A Day in History

On this day, August 8, over 2,000 years ago (79 A.D.) a significant event in history took place. Mt. Etna erupted, and the volcano flow buried the Roman cities of Herculaneum and Pompeii, killing an estimated 20,000 people.

Was this God’s judgment on a wicked people? We know that God has acted against evil people in times past. Sodom and Gomorrah, Babylon, Israel, the whole world, in addition to other nations that were destroyed. There is evidence that Pompeii was a wicked city. When my wife and I visited the site of the destroyed city some years ago, paintings on the walls that were left standing from the ruined homes were filled with depictures of nudity and sexual immorality.

 Does this relate to America today? It is obvious to all that are in our nation that we are on a downward slide. The statistics that I see from time to time are frightening, as they highlight our nations departure from spiritual and moral values that were important to our founding fathers and have served the nation well through the years. Following are some statistics gleaned from various sources. Note that the use of “born-again Christians” is used in a denominational sense.

 A study has found that over 60% of “born-again Christians” in America between the ages of 18 and 39 believe that Jesus isn't the only way to Heaven — and that Buddha and Muhammad also are valid paths to salvation, as reported in the Christian Standard.

The outlet — citing the results of Probe Ministries' Religious Views & Practices Survey — also said that for those in that age group, over 30% say they either believe that Jesus sinned just like other people or aren't sure. In addition, the Christian Post said the study shows a "striking decline" in evangelical religious beliefs and practices over the last decade.

 Our educational systems are contributors to our nation’s religious decline. Barna Research shows that some 70% of high school students who enter college as professing Christians leave with little or no faith. The following quote is only one among others that could be cited.

“We try to arrange things so that students who enter as bigoted, homophobic, religious fundamentalists will leave college with views more like our own…We are going to go right on trying to discredit you (fundamentalist parents) in the eyes of your children, trying to strip your fundamentalist religious community of dignity, trying to make your view seem silly rather than discussable. We are not so inclusivist as to tolerate intolerance such as yours.” (Prof. Richard Rorty, in his essay “Universality and Truth”)

 One study has shown that at age 17, 60% of young people were attending church, but the number fell to 58% by age 18, and down to 40% by age 19. Then their 20s, only about 33% attended regularly. Much of this decline must be laid at the feet of college professors who have stated that their aim is to destroy the faith of these ignoramuses that sit in their classrooms.

 More from the outlet: The study, which interviewed 3,100 Americans ages 18 to 55 in 2020 and looked at various other previous studies, saw a drop in "basic biblical worldview" — God's attributes, the accuracy of the Bible, salvation and Jesus being sinless — from 47% in 2010 to 25% in 2020 among “born-again Christians.”

The drop in the "expanded biblical worldview" — beliefs about Satan and morals being objective rather than being subjective— went from 32% in 2010 to 16% in 2020. In 1960 some 63% of Americans were regular church attenders.

 "So, the percentage of “Born Again Christians” with a biblical worldview has been cut in half over the last decade," the study says, according to the Christian Post, adding that it compared the 18-29 age group from 2010 with the same age group 10 years later, now 30-39. "This result is a startling degradation in worldview beliefs of “born-again Christians” over just 10 years."

The Christian Post said Anderson attributes the disturbing fall of biblical views — especially among younger Christians — to the media. He said they are "not paying attention" and are "focused — nearly exclusively, it seems — on their phones, social media and other content they deem more compelling," the outlet said.

 The attack on religion began with two landmark decisions by the Supreme Court. Engel v. Vitale on June 25, 1962 and Arlington School District on June 17, 1963 when the Supreme Court declared that school-sponsored prayer and Bible readings were unconstitutional, thanks to atheist Madalyn Murray O’Hair, who brought lawsuits concerning these matters, and founded the American Athiests organization.

 We are well aware of the wide acceptance of abortion, “shacking up” (free sex), homosexuality/same-sex marriages, pornography, unwed births, and other matters that were rejected by most Americans a century ago, but are now widely accepted.

 We could go on citing more and more evidence of the moral and spiritual decline in our nation. Will God bring judgment on our nation as he has upon wicked nations in the past? Only God knows. But what we do know is that we must be sure our children are well-grounded in the faith. Three factors are vitally important in this.

 (1) Families must be teaching God’s word to their children. “And these words, which I am commanding you today, shall be on your heart; and you shall teach them diligently to your sons and shall talk of them when you sit in your house and when you walk by the way and when you lie down and when you rise up.” (Deut. 6:6-7) Fathers have their part (Eph. 6:4), as well as mothers and grandmothers (II Tim. 1:5, II Tim. 3:15)

 (2) Churches must be active in helping families in building a solid foundation for their children. Bible classes need to include material on evidence--evidence for the existence of God and evidence for the inspiration of the Bible.

 (3) Parents need to be involved in their children’s school affairs in order to know if there is any teaching that is contrary to the values and principles that we hold as Christians. And parents need to investigate the atmosphere of the college or university their children will attend.