Prophets of Social Desolation:
Context of Post Christian/Post Modern Culture
Acts 28.30-31 - with boldness, without hindrance
Edward Gibbon characterized the fall of the Roman Empire as he cites five main causes of the dissolution of that great society:
1. Rapid increases in the undermining of the sanctity of the family.
2. Spiralling rise of taxes and extravagant government spending.
3. A Mounting craze for pleasure and the brutalization of sports (make a list of our sports heroes).
4. Building of gigantic armaments and the failure to realize that the real enemy lay within the gates of the empire, in the moral decay of its people.
5. Decay of religion and the fading faith into a mere form leaving people without a guide (Edward Gibbon, Decline and Fall of The Roman Empire; Leonard Ravenhill, America Is Too Young to Die: A Call to Revival (Bethany Fellowship, 1979)
Arnold Toynbee, in his book A Study of History (1940) studied 21 civilizations. He noticed that disintegrating societies have 5 characteristics:
1. They have a sense of drift, the feeling that life is meaningless and out of control (see esp. Ecclesiastes, "All is meaningless").
2. They succumb to truancy or escapism, retreating into their distractions and entertainment.
3. Aimless, they fall into a sort of promiscuity of thinking, an indiscriminate acceptance of anything and everything.
4. Connected to that, they have a sense of moral abandon, ceasing to believe in a moral standard and yielding themselves to their impulses.
5. Finally, they feel a huge burden of guilt, a self-loathing, that comes from their moral abandon (see. esp. Toynbee's work and my outline; also Davis Henderson, Cultural Shift (Baker Books, 1998), p. 172.
Francis Schaeffer lists 5 reasons for cultural demise: (Francis Schaeffer, The Complete Works, vol. 5, p. 227)
1. Love of show and luxury.
2. A widening gap between rich and poor.
3. An obsession with sex.
4. Freakiness in the arts.
5. Increased desire to live off the state. James D. Strauss