Dr. Ted Baehr is the founder and publisher of MOVIEGUIDE, chairman of the Christian Film & Television Commission, and a well-known movie critic, educator, lecturer and media pundit. He also is the author of several books, including "The Culture-Wise Family" with legendary entertainer Pat Boone. For more information, please call 800-899-6684 or go to the MOVIEGUIDE website.More ↓Less ↑
When the paganization of America is reported in the New York Times, one begins to wonder if one needs a new pair of reading glasses.
On Oct. 6, Laurie Goodstein of the New York Times said that the number of evangelical Christian teenagers could be declining rapidly from 35 percent among baby boomers to 4 percent among today’s teenagers, “if current trends continue.” The Times quoted many young Christians who had trouble keeping the faith in the midst of peer pressure, consumerism, cynicism and lust inflamed by the mass media of entertainment.
This is the same 4 percent figure that we have used in our MOVIEGUIDE? Report to the Entertainment Industry for several years to describe how many children in Great Britain have a working knowledge of the Bible. In 1950, 70 percent of all British children had a working knowledge of the Bible. Now, it’s about 4 percent. The children without a working knowledge of the Bible no longer understand the biblical perspective, Thou shalt not steal, lie, lust, etc., and are susceptible to the winds of every crazy belief system that comes along.
According to the Barna Research Group, 9 percent of Americans are Bible-believing evangelical Christians and 36 percent of Americans are born-again Christians. Barna also reports that 49 percent of Americans born between 1946 and 1964 attend church on a given Sunday, but only 43 percent of Americans born between 1965 and 1983 and 33 percent of Americans born between 1984 and 2002 do so.
This is a serious problem.
If the United States becomes as Post-Christian as Britain and Europe, then the world will become a ripe plum ready to fall under the hands of Islam, a religion that heretofore has only advanced by the sword. People who don’t believe in something will believe in anything.
Before the New York Times, spends too much time gloating over the demise of Christians, however, they should note that the future of Christianity has often been in doubt and has survived not because of what man has done, but because God has done the impossible and turned around nations that had descended into abject paganism.
At the end of the 1700s in England, the culture was so debased that women could not walk the streets without being raped or verbally accosted. Highwaymen roamed the country without opposition, and babies were born drunk because of the high level of gin drinking. Within one generation, however, a Second Great Awakening brought a reform of manners and morals, which lifted England from the bottom to the top of the nations of the world, a Victorian society where women and children were safe, and social evils were being addressed by the church in creative ways. This could easily happen in the United States.
As God says in 2 Chronicles 7:14, “If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land.”
The good news is that there are still many evangelical Christian leaders who are working with our nation’s youths to bring about the kind of revival necessary to stem the negative tide of death running rampant in our culture and in our education system. And there are a few organizations such as WorldNetDaily that are turning the news media rightside up. Regarding the degrading influence of mass media entertainment, MOVIEGUIDE? and the Christian Film & Television Commission? are part of that vital effort to stop the paganization of America.