Are we entering a new world with the start of a New Year?
Marijuana as of now is legally purchasable for recreational use in Colorado. Same sex marriage is now legal in 14 countries worldwide and in 18 states in the U.S. Prostitution is now legal in a growing number of countries. The death penalty is now illegal in a growing number of places.
Popes are declaring trickle down economics to be a global failure, presidents are pronouncing the growing income gap to be the defining challenge of our time.
And on the spiritual front, and a new way to understand God is now being openly discussed in more and more homes.
And so, as we enter 2014, we do see a world whose values are changing. Noticeably. Most of these changes revolve around humanity’s ideas of “right and wrong.” It is those ideas that are shifting.
We have come to the conclusion in many places that if alcohol can be used recreationally, there is no reason that cannabis should not be allowed to be used in the same way: regulated, but freely available.
In Colorado, predictions already are pointing to $400 million in annual sales, generating a boost to the state’s economy — not the least of which will come from increased tourism, as people travel from elsewhere to obtain marijuana legally.
The educated guess is that other states in the U.S. and other locations across the globe, watching Colorado’s experience closely, will soon be following suit.
The same will be true, those educated guessers say, about same sex marriage. It is now only a matter of time before all 50 states in the U.S. and many more nations legalize it.
Currently 14 countries allow same-sex couples to marry. These include Argentina, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, France, Iceland, The Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Portugal, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, and Uruguay. Same-sex marriage is legal in some jurisdictions of Mexico, the United Kingdom, and, as noted above, the United States.
People around the world are reaching the conclusion that human beings who love each other and wish to commit their lives to each other in partnership should have the ability to enjoy all the legal rights and benefits of entering into the married state, regardless of their gender.
As far back as the 60s internationally syndicated newspaper advice columnist Ann Landers was publicly supporting legalized prostitution, and this social constriction, too, is being lifted in more and more places. Looking at a cross section of 100 nations in the world, it is found that prostitution is totally legal in 50% of them, with limited legality in another 11%.
And on the subject of the death penalty, support for it in the U.S. is at its lowest level in 40 years, according to a survey of public opinion just 12 weeks ago. While a majority of citizens in the U.S. (60%) support the measure, six states have actually repealed the death penalty since 1995. These include Connecticut, Illinois, Maryland, New Jersey, New Mexico and New York.
And, were it up to members of the Democratic Party in the U.S., there would be no such punishment in that country. Just 47% of Democrats support the death penalty, versus 81% of Republicans.
With the total percentage of supporters dropping to historic lows, it appears clear that the idea of a government killing people as a means of the government demonstrating that killing people is wrong is no longer considered viable, sensible, or workable by a larger and larger number of people.
And so we see that the world’s values are clearly changing. Another major shift that we observe is the movement toward complete transparency as a model for our society; for its businesses, for its governments, for it military, and for institutions and industries of every kind.
Some people see the increase in surveillance of many facets of society as a loss of the individual right to privacy, while others see transparency as at last leveling the playing field within our society, with governments and corporations no longer able to operate in secret with impunity and without consequence for overreach or illegalities.
Meanwhile, attitudes and ideas about God are shifting dramatically. More and more people are abandoning the notion of a violent, angry, and vindictive God who judges, condemns, and punishes — moving to belief in a God who loves unconditionally, and whose only desire and purpose is to give all of Life at every level the ability and the tools of total and glorious self-expression, thus to demonstrate Divinity Itself.
The new yearning is not for an Overlord kind of Deity, but for a more fully present Co-Creator kind of Deity — an expression of Divinity that embraces, accepts, and loves; supports, nourishes, and empowers. A God who is our Best Friend, not our Feared Master.
Evidence of a shift to that new definition of a Supreme Being is everywhere present.
There are those who say we are embarking on a New Era beginning with this New Year of 2014. An era of greater tolerance and freedom, gentler choices and decisions, larger awareness and understanding, keener searching for wisdom and clarity within the human family than ever before. A time of expanding accommodation and reconciliation, grander self-expression and self-realization. A moment in our history that will one day be seen as a turning point in our evolution.
If this assessment proves to be accurate, it will because of the changes encouraged and made by people at the grass roots of our global community.