True to my new goal of spending more time with dead guys, I was flipping through a copy of Pascal's Pensees and came upon some really great quotations of ancient scholars. They were delightful mostly because I've run into a certain train of thought here and there that says, "We are living in the worst time, ever, period. It has never been this bad. Thus, we must commit to doing so-and-so [insert here your favorite Extra-Scriptural commandment] in order to save our time." It's the tactic of scaremongering, using fear to lead people into subjection to laws that are not God's - which Peter warns us elders about in 1 Peter 5:3.
So, in order to combat the idea that this is the worst time, ever, period...here are some quotations from other bad times. (#507 in my copy of Pensees)
It is by virtue of senatorial decrees and votes of the people that crimes are committed. (Seneca)
Nothing is too absurd for some philosopher to have said it. (Cicero)
Pledged to certain fixed opinions they are compelled to defend what they do not approve. (Cicero)
This is what suits me, you do as you ought. (Terrence)
Amazing - despite the old language, these are the cultural headlines of our times - national sin, tolerance dogma, the wildness of academia. To think that we, as a society, are much worse (or much better) than others is simply untrue and most likely harmful. So, without denying sin and the rank rebellion around us, let's not be so down in the mouth about our society that we allow others to goad us into HHD (hyper-holiness disorder - seen by Pharisaical adherence to other men's personal applications of God's good principles). Again, strive for Godliness - but adherence to men's laws isn't Godliness, it's manliness.