It happened in a week when:
- A Catholic archbishop called for urgent steps to be taken to halt society’s moral decline.
- Television reports and a city street poll found that people agreed that ‘bad language, offensive behaviour and lack of respect for others were all signs of falling moral standards’.
- An Anglican bishop publicly lamented that the teachings of the Bible, which had long formed the basis of people’s views of morality, were no longer well understood.
All these observations are correct. The problem is that ‘bad’ has become ‘OK’ for huge numbers of people because they have become desensitized to wrongful behaviour. While seemingly expressing shock at Hugh Grant’s actions, the public at the same time finds no inconsistency in declaring admiration for the promiscuity of other actors, sports heroes, and entertainers.
Films which would have been deemed pornographic 30 years ago are now shown nightly on television. What used to be overwhelmingly regarded as scandalous—de facto relationships, homosexuality and lesbianism, and legalized killing through abortion and euthanasia—is becoming so commonplace, and with government endorsement, that there are even many desensitized church leaders who won't speak against them.
Regrettably, standing up for your rights has replaced standing up for right. ‘Morals crusaders’ are vastly outnumbered by ‘immorals’ crusaders, and God’s laws are being torn down to accommodate human weaknesses.
Of course, decadence comes at a huge price. ‘Bad’ is not ‘OK’. ‘Decadence’ is based on a Latin word meaning ‘to fall’ or ‘to sink’—it means deterioration or decay, not improvement. So deterioration in moral standards sees AIDS reap more victims and families split up, and cold-hearted selfishness makes it easier to justify killing babies in the womb and euthanizing ill parents instead of providing palliative care for them.
What’s the solution?
The bishop we referred to earlier has identified the problem and also the solution to why immoral or unethical behaviour has become acceptable to so many. The teachings of the Bible, which shaped people’s views of morality, are no longer generally understood or adhered to. If you remove the biblical foundation for morality you no longer have a convincing reason for being moral. And that’s what is happening.
Largely because belief in evolution has undermined the authority of the Bible. Our foundations are to be firm and built on solid rock (Matthew 7:24), and the only true foundation is the one by whom and for whom all things were created—Jesus Christ (1 Corinthians 3:11; Colossians 1:16). The world is trying to build on synthetic foundations—self, humanism, and evolution—instead of building on Christ, the Bible, and creation. Good cannot effectively be built on faulty foundations.
There are informed and dedicated churches with leaders who are putting a lot of effort into teaching and preaching that the whole of God’s Word, the Bible, is truth, beginning with the creation account in Genesis. And Christians need to support those churches and organizations which do this.
Unfortunately, many churches are not teaching their members the correct foundation on which to build. Then they wonder why their numbers are declining. If they teach that the Bible is not completely trustworthy, their members will doubt that God really inspired it. And if the Bible was not inspired by God, there would be no basis for following its teachings on morals. Christ’s followers are described as ‘the salt of the earth’, but if the salt has lost its strength, it is good for nothing, and can no longer influence society.
It is the duty of Christians to build on the right foundation, and to help others know about Jesus Christ the Creator and Redeemer, so they can live the abundant life which He promised (John 10:10). This is available to all who repent of their sins, confess that Jesus is Lord, and believe in their heart that God raised Him from the dead (Luke 13:5; Romans 10:9" %}).
This is the antidote to ‘bad’, and it changes lives for the better. It would even change Hugh Grant—and the Hollywood harlot.