- The Washington Times - Wednesday, December 29, 1999

End of hippiedom

"Did the 1960s end on Dec. 31, 1969? Or 25 days earlier?
"For some, the end of the Flower Power decade was Dec. 6, 1969, the date of the deadly Altamont concert… .
"People came to see a monster lineup: Santana, Jefferson Airplane, the Grateful Dead, and the Rolling Stones. Concert promoters made the fatal mistake of hiring the Hells Angels as security, paying them with $500 worth of beer… .
"For many, Altamont meant the final end of hippiedom, the dream that peace, love, brotherhood, and stringy hair could rule the world… . The clothes may have changed, but the culture of Altamont is now the culture of the American mainstream."
Chris Stamper, writing on "The Day the '60s Died," in the Dec. 25 issue of World

Grass-roots surge

"Doom. That's what the media were predicting for the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) following a grass-roots surge culminating in 1985 that placed the denomination under the control of conservatives… .
"The nation's largest Protestant denomination was bound to experience a major schism, the press concluded, due to a theological U-turn. Previously, the SBC seemed to be going the way of many mainline denominations by adopting a liberal view of the Bible and social issues. Now, the convention had reinstated its adherence to the authority of the Bible.
"Rather than splintering or driving away members in droves following the conservative takeover, something remarkable happened: The SBC only grew more unified. Today … with 16 million members, the SBC outnumbers all Protestant churches. While it continues to see phenomenal growth, the memberships of liberal denominations erode."
Tom Minnery, writing on "Where we stand, where we're headed," in the December issue of Citizen

Tradition of doubt

"In the 20th century, for reasons that have sometimes been psychological and sometimes philosophical, the idea that there is such a thing as human nature has come to sound highly improbable and quite unserviceable. Perhaps the three most influential debunkers in this tradition of doubt have been Nietzsche, Marx and Freud… .
"Although there are many angles to [Nietzsche's] thought, perhaps what laid the groundwork for his becoming the godfather of our morally collapsing world was his contrast between master and slave moralities. It was the latter he especially disliked, and he believed that it was the ethic of Christianity… . He sought to overturn it and replace it by a vision of a humanistic and unbelieving world in which what had widely been taken as normative, morally speaking, would all perish.
"The irony in the cases of both Freud and Marx is that while their thought has been highly destructive of moral life in this century, they both retained a sense of the indubitable correctness of their own views. Marx dismissed morality as something that the socially powerful had contrived in order to keep the weak and oppressed in their place, but no one who has read him can miss the sense of moral outrage in which his own social judgments are delivered… .
"And Freud allowed that morality was necessary but showed no further interest in the idea. His real focus centered on the development of 'conscience.' This is the superego, developed early on, in the boy's case, as the barrier against his lust for his mother and his jealous anger of his father. There is apparently not a shred of evidence to support such a theory, but it has been immensely successful in giving people a reason to forsake what is moral on the supposition that self-restraint is not good for one's psychological health."
David F. Wells, from his book, "Losing Our Virtue: Why the Church Must Recover Its Moral Vision".

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