Times are Changing

 

Times are Changing

Richard Hollerman

Probably one of the chief signs of advancing age is looking back to the past and comparing it to the present. Young people aren’t able to do this as well. Their perspective is limited to a few short years and even these years are not easily judged. The only way they know about the past comes from reading history and learning the account of those who have lived through periods of time before them. As one grows older—through middle age, younger old age, and into older old age—he can see differences and make comparisons. With the aid of history, he is able to draw patterns and see trends in society and life in general. Of course, he must beware of imagination—that of imagining the past as “the good old days” and forgetting the real negatives that were found in his youth and before.

Sometimes the changes that have occurred are good while other changes are bad. Even this is a judgment call for what is good for one may be bad for another, and what is bad for one may be good for another. This is true when it comes to non-moral and non-spiritual matters, for when it comes to what is moral and spiritual, these values are changeless and determined by God Himself, through His divine Word.

In Some Ways Today is Better

As I said, some changes from the past have been good and we can rejoice that today is not the same as yesterday. By yesterday, we are generally referring to a half century to a century ago. Consider along with me some of the positive and better changes.

In the past, the airplane really wasn’t invented until 1903 and after this event air transportation was slow, unreliable, and not as common. Today, one can board an airliner and fly across the United States in only a few hours. In the past, one would usually need to embark on a ship and travel across the Atlantic or Pacific Ocean to reach the overseas destination. Today, an easy flight can take one to London, Rome, Sydney, or Tokyo. In the past, most roads in the nation were few in number, made of dirt or gravel, and people often had to take a long time to drive through mud to go places. Today, paved roads are the rule, with many of these being four-, six-, or eight-lane freeways and interstates. We need not travel thirty miles an hour on bumpy roads, but can travel on smooth highways at sixty miles an hour.

In the past, communication was slower and not as reliable. Telephones and telephone lines were not as common at first and the telegraph was not that easy to use or convenient for most people. Today, nearly every house has at least one phone, and some of them have many more than one. Cell phones allow one to communicate wherever he happens to be—walking in the park, sitting in a library, or shopping in a store. He can call to someone on the other side of the earth in a matter of moments and hear a clear, distinct voice. Talking to a friend through the computer allows one to also see the speaker by means of a camera. In the past, the postal department allowed one to send a letter but the message arrived long after sending it. Today, “slow” mail is really not that slow and nearly everyone in the country can be reached in two or three days.

In the past, medical procedures were very different. For instance, heart attacks were treated by weeks of bed rest and the outcome was in question, but today doctors know that it is better to get the patient up and moving in order to prevent pulmonary embolism and other dire complications. The prospects of pulling through a heart attack are much better. In the past, there were a lot of mysteries related to heart disease whereas, today, physicians can observe the condition of the blood vessels and arteries and in this way determine what should be done to correct the problem. In the past, polio, malaria, scarlet fever, mumps, chicken pox, small pox, influenza, and TB took a massive toll on the population, but today many of these diseases have either been eliminated through vaccines or the effect minimized.

In the past, medical procedures were few and less than effective, but today there are many regimens to aid in healing, and testing procedures to determine the medical condition, including X-Rays, CAT scans, and MRIs. In the past, medicines were limited and not that reliable, but today many choices are available, including the many antibiotics. Penicillin, that became common in the 1940s and later, has had a dramatic effect on healing. Anesthetics have had a powerful and beneficial effect on all.

In the past, people seemed to think that being overweight was a sign of robust health, whereas today we know that being overweight is a leading cause of serious illness and premature death. In the past, people knew little about protein, fats, carbohydrates, and enzymes, whereas today we know the optimum ratio of these food components to promote good health. In the past, people knew little or nothing about vitamins and minerals, while today a massive amount of information is known about vitamins and their affect on illness and wellness. In the past, a man might only live to age forty-five or fifty, but today, a man may live to age seventy-five or eighty, with a growing number of centenarians.

In the past, cars were not as safe, not as comfortable, not as smooth, not as economical to drive, not as efficient, and 100,000 miles would be the expected life of the vehicle. Today, cars are safer, cleaner, more comfortable, and may drive for 200,000 miles in a lifetime. In the past, wipers were a new convenience, but today we have the benefits of radios, CD players, and GPS devices. Cars can go further between gasoline stops, oil changes, and repairs. In the past, drivers would need to endure the dusty and dirty outside air to keep cool, but today automobile air conditioning is standard. No longer does the driver need to bundle up to keep warm in the winter, for he has the benefit and comfort of auto heating.

In the past, Dad would need to rise early in the morning to shovel coal into the furnace, after he had filled the coal room with this dusty and dirty fuel. Today, a wall thermostat easily sets the temperature as high as needed with the benefit of electric, oil, or gas heat. In the past, one needed to try to tolerate the steamy summer heat, with the aid of fans and open windows, but today air conditioning is standard in most houses to keep the house cool and comfortable on the hottest day. In the past, vacuum cleaners were not as efficient or common, but today HEP filtration will rid the house of pet dander, dust mites, and other allergens. Today we also have dehumidifiers as well as humidifiers. In the past, one would need to take a trip to the back yard to use the outhouse or use the pot inside for a toilet when it was bitterly cold outside. Today, all houses have indoor bathrooms, with baths or showers, toilets, and sinks.

In the past, the kitchen might have an ice box and later the refrigerator and freezer, along with a wood or gas stove, and water needed to be brought to the kitchen from outside, at the pump or well. Today, all kinds of conveniences are available—food processors, blenders, microwaves, electric ranges, water filters, air exhausts, toasters, dish washers, and garbage disposals. There is no need to manually bring in the outside water, for all homes have hot and cold running water. In the past, most food was prepared from individual ingredients requiring long lengths of preparation time, whereas today canned goods, frozen vegetables, boxed foods, and other convenience foods are readily available, and meals can be prepared in a fraction of the time formerly required.

In the past, work around the house needed to be done laboriously, with much effort and sweat. This included washing clothes with a washboard or ringer washer, and drying was done by hanging the clothes outside—even in the winter time. Today, automatic washers and dryers are a usual feature of homeownership, and Laundromats are available to those who have no home washers. In the past, people would cut the grass with a push mower, and the shovel was used for all of the gardening. Today, power lawn mowers are the standard, even riding mowers, and motorized cultivators are used to plow the soil.

In the past, racism was nationwide, labor unions ruled, prostitution flourished in the cities, and tobacco was used by the majority of men. Today, ethnic equality is the law, labor unions are not as powerful, prostitution is not as common, and laws have been passed to forbid smoking in many public places, with the result that fewer people smoke.

In Some Ways the Past was Better

However, not all of the change has been for the good, especially in the spiritual and moral realms. In fact, there has been continual deterioration in many spheres of life. Keep in mind that I am not making these judgments as a disgruntled man who is wedded to the past, but these comments are made in light of God’s valuation of life.

In the past, daily Bible reading and prayer were required in the public schools, but as of 1962 and 1963, both practices were declared illegal. Though they continued for a short while in certain places, these practices are now totally banned. In the past, people had much more respect for the Bible, usually considering it as given by God, even though some people seldom read it; but today the Bible has lost much of its influence in personal life and in society at large. In the past, people knew who leading Bible characters were, but today many young people don’t know who Adam, Eve, Moses, Noah, David, Solomon, Elijah, John, Paul, or Peter were.

In the past, teaching evolution was illegal in the public schools, with penalties attached to those who would dare to bring this godless theory to the classroom. Today a complete reversal has occurred, with teaching the fact of creation being illegal in those state schools. In the past, most people accepted creation as a matter of course and they didn’t believe in evolution, whereas today half of the citizens accept this theory and either deny or compromise the reality of God’s creation of the universe. In the past, the simple and moral lessons of the ubiquitous McGuffey Readers were standard textbooks and, even after they were discontinued, the textbooks did promote a semblance of respect, morality, and the fear of God. Today, textbooks may be colorful and attractive, but they are literally filled with secular humanism and godless perspectives, which lack the wholesomeness and substance of what was formerly available. In the past, schools were a place to learn good moral lessons of life. Chief school infractions included chewing gum, throwing spit balls, passing notes, whispering, and playing hooky. Today, schools are a war zone and police must be on guard. They are havens for drug-pushing, violence, cheating, immodesty, sex, and disrespect for authority.

In the past, children hardly knew anything about drugs, other than this was something done in the Middle East or Far East. Today, drugs are found wherever people are found. At one time, pot was a vessel for plants, grass was something we needed to cut weekly, acid was something you took an antacid medication to treat, and speed was what you didn’t want to do on the streets in a speed zone. Today, all kinds of substances are common to teens and even some pre-teens. In the past, criminals were punished somewhat swiftly and adequately; today, criminals receive light sentences, many are paroled, and even those on death row may wait twenty years before execution. In the past, everyone agreed that violent and murderous criminals needed the death penalty, whereas today some humanistic judges recommend a life or shorter sentences.

In the past, many people recognized Sunday as a day of worship or rest, and there was a time when the Blue Laws required that stores close for the day, whereas today Sunday has become just as busy and commercialized as Saturday. In the past, even ball games were forbidden on Sunday, but today this day has become a leading sport day. In the past, reading was much more common in the homes, with father and mother and children occupying their time with open books; whereas today, reading in this country has become nearly a lost practice. In the past, people would spend their evenings in quietness, in conversation, or in reading; today, people are occupied with noise and busyness. The radio came about 1923, the television about 1952, and the computer by about 1990—and all of this radically changed our evenings and entire lives.

Entertainment has suffered in various ways over the years. In the past, songs may have been trivial sometimes, but the noticeable effect was not as devastating. Today, music has greatly degenerated to the point that it is not worthy of the name music. Simple rhythm has given way to loud beats, immodest gyrations, and perverse lyrics. Singers and musicians sound and act like crazed animals and berserk criminals instead of sane and sober human beings. In the past, when movies became popular in the 1920s, the content was somewhat regulated by the movie industry. Beginning in the latter 1930s and especially in the 1960s, the floodtide of immorality, violence, perverse themes, and profane language eventually inundated society with raw filth and putrid garbage.

In the past, pornography was only found in the larger cities in the seedy areas, in buildings where respectable people would not think of going, but today raunchy immorality of the basest kind is available at the click of the mouse in any home of America that has internet access. Pornography is a multi-billion dollar industry that caters to the lust-filled masses. In the past, TV content was somewhat mild and innocuous, but this changed over the years to the point that respectable persons must shut off the set to maintain any degree of respectability, especially in the presence of children.

In the past, boys would build things with wood, help in the garden, explore the woods, and raise animals. They knew the value of work, of achievement, and of industry. Today, they are more likely to play computer games, watch TV, listen to their music, send text messages, or talk on the phone, totally ignoring the need to do something creative and constructive. In the past, girls would play “mother” with their dolls, read books, learn to cook with mother, and learn how to sew their dresses. Today, they are more likely to be occupied in the same worthless activities and senseless pursuits as the boys.

Morality has also suffered greatly over the years. In the past, most girls and many boys came to marriage as virgins, whereas today few come to the altar in purity. In the past, virtually no one “shacked up” before marriage without the ridicule of nearly all of society; but today, “living together” with a mate without the benefit of marriage has become commonplace, and seemingly few people have a second thought about the arrangement. In the past, divorce was forbidden except on the grounds of adultery, but today “no fault” divorce is standard and vast numbers of citizens have divorced and remarried with little sign of shame in either society or the church.

In the past, sodomy or homosexuality was never mentioned in public, whereas today, sodomites or homosexuals openly flaunt their unnatural immorality and society is permitting this by allowing parades down main street and offering a semblance of respectability to something that was formerly shameful. Even “straight” people often refer to such people as “gays” instead of the traditional “sodomite”—referring to the sin of Sodom. Some states have gone so far as to legalize what they mistakenly call “gay marriage”!

In the past, most children were born into families with a father and mother, but today vast numbers of children are tragically born into single-parent homes and grow to adulthood without the support of a father or sometimes a mother. In the past, children were valued and life was considered sacred, but today many mothers kill their own babies and life has become cheap. Instead of sacrificing for their own offspring, many couples choose to get rid of their babies for the sake of convenience. In the past, older people were valued as a repository of experience and wisdom, but today the aged are often discarded as unwanted, unneeded, and a burden to society. Some voices are even promoting the heartless practice of euthanasia.

In the past, the wife and mother generally would be a full time homemaker with her house being the domain where she shined as queen, whereas today, the majority of women have a career away from home and many put their children into daycare centers where they are under workers who become substitute parents. In the past, the husband and father held a full-time job, whereas today he is not the only wage-earner in the family. In the past, a single wage-earner was able to adequately support a family, but it seems that today two incomes generally are needed to sustain a family. In the past, most families consisted of six, seven, or even ten children, but today one or two children are considered sufficient. In the past, children were generally wanted, but today large numbers of parents confess that they wish they had none.

In the past, the husband and father was recognized as the undisputed head of the home as the Bible says, but today the media portray him as a joke, unworthy of his authoritative role in the family. The patriarchal arrangement has largely succumbed to the secular egalitarian model. In the past, children knew that they were to be respectful and obedient, even requesting permission to speak in the presence of adults, even when some of them would disobey the rules. Today, children are looked on as an equal part of a team, and childhood disobedience is common and even expected. In the past, parents recognized the place of corporeal punishment in child-training, but since the time of Benjamin Spock and secular psychologists, spanking often is ridiculed and not practiced, thus there is not the proper childhood respect and obedience.

We could cite many other examples of the past and the present for they are everywhere. In the past, only uncouth men would use swear words or profanity in public, but today women may be just as likely to pour forth moral filth and blasphemy from their profane mouths. In the past, only the men would use tobacco, whereas today women are just about as likely to use this filthy drug. In the past, both men and women dressed more modestly and thought it shameful to reveal parts of their body in public. Baring the human body before others was legal grounds for arrest and incarceration across the country. Today, everyday clothes are more revealing and brief swim suits are absolutely shameless. Short shorts, bare midriffs, low cut shirts, high dresses and shirts, and transparent clothes are accepted by nearly everyone. What would have brought swift legal action in the past is tolerated throughout the country. In the past, women wore their hair uncut and long, whereas today, women may have shorter hair than some men. In the past, men had relatively short hair, but today some men have longer hair than most women. In the past, women looked like women and men looked like men, but today the unisex look is more acceptable. And all of this is done without embarrassment or shame.

A Balanced Look at Change

Times are changing, they say, and this is true. In some respects, we can rejoice in the technological advancements, medical breakthroughs, safety of food, convenience of travel, and communication wonders that we enjoy in our day. On the other hand, there has been a massive degeneration of morals and a deterioration of the family, a dishonor of God and His righteous ways.

Times are changing. Let’s do what we can while we have life to slow the degeneration and promote the good, with the help of God.


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