Monday, July 26, 2010

America’s Cultural Transformation toward Secularism, Part I

At one time, America was an overtly Christian nation, founded on the principles spelled out in the Bible. But today, America comes nowhere close to resembling that nation that once reflected God’s light in a dark world. America has fallen from its position of grace, to a place of sin needing grace and forgiveness because of its slide into human secularism. America no longer reflects the light of God, but indeed has become the playground of Satan and his demons.

Dr. Charles Kraft, in his book, “Christianity in Culture”, outlined a movement theorized by Gerlach and Hine, who put forth these five key “operational significant” factors. I will look at each key factor and attempt to give an example for each one. The five factors are:

1. A segmented, usually polcephalous, cellular organization composed of units reticulated by various personal, structural, and ideological ties.
2. Face-to-face recruitment by committed individuals using their own pre-existing, significant social relationships.
3. Personal commitment generated by an act or an experience which separates a convert in some significant way from the established order (or his previous place in it), identifies him with a new set of values, and commits him to changed patterns of behavior.
4. An ideology which codifies values and goals, provides a conceptual framework by which all experiences or events relate to these goals may be interpreted, motivates and provides rationale for envisioned changes, defines the opposition, and forms the basis for conceptual unification of a segmented network of groups.
5. Real or perceived opposition from the society at large or from that segment of the established order within which the movement has risen.

The secularization of America has been a process that has taken about a hundred years for us to be where we are today. It started slowly in the early 20th century but has gained great speed since the 1960s. Not one sole group of people has been responsible, but many individual groups and organizations; there have been leaders in these groups that can be pointed to, and some groups, as a whole, can be picked out as those who have made the greatest contributions.

The first key factor is having a segmented, usually polcephalous, cellular organization, can be applied in a loose sense, and as a factor that has covered many years, coming into focus perhaps in the 1920s and continuing today. Examples of this factor include organized crime. Organized crime in the form of the Mafia has lead the way to such secular activities as prostitution and drug use. Pornography is rampant on the internet, it is a multi-billion dollar industry controlled by organizations that recruit and pay participants, produce movies, operate internet sites, and all other facets of the business.

The big kicker for pornography was Hugh Hefner and Playboy magazine. When the American society accepted Hefner’s bunnies, the dam burst and the way was cleared for others with magazines even more perverse, such as Bob Guccione’s Penthouse magazine and Larry Flint’s Hustler magazine. Pornography is such an addicting force in a lot of men that the only way to stop it is through a life changing commitment to Jesus Christ, and even then, porn’s hold doesn’t release itself very easily. According to the National Campaign to Stop Pornography in 2003, Christianity Today magazine took a survey of its readers which concluded that “A significant number of respondents—33 percent of clergy and 36 percent of layman—say they have (visited pornographic web sites). Of those who have visited sexually explicit Web sites… 18 percent of clergy said they visit sexually explicit Web sites between a couple of times a month and more than once a week”.


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