Last Updated:Friday - 09/24/2010
September 20, 1999
The high cost of 'outgrowing' God
SPECIAL TO THE WCR
The grief-ravaged face of Carolyn MacCullough on the front page of my daily newspaper recently literally brought tears to my eyes and a lump to my throat.
What happened to Mrs. MacCullough's son, Jason, made me bitterly angry, not so much with the pathetic wretch who shot the Dartmouth, N.S., teenager in the back of the head, apparently for sport, but with our godless, poisonous, anything-goes culture that is producing more and more depraved and morally stunted individuals, and with the secular humanist ideologues responsible for creating it.
Civilization, declared philosopher Thomas Hobbes some 300 years ago, is based on fear and calculating self-interest, and not on reason or natural sociability. One major problem with our society is that there is not enough fear.
As the Bible says, "Fear of God is the beginning of wisdom." It's not talking about soul-destructive dread, but rather a sense that there is a higher accounting for our actions. I daresay that fear of going to hell saved a lot of people in former times from acting on predatory impulses. Unfortunately, we live in a culture that largely imagines it has "outgrown" God.
I don't know who killed Jason MacCullough, but odds are that the shooter was a male between the ages of 15 and 25. Some consider our culture's religious ignorance a key factor in skyrocketing rates of youth crime and other anti-social behaviour.
While overall crime rates are dropping in North America, youth crime is up sharply. Between 1985 and 1992, U.S. murders committed by 14 to 17 year olds increased by 50 per cent for whites and 300 per cent for blacks.
Not to suggest that all teenagers are becoming depraved. Research indicates that two-thirds of violent youth-crime is attributable to just six percent of teenage boys.
However, a social environment where tolerance of virtually anything is elevated to a primary virtue, where the imbecile notion of unearned "self-esteem" is spoon-fed to kids from kindergarten on, and in which the entire cultural machine promotes obsession with rights and self-gratification, combines catastrophically with a popular culture of violent entertainment; dysfunctional family life; abdication of parental authority; liberal humanist quackery in education, social work and justice; an aggressive consumer/materialist ethos; and pervasiveness of drugs, booze and promiscuous sex.
In susceptible individuals, this constellation of destructive influences and moral naiveté develops a sub-class of super-predators.
"Often, one wonders about their value systems," John Bishop, a psychologist at the Nova Scotia Youth Centre, commented to the Halifax Herald's Randy Jones regarding another killing. "Frequently, (killers) commit these acts and they show no guilt, they show no remorse, they show no great concern for their victims. It's almost as if they have never learned the value of human life."
American youth-crime researcher John Dilulio says "each generation of crime-prone boys has been about three times as dangerous as the one before it." According to Dilulio, these juvenile super-predators are driven by two essential developmental defects:
It isn't difficult to discern here end results of the besottedness with "empowerment" and "self-esteem" in that analysis.
Dilulio argues that only society's return to religion can restore the sense of personal responsibility and moral inhibition that leads to moral behaviour, noting that an increasing body of research indicates that the influence of churches lessens or cures many socio-economic ills.
"Our guiding principle should be: 'Build churches, not jails'" he maintains, "or we will reap the whirlwind of our own moral bankruptcy."
Alan Keyes, a candidate for the U.S. Republican Presidential nomination, says that "At the heart of the evil that is killing us is precisely this kind of sick moral relativism. It is an attitude that says, 'I'm OK; you're OK; they're OK; good's OK; evil's OK; and nothing matters or makes a difference.'"
"Our problem," says Keyes, "is that a spirit of death is stalking the land. . . . It doesn't come from the barrel of a gun; it comes from the deep pit of hell that we are allowing to replace what ought to be the reverence for God and truth in the hearts of this society."
Unfortunately, the secular humanist world view has now been uncritically assimilated by three or four successive generations. Bluntly stated, moral relativism and situational ethics have rendered many people incapable of judging right from wrong.
Psychiatrist-author Scott Peck notes that decay stinks, and muses that "society's greatest problem (may) be that the sense of smell of the majority of its citizens has grown dulled to the odor of spiritual decay." As Peck puts it, "Our jails are filled with people (who) do not have enough guilt."
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