It’s alarming to see how the shift of societal values can be so discreet and undetected yet so profound. I think of the old movies back when movies first began. The girl would look at the boy and the boy would look at the girl, or they may have simply held hands and yet, it was enough for us to know that there were strong feelings involved. Imagine if following the release of that movie a movie like 50 Shades of Gray came out. How do you think society would handle it? Would it be easy to stomach or shocking? Would people be comfortable or instead, appalled?
Of course, because society had not been conditioned with such imagery, they would not be able to handle it well. Yet, over the course of decades, society has arrived at this very place.
How did we get here? How did we arrive from the innocence of holding hands as an expression of love to intensely graphic sex scenes?
It begins with subtle compromise. There is a human tendency to replace our original values with a new, more updated set as we go. When the new compromise shows up to take the old one’s place, we only compare it to the previous value, the one that was already tainted and perverse, but not to the original value, the one that was pure and good. You know, the way things were meant to be. Therefore, the new value, the new compromise, never seems wrong or too extreme.
Subconsciously, we think, oh that’s not too bad; emotionally, it doesn’t cause us to FEEL that bad. But our feelings have been conditioned to tolerate and accept what was previously accepted and so this new thing is simply not that different.
The evolution of marketing, television, and music has influenced us to constantly re-define our values, and from that we have found ourselves in a place that hangs on by a strand to any real and pure moral standard. We can sit together and watch a graphic sexual movie with a hundred other people in a movie theater, with some next to us being sexually aroused by it, without giving it a second thought. Furthermore, some can even feel like they can bring their children along! We can tolerate abortions, violence, devaluing human life, lying, sexual promiscuity, drugs and so much more because we said yes to the sin that came just before.
So the question is, what do we do?
I don’t have all the answers, but I think one thing we can start with is determining what our personal values are. Go back to the beginning. If we care about where we are now or if we care about where we are headed next, then we first have to decide we stand for. What values do we uphold? From there, we choose to not engage with things that undermine and compromise the good that that society so desperately needs…truth, purity, and goodness.