Hosea 8:7 - "For they have sown the wind, and they shall reap the whirlwind…"
America is reeling from a lack of a moral imperative. We have cut ourselves loose from an absolute standard of morality and have adopted the humanistic philosophy of situation ethics – morality is whatever one defines for himself. At the same time, we have insulated ourselves against censure by demanding non-judgmentalism: one may conduct himself as he pleases, and society must remain indifferent. No one has the right to say that the conduct of another is wrong. Many even quote the Lord out of context to claim that Jesus said not to judge another’s conduct.
We are reaping the consequences of a philosophy that declares that "God is dead," even as William J. Bennett observed, writing in the Reader’s Digest, April 1994: "During the last decade of the 20th century, there is a disturbing reluctance to talk seriously about matters spiritual and religious. We have become used to not talking about the things that matter most. One will often hear that religious faith is a private matter. But whatever your faith – even if you have none at all – it is a fact that when millions of people stop believing in God, enormous public consequences follow. Dostoyevsky reminded us in The Brothers Karamasov that ‘if God does not exist, everything is permissible.’ We are now seeing ‘everything.’"
Yes, everything. Immorality knows no boundaries. We lead the industrialized world in murder, rape and violent crime. Our streets are unsafe, as criminals run free. When caught, they are released with little or no punishment. We excuse lying, perjury, and obstruction of justice. We wink at fornication and adultery. We accept the murder of the unborn and the partially born, and some are urging the right to kill the lately born.
And now fear fills the halls of learning. Our schools are unsafe. Major student problems in 1940 were talking out of turn, chewing gum, making noise and running in the halls; in the 90’s they are alcohol and drugs, pregnancy, suicide, rape, and assault. And now our schools are being terrorized. Do we need to be reminded?
On October 1, 1997, in Pearl, Mississippi, a 16-year-old boy killed his mother and then at school shot 9 of his fellow-students, 2 fatally.
On December 1, 1997, in Paducah, Kentucky, a 14-year-old boy shot 8 students; three were killed and one paralyzed.
On March 24, 1998, in Jonesboro, Arkansas, two boys, age 11 and 13, shot 15 people; 4 girls and a teacher were killed; and 10 were wounded.
On May 21, 1998, in Springfield, Oregon, a 15-year-old shot more than 20 (2 fatally); his parents were found slain at home.
On April 20, in Littleton, Colorado, two students killed 15, injured 16 (11 seriously), and then booby-trapped the school building.
And, there have been many others in the decade since these events. The nation seems dazed, unable to understand what is happening … the resounding question is, "why?"
What Is The Problem?
The problem is not a lack of laws, government programs, or gun control. The problem is the loss of morality, of moral-consciousness. The popular justification of immorality is that "character doesn’t matter" any more; character doesn’t count.
The immediate reaction of the liberal establishment to terrorism in the schools has been a call for "gun control," meaning more laws and regulations. However, laws do not control guns; people do. "But," they would answer, "we mean to make laws that punish people who misuse guns!" Not that there are not already an abundance of such laws. If the laws that now exist were invoked, the criminal elements would certainly be curtailed. And if justice were swift, then the temptation to commit crimes would be deterred. But, what liberals want is a control of the law-abiding citizens, with additional restrictions. If controlling the misuse of weapons is the true objective, then it is not "gun control" that we need; it is "character control." Character determines the use of guns. We have yet to hear a politician, legislator, newsperson, or other public figure, call for character control. As long as we ignore character – the features or attributes of morality that distinguish an individual – and excuse immoral behavior, no law can save us.
What has brought us to the present situation? The older generation is perplexed, "How could this happen?" They fail to realize that we are judging today’s society by the way we were taught in school. But it is not that way anymore. Things changed in the 1960’s, at the time our present legislators, teachers, and news media personnel, were students and secular humanism dominated the college campuses. They were a turned on, drop out, permissive generation who gave themselves to drugs and promiscuous sex; they hated the establishment, the military, capitalism, and God and God-defined morality. What they were taught and accepted, they have now taught a new generation. What they have sowed, we are reaping.
Of course, not every young person in the 60’s was part of the drug culture. Many never even tried to "inhale" pot or otherwise experiment with any other mind-altering substances. Yet the immorality of the time has pervaded our culture.
We can better understand present events in the light of the so-called "new morality" of humanism. Consider the following quotes, without comment:
The Humanist Manifest II: "We affirm that moral values derive their source from human experience. Ethics is autonomous and situational, needing no theological or ideological sanction."
"What the autonomous nature of the moral judgment means is that human beings and the quality of human life are the center of all evaluations of patterns of conduct, that morals are man-centered, not God-centered." (Sidney Hook, The Humanist magazine, Nov/Dec, 1978, p.5.)
"There probably cannot ever be any absolutely correct or proper rules of morality, since people and conditions change over the years and what is ‘right’ today may be ‘wrong’ tomorrow. Sane ethics are relativistic and situational." (Albert Ellis, The Humanist magazine, Sept/Oct, 1969, p. 18.)
"Good may be defined however one wishes! Once that insight is acted upon, almost everything that was once sacred (history, nationalistic indoctrination, architecture, sequential learning, polite language, etc.) may have to be modified or abandoned." (Ray Fairfield, signer of Humanist Manifesto II, Humamnistic Frontiers in American Education, p. 7.)
"I just want to say one thing if I may. I cannot define morality for you, Worth, but I do have a thought about what seems to me to be the characteristic, the basic moral problem of today. To me this is choosing, not between good and evil (because good and evil do not admit of universal definition), but between two goods. And what I mean by two goods is two opportunities that one individual finds good, but that are essentially contradictory, each to the other, incompatible." (Hiram Hayden, The American Scholar, Summer Quarterly 1965.)
"For humanism no human acts are good or bad in or of themselves." (Corliss Lamont, The Philosophy of Humanism, p. 193.)
"The sensational deductions which the author draws from this premise include the bold statement that any act – even lying, pre-marital sex, abortion, adultery, and murder – could be right, depending on the circumstances." (Publisher’s statement on the cover, Situation Ethics, by Joseph Fletcher.)
Murder… can it be justified as morally good? Consider the fact that humanists teach that man, without God, is an animal, as is a dog or a cow; all are products of evolution. There is nothing immoral about killing an animal. If killing is a part of one’s value system, then it is morally permissible! Consider the following:
"It’s O.K. to lie … It’s O.K. to steal … It’s O.K. to have pre-marital sex … It’s O.K. to kill if these things are part of your own value system and you have clarified these values for yourself…" (Erica Carle’s description 0f Sidney Simon’s presentation at the Wisconsin Education Association Convention, quoted in Weep For your Children, by Murray Norris, p. 6.)
Is it not a bit hypocritical to teach humanism in our schools, and then act surprised when a student believes it and practices it? We have taught our young people that one is not responsible for his conduct, not to others or to himself.
We will not return to a safer, more humane society until we return to God, and God-ordained morality. Man must learn that he is not in control of his ultimate destiny; therefore, neither his life. Jer. 10:23 – "the way of man is not in himself: it is not in man that walketh to direct his steps." One’s own way may seem to be good, when it is not: Prov 14:12 – "There is a way which seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death." How can one tell without divine direction? Psalm 119:105 – "Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path." When one deviates from the right way, he sins (1 John 3:4).
Every individual must realize the consequences of sin – not just presently, but when he appears before God. Morality begins with recognition of God and the fact that we are responsible and accountable for our conduct. (Eccl. 12:13-14; 2 Cor. 5:10-11).
Until we, as a nation, come to recognize and honor God, we will continue to reap the whirlwind. "Righteousness exalteth a nation: but sin is a reproach to any people. (Prov. 14:34)