Monday, August 2, 2010

Stages of Moral Regression

"Things are getting worse very quickly now. The list of what we are required to approve is growing ever longer. Consider just the domain of sexual practice. First we were to approve sex before marriage, then without marriage, now against marriage. First with one, then with a series, now with a crowd. First with the other sex, then with the same. First between adults, then between children, then between adults and children. The last item has not been added yet, but will be soon: you can tell from the change in language, just as you can tell the approach of winter from the change in the color of leaves.

As any sin passes through its stages from temptation, to toleration, to approval, its name is first euphemized, then avoided, then forgotten. A colleague tells me that some of his fellow legal scholars call child molestation "intergenerational intimacy": that's euphemism. A good-hearted editor tried to talk me out of using the term "sodomy": that's avoidance. My students don't know the word "fornication" at all: that's forgetfulness." -- From J. Budziszewski, "The Revenge of Conscience," First Things, June/July, 1998

The above quote by Budziszewski focuses on moral regression in a culture, especially as we observe it in the media. In his letter to the Romans (1:18-2:16), the Apostle Paul deals with individual moral regression. As outlined here, the process of regression is pretty much the same in individuals and the culture, and as we all know, cultural moral regression requires the regression of individuals to make it happen.

Stage 1: Knowledge and ignorance. Stage 2: Dissatisfaction, anxiety, and depression. Stage 3. Extremity of self-indulgence. Stage 4. Hardened hearts. Stage 5. God's righteous judgment.

Read it all here.
It is interesting that the author of this piece, Bruce Atkinson, Ph.D., uses the term moral regression instead of the term moral corruption, which is what he is describing. Dr. Atkinson is a licensed psychologist with a practice in the Atlanta area and is a clinical supervisor with Richmont Graduate University, training Christian counselors.

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