Are U.S. Christians contributing to cultural rot?

By Hanne Nabintu Herland

Beneath the glossy wrapping of materialism and technological advancement, there is undeniably growing social unrest in the West. We have been through a cultural revolution since the 1960s that has led to a rampant lack of discipline and order in schools, lack of respect for parents and teachers, a denigration of religious citizens be it Christians or other. We have a war zone in marriages, exploding divorce and suicide rates, mental disabilities, growing poverty as the income gap widens, a destructive culture of drug dependency and a massive financial crisis due to an unbelievably amount of greed.

Remarkably little is done to stop it, except for the mainstream pushing for even more hatred among groups, divisiveness between the sexes and rebellion against the historic values that once made America great. Due to strict elitist control over the media, the people’s perspectives on these issues and suggested remedies do not receive much attention.

All we hear in the media are the voices of the extreme liberals shouting for a borderless society and “more freedom.” But the ancient, Greek philosopher Plato once stated that too much freedom equals a new form of slavery. The question remains: How can the West be so massively plagued by mental and social disorders and yet with an elite that are the richest and most prosperous in the world?

A quick glance at statistics shows that the results of the cultural revolution in the ’60s tell the story of a culture in massive decline. Political analyst Pat Buchanan says in “Suicide of a Superpower” that the United States has undergone a cultural, moral and religious revolution that spells out the end of Christian America. According to the U.S. Forum on Child and Family Statistics, rates of births outside of marriage have rocketed from 5 percent in 1960 to 41 percent today. In 2006, only 21 percent of families were married couples with children under 18, according to the Labour Information Centre 2007.

Suicide rates among teenagers tripled between 1960 and 1990, according to the National Institute of Mental Health. In the same time span, the Index of Leading Cultural Indicators shows that violent crimes such as murder, rape and assault increased in the U.S. by 550 percent. Yes, 550 percent.

This is not a description of some failed state where the elite take all the money and the corruption is rampant; it is the United States of America. Today, there is less disposable income for a two-parent working family than a single-parent working family in the 1950s. And the highpoint economically for Americans peaked in 1987.

An extreme definition of secularism that equates “being secular” with “being atheist” has increasingly dominated the academic community, the entertainment industry and the political scene. It is a militantly authoritarian, anti-God and anti-traditionalist revolution that has caused a deep split in the U.S., morally, socially, culturally and theologically. It looks like we have never been worse off socially than after accepting the extreme-liberal restructuring of society that culminated in the 1960s rebellion against historical and traditional values. And maybe the churches have become politically correct, too. In that case, no wonder Americans are leaving the churches.

The decline of the institutionalized church in America is massive, Buchanan points out. According to the Religious Identification Survey conducted in 2008, 16 percent of all American adults have no religious affiliation; 30 percent of all couples getting married avoided having a religious wedding; and 27 percent of Americans do not want a religious funeral.

Compared with 99 percent who were Protestants at the time the U.S. was born, only 51 percent were so in 2007. Among “white Americans,” Catholicism has faced major blows since the 1960s, only rivalled by the crisis of the Reformation in the 1500s. Nonetheless, Catholicism is on the rise with the growing influx of immigrants from traditionally Catholic countries.

Maybe people don’t want Christianity anymore because Christians have become politically incorrect and do not represent the genuine message of the revolutionary Jesus. Who knows? Maybe people exit the churches because there is only selfishness, complacency and hedonism there, too. Evangelical Christianity has undeniably undergone dramatic changes. Some say evangelical churches are turning into Hollywood-like entertainment halls where the preacher is the rock star performing while the audience watches, waiting to get rich. They are to be amused, “blessed” and focused on what God can do for “me,” thus joining the selfish hedonist approach, forgetting the command of actively engaging in solidarity with the needy in society and to “love one another.” Maybe it’s time for both modern-day Christians and secularists to reconsider returning to the founding values that once made America great.

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