I posted an original version of this article about two years ago. However, given the fact that the serious ‘Degrading’ trends in our society have continued apace, I thought it worth posting an updated version as follows.
“Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world”
Driving this article is the increasing number of events that reinforce a deep concern for the trajectory of society in general and in particular for the future of our children and grandchildren who are being, and will be, born into it. They will have to live in the new dark age of the Nietzschean ‘God is dead’ future which is descending upon us.
The concerns expressed below are becoming more evident every day as we see the steady, unresisted rise of a ‘Brave New World’ of ‘Ninety Eighty-Four’ toxic group-think intolerance and its politically correct ‘thought police’. We see this in the spiritual poisoning of our education system from kindergarten to tertiary institutions, the growth of the ‘death-culture’ whether euthanasia or abortion on-demand, and the perverting of God’s good plan for human relationships, families and the general ordering of human society.
All these are characteristics of what I call the ‘Degradation’, the degrading of society that is producing the decline in the social compact, the previously common understanding of ‘right’ behaviour and the concern to act for the benefit of others and society generally. All those traits are the fruit of Jesus teaching and the Biblical world view that permeated citizens’ minds in the West and, of course often imperfectly, shaped behaviour until beginning to fade over the latter half of the 20th century.
Now in the ‘Degradation’ there are growing traits of selfishness, rudeness, crudity, uncouth behaviour, lack of respect for others and their property (private and public), largely unchallenged loutish behaviour, and ‘Rages’ of all types. Indeed, the epidemic of ‘Rage’ could be considered to be one of the defining characteristics of the ‘Degradation’. Whether it is parents raging at referees or other parents at junior sport or against teachers and school principals, whether it is the rising tide of often violent road rage, ‘checkout’ rage at supermarkets, car park rage etc. The list of ‘it’s all about me (or my child)’ bad behaviours goes on.
In parallel to all this, we see the loss of ‘quaint’ notions such as common decency, politeness, courtesy, self-control, self-denial, concern for others (and their property). Indeed, what on earth are those you might say?
Added to this is the ‘Casting down of Truth’ (Daniel 8:12) and its replacement with an ever changing Kaleidoscope of alleged ‘truths’ from which we can choose for ourselves no-matter how intellectually nonsensical, mutually incompatible and cancerous for society they are.
The diagnosis of all of this through a biblical lens is that it is the inevitable consequence of a creeping myopic trend by the nation as a whole, either with intent or through an ignorant apathy, to reject the faith that shaped Western society for centuries ( even if subconsciously for many) and provided the basic Australian moral value system. It is the faith that has been the basis of our world view, our laws and freedoms.
To plumb this issue more deeply, what is now rejected is actually the very ‘Nature of God’ Himself. What the majority in the West now seem to be unaware of is that it is the Spirit of this ‘Nature’ that drove the building of hospitals, the creation of agencies such as the Red Cross, St Johns Ambulance, the Barnardo’s children’s homes, the YMCA and YWCA, Mission Australia, St Vincent de Paul, Anglicare, the Salvation Army, the building of schools, the provision of health services and a lot more. It is the Spirit that shaped the ‘Christianized’ nations of Europe which came together to establish the United Nations Human Rights Commission (a fact lost on many), that is now a bad joke when viewed against the intentions of its founders. It is the Nature of the God from whom emanates sacrificial love, supremely demonstrated on the Easter Cross, the Nature that says-“Love your neighbour as your self”.
In this of course there is an extremely exquisite and awful irony, for it is this very Biblical world view that shaped the Australia beloved of the many who are now bent on destroying it.
When the atheist philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche made his famous statement that ‘God is Dead’, he did not mean that there was a God who had died, for he obviously didn’t believe in God. Rather he meant that the culture-shaping belief in God had died. Paradoxically however, Nietzsche, in contrast to the intellectual blindness of those who want to ‘kill God’ today, also realized that the consequence of ‘God’s death’ was the loss of the Biblical world view that was the foundation of Western civilization, and this would not be a good thing. He expressed this concern when he said-
“When one gives up the Christian faith, one pulls the right to Christian morality out from under one’s feet. This morality is by no means self-evident… Christianity is a system, a whole view of things thought out together. By breaking one main concept out of it, the faith in God, one breaks the whole.”
The belief that the Bible expresses God’s will for the governance of human society, and human relationships within that society, is one such ‘main concept’, the ignoring of which ‘breaks the whole’. The rejection of the One who is ‘Truth’ which is the current trajectory in schools, parliaments, the media and society in general, pulls the right to all aspects of Christian morality from under the nation’s feet, so precipitating a socio-spiritual cultural disintegration and subsequent ‘Degradation’ of Hiroshimic magnitude. This is the future awaiting our children.
The reality is that our, allegedly progressing, Western society is being sucked into a ‘back to the future’ pre-Constantinian spiritual and moral universe of the Roman Empire in the first three centuries AD. This was, and once again is becoming, a society where to be Christian is to be the enemy, to be mocked, persecuted, harassed, used for entertainment and demonized by the twitterizing ‘thought police’, hauled before the star chambers of ‘political correctness’, and for many jailed.
This progressive rejection of God’s good plan for human society, “The system, a whole view of things thought out together”, is the rejection of the system for which thousands of men and women gave their lives that we might have the society we now have. The result being that our children will have to live their lives amidst the thudding of Nietzsche’s chickens coming home to roost on the landing ground of 21st century society, a future in which the poet Yeats words sound loudly-
“Things fall apart; the Centre cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world”
If the above analysis is correct, that it is the rejection of the Biblical world view and its moral guidance system that is the cause of the current precipitate plunge into darkness, then Greg Sheridan the political commentator and journalist was correct when he wrote-
‘The West cannot survive without a re-energised belief in Christianity.’
Our fervent prayer must be, in the gathering spiritual gloom, that God will have mercy on us, and be gracious to us and specifically to our children, and bring about that ‘re-energised belief in Christianity’. More importantly, it is belief in the only light that can drive away this Stygian gloom, that is the ‘Light of the World’, the Christ, that is the only antidote to the socio-spiritual darkness and cultural insanity falling over the land.
Of course, in all of this, there is an urgent question to be asked by parents- ‘What about the children?’. As the ‘Degradation’ deepens are we equipping our children and grandchildren with the spiritual weapons and muscle they will require to stand in the battle to come?