Our response to distressing times should be found in the fact that God does not change. His promises are true. As the culture around us continues to change and head in a direction opposed to the heart of God and the clear teachings of Scripture, we can look to God for our hope. Though everything changes around us, He does not change. God remains the same. His being, perfections, purposes, and promises will never fail us.
In the beginning you laid the foundations of the earth, and the heavens are the work of your hands. They will perish, but you remain; they will all wear out like a garment. Like clothing you will change them and they will be discarded. But you remain the same, and your years will never end.
– Psalm 102:25-27
In 2019, Gallup released an article citing the “10 Major Social Changes in the 50 Years Since Woodstock.” I found the article fascinating not only because of its content but also in light of the changes we’ve seen since 2019. Who could have fathomed all that has occurred since the start of the pandemic, much less Woodstock? How should Christians respond to all the social change?
You’re likely familiar with Woodstock. It was a music festival held in Bethel, New York in August 1969. It was a gathering of thousands of people to promote music, sex, drugs, love, and peace. According to the Gallup article, the young people who assembled at the festival “epitomized the countercultural movements and changes occurring in U.S. society at the time.”
The article also claims “the “open” display of activities at Woodstock was a direct challenge to the relatively conservative views of the time.” Woodstock was a clear signal that change was coming.
The article discusses ten major changes, I’ll mention four here which I believe are of particular interest to the Christian worldview.
1. Religious Attachment Has Waned
It’ll likely come as no surprise, but religious attachment has declined since the days of Woodstock. A decade before the festival, 75% of people described religion as “very important” to them. In 2019, only 49% made such a claim. Additionally, during that same span of time, people who attended a religious service weekly fell from 46% to 35%.
2. Majority Now Think First-Trimester Abortions Should Be Legal
In 1969, a few years before the historic Roe v. Wade decision, 40% of Americans favored making it legal for women to have an abortion at any point during the first trimester. In 2018, 60% were in favor. The assault on human life through abortion continues to rise.
3. Americans Now Prefer Smaller Family Size
By and large, family is no longer valued and children are no longer considered a blessing, but rather, a curse. It has become common to hear people claim children are an obstacle that keep them from attaining their goals and dreams. One recent article cites an increase in vasectomies by childless men in Australia. The reason many are signing up for the surgery is because “children would get in the way of their lives, and their plans for crafting the life they want.”
4. Premarital Sex No Longer Taboo
In 2019, 70% of Americans believed nothing was wrong with having sex before marriage. Gallup didn’t start polling on the issue until 1973, likely because the expectation of not having sex until married was entrenched in U.S. social norms prior to that time. The article says, even in 1973, “less than half of Americans (43%) supported premarital sex.” Premarital sex is anything but taboo in today’s rapidly changing world.
The Times They Are Still A-Changin’
A few years before Woodstock, Bob Dylan prophetically sung about the changing times. His words are no less true today.
As Christians, what are we to do? As the culture around us changes and heads in a direction opposed to the clear teachings of Scripture, how should we respond? I believe Psalm 102 provides the answer.