There are a number of perplexing developments few wish to discuss in America: The correlation between the decline in spiritualism and the rise of Western anarchy. Beneath the glossy wrapping of materialism, hedonism and technological advancement, there is an alarming rate of social disorder and growing social unrest. There is a rampant denigration of religion, combined with high divorce and suicide rates, destructive drug abuse and a faltering economic standard. We have gigantic abuse of prescription pills, especially among women, and serious issues with mental disabilities. Remarkably, little is done to stop it.
According to U.S. Forum on Child and Family Statistics, rates of births born 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. Suicide rates among teenagers tripled between 1960 and 1990, according to the National Institute of Mental Health, and in the same time span William Bennett points out in "The Index of Leading Cultural Indicators," violent crimes such as murder, rape and assault increased in the U.S. By 550 percent. Today, there is less disposable income for a two-parent working family than a single-parent working family in the 1950s.
The 1950s are often depicted as a time where women were deprived of their rights, "locked in the kitchen with men who demanded her services" at all hours, without freedom of any kind. She was "a slave to his wishes," we are told. But were women really refused education in the U.S. in the 1950s? Was life really that horrible?
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Looking at the statistics above, quite the opposite seems to be closer to the truth: We have never been worse off socially than after accepting the extreme-liberal restructuring of society that culminated in the 1960s rebellion against traditional values. The negligent attitude regarding the massive social challenge of, for example, legal and illegal drug abuse is deeply problematic. In terms of numbers, legal drug prescriptions far exceed the number of people commonly associated with the use of illegal drugs. We live in a culture of drug dependency. The peace of God seems to be very far from us nowadays. Chemicals and substance abuse has taken the place of old-time religion and spiritualism. The careless way in which physicians write prescribes medication legitimizes the drug abuse among inflicted and hurting even more.
Political analyst Pat Buchanan says in "Suicide of a Superpower" that American culture has undergone a cultural, moral and religious revolution that spells out the end of Christian America. In the 1960s, also known as the "age of permissiveness," the militant secularism grew into society. Since then, an extreme secularism and distorted version of its original form, characterized by a gross lack of respect for believers, has dominated the academic community, the entertainment industry and the political scene. It is a militant anti-Christian, anti-God and anti-traditionalist revolution that has caused a deep split in the West and weakened it from within.
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What is worrying is how these trends coincide with the statistics of the decline of the institutionalized church. Buchanan points out that, according to the Religious Identification Survey conducted in 2008, 16 percent of all American adults have no religious affiliation, 30 percent of all married couples did not have a religious wedding, and 27 percent of Americans do not want a religious funeral. One may add the Pew Forum survey that in 2007 found that 44 percent of Americans have lost their faith or changed religions. Compared with 99 percent who were Protestants at the time when the U.S. was born as a nation, only 51 percent were so in 2007. The numbers vary and may be discussed from different angles. Furthermore, 100 years ago, 80 percent of the world's Christians lived in the West, while today the number has dropped to around 40 percent, according to Freedom Outpost.
The spiritualism in the genuine kind of socially responsible Christianity was the very force of solidarity that held society together as a civilization. The ethics of Christianity and its Judaic heritage have been the basis of moral consensus, the very ethics that caused the community to thrive and social issues to be solved. This deep sense of spiritual awareness which in history has shown itself to translate into solidarity with others is now disintegrating in an alarming speed, both in secular society as well as within many institutionalized churches. It seems evident that what historian Arnold Toynbee famously stated may be right: A civilization dies from suicide. It happens when the values that once made the culture strong are abandoned.