Are We the Most Wicked Generation?

This entry is part 23 of 57 in the series Mysteries

Question Twenty-Four

Are We the Most Wicked Generation?

There is one message that most people who have attended church have heard many times which is this:

We are living in the wickedest time of all history. As evidence of this, we are told to look around and witness the wars and rumors of wars, man’s inhumanity to man, the high divorce rate, abortions, crime and many other things. Preachers also cite the Bible as evidence.  For instance Jesus said, “But as the days of Noah were, so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.” Matt 24:37

The idea here is that the people at the time of Noah were so wicked they had to be destroyed, so if the last days are like that then the people today must be pretty bad also.

On the other hand, the scripture referenced does not talk about the wickedness of the people but the fact that the people were caught off guard by the flood. Even so, will the people not be prepared for the coming of Christ.

When I was younger I accepted this idea that the people of the world were getting worse all the time without questioning.  I seemed to receive verification of this each time I picked up the morning paper and read about the outrages of the day.

Then one day, decades ago,  I was reading an interesting book and the author made the statement that the world was not getting worse but better and gave several examples. I immediately saw that he was correct. I felt kind of embarrassed that I did not see this sooner as it seemed so obvious when one thinks about it.

Yes, there are lots of terrible things happening in the world but overall we are doing much better than we used to. Here are some examples;

(1) The elimination of slavery.  Slavery for most of our history was a common practice among most nations and races. It is just the past few centuries that most of the world has ceased this practice and we are much better for doing so.

(2) Human sacrifice and cannibalism.  This was a common practice in the ancient world, but very rare today.

(3) Fewer deaths from war.  Since the close of World War II there has been a smaller percentage of the people die in war than any time in recorded history.

(4) Longer Life Spans. We have went from an average life span of around 25 years in the Roman era to advancing to about 40 by the 1800s. In the United States it is now 78 years and higher than this in some parts of the world. Part of the reason for this is fewer people are murdered and killed in war.

(5) Child labor and abuse. It wasn’t long ago that pre-teen children were forced to work up to 15 hours a day 6-7 days a week. We have now risen above such abuse.

(6) Torture and inhumane death sentences. During most of our history torture of enemies, or even dissidents was common procedure. We’re not talking about something mild like waterboarding several individuals. Instead, authorities did things like:

• Stretching victims on the rack.

• Roasting them slowing alive.  If they were lucky they were just burned at the stake.

• Gouging out their eyes cutting off tongues, ears and other members.

• Hanging the victim until he was unconscious, resuscitating him and then hanging him again.

• Disemboweling the victim and pulling out his beating heart while he is still alive.

• Drilling holes in his head.

• Feeding victims to the lions.

All these things are unheard of in the United States and other civilized countries that are condemned by many religions as being the wickedest ever.

(7) Insensitivity to human needs. In the old days it was often “each man for himself” attitude. Now whenever there is a catastrophe people reach out to help the victims. Even in times of war the Red Cross is usually allowed to assist the wounded.

(8) Insensitivity to animals. It is only in recent times that the general population has shown much concern for pain and distress we may cause to animals.

An incident that seemed to be a turning point happened in my home state of Idaho. In 1981 the southern part of the state was experiencing an overpopulation of jackrabbits, which were eating millions of dollars worth of grain. 600 farmers decided to do something about it and rounded up over 15,000 of the rabbits and clubbed them to death with baseball bats, tire irons and ax handles.

This made the national news in a big way. The image of Neanderthal farmers clubbing poor little bunnies to death really struck a chord. If they had burned them, shot them or poisoned them it probably wouldn’t have raised such eyebrows, but the image of clubbing rabbits with baseball bats and tire irons was just too much. The nation expressed outrage toward the farmers and had little sympathy for their financial loss.

I remember thinking at the time how unusual this outrage seemed to be as, until that time, no one seemed to care what happened to jackrabbits as they were somewhat of a nuisance to many.

Yes, until recent times, cruelty to animals was generally overlooked by the masses. Just a few centuries ago cruelty to animals, even cats and dogs was seen as good clean sport. In Medieval Paris it was considered fun to slowly roast a cat alive and laugh as it shrieked in pain as it was lowered into the fire.

In England they would nail a cat to a post and players would batter it to death with their heads. Until recently dog and cock fights were popular entertainment. When I was a kid in the Fifties my Dad would often take me to cockfights where they fought to the death.

(9) Homicides and violent crime is much lower today than in centuries past.

The bottom line is that humanity has its flaws and there are a few bad apples among us, but overall we are making progress and becoming better as a whole, not worse.

Here’s my judgment derived from a lifetime of observing and interacting with people. About 90% of the population are fairly decent people trying to live their lives the best they know how. Of the remaining, about 9% are just plain irritating or obnoxious.  The remaining 1% range from somewhat crazy to outright dangerous and should be avoided at all costs.

I don’t see God as being angry at the 90% of decent people we see about us or even a large percentage of them.  If calamities befall them it will be from natural cause and effect.

 

Copyright by J J Dewey 2014

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