Nobody can say that 2015 was no an interesting year.  Marriage has been redefined.  Justice Kennedy has restated the law and the Constitution as a philosophical preference.  The human body is now up for sale to the highest bidder.  Bruce Jenner has proven to the world that the human body has no meaning except to one’s emotion of the moment.  California says that it’s not only acceptable but even encourages doctors to kill.  We allow terrors into our nation, whose goal is to kill us, and do so under a guilt-ridden mandate of compassion.  It has been an amazing year in any sense of the word.

Our society was once called puritanical and pietistic.  We clung to the public piety of the puritans, keeping our sexuality very private.  Public displays of sexuality were treated accordingly under the law.  Likewise our pietism led to “blue laws” and other related civic expressions of one segment of our nation’s Christian heritage.  These things are now in the past and a brave new world has come bear its fruit.

These features are gone.  They are now a distant memory.  Many cannot recall a time when one could conscientiously refuse to write words against one’s conscience.  It is now considered a virtue by many to be able to coerce a person to violate his/her conscience.

I will leave it to the philosophers to trace the genealogy of the New Dignity—from Descartes with his anthropological dualism, to Kant with his self-legislating autonomous will, to Nietzsche’s will to power, to Sartre’s claim that existence precedes essence, to Derrida’s free play in the absence of stable natures, to contemporary thinkers like George Kateb, Jeremy Waldron, and Michael Rosen who attempt to locate a purely secular or materialist grounding for human dignity.[1]

The causes are many and the effects are layered deeply.  I become pessimistic quite easily.

Yet this past year we have seen people cling to Christ in the face of death.  They died well, as the Roman persecutors used to say.  We see the gospel being effective at a level above the birth rate even in communist and Islamic nations. (The places where the gospel and the church recede is in a few liberal nations of the West.)

No matter how the world looks your prayers to the Creator of the Universe, the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, is at work. People continue to come to faith through Christ and His work.  That is cause for optimism.