Saturday, October 25, 2014
When I was a kid I loved watching the movie, The Ten Commandments. The scenes were majestic and Charlton Heston was magnificent as Moses. And what kid wouldn't love all the "tricks" Moses could perform, reversing the "first born" death on the Egyptians, turning the Nile red, turning his walking stick into a snake, and most impressive of all, parting the Red Sea so that Moses and the "chosen people" could flee from Egypt, then engulfing the Egyptian legions and drowning them en mass.
However, one thing in the movie frankly puzzled me; after years of Sunday School studies, I just could not comprehend how all of Moses' followers, after being freed from slavery, could have forgotten all of God's miracles and began their drunken and lusty orgy, capped off by the worship of the Golden Calf. My childhood mind just kept coming back to that scene. "Wow", I said, "I guess God has to provide a "miracle a day" if he hopes to hold on to his faithful!".
Now that I'm older, a little wiser, and having seen a little more of what my fellow man is capable of, I am beginning to understand those ancients who strayed so quickly.
Some three thousand years later I see the majority of Americans who worship the sacred cow of rampant materialism daily. According to many of the surveys, church attendance has been rapidly declining for decades, more and more people believe they can get along just fine without any thanks to God at all.
One need only tune in to television to witness the Extreme Makeovers, the Flip This House, the Love It or List It or any number of home design programs to see how Americans just had to re-model their kitchens every two years. The Formica of the 50's was tossed for laminates, then tile, then granite, then marble. Nothing was too good for the American taste and, if it meant taking out a second mortgage to keep up with the Joneses, so be it! The Neighbor has a pool so I must have one! My co-worker drives a Lexus so I must too! Fish is not acceptable unless it is priced as $2 dollar per roll Sushi and ordinary coffee just won't stand up to a $6 dollar Frappe from Starbucks!
Today, we worship Steve Jobs because he gave us the IPOD and I-Phone. We worship the gods of Sony, of High Definition. Our "idols" are the gods of Hip Hop and Rap. The Burning Bush is now the fiery explosions on the silver screen that supplants violent action in lieu of relationship.
Our golden calf has been the materialism of the secular; those who see no need for a God in their lives...or even the necessity of living some semblance of a spiritual life!
Please don't get me wrong; I am not a Bible thumper. I have some severe problems with organized religion. But I truly believe with all my heart that God ordained and blessed the creation of the American Republic. I believe that God looked down on a group of people who had studied the most eminent social philosophers and deemed the new American Republic as a chance for mankind to start fresh, with the unique idea that men's rights were ordained by God, and not government or kings.
America thrived for two centuries under the Judeo-Christian work ethic that proscribes that if one works hard, lives a moral life and honors our nation's laws, that we shall prosper.
That is no longer the case. With the exception of a small minority of folks who are trying mightily to restore our national values, America's moral climate is at an all time low. The very values that were responsible for our happiness and our prosperity are now mocked and deemed out of date, no longer relevant.
A great writer once wrote that America is but a continuing experiment in social development and "freedom is only a brief rainbow amidst the long gray thousands-year march of human oppression". I fear he may be right. Our failure to adhere to some moral standards, our failure to assume the responsibility of citizenship and, yes, our worship of the "Sacred Calf" of extreme materialism may already be signalling the end of an America blessed and ordained by God.
Sad, Damn Sad.