The Road to Armageddon
Robert Wurtz II
For they are the spirits of devils, working miracles, which go forth unto the kings of the earth and of the whole world, to gather them to the battle of that great day of God Almighty. Behold, I come as a thief. Blessed is he that watcheth, and keepeth his garments, lest he walk naked, and they see his shame. And he gathered them together into a place called in the Hebrew tongue Armageddon. (Revelation 16:14-16)
In the early 1900s Sigmund Freud put forward what many believed was a new theory about human nature. Through his experiments in Psychoanalysis, he had discovered that human beings have aggressive, violent and sexual forces that are lying just below man’s consciousness — waiting to be unleashed. Through his examination of dreams and free association, he came to believe that man was a violent creature. In fact he wrote:
“Men are not gentle creatures, who want to be loved, who at the most can defend themselves if they are attacked; they are, on the contrary, creatures among whose instinctual endowments is to be reckoned a powerful share of aggressiveness. As a result, their neighbor is for them not only a potential helper or sexual object, but also someone who tempts them to satisfy their aggressiveness on him, to exploit his capacity for work without compensation, to use him sexually without his consent, to seize his possessions, to humiliate him, to cause him pain, to torture and to kill him. Homo homini lupus [man is wolf to man]. Who in the face of all his experience of life and of history, will have the courage to dispute this assertion? As a rule this cruel aggressiveness waits for some provocation or puts itself at the service of some other purpose, whose goal might also have been reached by milder measures. In circumstances that are favorable to it, when the mental counter-forces which ordinarily inhibit it are out of action, it also manifests itself spontaneously and reveals man as a savage beast to whom consideration towards his own kind is something alien.” (Sigmund Freud, Civilization and its Discontents, trans. and ed., James Strachey; New York: W. W. Norton, 1961, p. 58)
Had we lived contemporary with Freud, we may have congratulated him on his discovery of the Adamic nature. He is late to the party by several thousand years, but better late than never. As the old time preacher would have said it, “he was slow but worth waiting on.” Nevertheless, Jesus had a more succinct description of man in his fallen state, You are of your father the devil, and the desires of your father you want to do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own resources, for he is a liar and the father of it. (John 8:44) This is the real situation fallen man must reckon with. The primitive aggressive forces under the surface are actually the spirit that now works in the children of disobedience (Ephesians 2:1-3).
A Temporary “Fix”
In the early 1900s democratic governments sought for a way to control what they called “the dangerous crowd.” That is, people that assemble to act violently and destructively — putting the stability and safety of the whole society at risk. Totalitarian governments rule with an iron fist typically, and squash such uprisings by force. But how can these people be dealt with in democratic governments where the people have the right to assemble, right to protest, etc. when they get out of control? Hence, a slogan came to be used that we must “make the world safe for democracy.” How would they do it?
A strategy was devised that would channel man’s aggressiveness towards something non-destructive. Many inventions were being developed; manufacturing techniques were improving; and money was made available through fractional lending. So, we entered the era of consumptionism. People spent their energy working to buy the latest clothes, the newest car, the larger home and the coolest gadgets. Many people found their identity in this “competition” and status was the goal of life. Exalt yourself by the things you possess. From a Biblical standpoint, the powers that be learned to exploit the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eye, and the pride of life in order to keep man happy and docile. By creating an atmosphere of “discontentment” people would work their whole lives chasing the wind. This served to keep them from rioting in the streets. This is an oversimplification of the subject, but this is a blog entry so we must digress.
The First Box of Cigars
Edward Bernays was front and center in this process. He is the father of public relations and to a large degree popular culture (POP Culture). His uncle was Sigmund Freud. Bernays sent Freud a box of Havanna cigars in exchange for a copy of his book on Psychoanalysis. He then employed Freud’s findings to help corporations transform our culture from “needs” based to “desires” based. People began buying products they did not need. The poor began behaving like the wealthy. This worked for the government, because they were working to “make the world safe for democracy.” People were too busy to riot and vandalize.
The Failure of Selfish Discontent
For nearly a hundred years this man made scheme has been somewhat effective. We have had wars to contend with, but our streets have been relatively calm (with the exception of a few race riots over the years). However, when the economy plunged in 2008 and the handheld device became the primary focus of young peoples’ lives, the door started coming open again. Few young people aspire to the things their parents and grandparents did. Their values are different. The crowd is growing more and more dangerous everyday. Therefore, I came up with some statements to describe this phenomena:
When Edward Bernays worked to help manufacture a state of discontentment within society, it only served as a temporary distraction. In fact, it only ever worked on people who bought into the system and were willing and able to put forth the efforts to experience it. That leaves out a great many people in the 21st century. Theirs is a mind of worldliness + contentment, a dangerous combination. That is not to say that worldliness + discontentment is the right thing. It is not. It is simply what has been used to a decent effect for controlling mass violence within society.
A Second Box of Cigars
At the time of this writing the Missouri National Guard has been called in to handle rioting in Furgason, MO. An 18 year old African American man was shot multiple times by a police officer. This set off multiple rounds of both peaceful and violent riots. The situation appears to be deteriorating. The irony of this situation is that the young man was alleged to have strong arm robbed a convenience store owner of a box of cigars before his confrontation with police. A thousand nay-sayers will probably break out in a chorus of hilarious laughter and scorn; but could it be that this event in Furgason has signaled the end of man’s attempt to “make the world safe for Democracy” by manufacturing a state of discontent within society? Governments are losing control of the people. Police are arming themselves with military style equipment. It seems we are on the brink of Armageddon.
Now godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out. And having food and clothing, with these we shall be content (1 Timothy 6:6-8)
Godliness + contentment = great gain
As we have seen, contentment alone will do nothing more than undo man’s scheme to control society. We must have godliness with contentment. This can only be accomplished by being born again of the Holy Spirit. When people have the nature of God — there are no “aggressive violent and sexual forces that are lying just below man’s consciousness — waiting to be unleashed.” The cross deals with them when we are baptized by the Holy Spirit into Jesus Christ (the last Adam). We become partakers of the Divine nature. Our personality yields the fruit of love, joy, and peace. We are moved by compassion and in gentleness. This is our only hope. We are living in the last days. May we ever be faithful to point to the true solution for this crisis hour.