When Rome was a republic, its people were not decadent. In fact, Rome fought a decadent people, the people of Carthage and destroyed their city, hating their decadence (see Did the Carthaginians Really Practice Infant Sacrifice? – Biblical Archaeology Society).
When we speak of decadence and spiritual depravity, we usually start imagining orgies and such. However, sexual depravity is only one manifestation of a society that has lost its way. We focus on such things because our appetites urge us to do so. Our appetites distract us from the truth and the true meaning of decadence.
When a society is healthy, its people humble themselves before our Creator. Its people strive to know God and to obey Him. In a healthy society, the people live to glorify God, knowing that only He is worthy. The people seek to love God and each other as the children of God. In such a society the Truth is revered, for God is the Truth and what His Creation reveals about Him it reveals to the glory of God.
When a society has lost its way, the people of that society each focus upon their self. Each person seeks only his own interests and uses his neighbors as tools to elevate himself. Here each of the people begin each day believing one great lie: “it is all about me! I am the center of the universe.”
Hence, the picture above — like most of that which passes for modern entertainment — hides the meaning of decadence. We just see drunken revelry and “recreational” sex. We don’t see the difference between fornication and marriage. We don’t see the affects of sex without love and commitment. We don’t see the weak being used by the strong. We don’t see infants left to die on dung hills (see The discovery of a mass baby grave under Roman bathhouse in Ashkelon, Israel | Ancient Origins (ancient-origins.net) and Infanticide in Ancient Rome (earlychurchhistory.org)). We don’t see the spread of sorrow, regret, and, of course, disease. We don’t see a society fragmenting into a bunch of self-absorbed, busybody little “MEs.” We don’t see the inevitable chaos and the inevitable result.
The judgement of God is to give us what we demand. If we would each worship our self, and become a society of little “MEs,” we will be crushed under the thumb of a tyrant. Only a tyrant can rule little “MEs.” So, for the sake their own survival, tyranny is what the little “MEs” will demand.
Are we becoming decadent? Perhaps. Dr. Everett Piper offered his view in an interview with Don Kroah in Life Lessons for Prosperity: Don Kroah with Dr. Everett Piper. Piper blames three key players.
- Teachers: Teachers who emphasize feelings over truth.
- Preachers: Preachers who tell us what we want to hear instead of what scripture says.
- Parents: Parents try to befriend their children instead of teaching them how to be responsible.
Check out Piper’s dialogue with Kroah. It is short and to the point.