Growing up in the 1960s and ’70s was quite an experience in that there was so much “transition in the culture” going on. The term “generation gap” was invented by the media to describe the great differences between the world and values that parents had and grew up under and that of what their children were now experiencing and embracing. One of the greatest catalysts contributing to the generation gap was known as “the British invasion” of music (think Beatles, Dave Clark Five, and a host of others) along with “Elvis”, The Rolling Stones, and the whole “counterculture” sound and attitude.
It seemed like everything was changing, and it really was. Christianity and church attendance was on the decline and the “God is dead ” movement was on the increase. Along with the “preaching of new values and new morality through music”, there was the “assists’ ‘ of inventions of the electric guitar, rock music, invention of “the pill” (birth control), the mini skirt, bell-bottom pants. Long hair, tie-dye clothing was the “new identity”, and a “eat, drink, and be merry for tomorrow we die” attitude that was being declared and promoted on T.V. and in the media. Religiously there was the push towards eastern religions via Transcendental Meditation, the Hari Krishna’s on campus, and the “Moonies’ ‘ (Followers of the Korean guru Yung Sun Moon).
I attended WCU in the early ’70s and experienced the “counter-culture” in full force that was taking off on most U.S. college campuses. Open drug use in the dorms was common and even the college administration and professors have swept away with this new movement. It was not uncommon for my roommates and me to host a keg party and have several of our college professors show up. As a college student my values, goals, and morality were completely different than my parent’s “old victorian” values.
Because “beliefs have consequences” there were giant repercussions in my life, and not necessarily for the better. Of course, there have been giant consequences in the U.S. from these “new cultural norms”, established in the ’60s and ’70s, as well.
So, I had anything but a normal Campus Minister background during my early years up through age 25. After exhausting myself in the pursuit of money, women, and athletic accomplishment on a national level I became cynical about the meaning and purpose of life, like so many of my friends and those my age. Even though I had a great job, had girlfriends, owned my own condo at age 22, and had the respect of others for ongoing athletic accomplishments I was very empty inside and craving for something more meaningful than gaining more of the “American dream”. Looking back on it all, I believe God was allowing me to gain all the things that the culture says will satisfy us and give purpose. I believe He was helping me to see that these things can never satisfy the “God-shaped void” that He has fashioned in the heart of every one of us, that only He can properly fill.
As individuals, and as an observant generation I believe it’s time to honestly look back on what the 60’s and 70’s cultural revolution has brought us, without worrying about being biased or “politically correct”. Fifty to sixty years “after the fact” gives us plenty of time to make observations about the “tsunami of change” that I, and our country, have gone through.
It’s time to come out of our myopic view of life, take a few steps back to get a broader view of our country and its culture, and ask some hard questions as to why we are not only not doing better as a people and as a country but actually doing worse!
However you want to measure the quality of life in macro measurements, we are failing and actually spiraling downward.
Consider a few critical areas which can give us direction in what to expect for the future direction of our nation, unless we reverse course. According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), we have an increasing problem with our suicide rate as a nation. Perhaps this is one of the biggest “reveals’ ‘ that something is very wrong in our culture and values. Suicide has become the 2nd leading cause of death among teens, and has increased substantially in our senior citizens aged 75 and above.. A general sense of well being is also in a heavy decline with higher and higher numbers of Americans struggling with depression, self-medicating through alcohol, prescription drug, and illegal drug abuse. Sex addiction, low levels of satisfaction in relationships, very high divorce rates, even with many people skipping marriage altogether and just cohabiting. In fact, studies show that for the first time ever in our nation more are cohabiting (shacking up) rather than getting married! This has done nothing to lower the divorce rate and has only lead to “serial monogamy” (continual, one at a time, sex partners) and an increasing inability to stay together and build lasting and satisfying relationships. Additionally, many students show that those most vulnerable in our society, particularly women, children, and the elderly, are all suffering increasing amounts of physical and emotional abuse levels because there is no stability in this kind of uncommitted relationships. Because children heavily model their behavior by the “parents” or “adults” in their lives we are in big trouble with our next generation ever learning the value and importance of commitment. A nation that can not build solid and lasting family structures can not provide a stable foundation from which children can be safe emotionally and physically. Nor can they expect to have stable finances for future needs of decent housing and education., The
The parental “modeling they have received, or are receiving, will not inspire them to make the proper efforts to work out conflicts in our toxic culture. Nor will it build stable families in which experts tell us, children, most thrive.
Again, it’s time to ask ourselves some hard questions like, Why has our emphasis on secular education, apart from God and the Bible, not brought us anything but a tripling of the divorce rate right after it’s an implementation in the 1960s? Why, since the ’60s has there been an increasingly high suicide rate among all age groups in the U.S? Why is there an increasingly high illegitimacy rate in our nation with many millions of our children at serious risk? Did you know that there are over 33,000 children in foster care in Berks County alone?! My wife and I have 3 precious grandchildren that are from this “system”. All have suffered terribly emotionally and physically from their biological parents.
Time to lose the anti-Biblical views, and childish mindset that everything will just magically work out okay! Things haven’t just “worked out”, and they won’t in the future unless we change our ways. As a people, we must come with an open mind and heart and be willing to admit that without the Bible and it’s values being taught in our homes and educational institutions, we have not been better off. In fact, we are a lot worse off in every way that matters for our present and for our future. Jesus said, “Man shall not live (well) by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God”. There is a Creator and He has designed His creation to run well only when it follows His “instruction manual for living”, the Bible. It’s time to do an honest assessment of our lives, our families, our nation and ask, “have we really been better off for having divorced ourselves from the Bible in our schools and largely in our culture? Truly, our very lives and our future is at stake!
If you are willing to open up your mind to the possibilities of “another way to live life” then visit us at our Tuesday Night Bible Study Fellowship every Tues at 9:00 PM in Hash 212. You may also contact me at CaputoJK@aol.com .