The German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche predicted that the death of the Christian God would unleash madness that over time would eventually infiltrate every area of Western and American life. That time is now.
In 2013, AP award winning columnist Richard Larsen described American culture as warped and twisted with few core values and a perverted sense of propriety. (Our Culture Of Deranged Values, Larsen, Western Journalism, July 2, 2013 )
From an almost boundless menu of madness, Larsen selects a few:
1. You can get arrested for hunting or fishing without a license, but not for being in the country illegally.
2. School children have to get parents’ permission to go on a field trip or take an aspirin in school, but not to get an abortion or take a morning after pill.
3. We have politicians who want to ban law-abiding citizens from owning guns but give fighter jets to the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt, and want to give weapons to the resistance in Syria that beheads opponents and eats their hearts.
4. A seven-year-old boy can be thrown out of school for saying his teacher is cute, but hosting a sexual exploration or diversity class in grade school is perfectly acceptable.
5. You pay your mortgage faithfully, denying yourself luxuries, while your neighbor buys iPhones, TV’s, and new cars; and the government forgives his debt when he defaults on his mortgage.
6. School children are allowed to spew the most vulgar words and expressions, but face suspension if they talk openly about God or Jesus Christ.
Such madness evidencing the devolution of our culture could go on inexorably, said Larsen, but clearly, we are a ludicrous, nihilistic, upside-down society of skewed priorities and values, shaped by convoluted notions of what acceptable or politically correct behavior should be:
" Common sense, once common, is no more. It truly makes one wonder if there’s any hope for us. The prophet Isaiah said, “Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter.” It’s a morally dark day in America, and it’s getting darker." (ibid)
Once the citadels of Christianity, contemporary Western and American societies are now Godless, nihilistic, idolatrous, esoteric neo-pagan and mystical pantheist societies that dehumanize and disintegrate imago dei (the unique imprint God placed upon humanity), and openly promote vice (sin).
For more than seventy years this disastrous and still unfolding state of affairs has convinced many perceptive thinkers to believe that Western civilization has shifted to decline, disintegration and atrophy. For example, more than sixty years ago, German sociologist Karl Mannheim saw that Western civilization was in sharp decline and is even now "collapsing before our eyes." (Man and Society: In an Age of Reconstruction, Mannheim, p. 15)
Western and American society is now variously described in such terms as post-capitalist (Ralf Dahrendorf), post-bourgeois (George Lichtheim),post-modern (Amitai Etzioni), post-literary (Marshall McLuhan), post-civilized (Kenneth Boulding), post-traditional (S.N. Eisenstadt), post-historic (Roderick Seidenberg), post-industrial (Daniel Bell), post-Puritan, post-Protestant and post-Christian (Sidney Ahlstrom). (Faith and History: A Comparison of Christian and Modern Views of History, pp. 162f, from "Idols for Destruction, Herbert Schlossberg, p. 2)
This outpouring of pessimism and despair is what we ought to expect from mainly secular intellectuals. Their religiously pagan worldview within its' closed system (anti-supernatural universe) positing the evolutionary ascent of man from primordial matter to a more perfect state leaves them confounded as well as spiritually and morally impoverished. But supernatural Christian theism along with its Hebraic antecedents and in particular its' doctrines of creation ex nihilo and eschatology (Rev. 22:13) are explicit statements that history has both a definite beginning and end. Events between these two boundary stones have meaning relevant to the 'death of God,' moral decay, idolatry, perversely sexualized nature worship and collapse of Western and American civilization.
In order that we may understand the spirit of madness sweeping through our decaying, 'death of God' society Herbert Schlossberg, author of Idols for Destruction, as well as a leading scholar on the relationship between Christianity and the societies in which it has existed, proposes that we use idolatry as a framework for comprehension. The biblical explanation of madness and depravity in connection with the end of society resides in the concept of judgment upon an idolatrous people, who being evil and perilous to their own existence and that of others, have liberated themselves from God's perfect law.
According to Pastor R. Mark Musser, author of "Nazi Oaks: The Green Sacrifice of the Judeo-Christian Worldview in the Holocaust," the worship of the Holy God as the Creator and human ethics go hand in hand in the Mosaic Law. The first four commandments demand love for the Holy God. Commandment five demands love for parents, and commandments six through ten demand love for other people. Man was thus commanded to worship and love God as His Maker,
"and the best way to fulfill this was to treat one's neighbor with love and respect precisely because he too was made in God's image."(p. 47)
As such, the entire Mosaic code was written with the reality of Genesis 1 (creation ex nihilo) in mind, "and once this truth was forgotten or compromised by idolatrous nature worship," love and respect for both God and man inevitably diminishes as the fundamental distinction between man and nature becomes increasingly blurred:
"Darwin put an end to the belief that the animal and vegetable species bear no relation to oneanother (and) that they were created by God, and hence immutable." (Vladimir Lenin, Fatal Fruit, Tom DeRosa, p. 9)
Scripture depicts a societies' people as either having submitted themselves to their Maker, the Triune God and His moral law, or else as ungodly idolaters who have rebelled against him. The judgment and wrath of God is a divine response to Godless idolaters. This is how the Old Testament portrays Israel. Israel had become an evil nation of idolaters fully deserving the judgment God brought against it. Its' rebellion against God was accompanied by a turning to idols, and this self-serving Godlessness and unrighteousness brought the nation to its' end:
"For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth." Romans 1:18
The Decalogue shows that the beginning of idolatry is pride (preference for self over God and neighbor). The will of the idolater is not in submission to God but self, thus having made an idol out of himself he assumes he possesses honor and rights. This is why pride leads to contempt for and outright hatred of God the Father Almighty and neighbor, unchanging truth, moral law, goodness, wisdom, norms, authority, standards, rules, and institutions in favor of lust for power, perverse sexuality, and dehumanization of other people. In the Soviet Union, Darwinism unleashed madness which resulted in psychological and physical slavery, population control schemes, brutality, terror, mass-murder (genocide) and man-made famines:
"As many as 7 million Ukrainians were starved in Soviet Socialist dictator Joseph Stalin's artificial, forced famine in Ukraine in 1932 and 1933. This is approximately the total population of Manitoba, Newfoundland, British Columbia, New Brunswick, Saskatchewan, Nova Scotia, and Prince Edward Island." (Inky Mark, M. P. Dauphin — Swan River House of Commons 2 June 1998, Famine-Genocide in Ukraine 1932-1933)
"Moscow employed the famine as a political weapon against the Ukrainians in the years 1932-1933. The famine was in its entirety artificially induced and organized." (ibid, F. M. Pigido -an economist who lived and worked in Ukraine during the Famine of 1932-1933, Investigation of Communist Takeover and Occupation of the Non-Russian Nations of the U.S.S.R p. 35)
"... On one side, millions of starving peasants, their bodies often swollen from lack of food; on the other, soldiers, members of the GPU carrying out the instructions of the dictatorship of the proletariat. They had gone over the country like a swarm of locusts and taken away everything edible; they had shot or exiled thousands of peasants, sometimes whole villages; they had reduced some of the most fertile land in the world to a melancholy desert." (ibid, Malcolm Muggeridge, British foreign correspondent, "War on the Peasants," Fortnightly Review, 1 May, 1933)
"Food is a weapon." (ibid, Maxim Litvinov — Soviet Commissar of Foreign Affairs)
According to the authors of "The Black Book of Communism," Communist regimes did not just commit criminal acts but were criminal enterprises in their very essence:
"...all ruled lawlessly and without regard for human life (and) one particular feature of many Communist regimes (was) their use of famine as a weapon. The Bolsheviks had decided to eliminate...any challenge or resistance, even if passive, to their absolute power. This strategy applied not only to groups with opposing political views, but also to such social groups as the nobility, the middle class, the intelligentsia...the clergy...military officers and the police." (pp. xvii, 8-9)
Marxist Communists systematically stole the personal property of Russians, confiscated and sexually perverted their children, desecrated and blasphemed churches, crucified thousands of nuns and priests and in general, committed monstrous crimes against humanity which took the lives of sixty-million men, women, and children. For example:
"About 200,000 clergy, many crucified, scalped and otherwise tortured, were killed during the approximately 60 years of communist rule in the former Soviet Union, a Russian commission reported this week. In addition, another 500,000 religious figures were persecuted and 40,000 churches destroyed in the period from 1922 to 1980, the report said. Half the country's mosques and more than half the synagogues were also destroyed" Clergymen were crucified on churches' holy gates, shot, scalped [and] strangled," said Alexander Yakovlev, head of the Commission for the Rehabilitation of the Victims of Political Repression. The commission prepared the report for Russian President Boris Yeltsin. "I was especially shocked by accounts of priests turned into columns of ice in winter," Yakovlev said. "It was total cruelty." (paulbogdanor.com)
How many died in all? Estimates vary from a low of 160,000,000 to a high of 300,000,000 men, women and children worked to death, burned in ovens, gassed, starved, shot, knifed, electrocuted, tortured to death, hung, crucified, and cruelly murdered in many other ways.
For more than two centuries Western and American ‘death of God’ religious and culture leaders have disregarded God even though the evil effects were mostly confined to their own circles. But then they deliberately desecrated Western and American Christian tradition and lived in ways that would have spelled disaster if emulated by rank and file citizens said Os Guinness:
“But now in the early twenty-first century, their movement from disregard to desecration to decadence is going mainstream, and the United States is only the lead society among those close to the tipping point.... Soon, as the legalization and then normalization of polyamory, polygamy, pedophilia and incest follow the same logic as that of abortion and homosexuality, the socially destructive consequences of these trends will reverberate throughout society until social chaos is beyond recovery.” (Renaissance: The Power of the Gospel However Dark the Times, Os Guinness, p. 20)
The moment has indeed arrived for pedophile sex rings and sex slavery in our idolatrous, dehumanized post-Christian culture:
"In 2005, the world was introduced to reclusive billionaire Jeffrey Epstein, friend to princes and an American president, a power broker with the darkest of secrets: He was also a pedophile, accused of recruiting dozens of underage girls into a sex-slave network, buying their silence and moving along, although he has been convicted of only one count of soliciting prostitution from a minor. Visitors to his private Caribbean island, known as “Orgy Island,” have included Bill Clinton, Prince Andrew and Stephen Hawking.” (The ‘Sex Slave’ Scandal That Exposed Pedophile Billionaire Jeffrey Epstein, Maureen Callahan, New York Post, Oct. 9,
In declaring the nonexistence of the supernatural dimension and the death of the Holy God Creator of heaven and earth and two thousand years of Christian witness, Western society is systematically replacing the living Holy God with "idolatrous self"and nature (Gaia); the Word (John 1) with evolutionary energy or Christ consciousness; Holy Scripture with scientism as the only legitimate form of knowledge; man as Gods spiritual image-bearer with evolved ape-man as god; the Ten Commandments with relativism; and sin and free will with natural causation, a process commonly referred to as secularization.
Whatever man places at the top of his idolatrous pyramid of self-gratifying, self-glorifying values is ultimately what he serves and this profoundly affects the way he lives and interacts with the people around him or her.
When a society turns away from the Holy Triune God to deified self, it is an idolatrous society heading for destruction because at the root of the rejection of the living God is the rebellious assertion that man has not been created by Him, that he is not dependent upon Him for his own life, and not created in His spiritual image. He is not dependent upon the living God but is rather a man-god, the creator of God, and the master of time, being, and the world who through his own powers will save himself.
But as the days of (Noah) were, so shall also the coming of the Son of man be." Matthew 24:37
Scripture tells us that prior to the return of Jesus Christ at the end of history, the nations of the earth will have become evil swamps of idolatrous tyrants who have forgotten their own souls, believe that all that exists is the evolving universe of psychic energy, and prefer evil over good. Earth and its idolatrous citizenry will have deteriorated to the Godless condition that it had been during Noah's day.
Lest we mistakenly perceive idolaters as nice, misunderstood people, in "Journey to the Celestial City," Wayne Martindale sets straight this error with his unvarnished depiction of hell-bound idolaters as haters of good people. All that's left in them is self-centeredness, hate, envy, lies, and thoughts of theft and murder and sadistic pleasure received from hurting other people,, They are evil, violent idolaters who prefer evil thoughts, evil words, evil companions and evil acts. Thus when they encounter good people they,
"...condemn them, perverting their reason by rationalizing evil and finding ways to blame the good or God or religion for their problems and the problems of the world. They already hate goodness because it implicitly condemns the evil they have chosen. They wouldn't like heaven if they could have it. They are, in a sense, already in hell, preferring darkness to light." (Eternal Perspectives, Randy Alcorn, p 76)
Since idolatry leads to the conceptual murder of God and the rejection of His work on the cross, this means that by their own choices they assign themselves to hell by judging themselves unfit for Paradise. In affirmation, C.S. Lewis says that Hell is of their choosing:
"There are only two kinds of people in the end: those who say to God, 'Thy will be done,' and those to whom God says, in the end, 'Thy will be done.' All that are in Hell chose it."