As I’m sure you’ve noticed, the world just keeps on changing, and the speed of change keeps increasing! Maybe I’m starting to sound like an old man, but this is obvious to me and, as I reflect on how we got here, culturally speaking, I have landed on three sweeping distortions in our cultural compass that have resulted in a completely different country than the one I was born into. See if you agree:
From a world of Authority to a world of Preference
In the past, people looked to authority figures and structures to give them guidance on things like morals, values, and culture. Authority figures, therefore, received respect and admiration, and they served as sought-after role models. No longer. Now the world is all about personal preference as the primary guide to morals, values and culture. “You do you and I will do me” or “Live and let live” are the mantras of the day.
Not even God gets to have authority anymore. Among the culture, He is not even recognized and among “believers”, His authority takes a back-seat to personal preference on matters of morality, character, and ethics. With the loss of God’s authority, things like the dignity of life, or moral codes now have no authoritative guide to look to, and this shakes the culture at every level.
2. From Religious Integration to Religious Fragmentation
In former days, religious identity colored every aspect of the “believer’s” life and provided a clear guide for decision-making. Now it is normative to embrace parts of your religious beliefs and completely ignore others. Even sacred texts no longer hold a place of authority for believers, as they abandon even looking for a life-encompassing faith.
3. From the Supernatural to the Secular
Christians are called to live by the power of God and the work of His Spirit in us, rather than just try harder at sin management. We lean into God’s power, seek His peace, live in the strength of His might and anticipate His participation in every arena of life. Now, most Christians I know don’t actually believe prayer works and live their lives “doing the best they can”. The life of the Spirit, described in Romans chapter 8 is a rare thing, indeed.
So, we have No Givens, No Rules and No Spiritual Power. It has made a huge difference in our culture and it’s not slowing down!