Monday, May 21, 2012

Everything is BAD!

Watch out! The world is a dreadful place and it only seems to be getting worse.

In the last 24 hours I have read/heard that:

1. We are no longer getting enough sleep. Most of us live in a constant state of social-lag (like jet lag but it never ever goes away.) This is NEW and it is BAD.
2. There is more litter left lying around now than EVER BFORE. This is BAD.

3. Children don't get taught to say thank-you and please anymore. This is obviously BAD.

4. Parents are neglecting children by playing with their smart phones. Children have never been ignored before. The is BAD.

5. Children in our schools can know longer reed or right proply like wee can. SHOCKINGLY BAD!

6. And need I mention gay marriage? Never been thought of before and BAD BAD BAD!

I feel my heart rate rising.

Enough with the alarmist headlines!

The world has been bad since the fall. It's no worse now than it was a thousand years ago.

How about some good headlines instead?

1. Heaps more kids can read and write now than 100 years ago.'
2. Women are now allowed to go to school and vote. This wasn't always the case.
3. It is no longer acceptable to show prejudice based on skin colour. (Theoretically.)
4. Fewer babies die in infancy than ever before.
5. Fewer mothers die in childbirth than ever before.


  1. You know what makes it better?
    Not reading the newspaper (or only reading the letters page, nothing else).

    Anything important, I hear about, and everything sensationalised and crap, I don't have to worry about.

  2. I'm with you here. There are too many Henny Penny's running around.

    I reckon now is a fantastic time to be alive. The best time. And it's a great time to be a parent as well.

  3. I deliberately avoid the news in all formats since a week ago, when I got back from holiday and realised that in 4 weeks overseas I had only missed about 2 actual news things. What have I been filling my head with when following the news daily? Filler. So I don't watch it on TV, and I switch radio stations, and I never go to now.

  4. Doesn't the judgements on the nations in the OT suggest that some periods and/or nations can be worse than others?

    I agree that it's always a mix between good and bad, human sin and common grace, but surely the British Empire was slightly less bad when it abolished slavery? The Restoration's contempt for marriage and sexual morality slightly worse than the Victorian era's attempts to uphold them? Australia's approach to race now, better than it was for much of white settlement?

    I'm no expert on the 11th century, so I can't try to assess whether we are worse or better than then. But I think it would be, in principle, possible to try. In fact I think social ethics as a discipline to some degree depends on being able to make those kind of comparisons, rather than an idea that no matter what changes in behaviour society-wide, our society will be just as evil/good as if they did not occur.

  5. But Mark, the way you have just sketched going about an answer, is massively different to the kind of alarmism Simone is referring to.

    As Christians in particular we need to be careful about only evaluating social progress based on our hot-button issues. And ignoring things Simone mentions like education, medicine and race relations.

  6. Hi Mikey,

    Sure, it wasn't a response to the whole post, which I basically agree with - that the world is a mix of good and bad, but to this sentence:

    The world has been bad since the fall. It's no worse now than it was a thousand years ago.

    Unless Simone is going to say that what she was doing there was to take her knowledge of the worldwide situation in the eleventh century and compared it to today and rendered a comparative judgement that both periods are roughly morally equivalent, then I *think* she's gesturing at the idea that things never get better or worse as a whole, societies are a mix of godd and bad, and while certain bits might move from one category to the other, society as a whole stays roughly the same. The world's been bad since the fall, and it stays roughly the same amount of bad.

    I don't think that's either true or a good way to conceive of the issue. It's like the idea that everyone is fallen and so there's no moral difference in God's eyes between sinners - whether they dedicate their lives to charity, speak the truth, are faithful in relationships, or whether they are a sociapathic serial killer, it's all the same to God.

    I think the fact that God judges us on the basis of our works indicates that God does descriminate between sinners, and between countries (or periods of the same country) on the basis of what they do. The fact we are all evil, and none is righteous, doesn't mean that God doesn't care whether a sinner tells the truth or lies, is compassionate or greedy or the like. Quite the opposite. And that's true at both a corporate and an individual level.

  7. Hey Simone,

    This has nothing to do with anything, but enjoy the small things and your material abundance of books and indulge in a meme I tagged you in (or not) :) ...