By Gregg Heid
Special to The PREVIEW
The world looks at change through the eyes of progression. God sees change compared to the Garden of Eden before the fall of mankind.
Things are changing fast. This is my brief take on some of the changes in the last 50 years in the U.S.
In 1969, my first year in college, I wrote my English papers on a typewriter, made calls from the dorm pay phone and watched three channels on the lounge TV. My favorite shows were westerns (“Gun Smoke,” “Bonanza,” “Wagon Train”), as their scenes portrayed the beauty of our country. I paid for everything with cash or check. My entire college education cost around $5,000.
Today the average college education is $25,000 per year; smart phones are in everyone’s hands; television providers offer hundreds of channels with lots of sex, violence and gratuitous cussing. Cash, used to be the norm, is being replaced by credit and cryptocurrencies.
Fifty years ago, I visited friends in their homes and we played football and volleyball in our yards. I did research in the library — from books, listened to music on records or tapes, took pictures with a 35 mm film camera and waited weeks for development. I ate McDonald’s hamburgers for a quarter. Our house was worth $20,000, my brother’s new Plymouth GTX cost $3,900 and a gallon of gas was 35 cents.
Today, houses, vehicles, commodities and, yes, McDonald’s hamburgers, are 10 times more expensive than 50 years ago. Inflation is diminishing the dollar.
Kids don’t seem to be as active as kids in the ’60s. For example, Fortnite, an online game of strategy, has amassed over 250 million players this year. Today, texts and emails are the most common means of communication, as face-to-face encounters are becoming more and more rare. When kids are face-to-face, they still text each other.
School libraries are replacing books with digital platforms. Listening to music, taking pictures, banking, shopping, communicating and even driving are now done through digital technology — 5G is launching in 2020 — which will make digital technology 10 times faster than today.
In 1969, military vets wore tattoos; gender identification was male or female; the pro-life and pro-choice movements did not exist; being a mother was a coveted career; naughty kids were spanked; fights were settled with fists, not guns; and men brought home the bacon.
Today, tattoos are changing the color of people’s skin; gender identification is questioned yet flaunted; pro-life and pro-choice are fighting words that divide the country. More women receive college degrees today than men and the workforce of our country is now 47 percent female. Spanking your child could result in a call from social services and the child removed from the home. Fighting is now rarely done one-on-one, but groups on groups.
In the ’60s, “gay” meant happy, marriage was between a man and a woman and all kids knew which bathroom to use. Economies were local, globalism and illegal immigration were not part of the vernacular and people shopped in stores. High schools taught shop and home economics, and bilingual education did not exist.
Today, schools suffer from mass shootings, as bullying and ostracizing, common in social media realms, are now answered with guns. Technology is the norm in schools as well, with little hands-on education past sixth grade. This eliminates most blue-collar job training in high schools and gives students immediate access to both good and bad information. College campuses, once caldrons of debate over differing view points, are becoming propaganda institutions for leftist and atheistic views.
Democrats and Republicans used to be able to come to a consensus on issues. Today, Democrats and Republicans have agendas that pander to their bases — no compromise allowed. Reporters promote their views, not the news, and most movies and TV shows contain a political or anti-Christian agenda.
Fifty years ago, churches were a center of social and cultural life in America. Today, not so much, with the onset of online churches, kids’ weekend activities, family travel, the disappearance of guilt in our culture, self-directed spirituality, societal affluence and single parent or blended families, we see a major cultural shift in religion.
Today, the “nones,” or people not belonging to any formal denomination or church affiliation, make up 25 percent of those who say they are religious. Because of this, more and more people aspire to relativism: “The philosophical position that all points of view are equally valid and all truth is relative to the individual. This means all moral positions, all religious beliefs, all art forms, all political movements, all educational philosophies are truths relative to each one’s personal convictions.”
King Solomon saw the problem with relativism as he wrote over 2,000 years ago: “There is a way that seems right to a man, but in the end it leads to death.” — Proverbs 14:12 (ESV.) Which leads me to ask: Is our society dying? Or, are we progressing in the right direction?
Where is change leading us?
By Gregg Heid