For most of my 70 years, I have been a Quiet Christian. After going through a very skeptical period in my High School and early College years, I have been a Believer (though perhaps not a good one). In my youth, I had been put off by folks who “pushed” religion (see my Obstacles and Great Commission articles). I developed a philosophy that one should study and develop their religious beliefs on their own, and that one should not try to push their beliefs on other people. I felt that one’s faith should be between themselves and God, and that it’s nobody else’s business.
My views have evolved somewhat since the position described above. However, I still firmly believe that others should be allowed to absorb religion (or not) at their own speed and of their own free will. So, why am I now getting more vocal about my religious beliefs? I touched on one important aspect of it in my Great Commission article, but there’s more to the story. In this article, I will attempt to explain myself.
In my lifetime, I have seen many changes in our society and in our country. In my opinion, many of these changes are not for the better. I am concerned about the future of Maine, the USA and the world in general. There are many aspects of these changes. Let’s start with a discussion of values.
People used to respect each other more. People were more polite to each other. There has been an erosion in respect and politeness that comes partly from TV, movies, music, and now social media. People can and do post mean, exaggerated, sometimes libelous comments or tweets without any retribution.
Men used to be taught from boyhood on to respect women. Partly, but not wholly, because of the feminist movement and the demand for the totally “equal” treatment of the sexes, the idea that women are special, and should be treated especially well, is fading away. There ARE differences between the sexes. Men and women are not only physically different, their psychological makeup is different as well. These differences should be honored and celebrated.
A woman who is a good wife and a good mother is a rare treasure and she should be celebrated. A man who is a good husband and a good father, who supports his family with more than just his paycheck, is also worthy of praise (and is becoming increasingly rare). While it is OK if people want to take on other roles in life, these basic roles that were the foundation of family life, should be honored and encouraged.
In our society now, way too many kids are being raised by single parents, usually the mother. Meanwhile, the dude who planted the seed takes no responsibility. If he gets nailed for child support, he resents it. In all too many cases where the father is paying child support, he is fighting with the mother over custody, as if the child is property that he has a “right” to because he pays for the privilege.
Sex without marriage used to be at least frowned upon. Now, it’s expected and considered OK. Of course, premarital sex used to go on in previous generations. I’m living proof of it myself. I learned years later that my own Dad didn’t face up to his responsibilities until my Mother’s father had a very serious talk with him, and let him know how things were going to be. I don’t know if a shotgun was brandished, but it wasn’t far from that scenario. I was very fortunate to grow up in a small town where everyone knew everyone else. My Dad’s family and my Mom’s family were both well known and respected. The community encouraged my parents as a young married couple and things turned out fine. The difference in those days was that people were strongly encouraged (and sometimes forced) by the community to take responsibility for their kids. Now, the attitude is that the government will take care of them.
In recent years, an alarming number of young women (with the encouragement of their boyfriends) take the “easy way out” of an inconvenient pregnancy. I don’t want to make this article into a rant on abortion. I’ll just make a one-sentence statement that sums up what abortion is:
Abortion is the deliberate killing of an absolutely innocent and totally defenseless human being.
‘Nuff said on that topic, let’s move on.
The USA was founded and populated as a Christian country. That is our heritage. Up until approximately the 1980’s, Christians were respected by the general population. While some of us may not have lived our faith as well as we should, most of us considered ourselves to be Christian. To be a Christian was considered a good and desirable thing. However, the popular culture and attitudes have rapidly changed in the last 30 years or so.
Here are a few factors that have led to these changes. Some of the television evangelists, who were sucking up millions of dollars from good-hearted viewers, didn’t help our cause. The child sex abuse scandals and cover-ups among the Catholic clergy didn’t help us either. The downhill slide of the entertainment industry has not helped. The activism by atheist, and even satanist, groups has contributed to the problems. The movement to take all traces of religion out of schools and the government has gone overboard. The liberal news media has contributed to the decline.
Schools don’t teach moral values anymore. Neither do the parents, or anybody else, in the lives of many children. When I attended public schools, my first two or three teachers definitely taught us a lot about what is right and what is wrong. There was an optional program where kids could travel by bus to the one church in town for lessons from a Bible teacher once a week during the school day. That program wouldn’t be allowed now.
Especially with the recent rise of radical Islam, Christians are being persecuted in several places around the world. The way things are going, I would not be at all surprised to see persecution of Christians start to take root in the USA as well.
I started to write this article a couple of evenings ago. At first, I thought I would get it all in one blog post. The more I wrote, and roughed out additional thoughts, the more it grew. Consequently, I have decided to break these thoughts up into installments. In later posts, I will talk about a few more of the problems that bother me as a Christian and a citizen. I will try to keep partisan politics out of it. I will share a few thoughts about how we can exert some positive influence, and how we can cope with this world. I plan to end this Quiet Christian Speaks series with a discussion of God’s plan to straighten this whole mess out.
I’ll end this installment on a positive note. I was thrilled today to hear President Trump’s inauguration speech, where he referred to God several times! The program also included two ministers and a rabbi, who did an outstanding job of asking God’s blessings on the proceedings, on the President and Vice President and their families, and on our country as a whole. It is OK to speak of God once again!