The decline of a culture can take place by means of a billion small steps. Individually such things may not seem like much, but taken together, they can be overwhelmingly devastating. The cumulative results of a people rejecting God and moral absolutes always takes its toll.
Let me consider just one jarring example of the cultural nihilism engulfing us. In some ways it is a typical manifestation of contemporary culture. The desire to become famous can drive a person to do many shameless and bizarre things.
But of course public notoriety can be quite fleeting, and a person’s 15 minutes of fame can be forgotten quicker than most folks realise. Yet some people will go to great lengths to get instant recognition and attention. Consider the case of a mother-of-two from Leeds who is now four months pregnant. One English newspaper discusses her story this way:
An aspiring glamour model who said she wanted an abortion so she could appear on Big Brother has today revealed her growing baby bump. Josie Cunningham, 24, sparked outrage when she had a £4,800 breast enlargement operation on the NHS. She is now four months pregnant after falling into a life of prostitution.
Yesterday, the aspiring model said she planned to abort the child to further her television career, adding: ‘This time next year I won’t have a baby. I’ll be famous instead.’ Ms Cunningham, from Leeds, said she had been on the shortlist to appear on Big Brother – but was reluctant to proceed because of her pregnancy.
She told the Sunday Mirror: ‘An abortion will further my career. This time next year I won’t have a baby. ‘Instead I’ll be famous, driving a bright pink Range Rover and buying a big house. Nothing will get in my way.’ She added: ‘I want to be famous for being me – Josie Cunningham, a glamour model in my own right. ‘If I want to do that I need to put my career first.’
One of course is left speechless after such a story. Indeed, it almost seems like this is just a hoax – can any woman and mother actually think this way and talk this way? Apparently so. But wait, there’s more:
The unmarried mother-of-two, who says she is no longer working as an escort, does not know who the father of her unborn child is. She says he could either be a surgeon who paid her £1,000 for a night of passion or a friend she has casual sex with. Miss Cunningham hit the headlines last year when she underwent cosmetic surgery to increase her bust from 32A to a 36DD at St James’s Hospital in Leeds.
The operation caused outrage, heightened further by the same NHS trust refusing to fund surgery that would enable a two-year-old girl with a form of cerebral palsy to walk. Daily Mail readers donated thousands of pounds to help fund an operation on Sophie Thomlinson’s spinal cord after health chiefs decided that the £25,000 surgery was too expensive.
So here we have not only an individual whose mental and moral condition seems to be wanting, but an ethically bankrupt social system as well. Such is the state of modern Western culture, where we can boast about killing our own children in order to make it as a celebrity model.
Of course this one very messed up individual is not to be singled out here. There are millions of similar stories regrettably that can be found all over the secular West: people engaging in incredibly selfish and immoral activities, because the very notion of right and wrong has been lost.
The rejection of God and moral absolutes leads inexorably to the sorts of things described here and elsewhere on these pages. When man is made the measure of all things, and is left to his own devices to decide what is moral and what is true, such madness must ensue. Ravi Zacharias expressed it this way:
The problem with secularization is as it sleeps over a culture and takes root, you begin to lose definitions in the process. How do we define right from wrong, moral from immoral? … When secularization has done its work, it will lead to a generation that has lost its sense of shame. You show me a human being without a sense of shame, and I will show you a human being who will stop at nothing. Secularization literally comes from the Latin word “saeculum” which means “worldly.” There is no transcendent moral order.
Or as Francis Schaeffer once put it:
If people are not made in the image of God, the pessimistic, realistic humanist is right: the human race is an abnormal wart on the smooth face of a silent and meaningless universe. In this setting, abortion, infanticide, and euthanasia (including the killing of mentally deranged criminals, the severely handicapped, or the elderly who are an economic burden) are completely logical… Without the Bible and without the revelation in Christ (which is only told to us in the Bible) there is nothing to stand between us and our children and the eventual acceptance of the monstrous inhumanities of the age.
Back in 1971 Vincent Miceli wrote an important book, The Gods of Atheism. In it he wrote:
Whoever strikes against God strikes down himself. The atheist denying God degrades himself. The atheist exalting himself above God sinks below the level of animate and inanimate beings. Liberation from God is enslavement in creatures. Absolute humanism is the sure road to absolute despotism. Denial of God as truth begets the imprisonment of man in the self-imposed darkness of his own myths.
The tragic story offered above is just one story. But multiply it many times over, and we have a perfect picture of where the godless West is at today. It is not a pretty place, and it cannot last long. The rejection of the moral centre of the universe cannot be a viable option for any great length of time.
We either admit to our deadly hubris and complete inability to run things on our own, or we continue on this path to destruction. The choice is fully ours. If we keep choosing wrongly, we will see more horror stories as recorded above. And that is something the West just cannot indefinitely sustain.