The moral decay fallacy

Discussion in '2003 Archive' started by Brett, Nov 14, 2003.

  1. Brett

    Brett
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Jun 25, 2003
    Messages:
    586
    Likes Received:
    0
    When browsing the posts here, I often see comments like "Our society has become so immoral..." and "The decline of morality in our society...".

    My question is, is society really getting more immoral? Was there ever really a time in which God's commandments were kept in near-perfect harmony, and existence as a whole was carried out very close to God's will?

    Personally, I don't think morality has actually declined in society. Violent crime rates are actually much lower than they were in any previous generation (that's according to my psychology teacher; I don't have a source to back this up). As the world gets more and more educated, crime rates fall - I think that the fact that education and crime rate are inversely related is pretty self-evident.

    Now, I realize that lower crime rates do not always translate into lower instances of sin. Sins like lying, adultery, and homosexuality are not illegal. But I think that they're probably a fairly good indication.

    So, do you think that morality in the present-day society is actually declining? If so, what evidence is there to back such a statement up?
     
  2. PastorGreg

    PastorGreg
    Expand Collapse
    Member

    Joined:
    Jul 12, 2000
    Messages:
    794
    Likes Received:
    0
    Brett,

    I think the best evidence is Scripture - II Timothy 3:13 - "Evil men and seducers will grow worse and worse." God tells us that as time goes on society will indeed be more evil.
    The most obvious indication is TV. An indicator, perhaps, of what is acceptable in society. Look at today's average prime time line up vs. 10, 20, 30, etc. years ago. Are there new sins? Probably not. Is blatant sin more culturally acceptable today than a generation ago? Clearly.
     
  3. Brett

    Brett
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Jun 25, 2003
    Messages:
    586
    Likes Received:
    0
    I thought about Timothy when I made my original post, but I think that verse is saying that individual evil people will grow more and more sinful; that is, the wicked will get more and more wicked. I don't think it's referring to society as a whole. If you look at the surrounding verses, I think it's clear it's talking about people individually:

    3:12
    Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution.

    3:13
    But evil men and seducers shall grow worse and worse, deceiving, and being deceived.

    3:14
    But continue thou in the things which thou hast learned and hast been assured of, knowing of whom thou hast learned them;


    True, television and movies can be morally depraved. But such things are hardly unique to our culture: a reading of Shakespeare, for example, will reveal a lot of very raunchy jokes and sexual innuendo, and this reflects the attitudes of many people of the time - such "humour" would please the people at the time, just as many people find today's television and movies enjoyable.
     
  4. Tim

    Tim
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Mar 11, 2001
    Messages:
    967
    Likes Received:
    0
    Brett,

    I completely agree. I'm actually pretty tired of everyone around me saying that the Bible says things will get worse and worse. As you said, that passage in Timothy actually seems to say that wicked people will turn farther into wickedness--something we surely see evidenced in the world today, as in Timothy's day. However, the passage does not apply the same dismal outlook to society in general.

    Jesus actually had the audacity to say that the church would fight against the gates of hell and prevail. Instead the modern church has largely been uninterested in the world, except to shake our head at it sanctimoniously. If society truly is getting worse--we have mostly ourselves to blame. The righteous are largely indifferent to the plight of sinners. When we do engage the world, it is often done in the wrong spirit--trying to beat them rather than win them.

    In 2 Tim chapter 2, Paul penned some very challenging words about proper methods and attitudes (v. 24-26). I believe if we really followed those instructions, we'd likely see many around us getting better, as God changed their hearts.

    In Christ,

    Tim
     
  5. Ben W

    Ben W
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Sep 16, 2002
    Messages:
    8,868
    Likes Received:
    0
    Brett, I agree with you also. There is nothing likepeople that want to talk about "The Good Old Days" etc etc.

    There ahve been many cultures that have embraced Homosexual marriage for example. Prior to the advent of the nazi party it used to be quite prevalant in Germany.

    In time gone by people used to take alot more harmfull drugs to trip out on. Check out a Sherlock Holmes book and see how many times he goes to the "Snuff Tin" to get help with answers.

    In reality "Snuff" was quite popular throughout England. Snuff is in fact Cocaine.

    In the Victorian era Prostitution was way more rampant than it is now.

    The list could go on and on, yet it is all about what we want to believe I suppose.
     
  6. HankD

    HankD
    Expand Collapse
    Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    May 14, 2001
    Messages:
    15,126
    Likes Received:
    320
    I did a paper on divorce many years ago.

    One fact I remember: In the early 1900's before WWI, 1 in 47 marriages ended in divorce.

    HankD
     
  7. HankD

    HankD
    Expand Collapse
    Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    May 14, 2001
    Messages:
    15,126
    Likes Received:
    320
  8. Baptist Believer

    Baptist Believer
    Expand Collapse
    Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jun 20, 2002
    Messages:
    6,652
    Likes Received:
    188
    Sorry, but they seem to be cooking the statistics numbers to get the conclusion they want. (The same way David Barton does in his books.)

    For instance, it reports:

    --
    Teen Suicide Rate

    1960 3.6%
    1965 4.0%
    1970 5.9%
    1975 7.6%
    1980 8.5%
    1985 10.0%
    --

    Now I was in public schools through the very early '70s through the mid-'80s. (Not quite to 1985)

    I don't recall ten percent of the high school classes dying (much less killing themselves) in those years. I sincerely doubt that the mortality rate for those under 18 ever approached 5%. And if the "trend" they show increased at the same rate, we should expect to see 1 out of 5 teens killing themselves today.

    That’s only one of the questionable statistics listed.

    Nope I'm not that gullible. :rolleyes:

    Remember, “Figures don’t lie, but liars figure.”
     
  9. Loren B

    Loren B
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Jul 10, 2000
    Messages:
    248
    Likes Received:
    0
    There is something wrong with the statistics on the site that HankD gave us.
    Even the median prison sentences were given in "days".
    The suicide rate must be per 1,000 or10,000 or 100,000 not percent.
    Something is not right.
     
  10. Tim

    Tim
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Mar 11, 2001
    Messages:
    967
    Likes Received:
    0
    One big problem with the statistics cited are their limited scope, only in the US since 1960.

    If indeed the last days began in Paul's & Timothy's time and continue until today (another debate in and of itself), then we should see a general moral decline from that point on worldwide. The problem is, history does not bear that out.

    Thankfully the church has made a difference in history. We continue to see cycles of decline and revival in different parts of the world.

    In Christ,

    Tim
     
  11. JoeElliott

    JoeElliott
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Oct 19, 2003
    Messages:
    14
    Likes Received:
    0
    But who are the wicked? Aren't each and every one of us wicked before we are in Christ? This means that society in general is wicked, because society in general is unsaved. So, it is true that wickedness grows as me move forward in time. However, I do disagree with the assertion by some that things were so great in the good ole' days, meaning the forties and fifties. Things were far from godly back then also. It's just that there was more of an illusion of Godliness back then that is fading away now. This is a good thing. It is good that we see things for what they are. Man is not basically good. Man is depraved and in need of redemption. What we see today is the illusion of Godliness in the US being stripped away.

    Absolutely right. Too often the motivation with many Christians is to clean up the world around them so that they may be comnfortable and not offended by any sin. In other words, there doesn't seem to always be concern for the sinners of the world, they just don't want the sin around them, because they don't want to be disturbed by it. They are all for trying to ban certain behaviors, but most Christians will not lift a finger to give the lost the spiritual food they need. We don't really care for their souls, we just don't want them to bother us with their sin. However, by the level of indulgence that many Christians engage in as far as pleasures and entertainments of this world are concerned, we aren't really bothered by much of the filth that the world has to offer. WE jump right on in, especially when we turn that TV on.

    In Christ's Love

    Joe Elliott
    http://members.aol.com/joe4jesus/index.htm
     
  12. Brett

    Brett
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Jun 25, 2003
    Messages:
    586
    Likes Received:
    0
    I agree that all are wicked, as all are worthy of eternal damnation due to our sinful nature. But look again at II Timothy 3:

    Note that in 3:13, it speaks of evil men, but in 3:14, the contrast of a believer, who knows the word of God and practises it, is drawn. True, we are all wicked, but I think these verses are using "wicked" in the sense of people who lack repentance and faith in Christ and instead mindlessly continue with their wicked ways.

    Therefore, as Time and I said before, there isn't any biblical evidence (at least not in Timothy!) that would support the idea of society as a whole growing more wicked over time.
     
  13. Helen

    Helen
    Expand Collapse
    <img src =/Helen2.gif>

    Joined:
    Aug 29, 2001
    Messages:
    11,703
    Likes Received:
    1
    When I was a child in school in the fifties, extra noise in the classroom was the worst the teachers had to deal with most of the time. None of my friends' parents were divorced, and neither were mine. In high schoolin the early sixties, there was no 'sex education' and only one girl in our high school got pregnant. There were not any teen suicides. One kid died the day after graduation in a car accident. Anyone who smoked was cheap, and drugs belonged in Berkeley, not in any decent place!

    My fifth child graduated from high school this past May. There were six suicides in her four years there; too many pregnancies to count, and drugs were common. Police were called in at least twice a month for problems. Twice there was a bomb alert and the school was excused for the rest of the day. There was only ONE girl in her rather large group of friends who did NOT have divorced parents.

    Maybe the actuality of evil is not lesser or greater than at any given time in the past, but the acceptance and encouragement of it has, from what I have seen, reached new highs (or lows, depending on how you look at it), and I think that can even be seen on this board.

    Once upon a time, the idea that ANY Christian would condone abortion was something unheard of. Once upon a time premarital sex was known as wrong and a sin no matter what. Once upon a time....

    I think if anyone here who has studied history takes a good look, they will find some interesting things:

    1. Within a generation of a society becoming promiscuous they are in political turmoil and the culture that produced or allowed that promiscuity and the accompanying violence is no more.

    2. Until now, these cultural downfalls have been local to the culture and area involved.


    Today it is not only worldwide, but the acceptance and encouragement of promiscuity and violence is also worldwide. We get terribly upset at the training camps for terrorist youth. But what do we give our children to play with? Video games so violent and sexual that they are an embarrassment to my generation; movies and television shows which standards which are almost nonexistent; books in schools promoting witchcraft and anti-social values.

    Oh yes, things are getting worse. Not in terms of 'so and so was worse or just as bad as we are', but in terms of a universal acceptance of decadence now. It is getting harder and harder for anyone to take a moral and ethical stand in raising their children, in teaching, in any kind of work with others. It is no longer politically correct to be moral and ethical.

    This is new, folks. This is definitely new.
     
  14. dianetavegia

    dianetavegia
    Expand Collapse
    Guest

    Exactly, Helen! In MY school (Perry, Georgia) you were really in the minority if you were not a regular church attender!

    Diane
     
  15. Brett

    Brett
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Jun 25, 2003
    Messages:
    586
    Likes Received:
    0
    Testimonials don't really mean much. At my former highschool, there was one suicide and one tean pregnancy, out of 1000 students. Every single one of my close friends had a stable, two-parent home environment. The majority of them were regular church attenders.

    Does this mean it's true for all highschools, for all children? Of course not. I live in a very well-to-do area of the city. This is just showing that one's personal experience of society is not always an accurate microcosm of society as a whole.
     
  16. NaasPreacher (C4K)

    NaasPreacher (C4K)
    Expand Collapse
    Administrator
    Administrator

    Joined:
    Oct 21, 2003
    Messages:
    26,806
    Likes Received:
    78
    So Brett, are you basing your "cultural status indicators" totally on the words of your psychology teacher?

    Could we see some facts to back up your arguements? The burden of proof lies on you since you raised the question.
     
  17. Brett

    Brett
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Jun 25, 2003
    Messages:
    586
    Likes Received:
    0
    What? I even said that I didn't have any statistics to back up my claims. But other than divorce rate statistics, I don't see any evidence for the other side, either. People are always claiming that "Our country is going to pot" or whatever, but I don't see any evidence to back up THAT claim, either. As a said before, testimonials are hardly a sound form of "evidence".

    Also, the advent of the media in that past generation merely means that we are often more exposed to the violence and sin that surrounds us; before this, some of us would have had little idea of what is going on around us in the world.

    BTW, I did a quick internet search and found this link:

    http://www.ojp.usdoj.gov/bjs/glance/cv2.htm
     
  18. Tim

    Tim
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Mar 11, 2001
    Messages:
    967
    Likes Received:
    0
    Again, we can't limit this discussion to the United States in the last 40 years, or even the western world in the last 40 years.

    History reaches back to into some horrible times. Would anyone care to advance the idea that Nazi Germany wasn't as bad as Modern Germany? Stalin's Russia worse than Russia today? How about the Inquisition in Spain? Or the last decadent years of the Roman Empire? We need some historical perspective here.

    As Brett mentioned, one major factor which gives us a pessimistic view of the world is the media. The only news we hear is bad news--and we hear it from all over the world. This is a modern phenomenon. In the "good old days", countless terrible things happened around the world with relativly few people ever knowing about them. Even when we did know about them, they weren't trumpeted 24 hours a day.

    For example, during WWII thousands of men died in battle every day. Today, just a handful die every day in Iraq--but we are constantly reminded of it.

    History simply does not bear out the idea that "things are constantly getting worse and worse" . Men bent towards evil do get worse (according to the scripture, and born out in experience, including modern America), but as Paul commanded Timothy, righteous men are to continue in godliness even if it brings persecution.

    In Christ,

    Tim
     
  19. Pennsylvania Jim

    Pennsylvania Jim
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Oct 8, 2000
    Messages:
    7,693
    Likes Received:
    0
    Statistics can be misleading enough in sports, let alone in moral issues.

    I think that Helen had a great post. If you went to nearly any town in the US and spoke with people of different ages you would find the same thing.

    Interpretation of scriptural passages with relation to end times prophecies is a different matter. But the moral climate is easy to see and compare with the past, and there is no question that morality has taken a big hit in thelast 40-50 years.
     
  20. HankD

    HankD
    Expand Collapse
    Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    May 14, 2001
    Messages:
    15,126
    Likes Received:
    320
    10 percent means an increase in the number of suicides among teens. Notice it says increase of "rate"

    Personally I believe you that most of you are wrong about this but then that's just my opinion and the opinion of these government and pirivate agencies developing these statistics which admittedly could be skewed.

    HankD
     

Share This Page

Loading...