Call 540 672 5671  |  
Mon-Thur 8:30 am-5:30 pm; Fri 8:30-12:30 EST

Moral Midnight

Our world boasts intellectual enlightenment and material progress but is swiftly descending into moral darkness.

By Antonella Pedley

Have you ever stood before a piece of modern art, trying in vain to make sense of it? Shapes suggest, colors hint, but no coherent pattern emerges.

Asking innocently What’s the artist’s point? comes with the condescending answer, Don’t stand in judgment about what a modern artist finds meaningful!

The incoherence of art is only one of several symptoms of a dying culture. In his famous 20th-century analysis of the fall of empires, Arnold Toynbee examined 21 civilizations from Babylon to ancient Greece, Rome, Imperial China, the Aztecs, and Japan.1 He discovered that several common symptoms signaled their collapse. One was lawlessness, not only in morals, but also in the arts, entertainment, and politics. According to Toynbee, these symptoms are not only present but prevalent in our society today. Following are areas in which the spirit of lawlessness, disorder, and chaos has made the most significant inroads.


You have met your free view limit.
To access the full article, please login or subscribe.

Subscribe Today

Last Generation is a magazine for people seeking spiritual answers to the current issues of our times.

Your subscription will give you:

  • Immediate access to all web content, including archives as they are expanded
  • Special access to web-only articles
  • A 32-page copy of Last Generation Magazine delivered to your home 6 times a year*
Subscribe Today

*Digital-only subscriptions also available


  1. Arnold Toynbee, “The Disintegrations of Civilizations,” A Study of History (Oxford University Press; Thames and Hudson, 1972).

  2. Ravi Zacharias, “Reaching the ‘Happy-Thinking Pagan,’” Christianity Today, Jun. 2, 2004.

  3. See note 1, p. 241.

  4. Ibid., p. 244.

  5. No penalty for shoplifting under $950 in California - here's the brazen result,” Michael Smith News, Mar. 20, 2020.

  6. Carjacking goes from felony to fad as D.C. teens lack fear of judicial consequences,The Washington Times, Aug. 4, 2023.

  7. Democratic mayors align with rioters and looters against police,Washington Examiner, Jul. 22, 2020.

  8. Porn Statistics [2023]: How Many People REALLY Watch Porn?,” Sexual Alpha, May 31, 2023.

  9. See note 1, p. 243.

  10. Timothy Roche, “A Psychotic Killer Sues His Psychiatrist,” Time, Apr. 19, 1999.

  11. Republics and Democracies,The New American, May 14, 2013.

  12. “Moral Relativism,” The Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy.

  13. Ervin Laszlo, 3rd Millennium: The Challenge and the Vision (Gaia Books, 1997), pp. 65–66.

  14. Toynbee Arnold, cited in Karl Menninger, Whatever Became of Sin? (Hawthorn Books, 1973), pp. 226–227.

  15. Ibid.

  16. See note 11.

Image credits

  • ©

About the author

Antonella Pedley lives in Horby, Sweden, with her husband and two children and enjoys exploring how history and the Bible help us understand our modern world.