The Twisted Generation
Mr. Donald L. Norbie resides in Greeley, Colorado. His main ministry centres on assembly building and student work.
An informative Time magazine essay was entitled, “Growing Up in America — Then and Now” (Dec. 29, 1975). In it Robert Coles pointed out that great changes have come in recent years. Some sociologists state that our culture has changed more in the past ten years than in the previous 200 years. Coles emphasized the strongly religious nature of our past culture. “Above all,” he said, “there was what might be called a strongly moral education. Such an education for the colonists was by definition religious — God’s will made known to the child” (p. 27). He further stated: “The minister’s words were given enormous respect. Church lasted many hours, not one, and was very much at the centre of the family’s life. Children were not coaxed, begged, bargained with; they were told and expected to respond immediately” (p. 27).
Today the psychologist is consulted rather than the minister and Dr. Spock has been the Bible for many homes. Coles said, “The prevailing concern of parents is not what the child ought to believe and live up to (in the way of standards, rock-bottom beliefs, a religious faith) but what is ‘best’ for the child” (p. 28). Parents with no absolutes in the way of moral and religious values now scurry from one psychologist to another in their frantic search for values and what is “best” for the child. Psychological theories ebb and flow. And the Christian parent is often left bewildered and confused.
There has never been a generation in this country which has known such destruction of homes and young people.Strict homes, permissivehomes, Christian homes, non-Christian homes — all have lost sons and daughters to the drug culture. And some have never found their way out.
Rock Music And Drugs
Rock music beginning with the Beetles began to glorify the use of drugs. Pot, uppers, downers, psychedelics — drop out and turn on. Leave the phony, materialistic society of your parents and gain instant wisdom and insight through dope. They don’t understand you; they don’t love you. They just want to put you in a box. Run away; leave. You have to live your own life.
Some in their search tried heroin and discovered too late that they were hopelesly hooked. A habit may cost $100.00 a day and driven by the gnawing hunger for another fix they steal, prostitute their bodies and become lawless. The drug user rejects increasingly all of straight society. He is right; they are wrong. Laws are made to be broken.
Many young people today are turning to booze. It is legal and easily available. Both junior and senior high young people are drinking more and more. Alcoholism is becoming a major problem with many teenagers. Young people with good minds and strong bodies destroy themselves.
And then there is sex. There have always been immoral people in society. But these have been viewed as an aberation, not the norm. Society as a whole has rejected such conduct in the past, but this is no longer true. Increasingly the attitude is that society has no right to dictate to anyone his or her life style.
More people are living together without marriage. Marriage vows are ridiculed — “just a piece of paper.” Sexual love is to be enjoyed freely as long as both have “feeling” for one another. Couples live together openly, with no sense of shame and with no intention of marriage. The pill and other birth control methods — or if you are not careful, an abortion — handle the problem of having children. In California a recent survey showed that less than fifty percent of couples in the 21 to 30 age group living together are married (Time, Jan. 10, 1977, p. 39).
Pornography is openly sold. Magazines which would have been sold furtively in an alley twenty years ago are now openly displayed on newsstands. And the excitement is not just hetero-sexual relationships, but now these magazines are pushing homosexuality, complete with detailed instructions.
Gay people are in the open and recruiting new followers. New York City has had Gay parades with 40,000 people in attendance. Gay churches are growing and attempting to justify from the Bible their activities. Gay buttons are openly worn.
Marriages continue to crumble; divorce rates soar. Families are ripped apart and children’s lives are mangled in the process.
What are university young people hearing? What guidelines do they get for love and marriage? A Human Sexuality Conference was held at the University of Northern Colorado. The biology professor who spoke made the following suggestions: He emphasized that he does not like to speak of sexual deviations. If people are doing it, then it is a normal thing for our society. He stated that oral sex is a normal component in the 18 to 24 age group. Contraceptive devices were discussed at great length. Young people went away with the message that sex is amoral. Do what you wish. Satisfy your basic drives. There is no right or wrong when it comes to sex.
What About The Future?
For many of us who grew up in a previous generation, it seems too tragic to believe. If this is true now, what will happen in ten years or twenty years? The fabric of our society is being torn apart. Those fibers of moral absolutes, such as summed up in the Ten Commandments, used to be woven through Western culture. Are these broken and torn forever? Is it true that our society is post-Christian and pagan? If so, how can Christian communities survive? How can Christian families endure the pressure of the world?
In his last letter the Apostle Paul wrote: “Remember this! There will be difficult times in the last days. For men shall be selfish, greedy, boastful, and conceited; they will be insulting, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful and irreligious; they will be unkind, merciless, slanderers, violent, and fierce; they will hate the good; they will be treacherous, reckless and swollen with pride; they will love pleasure rather than God; they will hold to the outward form of our religion, but reject its real power” (2 Tim. 3:1-5, TEV). These are the days in which we live.
Christian parents must face reality. Society will no longer reinforce Christian values in your children. For some Christians the temptation may be to withdraw completely from the world, such as the Amish have done. For those who feel concerned to remain in the world and to live for God, the tension is great. There must be concern for children who are so easily influenced. The home will need to be saturated with the Word of God, with prayer and with love. Television will need to be regulated. With its vital impact it is very formative of thought and life.
There will need to be a strong, supportive Christian fellowship with a compassionate concern for the young. Many will feel the need to remove their children from public schools where moral restraint is gone and to put them in Christian schools.
This is especially true up through high school. Christian camps and conferences can strengthen right friendships and attitudes. Young people need all the help they can get.
And then parents must pray, earnestly pray. Pray that as your children get older they will choose for God. Much as we wish, we cannot make this choice for them. With Moses they must choose “rather to suffer affliction with the people of God, than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season” (Heb. 11:25).