I had an interesting experience last week in which I learnt something really new. It was not that I did not know the thing, it was just that I saw something in a whole new light. Here is how this epiphany came about:
On Thursday night I was driving home from Dungannon and I was listening to the radio in the car. A programme called Inside Science was on and there was a report about ground-breaking psychology which has recently been discovered by a bloke called Daniel Porter of the University of Michigan. Here is his ground-breaking discovery:
People will sometimes act with altruism with no thought of benefit for themselves.
Among the examples given were “If a young person who is studying for her exams asks her mother does she need help and the mother says ‘No’ then the mother might be thinking of the child’s good and may not be being nasty.”
Now that is ground-breaking. They gave another example:
“If a husband is busy at his work and his wife does not ask him for help, she may be thinking of him kindly by not imposing on him.”
Truthfully, I could not believe what I was hearing; a scientist is funded to do research and this is the best that he could come up with, and, IT gets reported at a conference of the American Psychological Association.
Mr Porter’s altruism is what you and I would call love.
Next morning Mrs Q and I were sitting at the table getting ready to do our prayers when I began to tell her about the Inside Science programme. I was mocking Daniel Porter and his ‘science’ but then the wife said something to me that set me back:
“Did you ever think that for him this might all be something new? Maybe he has no idea about simple civility and family life, maybe that was not the sort of environment in which he was brought up.”
I was gunked: I had no idea how to reply. I have heard of ‘millennials’ but had never really bothered much about them. Millennials are those people who were in their teens at the turn of the century and have been brought up on the internet and when I looked up a bit about millennials it solved a lot of problems for me.
“Jean Twenge, the author of the 2006 book Generation Me, wrote about what it is like to be part of what she calls "Generation Me". Twenge attributes Millennials with the traits of confidence and tolerance, but also identifies a sense of entitlement and narcissism based on personality surveys that showed increasing narcissism among Millennials compared to preceding generations, when they were teens and in their twenties.”
What does all that mean? Well, you have to admit that our thirty year olds are full of confidence and they appear to be very tolerant. But it is the culture of entitlement and narcissism, the admiration of myself, that is the downside and these lead to big problems.
The great trait of the millennials is that they think they are entitled to everything, and entitled to everything without effort. Why do you think we have such big houses that make no sense and who is building them? They are of the opinion that they are entitled to everything, that they can do whatever they want and they don’t have to answer to anyone.
The second trait is the self-worship which surrounds them: I am me and I am great! They think that having to learn anything from older people is nonsense because all they have to do is google something and the answer is there; such ideas as respect for experience or learning about life is alien to them.
That is why two simple concepts such as “If a young person who is studying for her exams asks her mother does she need help and the mother says ‘No’ then the mother might be thinking of the child’s good and may not be being nasty,” or “If a husband is busy at his work and his wife does not ask him for help, she may be thinking of him kindly by not imposing on him,” sound like something new.
Of course our young people don’t believe in God, they are too sophisticated for that nonsense. What they don’t know because they won’t take the time to look, is that every age has its gods and every person has their god. An alcoholic has a god called ‘drink,’ a gambler has a god called ‘lady luck’ and a miser has a god called ‘money.’ Down through the ages there have been some strange gods.
In the Roman Empire the planets were considered gods and then later the emperor was considered a god. The emperor Caligula even made his horse a Senator. For years people thought that Caligula was mad but modern historians now think that he was ‘taking the mick’ and making fun of the stupidity of the Roman fad for making men into gods.
Then, bringing it more up to date, although not to modern times, we had the belief held by many, that Kings ruled by ‘Divine Decree.’ This belief has only gone out of fashion in the last 200 years, a blink in historical times.
In the last century we had two great gods: ‘The Party’ in communist countries and ‘Power’ in the fascist regimes. Between the two of them historians reckon they killed up on 400 million people. With gods like that who needs a devil!
If you stop for a moment you can think of many gods that people have had over the years. Some people, God love them, even thought that John Lennon was a god. Now the great gods in our world are equality and rights: everyone has to be treated the same and everyone has the right to do whatever they want.
A whole industry, manned by lawyers, barristers and all sorts of assorted do-gooders, has grown up around the human rights movement. Everyone has the right to life except those human beings who are still inside their mother’s womb; everyone has the right to be themselves and to be happy even if it means changing the meanings of words in the English language.
Are today’s people bad? Of course they are not; they are just obeying their gods. In every age it is the same, people put other man-made gods in front of God and they have to go through the process of learning that man-made gods always let you down. Unfortunately this process can take a lifetime.
About the same time as the Romans were insisting the emperor was a god another group of people had come to believe that a man who was killed and rose from the dead in the city of Jerusalem was God. Over the years these people came together and formed the ‘Christian’ church, which was called after the man they knew to be God.
The strange thing is the emperor and all his city is gone, but the Christians are still here. The French Revolution came along with the gods of ‘fraternity, liberty, equality’ and they made a conscious decision to rid the world of the Christians.
Eh, the French revolution finished a mess but the Christians are still here. Stalin, Chairman Mao, and a host of tin-pot dictators tried to kill of the Christians but they kept coming back. It never dawned on them and it still never dawns on the super atheists and the rights people, that maybe, just maybe, the Christians know something that they don’t.
How silly can people become? Well, this example actually involves my own beloved Catholic Church. In AD897 Pope Stephen VI or VII, depending on whose counting you follow, dug up his predecessor and put him on trial. Poor old Pope Formosus had been dead for several months when Stephen decided to put him on trial for perjury. Formosus was found guilty and his papacy was declared void.
In October 2012 a poor woman died in hospital in England during an emergency operation. Two doctors have been charged with manslaughter and the hospital has been charged with corporate manslaughter. I don’t know what happened and I am sorry the poor woman died. But how do you take a hospital to court: what do you do when you find it guilty, pull it down and put the bricks in prison?
We have become control freaks of the highest order. No one dare make a mistake and no one can ever be forgiven. Solicitors make millions out of cases that protect rights and equality, while welfare is cut by billions; the human rights industry balloons while foodbanks spring up in every town and legal fees for ‘causes’ expand while legal aid to the poor shrinks.
We are rights and equality mad.
This is not my world. My world is a place where I am equal because I was made by God, am a child of God and am destined to be with God. My world is a place where life is a gift, not a right, where death is a gift, not something to be feared, and where children are the greatest gift that God can give a couple.
My rights are given to me because of what I am: I am a child of God, challenged by the weakness in me to see others as having the same rights as I do. God reflects these things in the natural law, the law of nature. The natural law is our human guide to God’s law, it is understood by everyone.
The modern god of rights and equality is not about rights and equality; it is about power and dominance, about control and supremacy. It is, once again, about man trying to take the place of God and make himself god. In a few years’ time these gods shall pass and a new god will take its place.
How do I know these things? For various reasons. Unlike Daniel Porter and the millennials, I am willing to look to the past and to learn from it. From the writings of the Bible right through to the present day, people have sought gods to replace God and they have always been let down.
The First book of Samuel, chapter eight, tells us what will happen when we take to ourselves a new ‘king’ or ‘god.’ Read it and apply it to today’s world. It is frightening when we realize what we are doing.
We are a world in direct rebellion against God and it is a world I want no part of nor do I feel part of it. All I can do is watch and pray for God’s mercy on me and those around me.
In my own life I have had my gods, I have made money my god, and I have done the same with power and sex. These gods always let me down. The best description of this world we live in today, is, to quote an old American called William Wilson, “self-will run riot.”
I don’t need a law to tell me I am equal just as I don’t need a law to tell me my rights. Both these things come from God and are given to me by God and if I am secure and in proper relationship with God then he gives me all the guarantee I need. I am not against this world and its ‘great social causes:’ I simply see them for what they are.
When I see a woman stand up in Stormont and berate a parent for slapping a child, and then a few days later see the same woman plead to make the abortion of a perfectly healthy, viable 24 week old child in the womb legal, simply because the mother wants it, I think to myself “where are you now, Caligula and your horse, where are you now when your country needs you.”
And when I watch politicians in Westminster cut 25 billion from the welfare for the poor and when I see them enact tax laws directly aimed at destroying family life, while saying that homosexual marriage is the most important issue of the day, I don’t need to think of Caligula’s horse: he is standing before me on the television screen.
The views expressed are not necessarily those of the editor but are the views of the writer.
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