Every nation and every generation has problems of its own. For example the Apostle Paul (30 A.D.) quoted the poet Epimenides (600 B.C.) saying, “Cretans are always liars, evil beasts, lazy gluttons” (Titus 1:12).
Around 700 B.C. in Israel a prophet speaking about the king of Babylon (based on my research, I believe the prophecy ended up referring to Nebuchadnezzar) said, “Therefore hear this now, you who are given to pleasures, who dwell securely, who say in your heart, I am and there is no one else besides me” (Isaiah 47:8).
These two biblical references refer to reality. Is this a description of what our nation is turning into?
Ultimate self interest – There is no one besides me
No truth – liars
Cruel animal nature – evil beasts
Had rather eat than work – lazy gluttons
Let me clarify my purpose for this discussion. I used Bible verses to point out that the historicity of the Bible confirms the development of a civilization collectively. The quote from Isaiah reveals the problem with humanity throughout every age. It is a reflection of the ultimate sinful condition of the human race. “I am and there is no other beside me” is not merely a psychological condition. We all must turn from the desire to find our personal satisfaction in life to discover the ultimate reality that drives us to think and act in certain ways that will have critical and substantial effects on the whole nation. Too often societal conventions are influenced by experiences that are merely shadows of reality. If our purpose in life is understood to be the greater good, then we should move beyond the shadows into the realm of reality.
The quote from Paul in Titus reflects the moral philosophy of the people collectively (Cretans). Most biblical scholars agree that Paul does not mean that every individual in Crete was a cruel liar, lazy and obese. He used hyperbole (exaggeration of words) to make the point that the Cretans as a culture (national entity) were in a bad way.
I started this discussion to raise the question “Are we as a nation in a bad way?” If anyone thinks that we as a nation are in a bad way, or at least moving in the wrong direction, perhaps we should rethink our views of ultimate reality.