The Christian Myth of America’s Moral Decay

Frightened

“This country is in moral decline. I just wish we would return to our Christian values and turn back to God.”

I came across this comment on a social media thread tonight, and as a Christian it made me more than a bit nauseous. I hear this sentiment from fellow believers often, and whenever I do I always wonder just what “Christian values” they’d like America to return to:

To women not being able to vote?
To people owning slaves?
To segregation?
To street pistol duels and packs of vigilantes meting out justice in the town square?
To organized crime running urban police forces?

To women being marital property?

Are these the “ol’ time religion” days these folks openly pine for; the days when America was apparently so much more reverent, so much more righteous, so much more Godly than it is today?

This idea of our country’s present moral decay has become a go-to Evangelical Christian trope for decades; an attempt at a literal self-fulfilling prophecy, where the world is falling hopelessly apart and the Church is the lone, faithful remnant standing in the face of the heathen culture’s rebellion. Much like Noah, these religious people imagine themselves sole builders of the only safe place from God’s coming wrath; the waters of dread surely and swiftly rising.

But the truth is America is not in decline any more than at any time in its history. This is just lazy religious-speak that seeks to paint the picture of everything being terrible so it can name drop the “Last Days” and leverage the ensuing fear such language invariably creates in suggestible God-fearing folk.

Only everything isn’t terrible—at least not more terrible:

People have always been bigoted, petty, and ignorant, they just all didn’t have free, 24-hour self-promotion machines where they could advertise as much on a regular basis.

There have always been corrupt governments, contemptible politicians, and hypocritical religious leaders, only now we have more people armed with the resources to unearth and expose them.

Gross injustices against the poor, the LGBTQ community, women, immigrants, and people of color have existed since America was a newborn. We just didn’t have phone cameras to broadcast it to the world and to make it commonplace.

Teenagers have always followed the rush of their raging hormones into all sorts of regrettable messes, they just didn’t have Snapchat to preserve it for posterity.

In other words, there really is nothing new under the sun.

It’s reckless for Christians to keep playing the Decay card with such regularity, and irresponsible for the Church to wring its hands and shout doom and damnation from a distance, instead of looking for the beautiful, loving, redemptive work already happening in the world, and joining in.

We may indeed be a fairly substantial mess right now in America—just no more so than we’ve ever been. It’s a sad indictment of our religion that we need to perpetuate the narrative of an ever-deteriorating Humanity to ratchet-up urgency and to galvanize the shrinking faithful into movement. Worse still, is when our Christian witness in the world, is marked by contempt for so much of the world.

I don’t believe we’re all slowing sliding off into the abyss, despite what some religious people say. I’m out here every day and I see heroic, compassionate, reckless acts of beauty all the time. I see and speak to lots of inherently good people doing their best; slipping and then getting back up again. We’re all flying and failing simultaneously; gaining and losing ground and doing it again and again. I reject the myth of our downward spiral because I know how hard I and so many others are working to get this life right and to love well. I don’t believe I am in personal moral decay and I imagine the same is true for you, which is the point.

There have always been people who will do horrible, despicable things. There still are.
There have always been people who live with unthinkable kindness. This is still true.
And almost always, they are the very same people.

American Christians need to stop pretending that the “good ol’ days” were so darn wonderful and that everything’s gone to Hell now. That sunny-in-the-rear-view narrative simply doesn’t stand up to scrutiny, to History, or to reality, and it cheapens how far we’ve actually come together. It also discounts what God is doing in this place and time that is so very worthy of celebrating.

These are not perfect days, but they are good days.
America is not yet the thing it could be—but that has always been true.
Yes, the world has its darkness but Light is still our default setting.

Friend, there will always be reason for despair and reason for hope.
Lean hard into the hope and you’ll discover that there is more there than you’d realized.
You may find that Love is trending here.

Look up, the sky is not falling.

Be encouraged.

 

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380 thoughts on “The Christian Myth of America’s Moral Decay

      • And most specifically, that the “love that (formerly) dared not speak its name” (i.e. homosexuality) is no longer something to be ashamed of and kept hidden.

        If we have a moral problem in this country it is not sexual immorality but economic immorality–greed, hyperindividualism, refusal to care for the poor and vulnerable members of our society. People like to say “the Bible is clear” about the supposed sinfulness of homosexuality; but there are SIX verses that can be interpreted as condemning homosexual activity (and there is a good possibility those were not meant to condemn homosexual orientation as we understand it today, nor committed, monogamous relationships between two members of the same gender). There are HUNDREDS that command us to care for those in need; yet those are the ones we ignore in our headlong rush to club LGBT people about the head and shoulders with our sacred scriptures.

        • Re Economic Immorality… Americans/Christians are caring & generous. They willingly give $350 billion annually, to undocumented immigrants that are unable to pay for their own social services. [This figure does not include what Americans give to other good causes & needs of society. ] Last year, I gave (mandated to pay) $60K to government run social welfare programs. That’s $5000 a month. And I gave separately to Church, homeless shelter, food bank, etc.

          • No, you paid $36 total for the whole year. The rest of that money went to the military and corporate tax breaks. Also how are you giving more money in taxes than you make? Or did you just think no one would check your math….

            • Gett… about 33% of my 180k income goes to taxes. [Like everyone in my tax bracket.] How can my taxes go to ‘corporate tax breaks’? It goes to the Govt, and they allocate it how they wish. Roads, Police, Fire Dept, Military, Health Care, etc.

              All of which are considered ‘Services’ for the betterment of society. I’m glad to pay my share.

              • Actually, your taxes go to neither the government nor welfare programs; it all goes to pay the interest on our debt to the Fed. The govt borrows money from the Fed for some of its expenses, and the rest comes from other sources that are revealed in the CAFR that all corporations are required to file. The US govt is a corporation. Check out its Comprehensive Annual Financial Report, not the budget

              • Actually, your taxes go to neither the government nor welfare programs; it all goes to pay the interest on our debt to the Fed. The govt borrows money from the Fed for some of its expenses, and the rest comes from other sources that are revealed in the CAFR that all corporations are required to file. The US govt is a corporation. Check out its Comprehensive Annual Financial Report, not the budget.

                • Right. His marginal tax rate would only be 28%, not 33%, and his effective tax rate would be 22.5% if he’s single, no dependents, all earnings from wages, filing with standard deduction. If all of that is true but he’s married with two dependent kids, he’s down to 17.5%

              • Sorry I’m calling BS on your tax payments. I’m so sick and tired of higher income earners playing that card. If you’re paying that much in taxes for that income you need to get an accountant. Just because you’re in that tax bracket does not mean you pay that much in tax. in fact, depending upon what you claim you could in actuality be paying as little as 13%. Not to mention that your social security payment requirement gets capped at around $110K, which you should be aware of as your salary should jump by several hundred dollars a month from mid year onwards. How do I know this? How do you think?

                • You don’t know what you’re talking about. Our tax system is designed to punish anyone who owns their own business whose income is in the upper middle class range. I remember when my husband first started a business, we didn’t pay that much tax, but as he started to have success, the tax system started penalizing us, & we paid way more taxes because of our “self-employed” status, than we would have paid, with the same income, if our income had been W-2 income, as a wage earner working for some big company. The one year that our income went up to almost $300,000, we wanted to celebrate, but we had already upgraded our house & cars, & we had to spend everything that we had leftover on taxes. That year, we owed over $60,000 in taxes, just for one year. If you take two people earning the same income, & one is self-employed (or small business owner), while the other is a W-2 employee working for a company, the self-employed small business owner will usually end up paying a much higher percent in taxes. Our tax system is designed to put small businesses, OUT of business.

                    • Adam, you need an education. Do you own a business? I do… in California, one of the worst places to own a business. Business owners match employees SS part of the payroll tax… and the owners also pay for their own SS, just like an employee, but they also match their own SS, being self employed. There’s Worker’s Comp Insurance (mandatory), There’s Unemployment Insurance (mandatory), there’s general liability insurance, annual business licensing, Disability Insurance… People who don’t own businesses are clueless.

                  • You are so right! With an S Corp, any profit goes into my personal which I pay taxes on-even if I never get to touch that money! They want our balances to show zero or take what is leftover. I finally quit when I made $850,000 in one year with 142 employees and paid $42,000 in taxes. By the way, I didn’t make a dime that year myself! Reinvested it and am still paying off that hit!

                • If he’s EARNING his money as part of a paycheck rather than dividends, then the percentages make sense. And dividends are now taxed at 20% rather than 15.

              • Taxes on 180,000 would be closer to 40k, not 60k; thats assuming its 180000 filing single. If you’ve a family it would be even less. Tax brackets are applied in the greater amount only to the portion of income above the previous tax bracket. You also have the personal deduction of 4000 for yourself, 4000 per dependent, and a greater personal deduction if filing jointly. Likewise if you’ve a mortgage the interest expense on your home is likely being written off in itemized deductions.
                Numerically, the image you’re painting is grossly exaggerated. Additionally, taxes are not charity. They are, in essence, a fee you pay to live in a civilized society where your rights as an individual are protected.

              • If you’re paying 33% in federal income taxes, you have the worst accountant ever. Most people in your tax bracket pay an effective rate of around 12%

              • So then we should all just be happy and accept the way things are going in our country/society? When church leaders are admitting at 67% (Christianity Today) to being involved in internet porn, and marriages in the church and outside are being dismantled and denigrated with encouragement to consider all forms of “love” as ‘marriage’, without any instruction otherwise from church leadership…when abortion continues unmitigated….when Christian writers/leaders tell us “everything’s just fine…it’s always been this way”…it is no wonder we have the problems we do…

                • Abortion is decreasing and has been for decades. This isn’t China or Russia where it’s used like birth control. Religious sex education (abstinence basically) doesn’t work. Secular sex education reduces the abortion rate and reduces teen pregnancies (which tend to be higher in more observant households). Religion is getting in the way of solving the problem, pure and simple.

            • how do you know his annual gross income? and no it is well documented where certain taxes go. Also im not trusting any christian with the last name pavlovitz to talk about something like this. This country is moral decay despite the myths he said about christianity and society we are in moral decay because there is no responsibility anymore and their is no justice. More importantly there is no common sense.

            • He didn’t say how much he made, he stated how much he paid, and you are incorrect regarding social welfare. My wife and I paid 28% last year, punished because we both are professional and work extremely hard, while people here in California are living in section 8 housing that we all pay for.

            • Corporations do not pay taxes. Their customers pay ALL TAXES with the price of the service and products they purchase. Where else is corporation going get revenue to pay TAXES? So, YOU get any tax breaks to corporations. When a politicians says: “I want corporations to pay their fair share ” they are really saying “I WANT TO RAISE YOUR TAXES.”

          • Undocumented aliens are not eligible for welfare, idiot. The only money we spend on them is rounding up and sending them back.

            • Actually, illegal migrants collect billions in welfare benefits. The moment a woman has a baby on U.S. soil, the kid is eligible for foodstamps, housing and medical…..

            • Well, the gentleman down the road from us is undocumented from Cuba, yet has a food stamps card, eligible for pantry, and doesn’t have to pay for his medical. What do you call that?

              • Cubans are not undocumented. As soon as they touch U.S. soil they become refugees and get papers. This is a result of U.S. foreign policy against Cuba. You can’t use Cubans as a reference for other groups.

              • Cubans are allowed into the US and live here under special rules that apply to no other immigrants. It’s political. They support Republicans. Example: both Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz are Cuban and have never experienced what others have.

            • As a retired (30 years on the job) former Intake Food Stamp (now called “SNAP”)/Medicaid/TANF worker, I can guarantee you that illegal immigrants WERE eligible for benefits! “EMA” (Emergency Medical Assistance) was a Medicaid program that American citizens were NOT eligible for in any form or fashion. They could of course apply for the program, but we’re automatically denied because they are Citizens.

              It is a big joke to think that “Undocumented Workers” can’t get benefits.

              • I’m a current intake worker for SNAP and undocumented aliens do get food and medical benefits. Plus workers are required to offer voter registration to everyone seeking benefits. How does that sound?

            • Sorry, I don’t know where you live buy here in Socal they get medical, free school, food stamps, Wic, section 8 housing benifits ets.

            • Bull. We spend a ton of money for social services for your ‘undocumented aliens’, ie illegal immigrants. The Numb Nut administration recently announced they will allocate more per illegal child coming in than the typical SS recipient gets. Something seriously wrong with that.

            • Actually that is absolutely not true, California gives WIX and Food stamps to undocumented people every day by the millions. Do some research…

          • You paid $60k in taxes? You must be doing well in the earnings department.
            You do realize that of that $60k, $35k went to the war machine, right?

            • I’m happy to support the Military which offers us security and benevolence to other countries. It’s worth every penny. But i don’t like govt wasteful spending.

              • I doubt our military industrial complex is protecting our freedoms. They are busy nation building and generally meddling in pies that their fingers shouldn’t be in. They are opening doors for private industry to run through to collect money from people who are guaranteed a better life by buying from these American companies. All the while those companies shelter those monies in offshore havens so that they don’t have to help the country that allows them to be a capitalist pig. God bless them.

                • So, am I to gather from the foregoing conversation that if a Hispanic person is starving, sick, or pregnant, we should not render help to “the least of these” because they are illegal and not citizens? I know what Jesus would say to that, and it would not be pretty. What you are really saying is: “If we starve or refuse medical aid to a bunch of them, and they all die, word will get around fast among the taco people, and they will all high-tail it to Mexico and never come back.” What is you were stranded and sick out in the Mexican wilderness. Would you like the Mexicans to do unto you the same way? Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. Fundies behave like they never heard of it and Jesus never meant it.

                  • You are right about helping BUT because Jesus obeyed the laws of the Old Testament and continued to preach about remaining obedient to authorities (ie laws) he would have chastised her for not following the proper LEGAL channels in place.

                  • I think what you should gather from it is that taking money/labor from a person using force or the threat of force is immoral. Many people also consider it immoral to ignore the needy when you are able to help them. I am one of these people. But that does not negate the truth of the first sentence.

                    In other words, charity must be voluntary, otherwise it is not charity, it is theft.

                    • Under our system of government, tax money is allocated by elected representatives. The people empower them to spend the money as they see fit. Therefore, it is not theft even though you may want to spin it that way.

                    • Bullshit. No one in their right mind is buying that argument in these days. Go back to The Heritage Foundation and ask them for more lies designed to fool fundies.

                  • Your kidding right? So it’s ok to help those who come here ILLEGALLY & do NOTHING for the sick, the poor, the veterans, & all those who are citizens & have in a lot of cases paid into the system all their lives? Come here illegally & get everything handed to you on a silver platter, live here all your life, pay into the system, & get squat. How is that fair? & I don’t believe Jesus would approve!

                  • You’ll never find yourself undocumented in Mexico, unless it’s due to a plane crash or such. Illegals in Mexico face years of imprisonment, nothing like the treatment you’d receive in the US

              • To Paul Inberea:

                Being happy to serve the military is noble. The problem is your tax dollars aren’t so much supporting soldiers as they are feeding the military-industrial complex…the thing Eisenhower warned us was going to be a major problem fifty-five years ago.

                For every dollar of federal taxes, about 28¢ goes to the Department of Defense (the actual number will vary year by year). Comparatively, only about 4-5¢ goes to veterans’ services. Considering the US government hauled in $3.25 Trillion in 2015, that means that the DOD cost about $91 Billion.

                If that money went to our men and women in uniform, that would be one thing, but it doesn’t work like that. What drives up the cost of the DOD is defense contracting.

                My father worked for a major defense contractor. I’m actually really proud of it, but I’m not sure if he’d get in any kind of trouble if I badmouth this company, so I’m just going to call it XYZ. And really, it’s not so much XYZ, it’s nearly all federal military contracts.

                So one of the biggest differences from working in the open market manufacturing sectors to working under government contract is that the company is under no obligation to its client.

                For example, an F-22 Raptor, like any sophisticated aircraft, requires special maintenance and special parts. These are precision components with almost zero tolerances, so every nut and bolt has to be to spec. And this is a military aircraft so maintenance has to be done by certified, approved engineers, at secure facilities.

                But XYZ was under no obligation to keep F-22 parts in abeyance. So any time orders were filed for literally any goddamned thing, it was immediately set up as special order. And special orders cost more. For any other sector, you could shop bids, find other manufacturers that could make parts to spec, but under government contract, XYZ was only able to negotiate with a few approved vendors. And that does make sense. You don’t want an F-22 Raptor with parts bought from Ralph’s Machine Shop. But the approved vendors are separate businesses and have their own orders. And maybe nuts and bolts for XYZ aren’t a priority. So to get those military components, XYZ has to pay much more than the asking price. Imagine having to pay $500 for one bolt. These contracts are structured that Uncle Sam always, for every item, has to pay XYZ for a plethora of odds and ends surcharges and rush jobs.

                No other business works like that. If you walk into McDonalds and ask for a cheeseburger, you don’t expect the price to have changed since yesterday. And more to the point, if you find out that the same $2 cheeseburger is now $5 you’d expect to have the right to not buy it or go to Wendy’s. But under DOD defense contracts, you are obligated to buy that cheeseburger and you have to pay whatever they say it costs. And if they tell you the deep fryer is “broken” that day, then you have to pay whatever it costs to have someone go to another McDonalds and bring fries to you.

                So when people say they want to cut military spending, it’s not a dismissal of those serving the country. It’s an indictment of major contractors and government pork.

          • Thank you for this post because Christians do give very generously to help the needy. Most churches help more than non Christians will ever know.
            I you attend a church that does not give to help those in need you need to find one that does.

          • We are in a moral decline predicted by Adlai Stevenson, 2 time Presidential candidate.
            When we decided we didn’t need censorship, we opened the floodgates to bad language, sexual exploitation, and greed in the name of entertainment. It is reflected in the movies we watch, the music and lyrics we now listen to, the rise of drug use and gang related crime. We abort babies like they are rubbish to be cast aside in our pursuit of reckless pleasure. We are gung- ho to protect and even empower minority groups who just want unbridled freedom to exploit the vast majority of Americans that abhor their lustful parade of demands upon society; all at the expense of a moral declining culture that is fast crumbling. And our politicians sign on to their agenda, and churches of America bend their core beliefs in the name of peaceful appeasement. It makes me very sad to witness this decline every day.

            • I think it really depends on your outlook what is or is not moral.

              One of my favorite Biblical parables is the Good Samaritan. Its pretty well-known and I’m not generally one to quote the Bible, but I see the Bible used constantly as a means of decrying all these “unmoral” things and this parable really speaks to the core of the message of Christ.

              A man is robbed along the highway and left for dead. A rabbi comes along and passes him. At the time, rabbi were not to defile themselves with Gentiles, and to help this man would have made him unclean. So too did a Levite (essentially a nobleman or functionary) came along, saw the wounded man, but left him behind. But a Samaritan (viewed by the Jews as heretics), stops to help him, and pays for his care at the inn.

              The lesson is that you are to help your neighbors, regardless of all else. If you see homosexuality as wrong, that’s your prerogative. To insinuate that they have an agenda is posturing to justify why they are not your neighbors.

              I had a gay friend in high school. I remember picking up the broken glass when neighborhood kids would throw rocks at his windows. Is he to be scorned or is he your neighbor.

              Do you feel closer to your god with stones in your hand?

          • Really, you give the government $60,000 for social programs? Are you saying none of that went to continuing a war that MURDERS innocent people? Are you saying undocumented workers aren’t human beings worthy of compassion and care? oh, that’s it you want to direct your tax dollars exactly where you think they should go: white privileged people who don’t need roads or regulations, clean air or water. selective righteousness. not very christian at all

          • That’s a really FAKE position Paul. 56 CENTS of every dollar you send to the FEDs in DC goes to Defense. Giid that you contribute outside of your taxes but get honest when you speak Please. Your hyperbole just says “this guy has no street cred.”

        • I agree with you wholeheartedly! When it comes to following Jesus’ call to care for the stranger, the poor, the needy, we easily dismiss it and somehow believe this isn’t necessary to being a Christian

        • I disgree. With respect, here are some facts. Gays have never been the subject of discrimination in the way blacks were in the U.S. I see passionate disagreement from biblical Christians over the acceptance of same sex attraction but unless Westboro Baptist Church is your measuring rod—-I know of no one who treats gays in the manner described by LGBT activists. Same sex attractions are not rooted in a mythical chromosome nor did God give sexual desires and activity that takes 20 years off of a mans life. Did God really create a gene for a man to claim he is a woman, dress up as a woman but retain the full use of his male genitalia? Can you argue that natural selection did this? FOLKS, DISAGREEMENT AINT HATE.

          • You are obviously clueless to the discrimination and general hatred that gay people face. You haven’t lived it yourself. Don’t pretend to understand it.

          • What moist rock have you been living under Thomas Aquinas? The world is filled with newspaper articles, magazine articles, and blog posts where gay people and the families of gay people recount the persecution they have experienced—mostly at the hands on Christian fundamentalists and conservative evangelicals. Oh yeah, I forgot. You fundies have a Rot Doctern that says: “Nothing a sinner tells you can or should ever be believed because they are by nature incapable of telling the truth.”

            You people are such a laugh—so deluded—-so ignorant—so devoid of facts—so unwilling to believe in facts. So…well…it almost defies description.

        • Homosexuality was condemned by God then and his stance hasn’t changed. Sure there are many times sin is mentioned in the bible ie incest, slander, stealing, murder, gluttony, idolatry ect. But God didn’t destroy a whole city because of these sins. But he did Sodom and Gomorrah. It states sin is sin in God’s eyes, but why did he go to the extent of destroying a whole city ? I’m a sinner, we all are, but when I sin, I’m convicted, and I don’t expect others to embrace these sins like the LGBT community expects other to do.

          • Homosexuality was not condemned by God. That is a myth! How can two men or two women loving each other in the same way that a man and a woman may love each other be condemned? If you condemn homosexuality you condemn heterosexuality. You are sorely mistaken if you think the story of Sodom and Gomorrah is Gods way of condemning homosexuality. The story of Sodom & Gomorrah is about sexual violence, rape, abuse, worship of idols etc.etc. which span across the sexuality continuum. Are you seriously trying to suggest and have us believe that heterosexuals have biblical immunity against these issues?

            • Sean:
              Maybe what you should be asking your self instead of how can homosexuality be condemned like heterosexuality is how does it differ between the two. Homosexuality isn’t Ok because it doesn’t harm others or because it’s thought to comprise of feelings between individuals. It’s wrong in the sight of God because it lacks sacrifice on the part of the two individuals involved. A heterosexual couple give consent to sacrifice their resources (time, money, their lives basically) to raising a child/family for life before sex (through marriage). Even if the couple cannot bear children, there is a commitment from deep withing that gives pre-sexual consent to raising a child /family of their own. A homosexual couple do not have the capability to do that. You may argue that the homosexual couple can adopt but this is not God’s requirement for sex. A homosexual couple can still adopt without having sex. Sex isn’t required for adoption. It’s wrong because the homosexual couple want the joy of sex without the deep commitment of what God is asking in return. It’s thievery against God himself.

              • Thank you for your response. However, I don’t agree with you Edward. The fruits of a union between two people include but are not exclusive to bearing children. There are many fruits a loving relationship brings to the table, all are equally as valid; in the same way that there are many fruits of the Holy Spirit. As for sex…I would hope heterosexual couples would benefit from the pleasures inherent in this too. Again Edward I disagree with your premise. Sex is a form of communication that can convey love; love is a fruit borne out of the uinion. I would hope heterosexual couples would appreciate that too. Yes you are clearly correct, and I don’t think anyone on the planet with basic biological knowledge would disagree with you that sex between two men or two women cannot bear children; an egg cell and a sperm cell are required for that. However, whilst I do not subscribe to this ‘animalistic’ approach to the formation of a union, I may respect your opinion much more on this point if ALL Christian heterosexual couples refrained from using contraception, including the rhythm method (ironically condoned by Catholic Church) and continued to bear children throughout their biologically active lives. Clearly this is not the case and most heterosexuals who are sexually active do not use sex, in the majority of cases, for procreation. I would respect your comments much more Edward if you had started your post with something like…

                “Sex is for procreation only and furthermore is forbidden unless carried out within a union, in lawful marriage, between a man and a woman. All heterosexual unions that use contraception or any other method, to knowingly and intentionally set out to have sex for pleasure and not to conceive a child, are thieving from God and therefore sinning against God; they should repent of this failure to comply with God’s wishes. Therefore it stands to reason that all homosexual sexual unions are theiving from God. All those, irrespective of sexual orientation, who knowingly and intentionally have sex for pleasure only, regardless of whether the encounter does or does not result in conception, as it is the intention behind the act that is judged, and, do not repent, will not see the kingdom of God”

                Clearly, I don’t agree with what I have written but I would respect your view if you had, as I say, started your post in that way.

                I’m slightly perplexed (but will get over it quickly) that you infer only heterosexual couples give up things for others. I’m not entirely sure how many homosexual couples you know but I can assure you from experience that my partner and I have given a lot to our community and respective families over the sixteen years of our very fruitful and loving relationship; may it continue!

                So, in short, I don’t agree with you Edward. I think the fruits of a union have their origin in love and that is not restricted to heterosexuals.

                Finally Edward, to end on a somewhat tongue-in-cheek lighthearted way. If I were a heterosexual right now and I read your post, I would now be wishing to be homosexual. You present heterosexual unions in such a “cross to bear” manner. Where’s the joy?

                Have a good day Edward and once again thanks for your post.

                Sean

                • I just wanted to reply to say thank you for your comments. As my own form of personal torture, i.e. because I can’t sleep and I’m bored haha, I decided to scroll down this long list of comments out of hope that I would find a few gems of human thought. After parsing through an almost endless swarm of people “shouting” at each other about taxes, I finally arrive down here to find a discussion on love. Now, I’m a Catholic: I’m Christian, I participate in the Catholic Culture, I subscribe to Catholic doctrines, and I agree with their teachings. You can say what you want about that. As you might guess, there are certain issues which you and I will probably disagree on, same as any two people. Why I’m thanking you is because so often, when in disagreement, people tend towards, for lack of a better term, shouting the other person down. I mean just read the comments above. I was very impressed with the way you handled your post and I wish more people would discuss like this more often. I understand how closely tied to our hearts these issues are, but I also know that if we continue to shout at each other, we will never be able to move forward. So as someone who possibly stands on the opposite side of whatever poorly drawn line that has been carved for us, I just wanted to say thank you for giving me hope that even when discussing something as emotionally charged as this topic, people can remain compassionate and tempered.

                  • Thank you for you post Ian; much appreciated! I agree with you, there’s no need to shout at people. We can disagree with perspectives and the way others may think. My approach is that we are all from God and everyone has something to bring to the table. Have a great Sunday.

                  • Great Stuff! Ian, after reading your comments, I feel like there is hope for humanity after all. Quite interesting how a discussion about morality and values end up focusing on taxes and money. I grew up in the US as a legal Immigrant and am gratefull for that experience. After that I have lived in several countries in Asia and Europe which certainly has broadened my perspective and destroyed my stereotypes. I don’t think morality is a question of religion nor sexual orientation but of Personal character and actions.

                • Sean:
                  My cross to bear isn’t a cross to bear at all. What you see as a curse I see as a blessing. I get to share in the creative power that God gave me and leave a living legacy upon this earth. That’s my stake in humanity.

                  Remember Sean, with responsibility comes blessings, some temporal, some eternal.

              • Perhaps sex is the fullest expression of love but then again we have sex drives which have nothing to do with love. One thing that has been woefully missing from the LGBTQ christian life (I had to learn this myself the hard way) and upbringing (and in many cases every christian’s upbringing) is the the understanding between learning to recognize and master one’s sex drive and submit one’s sexual desires to a beloved in a sanctified relationship. The same sex marriage is just as sacrificial as a binary marriage and just as loving. In fact it is the person who is robbed of their expression of sexuality by being told how they should use or not use their bodies —

                In the Song of Solomon there is no mention of children at all as a necessary component of marriage of the love union rather for the longing of the beloved — and for a genderqueer person or a lesbian or a gay man or a transgender person we see ourselves in the song just like anyone else —

                “Behold, you are beautiful, my love: behold, you are beautiful;
                your eyes are doves. I am a rosea of Sharon,a lily of the valley
                As a lily among brambles, so is my love among the young women…You have captivated my heart, my sister, my bride;
                you have captivated my heart with one glance of your eyes,
                with one jewel of your necklace.
                How beautiful is your love, my sister, my bride!
                How much better is your love than wine,
                and the fragrance of your oils than any spice!
                Your lips drip nectar, my bride;
                honey and milk are under your tongue;
                the fragrance of your garments is like the fragrance of Lebanon.
                A garden locked is my sister, my bride,
                a spring locked, a fountain sealed.
                Your shoots are an orchard of pomegranates
                with all choicest fruits,
                henna with nard,
                nard and saffron, calamus and cinnamon,
                with all trees of frankincense,
                myrrh and aloes,
                with all choice spices—
                a garden fountain, a well of living water,
                and flowing streams from Lebanon
                Awake, O north wind,
                and come, O south wind!
                Blow upon my garden,
                let its spices flow.I am sick with love”

            • Unbelief and Its Consequences
              18 “For [God does not overlook sin and] the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men who in their wickedness suppress and stifle the truth, 19 because that which is known about God is evident within them [in their inner consciousness], for God made it evident to them. 20 For ever since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through His workmanship [all His creation, the wonderful things that He has made], so that they [who fail to believe and trust in Him] are without excuse and without defense. 21 For even though they knew God [as the Creator], they did not honor Him as God or give thanks [for His wondrous creation]. On the contrary, they became worthless in their thinking [godless, with pointless reasonings, and silly speculations], and their foolish heart was darkened. 22 Claiming to be wise, they became fools, 23 and exchanged the glory and majesty and excellence of the immortal God for an image [worthless idols] in the shape of mortal man and birds and four-footed animals and reptiles.
              24 Therefore God gave them over in the lusts of their own hearts to [sexual] impurity, so that their bodies would be dishonored among them [abandoning them to the degrading power of sin], 25 because [by choice] they exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever! Amen.
              26 For this reason God gave them over to degrading and vile passions; for their women exchanged the natural function for that which is unnatural [a function contrary to nature], 27 and in the same way also the men turned away from the natural function of the woman and were consumed with their desire toward one another, men with men committing shameful acts and in return receiving in their own bodies the inevitable and appropriate penalty for their wrongdoing.
              28 And since they did not see fit to acknowledge God or consider Him worth knowing [as their Creator], God gave them over to a depraved mind, to do things which are improper and repulsive, 29 until they were filled (permeated, saturated) with every kind of unrighteousness, wickedness, greed, evil; full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, malice and mean-spiritedness. They are gossips [spreading rumors], 30 slanderers, haters of God, insolent, arrogant, boastful, inventors [of new forms] of evil, disobedient and disrespectful to parents, 31 without understanding, untrustworthy, unloving, unmerciful [without pity]. 32 Although they know God’s righteous decree and His judgment, that those who do such things deserve death, yet they not only do them, but they even [enthusiastically] approve and tolerate others who practice them.”
              Romans 1:18-32 Amplified Bible

          • Ezekiel 16:49, you moron.

            Now this was the sin of your sister Sodom: She and her daughters were arrogant, overfed and unconcerned.

            Scared to use your real name?

          • The passages frequently referenced on the matter have been very loosely reinterpreted in many modern translations to allow use as blanket statements to condemn homosexuality. In their original context, they most likely condemned same-sex temple prostitution which occurred in pagan temples of the day. The passage stating man must not lie with man as with woman must be taken in social context. Women were property, no better than an animal. They could be raped, beaten, even killed at their husband’s whim; all he had to do was say she committed adultery, and there she was set to be stoned to death. Men were of the status we would consider a human being. To violate a man so was abominable and to violate your neighbor in the eyes of the Lord.
            If you bother to read and examine 1 Sammuel, David and Jonathan appear to have been in a homosexual relationship. David made a ‘covenant’ with Jonathan, who stripped himself of all his clothing and gave it to David as well as his sword on the occasion, powerful symbols of manhood, and their souls were bound together. Saul later refers to David as having the opportunity to become his son-in-law for a second time, though David had not explicitly married any of Saul’s children at this time–except, of course, Jonathan. David, despite what you might take to be a grave sin, in marrying Jonathan was blessed by the Lord to become the second great king of Israel. If the Lord was so displeased with him, whyever would he have blessed him so?
            Also, the argument of ‘biblical marriage’ of ‘one man and one woman’ ‘as God intended it’ is grossly inaccurate. Hebrew men were permitted multiple wives under Old Testament law. Polygamy was both normal and even encouraged in that day for the sake of having many sons to carry on the family name.
            Nowhere does God condemn homosexuality in the manner the modern skewed translations encourage, and certainly nowhere does He do this in a manner that justifies the wrath of supposedly charitable Christians, who were commanded foremost by Christ to love thy neighbor.
            Gay children and young adults are driven to such desolation as to kill themselves because they are shamed by peers, family, teachers, and their religious communities. Gay children are abandoned by their parents (which might I mention, is extremely unbiblical in itself) disowned and hated by their own families over this issue. Statistics show gay people are alienated from their religions and lose faith from the experience of stigma, and in so are denied the salvation of Christ.
            Further, on the subject of love, I refuse to believe a loving God would create people who are damned to eternal torment in Hell for the mere fact He made them to love people of the same sex. If indeed God is love, and ‘the greatest of these is love’ would create people whose love was intrinsically wrong? If God is the beginning and the end, and He is love, and therefore His love is the force of all existence, and he created us in love, why ever would a loving being create some of us with a love that sentenced us to His eternal wrath?

            • Look I’m going to try & settle this once & for all. You’re very right we are commanded love everyone BUT we are also commanded to hate evil & NOT to condone those thing which God calls evil. The Bible also says in the last days people will become rebellious calling good evil & evil good! Trying to twist the Bible into saying something it doesn’t isn’t going to change a thing. What was wrong yesterday, is going to be wrong today, is going to wrong tomorrow. There are two VERY evil doctrines that have taken hold in this country that are destroying us from within; revisionism & relativism, along with a bunch of other “ism” that are going to all lead to Communism! Revisionism changes history & says we are much smarter now, more enlightened, we know better, our parents “truths” don’t apply anymore, God isn’t relevant, & science has ALL the answers. Relativism tells us “it’s all relative” what’s true for you is not true for me & visa versa. Both are ridiculous lies that are destroying us from within! NO what is right & true will ALWAYS be right & true, 2+2 will always equal 4! Math & science prove there are absolutes. If it applies to math & science why would anyone believe it doesn’t apply to us?
              Now getting back to your post, yes it is very sad that some people are brutalized & marginalized. Equally sad is that some people struggle with same sex attraction. BUT to “normalize” & say God made them that way is not only wrong but it perpetuates a stereotype that is not only harmful to society but also to them; see https://carm.org/homosexual-gay-sex-harms-no-one
              This is all part of the moral decline that according to this article doesn’t exist or is just not that bad. After all we are now more “enlightened”.

              • Mr Wilke, if something is good is blesses and benefits. We want to live a life that contributes to the good of society, being neighbours, having families, doing worthwhile work and being involved in bettering our communities… this is all good

              • “What is required of you but to act justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God.”

                The trick is to do all three in all that we do. Everything else is arm waving to keep the priests employed.

              • Hi John. I sense the passion you have for mankind in your post and whilst I think the tone is a little off and unhelpful, your motivation appears to be that of genuine concern. Thank you for that. I just wanted to add that whatever happens, irrespective of human behaviour, God has not lost any love for us. God is still shepherding us in a way only God knows, and healing this world in only a way the He knows how. I don’t agree with you on practically all the issues you raise, but, I believe we both love God and that’s a great starting point. Have a great Sunday.

          • What your god condemns only matters to people who believe in him. No one else cares, until you start trying to make them live by his/your rules. Stop it.

          • God did not ordain homosexuality a sin…Men who wrote the Bible did. It was mainly to make sure that women continued to bear children and culturally had religious dogma/cultural underpinnings. People lived short life spans and the people had lots of kids to be sure of having family members to care for the elderly in the families. We had a version of that in this country….neededlots of hands on the farm, prior to the industrial revolution.

        • 2000 yrs of church history and some 1500 of Hebrew history have always seen homosexuality as sinful. Your unwillingness to admit that diminishes the value of your other observations.

        • Please let me know what verses in scripture condone homosexuality.
          The problem also with America is ignorance of the Bible and what it truly says…

        • America is the new Babylon. The New World Order is about to be in full effect… all you have to do is look it up. Almost everyone has been fooled by the Great Deception, and they don’t even realize that they are going to hell if they don’t repent from their sin and follow Jesus Christ.
          This really isn’t that hard:
          It’s a sin to have sexual thoughts or interactions with anyone outside of marriage. Marriage is an institution defined by God, as the union of a man and woman when they become one flesh, spiritually joined. Anything outside of this is lusting of the flesh, not walking in the Spirit.. So, yeah… it doesn’t really matter if you think you’re gay or not… All that matters in this discussion is the nature of sin, fornication, etc. And if people don’t repent from their sins, they will go to hell for all of eternity.
          By the way, being sexually attracted to the same gender and wanting to change one’s own gender has been proven in studies at UC Berkeley to be caused by hormone disrupting chemicals, such as Atrazine. These hormone disrupting chemicals are put (on purpose) into almost all foods that aren’t organic. Look it up.

          • Actually,it’s quite hard.It’s quite hard to see any love in a ‘god’ that ultimately says….’Do what I say,or burn in hell forever’!!
            Oh,and BTW….Due to the disobedience of the first couple morons I created,I decided,in my apparent childish rage,to take it out on all of you,yep……10s & 10s of billions of you are ALL SCREWED now,and I’ve decided that this ‘betrayal of my love’ is worth nothing less than burning endlessly in my divine BBQ pit!!

            But wait……IF you can somehow pull yourself up and out of your natural depravity,and inclination to be drawn to everything I HATE,I offer you a ‘salvation plan’.Just make you sure you follow me WITHOUT QUESTION,obey all ‘authorities’,pay all your taxes,and 10% every Sunday in the golden plate that,rest assured,will find its way to ya………NO CHEATING,REMEMBER I’M WATCHING,HEE HEH!!!!

            You mean that ‘loving god’,right,Thee GDH???/

            • Love isn’t the only important component of Christianity, faith is also important in that we have faith that our God has created is for a purpose and that in the end we will see the purpose in all of these questions you have posed. Yes, I would rather place my hope and faith in a God that has promised me a life eternal if I live according to what He asks such as obeying the laws of the government, giving the government what belongs to it and to God what belongs to Him, loving everyone as family in Christ whether they are of the same faith or not, repenting of my sin both to those I have sinned against (what we should do anyway) and to the God I have place my faith in, not condemning others because that is in His hands to do but to do my best to be an example of what He calls us all to do, etc… These all seem like pretty common sense things to me and it always is frustrating to me while at the same time sad that people can’t see beyond the end of their noses to recognize that according to the Christian faith of the WHOLE Bible, many of the commands and laws God laid out for humanity in the Old Testament were meant for people of the time before Christ. God gave us Christ as a sacrifice of atonement that we no longer had to make the brutal sacrifices of old and as a guide/example of the life we are to strive to live. But again, it is all about faith, you have the choice to believe only in yourself doing all of the things that are or are not right and in the eyes of humanity and then die at the end of your life with nothing to look forward to from all your hard work in life. Or choose to do all that anyways and simply go one step further placing you faith and life in the hands of the one that created us all with the promise to live with Him in total peace and love at the end of your time on this planet. Peace and God bless.

        • People have always sinned but the fact that we now call sin “good” or “ok” and don’t repent, is what’s going to get us punished or abandoned by God. Tolerating corruption , greed and dishonesty in business as just a “good business practice” is one example, as is celebrating homosexual relationships.

          • The fundies call lots of evil good and lots of good evil too. There are numerous examples. Basically, I think we are headed toward a shooting war like the Shiite Muslims vs. the Sunni Muslims. That will be a sad day, but when it happens, I can guarantee you that the fundies will fire the first real gunshot in anger because they fear that their unique religious viewpoint is going to be annihilated in American culture—and it is indeed being successfully annihilated. I just believe that God is the one annihilating what they believe.

        • “as we understand it today” one of THE most dangerous phrases in the english language! After all we are more “enlightened” than our parents or grand-parents & everything they believed & stood for just isn’t true anymore. The other popular tactic these days seems to be diverting attention &/or re-writing history. Secular-humanism, revisionism, relativism, along with a bunch of other “ism” that are all going to lead to Communism! That’s we’re heading if we ALL don’t wake up & start speaking out against all the lies that being sold to us as the truth!!!

        • You have indeed mise the boat on this, I’ll pray for you as I do for those who believe that God contradicts Himself when in the old and new testament this life style was called an Obama nation and was written about in the same versus as witchcraft, sorcery , and spiritualism! Think what you like but you are way off mark here and ideology like yours IS the reason the moral fabric in this country is almost obsolete. Christ takes a second seat in this doctrine of satan and man catapults himself into the front of the line. This is a dangerous game that you are playing, be careful…

        • except for your bit on homosexual behavior, you make a lot of really good points. We have both a sexual immorality problem and an economic immorality problem. This is greatly exacerbated by the American sense of individualism. The thing is, we all have God given rights to property for which we are to be good stewards. The good steward part is difficult to nail down.

          Everyone has an orientation towards sin and it manifests differently for each individual. A person is born homosexual the same way a person is born a thief, liar, murderer, adulterer, fornicator, idolater, and so on. Having a natural inclination towards something doesn’t mean act on it. Look to scripture for guidance.

          .

      • That may be true but that too has always been with us. The only difference is now it’s broadcast over the airwaves and shared on the internet.

      • And yet teen pregnancy rates are at all time lows and the primary reason is not birth control, it’s because teens are having less sex than they used to.

          • The sin of Sodom and Gomorrah was lack of hospitality. Choosing to ignore that– which is in scripture– and claim Sodom and Gomorrah as examples of god condemning homosexuality means that you are perverting the Word of God for your own purposes.
            Jesus wasn’t out there whipping homosexuals– but he did physically challenge the moneychangers in the temple and feed the poor. Which do you think he cares more about?

      • actually our government is what most folks fear is losing its moral compass by pushing the gay lifestyle and other perverted ideas like transgender options on restrooms.. Obama and his ilk seem to have lost all common sense and are a on a quest to change the U.S. into a lawless country with no regard for what the normal majority wants..

      • Read the Bible dear, it was alive and well.
        Look back in history, it was there, people were just better about covering it up. 😉
        Most of it happens inside families any way, “Christian” or non. 🙁

      • When I talk about moral decay, I’m first referring to millions of dead babies that were legally murdered.

        In the past, women were cherished, even though they couldn’t vote. My wife wishes that it was still that way. She votes because it is now her civic duty, but she wishes that men would be the leaders God meant them to be. Women used to be cherished enough to honor their purity until marriage. They weren’t used and discarded like today.

        Marriage was sacred. People were committed. Divorce was scandalous. God hates divorce.

        • Hahahhahahahahahahahhahhaaaaaa!!! “Women used to be cherished enough to honor their purity until marriage.” Hahhahahahahhhaaa!! Yeah, only because every man wants a virgin…they just don’t want to be one themselves. Give me a break!! Like he says in the blog post, things did not use to be any better. Just because everything APPEARED to be all June Cleaver and shit, doesn’t mean that it actually was!!

      • Yes, I grew up in the 50s. It was good to be modest and obtain from pre martial sex. I know that all didnt. Now it’s everything goes.

      • What they mean is the ’60s. That ought to be obvious, even if everyone on all sides makes a show of bashing them now.

        • The fact of molestation by priests has nothing to do with what Christians in general say about immorality. Are you, as a law-abiding citizen, responsible for what lawbreakers do? Your argument is specious.

      • You mean like one Christian divorcing his or her spouse and marrying the spouse of another Christian two pews back, or the Sunday School teacher who molests his or her students, or the church organist who has an affair with the minister behind both their spouses backs, or the 12 year old girl forced to marry the 21 year old member who impregnated her; so that the church not shamed, or the church embers who lust after non church members. Are these the sexual immorality you are speaking of Paul?

    • The new secret may go viral if you haven’t read the forum item it’s here SaveNatureFree.Org /page/the-new-secret

    • You’ve got to be kidding, right? So everything is just hunky dory? Teen pregnancies, murders, rapes, divorces, drug/alcohol addictions, all skyrocketing, terrorism, condoms being handed out in school, our children being taught about all kinds of sexual perversions IN GRADE SCHOOL. Than you have the fact that God has been replaced with secular-humanism, revisionism, relativism, multiculturalism, diversity, social justice, “political correctness” ALL socialist/communist agendas being taught to our kids in school but no there’s no problem & everything is just as good or better than it ever was, right? WRONG! We’re still serving the same God & He’s just as happy as He can be with the way things are here in the good ‘ol US of A!!! WRONG! What planet are you on & what are you smoking? Or are you just a tool of the communist who want to take over this country???

      • Oh & I forgot to mention
        58,586,256 Abortions in America Since Roe v. Wade in 1973
        That’s almost as many that were killed worldwide in WW2
        I’m sure God is real pleased with that!!!

    • The article is totally bogus. Since when we’re slavery, segregation, women not being able to vote or gangs in the streets Christian values??? Never that’s when. Why is it that some people historically always try and falsely blame, accuse or associate Christianity with anything in history that was bad?? Where are these people so fearful of Christianity that they feel the need to take time too.write completely false articles such as this? What could the motive of a mind that so clearly, blatantly and falsely blames Christianity for terrors it had zero to do with?? The writer of this article needs your prayers. Pray that the Lord will relieve this person of their hatred of God. Pray that God will forgive them for their lies and make them whole again.

    • When I saw your headline, I thought I was going to disagree with you. I started preparing my rebuttal. But this was really, really good. I’ve been very discouraged lately about the abortion issue, but this was a good reminder to lift my eyes and just pray.

    • This author’s proposition that moral decay is a myth discounts some important factors. Moral decay is not just an American phenomenon. It’s a global epidemic. The 20th Century is consider to be one of the most deadliest. We killed more people in the 20th century than the previous 19 centuries put together. This is the result of two ahistorical socio-political experiments, fascism (especially in Germany, Italy, Eastern Europe, Japan, and China), and the other, communism. These absolutist, unrestricted, uninhibited ideologies murdered people in war and democide without compunction, without the inhibition of tradition, culture, or religion. Not to mention the death toll of abortions which continues to occur. As a “progressive society” we have abandon absolute moral truth. We have instituted secularism and moral subjectivism into our laws and culture. No we are not morally decaying, we are decayed. But we have seen nothing yet. The rise of humanistic, existential, post-modern ideologies and atheism is the fertile ground for a religion which neither seeks to love their neighbor or act in the best interest of another. Rather it is a message perpetuated by war and death. Sadly moral decay has already occurred. Most Christian believers have bought into moral relativism and become irrelevant. The average Christian lacks knowledge but more importantly we lack wisdom. We become consumers of the ideas, theories, and the skewed morality of the world. In doing so we are parrots who go about our lives repeating words we do not know and preaching ideas we do not understand. We cannot stand for absolute moral truth because we ourselves are immoral. We cannot preach hope because we ourselves are hopeless. We cannot preach peace or joy for we ourselves are without peace or joy. We cannot preach life to others because we are simply spiritually decayed.

    • Why would you call yourself a Christian in this if you are obviously not.. if you had actually read the new covenant then you would know what Christian mortals are.. you bring up slavery and owning woman as if they where property.. how does that match loving everyone and being one flesh.. you are why Christians are viewed wrong.. not true servants of christ

    • Your opening list of “women not being able to vote”, “owning slaves”, etc. is a ruse and fallacious. In that, the Scriptures never said women could not vote, or are male property. Scripture has always condemned slavery, except when one must work of a debt (never held against their will, except if captured in war). Let’s be honest, the LGBT cause is sin and is leading to the decay of sexual morals. Look at what entertains Americans and compare it to 40 years ago and I think you’d agree we are more lascivious, hedonistic, defiant toward parents, etc. As Israel became a basket of rotten fruit before the Babylonian judgment; the US may be heading down that same path. We surely are not becoming more godly, except for those that fear the Lord and have believed and repented in the Gospel.

    • I remember, as a child, having to go out in the hall of the school, sitting with my head between my legs with every other child, an exercise done in case Russia dropped the “big one” on us. Coming out of church, people would tell jokes about Blacks, Catholics and Poles – except those weren’t the words they used. The “good old days” weren’t really so very good, except in our sanitized memory of them. the purpose of the past is so that we might learn both from our mistakes, and remember God’s faithfulness. The purpose of the future, is so that we might live in hope, knowing that it lies, not in human hands, but in God’s, and is therefore a hopeful one. The purpose of the present, is that we might live fully in it, in hope, remembering the mistakes of the past and God’s faithfulness, nevertheless, and give every moment to him, and to those who walk with us toward the fulfillment of that kingdom already born within and among us.

    • Evangelical Christians being lumped into one basket as if we all think alike is bigoted. Most Christians long for the day we could keep our doors unlocked and our kids could roam free, yes, there were injustices back then. You seem very angry at people who would like to make society better. They have real programs in their churches that take care of people. Maybe you should see the glass half full!

  1. One of the things I find disturbing about Rapture “theology” is that it comes across as First Class On The RMS Titanic …the Raptured have ___their____ seats in the lifeboat and everyone else can go down with the ship (deservedly so, because they’re not True Believers).

    Decay Mentality tends towards the same thinking…those minorities, independent women, LGBTQI folk and non-fundamentalist/evangelicals are Not Our Kind, and THOSE PEOPLE are the ones ruining the (pretty much white) Christian Paradise the United States is supposed to be – a place there they don’t have to be persecuted, love the Other or be uncomfortable….

  2. Thank you for that great post. And all those “moral decay” ideologies that the fundies and evangelicals throw out are exactly why so many people turn against organized religion.
    Like Jon Bon Jovi singing that “You Give Love a Bad Name” (not YOU, just you in general), those Evangelicals “Give God a Bad Name”!
    What I find to be incredibly dangerous is that these faux Christians–such as the evil Ted Cruz have a loud voice. They bully and they pontificate about evils when they are the ones who ARE moral decay in their hiding behind religious ideology to spread hate and bigotry.
    It scares me that many of these people are Trump supporters too–but I don’t want to get too political here. I just want to thank you for a great post!

    • I appreciate reading the posts and viewpoints from people on this subject. I will say that it is discouraging to see other Christian brothers and sisters labeled as “fundies.” Does labeling people such a slur build up in love, or is it just another selfish way to dehumanize? What is the motive behind this? I find that fundamental, evangelical Christians tend to seriously study the warnings and commands of God in the Old Testament and Jesus and the Holy Spirit in the New Testament (not that other Christians don’t). Even after Jesus says, “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another.” (John 13:34 ESV), He says, “Whoever has my commandments and keeps them, he it is who loves me. And he who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I will love him and manifest myself to him.” (John 14:21 ESV). There are more commands than to love one another, and the greatest and first is: ““You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.” (Matthew 22:37 ESV). We all seem to do the second commandment well, but without the first, are we really doing the second? This is “food for thought” as we continue to grow in the grace and truth of Jesus Christ. I have so much to learn, including how to address believers and non-believers. I just thought I would caution against using unnecessary labels when I believe most people on here are truly trying to please God and follow His ways. We should keep seeking to learn more, and God has given us commands that allow us to grow in Him through His Word, so we can be safeguarded against thoughts like: “whatever I think, that is the real truth.” Many blessings to all, for everyone to be built up in love, even as issues are discussed. Take care, and God bless!

    • So then, I guess it’s not a matter of whether there is moral decay-rather WHO is the moral decay? So you Do believe that America is morally decaying because of fundamentalists?
      You disagree with my beliefs, therefore you hate me-you are bigoted against me. What happened to “tolerance” and “respect”? Or should certain people not receive these “rights”? Who decides who should have the right to “tolerance” and “respect”?
      Do you believe some things are immoral? Perhaps adultery, maybe pedophilia? Some people don’t agree with you. Do you respect them and their morals? What about sex with animals? Be careful-don’t judge!
      If you can judge me for being judgmental, why can’t I judge what I think is immoral?

  3. Thanks, John, for again stating something so clearly. As Gandhi was reported to have said, “I like Christianity, I just don’t like what Christians have done to it.”

    • –except don’t look to Gandhi for morality, a guy that mistreated his wife by insisting that teenage girls bath him and dress him, & share his bed every night. [And told the women at his ashram not to sleep with their husbands, but him only.] –All under the guise of Gandhi’s ‘chasteness’.

  4. This article forgot to mention the great Christian treatment of the native Americans, like killing many and stealing their land, great article

  5. Where I live, it is part of the city’s history that the KKK used to hold its meetings in the basement of one of the largest Baptist churches.

  6. To correlate moral decline with a watering down of Christian values is short sighted at best, at worst, delusional. Not wishing to labour the point but Christianity has approved and condoned the most horrific and despicable acts throughout its history; calibrating our moral compass against the Christian Institution may not, paradoxically, be a moral exercise in itself! Perhaps those who utter such empty phrases to the wind are attempting to describe something deeper which is causing them discomfort. We are entering an era of questioning, of congregation confronting religious authority and not accepting without explanation. Perhaps blind faith is being replaced, albeit at a glacial pace, with a rebellious but discerning heart that desires a clearer understanding, and, dare I say some evidential material to support such emboldened statements of ‘truth’ lectured from the pulpit. But, questioning leads to change, and change is always met with resistance. Perhaps there lies the source of discomfort. Change challenges the status quo and this may lead to insecurities creeping in. The call to a return to ‘tradition’ may be nothing more than a cry for help. A cry that seeks to manifest insecurity in a manner which soothes the pain of the inevitable consequence of a perceived disruption and dismantling of a system which appeared to have been functional since its inception. Religion is being questioned more robustly and intelligently than ever before in all sectors, and this is generating anxieties from within. Perhaps we should be more understanding of this global phenomenon and offer proactive assistance and reassurance that the love of Christ towards all people is not in question but rather the institutions’ interpretations and authority over perceived truths.

    • Sean, as someone who, while now in my 40’s, is doing the questioning after so many years, I could not agree more with everything you stated! Very well thought out and explained. You hit the nail on the head! Thanks to raising my now young adults and wondering why they, at this time, have walked away from church and God, I am now searching open mindedly and open heartedly for the first time. Searching for the truth as best as I can understand it about who God is, who I am in relation to Him and what that means as far as my purpose, expectations for myself and life in general, and my place within it specifically. I haven’t been able to go to church since beginning this journey because my beliefs have changed so much I don’t even know if I want to go to a church or would rather just be a force of love and change and kindness every day of the week instead. I have been burned by “Christians” and churches. It breaks my heart to hear the whitewashed tombs screaming so loudly that they have all the answers and know God the best and they point their judgmental condemning fingers at anyone who disagrees. We all know exactly what God is “against” and the church is “against”, but how about we demonstrate with actions over words what/who God and the church are FOR?! Anyway, I was one of those uncomfortable with the changes until I began to realize so much “truth” was nothing more than misinterpretations, misunderstanding and misappropriation of information and beliefs, handed down generation by generation. I love this blog and so enjoy the comments here as they make me feel a sense of belonging for the first time in a long time. Blessings!

      • Bless you Kim and thank you for your lovely words. The quest for truth is a journey of discovery not a test. Perhaps that’s the point; there is no absolute end-point truth for humans to capture, but instead, spiritual awakenings and discoveries which lead us closer to the love of God and which, ultimately, support us to love one another as Christ loves us. Hugs X

        • Trouble is….everything in Western,Evangelical ‘christianity’ has been boiled down to 1 BIG question,followed up by 1 BIG declaration……’SON,IF YOU DIED TONIGHT,,DO YOU KNOW WHERE YOU’D SPEND ETERNITY?? If not,I can almost assure you that you’re lost and headed for hell,and I can tell you what you need to believe & do to not go there!’ As the self-professed ‘gatekeepers’,these types leave VERY little wiggle room for questioning ANYTHING,much less challenging the traditional church paradigm,which we all know is the ONLY way ‘god’ would have it!! (read sarcasm)

          Anyway,I too made a clean break from organized religion a couple of years ago now,and am on a similar quest for truth. It was really dis-heartening at first to find YouTube atheists who I’d quite frankly much rather hang out and have a cup of jo with than many so called christian ‘leaders’ I’d spent years listening to,and admiring. However,the more I studied the history of the church,the less surprised I was at these feelings…. Folks like Michael Hardin,Brian McClaren,and Brad Jerzak, ( heretical,new age ‘Emergents’ ) according to main-line denominations,have really opened my eyes to a lot of CRAP that has just been accepted as ‘God’s unquestioned TRUTH’ for centuries now. Truth is, it’s past time to ditch ‘heroic’ figures of the faith such as John Calvin as arbiters of morality; science has taken us light years beyond those dark ages…..good comments!!-

      • Kim,
        My husband and I are in the same boat, albeit a few years your senior. Our adult sons attended Christian school and were raised in an Evangelical setting. They have abandoned their faith. One is calling himself an atheist, the other is a self-proclaimed agnostic. We are also in recovery from churchianity. Although we have not abandoned our faith in Christ, we have left the institutional church and have become more progressive in our thinking. We are happier in our relationship and we have discovered that loving others, no matter who they are, has changed us for the better. It’s never too late to discover what it means to follow Christ and leave the trappings of religion behind. I am right with you regarding John’s posts. I have finally found a place I belong. Blessings to you.

        • I have also broken free from the church to pursue the truth for myself, as revealed by God. I am still Christian, as I have been all my life(evangelical missionary’s daughter) but as I began to reach adulthood, I couldn’t swallow the church’s message without dissecting it first. It all began when I became close friends with a homosexual man. From that point on, I struggled with the church’s view of condemnation for homosexuals. This friend was the most caring, kindhearted person I had met in a long time. So I started to really dig deeper into some of the other beliefs of the church, to see why there was some discord in my agreement with them. What I came to realize is that my core belief in God, salvation and the afterlife hadnt changed. Only my view of Christianity had evolved in my own way- I now called myself spiritual instead of religious. I stopped going to church but just kept communicating through prayer. I still feel the most important is your deeply held personal relationship with Christ and knowing that we were all made in His image, all sin alike, and are all loved the same. No matter what. You just have to choose to believe that and follow the Golden Rule, see each person as a masterpiece of God, no matter how different or strange and treat them as such. Sharing is caring. It’s the basics that keep me from running away from Christianity, because more often than not I’m embarrassed of what other Christians do. Actions speak louder than words. That’s my mantra. One love

    • What are these “horrific and despicable” acts you of? Make sure those you list were set forth by the precepts of Christianity and not “so-called” believers. To confuse the two would be like saying all Muslims are terrorists because some Muslims are terrorist.

      • The Crusades
        KKK
        The Inquisition
        Apartheid regime in South Africa
        Slavery around the world
        Holocaust – Hitler used Christianity to endorse actions against Jews
        Not condoning the use of contraception in developing world countries
        Harbouring and protecting paedophiles

        Shall I continue Anonymous?

  7. Absolutely excellent John! The world needs to hear this over and over.
    I especially loved these two sentences: “This is just lazy religious-speak that seeks to paint the picture of everything being terrible so it can name drop the “Last Days” and leverage the ensuing fear such language invariably creates in suggestible God-fearing folk.” and, “It’s a sad indictment of our religion that we need to perpetuate the narrative of an ever-deteriorating Humanity to ratchet-up urgency and to galvanize the shrinking faithful into movement.”

  8. Sometimes I think laments about “moral decay” should actually be understood as laments about loss of hegemony.

  9. Whenever I run into one of those apocalyptic moral decay types, I’ll ask why they believe what they claim to believe. Invariably they’ll utter the phrase “wars and rumors of wars”. I then explain that we are living in ever more peaceful times, and point them to Steven Pinker’s “Better Angels of Our Nature”.

    I don’t know if any of them ever read his work, but he makes a very solid case that our world is improving every day. Really knocks the wheels off the apocalypse wagon.

  10. Not only that, but the “wars and rumors of wars” mentioned in Mark’s “little apocalypse” are meant to be understood not as signs of the end, but as “but the beginning of the birth pangs.”

    • Allow me to complete the thought and context regarding birth pangs and what they represent. Unfortunately, it shoots hikes in all of the functional argues being touted as the “real Christianity” in these comments and addresses perfectly the myth being perpetrated by the article. Not my words, but the Words of Jesus. He reports, you decide:
      Matthew 24
      3As Jesus was sitting on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to him privately. “Tell us,” they said, “when will this happen, and what will be the sign of your coming and of the end of the age?”

      4Jesus answered: “Watch out that no one deceives you. 5For many will come in my name, claiming, ‘I am the Messiah,’ and will deceive many. 6You will hear of wars and rumors of wars, but see to it that you are not alarmed. Such things must happen, but the end is still to come. 7Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be famines and earthquakes in various places. 8All these are the beginning of birth pains.

      9“Then you will be handed over to be persecuted and put to death, and you will be hated by all nations because of me. 10At that time many will turn away from the faith and will betray and hate each other, 11and many false prophets will appear and deceive many people. 12Because of the increase of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold, 13but the one who stands firm to the end will be saved. 14And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.

  11. Once again, you say what others are thinking – only better. Indeed, humankind doesn’t change. There will always be kind, generous, loving people….and other who are not so much. The only thing different today is the 24/7 access to every publicity machine that allow the other voices to scream louder.

  12. Agree with author. This is an old and weak argument in many regards. But when people talk about the “good ole days” they are referring to another type of family stability that existed, especially in the black community. They are not referring to segregation, slavery and suffrage. Nevertheless a contemporary Christians obedience and good works in private and public life should be based on the Lordship of Christ to make disciples who obey His teachings in all aspects of life and vocations, that includes those who are called to legislation and engage in civic life.

  13. I agree. The moral-decay argument just makes the weak of spirit more apt to despair. The more despair you feel, the less you will be able to parse new information. Things are as good, and as safe as they have ever been for more people in more demographic groups in the US. The hegemony seem to feel that mere equality is a reduction of their status, but they are (statistically) better off than they were 8 years ago.

  14. Another terrific piece, John. This is the fruit of the Lizard on America’s Shoulder, and I doubt the church sees the truth of its doings as causal in the matter. I think there is a cleansing underway, and that we’re going to pass through it just like we always have. Besides, morality, by definition, is not always a legal problem to be solved in the public sphere.

  15. Reading this, I could not help remembering my late grandmother who called herself a “Christian” and, when John Kennedy was elected President in 1960, she would rant about America’s “Moral decay” because a Roman Catholic (gasp!) was elected President!

    Some things change – but often some things remain the same.

  16. In the 70s-80s, I Grew up with the constant rant of “end times” and moral decay. In the 80s, I lost all direction. What’s the use of planning for a future that’s not going to happen. Why go to college why do anything? Fundamentalists were convinced we wouldn’t make past 1983…this went on all the way through 1987. That’s when I woke up.
    I stopped living in the fear of God and found the Love of Christ. I had to get out of the church to do this. My life is the happiest it’s ever been. Great article. Thank you. So true.

    • Yes. The fundies are all sitting on a hillside waiting for the end while the rest of us are getting on with our lives and building God’s Kingdom “on Earth as it is in Heaven.” There is good and loving work to be done here to build that Kingdom—but it is not going to get done with millions of Christians sitting on a hillside waiting for an end that occurred already in the 1st century A.D.

  17. There is some truth in this little article – sin has always infected all people at all times.

    On the other hand, anyone who has done even a cursory study of history knows the devastation wrought by the last century alone far outweighs any other time in known history. Of course, the last century was also the first time in history that secularism (i.e., God-less worldview) reigned over America as the major influence. So perhaps there is some reason for the “old days” (pre secularism) sentiment.

    The Bible itself certainly does not represent the “world” in optimistic terms – it is compared to “Babylon,” and stands with Satan and the Flesh as one of the three primary sources of sin. Christians, then, ought not adopt a naively optimistic view of the world either.

    But there is some truth in this article that is commendable. At the same time a counterpart article could be written,
    “The Liberal Myth of Moral Progress”.

    The article’s remedy for the “Christian Myth” is to focus on the good instead of the bad. I suspect that a thoroughly Christian remedy is to recognize the good and the bad rightly, in balance, while focusing primarily on the Person who will ultimately right all wrongs.

    • Comes. Reads article. Misses point. Demonstrates point in the article.

      “Of course, the last century was also the first time in history that secularism (i.e., God-less worldview) reigned over America as the major influence. ”

      Why do you think that this is happening? Could it be that people are 1) learning to think rationally about their place in this universe and 2) getting tired of being lectured down to by the flailing hyperbole of a frantic bunch of people grasping at the last bit of “superiority” granted them by a book of tales?

      Maybe. I respect your right to believe what you believe. I, in fact, once believed the same. Then I went to fight to protect your beliefs. Then I returned and started to see the self-serving motivations of the zealous throngs of those that follow others because they were told to do so. Good on ya. Would fight for it again. But the second any of y’all think it’s OK to project your beliefs on your fellow man is the second I change defense to offense.

      • Joe,

        I’m afraid you may not have read my comment very closely… perhaps not even the original article.

        I also hope you can appreciate the irony of your final statements.

        Fundamentalism is not itself a vice – the vice is the fundamentals upon which the belief system is based. Are those fundamentals inherently good, or bad? I agree with you (by your implication) that fundamentalism is so often a power play used to control people for very bad purposes, for the few to control the many.

        Then again, we perhaps disagree about the fundamentals of Christianity, namely grace, humility, and service. I hope we’ll both keep considering the merits of Christianity vs. Secularism – which one produces the world in which we both so hope to live, full of peace and justice.

        • Drew… thanks for your input. Much needed here.

          I remember my progressive Christian Episcopal priest once ridiculed me for mixing with ‘Fundamentalists’ because I bought a bible study guide at a Christian book store, and I was in a home-school group with Christians.

          My comment to him was, ‘what’s wrong with Fundamentalists? They believe the fundamental truths of the bible, and so do I.’

          He didn’t answer me.

          • He did not answer you because he thought you were nuts, and did not have all afternoon to pull out his Bible and explain why you were wrong—and you are still wrong.

    • Drew,
      Some people see from a “glass half-empty perspective and others from a “glass half-full”. It seems to me that doom and gloom theological view works for a group who rely on themselves for their own justification and sanctification. Those who rely on their inseparable bond with Jesus and in his omnipotent transformative work on all of creation view things with hope in Christ.

      Personally, I have to battle against my tendency toward doom and gloom. Having said that, I know friends who hold to a theology of doom and gloom.

      • John,

        I appreciate your reply to my comment, though I have to disagree a bit.

        The Bible does not suggest that Christ will progressively make all creation better until his purposes of redemption are accomplished.

        It does free us, however, from both uncalled for pessimism and uncalled for optimism. Having hope in Christ does not mean the Christian no longer deeply mourns sin – Christ did regularly (perhaps more often than not).

        I really like your vulnerability in your last statement. Yet, the answer cannot be to have a so-called “theology of hope.” That misses the mark – equally and opposite – of a so-called “theology of doom and gloom.” The only transformative theology is the kind that is unafraid to call sin “sin,” and simultaneously extend the hope of Christ to all people at all times – what a truly wonderful theology that is!

        Thanks John, appreciate you man.

        • I can see now that fewer and fewer Christian progressives are reading the bible on their own. Unfortunately they rely on someone elses’ sound-bites to steer them. I respect their right to do as they please, but it’s become a darn mess for Believers who care about those that listen to false teachings.

          At a certain point, I wish them well, and spend my precious time elsewhere. [Which they are all too glad to hear, by the way, I notice their compassion for me is < '0'. ]

          • Well. I would suggest you get your own false teachings in line first before coming here to correct everyone else. You can start with that silly doctrine about inerrant scripture, no internal contradictions in the Bible, and the Bible must be read simply and literally. While you are at it, you can get on your knees and apologize to God for believing that the Genesis creation accounts are factual history and science—even though God has revealed to you whole libraries of scientific information and data to the contrary that show how He really did creation—and is still doing it.

            And you are one to talk. I have seen fundie compassion in action—and if what I see is called compassion—I had just as soon be abandoned to die alone. No one needs that kind of compassion. Read through this blog post. This is fundie compassion and love in action:

            https://faith17983.wordpress.com/2015/08/09/what-happens-when-the-church-sells-out-to-a-political-party/

          • Actually, it’s the exact opposite. I am and know numerous Christian’s who have walked away from their churches because they finally decided to stop listening to what was coming across the pulpit and opened their Bibles. Doing so allowed them, and me, to realize that what we’ve been told/taught since our earliest days in Sunday School isn’t what the Bible actually says. We realized there is no such thing as a “sinners prayer”, that not being in a pew every time the doors are open is not a sin, that the Bible isn’t perfect and has a lot of errors and issues… the list goes on and on. I don’t blame or fault anyone. It is frustrating that they didn’t do the same (just open their Bible and realize the same thing we did), but I don’t fault them.

            The problem, as I see it, is a ‘blind faith’ dependence on the leaders of the church, not in God. Those are two very different things. For example, a friend recently told me, “Our pastor has 2 doctorate degrees, so I know he knows what he’s talking about”. I asked what his degrees are in. They didn’t know. So they’re confident he is correct and preaching the “truth”, but they don’t know what that truth is based on (what he was educated on).

            It’s further based on churches subscribing to and using teaching materials put together by some “Christian” publishing company, not the Bible itself. The quarterly Sunday School books are written by people who have read the Bible and decided they know what it was saying. So they paraphrase it and put it into “today’s language” so the 10 year olds can understand it, then crammed it down their throats as the “truth”. Again, do you have any clue who the people are who wrote the material you’re using? Have you met them? Have you asked them about their faith? Do you have any clue what they believe?

            As the saying goes – tell someone something long enough and they’ll start to believe it’s the truth whether it really is or not. That is the current state of Christianity. In my opinion, the vast majority of Christian’s have a strong belief and faith, but have no clue whether what they believe is actually true.

    • But was that devastation due to secularism? I don’t think so–in fact, the secularism appears to have been a reaction to all the “God on our side” bloviating from most sides in the first half of the 20th Century. (Communism did its part, sure, but at least it didn’t start a World War.)

  18. Our world has no values, morals. And in the news what kind of news do we hear. A lot that we don’t want our children to learn.

    • When I see the average televangelist, I often say to myself, “What a lack of values and what a lack of morals that charlatan suffers from! He (or she) makes Burt Lancaster in “Elmer Gantry” look like a saint in comparison. Nothing but a con artist waving a Bible and spouting un-Christian nonsense.”

    • So, what else is new Linda? It has been that way from the beginning of human time on this Earth—and what—are you going to somehow stop it when no one in human history—not even God himself—has stopped it? Give all of us a break—please.

    • Actually, we do have values.

      The fact that a small (and ever decreasing) minority of people don’t always follow our values doesn’t mean our values don’t exist.

      And the fact that the news, which has to scare you to keep watching, broadcasts as much bad stuff as they can doesn’t mean that this small minority of people is anything but a small minority.

  19. It is interesting that you paint all American Christians with the same brush as if they were all in perfect agreement about everything. That is a fallacy and could be considered a form of bigotry. There are Christians who look at the bible and see so called “conservatives” don’t have anything in common with Jesus and what he proclaimed.

    Jesus said that people will be judged by how well they treat others. In fact he said that whatever we do to the least of us is what we do to him. We are our brothers keeper. The conservative ideas of capitalism, self-reliance, etc.. are antithetical to the Christian message. For instance the tithe, if you look at what it was supposed to be used for, yes it was to support the church, but it also was supposed to care for widows and the infirm, i.e. a form of what we would now call welfare. The Jewish tradition had the idea of a year of Jubilee, where periodically all debt was erased, can you imagine that today? The early Christians were what we would call today communists, although that didn’t work out very well for them. If the church was doing its job, there wouldn’t need to be welfare, or social security,

    Jesus did say render unto Caesar what is Caeser’s, and unto God what is God’s. That is generally given as a reason we should pay our taxes, but maybe also it is meant for the Church to stay out of politics and concern oneself with God’s work, which is helping others who are less fortunate than you.

    I am trying to make these points just to say that Christians are not necessarily of one mind, and many do not believe we are living in times similar to Soddom and Gamorrah. If you read that biblical story, compared to what was going on in those cities, the world we live in has much higher moral standards.

    There are many believers who believe that the universe is as old as it appears to be, that evolution is real, and that climate change is a huge problem. Saying that American Christians are of a certain way is equivalent to saying all liberals are evil godless hedonists.

    It is not the case that Christian=Conservative, or Christian=Science Denialist. There are many what would be called “liberal” Christians out there, they just usually don’t end up with their own television network.

  20. Great material as usual, John.

    And, even looking merely at sexual ethics, a case can be made that standards of behaviour are higher in many areas in many western societies than they were in the mid-20th century (1940s through 1970s).

    Two examples:

    1. There was a far higher social acceptance of married men cheating in the mid-20th century than there is today.

    2. There was far more of a “look the other way” approach to the sexual abuse of, if not children, at least adolescents in the mid-20th century than there is today.

    I’m sure I can name others.

  21. I think just going back to not having to worry about your children watching tv and seeing little Johnny eating cereal with his “2 dads” or having your daughter required to share a lockerroom shower with a confused boy (or share a room with him on an overnight field trip) is what has so many upset. And rightfully so. Yes, we should concentrate on doing good and spreading the message of Jesus Christ but mocking or dismissing legitimate concerns of Christians is not productive.

    • They are not legitimate concerns. They are fundie imaginations running out of control and running wild with fantasy. You do not seriously think a transgender boy soaked in female hormones; having fully grown tits, and doctor-carved female genitalia wants to have sex with your daughter in a bunk at camp. If you do, I have some swamp land in the Sahara Desert I would like to sell you.

  22. Sometimes when people hanker after the “good old days,” I wonder whether what they miss is Being White in White America. POC are increasing in number and percent of the total population, and this is scary to a lot of white folks.

    • Bingo!!! Dead on target!!! Yes, it was scary to my Uncle Malcolm, who was an avowed racist. It was the oddest thing. If a black child were hungry or needed clothing, he would be glad to help—yet he was a racist. He once told me:

      “Negroes hate us white people—and rightly so. If their people had been the majority race and they had treated us white people the way our white ancestors treated them, we would want to kill off every last one of them. That is why we white people must keep them down, degraded, and under tight control at all times. If they were to ever gain control over us or outnumber us, not a single white person in this country would still be alive when it was all over and done with. And the negroes would be righteous and justified in doing it to us.”

      How is that for a white people and fear narrative for the period 1909-1993?

    • One complicating factor is the ’60s, which was really all about the right of the stuff of Being White in White America to change–and if even White America is different, what then? We’re still living with the conservative reaction (over-correction, if you ask me) to that. Some people miss Being White in White America, while others miss Being Square in Square America, and many of the latter are willing to make America less white if it can be more square again.

      (Others care more about making it less square than making it less white; these tend to be white, of course. Still others put themselves on one side or the other because they’ve got a personal animus against someone–say, white classic-rock fans with a thing against the “leftists” in the “alternative” scene who destroyed a thing they loved.)

  23. I honestly think that people who long for the “good ol’ days” are mistaking their childhood experience for history. Back when I was a kid tv was fun and food just appeared on the table. It was great! But my experience of those days doesn’t mean the mob wasn’t helping elect the president; it doesn’t mean the CIA wasn’t assassinating people overseas; it doesn’t mean Dulles and the proxy government weren’t fomenting unrest that our drafted young men then had to sacrifice their health to play out. Those were bad times — even when measured by family values. These are better times.

    • Right you area Anne. I remember that most Americans lived in fear of a nuclear war throughout the 1950s and almost got one in October 1962. Ask black Americans about the joys of life in the 1950s. Ask Native Americans about the joys of life in the 1950s. Ask poor. sick, and hungry people about the joys of life in the 1950s. And while you are at it, ask all the Christians in town during the 1950s where they were when these people needed help.

      I lived in a poverty-stricken neighborhood; my dad worked 40 hours per week at a hard labor minimum wage job with no health insurance; we had no hot running water in our house; my mom cooked on a coal-burning stove; we did our business in an outhouse in the back yard; and we had no air-conditioning in hot Tennessee summers. On top of that, my mom and dad were both church members, did not drink or do drugs, and were two of the nicest, kindest, and most moral people you would ever want to meet. Did any nonfamily Christians come around to lend a hand? Not a single one that I remember. Did any Christians not of my parents denomination ever come around to lend a hand at our house—not that I ever recall. Did anyone from the so-called Community Chest or Ecumenical Aid group come around to help my family—not a damned one.

      This is what makes me so angry—and I am—about Christian fundamentalists, conservative evangelicals, and right wing extremist Republicans who want to “revise” (read that totally destroy) Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, Food Stamps, etc. They claim they have usurped the charity work of the Lord that rightly belongs to the churches—and we need to go back to the way things were with charity in the 1950s But guess what? I lived the 1950s—and these charitable Christians and their money were nowhere to be found in my large, poor neighborhood located right downtown in Gallatin, Tennessee. I was all over that neighborhood as a kid. Did any of them come to my house? No. Did I ever see them going to another poor person’s house? No. Did the local churches ever collect enough money to provide consistently needed help to people in my poor neighborhood and other poor neighborhoods in my town. No. Rather, 24/7/365 these people and their so-called Christian charity were nowhere to be found—and I seriously doubt that they ever collected enough church money to even scratch the surface of the poverty, sickness, and hunger problems in my town.

      DO NOT listen to them people!!! What I just recounted is the type of Christian charity right wing extremist Republicans and many conservative Christian want us all to go back to. It is a plan where they pocket every extra dime they make, spend it on luxury goods, or save it for a rainy day that is never going to come—and screw all the people Jesus called “the least of these.” There is your American, home-bound, Christian charity of the 1950s for you.

  24. 2 Timothy 3American Standard Version (ASV)

    3 But know this, that in the last days grievous times shall come. 2 For men shall be lovers of self, lovers of money, boastful, haughty, railers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, 3 without natural affection, implacable, slanderers, without self-control, fierce, no lovers of good, 4 traitors, headstrong, puffed up, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God; 5 holding a form of godliness, but having denied the power thereof: from these also turn away. 6 For of these are they that creep into houses, and take captive silly women laden with sins, led away by divers lusts, 7 ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth. 8 And even as Jannes and Jambres withstood Moses, so do these also withstand the truth; men corrupted in mind, reprobate concerning the faith. 9 But they shall proceed no further: for their folly shall be evident unto all men, as theirs also came to be. 10 But thou didst follow my teaching, conduct, purpose, faith, longsuffering, love, patience, 11 persecutions, sufferings; what things befell me at Antioch, at Iconium, at Lystra; what persecutions I endured: and out of them all the Lord delivered me. 12 Yea, and all that would live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution. 13 But evil men and impostors shall wax worse and worse, deceiving and being deceived. 14 But abide thou in the things which thou hast learned and hast been assured of, knowing of whom thou hast learned them; 15 and that from a babe thou hast known the sacred writings which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus. 16 Every scripture inspired of God is also profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for instruction which is in righteousness: 17 that the man of God may be complete, furnished completely unto every good work.
    Jeremiah 9:23-24 American Standard Version (ASV)

    23 Thus saith Jehovah, Let not the wise man glory in his wisdom, neither let the mighty man glory in his might, let not the rich man glory in his riches; 24 but let him that glorieth glory in this, that he hath understanding, and knoweth me, that I am Jehovah who exerciseth lovingkindness, justice, and righteousness, in the earth: for in these things I delight, saith Jehovah.

    • The Bible does not talk about the end of time or the end of the Earth. The term “end times” is not in the Bible. Those who followed Jesus after his death and resurrection were convinced that the so-called “end times” Jesus talked about would occur in their own generation. The scriptures plainly say so. These times today are not the so-called” end times.” They already occurred and have passed. The end referred to by Jesus was the end of Israel as a nation, the diaspora of the Jewish people, and the end of the Old Testament covenant in disaster for Israel.

    • P.S. The bad guys in your scripture quotes above sound an awful lot to me like our modern day Christian fundamentalists and conservative evangelicals—ever learning but never being able to come to knowledge of the truth. Sounds like a dead ringer to me!!!

  25. This post is garbage. There has always been immorality in the world. If you’re to blind to see the obvious decline in morality since 1963 you’re a brainwashed liberal.

    • Perhaps… But THESE DAYS, unlike the “golden”, halcyon, “moral” 1940’s and 1950’s, I’m LESS LIKELY to be SPIT UPON, HAVE A CROSS BURNED ON MY LAWN FOR DARING TO PURCHASE A HOME IN THE ‘WRONG’ NEIGHBORHOOD OR LYNCHED….and when I went to Cairo, Georgia in 1964, the train station had THOSE SIGNS above the water fountains and bathrooms…

      So you will excuse this melanin-enhanced person if I think THESE DAYS are somewhat better

    • Hi Ben. I suppose you think that all American immorality is somehow tied back to the 1963 U.S. Supreme Court ruling that struck down administrator-forced and teacher-forced prayer and Bible study in public schools—particularly fundie forced prayer and Bible study. Tell that to the kid who stole my scissors right out in the open in my first grade class circa 1959 and the classroom teacher who failed to defend me and get my scissors back when I told her what happened. I’m still waiting for those scissors. Then go read the following article on my blog:

      https://faith17983.wordpress.com/2015/11/04/lies-christian-fundamentalists-and-conservative-evangelicals-tell/

    • Ms. Yattwood has a point. Maybe fundies just need a totally depraved world so they can say: “Hey!!! Look at me over here. I’m not like all of THEM. Of course, the reality is that THEY are for the most part just like THEM.

  26. I Jn 2.15 – the reason for “contempt for so much of the world.”

    the world is busy building itself up, but if God is forgot in the process, it is all for naught. the “moral decay” that “other” Christians see has nothing to do with human rights. it has everything to do with disobedience to God. once you erase God from the equation, all that is left is self. and when people are acting in selfishness–Christian and non- alike–that is when you see true evil.

    • Strange thought you got there Bud. A church is on nearly every block in the United States and all over rural areas—and most of them are moderately to completely full on Sunday mornings. The United States is far and away the most Christian and most religious country on Earth. Given that fact, by your reasoning, the United States should be a paradise of sinlessness—but it ain’t. Go explain that away. And while you are at it, go look at Europe where the church is nearly dead and explain why we are in far worse shape than them with gun violence, crime, and all sorts of other things.

      • the presence of a church building, or people therein, does not imply belief in or obedience to God. if you can prove that every person who attends a church service is a follower of Christ, the paradise of “sinlessness” still wouldn’t exist, because the bible tells us we are all sinners, and any Christian knows we are still able to sin after coming to a belief in God’s Son.

        please explain why my reasoning must be pointing to a sinless country, when i did not mean to imply such a state was possible.

    • That’s some weird logic you have there Daniel! Humour me for a second; your statement would suggest that places like Denmark and Scandinavian countries should (according to your argument) be falling into disarray and a moral vacuum. They’re not, in fact, quite the opposite to what is happening in so called God-fearing USA. The USA is still pretty high up the scale of church going nations and yet the take a look around my freind!

      • please do not attempt to make inferences based upon my logic in a particular setting; that’s just rude. also, please read my reply to Charles. “church-going” is not the same as “Christian” any more than “school-going” is the same “intellectual.”

        • @dani’el

          If you don’t want people to make inferences on what you write may I suggest you set up a closed blog for yourself. PS, please don’t infer that I’m rude!

          • it was a request not to take my words out of context. if you are offended by the inference, that is not my doing; they are not my words.

  27. The explanation is that such people are not first-and-foremost Christian. They are authoritarian (in the social-science usage in Bob Altemeyer’s work).

  28. When 110 million Americans have a STD, when half of sexually active teens have a STD, when AIDS is on the rise instead of the decline, there is moral decay. Sure we have advanced on civil rights and women’s rights, but the counter culture has increased disease through massive STD infections, death through 61 million plus abortions, with aboriton being the number one kille of African Americans to the point where they community has a population decline negating any rights we may have acheived for it, and with $20 trillion dollars of deficit, with half of that being in the last 8 years, we are just 9 years away from the debt consuming all taxation to the point of no money being available for social security or any government spending in the budget thus bankrupting us, so the boomers counter culture can add crippling deficit to the inheritance they have left the later generations, and the builders are to be condemend to because they did not stop this in the 80;s and 90’s when they could.

    Disease, death, and deficit – if these are not signs of moral decay in our nation, I do not know what else is.

    • 1) Having an STD is not a sign of sexual immorality. It is a sign of a lot of people not going to see their doctor to get checked out.

      2) Abortion is not a defined sin in the Bible and nowhere in the Bible does it define a fetus as a person. You have to twist, contort, and subvert the Bible text to make abortion a sin. As for 61, 000, 000 abortions, Christian fundamentalists and conservative evangelicals are directly responsible for about 57,000,000 of those abortions because they turned down an agreement to limit abortions to ONLY situations involving rape, incest, and when the mother’s life is in danger. It was offered to them on a silver platter as a compromise, and they turned it. They said 0 abortions—or we walk. Learn some American history!!!

      3) Our nation is in debt because right wing extremist Republicans. led by unelected gadfly Grover Norquist, have prevented tax increases for nearly 30 years. What happens when your income gets frozen for 30 years? Yeah. That is right!!! You become unable to pay your bills. Do you seriously think the Democrats are ever going to allow the shutdown of Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, etc? Not a chance in the world—and the American people will never let them. The answer—and I think the correct answer—is to hit high income Americans and people like you with enormous taxes to make up the ground lost by 30 years of right wing extremist irresponsibility in taxation. And we will not even talk about the fact that the same right wing extremist Republicans who decry the national debt to high Heaven ran up about half of it themselves.

      Go over to my blog, read about , and view the film clip on recent Christian fundamentalist and conservative evangelical political history. Talk about sin!!! Here is your link:

      https://faith17983.wordpress.com/

      • Charles, abortion is not a moral issue . It’s a human rights issue to me. Up to the point that a fetus can not feel pain or is not fully formed, let’s say up to week 16, I could agree that yes, it can be a choice for nonbelievers who dont hold religious views, but past that is cruel whatever you are, believer or not. It’s inhuman, cold blood murder, I cant imagine the pain those little ones go through…
        I dont care what the law says, a person is a person no matter when the law says so.

      • Psalms 139:14-16, Jeremiah 1:5, and there is many other examples through out the bible of Jehovah seeing a child in the womb.

    • The KKK, government condoned racism and race segregation and illegal wars. These are signs of moral decay. PS you could clear up your deficit fairly quickly, just stop spending so much tax payers money on weapons of mass destruction, wars and global conflicts.

  29. I appreciate the sentiment expressed, but this guy is delusional. When I was a kid (so within just one lifetime) we didn’t lock our doors at night; we routinely left the keys in the cars or even running. And I mean in major cities or populated suburbs. Try that tomorrow.

    90% of marriages stayed together, for better or worse. And it was almost always better for the children’s development. There was no need for metal detectors or cops in schools. An unwed mother was almost unheard of. I can go on and on. Even by secular standards of social health, we have massively deteriorated and continue to fall.

    There were no kids drugged out on psychotropics. There were no mom’s killing their own children or committing suicide in front of them. These things are not simply more visible now because of the internet. There is a total change in the makeup of our culture.

    Movies and tv are literally filled with evil and death and perverse dark themes. Everything is much more overt, intense and disgusting.

    People ARE much colder on the whole (not everyone). The gang culture of insane violence and cruelty is beyond anything we have known.

    • Truth, what you are describing is a time when women got beaten up by their husbands and either put up with it or were disgraced later for leaving a violent situation. You are describing a time where men felt justified to bully women into submission and later boasted about it on the golf course. You are talking about a time when violence was used in schools to ‘discipline’ our children thus perpetuating the mistaken notion that problems can be solved through violence. You are talking about a time when the terms ‘inequality’ and ‘discrimination’ were laughed at as stupid ideas put forward by weak-minded people. You are talking about a time where priests and other religious ministers were not questioned for their actions. Should I go on..?

      • You’e just saying things without stats. I would venture to say that domestic abuse was not as rampant as it is today back then. People aren’t desiring those specific times back, they’re desiring a time when people were more honest and we had good morals as a whole. They are not wanting husbands to beat their wives.

  30. 1) If we have more crime now, it is probably because of the increase in population. People have always stolen things, and it gets worse when right wing extremists hold their foots down on the necks of poor people in myriad ways that prevent them from ever getting and holding a good job. Yes, stealing is wrong. But you know what? If a poor African-American or Hispanic man steals your car tomorrow and ruins it, I am not going to shed a tear for you because I figure that is most likely just Karmic justice in operation.

    2) On the marriages, I suppose the women should have just stayed in the marriage and took the beatings for the sake of the children—or did mom leave for the sake of the children. You figure it out.

    3) Christians in my family were having plenty of sex with each other outside of marriage right and left in the late 1800s and early 1900s—when their was no birth control pill. We have genealogical proof of it. The baby popped out, and momma would say, “Why Jim, look at our new baby. He looks just like you.” He was really cousin Fred’s baby. There was plenty of sexual immorality in the old days, The difference between then and now is that they hid it better in the old days and it is out in the open now.

    4) People were using drugs right and left in the old days too. Even the first Coca-Cola contained cocaine. Marijuana and opioids were in common use, and opioids could be bought across the counter at the local drugstore like aspirin. We won’t even talk about alcohol and tobacco in the old days. You would not believe the number of glass alcohol and tobacco bottles we found in the filled in 1880-1890s cisterns at the 1982 World’s Fair site in historically conservative and religion-soaked Knoxville, Tennessee. Local companies gave their blue collar workers beer to consume during the work day while doing their jobs. It is a matter of historical record in Knoxville.

    5) You apparently missed the ball peen hammer murders of the 1950s. Daughter gets pregnant. Dad gets angry. Dad bashes in the skull of little Cindy with the round end of the hammer while she sleeps quietly in bed. Suicides, murders, and all that stuff happened right and left in the old days—including serial killings.

    5) The movies do not have a sign above the screen saying: “Go out and do this.” They are just stories. Every story, imaginary or otherwise on this planet, can contain bad people who do bad things. What if we were to make the Bible into a Movie? It would get an “R” rating for sure. Listen closely fundie: “The purpose of media is not to teach the American people how they should live their lives. It never has been.” They are just stories—sometimes stories with dark themes. But hey!!! Ff there was ever a story about a dark theme, go take a look at Job and Ecclesiastes.

    6) Gang violence is beyond anything we have ever known? Try taking a close look at the way we treated the American Indians and take a look at the American Civil War. Talk about insane violence and cruelty!!!

    I think your primary problem is that you are a fundie who knows little to nothing about the history of your own culture. Sin was widespread in the past just like it has been in every human generation. Some generations are just better at hiding it and playing it down than others are. Sorry to burst your bubble, but it needed it.

    • Thank you charles. But it’s no surprise really, that so many of us have such a narrow and ego centric view of the world, and our own minuscule space & time within it. I say “us” because I think of the human race as one big family. We’re really all the same, differentiated only by the beliefs that dictate our every move. Some lack overall vision because they are so stuck in these stories.

    • We don’t have more crime now. In fact, we have less. Have you noticed how news shows have to go farther and farther afield these days for their sensational crime stories?

  31. You are aware, are you not, that since the 1950’s people arriving from Cuba by any means were given special consideration and were never treated in the same manner as immigrants, legal or illegal, from any other country?

  32. I think it’s less about galvanizing a moral movement (haw-haw) and more about selling products. Evangelicalism in America has turned into Big Business, with the same primary, inhuman concern (bottom-line profits) and the same (fear-mongering) tactics to achieve it.

  33. “This country is in moral decline. I just wish we would return to our Christian values and turn back to God.”

    What I hear them saying is “I just wish we would return to MY personal version of Christian values because I (and the televangelists I follow on cable TV) know THE TRUTH.”

  34. Sodom was not condemned because of homosexuality. There are two places in the Bible where what happened to Sodom is interpreted. One is in Jude, and it’s the one we tend to point to when we want to say Sodom was condemned because of homosexuality, but even there it isn’t explicitly mentioned: “Likewise, Sodom and Gomorrah and the surrounding cities, which, in the same manner as they, indulged in sexual immorality and pursued unnatural lust, serve as an example by undergoing a punishment of eternal fire” (Jude 7). “Pursued unnatural lust” here in the NRSV is what the King James Bible translated as “going after strange flesh.” But it’s not clear that is a reference to homosexual activity.

    The other place where the sin of Sodom is made explicit is Ezekiel 16:49: “This was the guilt of your sister Sodom: she and her daughters had pride, excess of food, and prosperous ease, but did not aid the poor and needy.” Not one word there about sex, but a WHOLE LOT about conspicuous consumption and indifference to the poor.

    • Agree! However, the story of Sodom and Gomorrah continues to be endorsed by many as the prime example of God’s rath and condemnation of homosexuality. How far from the truth can this interpretation be! Why would God focus solely on homosexual men, a tiny number by comparison to the vast majority heterosexual community, to warn against immorality? Is no one else immoral, just gay men? Are heterosexuals immune from immorality? Are the immoral things that heterosexuals carry out a non-event and God simply turns a blind eye to them? How ridiculous! The story of Sodom and Gomorrah was historically hijacked by the established church, manoplolised, re-invented and spewed out with venom to vindictively attack a very small sector of the community who are no more or less moral than anyone else. This is a classic example of psychological displacement. By displacing my iniquities into a group which is considered ‘outside’ the norm I do not then have to reflect so much on my own behaviour. Furthermore, it gives license to irrational thinking and the notion that other ills of the world have their origins outside my group and in a small minority of people who refuse to conform. It is classical displacement behaviour and religious leaders, established churches and politicians are capitalising on this. Consider it abuse of religious marketing or false advertising for personal gain.

    • Because they are set forth in the Book of Genesis, which is not a trustworthy scientific or historical text, the tale of Sodom and Gomorrah is probably an ancient legend passed down by word of mouth for generations and finally set down on paper for the first time in the much later Davidic period. Instead, in the Bible, these two cities are a metaphor for what the Presbyterians would call the “total depravity of mankind.” Notice also that Lot, having in him some measure of righteousness loved by God, also exhibits such utter depravity himself by how he treats his daughters in this tale—the message being that even the best of us in God’s eyes are almost totally soaked in sin. We do not like to admit that—and fundies especially do not like to admit it in their self-assigned role as “God’s pure and chaste little darlings”—but it is nonetheless true.

  35. I would like to point out something here—just for you so-called Christians who might have missed it. The Christian faith is not all about moralism and a moral code. Read Chapter IV entitled “Moralism” in the book “The Subversion of Christianity” by Jacques Ellul. Jacques Ellul is a famous Christian writer in France (now deceased). You people who think Christianity is all about rules, regulations, and moral absolutes will get your bubble pin-pricked might damned fast.

  36. I think the argument is framed wrong. Does the world go to hell in a hand basket because they mistreat some group of people? Or instead, are people going to hell in a handbasket because they don’t love God with all their heart and soul and mind?

    I think the question should be, “are we loving God with all our hearts?” Which of course is hard for me to answer for anybody else.

    I think we should all look at ourself and ask, “could I be convicted in a court of law for loving God with all my heart?”

  37. I am thankful for this article & all the ensuing discussion, which has given me much to think & pray. I am encouraged that there are so many people thinking & having the courage to speak….

  38. So where is the biblical proof to back up any argument here? Aren’t you Christians? Are these the posting of those that want a God to fit their agenda? A god that only needed when you want then gets crapped canned any other time. All this talk by so many that claim they know God yet nothing from God’s word to back or up.

    Yes, yes bring up the short comings of things from the past. Oh those horrible, imperfect humans look at them they confess to be followers of God and don’t walk on water like all of think they should.

    Shame on them reciting the word of God and when no one likes what they hear or it convicts them they make it all up funny they didn’t come up with this God did.

    Seeing what was done to many of the apostles in the cruel manner they were killed doesn’t it dawn on you spiritual brainiacs that would anyone be willing to die for a lie? All the apostles were eye witnesses to Jesus and his ministry. Would you die for something you made up? I want there when Lincoln was shot so how do I know it’s true? Because a book said so?
    The bible says God is the same today as he was yesterday. He never changes he never will. The problem I see are Christians who want to put God in a nice neat box. Churches and pastors who preach messages that feel good so they will not rock the boat. People who want God to fit their lifestyle and not what God has so easily laid out. His word and teachings are simple it is corruptible man that changed the rules.
    God isn’t responsible for how your life plays out nor is he responsible for the horrors of this world. All of that is our fault as imperfect humans and not adhering to God’s perfect plan. We were given free will to follow or not follow just as we do our children. We hope they will live their lives as we raised them and trained them up to do. However, they choose good from bad and pay the consequences for their decisions. Just as we do when we choose a path different from God.
    God is the final judge not me or any other Christian and I feel many of us forget this. If any Christian does crack open his bible and studies it will see don’t judge others for you will be judged. We are in no position to judge anyone.
    People need to put their faith and trust in what God says not what some televangelist says, or a church with an agenda or a person spewing hate hiding behind God.
    So what is so bad about God’s teachings? What is there to be so fearful and angry about? All the things men claim they want is found in God it’s men that wish not to Follow them.
    God is God his words are true no matter how much many of you want to water it down. I know what he has done int life. I wasn’t some church kid, some holy roller far from it. If not for God I wouldn’t be here, is not for his grace I’d still be in living into own darkness that would have costed me my own life.
    Say what you will, mock God if he isn’t real and you choose to follow him and all of it wasn’t true what have you lost? But think what you’ll gain when you learn it is true.
    Get in the word of God, read it yourself there are many bibles in print today that are worded to be easily understood no thees and thous just plain simple text. Look for yourself and trust that not in the deeds of the past created by imperfect people claiming they know God. From the new living translation bible “Claiming to be wise, they instead became utter fools.” Romans 1:22 go find the wisdom for yourselves may Jesus Christ bless you in all you do.

    • You do realize, I hope, that that Bible is not inerrant, it has numerous internal contradictions, and it was never meant to be read literally like a comic book. If not, you should know that most of these notions you have about the Bible are recent and they were imposed on the Bible from outside of it. Christians had never read the Bible literally up until it was dumped into the laps of a bunch of American hayseeds back in the late 19th century. Go study the history of the Christian faith worldwide and come back when you know what you are talking about.

  39. Not impressed with this little article … incredibly pessimistic, and believe me, that short list of the “good Ole days” is not synonymous with so much of American history, and I can say that as a Canadian. To this writer, I’d say a little bit of ‘do your homework’ and understand and authentically appreciate some of our roots; and yes, no one’s arguing that there weren’t slave owners, but they were a pitifully small fraction of Americans, yes there were groups like the KKK, but again they were a pitifully small representation of what America was and has persistently stood for.
    But, my primary contention with this article is that his demeanor seems to be somewhat satisfied with ANY moral decay, wither it’s sexual, material, or, likely spremely, intellectual. My current eschatology is not what I grew up with, but a living hope that– as the most often quoted vs from the OT in the NT says, the Lord is now waiting for his enemies–all of them “to be made a footstool for his feet.” Yes, I’m sure that includes slavery, but also the thousands of sexual perversions you can pick up live on any screen these days–as well as the myriad forms of perversion and injustice running rampant in our and most societies these days. And that is how I am an optimist these days.

    • I hardly know what to say to a comment like that. It sounds like you are looking forward to watching God beat some ass. Have you ever considered the possibility that you may be part of that ass? I think every fundie should give that deep consideration because Jesus said that even the whores would make it into Heaven before people like you do.

  40. Okay fundies. Let us assume you are right and American culture is the worst pit of immorality in world history. Take a look at this music video and tell me everything that Jesus hates about the contents of this video—and tell me how you would change it to make Jesus happy:

  41. A very creative exercise in assembling words to express an opinion that cannot be supported by the facts quoted. The construction of this position fails in an area of argumentation known as “Begging The Question.” This is where the premise is contrasted with that which is absurd or too strange to be considered as an acceptable alternative.
    Contrasting this list:
    To women not being able to vote?
    To people owning slaves?
    To segregation?
    To street pistol duels and packs of vigilantes meting out justice in the town square?
    To organized crime running urban police forces?
    To women being marital property?

    To what you have decided is acceptable is intellectual folly and to the intelligent makes this article look like an excuse to be critical of that which you do not like.

    Flaws can be found, but this article has not exposed the supposed flaws that can be logically critiqued. An English teacher may assign a grade of ‘C’ or better for creativity, but factual basis would not go above a “D-“.

    • I say old boy. Do you always write with such absence of clarity? I could feel your peach fuzz scraping my eyeballs as it was going into my pupils. In addition, you failed to provide specific examples of how John’s text can be expressed better. Moreover, your writing style was odd to say the least—considering that your opening statement is not even a complete grammatical sentence. If I were you, I would take that Ph. D. back to its source and ask for a refund.

      John is a friend of mine. Do not mess with my friend’s writing when yours is just as bad or worse. I might have to ask one of the boys to break your legs.

      • Sean, sighting your degrees in an attempt to win an argument is faulty logic. Surely they taught you that. Your degrees mean jack.

        • David, I apologise if my statement came across as conceited – not my intention at all mate. I rarely bring up my qualifications. I was just initiating some light banter as I genuinely was confused, that’s all; more tongue-in-cheek than anything else. Hope we’re OK?

          Thanks Charles for support, I appreciate it! Make sure you stick around. Definitely miss you if you left blog!

          Sean

    • A voice of reason in an avalanche of rhetoric. Nothing fouler than the stench of religious hypocrisy clothed in christian ideology! What would Yeshua do? He may have thrown the money changers from the temple, today he might also burn the temple! The good old days, like the inquisition and crusades, persecution of indigenous people around the world for almost a thousand years! Yeah gimme that old time religion, on second thought go to hell!

  42. Luke 17:26 says that the last days will be like the days of Noah. Yes, the church should be standing outside of what the world does.

    There is certainly a moral decay in this country when people will literally call good “evil” (Calling Dan Cathy a bigot) and evil “good” (When people say that legalizing gay marriage is a step in the right direction).

    The moral issues you cited were a very simple strawman argument. When Christians say that they want the morals of the early 20th century in America, they are wanting the Azusa Street Revivals; not slavery. Nobody is arguing that women not being able to vote goes along with good morals.

    There were moral problems in the passed, and there are moral problems in the present. But that does not mean that there has not been a moral decline in America as you seem to be suggesting.

    I don’t see any solid evidence to support your claim and I don’t see any scripture to go along with what you’re writing to make this article anything more than just your “opinion” or based off of your feelings.

    Aside from all this, I’m not sure what your motivation for writing this article is. Maybe to let people accept the bad things that are happening as they always have? I’m afraid of people reading this and thinking that they should be passive about what’s going on.

    • Micah. You are one sick fundie puppy who has been brainwashed with fundie propaganda. to where you sound like the parrot sitting on the shoulder of the peg-legged preacher at Possum Bottom Baptist Church in Worm Wiggle, Alabama.

      1) Prove with empirical evidence and/or scripture that our current days are your so-called last days. Nowhere does the Bible state that the year 2016 is part of the last days. Oh sure, we have plenty of sin to go around—but so has every other year in human history.

      2) Republicans and fundie Christians who want to get rid of Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid—-and by so doing throw the poor, old, and sick out into the streets like animals to fend for themselves—is a perfect example of you fundies calling good evil and evil good. “Me thinks the pot is calling the kettle black.”

      3) Azusa Street Revivals. No. We do not need a bunch of people in epileptic convulsions shouting “Yabba-Daba-Doo” to the Heavens. What we need is for Christian fundamentalists, conservative evangelicals, and Pentacostals to go back into the New Testament, memorize the words and actions of Jesus—and then go out into the world to do all those things. It was not happening 100 years ago, and it is not happening now—which is why these three faith traditions are morally and theologically bankrupt—and most important of all—-drained of LOVE. Everyone on the planet can see your bankruptcy except for you—and that is why no one has any respect for you outside of your own small religious communities.

      4) Demonstrate with scripture and/or actual evidence that human sin is far more abundant today in 2016 than it was in any past year in human history—and for each year in human history—I want you to count every cave, house, and mud hut, count the human beings in each one, and give me an annual sin tally taken for every person in every cave, house, and hut. If you cannot do that, then all you are offering is your opinion, or you are parroting some country hick preacher’s opinion.

      5) You have got to be kidding. You honestly think that you and your backwoods fundie buddies are going to drive out all the sin in the world? Give me a break!!! God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit have been working on that problem for 5,000,000 years—but you and your fundie buddies are going to best them inside 70 years and make American culture clean, pure, and free from sin. You sound like that dead idiot Rushdoony. Have you been smoking his pipe?

    • I’m sorry did we just read the same article? John and passive are not two words that I would ever try to align. Just out of curiosity could you explain your non-passive strategy to reverse the so-called perception of moral decline in the US. Specifics please nothing vague like I would get people to read the bible. Cheers!

  43. I have to respectfully disagree with almost this entire article. I do know that America is just a nation made up of people and people have always done bad things but I definitely will also say that we have declined as a nation that once served God and now are suffering the natural consequences of that. When a country that was founded on biblical principles no longer allows the teaching of creation in schools, is so aggressively fighting to take out the “one nation under God” in the pledge of allegiance, is killing millions of babies a year, is allowing homosexuals to get married, and now debating or wether ordering our schools to allow boys to go into girls facilities and visa-versa I would definitely say our country is in a moral decline. I will say there are things in the article that I agree with but most of it including the title is to me one of the problems in and of it self of why we are morally declining. Because Christian are sitting back and allowing it and not standing up for what they believe in. It’s a lot easier to turn a blind eye then to attempt to deal with the issues.

    DISCLAIMER!!
    I am not one to get into arguments online and do not intend to insult anyone or argue with them over this. Just simply putting my opinion out there and you can take it or leave it 🙂

    • DISCLAIMER: Just to let you know, I am not going to let you off easy:

      1) I work with American history in my career field, and America was not founded on religious principles. My best guess is that you got this tripe from David Barton—a man with no college-level academic background in American history or any other kind of history. Many Christians and nonChristians also consider him to be an outright liar about American history. He is a historical revisionist who is trying to give American Christian fundamentalists and conservative evangelicals a false American history that better suits their taste than real American history. Just in case you wanted to know the truth, America was founded on drug addiction and lust for great riches. Just ask the historians at Jamestown (1607) who got there 13 years earlier than than pilgrim settlements in New England. The Jamestown colonists fed Great Britain’s addiction to tobacco, and historical records clearly indicate the Jamestown colonists came to find precious metals like gold and silver.

      2) So-called creation science is false science and false Christian doctrine that should never be taught in any public schools. It has been thoroughly refuted by real science, and whole libraries of scientific information and data back it up consistently. Teaching it also violates the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, an amendment that—Thank God—prevents people like you from peddling such pseudoscience nonsense to my United Methodist Church children at their public schools. I live in a town where that is not likely to ever happen. However, if I ever catch a fundie science teacher pumping creation science ideas to my children’s heads, I am going to hire a lawyer and have her skinned alive in U.S. District Court.

      3) The “one nation under God” was not an original part of the Pledge of Allegiance. It was added much later in the 1950s as part of the Cold War effort. I think it is more than a little ironic that you claim the United States is a nation with declining morals and is far away from God, yet you are brazen enough in the next sentence to say that we are “one nation under God.” That is precisely what it means when the 10 Commandments say: “Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain.”

      4) Abortion is not a defined sin in the Bible and nowhere in the Bible does it define a fetus as a person. You have to twist, contort, and subvert the Bible text to make abortion into a sin. As for 61, 000, 000 abortions, Christian fundamentalists and conservative evangelicals are directly responsible for about 57,000,000 of those abortions because they turned down an agreement to limit abortions to ONLY situations involving rape, incest, and when the mother’s life is in danger. It was offered to them on a silver platter as a compromise, and they turned it. They said 0 abortions—or we walk. They walked and condemned 57,000,000 fetuses by doing it. Learn some American history!!!

      5) Regardless of whether gay marriage or transgenderism is a sin, we have a Biblical obligation to Jesus to be kind and merciful to LGBTQ people and to love them as our neighbors. Apart from the Bible, Americans have a responsibility under the U.S. Constitution to ensure that every free person in the United States has the same civil rights that all other Americans have. Most of current the anti-LGBTQ movement in the United States consists of Christian fundamentalists and conservative evangelicals because being unkind, mean to people, unmerciful, and full of hate for their neighbors is what fundies are famous for from coast to coast. We other Christians outside your ranks do not want to have any part in this persecution of LGBTQ people because we strongly disagree with your faith tradition. Fundies will never win this fight to persecute LGBTQ people. Millions of Christians like me and many Christian denominations are against you. American businesses with enormous amounts of money to fight are against you. The federal courts are against you. The Democrats and many Independents are against you. Millions of non Christian Americans are against you. Gods support for you is questionable at best. You fundies are once again on the inevitable losing end of the gay and transgender issues. Banging the heel of my leather sole shoe on the United Nations podium: “Your children will grow up with love and respect for LGBTQ people.”

  44. ‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your mind and all your soul’
    ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself’

    It comes down to these two things, really.

    The issues facing the United States are as old as the country itself….I’ve become enthralled with the absolutely amazing ‘Hamilton’ written by genius Lin-Manuel Miranda…and Trump, Clinton, Sanders and the rest – our times are, in some ways, not all that different than those of the Founding Fathers — because in every generation of humankind, the question arises: ‘Who is my neighbor that I am to love as myself?’ Who is that person that I see has having the same rights and privileges that I accord to myself and others resembling me?

    A slave brought from Africa
    A member of the First Nations
    An Irish indentured servant
    A woman
    A Chinese laborer
    A Protestant
    A Catholic
    A non-theist
    An evangelical
    A fundamentalist
    An illegal immigrant
    A member of the LGBTQI community
    Anyone who is Other than myself; anyone with opinions and views different than mine

  45. Correct Ms. Yattwood. I have this personal fantasy about Judgement Day. On one fine day, God calls in all the fundies, Klansmen, policemen with clubs in Birmingham, George Wallace types, etc. in for judgement. The courtroom is called to order and God makes an introductory statement to those gathered in the courtroom:

    “Good morning ladies and gentlemen. Before these proceedings begin, I would like to set the tone for the day’s deliberations by making a short statement—one of my favorites really—so here goes:

    Before Abraham was………………….I IS.”

  46. Because a society was not living up to God’s standards 100 years ago doe not justify what we are doing today. We were in the process of pushing God out of society then, and have ramped that up to grave proportions today. As God is pushed out of schools, the public square, and yes… churches He will leave it until they repent or lies in ruin (all empires in the past have followed the same rise and decline since man’s fall. Read Romans 1:18 ff on God’s thoughts about thinking naturally about man’s ways.

  47. The “decay” criers also tend to overwhelmingly believe in an imminent (or semi-imminent) end of days. Once you stop expecting the world to end – and realize that if it does, it will be because we ourselves destroyed the environment – you realize that there’s more good in the world now than at any point in human history. You’re also inspired to help that trend continue. Personally, I want humans to be in it for the long haul. Keep calm, and carry on!

    • The fundies are all about evangelism—so much so that they forget and ignore much of what the Bible says on various issues. They have all sorts of little tricks they would probably describe as “one of the greatest little evangelism tools ever created.” One of those trick tools is “all of time and the whole world end just three minutes from now—so better make your decision for Jesus quick—before time runs out.” After people flood to the altar in fear, the evangelists get together and say: “Did you see what Brother Bill did last night. His evangelistic penis is much bigger than ours. If he keeps up like this in his salvation statistics, he may form his own evangelism ministry—and may get support from the convention.”

  48. My mom, who was born in the mid-1940s, says when she was growing up her family had an understanding that children were never to be left alone with a certain uncle. That same uncle is suspected of assaulting his wife on at least one occasion. Things weren’t better; the secrets were kept better.

  49. “Worse still, is when our Christian witness in the world, is marked by contempt for so much of the world.”

    I’m curious. I hear Christians use the word “witness” and I don’t know what they mean in this context. Can someone define it for me? Thanks!

    • Yes. It means what you say to other people about how repenting of your sins and turning to Jesus radically changed your life—the way you invite someone to become a fundie Christian. Your witness is sometimes put into a little personal soliloquy entitled “My Testimony,” meaning like a witness in a court of law. Christian fundamentalists and conservative evangelicals offer their personal testimony to unsaved nonChristians as a “deal sweetener” and a form of persuasion to entice new Christians to come into the Jesus Club and be members. Most nonfundie Christians do not have and are not encouraged to ever have any sort of “My Testimony,” at least not in my experience. The development of a “My Testimony” is commonly encouraged in Baptist churches, especially those located in the American South.

      Not having a “My Testimony” can be frightening and disconcerting socially if you live in the American South or are planning to move there. For example, you might have a wine tasting party if you live near Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. But if you live in Possum Ruckus, Alabama, and are invited to a Friday night party, no wine will be present. Instead, there will just be your host Ramona, who at one point in the party will say:

      “Oooooooo!!! I know what would be fun for this party. All y’all guests come and gather around me—form a circle. We will now sit on the floor, go around to each person in the circle, and each person will tell the rest of us their “Personal Testimony” about what Jesus Christ has done for their life. Would you please start us off Beverly, and then we will just go around the circle counterclockwise from her? Ooooooo!!! This is gonna be so much fun!!!”

      In fact, Ramona is the only one in the room who thinks this is fun. The people in the circle, especially if they grew up in Chicago, NY, or LA, are frightened out of their wits that anyone would put them on the spot like this. I have had this done to me in the past by fundies gathered at parties—and it is most unpleasant. Promising to never be caught in this fundie trap again, I carry the following personal testimony around in my wallet for any “Partying Ramona” I might encounter, and I read it aloud when it becomes my turn to give “My Testimony” in the circle. If you have just moved to the American South, please feel free to copy mine, put it in your wallet, and use it the next time one of these idiots like Ramona pulls you into an impromptu circle at a party. Here is My Testimony:

      “Before I accepted Jesus, I was addicted to crack, heroin, alcohol, ecstasy, and seven other dangerous drugs—and cigarettes. I was schizophrenic, bipolar, and stark raving mad. I was also blind in both eyes—and all my arms and legs had been amputated at the trunk of my body. Everyone in my family died on the same day—even the uncles, aunts, and cousins—leaving me totally alone in the world. I had no friends in the world, and even though I had health insurance, my doctor would not even see me. Then in the twinkling of an eye in the tent revival down at the Independent Fundamental Baptist (IFB) Church, I was shot through with fear, accepted Jesus as my Lord and Savior like a bawling baby, and escaped from Hell. In that very moment, the Spirit of the Lord seized me, and instantly, all of my drug addictions ceased, my mental illnesses went away, the scales fell from my eyes, all four limbs reappeared on my body, all of my relatives came back to life again—and I got a doctor’s appointment. I grabbed both poles of the battery in God’s Ford Thunderbird, and I felt the power of the Lord surging through my body!!! Praise the Lord!!!! Praise the Lord!!! Praise the Lord!!!”

      Does that help answer your question?

      • Like most liberals, you have picked a narrative to malign the point. The good old days had sin as well yes. But there was virtue in this country that is now gone. The decline in church membership is what Christians are woeful of. The lack of youth being trained to pray for and trust in the Strength of the Almighty. Fear of the Lord brings wisdom, and the one true fear we should have, is no longer in place. Ripe for judgment.

        • If you think it’s a Liberal slant, I’m curious why. Yes, admittedly it is more of a Leftist view to separate church and state (which was Jefferson’s original intent). But honestly, I’ve never understood the relationship between conservative politics and the Evangelical population. Really, and this is only my opinion, but it seems very hollow and manipulative to use religion to score political clout.

          And unfortunately, no, this country has never had “virtue” in the sense that people believe it has. This is a country borne of great men and women, but at all times this country has had it’s maledictions. George Washington was an unapologetic slaveholder. Thomas Jefferson had many children with his slaves (some of whom he later freed). Benjamin Franklin really liked prostitutes. America wasn’t built as a theocracy the way people believe. It was built as a patchwork of opposing theocrasies. The whole concept of America as God’s chosen country stems from the idea of the Puritans settling a religious country, but really these were religious fundamentalists that were essentially exiled out of England. New England is made up of small states because each one had its own state-mandated religion. Rhode Island was formed by dissidents from Massachusetts. New York and Pennsylvania were uncharacteristically large for northern colonies simply because they offered religious tolerance. The southern colonies were afforded more land simply because they were founded by members of the Anglican Church. Virginia in particular was founded in honor of Queen Elizabeth I, and originally included the land that would later become West Virginia and Kentucky. The virtue of America, if it ever was, has never been extended equally. Jews have never had a particularly strong presence (Philadelphia and New York City were of few cities to welcome Jews). Blacks have been persecuted almost from the onset. The Native American First Nations have suffered unspeakably from their first contact with Europeans. This notion of a country of morals is only a fantasy. Nothing in history validates it. Some see the weaker American forces over-powering the military superiority of Great Britain as divine providence, but that view discounts how unpopular the Revolution was in Parliament, how much it cost the Crown to send forces overseas, and how large a role the French played in defeating the British (the American Revolution ultimately sparked the French revolution).

          People are moral. Nations cannot be. This is not a bad thing. Morals are inherently individual. What I find to be morally correct or reprehensible is solely a product of my own views. I have no rights under man or god to force that view on others. There is no such thing as universal morality. But nations can be ethical. The whole concept of rights stems from ethics and what seems to be the greater issue here, perhaps the greatest threat to Christianity in America is that more and more, ethics are being divorced from organized religions. Atheism is the second-largest “religion” in the country, and it’s prevalence is stronger in the younger generation. Truth be told, if not for the influx of predominantly Catholic Hispanic immigrants, the percentage of non-Christians would be higher.

          We have come to a point nationally where the Seven Tenets of The Satanic Temple are more ethically valid than the Ten Commandments of the Old Testament.

          And again, I personally don’t see this so much as a decay so much as a social evolution. The laws of the land are supposed to be in the best interest of the populace. One may not support same-sex marriage from the perspective of their religion, but laws of the state don’t actually infringe on one’s right to be offended or to disagree. Quite contrary, however, refusing the rights of same-sex couples is demonstrably and infringement of human rights. It may be within one’s morals to deny a gay couple the right to marry, but such is an affront to ethics, and this divide must either be rectified (Christianity has repeatedly in history been used to deny rights to particular groups: women, blacks, Native Americans, gays, Jews…) or else the current social evolution away from organized religion will only continue.

  50. The explosion of pornography (facilitated by technology) – both in terms of its ready availability and widespread consumption – is an unambiguous and undeniable indicator of precipitous moral decline in our country over the past 20-30 years.

    So is the increased tendency toward depictions of graphic violence and disregard for the sanctity of human life that is manifested in what passes for entertainment today (video games, movies, comics, etc.).

    Mr. Pavlovitz correctly asserts, in so many words, that the sin nature has exerted its corrupting influence on all humans throughout history, and that sin and evil (along with occasional spurts of human good) have always been with us. But perhaps he has not lived long enough to observe the gradual “frog-in-the-pot-of-water” decline in both morality and civility that has taken place over the past 60 years.

    Not coincidentally, during this same period, regular church/synagogue attendance has also slipped dramatically.

    Perhaps in another 20-30 years, Mr. Pavlovitz will revisit his assessment with the benefit of more experience and, hopefully, greater discernment.

    Here’s a bit of insight some might appreciate: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YjntXYDPw44&feature=youtu.be

  51. Maybe you’re not aware of the story of Kitty Genovese, who was attacked and stabbed multiple times, while numerous people in her neighborhood watched and did nothing. That was in 1964.

    http://www.nytimes.com/1964/03/27/37-who-saw-murder-didnt-call-the-police.html

    The only difference between then and now is video.

    Nowadays we think children are more vulnerable to abduction because we see the same story of the same child multiple times on 24-hour news. We think we’re more vulnerable to terrorism because the story of the same attack is similarly repeated. Our brains process each repetition of the story as a separate event, so we begin to feel like “OMG our children are in danger and terrorists are right around the corner!!” when the reality is that children are in less danger of abduction now than they were when I was a child (early 1970s), and the chances of being killed by a terrorist are miniscule compared to other dangers we face. The difference between the early 1970s and today is 24-hour news channels.

    There has always been sin, and the capacity for human beings to commit horrific atrocities against others is pretty much infinite. The Christian answer is to work against violence, and respond with compassion to people who are suffering. That, too, has been going on as long as there have been Christians–but it doesn’t make the news.

    • I agree. It is like old people watching one detective or crime show after another on TV. After a while, they come to believe that the crimes they see on TV are occurring on every street corner and in nearly every American home. This is usually followed by adoption of the creed: “There is just so much meanness in the world these days.” (Say that with a quaking granny voice.)

      This was brought home to me in spades one day when my car broke down on a peaceful city street in the small town where I live. I knocked on the door of a small house and explained what had happened to my car and that I needed to use their telephone to call a tow truck. After my knocking in a good mood for about two minutes, two old people came to the door. Both their bodies were trembling all over—apparently for fear that I (the nicely dressed guy wearing a tie) was going to assault them or rob them. And no, they did not have Parkinson’s disease. They were scared out of their minds in a town that has very little crime—and certainly very little crime in that neighborhood.

  52. Just a general summary comment—after reading so very much in the comments above. Christian fundamentalism and conservative evangelicalism are in decline in the United States—and that is a very, very, very good thing because it means God is getting rid of these peculiarly American faith traditions. He is doing it in two ways:

    1) He is exposing to the American public the English folly and the broken wreckage that lies in the wake of both of these perverted and subverted faith traditions—abundant fruits of evil rather than good.

    2) The Baby Boom Generation, my generation, is dying off and will be gone soon—and with it the last serious seed bearers of these two pernicious faith traditions will be gone.

    I just pray and hope the Roman Catholic Church, the other mainline Christian churches, and the new churches that will inevitably arise in the future (after the fundie churches are gone and in the ash bin of history) will be sensitive to and understand the New Christian Reformation that the Holy Trinity is carrying out right now and will become a willing part of this work that God is doing.

    I also hope all of you American young people out there—millions, and millions, and millions of you (like those who support Bernie Sanders (especially you Millennials like my daughter and son) will jump on board the New Holy Trinity Train and support God in the work that He is doing now to overthrow the evil Christian fundamentalist and conservative evangelical establishment in the United States. The way you can most help—above all else—is to take the RED WORDS Jesus says and his ACTIONS in the New Testament extremely seriously and RESTORE Christian LOVE to the church. Your fundie pastors, parents, and Sunday school teachers have drained it DRY—and made the church a desert wasteland. Particularly, in restoring this LOST LOVE, I hope you young people will remember the words of Jesus about loving God with all your heart and loving your neighbors as yourselves (all seven billion neighbors on Earth)—and do unto others as you would have them do unto you. The fundies have worked extremely hard and largely succeeded in crucifying those three important statements by Jesus across the past 100 years. They may give those words of Jesus lip service on Sunday morning—but like the Holy scriptures say—their hearts are far from them—which is why they have almost succeeded in destroying those important and loving words of Jesus.

    The fundies wrongly believe that sharing the gospel of salvation alone is Christian love—and they have no love responsibilities for their neighbors beyond that alone. If you will read your New Testament carefully young people, you will find that your fundie pastors, parents, and Sunday school teachers have hidden a very large portion of the New Testament gospel of LOVE away in a dark closet because they do not want to do what Jesus tells them to do. It is necessary for them to do that because they cannot spew their venom and hatred onto all of mankind when the light of those words from Jesus is shining down on upon them. RESTORE THE LOVE young people. That is the biggest thing that you personally can do to serve Jesus as part of the New Christian Reformation that God is undertaking right now in the United States. RESTORE THE LOVE.

    • I thought Jesus said “Judge not lest ye be Judged ” and “Let ye without sin cast the first stone!”
      God gave us a Brain and expects us to use it. The anti science in this culture is frightening! No Global Warming? The US Coast Guard is predicting a North West Passage. God must be rally pissed at Noah because he didn’t get T Rex on the Ark.
      I am am a believer that some of theses CERTAIN statements obout God border on blasphemy. His mind is beyond ours. A little humility and Christian charity is what is needded!!!

      • Bill. When the LOVE IS RESTORED (which includes your charity) nonsense about T Rex dancing with humans will disappear from both Christianity and our culture. People will come together in large numbers and do God’s real work on this Earth—and do it with intelligence, good sense, and a sound mind.

  53. Our forebears, who worked and sacrificed tirelessly in the hopes their descendants would someday be free, comfortable, healthy, and educated, might be dismayed to observe how acidly we deny we now are these things.

  54. I think the Pill and feminist empowerment have really made the moral decline cataclysmic. Monogamy is in peril . Women are choosing to reproduce with thugs rather than stable men. Women are all chasing the top-tier attractive men rather than distribute themselves among all the men, a necessary condition for monogamy. Women reject the idea of a lifetime commitment to one of serial monogamy, and only then when it is in their interest. Men, who instinctively have the desire to plug into any socket find it easier to do so as bachelors rather than as husbands; female modesty is considered “quaint” and “patriarchal”.

  55. There is a LOT of truth to what you say! However, do you really believe that you can compare today to the 1960s and 1970s? My brothers and I used to spend the night down by the river… either by ourselves or with each other. When I was growing up, every friends mom, was your mom as well… and just as likely to “bust your ass” if you got out of line. Whole neighborhoods looked out for each others kids. There was seldom worry about sexual predators, perverts and kidnappers. Yes, those things still happened, no where near on the scale they do today! Prayer was allowed in schools, there was Pride in your school and school mates. Children were nowhere near as misbehaved… now it all the fault of the parents from those days… we were ABUSED by those spankings! It amazes me that we did not kill more people… classmates, people out and about… oh yes, i know… it is because guns are more available now… sorry, I forgot. So, no digression over the last fifty years… no greater of a percentage of children telling mom and dad to blank off… no greater percentage of violence. I do agree that there is a LOT more hatred in “Christians” now! Thank you for clearing up the rest though… nice to know that there has been no decline, as we have kicked God out of schools… and everywhere else. I am extremely happy that we have quit abusing kids by spanking them! At least everyone can be blatant about there crookedness, bias, and bigotry now. No one appears to care…

  56. wiki has a HUGE page on “school shootings in America”
    The list starts in 1784. There is only one ten-year-long period where nobody was shot and murdered on school grounds. Almost all were done either by students or teachers in that school. A few by family members of a student and one by drunks in town.
    America has never been a bastion of morality.
    We just believe our own press.

  57. “Teenagers have always followed the rush of their raging hormones into all sorts of regrettable messes, they just didn’t have Snapchat to preserve it for posterity.”

    I agree with pretty much everything you’ve said in this article, including what I feel the sentiment was behind the above statement.

    However, I must point out one technical detail: the whole point behind Snapchat is that stuff put on there goes away after a few minutes. By design things posted on there dissolve into the ether. That’s why kids love it so because by its ephemeral nature it mitigates the unfortunate social media records of teenagers and adults alike.

    Unless of course you meant this as sarcasm, which then is unfortunately neutered by the written word. If that’s the case it’s my bad.

    In anycase, well done and well said! (Beyond of course this miniscule technical detail!)

  58. Nice straw-man argument. You know very well which Moral values they are talking about, but are choosing to muddle the issue by pointing out the moral failings of our past and tying them to the real moral values of family loyalty, sexual self control, honesty, integrity, and honor that existed in significantly and demonstrably higher levels in our past. This whole article is straight fallacy.

    • BS Boris. There are only three values—and they are not even moral values in the sense of being a stated law or holy social rule—but they are far more important than everything you say in this post of yours. Here they are:

      1) Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength. (Mark 12:30).

      2) Love your neighbor as yourself. (Mark 12:31

      3) Do to others as you would have them do to you. (Luke 6:31)

      These are neither laws nor moral statements. They are general principles Jesus expects us to follow in all things. These replaced all the laws and morals in the Old Testament.

      I refer to these three verses of scripture as:

      THE THREE BIBLE VERSES CHRISTIAN FUNDAMENTALISTS AND CONSERVATIVE EVANGELICALS WOULD PERMANENTLY DELETE FROM THE BIBLE IF THEY COULD FIND A GOOD JUSTIFICATION FOR DOING IT.

      They have not been able to find that justification so far, but they have decided to do the second best thing:

      TOTALLY IGNORE THOSE THREE VERSES AND PRETEND THEY DO NOT EXIST: PRETEND JESUS NEVER SAID THEM, AND PRETEND JESUS DID NOT COMMAND HIS DISCIPLES TO APPLY THEM IN THEIR DAILY INTERACTIONS WITH GOD AND THEIR NEIGHBORS.

      But n-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o!!! The fundies focus on the really important things in life—like whether a hemline is 1 inch higher than it should be or whether the boys and girls are swimming in the same pool together at the motel.

      “I AM the Lord thy God. I just saw Cyndi and Fred swimming in the same pool together at your motel”:

      • It’s just about a drinking game. Jon writes an excellent points that evangelicals desperately need, as a group, to take to heart, and almost all of the commenters totally miss the point of it to start “straining at gnats” and repeating Fox News talking points to themselves.

        This restored some of my faith in humanity this morning. Yes, the “God of quarks and quasars” sure does seem absolutely, positively obsessed with what humans do in their spare time with their private parts…. or is it his most over-zealous followers who are that obsessed, and are just blaming their puerile childishness on their idol? Seems pretty obvious to me. When they hear “moral decline” and immediately grab for “OMG SEX” instead of their own utter failure to live out their Savior’s explicit commands to love, serve, forgive, and endure, that tells me everything I need to know about whether or not this ideology is a good one for our species.

  59. “There is always the danger that those who think alike should gravitate together into ‘coteries’ where they will henceforth encounter opposition only in the emasculated form of rumor that the outsiders say thus and thus. The absent are easily refuted, complacent dogmatism thrives, and differences of opinion are embittered by group hostility. Each group hears not the best, but the worst, that the other groups can say.”

    ― C.S. Lewis, God in the Dock: Essays on Theology and Ethics

  60. And the Past Was More Moral Types CONVENIENTLY BLIP OVER how NON-WHITES were generally treated in the past by “good, Christian-espousing people” because WE ARE NOT HUMAN BEINGS to you.

    If a “Christian” doesn’t want me living next door, or in their public pool or at their public beach or in their schools or churches, and an LBGTQI person or non-theist person treats me like A HUMAN BEING……..WHO OS THE MORE ‘MORAL’??????????????

  61. I find it amusing that so many people are so passionate about their silly superstitions (aka God and the Bible) and their persistence in the fantasy this article addresses.

    🙂

  62. The moral decay I think of is the turning away from God and the authority of His Word. There have been many, many changes in my lifetime. There is no longer sanctioned prayer to start the school day. Children are not to bring a Bible to school. Teachers can no longer have a Bible on their desk. Christmas break has become winter break as we are not to speak of God or Christ in the school. Sin is now seen as an alternate lifestyle and Christians are supposed to embrace it as acceptable. It is considered hate speech if you speak your Christian beliefs and you are likely to be sued if you take a stand for Christian values. There are very few moral absolutes as more and more people turn to the idea that there is no God.

    But as Christians we know: Romans 14:11
    “For it is written, As I live, saith the Lord, every knee shall bow to me, and every tongue shall confess to God.”

    • Sherry
      …knees are bowing in the—here and —now and lips are confessing God—now— three seconds from now, one hour from now, 3am tomorrow morning, 9am, 12 noon, 3pm—the day after, one week from now—the moment before someones last breath; it is how we receive them that matters.

    • Sherry do you consider the possibility that the church is losing touch with the needs of communities and perhaps communicating in a manner which is not reaching out? The church cannot stagnate. The central message remains but the way you put it across has to reflect the needs of the times. Jesus Christ is as relevant today as he has always been but I doubt very much he would use the same language and strategies if he were to return tomorrow. I agree that bad things are happening out there but equally there’s a lot of good stuff too which very often doesn’t reach our TV’s. It’s not all bad Sherry there are thousands of groups out there trying to make a positive difference in all aspects of life. There’s so much more awareness about the world and many, many people are choosing to respond and make a difference. There is a growing critical mass out there of young people and not so young, who are truly inspirational and paving the way for a better future. We mustn’t fall prey to the media slant of negativity. Negativity breads negativity. We owe it to the younger generation to remain positive, see the good, nurture aspirations, provide more opportunities and above all remain hopeful and have faith in their endeavours. Sherry, Jesus is out there alive and kicking, he really isn’t on an extended vacation. Let’s remain positive and continue to pray for that positivity and zeal for a better life for all of us. Let’s show others at every opportunity which comes our way that love still reigns supreme. You can make a difference. Jesus’ love is infinitely greater than the sum of all the ills of this world. I pray we are all filled with his love in such a real way that it becomes infectious.

    • Hi Sherry. I disagree with you. You probably grew up in a geographic area where your particular understanding of the Christian faith and the role of the Bible was dominant among your friends and neighbors. To you, that WAS the whole world of Christian faith because it is all you have ever known. In reality, there is a whole different world of Christianity and Christian faith that is 2,000 years old and goes all the way back to the first Christians—a Christian world that you were never a part of. Please do not make the mistake of believing that the only Christianity on Earth was what you learned within your tiny little circle when you were a child. It is just plain not true. You need to learn about the rest of Christendom around the world and in pre-21 st century times before you start hanging labels on things.

      Many of the things you have been taught about religion and American public schools are wrong. The people in your faith tradition have lied to you about those things to manipulate you and your energies. You can read this article on your blog in order to see the lies people have fed you about the Christian faith and public schools:

      https://faith17983.wordpress.com/2015/11/04/lies-christian-fundamentalists-and-conservative-evangelicals-tell/

  63. Dear Sherry,

    “There is no longer sanctioned prayer to start the school day. ”

    Sadly, like many, you are unaware of United States history.

    Aside from a few towns, mandatory daily Protestant prayer in public schools was not common until the Ku Klux Klan, in the period right after World War I when it was at the height of it’s nationwide political power (even the Eastern Massachusetts town I presently live in has it’s own KKK Klavern), pushed through state legislatures mandatory daily Protestant prayer laws for the expressed reason of “bringing the heathen Jewish and Papist children to the worship of Jesus Christ”. They even succeeding in getting the Maryland State Constitution amended to prohibit members of the Catholic Church from holding an elective or appointive office in the state. (Hooded Americanism by David M. Chalmers, 1968)

    Of course, you personally may believe that bringing back mandatory daily Protestant prayers to public schools in order to convert the heathen Jewish and Catholic children to Protestantism is a good, positive thing.

    One of the more traumatic experiences of my own childhood in Philadelphia, PA in the 1950’s and 1960’s was seeing my first male teacher get fired for refusing to read from the New Testament for the mandatory daily Bible readings (as a Jew, he would only read from the first five books of the Old Testament).

    Yes, in order to save America for it’s moral collapse today – we really have to do something about all those heathen Jews and Catholics!

    • I am not sure your history is fully correct—maybe only in the areas where you lived. Down south where I grew up and still live, we did not have many Jewish and Roman Catholic residents—but the public school classrooms still had prayers, Bible verse memorization, etc.

  64. There certainly has been a large increase in Christians who support war. Also a large increase in Christians who ignore poverty.

    • Amen to that!!! The fundies who claim to be pro-life cannot wait to pull the switch on an execution or go off to kill people in any little or big war that comes along—justified war or not. They preach life—but they have their own special “Fundie Culture of Death.” The Roman Catholics have the only real and admirable pro-life stance, and I love and respect them for their consistency and honesty in so doing.

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  66. ALL of you The Past Was Better people ARE STILL SIDESTPPING THE ISSUE OF HOW CERTAIN PEOPLE were treated back then – you want to talk about EVERYTHING ELSE BUT THAT – if a non-theist or LGBTQI person doesn’t want to LYNCH ME, SPIT ON ME OR KEEP NE OUT OF THEIR PRECIOUS NEIGHBORHOOD, then I tend to think that person is MORE MORAL than the “Christians” who DO NOT WANT ME AROUND

    ANSWER THAT – until you do, DON’T TELL ME about how EVIL ‘THEY’ ARE

    • Hi Ms. Yattwood. I hope you are having a nice day. I do not object to your shouting. Jesus tried that too in Matthew 23. I think what you have to remember here is that fundies are blind to the truth just like their fundie spiritual ancestors called the Scribes and Pharisees. Just as Jesus said, their kind would not listen to Moses either, so why should we think a Man being raised from the dead would get through to them. As I have said elsewhere, talking to a fundie is like talking to a tree stump.

  67. This author’s proposition that moral decay is a myth discounts some important factors. Moral decay is not just an American phenomenon. It’s a global epidemic. The 20th Century is consider to be one of the most deadliest. We killed more people in the 20th century than the previous 19 centuries put together. This is the result of two ahistorical socio-political experiments, fascism (especially in Germany, Italy, Eastern Europe, Japan, and China), and the other, communism. These absolutist, unrestricted, uninhibited ideologies murdered people in war and democide without compunction, without the inhibition of tradition, culture, or religion. Not to mention the death toll of abortions which continues to occur. As a “progressive society” we have abandon absolute moral truth. We have instituted secularism and moral subjectivism into our laws and culture. No we are not morally decaying, we are decayed. But we have seen nothing yet. The rise of humanistic, existential, post-modern ideologies and atheism is the fertile ground for a religion which neither seeks to love their neighbor or act in the best interest of another. Rather it is a message perpetuated by war and death. Sadly moral decay has already occurred. Most Christian believers have bought into moral relativism and become irrelevant. The average Christian lacks knowledge but more importantly we lack wisdom. We become consumers of the ideas, theories, and the skewed morality of the world. In doing so we are parrots who go about our lives repeating words we do not know and preaching ideas we do not understand. We cannot stand for absolute moral truth because we ourselves are immoral. We cannot preach hope because we ourselves are hopeless. We cannot preach peace or joy for we ourselves are without peace or joy. We cannot preach life to others because we are simply spiritually decayed.

    • You do know that Jesus in the Bible was the Father of your so-called “moral relativism.” Try reading the Bible sometime rather than thumping it. I always get a big kick out of it when fundies start moralizing on who should and should not be helped among those Jesus called the “least of these.” Save the fundie wedding cake bakers—while the hungry people starve!!! Funny thing, I never see that same wedding cake baker making pro bono cakes for the people down at the homeless shelter. My point is that much of your argument is the normal spiritual bankruptcy that pervades modern day Christian fundamentalism and conservative evangelicalism. Senor Lopez. Please take a spin around my blog and see your faith tradition for what it really is:

      https://faith17983.wordpress.com/

    • Hi Luis, I actually think that post modernist ideologies are more receptive to loving each other and finding common ways to bring about peace. Most wars and conflicts have their origins in religious based arguments and are supported and condoned by those religions. What’s wrong with ways of thinking which strive to bring about peace? God doesn’t vanish into thin air in communist states or fascist ones at that. God’s love for us is infinitely greater than any ideology but that shouldn’t mean that we can’t explore ways of bringing peace to the world. Whatever we do God is still shepherding, guiding and loving us.

  68. Well, obviously that’s NOT fair, and I think Jesus would agree. But I think he’d point out a couple things. First, maybe we should stop thinking of it as a zero-sum game, where if we help some, others will have to go without. That inevitably leads to the constant arguing about whether certain people or groups of people “deserve” help.

    Second, I think Jesus might call us out on the hypocrisy of the argument: “Why are we giving to illegal immigrants when so many natural-born citizens, especially our veterans, are going without?” Well, what are you going to do for them? Awhile back someone in Congress squawked about a measure that would help some group, while at the same time veterans are being neglected. Yet when that politician’s party was presented with an opportunity to help veterans, they turned it down.

    One of the ground rules of the Jesus Seminar (and please, let’s not get sidetracked here with arguments about their methods or their conclusions) was, “Beware of finding a Jesus entirely congenial to you.” In other words, if you assume Jesus agrees with you on everything, you probably don’t know him very well.

  69. Ah, you are correct, Charles; I attended a fundamentalist (GARBC) church for several years; the absolute certainty, the ‘Us vs Everyone Else’, the closing ranks were attractive and somewhat comforting…it was when I had to deal with my abusive childhood that I began to see many aspects of the fundamentalist weltanschauung (a great word you hardly ever get to use outside of a Sociology class) as abusive, as well as a studied disdain for the intellect that I couldn’t be a part of that any more.

    Many fundamentalists are good, loving, devout people, but they tend to be racially deaf and science-averse, which is unfortunate.

    I am afraid of the Strange Alliance I see between them and Mr. Trump, because I’ve read a good deal of Holocaust works, and I fear seeing ‘Arbeit Mach Frei’ erected above the gates of camps erected to hold those they fear (non-Christian, non-white, non-straight people)

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  71. This is one of the most ignorant articles written by a self proclaimed christian I have ever read. It is obvious he is completely unaware of what the Word says.

    • The “Word” referred to in the Bible by the Bible writers is the Torah. No where in the Bible is the whole Bible referred to as the “Word.” The Word is the person Jesus Christ. Thank you for playing.

  72. “People have always been bigoted, petty, and ignorant, they just all didn’t have free, 24-hour self-promotion machines where they could advertise as much on a regular basis.”

    I love this. Whenever my parents and I discuss the “status of the planet” I refer back to historical references which sound out the death-knell of the planet due to the decline of humanity; it’s all the same as it was. These days it’s so hard to convince anyone of anything when social media lets you pick, chose, and filter what you don’t want to see.

  73. A little bit of a reckless piece. You’re dealing with two different realities in a sweeping (unhelpful?) manner. Either address the fantasy of our former societal condition, or present a defense of our current moral one. A present concern for today’s social-moral state does not necessarily mean one needs to desire to return to the sins of the past. Thoughtful, Spirit-led followers of Jesus Christ actually have the ability to parse the issues and not repaint the past while decrying today’s very real moral/social corruption. A piece like this one that exhorts us to merely see the good in our present culture, without being circumspect about the real compounding evil, is as unhelpful as the fanciful wish to return to yesteryear. Blessings to you as you do.

  74. Please allow me to pose a few questions. If today’s American culture is just as immoral and sinful as it was in past generations (as John Pavlovitz contends) or if it has indeed reached an unprecedentedly high level of sin and immorality in the 21st century (as you fundies contend), why are we arguing about it here? What is the importance of it one way or the other? Do you fundies seriously think you are going to erase all that sin from modern culture—and if so—why is that necessary? What do you fundies get out of it? Moreover, do you seriously think you are going to correct the cultures of all 7 billion people on this Earth? Let us pretend that you focus on the culture of the United States alone and by some incredible miracle make the culture 100 percent clean in terms of the fundie view of Biblical cleanness. What does that buy you?

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  76. You wrote, “post modernist ideologies are more receptive to loving each other and finding common ways to bring about peace.” Can you name them? What imperial data can you submit to validate your claims? China killed 30 million of its own people (Under the rule of Ze Dong Mao -1950-1970), Adolf hitter killed 12 million, Leopold of Belgium killed 8 million people, Josep Stalin killed 7 million of his own people, Japan killed 5 million of its own people, turkey killed 1.2 million people , Cambodia killed 1.7 million people, north Karen killed 1.6 million people. The United States citizens have killed 58 million human life’s since 1973 through abortion. If we are loving and peaceful please explain these genocide. How are we moving toward love and peace? The fastest growing religion in the world today is Islam. Do you believe Islam is a religion of peace?

    Be mindful of red hearing fallacies. God can bring peace and he has commended Christian’s to pursue peace (Mathew 5:9); however, the goal of Christianity is salvation through faith in Jesus Christ. The bible tells us that we are enemies of the world and they will hate and persecute us (John 15). It also reminds us that in the end of days many will fall away from the truth of God (Mathew 24:10) and false prophets will rise (Mathew 24:11). Be careful that you yourself is not deceived by humanistic ideologies.

    Lastly, You wrote an article with no imperial basis, no biblical basis, offers no life, and does not proclaim the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Please read Romans chapter 1. You strike me as a young man searching for belongings and peace. Desiring for God’s love to be exhibited in humanity. The greatest love we can show others is to proclaim the absolute truth of God as revealed in the bible and validated through nature and history. The bible teaches this life is passing (Mathew 6:19-21). I pray that God, through his Holy Spirit, reveals his absolute truth so that you may use it to provide hope and peace. A hope and peace the world’s ideas and philosophies cannot provide (John 14:27). Thank you for replying to my original post. Your brother in Christ.

    Luis

    Sent from my iPhone

  77. I am more concerned with the pervasiveness and accessibility of immoral, anti-women, anti-government, anti-peace, anti-authority, anti-respect, pro gang, pro drug, pro rape, pro violence, etc… in the media and entertainment industry today. When we were growing up we could find the stuff but we had to work for it and it was easier for our parents to control and teach to it, or even know that we were being exposed to it. As much as I try today, it is next to impossible for me to even teach to it because they know how to hide it in their electronics. The more they are exposed to it and eliminating the positive from their lives, the less they will be positive and encouraging to their society when they get older. That is what I am talking about when I say there is a moral decline in the world and I would argue to my death with anyone who tried to deny that problem.

  78. Pingback: It Matters that Morality is Declining – Paul's Ponderings

  79. To: Hugh D. Young
    First of all have even ever read the Bible or even tries to understand God & His Word?
    Second, God doesn’t “send” anyone to hell! By our own choices we send ourselves there when we reject God! Everyone thinks of hell as a place of fire & eternal torture, which it is. BUT what people fail to recognize is the reason why it is a place of torment is because we want to have nothing to do with God, He honors our decision, & we are eternally separated from His Love.
    And that my friend is what hell is… A place with NO LOVE!!!
    WE separate ourselves from God’s Love & create Hell on Earth!!!
    OUR plan NOT His!!!
    I use to apply the same kind of logic as an excuse not to follow God along with a litany of other excuses. It’s easy to find fault in God because by our very nature we have enmity against God. What you fail to understand is that we were created to be free agents. We have free will to choose; right or wrong, good or evil. It’s a conundrum that free will caused us to choose evil but without it we would be nothing more than just automatons. I can’t even begin to understand or explain WHY God continues to allow us to live in our present state except to say that He desires that ALL come to repentance & receive salvation through faith in Jesus Christ.
    WE created this hell on earth NOT God!!!
    As I see it you have two choices; You can continue to be a cry baby, follow the rest of the world, attack, be angry at, & blame God.
    OR you can accept things as they are, believe that there is a reason that is beyond of ability to fully understand, & do things God’s way.
    The CHOICE my friend is yours;
    Right or Wrong
    Good or Evil
    God or Satan
    Heaven or Hell!!!

    • 1) YES…..I probably understand it better than you do. I am a former ‘believer’ who left the ‘faith’ for a variety of what I see as valid reasons!!
      2) We are NOT born with ‘free-will’,we are born with a CURSE,as we are told,to be at enmity with ‘god’.
      3) That ‘curse’ had NOTHING WHATSOEVER to do with any choice I made,or ‘sin’ I committed.
      4) IF ‘god’ is in fact Thee Supreme,Top,Power in the universe,then HE is ultimately responsible for the way things are. While you’re busy calling me a ‘cry-baby’,I ‘ve decided to call the ‘god’ of the Babble exactly what he is….a great big BULLY,EVIL TYRANT! Unlike you,I no longer feel the need to tip toe around,and defend this SOB,I am under NO obligation to do so.
      5) Oh yeah,all those ‘in’ words used to describe that BABBLE……BULLSHIT!! You wanna actually EDUCATE yourself rather than simply going by the ‘blind faith’ of an idiot….get on YT,and search for Bart Ehrman.He is a LOT smarter than you,or I,and he’ll tell you what is up with that book of stories.
      6) ‘Cry baby’?? Yeah,OK…..I guess better than being a little chicken-shit who refuses to think for himself,huh ‘buddy’???/

  80. Mr. Young,

    Please allow me to apologize for the insensitivity of those who proclaim to be followers of Christ. I could not help but read you comments. Your right when you say, ” a great big BULLY,EVIL TYRANT!.” Can I tell you Jesus agreed with you thousand of years ago. He expressed your sentiment for the religious bigotry of the stablished religion of his time. Read Mathew 23. It is not the sinner who has commuted the greatest sin but the one who knowing the truth of God teaches inerrancy about what has been revealed to humanity. Jesus said that it would be better for such teachers to take a millstone-tie it to their neck and heave themselves into the water than to deceive others. (Mathew 18). Your passion is valued by God and perhaps you are closer to his salvation than the men who proclaim his message in his own strength and self-righteousness.

    Sincerely,

    Luis

  81. Holy cow. Comment sections are the worst. How quickly things devolve from the original topic. I just want to add another item to the list of things that were worse back in the good ol’ days — the treatment of those with physical and mental challenges. Let’s NOT go back to the time when we institutionalized (or worse) anyone who wasn’t “NORMAL”! Thank you, John.

    • I’ve struggled with manic-depressive illness since I was a teenager, 43 years old now…..and indeed,the ‘Evangelical approach’ to how I OUGHT to be overcoming the various manifestations of it, ‘IF I’m truly saved’ was a HUGE part of the reason why I told organized religion,and later ‘god’ himself, TO KISS MY ASS,and bailed. Perhaps I allowed OR to decided for me who/what ‘god’ is,and will one day be enlightened to the reality that this is not the case. That’s about the ONLY HOPE I have to go on now,as I AM NOT returning to the entity I was previously told/taught about,that’s for damn sure!!!/

  82. To: Hugh D. Young
    WHAT HAPPENED TO YOU???
    If what you say is true & you know your Bible & you did have a relationship with the Jesus Christ, something truly terrible must have happened to you for you to be so angry at God that you would resort to cursing His name & disrespecting Him by typing His name with a small “g”.
    I am very sorry & apologize I shouldn’t have resorted to name calling but you were attacking something I believe is sacred. As you know we are commanded to love all, even those we disagree with, so again I’m sorry! Believe it or not I really do care about you & in my past I would’ve cursed back at you. It’s only because of the love of Jesus Christ that I can even be having this conversation with you in the first place. So that brings to a place where I can’t understand how you could have had a relationship with Jesus & now be cursing Him?
    Sometimes I don’t represent my Lord very well online because I too can become very angry but because of the injustices I see for what I believe are being cause by a growing affinity towards evil & evil practices & a drifting away from Godly moral values.
    And free will is what led to the curse & yes I agree it’s a bitter pill to swallow! “The curse” is also one of the reasons I used to leave & keep me out of Church for a very long time but I do know religion & the Bible well enough to speak out about it. I also struggled with how harshly God dealt with people in the Old Testament & haven’t completely come to terms with it but have come to realize that one of the reasons is to show the depravity of mankind.
    BUT when I see & read about the lengths God was willing to go to redeem us all in the New Testament, I have to accept that God has His reasons. Mankind hasn’t changed much & that same kind of depravity still exists today & again I know this is a bitter pill to swallow but in light of what Christ did for us is it really that hard to accept?
    Aside from God, the Bible, & Jesus they are are some things I’m sure we would both agree on & that is science & math both prove that absolutes exist, right? There are some in our society that are pushing relativism which believes to the contrary that there are no absolutes, that what is right or true for you isn’t necessarily right or true for me. I’m sure you would agree that’s bunch on nonsense, right? With that being said I’m sure you would also agree that some things are true/right, some are false/wrong. If there is right & wrong than it stands to reason that good & evil exist also, right?
    My point in all of this is that EVEN if there is no God, good & evil still exist & evil just becomes an unfortunate but very powerful & destructive force in life! if God does exist but is not loving than all we are left with is evil & the illusion of love. If evolution is our truth & there is no God or if there is a God He is not loving, than we are all just animals, love is just a chemical reaction, when we die we just return to dust, & there is NO justice for all the evil atrocities that have or ever will be committed! Survival of the fittest!
    I would much rather believe that we were created by a loving God & for whatever reason He is allowing evil to exist…FOR NOW!
    FYI: I’ve lived with that kind of anger & hatred in my heart & I’m telling you right now it WILL eat you alive! I pray that you find your way back to God & find forgiveness in your heart.

  83. I admit I haven’t read all of these responses, but after reading the first 50 or so I find very little evidence to support Mr. Pavlovovitz’ original thesis.

  84. Satan is a deciever. Do not be decieved. Don’t believe a blog, but look to Gods word.

    This second epistle, beloved, I now write unto you; in both which I stir up your pure minds by way of remembrance:
    2 That ye may be mindful of the words which were spoken before by the holy prophets, and of the commandment of us the apostles of the Lord and Saviour:
    3 Knowing this first, that there shall come in the last days scoffers, walking after their own lusts,
    4 And saying, Where is the promise of his coming? for since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation.
    5 For this they willingly are ignorant of, that by the word of God the heavens were of old, and the earth standing out of the water and in the water:
    6 Whereby the world that then was, being overflowed with water, perished:This second epistle, beloved, I now write unto you; in both which I stir up your pure minds by way of remembrance:
    2 That ye may be mindful of the words which were spoken before by the holy prophets, and of the commandment of us the apostles of the Lord and Saviour:
    3 Knowing this first, that there shall come in the last days scoffers, walking after their own lusts,
    4 And saying, Where is the promise of his coming? for since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation.
    5 For this they willingly are ignorant of, that by the word of God the heavens were of old, and the earth standing out of the water and in the water:
    6 Whereby the world that then was, being overflowed with water, perished:

  85. I never comment on articles, but this was so well written, I wanted to thank you. “I see heroic, compassionate, reckless acts of beauty all the time. ” I, as well.

    And, then I made the mistake of reading the comments that sadly prove your point.

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  87. I have only gotten through some of the comments, I may read more tomorrow, but I think anyone who knows and loves god can weed out the “unenlightened” from the “enlightened”.

    I was taught we were save by our faith, not by our works.
    “For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that everyone who believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life.”
    If you believe in God and Jesus, really believe, your works will be appropriate anyway.

    Jesus told us “A new commandment I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so also you must love one another. By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you love one another.”

    I also like and have always remembered this. “Do not judge, or you will be judged. For with the same judgment you pronounce, you will be judged; and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.
    Why do you look at the speck in your brother’s eye, but fail to notice the beam in your own eye? How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ while there is still a beam in your own eye? You hypocrite! First take the beam out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.

    If we are saved by our faith and not our works, told to love others as we love ourselves and encouraged not to judge others it seems to me there are A LOT of my fellow Christian’s who just don’t get it.

  88. @Artisan219: I worked on the B2 Stealth Program, supporting logistics and flight test databases…have been within 25 feet of one; wanted to sit in the cockpit, but they wouldn’t let me, but they did allow Senator Dianne Feinstein to do so — why?

    Jobs.

    I always found it fascinating that people such as Feinstein and Representative Maxine Waters, supported the B2 because of the jobs it meant – the 20 aircraft that were built (originally 130+ were to have been made) ended up costing over a billion each. The B2 is a stunning aircraft and technologically advanced … But the reality of today’s conflicts are mostly against dissociated ideological/religious groups and not organized nation-states. Dropping bombs on ISIL/Boko Haram/Taliban/Al Qaeda just causes them to disperse and re-firm — what would be more effective is better human intelligence and guerrilla tactics…

    • And this is part of the problem. I made the McDonalds reference earlier and to an extent, that speaks to the issues you’re talking about. If McDonalds introduced a new item, and it didn’t sell, they’d take it off the menu. You wouldn’t expect corporate to continue forcing franchises to buy the new stuff if it wasn’t working for their profits. But because of contracts, we end up maintaining multi-million dollar programs in perpetuity. They spend time working on new aircraft, new weapons technology, etc, but these developments are less about military superiority (shit we designed in the 1980s is still competitive against the military forces of many other countries), but rather to get new contracts. I used the example of an F-22 Raptor because I felt it’s easily recognizable, but they started that program twenty years ago. The political impetus for those fighter jets was the Gulf War and the Soviet Union, but by the time the first jet was off the assembly line, the Soviet Union had collapsed and the Gulf conflict had deescalated. And we spent millions of dollars a year maintaining high-cost equipment with no clear political need for them.

      Granted, 9/11 happened about ten years after the Gulf War, and a military need was established. But the WTC attack was different from say Pearl Harbor. A terrorist organization is not a country (the equivalent of defining America by the Westboro Baptist Church) and the War on Terror in Iraq and Afghanistan was marked by incredibly poor planning and execution (which led to the Daesh problem we have now).

      We didn’t spend hundreds or thousands of millions of dollars developing better training, new intelligence protocols, or any of the assets we actually needed. Most of that went to making better jets, tanks, and missiles, but without the strategy training on how to use them.

      And this isn’t a Right or Left issue. If you spend $100 Billion on the military every year (and that number is probably low), you have an expectation of a competent military force. And that’s not impugning any singular member of the military. My brothers went in to the Army and the Navy. But when tactical decisions are made by politicians, and when generals have insufficient or inaccurate intelligence, the US military as a whole is tarnished and that is reprehensible.

  89. what “Christian values” they’d like America to return to:

    To women not being able to vote?
    To people owning slaves?
    To segregation?
    To street pistol duels and packs of vigilantes meting out justice in the town square?
    To organized crime running urban police forces?
    To women being marital property?

    You are not debating in good faith. You’ve provided your own silly answer to your loaded question, answered it for some imagined group against which you have a grievance, and then proceeded to make caricature of —-them ( you have demonstrated that once a pronoun replaces the actual naming of a person, or group of people we cannot be sure to what or to whom it refers ….think he/she).

    Its pure emotional manipulation for emotional thinkers, these charges that there are numbers of people that wish to return to a period with slavery. Fallacy means nothing to you.

  90. Mmmm.

    We’ve made a lot of progress as a society. But you can’t deny that we have also digressed in some ways as well. Not to humbly acknowledge this would be to number us among the proud- and as Isaiah prophesied, “the day of the Lord of hosts shall be upon every one that is proud and lofty, and upon every one that is lifted up; and he shall be brought low” (Isaiah 2:12)

    As a Christian, I think it’s dangerous to call the moral decay of America (and the world) a myth. The scriptures prophesy of such signs of the Second Coming of Christ (Matthew 24, and for us Mormon folk we also have D&C 45).

    I agree, our nation’s history is not marked with justice and “godliness” (1 Timothy 6:11). However, sin (disobedience to god’s laws, not man’s laws) was far less acceptable among families and individuals in the past. I don’t need records of Facebook statuses, tweets, and YouTube videos to know this- our generation alone has seen a lot of changes (good and bad) to what is acceptable and not acceptable in our society.

    While I believe the wicked have never been more wicked, I also believe the righteous have never been more righteous.

    Today, it’s not even acceptable to recognize “wickedness” and “righteousness”. Who even knows how to define that anymore? The difference between them is the difference between those who are watching, waiting, and preparing for Christ to come again and those who believe He “delayeth his coming” (Matthew 24:48).

    I don’t think that pointing out that we live in the “Last Days” is supposed to only instill fear (in the righteous, anyway). Rather, it is also meant to instill hope; hope that the Savior will return to make our world a better place, and make us better people- perfect everything and everyone (everyone who is prepared to be perfected).

    I’ll add that “the righteous” doesn’t necessarily mean Christians. Or even regular church-goers or the “God-fearing”. All ten virgins are invited to the bridegroom’s feast… But only 5 are prepared enough make it there (Matthew 25).

    The thing that bothers me most about this article are these two references to the scriptures: one reference to the story of Noah: “Much like Noah, these religious people imagine themselves sole builders of the only safe place from God’s coming wrath; the waters of dread surely and swiftly rising.” The irony of this this statement is not lost on those who have studied, and those who are spiritually preparing. The scriptures, specifically the New Testament, are all about building the Kingdom of God. Much like Noah, we are building an ark and inviting all who listen to come aboard.

    And another reference: “there really is nothing new under the sun”. In Ecclesiastes, the repetitive use of “under the sun” basically means “man’s perspective” or in other words, without a knowledge of God and His eternal plan for His children. The author of Ecclesiastes speaks from a non-believer’s point-of-view in order to drive home a point: life without a knowledge of God will seem pointless. Again, it’s use in this article is woefully ironic to me and others who actually study the scriptures, instead of using them to lull people into the false sense of security that Christ warned us about.

    This is my Latter-day Saint view of this article. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. How we feel about the days we live in, who we are, and who we wait for is in our very name!

    • You can repeat it as long as you want to, but life “without a knowledge of God” is not pointless. Maybe yours would be; I can’t speak to that.

  91. To the author: don’t forget the “Christian values” of killing or harassing (and not being punished for) all those who are different – black people and everyone who’s not straight.

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  93. “Like most liberals, you have picked a narrative to malign the point. The good old days had sin as well yes. But there was virtue in this country that is now gone. The decline in church membership is what Christians are woeful of. The lack of youth being trained to pray for and trust in the Strength of the Almighty. Fear of the Lord brings wisdom, and the one true fear we should have, is no longer in place. Ripe for judgment.”

    Only if you believe there’s no morality without religion, which is not true. It’s not necessary to believe in a god to know right from wrong. Virtue in this country is not gone, it’s just changed as society’s attitudes have changed. There are no absolutes of good and evil; they are what we commonly say they are.

  94. As a confirmed atheist I usually approach “Christian” blogs with in-built reservations but I have to confess this blog came as a pleasant surprise. A real breath of fresh air & common sense. A pleasure to read.

  95. The only thing I see getting worse, in recent years, is the arrogant, bigoted, judgmental attitude of Christians. This, too, is not new. It seems to come in waves. But, This seems like one of the high waves.

    We need to focus on Jesus and Who He is.

  96. Neither the moral reasoning, the cultural climate, nor the church’s vibrancy look anything like it did 40 years ago. In 2016, much of America argues for the right to murder a baby outside of the womb, and has no thought of keeping abortion rare and safe. Courts throughout our land endorse a non-Biblical definition of marriage. This is not a potential. It is now the law of our democracy. Our cities bleed from unhealed wounds of racial hostility. As we speak, schools and businesses in every community in America are being tasked to infest our children with boundless sexual/identity confusion. A suicidal horde of devils has been unleashed against us, and we’re forbidden to identify the plague for what it is. Our neighbors, having dined on decades of religious humanism in universities, movies and the arts, see no distinction between the god of Islam and the eternal God of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and Jesus Christ. There is pandemic disagreement about the nature of good and evil. The Bible is seen as a manufactured collection of oppressive, fairy tales. The intelligencia champion open hostility toward those who believe the claims of Jesus Christ. At the same time, involvement in local church communities continues to wane at a critically low ebb. Our nation hasn’t seen wide-spread revival since the Jesus-people revolution in the 70’s. Within our own Bible-believing, evangelical ranks, less than 20% of our brothers and sisters affirm that Jesus Christ is the sole source of eternal redemption for all mankind.

    By any objective measure, our nation is in a rough and crooked wilderness.
    Where are the voices preparing the Way of the Lord? (Isaiah 40:3)

    Our nation isn’t headed for judgment. The storm is upon us. What was recorded of Israel at the end of the book of Judges, is woefully true in America, today:
    In those days there was no king in Israel; everyone did what was right in his own eyes. (Judges 17:6) and, The word of the Lord was rare in those days; there was no widespread revelation. (1 Samuel 3:1)

  97. I would add, JSB, that there is some longing for Good, but there is a suspicion of it. I argue that our entertainment often expresses cultural longings and desires, if obliquely.

    ‘Captain America: Civil War’ and ‘Batman vs Superman’ – The Avengers and Superman, long considered agents of good, are under suspicion because in doing good, people have been killed, along with excessive property damage. Superman, Kal-El (and -El can be translated as ‘deity’, or ‘God’ in Hebrew), the son of Jor-El of Krypton, is sent to Earth to avoid that planet’s destruction, and also to defend and protect humankind (sound familiar?) Superman is under suspicion as an alien: sure, he’s good now, but will that always be the case? Should he decide to turn against humankind, there is nothing that can be done to stop him. Batman is a rogue agent, a vigilante, who is kind of good, but uses methods that are suspect.

    In both movies, humanity sees the need to contain these agents of good, to make them subject to human control and direction.

    We suspect Good – we don’t believe that it’s possible. We are afraid of Good, of what Good might ask of us, ask us to do (or not do) . We are afraid that we can’t meet Good’s demands. Yet we long for, we know that Good is the right way.

    Some argue that old ways of aligning with Good (church, prayer, Scripture, certain political persuasions) are the best ways ; others see these old ways as exclusionary of certain groups and people, and Not Good.

    Perhaps humankind is being asked, in these dark days, to not return to the comfort of the old, or try to put on the new, but to honestly and earnestly search for The Real Good – one that welcomes all who are willing to learn from it. I think we are being asked to draw near to the heart of God, to not be Republicans or Democrats, conservatives or liberals, whites or blacks, men or women, straight or gay – but to be Humans-in-Relation-To-God.

    • Perhaps it’s as simple as that “good” is not an absolute outside of us to which we must find a way of conforming. Perhaps it’s that we’re in the middle of a struggle to identify what “good” is simply in our way of relating to one another without the need of rule books or adherence to a god in which only a few of us even believe. We won’t become godlike until we find good in ourselves without it being laid on us by the writings of one or another “prophet” of one or another made-up religion.

  98. As a way to build up and not tear down, I suggest reading the gospel of John from the Bible to see what Jesus says on the matters you just wrote about (if you have not done so already). Truth is discussed quite frequently. God understands us, so we can expect His Word to discuss truth. The gospel of John is a great place to start to understand why Jesus says, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” (John 14:6). John 8:31-32 (ESV) says, “So Jesus said to the Jews who had believed him, ‘If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.’” Observe throughout the book of John how Jesus responds to all types of people that come to Him. Look later, that even Pilate, who becomes the man who hands Jesus over to be crucified, asks Him, “What is truth?” (John 18:38).

    I don’t tell you this in a condescending way, but as a human like you who was born a sinner with a need to rely solely on the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ for my salvation, just like everyone else in this world. This is good news (again, read about what Jesus does in word and deed)! In my case, it has taken much time, struggle, and learning, but as I continue to read, abide, pray and trust in God through His son Jesus and the working of the Holy Spirit, truth becomes less and less relative. When I get overwhelmed with thoughts, guilt, or despair over concepts that seem too difficult or hard to understand, I sometimes have to take a break, but I gain strength by having learned to never stop trusting and believing in Jesus and to continue to walk in His ways as best as possible. Don’t run away, but keep walking by faith, even when trouble and persecution come. The process of sanctification and faith is lifelong.

    As a final thought, I also once read that the statement, “truth is relative,” must mean that the statement itself is relative, so it must not be true, either. My hope is that you would start at the gospel of John or another book in the Bible for answers. In addition to that if desired, an article with insight on absolute truth is: http://www.gotquestions.org/absolute-truth.html (I have no special ties to this site, but I have searched it often for supplemental study.) Keep searching and seeking my friend! I wish you growth in the grace and knowledge of Christ. Peace be with you, and God bless!

    • “As a final thought, I also once read that the statement, ‘truth is relative,’ must mean that the statement itself is relative, so it must not be true, either.”

      No, because “relative” doesn’t mean “untrue.”

  99. Humanity’s standards for love, compassion, empathy, the value of our sisters and brothers, and the treatment and care of our brothers and sisters is always improving.

    I was just standing in the Colosseum in Rome. From 80 – 435 AD, the whole community used to gather to watch tens of thousands of people and animals slaughtered for entertainment. Kids too.

    In 1487, between 10,000 and 80,000 people (scholarly opinion varies) were killed as human sacrifices to various gods over a four day period by the Aztecs.

    Things like this on this scale can’t happen anymore. Our society is a reflection of our collective values, and human goodness is increasing over time.

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