While visiting the United Kingdom this week, Pope Benedict XVI compared modern UK atheism with the rise of Nazi Germany and warned the British people of the "aggressive secularism" that is occurring.
The fact is that secularism has pervaded the UK -- as well as the U.S. and the entire Western world -- for the past 50 years. It was in the 1960s when many Americans and Western Europeans began this "trend;" that is, putting themselves before God -- a trend that unfortunately has continued to the present day.
This trend was probably caused by the post World War II generation of young people being extremely spoiled by their parents, since their parents tended to give them anything they wanted. These young people felt that everything revolved around themselves.
We can recall the plethora of college riots in the 1960s when college students occupied administration buildings and were allowed to remain in them until their demands were met.
We may also recall the multitude of protests that occurred in the 1960s and early 1970s against U.S. involvement in the Vietnam War. These protests resulted in the U.S. pulling out of Vietnam -- in effect, losing the Vietnam War -- and ending the draft shortly thereafter. Again, the post World War II generation's demands were met -- even though it meant that the U.S. would lose the first war in its history.
These are just a few examples of how American and Western European trends have changed during the past 50 years. Young people became used to getting anything they wanted. This "me generation" has continued to the present day, as many people now tend to focus on themselves and materialism rather than God. Selfish secularism, then, has replaced spirituality and the worship of God, for the most part, in Christian society.
Just how long this selfish trend will continue remains to be seen. Hopefully, we will live to see the day when this individual selfishness is transcended with a genuine spiritual love of God.