Our Bible verse for today: “Preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; rebuke, correct, and encourage with great patience and teaching. For the time will come when people will not tolerate sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, will multiply teachers for themselves because they have an itch to hear what they want to hear. They will turn away from hearing the truth and will turn aside to myths.” 2 Timothy 4:2-4 (CSB)
Our thought for today: “Just tell them the truth.”
The other day I came across a passage in a book I’m reading which I think provides a startling snapshot of the condition of our culture. The book is “Strength for the Weary” by Derek Thomas. In one chapter he makes reference to Neil Postman’s important book “Amusing Ourselves to Death.” In that book Postman contrasts two other important and classic books, George Orwell’s “1984” and Aldous Huxley’s “Brave New World.”
In “1984” Orwell describes a futuristic society in which the daily lives of the people are controlled by a heavy-handed authoritarian nanny-state. Every aspect of their lives are dictated and controlled by “Big Brother”. In “Brave New World” Huxley’s futuristic society needs no governmental “Big Brother” to take away their autonomy because the people have no desire for it. In Huxley’s world the people are easily amused by trivialities and silly little nothings. They have no serious interests, no initiative, no hopes, no dreams – and it doesn’t bother them.
In Orwell’s world all books are banned. In Huxley’s world there’s no need to ban books because nobody wants to read one anyway. In Orwell’s world the flow of information is limited and tightly controlled, with only officially approved thinking being tolerated. In Huxley’s world the people are absolutely overwhelmed with so much information and choices that they can’t process it all. Therefore it all becomes trivial and meaningless to them, to the point that they no longer even try to think deeply.
In “Amusing Ourselves to Death” Postman argues that it is Huxley’s vision that has come true in our society today. He writes that we have allowed ourselves to become so focused on our comforts and entertainments, and we are so inundated with noise and distractions and overwhelming volumes of information, that we have become silly and trivial people who have difficulty thinking serious thoughts and who don’t live meaningful lives.
I think Postman is only half right. Personally I believe we are living in the worlds of both Orwell’s “1984” and Huxley’s “Brave New World”. We have allowed our country to become a nanny-state that is intrusive and controlling, and at the same time we are amusing ourselves to death as our society becomes increasingly silly and superficial.
For Christians the answer is for us to stay focused on the truth of God’s Word. We must have and maintain a Biblical worldview for ourselves, and we must speak Biblical truth into an increasingly oppressed and superficial culture.
We, the people of God, have the truth of God that others need to hear. People in our culture today need clarity of thought and they need hope. The only truths and perspectives that truly matter are that which God gave to us in the Bible. We need to preach it in season and out of season, whether they want to hear it or not.