is the title of a book published in 1982 by Francis Shaeffer that I've almost started reading.

Almost?

Well, I've just finished the introduction by O.R.Johnson, who was then the director of the Nationwide Festival of Light*. He described the gradual moral corruption of the laws of the United Kingdom by humanists and socialists who gradually had obscenity laws, censorship for performing arts, laws governing medicine, divorce and sexual practice all reformed to enable a complete removal of moral restraint. He also described the burgeoning media and entertainment industries as promoting immorality in order to capture the attention and finances of an affluent youth. At the same time it became socially acceptable to do many things that would have once been publicly shameful, and names were changed of certain acts (promiscuity, adultery and fornication became sleeping around, swinging and pre-marital sex) to ease the change in moral perception. In social interaction good manners were deprecated, while humour became cruel and cutting and people's private lives were exposed 'in the public interest'.

What was so striking is that while reading some of this stuff I was challenged because my own view point was quite liberal in relation to some of what he was describing. Should we imprison people because they want to enjoy perverted sex in private/should all theatre and cinema scripts still be subject to censorship?

One of the biggest problems with freedom is that having it is all very good as long as no-one actually wants to exercise it. Some of these laws *sounded* to me as oppressive as some aspects Sharia law - not unreasonable since they both had their origins in religious suppression of immorality. My family also has a long enough memory to remember British law as immoral enough to imprison people for preaching outside of the Church of England too, and how cruel society would be to those who did make mistakes. At the same time, promiscuity was still rive in some parts, and the modern un-forgivable sin - paedophilia - common enough that it was just something that happened and if you could, you just got on with life after it.

Yet without question, morals in western society truly have gone to hell in a hangbasket. I guess the real issue is that as a faith, Christianity has tried and failed to deal with human sinfulness and morality just like old-testament Jews. Draconian rules have been created, punishment meted out by the state to those who broke them and all supported by a religious priesthood with control that went right to the top.The west is truly in a crappy place, and getting more faecal all the time, and more rules couldn't possibly change hearts that want to do wicked things anyway.

Recognising my own weakness, how much I look forward to life in the Spirit instead of death under a set of laws that neither my parents, nor leaders, nor I can possibly hope to obey fully. Britain under the rules was not the good, kind, loving and wholesome place that some rose-tinted reviewing might project it as, but removing the restraint certainly hasn't made it any better.

At the end of the day I'm not looking for more moral or just laws - I'm looking for people that will live live of love and purity regardless (and maybe in spite) of the laws around them.

*http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nationwide_Festival_of_Light

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