"I went to Jerusalem to become acquainted (Gk. istoria) with Cephas" - Paul's words from Galatians 1:18.

The Source of Social Decay Is Personal Preferences (No Morals) Becoming Cultural Customs (Mores)

The word "moral" and the word "mores" both come from the same Latin root word "mos"

The Latin word mos means "the behavior, principles, or character expressed by a person."

Morals are the principles of an individual person that either restrict or permit certain behaviors. 

A man or woman without morals (principles) will do as he or she prefers or pleases.

When a group of individuals in specific societies lack morals, then the cultural mores will reflect the individual preferences of people. The English word mores means "the customs, characteristics, or essential conduct of a community." The phrase "social norms" would be a synonym for mores.

American culture has changed its "social norms" during the past 40 years.

Prior to 1980, homosexual or lesbian sexual activity was outlawed by almost every state in the union. As recently as 1986, the United States Supreme Court upheld state sodomy laws. In Bowers v. Hardwick (1986), the United States Supreme Court ruled that Georgia's law against sodomy, even if the sexual act of sodomy occurred in the privacy of one's home, was a just moral code for American society. 

Michael Hardwick, the young man caught in the act of sodomy by the Georgia police officer, asserted to the Court that a law must have a rational basis for its existence and that there is none for the Georgia statute against sodomy except for "the public’s view that homosexuality is immoral and unacceptable." He asked that the court give him "Due Process" and protect him from the sodomy law that has no rational basis.

The Supreme Court disagreed with Michael Hardwick. In their 1986 ruling, the Supreme Court stated “The law…is constantly based on notions of morality, and if all laws representing essentially moral choices are to be invalidated under the Due Process Clause, the courts will be very busy indeed."

The Supreme Court basically told Michael Hardwick that the law he violated by performing the act of sodomy was a law based on "a notion of morality" that cannot be invalidated by one's personal preferences.

In other words, sodomy violated the moral code of Nature and Nature's God. Moral principles by definition come from a Source outside of one's individual preferences. The Supreme Court understood t
that the individual is obligated to submit to a moral principle from a Source higher than self.

My, how times have changed.

Forty years ago the American culture, courts, and churches all believed that God established the proper boundaries for human behavior, and all human beings stand obligated to live their lives in accordance with His commands. 

Not anymore. 

It is now possible in the United States to call a man a woman and a woman a man. It is now possible in the United States for two men to marry or two women to marry. It is now possible in the United States to steal from others because you've been victimized by an oppressive moral code and deserve to take from those who've oppressed you.

The culture has changed because individuals are lost and the church is more interested in tickling listening ears than teaching living Truth.

The only thing that will save America is a revival - a true revival - of repentance toward God and away from self-absorption. It will require a Great Awakening in our society and a Great Revival in our churches. 

I don't fault society for the crisis we are now facing in America. 

I fault the churches. We've stopped teaching the Scriptures. We've stopped preparing our young people to answer the agnostics and atheists who believe in no moral code and mock those who do. We've paid more attention to our comforts at home than our commission to go into the world to make disciples of Christ in every nation. 

God seems to be bringing down the tall tree called "proud" America. The good news is that the God of all the nations always brings hope after despair, restoration after destruction, exaltation after humbling. 

The answer to the problem in America isn't politics. 

The answer is returning to the principles of God's Word as the basis for our social norms. 

And God can (and will) bring this about, but it will involve a great deal of pain before it occurs. 

13 comments:

Rex Ray said...

Wade,

I believe you’d agree with the Living Translation of 2 Peter: 2:5-6.

“…God completely destroyed the whole world of ungodly men with the vast flood. Later, he turned the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah into heaps of ashes and blotted them off the face of the earth, making them an example for all the ungodly IN THE FUTURE to look back upon and fear.”

Wade Burleson said...

I do, Rex. Unfortunately, many people who should tremble are celebrating.

RB Kuter said...

"Unfortunately, many people who should tremble are celebrating."

Exactly, and another display of the state of decadence in which our society has demised.

Nobody but God knows for certain, but given the downward spiral in which our people have descended since 1986, and probably before, my personal assessment is that we are moving forward toward God's final judgment.

There indeed needs to be "revival", and probably we'll see it in one form or another within the church, but I do not anticipate it resulting in a significant alteration in the course being taken by society in its entirety. The societies of the entire world are choosing this path of rebellion against their Creator but these days it seems it is the United States that is taking the lead in radical abandonment of those principles once considered to be "Godly" and "Christian".

RB Kuter said...

Wade,

It's interesting that homosexuality and "gender confusion" seems to be considered as more heinous to us and sensationalized more than other displays of decadence in today's society. The sexual perversions do involve the breakdown of marriage and the family, of course, which accelerates the crumbling of social structure. Still, I wonder if we tend to elevate it above other sins that are equally heinous and perhaps brushed aside? For instance, divorce, or abortion, social sex outside the boundaries of marriage with couples living together, extreme obesity, and all sorts of other perversions.

I do understand your using the example of the Supreme Court rulings on morality which did involve homosexuality to make a point in your post, but too often I believe pastors are skirting these other forms of decadence because so many in their congregations are participants.

Christiane said...

for those Christians who believe in the primacy of grace, that God enters into our lives and sets the tone and establishes 'the conversation', we can look towards Christ to teach us in what way we are to relate to one another in the most healing and reconciling ways that further 'the good way' in the lives of all concerned;
so we look to Him, and we find that the gospels tell us of an encounter, this:

"2 So the Pharisees and scribes began to grumble:
“This man welcomes sinners and eats with them.” 3 Then Jesus told them this parable:

4“What man among you, if he has a hundred sheep and loses one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the pasture and go after the one that is lost, until he finds it?
5 And when he finds it, he joyfully puts it on his shoulders, 6 comes home, and calls together his friends and neighbors to tell them, ‘Rejoice with me, for I have found my lost sheep!"

So Our Lord has, in the Gospel of St. Luke, a man who understood 'healing',
entered into our world and went to sit with those who needed Him, those seen as 'sinners',
and this shocked the holy men of that time, the Pharisees and the Scribes, who complained that Jesus 'welcomed' these sinners and ate a meal with them . . . intead of . . . well, instead of what so many, so very many 'righteous' folk of today behave towards sinners

but Jesus teaches them that He has come to find the 'lost' and like a good shepherd, He would carry the sin-weary sheep on His Shoulders and He brings the lost one HOME with Him, and calls His friends to be joyful and to celebrate with Him the salvation of one who had been 'lost and confused and without a shepherd'. . .

I don't know what 'culture war' had been raging two thousand years ago, but I suspect that Our Lord entered our world to re-frame the battle and to separate the 'righteous' from the notion that the lost sinner was 'the enemy' to be avoided and pointed to and belittled.

I think Our Lord did a good job by teaching this.
So did the first Christians. Do you know how I know this? Well, when the first catacombs were built by the early Christians, frequently they would place a carving over the tomb of their loved one: an icon of a 'shepherd' bearing a lamb upon his shoulders and caring for it and bringing it safely 'home'. :)

Lissa Roberson said...

RB Kuter, here are my thoughts. I agree with you: it's true that many "lesser sins" (gluttony, pride, gossip) are more or less swept under the pulpit rug in favor of sexual sin in its ever-growing varieties. In that regard, sexual transgression is an easier target for sermons directed at repentance because it's among the most visible of lifestyle sins.

When it comes to the downfall of a civilization, it isn't gluttony and gossip that take it down. Rather, it's the breakdown of a nation's moral framework that sets it up for a fall. Sodom and Gomorrah, Rome, Babylon...for the others, I defer to our blog author-historian's vast knowledge. Sexual sin always seemed to partner up with general decadence when a civilization came to ruin.

These days, our moral framework is being systematically deconstructed through the advancement of the new "sexual revolution". It strikes at the heart of the family unit since it promotes self-gratification, whereas biblical family health rises and falls on self-sacrifice and serving one another. If our society redefines morality based on what feels right, or what alleviates one's conscience, or let's say what is made necessary to alleviate society's collective conscience...our moral framework is weakened. So goes the future of our civilization if left unchallenged.

RB Kuter said...

"it's true that many "lesser sins" (gluttony, pride, gossip) are more or less swept under the pulpit rug in favor of sexual sin in its ever-growing varieties."

Lisa, I appreciate your point regarding what sin might contribute the greatest to the unraveling of a society, but assessing what that might be could be impossible.

Who establishes the heirarchy of which are the "lesser" sins? When it comes to which impact a greater amount to the demise of moral standards, which is worse, homosexuality, murdering millions of infants every year as though it was like eradicating pesky mosquitos, continually being sexually active with multiple sex partners simultaneously, breaking vows to remain married to one acknowledged as being a "God-given life partner" for the purpose of "finding oneself, and in the process abandoning the roles of father and mother to those children you brought into the world?

These are all the common lifestyles of those sitting in just about every pew (or cushioned chair, or standing with arms raised in praise with the rock music and light show) yet those called by God in the role of "under-shepherd" avoid direct accountability for the un-Godliness, choosing instead to pick and choose those sins least likely to offend the crowd.
This practice by pastors contributes as much to the demise of moral standards of society as any of the other sin committed and not called out.

On another but related note, "grace" is certainly not displayed by the indifference or refusal to acknowledge those living in such destructive, Godless life styles by the Pastor. That notion is as cruel in contributing to the continuance of our people refusing to take corrective steps as someone giving a drug addict money to buy a fix in order to avoid their cravings.

This "sloppy"-grace approach being followed by so many of our church leaders at the expense of God's righteousness and holiness is indeed a ploy by Satan in his quest to render the church toothless and an insignificant opponent to his continual destruction of any "moral" standards based upon God's integrity. It defies the sin-condition of all humanity and their need of a God-given redeemer by rendering sin as being "small, inconsequential, mini-offenses" causing nobody any harm, as long as its consentual acts, especially when done in the privacy of one's own home, doctor's clinic, or church office.

A better display of "grace" is helping the people recognize the destructive consequences they are experiencing due to their defiance of living as God would have them live. True "grace" would be leading people to recognize and acknowledge the degree of God's holiness, purity, and infinite righteousness in contrast to our dark, unholy, wickedness and our need of His mercy and redemptive power acquired only when we submit to "HIS" lordship and control. That means "restoration", no, "construction", of a person into a living, thriving, child of God. That leads to the restoration of a society.

Christiane said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Christiane said...

I've been reading the comments and thinking about the word 'grace' and the word 'mercy' and wondering if sometimes we do not see how they are similar and yet different in important ways. And yet, how in the context of Christ, both of these words find their ultimate expression to our humankind.

Grace from the word 'gratis' meaning 'without cost', a gift, a kindness, undeserved, yet given with love from the Creator to His children, to His Creation

'Mercy' the 'forgiveness' we come to recognize most fully only when the 'spirit of mercy' is poured out on us by the Holy Spirit, God. And the process is described to us in the sacred Scriptures, this:
"I, the LORD, will make the descendants of David and the people of Jerusalem feel deep sorrow and pray when they see the one they pierced with a spear. They will mourn and weep for him, as parents weep over the death of their only child or their first-born."
(Zechariah 12:10)

in my Church we have a term for that 'deep sorrow': 'misericordia', a word that means we are pierced to the heart with compassion when we see the result of what we have done when we sinned and behold the crucified Christ Who suffers for our sins in our place

so 'mercy' comes to us as a spirit of deep sorrow for that which we REALIZE is the full consequence of our sins against God: we behold Christ Crucified and we are saddened and we mourn with broken hearts for what we have done . . . that is the kind of spirit that God gives to us that opens us to healing when we REALIZE and REGRET and turn away from the sin that caused Our Lord to suffer and turn towards Him and ask for His forgiveness - the gift of 'mercy', undeserved on our part, but also the result of us having 'compassion' - a broken heart of sadness that 'opens' us to His healing mercy - we 'understand' what we have done, we have 'contrition', we acknowledge who we are as did the tax collector in the temple:

The Pharisee and Tax Collector
…11 The Pharisee stood by himself and prayed,
‘God, I thank You that I am not like the other men—swindlers, evildoers, adulterers—or even like this tax collector. 12 I fast twice a week and pay tithes of all that I acquire. 13 But the tax collector stood at a distance, unwilling even to lift up his eyes to heaven. Instead, he beat his breast and said,
‘God, have mercy on me, a sinner!’
14 I tell you, this man, rather than the Pharisee, went home justified. For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but the one who humbles himself will be exalted.”

so the broken-hearted tax collector went home 'healed' as a result of his humility, his 'response' to the 'spirit of deep sorrow' for his sins against God

'mercy' and 'grace' and how they intertwine in Christ and in our lives and in the lives of all humankind through the great power of the Paschal Mystery of Christ Crucified . . . we cannot fully 'understand' this mystery, but we who know we are 'sinners' and who have repented with broken hearts at the foot of the Cross have been given a WAY to know of how the great Paschal mystery touches us with God's love, that we are given the PEACE OF CHRIST which 'surpasses all understanding' and we can abide in that peace and be thankful, and rest in it, and carry it to those who need Christ by pointing to Him, by focusing others on Him, the One Who is filled with compassion for those who are lost and confused. :)

"

Unknown said...

Didn’t I say this eons ago? Funny how perspective changes.

Unknown said...

Pride brings down a nation. Sins of every kind come out of pride.

Rex Ray said...

Unknown,

“Sins of every kind come out of pride.”
Would you explain how adultery is pride and not lust?

Joke:

Moses came from the mountain with Gods laws:
“Good news, there’s only ten laws. Bad news; one is adultery.”

Christiane said...

" . . . The answer is returning to the principles of God's Word . . . "


"“Lord, to whom would we go?
You have the words of eternal life" (from John 6:68)


for the Church, pointing TO CHRIST is TO FOLLOW THE WAY OF THE HOLY SPIRIT Who points us ONLY to Christ

I expect all attempts to do otherwise in order to accomplish 'agendas' will not find 'answers' to the problems of this world, least of all our national difficulties. By pointing to Christ, the Church can being to reconcile people to God and to one another, but the 'strong arm' tactics of cults and Christian dominionism are not the ways of Our Lord and we are not a people that 'forces' the faith on anyone, not by intimidation, or threats of 'exclusion' or other markers of attempts to have worldly power over people and to control them by fear and punishment.
The mission of the Church is to honor the work of the Holy Spirit that brings people to Christ. The Holy Spirit POINTS US ONLY TO CHRIST.

The work of the servant Church is to PROCLAIM the Good News, to announce that same message that was humbly spoken of by St. Simeon when he first saw and held the infant Christ, this:

"27 LED BY THE SPIRIT, he went into the temple courts. And when the parents brought in the child Jesus to do for Him what was customary under the Law, 28 Simeon took Him in his arms and blessed God, saying:

29“Sovereign Lord, as You have promised, You now dismiss Your servant in peace 30 For my eyes have seen Your salvation, 31 which You have prepared in the sight of all people, 32 a light for revelation to the Gentiles, and for glory to Your people Israel."
(from the Holy Gospel of St. Luke, chapter 2)