There's an advantage to being older. It's not a complete downer, as pop 'culchure' might suggest. The advantage is that you remember things. Thus, when they try to sell you turds disguised as diamonds, you can spot that they are turds, even if the moderns eagerly embrace the diamonds, wondering why they fail to satisfy. You can also stand up to other moderns who think people today are no different from those of yesterday....only that they have Ipads, and the ancients didn't.
It's not so much facts you remember. Facts are chronicled pretty well on the internet. It's the flavor of the times you recall, which if that is recorded anywhere, it is sniffed at by those educated today as being “anecdotal.” and thereby unreliable.
For example, I am older than the airline hijackings craze of the 60's. It used to be you could park your car at the airport, buy a ticket, and hop on the plane. Nobody wanted to strip search you. Nobody made you walk through wands, puffers, X-rays, and buzzers. Show up ten minutes before departure time? Not a problem. Wikapedia pretty well captures the hard facts of those first hijackings....they were exclusively to Cuba then, but they completely miss the soft facts....that is, how hijackings and the news coverage thereof changed society.
I remember well the atmosphere, if not the specifics, of that first commercial airliner hijacked in the U.S, for it froze public thought. This would have been 1967 or 1968. The plane sat grounded, I forget at which airport, its crew overpowered by desperadoes with some unspecified demands. They wanted to publicize their demands. This was a new tactic. Nobody in the media knew what to do. Should they treat these fellows as common thugs? Or should they make them celebrities, broadcasting their demands for all the world to hear? The uncertainty lasted a day or two. Finally the news people decided to cooperate....the public had a right to know, and the networks had a right to ratings. Hijackings thereafter became a staple of life, the perfect vehicle for any malcontent to gain a listening ear, though they were somewhat abated by international agreements to arrest and extradite any hijacker to their country of origin. Before the late 1960's, there were 2 or 3 hijackings per year worldwide. After the late 1960's, there were 41 per year. (until 1977, the last year of this study)
Fast forward to 2012 and the public trial of Martin Breivik, a killer whose deeds rank as especially heinous even in an age where the slaughter of innocents is commonplace. Distracting authorities with a car bomb explosion parked by an Oslo government building, he boated to nearby Utøya island disguised as a police officer and shot to death 69 persons, mostly children, at a summer youth camp. Many more were injured.
Now, you don't give someone like this a stage upon which to justify his actions. You just don't. A stage is what this fellow wants more than anything, and the deed itself is his means with which to attain it. "Your trial will be your world stage," Breivik exhorts would-be followers through his on-line manisfesto, posted just before his attacks began. Sigh....of course, authorities are granting him his stage. His trial is broadcast throughout Norway to all local courthouses. It's being given exhaustive news coverage. And is he ever savoring the moment! He glides through the courtroom, smiling, gesturing raised-fisted to the cameras. He has no remorse, he would do it again, he says, he ought to receive a medal. It was self-defense for his race, he claims, and the only time true democracy reigned was when Hitler was in power.
Court psychiatrists, before his trial, declared him insane. This did not please him, for who pays attention to a madman? He wants to be paid attention to. Obligingly, other experts reversed course, and declared him sane, even though 'disturbed.' Pleasing him was not their purpose, of course....it was popular outrage they wished to placate....but it was the effect. Those experts watch him closely during the trial, analyzing words and gestures, so as to determine sanity.
Is it not more fitting to ask whether they are the insane ones? Not individually....I don't mean that...they're all honorable people doing their best. But collectively, what on earth is wrong with them? Doesn't that Romans 1:22 verse come to mind, about people who became foolish while asserting they were wise? Breivik's not insane, he's merely hate-filled. Hate-filled people are dime a dozen. But enabling him to broadcast hate throughout the world, surely it takes an “insane” society to do that. If curdled words spread like gangrene in Paul's day, how much more so now. (2 Tim 2:16) We'll see it here in the States, too. Some sick bastard will do some unspeakable deed, and the televised talking heads will speak about it for weeks, mulling, analyzing, and of course, repeating. It's as though they revel in watching their own demise.
On the PBS NewsHour, Margaret Warner asks: “has concern been expressed that this, even though what he says isn't televised, that this trial is giving him a platform to air his views.....that the openness of this trial is giving him that platform?” Norwegian newsman Anders Tvegard, who'd been smooth to this point, stammers though his response. Tvegard's a man with a conscience, no doubt, and he's not comfortable with his role in connecting the man with an audience. After all, is that not the only real difference between Breviek and Hitler.....Hitler found his audience?
“Norway's now taken back to those horrible hours and days last summer, July 22 and -- July 22,” Tvegard says. “And it's -- the national grief and sorrow is back." Trying valiantly to fashion turds into diamonds, he continues: "At the same time, people are listening to what he's saying, like, thinking, how is this possible? Can he really mean that? And to some, it is good to hear that he is a complete lunatic. His views has no resonance in the rest of the public. He does not belong to a political party......to them, it's comforting to see that he is a maniac.”
But I suspect his 'maniac' label is comforting to the 77 victims' families in the same sense that it was comforting to Jews to discover Hitler was a maniac.....namely, not at all. Though perhaps....just perhaps.....it is comforting to some others in that it permits absolution from any sense of responsibility. Breveik doesn't come “from us.” We didn't produce him. Why, “he does not belong to a political party.” What more proof does one need? Few people.....and the more prominent they are, the more this is true....want to confront the fact that, in some unexplained way, this system of things cranks out hate-filled persons nearly as fast as Apple cranks out Iphones.
I don't write much about Satan on this blog. Many persons who visit are skeptics, and if they laugh their sides off over mention of God, what will they do at mention of Satan? Moreover, it's hard to draw a line of demarcation, to apportion blame between deeds of twisted humans and the truly satanic. Suffice it to say the world reflects Satan's values....greed, selfishness..."soft" qualities which inevitably fuel eruptions of “hard” qualities, such as murderous hatred. Several times the Bible points to Satan, not God, as the ruler of this system of things. (John 14:30, 2 Cor 4:44, I John 5:19)
Religion, for the most part, serves to put a smiley face on all of this. It deplores the symptoms, to be sure, and suggests no end of band-aid approaches. But it buys into the overall structure of the world, it's division into nations, it's faith in human self-rule....ingredients which inevitably produces the symptoms it deplores. It has no real problem with the overall structure itself, only the symptoms, and tries to put itself into the driver's seat. To my knowledge, only Jehovah's Witnesses recognizes the true cause of world distress: a Satanic rebellion of long ago. Only Jehovah's Witnesses recognize the ultimate solution: destruction of this system of thing to be replaced by God's Kingdom rule from heaven. Only Jehovah's Witnesses restructure their lives, at considerable personal sacrifice, to tell others of these overall causes.