My basic assumption is that in God's creation the default is that we need to choose damnation: that damnation is self-damnation. (A loving creator who is our father would not have set-up this reality - for his spirit children - on any other basis.)
However, we must agree to be saved. We just-are free, we have agency, we cannot be compelled to accept what is best for us. Jesus Christ has given us great possibilities, but if we do not 'believe on' him, if we do not love him; then we will not want his gift.
I guess that throughout most of history, and perhaps even now throughout most of the world, nearly everybody has chosen/ will choose to accept Christ's gifts; and do what that acceptance entails - but in the End Times this is Not the case.
The End Times are when the default state in a society is chosen damnation.
This could be for a variety of reasons; one might be the denial of any alternative - regarding the gifts of Jesus as a falsehood, a delusion, untrue.
A situation can be created and sustained in which the societal default is to choose damnation - in which expression of this choice becomes (in public discourse) normal, approved and rewarded. In which the expression of a desire for salvation is treated the opposite way: as unusual/ foolish/ insane/ evil; is condemned and punished.
Choice is - ultimately - individual and free; and cannot be compelled - but a society may embrace self-damnation and call it Good. Insofar as the individual follows mainstream, modern society - so he will choose damnation.
So we can see that The West is, indeed, here-and-now in the End Times.
While it's true that humans must consciously reject the grace of God offered them in order to be damned, that has always been the natural inclination of humanity. One could call it the default, in that it represents a failure to act, or in that it is indeed a matter of abrogating a debt or obligation. I'd prefer the term carnal, or fallen.
What is different in our time is a matter of degree, that being the degree to which society encourages overt and obvious badness rather than it being mostly an individual rationalization. That is, in most times and places even people who were choosing to be bad, as was natural for them, would naturally exhort other people to be good rather than evil, out of mere self interest. In our current day, most people have generally lost contact with even their own self-interest to such a degree that they will go out an encourage other people to share in their own wickedness without considering how deadly that will end up being to themselves.
Not that even this is unprecedented, every decadent society has seen the elite class of society lose touch with the fundamental economic principles of goods and services compared to harms and violence, thus tending to extend the rationalizations they invent to justify their own wickedness to exhort others to also cause harms and violence generally, and only demand specific goods and services when they have immediate need of them. This is because eventually sinecures and managerial inertia leads to an elite class that is both insufficiently experienced in hard economic realities and too lacking in intelligence to work out the relevant principles from a theoretical basis.
In the modern Western world, the entire society, from multi-billionaire financier down to inner-city welfare recipient, belongs to the economic elite. Nobody actually needs to be competent and intelligent to survive. There are still competent and intelligent people, but they are generally despised by the whole of society because they undermine the vanity of the dedicated consumers who produce nothing of real value but insist on regarding whatever garbage they put out as being superior, since they are the creators. In such a situation, the proportion and even the real numbers of people who remain capable contributers to the maintenance of civilization shrink, till the system collapses.
The point being, this makes repentance extremely difficult, because it means not only facing up to the fact that they are willfully bad (which they no longer think all that serious), but that they are egregiously stupid (which is an intolerable affront to their inflated vanity).
Of course, if they were not so egregiously stupid, they would realize that they are destroying the very civilization on which they are parasitically dependent for their mortal livelihood, even before considering that they are in a state of abject sin.
All the same, as I expect that most of them will not die without facing horrific suffering as the global collapse destroys all on which they had depended, it is probable that most of them will at least be brought to mourn their folly. That is to say, while those who do not pass through denial (of their own incompetence and wickedness) and anger (at God and all the righteous) are likely to be entirely damned, I think that many of them will reach bargaining and depression (in which repentance is considered, albeit not entirely earnestly). Some may even reach acceptance, the state at which sincere repentance becomes possible.
@CCL - "While it's true that humans must consciously reject the grace of God offered them in order to be damned, that has always been the natural inclination of humanity."
Well, clearly I don't agree that this inclination is decisive.
This reality is reflected in the Mormon idea that there is a large level of Heaven (the Telestial) for such ordinary-sinners; and that this is much better than the average earthly mortal life.
Since this mortal life was made by God, and we volunteered for it; it must be that the basic default *overall* is salvation. But the End Times are not 'overall'...
It certainly can be overcome.
But the usual method is suffering by becoming conscious of the loss involved in rejecting God.
Most humans would avoid that consciousness if they could. But the terror of death teaches it to them.
Or if not, then nothing will.
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