There were no formerly heroic times, and there was no formerly pure generation. There is no one here but us chickens, and so it has always been: a people busy and powerful, knowledgeable, ambivalent, important, fearful, and self-aware: a people who scheme, promote, deceive, and conquer; who pray for their loved ones, and long to flee misery and skip death. It is a weakening and discolouring idea, that rustic people knew God personally once upon a time - or even knew selflessness or courage or literature - but that it is too late for us. In fact, the absolute is available to everyone in every age. There never was a more holy age than ours, and never a less.
from For the Time Being by Annie Dillard