used to find the alternative reality they sought - and the its later promotion of the demonic victim mentality (Gn. 3:1-5), had destructive effects upon society, in particular upon its weakest members. The emphasis on social justice may well have been a means to justify a basic rebellion against authority in general, in particular fathers, headmasters, police officers, soldiers.
The rejection of Biblical and traditional sexual laws and promotion of sexual promiscuity and homosexuality would result in a greatly increased incidence of infectious diseases and premature death, with a half million of Americans dead because of AIDS.
Colleges and universities largely became the seminaries of the new cultural "religion" and its ethos. Revised standard studies and new courses, such as gay studies, became part of the new orthodoxy, with a later neglect of core subjects. Relative few teaching posts became staffed by conservatives. While early attempts by students to gain positions of administrative power in their institutions had only limited success, its graduates would soon fill positions of power in informational, educational, and governmental agencies, and as by a Fabian strategy achieve its victories.
Religiously, a notable number of young seekers for a better reality became part of what some term a Fourth Great Awakening, out of which evangelical churches such as Calvary Chapel began and grew to be significance denominations.
Reactions to moral decline in America have been varied. The liberal media and places of "higher" education (such as Harvard University) overall treated the 60's sexual revolution as a beneficial change, and a victory for its liberal ethos. Rock stars sang of and exampled - by their lives many by their death - the immorality of the 60's. Legitimate improvements in society were invoked as a means to justify the liberal movement as a whole. As regards faith in God, John Lennon, who later (1971) would promote his godless fantasy with the song Imagine, remarked in 1966 that the Beatles were more popular than Jesus Christ. In 1965 and 1966 Time magazine reported on the a growing sense that "God was dead", - though 5 years later it would be reporting on the notable Jesus Movement Attempts to impugn the authority of the Bible continued to increase, with more recent efforts seeking to impose more specious liberal interpretations of it. The term "progressives" began to be more often used to describe liberals, while their own form of historical revisionism was increasingly seen.
Among strong conservatives, the most consistent voices of opposition have been Evangelical "preachers of righteousness", exhorting repentance toward God and faith toward Jesus Christ. Moral separation from worldly living was enjoined, and some confronted social problems more directly, such as in actively opposing slavery in America, and evils such as drunkenness. Beginning in the late 1800s and continuing, Christian groups such as the Salvation Army became more evident, ministering to many of those who directly or indirectly suffered due to immorality. Around the turn of the 20th century and up until he died, revivalist Billy Sunday (1862-1935) preached both salvation, as well as against the evil's of drink, etc. Also during the early 1900s, Fundamentalists began to become a distinct movement, combating liberal Christianity and its resultant moral laxity. Later, parachurch ministries, such as Focus in the Family, and Jerry Falwell's Moral Majority arose, seeking to strengthen Christians and oppose an increasingly perverted, persuasive, and pervasive hedonistic culture.
Conservatives sought to make good use of broadcast means, with conservative talk shows gaining in popularity. With the rise of the Internet, conservative sites such as the Free Republic enabled large numbers to interact against liberalism, which also acquired their Internet venues. In response to the liberal slant of the Internet encyclopedia Wikipedia, online conservative encyclopedias such as Conservapedia were created and grew.
Liberalism in general reacted to opposition with renewed efforts to promote practices such as pre-marital sex and abortion, and later, homosexuality, while often portraying themselves as victims of repression. The Fairness Doctrine, once used for a period of time before to curtail conservatism, was threatened to be brought back. Addressing those who cried against "imposition of morality" by Christian conservatives who sought to preserve or restore traditional values, Orthodox Jewish Rabbi Daniel Lapin argued,
the secular Left has introduced sexual indoctrination and condom distribution to eleven-year-old public school students. It has made the enjoyment of tobacco the moral equivalent of child molestation. It has dramatically increased illegitimacy in America. It has created an entertainment ethos that brings smut and vulgarity into our living rooms. Take an honest look at the values that the secular Left has already succeeded in forcing down the throats of religious Americans. How can anyone honestly confront the changes that have been inflicted by the secular Left and worry about the changes that the religious Right might force down our throats. I contend that the values concerned Christians desire for America are not really changes, but simply the return to an earlier and legitimate status. If you fling an invader out of your land, back over the border he illegally crossed in the first place, you are not guilty of aggression. It is called self-defense. You are worried that the religious Right might succeed in forcing their values onto us? I am worried they might fail, for they are our values too. Or at least they ought to be.
A rare dissenting voice among a mainly liberal group was moderately conservative Democrat Daniel Patrick Moynihan, who wrote Defining Deviancy Down (1993). Moynihan argued that, due to the "moral deregulation" of the 1960s,
the amount of deviant behavior in American society has increased beyond the levels the community can "afford to recognize" and that, accordingly, we have been re-defining deviancy so as to exempt much conduct previously stigmatized, and also quietly raising the "normal" level in categories where behavior is now abnormal by any earlier standard. This redefining has evoked fierce resistance from defenders of "old" standards, and accounts for much of the present "cultural war" such as proclaimed by many at the 1992 Republican National Convention.
He further sounded a warning that,
there is one unmistakable lesson in American history: a community that allows a large number of young men to grow up in broken families, dominated by women, never acquiring any stable relationship to male authority, never acquiring any set of rational expectations about the future - that community asks for and gets chaos. Crime, violence, unrest, unrestrained lashing out at the whole social structure - that is not only to be expected; it is very near to inevitable.
A minority of other voices also offered objective intellect analysis. In The new left and the cultural revolution of the 1960's: a reevaluation Lewis H. Gann, Peter Duignan, (Hoover Institution on War, Revolution, and Peace) observed (in part),
|“||The youth culture of the period made a profound impression on the United States, Western Europe, and Japan. The youth culture also had strong echoes in what was then the communist world. Youthful revolutionaries, mostly middle class and college educated (a minority within the youthful age cohorts as a whole), meant to build a new utopia. The youth culture gained strength at a time when massive cohorts of baby boomers seemed to overwhelm the campuses. The cultural revolution failed in the short term. No Western government was ever in the slightest danger of being overthrown. Most student revolutionaries were reabsorbed by the "system" that they had professed to hate...Yet overall, the cultural revolution did far more harm than good by glamourizing drugs, by denigrating traditional values, by defaming "formal democracy" both in the United States and elsewhere...But a number of important movements were spawned by the New Left: ethnic studies, multiculturalism, relativism and political correctness, radical feminism, and gay and liberated youth. Of these, "political correctness" was most destructive of American institutions and values. The New Left's disastrous legacy was a crusading determination to reduce the humanities to a "politically correct" agenda, to smash the shackles of traditional sexual morality, to liberate youth from their elders, and to entrench entitlements and affirmative action into the American way of life.||”|
- Objective morality
- Moral relativism
- Essay:Immorality in America
- Moral degeneration
- Ten Commandments
- Five Precepts
- Cause and effect
- Christianity in Conservapedia
- Devlin, in Dworkin pp.76-7, (1977)
- Cause and Effect: The Bible, the Educational System, and Its Influence
- An example from Biblical law is the prohibition in Leviticus 18:21 (cf. 20:5) of child dedication or literal child sacrifice to the Canaanite god Molech While the deity at subject is not an issue today, Christians may understand this (and like condemnations: Eze. 16:20-21; 20:31; Jer. 32:35; 2Ki. 23:10; 16:3; 17:17; 21:6, cf. Psa 106:37-38) as forbidding abortion, and or giving their children over to be raised under false ideologies.
- Dr. John Gill (1690-1771), Exposition of the Entire Bible, Romans 2
- B. W. Johnson, The People's New Testament (1891), Romans 2:1-16
- MUHAMMAD VERSUS JESUS CHRIST
- from Philip Johnson, "Darwin On Trial", p. 126; Illinois: Intervarsity Press, 1993
- Matthew Henry’s Commentary on the Whole Bible, Rev. 4:11
- Magnalia Christi Americana (The Great Achievement of Christ in America, 1702)
- Leland Ryken, Worldly saints: the Puritans as they really were, p. 63
- Robert Nicholson Scott, The war of the rebellion: a compilation of the official records of the Union..., p. 106, United States. War Dept (1899)
- Frank Moore, The Rebellion record: a diary of American events, with documents, narratives..., Vol. 3, p. 490
- ATHEISM VERSUS CHRIST
- America's God and Country Encyclopedia of Quotations
- Jiang Qing, quoted by Xujun Eberlein in China Has A Morality Crisis, NAM, Commentary, Jan 23, 2008
- Prof. Kurtz's church history, p. 25 (1889)
- J.W. Shepard, "The Christ of the Gospels" Reprint, p. 15 (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 1982)
- Edersheim, Life and Times of Jesus the Messiah, CHAPTER XI.
- Himmelfarb, Gertrude (February 13, 1995). From Victorian Virtues to Modern Values. American Enterprise Institute. Retrieved February 22, 2018.
- Williams, Thomas D. (February 20, 2018). Analysis: In UK, Unborn Children Are Taboo, While Animal Protection Thrives. Breitbart News. Retrieved February 22, 2018.
- Democracy in America, Volume I Chapter XVII (1835)
- Os Guinness, American Hour, p. 225
- John 18:36; 1Cor. 5:12,13; 2 Cor 10:4; Eph. 6:12; Romans 13:1-5; 1Pet. 2:16
- Alan Heimert, Religion and the Colonial Mind
- The Honorable Judge Robert Ulrich Chief Justice, Missouri Court Of Appeals, Western District
- Henry H. Vail, A History of the McGuffey Readers
- McGuffey's Reader
- Cranney, A. Garr, 'Noah Webster and William Holmes McGuffey: The Men and Their Contributions to Reading
- Historian Henry Steele Commager
- William Jeynes, “American educational history: school, society, and the common good,” p. 149, 150
- Ringenberg, 1984; Marsden and Longfield, 1962; Ronald W. Fagan and Raymond G. DeVries, The practice of sociology at Christian liberal arts colleges and universities; The American Sociologist, June, 1994
- The Bible." American History Through Literature, Ed. Janet Gabler-Hover and Robert Sattelmeyer. Gale Cengage, 2006. eNotes.com. 2006. 10 Nov, 2010
- John Gould Curtis, American history told by contemporaries .... Volume 3, p. 26
- Religion and the New Republic, Library of Congress exhibit
- Democracy in America
- http://22.214.171.124/~npt/index.php?page=1800-s A Chronological HISTORY OF PHILANTHROPY in America.
- Frank E. Gaebelein, Evangelicals and Social Concern, March 1982
- Walter E. Williams, professor of economics at George Mason University: “What Will They Learn For Your $50,000?”
- Vrooman, Walter, Open Letters: Playgrounds and Parks for Children, pp. 317-318: Journals: Century (1881 - 1899)
- Luther Halsely Gulick, Popular Recreation and Public Morality, 1912
- Adam Stanley. Minnesota echoes, Atamont
- REVEALING STATISTICS, or Costs of the war against God
- Lewis H. Gann, Peter Duignan, The new left and the cultural revolution of the 1960's: a reevaluation. pp. 39-41
- 50% of American college faculty in 1999 identifying themselves as Democrats, and only 11% as Republicans.72% described themselves as "to the left of center," including 18% who were strongly left. Only 15% described themselves as right of center, including only 3% who were "strongly right". North American Academic Study Survey (NAASS) of students, faculty and administrators at colleges and universities in the United States and Canada 1999. The Berkeley Electronic Press
- Time, Theology, Friday, Oct. 22, 1965
- Time, Religion, Apr. 8, 1966
- Time, Religion: The New Rebel Cry: Jesus Is Coming!, Monday, Jun. 21, 1971
- More than “Mutual Joy”: Lisa Miller of Newsweek against Scripture and JesusDec. 10, 2008 Robert Gagnon
- Gwendolyn Mink, Alice O'Connor, Poverty in the United States: an encyclopedia of history, politics ...,, Volume 2, pp. 645-648
- America’s Real War, (1999), Multnomah Publishers; Quoted in http://www.contenderministries.org/articles/moraldecline.php