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Tuesday, 22 August 2017

Game of Thrones.

The more we look at the world in which we live, the more we might conclude that the people who are corrupt, and violent, and untrustworthy, outnumber those who are not! What else would account for the real-life evil and violence that fills our newspapers, and other news media, and that forms so much of the make-believe world created by the entertainment industry - with the exponential increase in computerised graphics taking the whole genre to a frighteningly new level.

One example of the latter is, I am led to believe, the almost cultic "Game of Thrones". I have never accessed this "programme", and have neither the intention nor desire to do so. However, Jim Denison wrote about it, just last week. In that post he explained that "... Internet reviews are so abundant that it's not hard to identify reasons for the show's enormous popularity. Each of them says something frightening about our culture today.

One: The plots are unpredictably complex. As Forbes notes, "Central characters are killed, psychopaths claim power, weddings become bloodbaths, and bad guys develop consciences as time passes." The show is built on the premise that there is no logic to life, that we live in a chaotic world with no central purpose or direction.
Two: The show embraces amorality. "Good" characters make horrific mistakes, while "bad" characters act redemptively. One psychologist lauds the "progressive tolerance" the show legitimizes. In a postmodern culture that views all truth as personal and subjective, the characters legitimize our rejection of right and wrong.
Three: All sexuality is endorsed. Rape, lesbianism, sex between siblings, prostitution, and other acts so despicable I won't mention them here—all are regular fare. As millions of people watch such perversion, they are desensitized and far more likely to embrace the "sexual liberation" the show articulates.
Four: Violence is normalized. Heads are crushed, people are stabbed through the eye, victims are burned alive, mass murder is depicted graphically. Why is this a problem? Exposure to media violence is clearly linked to violent acts as watching violence changes brain patterns and alters behaviour." (Denison Forum, 13-08-17).
Of course a disregard for God's standards, and the lack of godly fear, are not just modern phenomena that depend on modern technology and communications! The same kind of situation prevailed several thousand years ago, in the time of Noah. Indeed, the situation then was even worse! The only person who found favour with Almighty God was Noah himself. (Gen.6:8)! However, because Noah believed God's warnings about the flood that would destroy human, and animal, life on planet Earth (with the exception of those who were to be in the Ark) he took God seriously and prepared the Ark in accordance with God's directions. 
Noah displayed at least two character traits that should guide your life and mine. First of all, he  "... was a righteous man, blameless in his generation;" and one who "... walked with God." (Gen.6:9). Secondly, when he received a command from God, he didn't organise a consultation; form a committee; or look the other way. He was "... moved with godly fear, ..." (Heb.11:7; ASV) to take action. This "godly fear" was not some kind of cowering dread, but a healthy reverence and respect for the holy and omnipotent Creator.
As various cities around the world are shocked at the deaths and injuries caused by Muslim extremists in just the past few days, are we willing to obey God, as Noah did, and take a stand against the tide of evil in our world? Do we pray for those who have been bereaved; those who are injured, and traumatised? Or are we content that it is NIMBY (Not In My Back Yard)?
Of course, as the Book of the Revelation of Jesus, that I am currently using in my private devotions, makes clear, these are all indications that we are in the "end times". That being the case, we should surely ensure that we are ready for the rapture of the saints of God, and that as many others as possible are also ready. Then we can truly say: "Come, Lord Jesus!" (Rev.22:20), and be among those "... who have loved His appearing." (II Tim.4:8). 

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