What people born after the 1960s don’t know: How much culture has changed, or I could say, indeed how much it has changed in just my lifetime.
For example, during the week before Christmas, my wife and I watched a Perry Como Christmas music program first aired in 1975. In the latter part of the program Como introduced the Christmas story narrative and read it in entirety from the biblical book of Luke, saying it was his favorite story of all time because its message blessed all mankind with peace and hope and “because it is true.”
Think about whether an artist today would read the Christmas story at all on national television, much less claim it is true, or whether any entertainer would even use the word “truth” in reference to anything religious. This change in itself is an amazing and far-reaching shift in the moral/spiritual presuppositions of cultural philosophy just in a generation.
Another small example comes from ESPN’s “Good Morning Football.” The panel participants were talking about players wearing down late in the football season and a commentator used a Scripture paraphrase, i.e., “Spirit has to be willing when the body is weak.” Three others on the panel reacted immediately, “Wow, what a great quote” with raised hands and Woo-Woo hoots. The commentator who made the reference actually chair-danced. None of the four panelists seem to have a clue the paraphrase originated in the Bible. It’s like history books crediting the great Abraham Lincoln with originating the observation “A house divided against itself cannot stand," a notion from the Gospels familiar to Lincoln's audience but lost on 21st Century scholars.
Still another example from the Christmas season: It amazes me how many Christmas cards feature nothing or next to it about Christmas, i.e., lots of snow and red and green but not much else. OK, it’s a free country. But the really amazing part to me is how many ostensibly or avowedly Christian or church-related nonprofit organizations mail what amount to secular cards. Their cards feature no references to Scripture, the Christmas story in the Gospels, no pictures of the babe in the manger—which some people still use even if they don’t make reference to other religious words or symbolism. When I see these cards it always strikes me that these “Christian” organizations are missing a messaging opportunity.
Now these are just a few examples from the past Christmas season. We could list much more, including dramatic shifts, as alluded to above, in understanding what is objective truth yielding moral relativism, since 1973 the legalization and now expansion of abortion, the normalization and public promotion of LGBTQ followed by paradigm shifts in acceptance, then legalization, of same-sex marriage, since 1988 a steady legalization of commercial gambling including sports gambling in 2018, increasing complacency about debt along with a growing sense of entitlement, fatherless children, along with a decline in the importance of church in daily life with a parallel increase in secularization. More fundamental changes could be listed.
Of course, some positive changes can be listed too: greater awareness of women’s rights and potential, sensitivity to the needs and prospects of the poor, increased attention to opportunities for all races and ethnicities.
Ideas have consequences.
© Rex M. Rogers – All Rights Reserved, 2019
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