The Junk From My Head
The Junk From My Head, or:
Why the 24-7 newsmedia system is bad
I get to thinking about this every once in a while…when I see stories on TV news or the collection of the “best and worst” that gets barfed onto the page everytime I refresh my browser homepage.
Some of these stories are, in a word, awful. I have heard, seen, and read things that give me a deep aching feeling in my chest and make my stomach turn. I have cried reading about children abused to death by the people responsible for them, about women who begged for help from the institutions put in place “to protect and serve” only to be turned away and killed (along with their children) by abusive boyfriends/husbands, about workplace jealousy gone horribly wrong…
And then the comments that people make on these stories. Sometimes they are even worse than the stories themselves.
But one comment sticks out at me every time I see it…the people who say “This is proof that the end is coming, all these horrible things happening all over the world!”
I wonder what, precisely, they are basing this observation on. As far as I can tell, horrible things have been happening all over the world, pretty much from the beginning. If you subscribe to the Christian belief system (which I do, and most people in the United States (while perhaps not faithful people) are at least familiar with the concepts), Adam and Eve were kicked out of Paradise for disobeying God and eating fruit from the one tree they were commanded not to touch–they committed theft, essentially. After their removal from the garden, their son Cain murdered their son Abel for reasons of jealousy. God later sent the great flood to destroy the earth (in the time of Noah), because “The LORD saw how great man’s wickedness on the earth had become, and that every inclination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil all the time. (Gen. 6:5 NIV)”
“Every inclination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil all the time.” That sounds an awful lot like some of the things I have seen and read. So if humankind hasn’t just gotten worse and worse and worse over time, if I am right and this evil has been in our hearts all along, and horrible things have always been happening all over…
The only thing that has changed is our ability to share the awareness of the horrible. Is it likely that people have drowned in their houses or cars before? Yes, exceptionally. But did they always have cell phones to call 911 so that their frantic last moments could be caught on tape for endless replay on CNN? No, that is what has changed: our ability to communicate. Is it likely that selfish mothers have been responsible for their child’s death by negligence before? The Bible relates just such a story, involving a mother who suffocates her child in bed (and anyone truly familiar with the concept of cosleeping knows that mothers sleeping with their own children are only in danger of rolling onto them when they are altered by drugs, alcohol, or the presence of an unrelated (to the child) male in the bed). Is it likely that men have always kidnapped young girls, raped them, and kept them hostage for years as their slaves? Do I even have to answer that one?
Therefore, to those who take horrible news stories as a reason why “the end is near and this is proof,” or “this is why I’d never have children; who can bring new life into this awful world in good conscience?”: THE WORLD HAS ALWAYS BEEN AN AWFUL PLACE. The only thing that has changed is our ability to let everyone in “the civilized world” know about the horrible things that go on.