MANHATTAN — The other day, I listened to a broadcast by Ravi Zacharias concerning the effect of globalization on our lives. He started out by quoting secular sociologist Daniel Bell, who wrote, “Culture is an effort to provide a coherent set of answers to the existential situations that confront all human beings in the passage of their lives.”
In the West we are witnessing a genuine cultural revolution – one that makes a decisive break from the shared meanings of the past, particularly those related to the deepest questions of the purpose and meaning of life.
What we are witnessing is the breaking apart those foundations which brought our culture together. This is especially true of those questions dealing with what life actually means and what our destiny is. We are also witnessing the redefining of the words we use. An obvious example is the word “gay.” It used to mean one who was jovial and happy. Today it means one who engages in homosexual activity.
We have witnessed a change in the moral standards of society. Many of us have seen the comparison between the discipline problems in schools in the 1950s with today’s. The most notable example of this is the increase in mass shootings at schools by students. Even as late as the 1970s this was virtually unheard of.
The first two mass shootings that I personally remember are Pearl High School in Pearl, Miss., and Heath High School in Paducah, Ky. In the Pearl High shooting, the shooters had ties with Satanism. Paducah is notable, because all of the victims were Christian students at a prayer meeting before school when they were shot. The Christian high school students where I was principal at the time wanted to do something to help one of the wounded Paducah victims who became a paraplegic as a result of the shooting. We invited that girl and her father to visit our school. Our students blessed her with some needed ambulatory equipment. It was a very moving experience for everyone.
Since then the shootings have occurred on an ever increasing basis. It’s not the guns, folks. It is the moral rift that has developed in our society, because we have left our Judeo-Christian founding principles behind. As Ravi stated in his comments, that rift has become so wide that someone today can walk into a church for the first time and say, “My goodness, what was that all about?”
The younger generation has been separated in language, morals and history from our nation’s roots. Our public education system is helping this process further along with the introduction of Common Core. The result is that our culture is coming unglued with increasing speed. This is catastrophic! As 1 Corinthians 3:19 says, “For the wisdom of this world is foolishness in God’s sight. As it is written: “He catches the wise in their craftiness.”
Can we reverse this? Absolutely! However, we did not get this way overnight. It will take time to get out of it, as well. 1 Peter 4:1-2 says: “Therefore, since Christ suffered in his body, arm yourselves also with the same attitude, because whoever suffers in the body is done with sin. As a result, they do not live the rest of their earthly lives for evil human desires, but rather for the will of God.” Are we willing to do this for the long haul? Our nation’s survival depends on it.
Frank F. Clark is the author of the column “Frankly Speaking.” His email address is firstname.lastname@example.org.