Changes in society
Society’s morals and people’s worldviews are constantly changing. What is the position of the Christian faith in the midst of everything
This writing is about some of the tendencies and behaviours of today’s society. Our purpose is to find out what kind of changes in public opinion have taken place and then look at how these changes have influenced the lives of people and society. The situation has changed a lot from a couple of decades ago when people lived in a homogenous culture and almost everybody had similar values. Then a majority of people respected the Christian doctrine whereas now people are taking a divergent road. This is why we should study the changes that have occurred in the way people think and how these changes have influenced our lives. Let’s start with the theory of evolution.
THEORY OF EVOLUTION. If one were to name the one theory or doctrine that has caused the greatest change in people’s thinking, one strong candidate would be the theory of evolution that Darwin made popular in Origin of Species in 1859. This theory was generally accepted only ten to twenty years after the publication of the book. Before then, people thought it self-evident that God was behind it all and that species are in about the same form as when they were created. This was what children learned in school; and people considered the description found in the Bible about the beginning of all to be historical and reliable.
What is the fruit that comes from our acceptance of evolution? Excluding the scientific aspect, there are probably two products that have grown from it: degradation of human dignity, and degradation of morals.
Degradation of human dignity is a natural consequence of belief in evolution. People who do not believe that we are images of God (like the Bible says) but instead believe that we are descended from animals may either (1) not draw a huge difference between humans and the rest of creation, or (2) might believe that some races or groups of people are more evolved and thus are better than the others. These attitudes either degrade the value of humanity or reduce the value of a specific group of people.
A good example of an attitude that degrades the value of a particular group of people is Nazism. The leading Nazis believed in the theory of evolution. It provided them with a scientific excuse for their racism, race doctrines and the killing of people who belonged to certain groups, such as the disabled. For example, Adolf Eichmann, who directly or indirectly caused the death of several thousand people, did not see his actions as being wrong. In his trial, he used the theory of evolution to justify what he had done.
Darwin himself was not a supporter of such ideologies, but this does not change the fact that the Nazis ended up with their conclusion based on his theory. It is true that there were bad philosophies before Darwin, but what the Nazis did was one logical consequence of believing in the theory of evolution. If they had believed the opposite – that people are valuable images of God and that they should love their neighbours as themselves – then they would not have done as they did. They are an extreme example of how beliefs influence our behaviour. Our thoughts about our origins guide everything we do. They also influence our attitude towards others.
- (Gen 1:27) So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.
- (Matt 7:12) Therefore all things whatever you would that men should do to you, do you even so to them:
for this is the law and the prophets.
- (Matt 22:36-39) Master, which is the great commandment in the law?
37 Jesus said to him, You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.
38 This is the first and great commandment.
39 And the second is like to it, You shall love your neighbor as yourself.
Relative morality is another consequence of the theory of evolution that has influenced society in past decades. This has grown from the idea that if we arose from inanimate substances and our origins were not the result of some personal action, then it is difficult to explain the significance of morality. If there is no Creator then there is no purpose to life and there is no one to whom we must one day answer for what we have done. Nothing is absolute and there is no fixed point upon which we can anchor our morals. We create our own value system so the opinions of each person are as valuable as the next man’s. Morals vary from one person to the next. If we were to ask a paedophile, a playboy, a prostitute, Saddam Hussein, a murderer and a regular person about morals we would get six completely different answers. They may all justify their own actions and consider them reasonable even if others disagree. Relative morality with no absolute authority generates a huge variety of opinions. Evolution is a religion that allows everyone to come up with their own rules. Such a belief has influenced the morals and ethics of society, thus the behaviour of people.
This is connected to the fact that your thoughts about your origins influence your entire view of the world, your purpose of life, etc. If there is no God and we are only the result of random processes, it means that there is no absolute authority. And if there is nobody to set the rules, anybody can do anything and hope that they won’t get caught. Evolution is a religion that entitles people to come up with their own rules.
(...) If it is difficult for you to believe that evolution is connected to the issues mentioned above, you will see the connection clearly after studying a couple of historical examples. In fact, I have yet to meet a single well-educated evolutionist who disagrees with me about the connection of these moral issues and evolution. They are not necessarily of the opinion that this is what should have happened but they do agree that people have applied evolution in this way. It is important for you not to misunderstand what I’m about to say. Of course, there were bad philosophies that go against God already before Darwinist evolution. People did abortions long before Darwin announced his popular view on evolution. However, people’s beliefs about their origins influence the way they view the world. When people reject God -- the Creator -- their attitude towards themselves, other people and our world changes. (1)
FEMINISM AND FAMILY LIFE. Many of the changes that have taken place in society over the past decades pertain to family life.
One of the influences that has caused such changes is the women’s liberation movement that rose into prominence in the 1960s. At that time, a small group of women started to demand that men and women must be treated equally in working life and that society must take responsibility for child care. They also belittled the differences between men and women, and the importance of being a housewife. They wanted to smash the traditional models of a woman and man that society had used for decades. They thought that women cannot be equal unless they are just like men in everything they do.
And that was not the end: demands about free right to abortion and free sexual relations outside of wedlock started around the same time. There were strongly voiced opinions in the discussion in addition to the demands of the feminist movement. Matti Joensuu describes the development of public opinion in the 1960s in Finland:
Ryhmä 9 (Group 9) was established in the autumn of 1965; the next year its new name was Yhdistys 9 (Association 9). This group of people, mostly consisting of young people with an academic degree and students, was very prominent in the media. There was hardly a televised discussion without a member of Association 9 in it. They focused on the equality of women and men, tried to prove that the differences between women and men had been exaggerated, discussed the precarious position of widowed or divorced women and their children and the position of children born out of wedlock and their mothers, the contribution of fathers in child care, and the society’s responsibility for developing day-care services. Their typical approach included appealing to research results to justify their claims and demands.
In the world of high school, those who demanded justification for sexual relationships were the ones blowing their trombones loudly. They insisted, for instance, that boys and girls should be allowed to live together in university dormitories even though they were not married.
It seemed as though the Teenager Union had been conquered by new leaders who announced not only socialism and school democracy but also an idea of free sexual relationships.
What was new about this situation was that reference groups had been formed that talked about gender issues in a much more open way than formerly in public and accused the society and the church of double standards. (...) They even pitted the institute of marriage and true love against each other. People living together out of wedlock were interviewed in public and depicted as sort of heroes of the new morals who had the courage to oppose the morals of the dilapidated bourgeois society. Homosexuals were also interviewed and demands for free abortions were voiced. (2)
Next, we will study the changes mentioned above and their impact on society. We will also discuss the justification of these viewpoints.
Differences between men and women. One of the main goals of the feminist movement is to establish equality, which usually means women can be independent and financially self-sufficient, and can work and leave their children to be cared for by society. Feminists think that women will not be equal to men until they do the same things as men. They also think that there is not much difference between women and men. They refuse to accept that men and women have different kinds of roles in society and particularly at home.
The differences have not disappeared, however. Studies of people’s wishes about marriage have shown that the needs of men and women differ from each other. There are some needs that both men and women have such as being accepted as they are, but other needs are different. The list below was made in connection with marriage counselling. The needs are listed in order of importance.
The differences between men and women also appear when we consider that men usually define themselves based on what they do for a living while women define themselves based on their relationships. Unemployment may be much harder on men than on women; women consider relationships to be more important than a career. The following two examples suggest this. The first is a statement by Carol Cilligan. She interviewed women who had done well professionally and found out that they valued good relationships with other people more than their successful careers. Academic achievements did not rank at the same level in their value systems as did relationships.
The second quote is about what men want and how they want to take on financial responsibility for their families. This is why many men find simply being at home or being unemployed difficult. It is much more difficult for men than it is for women.
When I asked the women to describe themselves, they all referred to their relationships. They described themselves as being a mother, a wife, an adopted child, an ex lover – they depicted their identity in relation to somebody else. These highly educated women who had done well in their careers did not even mention their academic or professional achievements when describing themselves. They even thought that their professional activity could make it more difficult for them to be aware of themselves. (...) They defined their identity in relation to other people. (3)
The third assumption is about being a provider because Finns have persistently aimed at equality in this respect. Doctor of Theology Sari Kokkonen’s dissertation was titled “Työttömänä isänä perheessä ja yhteiskunnassa” (Unemployed father from the family and society perspective), and Dr. Kokkonen was surprised to notice how strong the idea of the man being the provider of a family is in the Finnish society. The entire paternity of some of the men interviewed by Dr. Kokkonen was based on them being the provider, and unemployment caused them to feel that their own position both within their family and in the society in general was in jeopardy. It was especially difficult for the fathers to adjust to being at home. Dr. Kokkonen was surprised at how her research results reflect a family culture divided into a variety of roles where the father is considered to be more in charge of the financial aspect. The fact that men usually have higher salaries than women supports the permanence of these roles. (4)
Our third quote is about the differences between men and women. A young female reporter noticed that men are not identical to women after all. The revelation was a shock to her. Such dissimilarity suggests the richness of differences between men and women. Both genders have their own positive features: women are better and more skilful than men in some areas, whereas men are better than women in other aspects of life. There are also slight differences between the interests of the two sexes. Naturally, there are also individual differences that have nothing to do with one’s gender.
A young female reporter was reading the online discussion forum of a Finnish magazine Vauva that is meant for people with babies and also noticed that there was a separate discussion forum for fathers. The reporter was amazed when she noticed what the men were talking about: not about babies or how it felt to be part of the childbirth but about cars. They had plenty of opinions and analyses when comparing different types of Japanese family cars, but only a few had answered a question about how it felt to be present when their child was born. The reporter was even more amazed because she knows a fair amount of men who do not even have a driver’s license. She had never thought that having a baby would cause an overwhelming need for men to talk about cars with their peers! She was truly shocked at how different the interests of men are from those of women. (5)
Feminism and housewives
- (Tit 2:4,5) That they may teach the young women to be sober, to love their husbands, to love their children,
5 To be discreet, chaste, keepers at home, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God be not blasphemed.
- (1 Tim 5:9,10,14,15) Let not a widow be taken into the number under three score years old, having been the wife of one man.
10 Well reported of for good works; if she have brought up children, if she have lodged strangers, if she have washed the saints' feet, if she have relieved the afflicted, if she have diligently followed every good work.
14 I will therefore that the younger women marry, bear children, guide the house, give none occasion to the adversary to speak reproachfully.
15 For some are already turned aside after Satan.
The starting point with the women’s liberation was that since men and women are identical and do similar things, they are equal. Feminists do not want to admit that men are different from women and that the different roles of men and women are all valuable and complementary. Instead, they try to force women and men to be the same, which is surely not the way to go. After all, there is no way a man could give birth and breast feed a baby like a woman can. Furthermore, over the centuries women have always been the caregivers of infants. There are no known cultures where men would have carried more responsibility for children than women. Men can temporarily care for their children but women are usually better at it.
Feminists have traditionally also admired women who make a career for themselves instead of becoming housewives. They think that this is true equality and there is something glamorous about having a career outside of the home, and that housewives are far too commonplace.
Belittling housewives is a fairly new trend, however. This was not a common way of thinking in the early 1960s, which is proven by the following description from that era:
A clear change has occurred in the values of the society. In the 1960s, many Finnish companies still considered it a matter of honour to pay their employees such good salary that their wives did not have to seek gainful employment. This way of thinking was based on the idea that family was the centre of it all, and the husband and wife had different roles but were both equally important. Such a practice would be denied nowadays as unequal. (6)
It is true that some women may feel that they are forced to stay at home with their children. If this is the case, it might be better for the woman to find a job. Another reason for women working may be money. Many women would like to stay at home to take care of their children but don’t have the financial means. This is regrettable. (For example, around 40% of Finnish parents with children in day care have stated that they would have liked to care for their children at home but were unable to do so because of money.)
How has the fact that fewer women are housewives influenced society? Many studies show that not having a stay-at-home mother could be harmful especially for smaller children. If a child is separated from his or her parents too early, his or her emotional development may deteriorate. Institutional care is rarely as good as care at home.
Finnish women are not the only ones to struggle with their careers and their home: the same discussion is ongoing in other parts of Europe and the United States. Magazines publish stories about mothers with great careers who took a short or longer pause from their working life to be a stay-at-home mother. They have questioned their ambitious professional goals and tried to find an alternative way of living and working. They have not been satisfied with breaking the glass ceiling in their careers: instead, they have left the rat race to their husbands and devoted themselves to taking care of their children and home.
Research results by child psychiatrists like John Bowlby, Donald Winnicott and Penelope Leah warning about the dangers caused by the lack of home care to children have influenced such behaviour. Their research has depicted the attachment theory I studied above and the emotional and intellectual development of children. There have also been studies about the ill effects of day-care in very small children. An extensive study published in the US in 2003 suggests that group day-care is clearly much more punishing for children under the age of three than any other form of care. It causes aggression and other emotional dysfunctions. These are long-term effects. (7)
David Wilkerson, a well-known preacher, also talked about the importance of a mother being present in a child’s life. A father is naturally important too, because balanced development of a child requires both parents. The mother cannot replace the father or vice versa:
I asked Dave about this.
“I was planning to write a book about child care,” Dave said to me, laughing. “This was years ago. I gathered my children and said to them, ‘I want you to tell what we did right. You all serve God and I’m very proud of you and of what God made of you.’
“I assumed that they would say, ‘Dad, everything was because of the long discussions we had with you.’ When a child of mine had problems, I prayed for them and asked the Lord to reveal the cause of the problems.
“We sat on the floor and opened the Bible, and I told them what the Holy Spirit had told me. I was right almost every time and we always received something from the Holy Spirit. It was also good to know that they knew I was worried about them.
“So I thought that they would say that these discussions were everything. I was shocked to hear them all say, 'Mom was always home when we came from school. She was always there.’
David grinned at me. “They did not say a word of my long talks with them. But they did tell me the truth. One reason why they are so great is that Gwen was always there for them. She was there when they came home from school. I was never there, but they could rest assured that their mother would always be there.
“They came home shouting, ‘Mom!’, got their cookies and glasses of milk, and then went out to play. Gwen was always there for them.
“I think this is why so many children have so much difficulty nowadays. Nobody is there to greet them when they come home from school.
“They need a mother to be there waiting for them.” (8)
- (Rom 7:1-3) Know you not, brothers, (for I speak to them that know the law,) how that the law has dominion over a man as long as he lives?
2 For the woman which has an husband is bound by the law to her husband so long as he lives; but if the husband be dead, she is loosed from the law of her husband.
3 So then if, while her husband lives, she be married to another man, she shall be called an adulteress: but if her husband be dead, she is free from that law; so that she is no adulteress, though she be married to another man.
- (1 Cor 7:39) The wife is bound by the law as long as her husband lives; but if her husband be dead, she is at liberty to be married to whom she will; only in the Lord.
- (Mal 2:14-16) Yet you say, Why? Because the LORD has been witness between you and the wife of your youth, against whom you have dealt treacherously: yet is she your companion, and the wife of your covenant.
15 And did not he make one? Yet had he the residue of the spirit. And why one? That he might seek a godly seed. Therefore take heed to your spirit, and let none deal treacherously against the wife of his youth.
16 For the LORD, the God of Israel, said that he hates putting away: for one covers violence with his garment, said the LORD of hosts: therefore take heed to your spirit, that you deal not treacherously.
- (Mark 10:11,12) And he said to them, Whoever shall put away his wife, and marry another, commits adultery against her.
12 And if a woman shall put away her husband, and be married to another, she commits adultery.
- (Luke 16:18) Whoever puts away his wife, and marries another, commits adultery: and whoever marries her that is put away from her husband commits adultery.
- (Rev 2:21) And I gave her space to repent of her fornication; and she repented not.
- (Hebr 13:4) Marriage is honorable in all, and the bed undefiled: but fornicators and adulterers God will judge.
- (1 Cor 6:9,10) Know you not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind,
10 Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortionists, shall inherit the kingdom of God.
One modern tendency is that divorce is becoming more common. Divorces were fairly uncommon a couple of decades ago and before the war, but now people more and more often get a divorce because of adultery, alcoholism, violence, financial issues and discord in general. People more easily get a divorce because of these reasons or for other reasons because the society approves of divorce.
How do the divorces influence society? One consequence is financial: divorce is not free. Instead, it has been observed that divorces cost society a lot. The worst problem is the destruction of human relations – a divorce is often very difficult for the children – but financial stresses should not be overlooked either. (It has been noted that only 10% of children consider a divorce to be a relief, usually only because there has been constant violence or abuse; or have been some other severe problems in the family.) The following two newspaper articles are about this problem and the result from the current tendency.
Almost a billion euros used in istitutional care for children and youth
Problems with children experienced strong rise since early 1990s
The expenses arising from institutional and family care in child welfare are currently increasing by more than 10% per year.
This year, institutional and family care for children and the young will cost around EUR 670 million. If the sum continues to increase, it will exceed the billion-euro limit in five years.
The number of children in institutional care has doubled since the early 1990s. Problems with children have increased to such an extent that most custody decisions are now urgent.
There are many reasons why more and more children are in institutional care: drugs and alcohol, crime, mental health problems and unemployment.
Inequality reigns in society, and the number of poor families with children has tripled.
The institutional care of one child can cost up to EUR 100,000 per year while proactive supporting measures in outpatient care could be offered with a couple of thousand euros.
However, outpatient care in child welfare was shut down during the last economic downswing. (Newspaper Etelä-Suomen Sanomat, 31 October 2010)
Divorce is costly for many
Economist Pasi Sorjonen of Nordea Bank wonders why the financial impact of divorces is not discussed much even though divorces are very common and the financial impact caused by a divorce can be great for the people involved.
A study by Nordea Bank suggests that a divorce can lower the living standard of a family even more than unemployment. It is a very extensive social phenomenon: almost half of marriages now end in divorce.
"Divorces are very costly to the society," says Executive Director Heljä Sairisalo of the Finnish single-parent family association.
According to Sairisalo, as many as 25% of all single parents must live on relief. Among the entire Finnish population, 10% live on relief, and the figure is even lower for families with both parents.
In a survey done by Nordea Bank last year, only slightly over a third of families with children estimated that they would be able to live in their old home when one of the parents moves out. A parent living with the children alone needs almost as much room as a family with both parents: after all, the number of bedrooms needed will not change. (...)
"Fixed costs will increase," Sorjonen points out.
Sorjonen also pays attention to the use of time: a single parent has to handle the transport of the children alone because there is nobody to help. This will lower the everyday standard of living and, according to Sorjonen, can even be a threat to the single parent's ability to work: many day-care centres are not flexible in terms of the parents' working hours. (Newspaper Etelä-Suomen Sanomat, 25 January 2011)
Can divorces be prevented? It is often fairly difficult if the spouses do not want to be helped. However, this might be changed by means of legislation or by offering personal support. Many marital problems might resolve themselves, and many people regret their divorce afterwards. Thus, a proactive approach could be useful. It is always better and cheaper to tackle the cause instead of the effect. The problem is that getting a divorce is too easy nowadays. There are no mediation or other measures aimed at preserving the marriage. Because people no longer consider divorce to be wrong or disgraceful, more and more couples get a divorce because of some minor dispute.
A study has shown that around 30% of divorced couples regret the divorce three years later. Up to 80% of divorces could be prevented by providing properly targeted support for people whose marriage is in a crisis. People do not always understand that all relationships change over time. It is sad if people start to think about getting a divorce whenever they experience a problem because that is not the only way to proceed. (...)
The Marriage Act could be reformed by returning to mandatory mediation before a divorce is granted. When the mandatory mediation was relinquished in 1988 the divorce rate increased by around 30%. The new Marriage Act included the term “settling family affairs” but it was not connected to the divorce process itself. Instead, it referred to the option of voluntarily getting support and aid. The most important goal with the mediation would be preventing unnecessary divorces. Mediation should be mandatory at least in cases where the spouses do not agree on the terms and conditions of the divorce or where the spouses have children under the age of 18. This would both cause financial savings and reduce human suffering. (9)
SEXUALITY. As stated above, there has been a change in terms of sexuality. Unmarried cohabitation and premarital sex were formerly considered wrong and deserving of condemnation but now they have been widely accepted. This change, called the sexual revolution, took place almost simultaneously with the rise of the women’s liberation in the late 1960s. It spread through the media when people supporting this new view of morals eagerly spread their message. This description from around forty years ago shows what happened at the time:
It almost seems like some kind of a party for people who despise legal marriage had been formed in Finland over the past few years. The party’s member base may not be very wide but the members are very loud. This party is very hard to define. Some members say that they are leftists whereas others are clearly rightists. Both Finnish- and Swedish-speaking people have good representation in the ranks of the party. It is like a group of religious people who have a vague belief in legal marriage at least not being very useful. Without marriage, people could better love each other and society in general would be happier. Yhdistys 9 (Association 9) has also interfered in the position of marriage. (10)
What consequences will the lack of sexual morals have and what does the Bible say about it? This is what we will study now. Let’s start with Bible’s teachings.
The Bible and sexuality. A person reading the Bible will soon see that sexuality itself is by no means a bad thing. God created the man and the woman to be sexual beings, to complement each other, and God considered this to be just as good as the rest of His Creation (Genesis 1:31).
The only limitation in terms of sexuality was that it should only occur in wedlock. The so-called sexual revolution of the late 1960s was thus not “sexual liberation” in this sense because people had always had sex. The only difference was that the radicals of the ’60s were of the opinion that marriage was not absolutely necessary in order to practice one’s sexuality. They considered the Bible’s teachings to be cheap and did not understand that they were talking about the sin of fornication.
- (1 Cor 7:1-5) Now concerning the things whereof you wrote to me: It is good for a man not to touch a woman.
2 Nevertheless, to avoid fornication, let every man have his own wife, and let every woman have her own husband.
3 Let the husband render to the wife due benevolence: and likewise also the wife to the husband.
4The wife has not power of her own body, but the husband: and likewise also the husband has not power of his own body, but the wife.
5 Defraud you not one the other, except it be with consent for a time, that you may give yourselves to fasting and prayer; and come together again, that Satan tempt you not for your incontinency.
- (Hebr 13:4) Marriage is honorable in all, and the bed undefiled: but fornicators and adulterers God will judge.
Consequences. The loosened sexual morals and more accepting attitudes towards non-married people living together and divorce have has major impact on the society. One of the consequences is single-parent families becoming more common. People have sought freedom but found in practice that they are even more tied down than before. The situation is also worse for the children because their problems have escalated (newspaper Etelä-Suomen Sanomat reported on 31 October 2010 that “Problems with children experienced strong rise since early 1990s”). In practice, freedom has caused more problems in the society.
Actress and writer Eppu Nuotio and researcher Tommi Hoikkala discuss the confusion about the male-female relationship. Hoikkala wonders why is it that the nuclear family started to disintegrate when women got more rights. He believes that Finland will soon be faced with the same situation as Sweden is already facing: the most common family form is a single mother and her one child. Women wanted to be freed from the situation where they had no freedom of choice and ended up in a situation where they have no freedom of choice. (...) Many women become exhausted because of their household chores, studying and short-term employment. Hoikkala is of the opinion that these problems in relationships have been caused by the fact that men cannot bear women who are successful. As people’s tolerance becomes lower, their threshold in getting a divorce also lowers. Finland now has a culture of divorce. (11)
Selfishness. As noted above, sexuality in itself is not bad; only abuse of one’s sexuality is bad. This is like the wrong type of patriotism where one despises foreigners and other nations and stresses the importance of one’s own nation, or the abuse of food that causes excessive eating and obesity. Neither of these – like sexuality – are not wrong in themselves but people can act in them in harmful ways.
Selfishness is very common in premarital and extramarital affairs. People only want the desire they can get from the other person but are not ready to commit themselves or be faithful to their spouse. Such people do not consider the future much. They are not thinking about eternity or even what will happen twenty or thirty years from now. Will they still be married then, what will the situation of their children be and what kind of a relationship will they have with children, will they be a playboy who has had many shallow relationships, will they be a single parent, what will their lives be like then? These people rarely think about such things that should be taken into account.
Eternity is naturally the most important. If it is true that we will have to account for our actions in this life, we are not very wise to reject this idea. Being selfish and seeking one’s own interests is the stupidest thing one could do. The Bible says that we will be held responsible for all of our choices and actions in this life (Hebr 9:27: And as it is appointed to men once to die, but after this the judgment).
Think about how accurately God condemns each unbeliever! Each day of everybody will be analysed in detail. Secret thoughts and motives of each moment will be gone through once again, just as all acts and attitudes. Hidden voiced words will be made public, intentions of the heart will be presented for all to see. There will not be a solicitor to whom to turn, no pretexts by which one can defend oneself. There will only be mere, incontestable facts.
I believe that balance of justice is so accurate that a producer of pornography will wish that he had never published such material; a thief will wish that he had earned his maintenance honestly; and an adulterer will regret his immoral life. Loyalty to the marriage oath would not bring a man a place in Heaven but it would make his situation in hell a bit more bearable.
Before God, motives will not be misinterpreted and mitigating circumstances will not be ignored. A woman who has tempted a man will get an appropriate punishment, and the man who gave in temptation will get his own part of the punishment. All accusations will be accurately in the right relation to the acts. (12)
HOMOSEXUALITY. Many of the changes that have taken place in society are about sexuality; they are found in feminism, divorces, premarital affairs – even in the belittling of the differences between the sexes. These changes have become commonly known or generally accepted since their emergence in the 1960s, even though such behaviour was present before that.
Society’s view towards homosexuality changed in the wake of the other changes. Activists promoting homosexuals’ rights and marching to support them brought homosexuality into the daylight. The same shift that was happening to society’s attitudes towards feminism and the sexual revolution took place in many people's attitude towards homosexuality: it changed to positive acceptance. People no longer considered homosexuality to be wrong.
Next, we will study what is new with the current situation and what has changed. It is a question of minor differences in the ways of thinking.
“Congenital”. The first difference we find when comparing previous and current attitudes is that now some people think homosexuals are born that way – just like some people are born with a certain complexion. Homosexuality is no longer considered to be a sin or a wrong kind of behavioural pattern; it is considered to be a trait that the homosexual him/herself and other people must accept. One example of this is that psychologists used to offer change therapy for homosexuals because they believed that homosexuality was condition-related and people could be freed from it. The currently prevailing trend frowns upon change therapy because homosexuality is considered to be congenital, like one’s complexion.
So which is closer to the truth, the traditional or the modern way of thinking? There is disagreement, naturally, but the traditional view is stronger. This is supported by several interview-based studies on homosexuality: many homosexuals believe that it is not congenital but that it has been caused by prevailing conditions.
I read an interesting study by an expert: it was a survey to find out how many actively homosexual people believed they were born that way. Eighty-five percent of the interviewees were of the opinion that their homosexuality was a learned way of behaving caused by destructive influence early on in their home and enticement by another person.
Nowadays, my first question when meeting with a homosexual is usually, “Who gave you the inspiration for it?” All of them can answer me. I will ask then, “What would have happened to you and your sexuality if you hadn’t met your uncle, or if your cousin had not come into your life? Or without your stepfather? What do you think would have happened?” This is when the bells start to toll. They say, “Maybe, maybe, maybe.” (13)
“You cannot be freed.” This argument is closely related to the one discussed above. If people think that homosexuality is congenital like one’s skin tone they do not consider it possible for someone to be freed from it; this is impossible in their opinion.
However, since God freed people from physical slavery in Egypt and thus took a negative attitude towards this issue, He can also free people from slavery to sin including homosexuality. This is what Jesus promised (John 8:34-36: Jesus answered them, Truly, truly, I say to you, Whoever commits sin is the servant of sin. And the servant stays not in the house for ever: but the Son stays ever. If the Son therefore shall make you free, you shall be free indeed.) Since many alcoholics, drug addicts and criminals have been freed from their tendencies, why could not a homosexual experience the same freedom if he/she wants it? It is wrong to try to limit what God can do.
When I said that I was going to preach about homosexuality, several people from my congregation took me aside and said, sometimes with tears in their eyes, “You know, I’m really looking forward to your sermon about homosexuality.” They might leave afterwards but they had left me their weak plea for help.
I have seen God doing miracles in this area in people's lives. A man wrote to me, “I attentively listened to you three years ago when you preached about homosexuality. Your sermon encouraged me to finally step out of the shadows and tell somebody about my problems in this area of life.” Then he described how he found help and concluded the letter by saying, “Now, three years later, I’m healthier and happier than I ever believed I could be. God has been faithful. And I finally feel freed from the ties that kept me in their hold. Please tell all homosexuals that there is hope. Remind them that God cares for them.” (14)
CRIME. Some of the subjects mentioned above when talking about divorces and how they have influenced society also apply to criminal behaviour. (In Finland, around 20,000 property offences were recorded in the early 1950s, whereas the number of property offences had increased to more than 200,000 in the early 1990s. The number of divorces and splitting up of parents who are not married has multiplied during this time, which means that there seems to be a correlation between crime and families falling apart.) Poor relationships, divorced parents or growing up in an institution have been observed to be factors increasing the risk of a life of crime. This does not happen in the case of every person who experiences such things; however, the difference between children who grew up in an unbroken family is clear. Fatherlessness, in particular, is a modern problem.
Jesus does not talk about “mother” but “father” in His parable about the prodigal son. A son needs a father! A daughter needs a father! In my opinion, fatherlessness is the reason why so many young Finns have fallen to a life of crime. They don’t have a father at all or only a mockery of a father. They don’t have a genuine, warm father figure. They have a strange man who sometimes comes to their home, whom they do not know and who does not know them. (...)
It is sad that placing insecure children in institutions where it is difficult for them to make contact with other people is more and more common, and placing children in private homes is less common nowadays. The cooling of love towards children can also be seen in this tendency. When people do not have their own children, they do not want to take in somebody else’s. People want more and more comfort. (...)
All of the killers mentioned in this book have spent some time in institutional care. This is already some sort of evidence about institutionalised children. They are common customers in courts of justice. The most major reason behind the crimes seems to be the lack of a father and mother, the lack of love. (15)
Another simultaneous study (Camilla Hagelstam 2002) reviewed the social background of fifty people under the age of twenty who had committed a homicide. (...)
The most major difference between the young people who had committed homicide and the other youth was that 40% of the criminals were children of single-parent families whereas only 16% of the other youth were from such families.
The study clearly proved that children need a family with both a father and a mother. Boys, in particular, seem to need a father figure. Poverty or unemployment do not increase the risk of committing homicide but lack of old-fashioned care and upbringing may do so. Bad behaviour should not be allowed, thinking that it is a normal part of youth and will pass in time. Troublemaking and bad manners should be interfered immediately – but care, supervision, upbringing, being present, discussions and encouragement should be started as soon as the child turns one. (16)
There are a variety of means we can use to prevent crime, some more and some less effective. At least the following may be useful:
- Prohibiting private persons from owning guns or limiting the way guns can be used. For example, around 30,000 people die under circumstances where a firearm plays a part in the United States every year. There are also hundreds of thousands of cases where firearms are used in addition to these. D. Rosenbaum has stated the following based on statistics:
“Around 30,000 deaths in which firearms played a role – crimes, accidents or suicides – occur annually. Furthermore, a gun is available, is fired or is somehow involved in 900,000 other cases. One must wonder what the overall picture would be like if the opportunity to use firearms was strongly limited.” (D. Rosenbaum: Community Crime Prevention: A Review and Synthesis of the Literature. Justice Quarterly, vol. 5, pp. 323–395, 1988) (17)
- Increasing the price of alcohol or limiting its availability. Most of the crimes and acts of violence in Finland, among other countries, take place under the influence of alcohol. Alcohol is also the cause of a large number of traffic accidents and incidents of domestic violence.
Several Nordic studies (Lenke, Skog, Björk and Sirén) have shown that there is a clear correlation between the volume of alcohol consumed and the rate of violent crime. “In an analysis about Norway in 1931–1977, Skog and Björk arrived at the conclusion that an increase of one litre per inhabitant in the consumption of alcohol (when the amount consumed had been changed to pure alcohol) increased the crime rate by 16%. The indicator used was the number of people convicted of violent crimes.” (Reino Sirén & Martti Lehti: Musta maaliskuu, p. 12). Other studies have provided similar results on the interconnection between homicides, assaults and the consumption of alcohol.
When the employees of the Finnish alcohol monopoly Alko – i.e. the only company from which you can legally buy liquor in Finland – went on strike in 1972 and 1985, the interconnection between alcohol and crime became clearly evident. During the month-long strike in 1985 disturbances in public events, violent crime and drunken driving decreased by around 25% and the number of drunken people arrested decreased by around 30%. Impact from the strike in 1972 was similar.
The next example shows what happened when lager beer was released for sale in grocery stores in Finland, i.e. when buying alcohol definitely became easier. This clearly increased the crime rate. The same had occurred in the 1920s.
Both in the 1920s and in 1969, a major increase of alcohol consumption was accompanied by a major increase in the homicide rate. The annual average homicide rate proportioned to the population was 8.4 victims per 100,000 inhabitants in the 1920s, 66% higher than in 1905–1913 and 166% higher than during the early years of the 20th century. In 1969 the crime rate increased by 27%, and continued to increase in the next few years. Assaults registered by the police also clearly increased, by 38% on the previous year. The strong increase in alcohol consumption continued until 1974, and so did the increase in violent crimes: this increase did not level out until after the mid-1970s (Sirén 2000). Another issue worth mentioning is that violence increased the most (+48%) among people between the ages of 18 and 20 (i.e. the young who had just reached the age when they could buy liquor from the Alko stores) (Sirén 2003). (18)
- TV and the media generally influence people’s behaviour, and the media have changed for the worse. When media provide the wrong kind of models such as adultery, divorce, sex outside of marriage, homosexuality and other types of behaviour, people are surely more likely to follow these examples. When families break up due to divorces and the crime rate increases this places more economical stress on society.
A similar interconnection between violent crime and TV has been noted: years of studies on violent TV programs have shown that people who watch them are more likely to commit a crime. Violent or sexual entertainment makes people numb.
Numerous studies have proven that people who recurrently watch TV shows or movies with exiting or strong violence or sex become numb towards violence. In two surveys on young convicts who had committed violent crimes (murder, rape, assault), 22–30% of the respondents stated that they had intentionally copied criminal techniques they had learned when watching TV. The Hollywood entertainment industry is desperately dependent on the profits it gets from TV shows and movies containing sex and violence. (19)
The quote below – even though decades old – shows the significance of explicit materials. The quote refers to criminal activity associated with sexual activity. Almost all of the people who commit such crimes have read material or watched programs that have distorted their behaviour. What people put into their minds will ultimately influence their behaviour.
Herbert W. Case, a former police superintendent in Detroit, stated the following when talking about torture, unnatural sexual acts and murders: “There has not been a single sex murder case in our department where the murderer had not eagerly read pornographic magazines.”
Chief of Police Paul E. Blubaum of Phoenix, Arizona, stated the following: “There have been several crimes pertaining to sexual aberration in our city, such as child molesting or indecent exposure. We have noticed that most of these disturbed people read indecent publications and often even show them to children, trying to evoke a sexual response.” (20)
- Planning of residential areas and housing policies. If there are a large number of children and underprivileged people in the same area, it may cause a risk. Reasonable housing policies can prevent problems.
- Significance of punishment. If criminal punishment is light, the risk of getting caught is low, if criminal activity is not interrupted then more crime can be expected. It has been noted that the faster the intervention and punishment occur, the better people can be turned from a life of crime. Repeatedly overlooking people’s many crimes will just encourage them to continue their criminal behaviour.
Legislators and the authorities should also study in more detail international tried and effective means of preventing crime and eliminating the resulting negative impacts. The United States have successfully decreased the local crime rate by implementing a so-called “zero tolerance” policy: the authorities and other bodies dealing with crime completely refuse to overlook any crime and immediately interfere with any unlawful behaviour. We have gone to the opposite direction. Therefore, the “actual practices” in terms of punishment and other crime-related activity of the authorities is completely unlike the “official truth”. (21)
- Family policy i.e. supporting families and assisting them in case of a crisis is useful. If there are only minor problems in the family, problematic behaviour and crime are less likely. Poor relationships, a divorce, or growing up in an institution are risks that may lead a person into a life of crime. However, if these problems can be proactively treated by supporting families, the probability of ending up on the wrong path will be much lower. It is wiser to try to help families when they still have relatively few problems and the children are still small. Helping them is much harder later on.
Studies have shown that the structure and functionality of the family are of utmost importance when socialisation and return to society are being promoted; these, in turn, decrease or prevent juvenile delinquency. If parents neglect to raise their children, if parents use inconsistent forms of punishment or if the children find their family life disordered and disturbing, the children may turn to crime as young adults. This is especially true in families where one or both of the parents have committed a crime or crimes. The risk multiplies if the family has to live in severe poverty or in isolation.
The susceptibility to crime can be best reduced or prevented by improving the opportunities to protect, supervise, manage and care for families:
1) Preventing teenage pregnancies
2) Supporting and counselling mothers during pregnancy and when their children are infants
3) Providing parent counselling
4) Offering pre-school education for families of poor children or children who have special needs
5) Offering support to the parents when the family is going through a rough patch
6) Developing strategies to prevent child abuse and keeping families together
7) Preventing teenage homelessness (22)
Impact of the Gospel. Methods that utilise the Gospel to reach the spiritual side of people are effective in preventing crime. The Gospel can change a criminal, a terrorist, a drug addict or any other person who has been separated from God whatever the reason. The more such people change, the less crime there will be. The optimal situation would be for people to get in touch with God during their childhood – in Sunday school or through youth work, for example. Luckily, God can change people’s lives at any age. The only precondition is that the person is ready to change and ready to respond to the call of the Gospel.
Methods in which spiritual guidance is provided to prisoners have been found useful, for example. Methods focusing on assisting drug addicts and alcoholics have also been found successful. For example, 80% of the people who have completed the programme of Teen Challenge have been able to start a new life without substance abuse.
God sometimes decides to influence society in a more powerful manner through revival; this, too, changes the lives of many people. This is not the product of pressure from some Big Brother society (of which we can find many examples in history); it is the sign of internal change that happens in a large number of people. Charles G. Finney describes what happened in the 19th century:
I have told that the moral situation changed greatly through this revival. The city was new, economically prosperous and enterprising but full of sin. The population was especially intelligent and ambitious but as the revival swept through the city by bringing large crowds of its most remarkable people, men and women, to conversion, there happened a very miraculous change concerning the order, peacefulness and morality.
I had a talk with a lawyer many years later. He had been converted in this revival and was a general prosecutor in criminal cases. Because of this office, the criminal statistics were thoroughly familiar to him. He said about the time of this revival, “I have examined documents of criminal law and noticed a surprising fact: while our city has grown three times larger after the times of the revival, there has not been even a third of the indictments than there were before. So miraculous an effect did the revival have on our society.” (23)
DRUG ABUSE, like the other problems mentioned in this writing, is a fairly new problem in society. It is true that there have been such problems before, but the problems have become much more common in the past few decades.
Like alcoholism, drug abuse raises the crime rate. This is because people who have taken drugs have poor judgement so they may commit crimes or harm themselves. Another reason is that drug addicts often must resort to crime to get money to buy drugs, or they sell the drugs and thus spread the problem to new people. If these people did not use drugs and had gainful employment society would save a lot of money. The same applies to alcohol, which is an even more common drug. It has been estimated that hundreds of millions of euros are spent each year in Finland due to alcohol-related costs.
What about the difference between soft and hard drugs? People often try to separate these from each other, claiming that the former is not as harmful as the latter. This is a dangerous approach, however. Let’s study this subject and others related to it.
Supply. Separating soft drugs from hard drugs does not apply in the world of drugs. The same people sell both soft and hard drugs so a user will surely see both. Mixed usage is normal among drug addicts.
The gateway theory still applies. Around 80–90% of all heroin addicts started with soft drugs. When soft drugs no longer have the effect they had earlier, addicts want to get something more powerful. David Wilkerson, who worked for years with thousands of drug addicts in downtown New York City, tells about his experiences:
Is marihuana dangerous? The answer is absolutely yes. 95% of the drug addicts we treat started with marihuana and gradually transferred to harder drugs. We ask every person who comes to us how they originally ended up on the slippery path of drugs, and almost all of them reply, “It started when I accepted a joint.” (24)
Addiction. Like alcohol, nicotine, porn and many other things, drugs can also be addictive. Many people try to stop using such things because they will destroy one's joy of life in the long term. An alcoholic or porn addict is no longer happy when he or she is truly addicted and has continued the habit for years. This is why it is foolish to get addicted to anything if one can avoid it.
The young woman sitting next to me told about her life and fears. She was afraid that her nerves would soon break. She had been taking drugs, mainly cannabis, for over ten years. Hers was a so-called “controlled habit”. However, there came a time when her nerves could no longer take it. She was afraid that her facade would tumble down, which had not happened yet. She lived in a detached house in the Helsinki Metropolitan region and none of the neighbours knew she had a problem with drugs. Listening to her, I thought that all the people who defend drugs as a “controlled habit” should hear this. (25)
Health. One of the phrases many people use is that soft drugs are no more dangerous than cigarettes or alcohol. This is not true, however; the tar in cannabis is much stronger than the tar in tobacco, and cannabis contains more carcinogens than tobacco.
Since the impact of such substances on the national health is already extensive – lung cancer caused by cigarettes is among the two most common forms of cancer in many countries – there is no need to cause more extra healthcare costs.
Unborn children are in danger because of alcohol and drug abuse. Every year, around 600 to 700 children damaged by alcohol are born in Finland. Children of speed addicts are often diagnosed with brain damage, heart defect, cleft lip or cleft palate.
An act on coercive treatment of drug addict mothers has been passed in Norway, for example, and the experiences have been good. The women who were treated against their will were later of the opinion that the treatment was for the better. They did not have the strength to let go of the drugs alone.
Availability. The easier drugs are to get, the more drug abuse problems we will see. There are already enough young people who have problems because of drug abuse.
The same applies to alcohol policy: more problems connected to alcohol are seen whenever alcohol is cheaper and easier to get. This is what happened in Finland in 1969 and in Sweden in 1955. Crime, abuses and other problems connected with excess use of alcohol experienced a clear increase. The crime rate increased by 27% in Finland in 1969 and continued to increase the following years. 1969 was the year when selling medium strength beer in grocery stores was allowed in Finland.
Sign to criminals. Relaxed drug legislation is a sign to organised crime: “There is no law or fear of punishment here.” Areas with such legislation attract more people who sell drugs and more criminals because the same people are active in several sectors of crime such as prostitution and arms sales.
Liberal legislation. Problems in countries with very liberal drug legislation and a more positive attitude towards drugs are much worse than in countries with a stricter legislation.
Attempts to alleviate the problems have been made by, for example, distributing heroin to addicts; this is extreme brutality, however. It will tie the people to a life of drug addiction because the habit is very hard to break. Such a policy will also make it easier for people who use milder drugs to switch to stronger ones, i.e. it lowers the threshold.
An experiment in a humane (!) and liberal drug policy … was made in Stockholm from 1965 to 1967. By virtue of a permit from the Swedish Medical Administration, doctors were able to write prescriptions of amphetamine and morphine to drug addicts. And that they did, to their hearts content – many doctors prescribed tens of thousands of doses.
The going ended with a scandal and a disaster. The legal drugs people got by prescription soon hit the illegal street trade. The crime rate was supposed to dwindle to nothing, but it increased instead. The number of people with severe drug problems exponentially increased. When hundreds of people had died because of prescribed drugs in the Stockholm Metropolitan Area, the experiment had to be cancelled post haste. The same happened as with communism: it was a great idea in theory but a poor idea in practice. (26)
Winner or loser? There is nothing glamorous about using drugs or growing your own cannabis. It is a life of escapism for young people with poor self-esteem and problems in fitting in. They use drugs to feel less inferior and escape the challenging real world. Alcoholism is a similar mode of behaviour.
There is hope for drug addicts. The most common way of treating drug addiction has been a treatment method where the addict’s drug of choice is replaced with another narcotic such as Subutex or methadone. The following problems occur when using this treatment method:
- The results are poor.
- The treatments cost millions of euro per year.
- Most of the drug addicts who are given a replacing narcotic substance simultaneously use drugs as well.
- The drug addiction is not cured but simply replaced with an addiction to another substance.
- Many people who have become dependent upon the compensation narcotics die of an overdose.
- Such a treatment does not make people want to get rid of drugs because the addicts know they can always get compensation drugs from somewhere.
There is still hope for drug addicts even though the results of such treatment have been poor. Jesus, the Son of God, can truly free a person from drug addiction (John 8:36: If the Son therefore shall make you free, you shall be free indeed.).
David Wilkerson, who worked for years with drug addicts in New York, tells about his experiences:
We specialise in desperate cases and will reject no-one, although we worked at first only with teenagers. Those who need help come to us voluntarily, usually when they have lost all hope. (...)
We simply believe in God’s power of breaking the shackles of habit and also making the victory thus achieved last through faith. I’m not interested in whether other professional organisations fighting drug addiction accept my method or not. I know that drug addicts accept it. I challenge anyone in the world to bring a hundred people cured from drug addiction to a single even, like we did. As of yet, nobody has responded to this challenge. We can present to you thousands of former drug addicts who were completely freed from drugs and filled with the power of God. (27)
1. Ken Ham: Valhe, evoluutio, The Lie: Evolution, p. 55,112,113
2. Matti Joensuu: avoliitto, avioliitto, perhe, p. 12,13
3. Pirjo Alajoki: Naiseus vedenjakajalla, p. 54
4. Pirjo Alajoki: Naiseus vedenjakajalla, p. 126
5. Pirjo Alajoki: Naiseus vedenjakajalla, p. 123 / Graglia p. 2, 127
6. Pirjo Alajoki: Naiseus vedenjakajalla, p. 140
7. Pirjo Alajoki: Naiseus vedenjakajalla, p. 150
8. Nicky Cruz: David Wilkersonin viimeinen varoitus (David Wilkerson: A Final Warning), p. 84,85
9. Päivi Räsänen: Kutsuttu elämään, p. 134
10. Matti Joensuu: avoliitto, avioliitto, perhe, p. 19
11. Pirjo Alajoki: Naiseus vedenjakajalla, p. 21,22
12. Erwin W. Lutzer: Miksi helvetti on (Coming to Grips with Hell), p. 24
13. Bill Hybels: Kristityt seksihullussa kulttuurissa (Christians in a Sex Crazed Culture), p. 132
14. Bill Hybels: Kristityt seksihullussa kulttuurissa (Christians in a Sex Crazed Culture), p. 140
15. Paavo Hiltunen: Ja maa tuli täyteen väkivaltaa, p. 20, 72,73
16. Ritva Santavuori: Rouva syyttäjän paluu, p. 26,27
17. John Graham – Trevor Bennett: Rikoksentorjunnan strategioita Euroopassa ja Pohjois-Amerikassa, toimittanut ja uudistanut Mikael Scheinin, p. 85
18. Reino Sirén & Martti Lehti: Musta maaliskuu, p. 15
19. Dada Maheshvarananda: Kapitalismin jälkeen, Proutin näkemys uudenlaisesta yhteiskunnasta (After Capitalism – Prout’s Vision for a New World), p. 154
20. David Wilkerson: Jeesus-kansalaisen kypsymisen käsikirja (Jesus Person Maturity Manual), p. 93
21. Matti Virén, Matti Wiberg: Kallis rikollisuus, järkevät vastatoimet rikollisuudelle, p. 80
22. John Graham – Trevor Bennett: Rikoksentorjunnan strategioita Euroopassa ja Pohjois-Amerikassa, toimittanut ja uudistanut Mikael Scheinin, p. 1,2
23. Charles G. Finney: Ihmeellisiä herätyksiä, p. 245, 246
24.David Wilkerson: Hei saarnamies, sä pääset läpi (Hey, Preach… You Are Comin’ Through), p. 78
25. Liisa Tallgren: Tarjolla huominen, p. 121
26. Ritva Santavuori: Rouva syyttäjän paluu, p. 208, 209
27. David Wilkerson: Kukkaislapsia löytöretkellä (Purple-violet Squish), p. 9
Jesus is the way, the truth and the life
Grap to eternal life!