26 September 2011

With Nothing to Live For

Ferdinand has a post about the very real effects of hopelessness, and how a lack of hope can destroy an entire generation (warning:  the pictures in the post are very depressing and not for the faint of heart).  The people humans adolescents things in the photos find it ridiculously easy to satisfy any animalistic desire they might possibly have.  Hungry?  There’s plenty of fast food available for convenient consumption.  Tired?  Pass out in the street.  Sick?  Just lean over and puke; no one cares.  Want sex?  Dress like a slut and wait for some random guy to make love to you use you as his masturbation aid.

These kids have no purpose in life.  They’ve been told God is dead, their country is evil, and life is an accident.  What higher cause can they strive for?  Their parents were too self-absorbed to teach them any meaningful values.  As such, this generation’s lives are empty, hollow, and directionless.  And so they follow their base urges, taking no thought for the morrow.  Ferdinand sums up the situation pretty well:

The unifying theme I see in these pictures is hopelessness. Even with all the freedom in the world to live it up, these kids look lost, aimless and profoundly unhappy. This is a portrait of a lost generation, a generation with nothing to believe in and no reason to live. They soak themselves in booze and boobs every Saturday night because that’s all they have. I have no clue how you could bring these people back from the abyss – God is dead and His secular replacements have all been failures. 

There’s little point in killing God if you’re not going to provide an adequate replacement, a lesson many atheists and their sycophants in the media and pop culture failed to grasp.  Religion, for its many faults, is considerably superior to the unrestrained nihilist hedonism of today.  People always want to believe in something, and the choices have tended to be God or Self.  And Self is a terrible choice, as evidenced by Ferdinand’s post.  When the highest cause in your life is Self, the only logical thing to do is seek out the easiest pleasures that exist, and wallow in them until you’re sick. Rinse and repeat every night.

Ferdinand’s observation also begs another question:  Why is it that God is a better alternative than Self?  The simple answer is that God exists, created humans, and, as such, knows what’s best for him.  Ironically, this also segues into the more complex answer:  God, through religion, can serve as a concrete representation of abstract, long-term policy.

By this I mean that obeying the dictates of God do not require prolonged rational abstract thought.  Don’t murder, don’t lie, honor your father and mother, etc. are all simple enough to understand and obey.  You don’t have to know why it’s bad to murder someone, or why it’s bad to lie, or why it’s bad to dishonor one’s parents; you need only know those things are wrong and act accordingly.  In a sense, then, God has done the heavy lifting.  He knows, presumably, what is in man’s long-term best interest, and so man does not have to experiment, through trial and error, to discover the best course of action.

Thus, killing God is a good way to kill a generation because without any guiding force in their lives, most young people, who are generally incapable or unwilling to take a long-term view of the consequences of their current decisions, will simply only have themselves to ask for advice, which is based on how they feel in a particular moment.  As such, this generation is simply following its base instincts, and the results are not promising at all:  this generation doesn’t know how to think or work; only feel and act.  God help them.

2 comments:

  1. "You don’t have to know why it’s bad to murder someone, or why it’s bad to lie, or why it’s bad to dishonor one’s parents; you need only know those things are wrong and act accordingly."

    And as you age and gain some wisdom, you will likely discover plenty of reasons that these sorts of rules are very good ones to live by, even without reference to God. But for the young, the inexperienced, and those too immersed in modern culture, they may not get the chance to gain that much wisdom.

    An individual who believes that God is imaginary can nevertheless be a good individual, if he has a well-formed conscience. But an entire society that believes God is imaginary is almost certain to be hellish.

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  2. @Matt- Yes, young people don't seem to be inclined to listen to listen to explanations of why certain behaviors must occur on a macro level in order for society to avoid collapse. It's much easier to tell them to behave a certain way in order to avoid the pain of hell. Elsewise, they won't live long enough to see the wisdom of what they've been told.

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