While we enjoy many advantages that those before could have never imagined, there is a yearning for the days gone by. It’s common to hear people speak of “the good old days.” It’s no wonder that retro-based TV programming is finding so much success today. There are reruns, the current trend of “reboots,” and even the creation of shows set in the past like Netflix’s Stranger Things or ABC’s The Goldbergs. The viewing audience is hungry for memories of a “simpler time.” So, just what’s the matter with the world that’s creating the need for this kind of escape?
What’s Going On?
It seems as if there’s more “breaking news” today than ever before. When there is another sudden interruption of regular programming, your only thought is, “What now?” From natural disasters to acts of violence, it seems the negative reports are unending. Is it any wonder then, that we’ve all seemingly become numb to what should otherwise be shocking events? Or perhaps it’s just weariness from the feeling of helplessness or even hopelessness.
Racial tension, terrorist activity, and heightened sensitivity are the new normal. Our hearts break for those we don’t even know, but we’re no longer stunned. According to an October 27, 2018, Washington Post article, so far in 2018, 56 persons lost their lives as a result of mass shootings. Based on data from the Gun Violence Archive, there have been 294 incidents of mass shootings since the start of the year.
Virtually Losing It
It’s a mad, mad world—or perhaps more accurately, it’s an angry, angry world. The increase in gun violence and road rage incidents, for example, signal short fuses and increasingly antisocial solutions to handling disputes. Although we live in an age that allows us freedoms and convenience, we are unhappier and more stressed than previous generations. It’s not difficult to see how these very advantages contribute to social decay.
There’s no longer a sense of community. Civility and respect are long-lost values. Social pressure and the desire for material gain and financial security erode family time. The technological advances that should make life easier and give us more time have only done the opposite. Gadgets and devices keep us preoccupied. An even more concerning consequence is the extent to which they isolate us. “Keeping up with the Joneses” has a new meaning in this era of social media. Even if reality says otherwise, in today’s world, perception is all that matters. Isolation, envy, and overstimulation can feed or create monsters.
The Religious Perspective
Despite increasing spiritual and emotional turmoil, churches are finding it challenging to fill pews. Many are turning away from God and looking elsewhere for answers and fulfillment. In turn, if the church no longer plays a role in our moral conscience, values and standards inevitably decline. Many Christians will tell you that the problems today are consequences of turning our back on God. The societal and environmental crises are warnings as much as they are prophecy being fulfilled.
Christians and those who believe in Bible Prophecy talk about the “end of times.” Everything that is happening today is no surprise to those who know the Word. But you’ve been hearing of the world ending for decades. The difference, according to Bible scholars is the issue of convergence—that prophecies are coming to pass like never before. From the events in Jerusalem, natural disasters, moral depravity, and political upheavals across the world we’re experiencing a multitude of foreshadowing events.
You hear about the days when people could leave their doors open or not have to worry about children playing outside. However, bear in mind that “the good old days came with their share of unspeakable atrocities. Harken back to 60s in America and earlier when racial tension went beyond profiling. Lynchings and blatant segregation were the status quo. Politics today is tame when compared with the overt cutthroat practices a hundred years ago.
Social media and technology might bring more events to light, but nothing’s new. Challenges arise as each government tries to balance civil rights and maintain the legacy and intent of the Constitution. The Founding Fathers governed, crafted the Constitution, and built this nation on the Word of God. As citizens tout their freedoms and object to any references to God or religion in public spaces, the effect on civility ensues.
Nothing’s Wrong With the World
So, no, what we’re experiencing is nothing new. The change in our moral fiber has only set in motion conditions that increase the frequency and intensity of a range of events. As Lou Rawls’ sings in his 1979 hit What's the Matter with the World?, you’ll learn that “there’s nothing wrong with the world, it’s the people that’s in it.” We continue to feed beasts that will eventually devour us.