Randy and Katy Smelser

Americans living in Germany but citizens of heaven

Redefinition of Values

Recently I read an article in ideaSpektrum (2.2016). The magazine interviewed a “Future” researcher Professor Horst Opaschowski. Several of the things he said about the redefining of values were interesting for us and I thought you might like also to have a feel of what is going on in Germany. So I translated parts of the article. I will “add my mustard” (translation: my 2 cents worth) in some places.

“We have experienced ‘the best of times’ in the last few years….People were optimistic. In 2015 there was a swing in the mood. War, crisis, and catastrophes are suddenly very close: We were shocked by the Terror in Paris. Germany sent soldiers to the Syria conflict and is involved in coping with the refugee crisis.”

“Whom can I depend on? Whom can we trust? The last months have shown: not in Volkswagen, nor in the Deutsche Bank, nor in the German Soccer Federation.
(Randy’s note: VW has cheated with software to make diesel engines have better emission test results and is in big trouble with the USA EPA, the EU and the nature lovers; the Deutsche Bank has been fined for illegal activities; and the decision to have the 2006 Soccer World Cup in Germany was most likely through bribery.) Trust in the economy is as badly shaken as in sports. Trust in politics has been suffering for years. (Randy’s note: in the Jan.30, 2016 issue of Der Spiegel it was said that 40% of all Germans no longer have any trust in the media.) Only the very close circle of the family is dependable (Randy’s note: not very reliable when you see the number of broken families!). “

When asked the question: What makes life worth living? He answered,” The 4 F’s and 3 G’s: Familie, Freunde, Freiheit und Frieden (Family, Friends, Freedom and Peace) and Geld, Gesundheit, and Geborgenheit (Money, Health, and Security).”
(Randy’s note: Talk about building on sand. I guess that is why Germany is considered the land of Angst = fear, anxiety.)

“In a survey we asked: ‘What is sacred to you?’ On the top of the list was family, followed by health, children, the partner, friends, and the parents. In the middle field was the respect of the worth of man, justice, loyalty, respect of nature, and tolerance. Only 18% saw faith in God as sacred and at the tail end with only 10% was the church.
(Randy’s note: the figures for 2014 were also reported – 400,000 Germans left the Lutheran and Catholic State Churches in that one year). Instead of a return to religion one must say that it is more like a Renaissance of the family. Basically, the family is the new religion of the Germans.”

In closing, I, Randy, find it interesting that Germans are returning to family as the security blanket after all other life savers have sunk. Yet at the same time the Germans are destroying family and replacing it with less committal quasi-family. Heterosexuals are getting married less and less while the homosexuals have fought to have the right to marry – just like heteros who no longer want to!? The things that are now very important as values, norms and goal of rearing children are often a dream/wish but not reality. Many are Christian values but without the motivation of the Holy Spirit they remain just wishes of how others should treat me or society in general, more than how I should be. And thus will seldom become a reality in the broad populous.

And all the while God is standing in the wings waiting for someone to look His way but they ignore Him because of the typical German/human trait of thinking they know how to do it best – especially better than God! That has not changed since the days of Jeremiah in the Old Testament or going back all the way to Adam and Eve. If values are not built on God they are bound to be shaken and fall. If the family security blanket is taken what will they turn to next?