Our culture has constructed a massive throne of lies atop a mound of false promises — all fueled and propped up by malignant and pernicious fantasy masquerading as eternal truth.
As each mass shooting passes, as every violent occurrence unfolds, we collectively lament, begging to know why but refusing to entertain the conspicuous answer, even when it’s shrieking at the top of its lungs to be heard: We have embraced a “gospel of the self” that is systematically destabilizing individual hearts and overarching societal structures.
We’ve essentially embraced the lie that we are all that really matters.
And with hatred and discord reaching a crescendo of sorts, the only solution we seem interested in is turning up the volume on the mistruths, ignorantly overlooking the fact that we can’t temper the stench of our own cluelessness with augmented incomprehension.
Poll after poll shows precisely how deep we’ve allowed our cultural rot to run, though a new Wall Street Journal-NORC survey is perhaps best suited to show the full extent of our rapid descent into oblivion.
In just 25 years, Americans have largely abandoned the connective tissues and values that once offered a unity of sorts, with patriotism and religious value plunging.
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“Some 38% of respondents said patriotism was very important to them, and 39% said religion was very important,” The Wall Street Journal reported of the research. “That was down sharply from when the Journal first asked the question in 1998, when 70% deemed patriotism to be very important, and 62% said so of religion.”
And those aren’t the only concerning indicators, as just 30% now see having children as very important, down from 59% in 1998.
Sadly, the only priority that grew over the past 25 years involves income and cash flow, with 43% now saying money is “very important” to them, up from 31% in 1998.
How tragic that the most important elements binding Americans together are now denigrated, the selflessness and joy childbearing yields are increasingly ignored, and greed seems to be more persistently valued.
We’re undoubtedly in a moral mess. “How did we get here?” is the only natural question one can ask when faced with such dreadful realities. But if we’re honest, assembling the twisted puzzle of our modern conundrum isn’t all that difficult.
How can we expect children to grow up believing in their own internal value, a loving God, and faith when we raise them to believe they’re mere evolutionary accidents — aimlessly developed creatures with no connection to a loving creator who imbued purpose in their lives?
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Schools have removed prayer and replaced it with evolutionary theory and other such ideals that leave little room for more than the self.
The resulting dynamic doesn’t just impact intrapersonal views. It also deludes our ability to relate to others and recognize their inherent value as well.
As for patriotism, most of our cultural debates today center on a denigration of the past with no interest in context and no ability or willingness to see the complexities involved in it all.
Colleges and universities, in many sectors, don’t instill a sense of duty or devotion to anything other than the self, with the media and Hollywood simply co-signing the madness.
We’ve raised at least two generations to believe faith is of no importance and that the whims of the individual heart are all that truly matter. Likewise, we’ve convinced everyone to believe the absurd lie nearly 8 billion people can live, believe and behave however they want and cultural sanity will somehow still reign supreme.
We’re a people adrift in the middle of the ocean without a paddle and in the epicenter of the most terrifying storm imaginable — and, though directionless and destitute, we delusionally assume we’ll miraculously and safely get back to land without putting in any effort.
Our prize for moral meandering and making it all about us is record depression, sadness, suicidal inclinations, drug overdoses, and a general disconnectedness that we desperately pretend isn’t self-inflicted.
Don’t get me wrong: There are some signs the public is tiring of the “gospel of the self,” but as the above list shows, much of the damage has been done.
Young people have been in what Washington Times reporter Sean Salai recently called a “mental health freefall,” with COVID-19 restrictions worsening an already lamentable situation.
Ronald J. Rychlak, a professor and former associate dean at the University of Mississippi School of Law, pointed to an evaporation of the certainties young people could once rely on. He addressed, among other topics, the mass confusion around biological sex, pointing to the associated disorder and chaos.
“They have been told there is no truth,” he said of youths before dropping the mic. “Parents don’t marry, unborn babies are clumps of cells, modern life is destroying the climate, men can become women and vice versa. Modern society is leaving an imprint on the youth, and many are having a hard time dealing with it.”
The moral chaos is engulfing our young, diminishing faithfulness, and breeding a venomous lack of interest in patriotism.
It’s time for culture to wake up, turn back, and desperately drag ourselves out of the madness and into some semblance of sanity. Can we do it, do we have the resolve, and are we willing to exercise self-awareness?
I can only pray the answer is a resounding “yes, yes and yes.” Our futures depend on it.
• Billy Hallowell is a digital TV host and interviewer for Faithwire and CBN News and the co-host of CBN’s “Quick Start Podcast.” He is the author of four books, including “Playing With Fire: A Modern Investigation into Demons, Exorcism, and Ghosts,” and “The Armageddon Code: One Journalist’s Quest for End-Times Answers.”
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