Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Person of the year, Marquis de Sade

Haaretz posted an interesting opinion editorial the other night. In the spirit of the Jewish New Year and the traditional practice of taking stock, their piece is about how the global national sport seems to be enjoying the misfortunes of others to the point of sadism.

My person of the year: The Marquis de Sade
Portrait of the Marquis of Sade
by Charles-Amédée-Philippe van Loo
(c. 1761)
A happy new year, one of joy at the misfortunes of others
If we were to measure sadism right now around the world, we would discover that deriving satisfaction from brutal acts is one of the most popular hobbies of all. And not just in Syria.

Ironically, this coming year ‏(that is, 2014‏) will mark the 200th anniversary of the death of the Marquis de Sade, the man who gave his name to one of the most common sexual perversions, which is so common today that we no longer treat it as one. When Syrian President Bashar Assad recently attacked his countrymen with chemical weapons, all the journalistic wizards were hastily brought in to explain why. Ask the marquis. What is there to explain here, he would say; there’s nothing more enjoyable than feeling that you are soaring above the clouds of morality and conscience and no longer feel there is anything connecting you to the human race. Other people become objects, pawns in your hand. You’re like God.

At the start of the international year of Sade, I would be pleased if some psychologist or psychiatrist were to invent a sadism-meter to examine the extent of this perversion in all kinds of patients − not necessarily those who clearly are sadists. And also in large collectives and countries, too. The results would be worrisome. We would discover that deriving satisfaction from brutal acts is one of the most popular hobbies of all. And that along with Assad, who is now the target of the whole world’s anger, there is a gallery of other high-ranking people who are just as power-hungry as he, but are sophisticated enough to conceal their perversion.

A Sadism-O-Meter. Interesting, It would be nearing fullness, by now, I should think. It reminds me of Bonnie Tyler's song, Total Eclipse of the Heart.


Once upon a time I was falling in love
Now I'm only falling apart
There's nothing I can do
A total eclipse of the heart
Once upon a time there was light in my life
But now there's only love in the dark
Nothing I can say
A total eclipse of the heart

Scripturally, the Haaretz editorial author's plaintive cry and desperate search for meaning as to why there is such evil in men reminds me of the scene in the bible in Genesis 6, right before the LORD determined to personally wipe everyone out. It is like He is peeling the layers off of the world's heart and showing us the evil within. It is simple. People are realizing how naturally evil we are. Hitler was no anomaly. In fact, we are all Hitler.

"Hitler was not an anomaly. Hitler was not a phenomenon. Hitler was what everyone in this room has the potential of being. Not only that, you need to understand that even in all the wickedness of Hitler, he was still restrained by the common grace of God. And you need to know this, that if it were not for the common grace of God, restraining you in your unconverted state, you would make Hitler look like a choirboy." Paul Washer

"The Lord saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intention of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. And the Lord was sorry that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him to his heart. So the Lord said, “I will blot out man whom I have created from the face of the land, man and animals and creeping things and birds of the heavens, for I am sorry that I have made them." (Genesis 6:5-7)

Unfortunately, the author of the opinion piece, and indeed the world, has yet to learn how deeply the depravity of man will go, if left unchecked. That period will be called the Time of Jacob's Trouble, or The Tribulation as it is known to us in the church.

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I started this blog in January 2009. It grew from a private newsletter I'd been sending to friends the two prior years before the blog, of thoughts and urgencies regarding the unfulfilled prophecies of the bible. In 2007, hardly anyone wanted to know about prophecy. All seemed well and prophecy was a low blip in a landscape of trends that had previously peaked in the late 1970s. Then the economy collapsed in September-October 2008, Obama got elected. Something about his demeanor caused many to get a knot in their stomach and wonder if the end of all things was in fact really at hand. The economy's collapse also contributed to the feeling of imminent doom.

Since the inauguration in 2009, we have seen many interesting events occurring which bespeak a soon-prophetic fulfillment of historic proportions. After 100 years, Armenia reconciled with Turkey. Turkey left the West and became overtly Muslim. Egypt collapsed, abandoned its peace treaty with Israel, and became her enemy. The US fell from its position of world leader and sole superpower. China ascended. Russia revived. Mid-east Dictators in the prophetic lands fell, one after another. Syria imploded. One of earth's largest earthquakes occurred and one of its most devastating tsunamis decimated a nation. Incredible oil and natural gas was discovered by Israel, making her extremely wealthy. She went from an economic importer to an exporter. Volcanoes, long thought extinct, awoke with power. Birds fell from the sky. The weather went haywire, first record heat then record cold then record heat again. Global warming, global cooling, their heads are spinning. Strange sky sounds spooked the world. Exorcisms are way up and demon sightings are common. A pope resigned for the first time in 600 years.

I could go on, but you get the idea. That's just the last four years. It feels like the world is tilting chaotically. But imagine how much the world tilted when the Gospel went out (HT to Dan Phillips). Acts 17:6 says that the men who preached the Gospel turned the world upside down. Satan in all his efforts to upset the world is like a child batting the bath water. It is the power of the Gospel which upsets, divided, and unsettles!

photo credit: las - initially via photopin cc
For example, last week someone on a secular mommy forum asked if there was a meaning to the sideways cross necklace. They posted a link to my essay discussing the meaning of the sideways cross necklace. I noticed a high amount of traffic from that site so I went to check it out. Some had gone to my blog essay and come back to the forum raving at how"intolerant", how "judgmental" and how sanctimonious" I am.  I entered the discussion on the forum and shared the Gospel and used bible verses during discussions. They went ballistic! If you poured hot water on a hornet's nest you could not get any more stinging or buzzing!

This is because in today's Marquis De Sade world, of flesh and indulgence, make any sort of declarative, unequivocal statement referring to moral standards, holiness, and God's hatred of sin, and you get a stirred-up mess in return. I was amazed all over again at the power of the Word to upset and convict.

I imagined the men like Jason at Thessalonica who came to preach and how upset the Pharisees and Jews were, as Acts shows. My brief little foray was so small compared to the world-tilting Gospel power of Acts, but it serves to remind me that when you shine the Light in the dark places, the power is there to convict. Some retreat into entrenched sin and are forever literally convicted by the Judge, while others move forward into the light seeking Him to forgive it, but the Light is the key. Keep shining His light of forgiveness from sin and suspension from coming wrath!

In a world where reality tv shows more and more the sick voyeuristic sadism of others, in a world where the news is simply sick with the maniacal gleefulness of people inflicting pain unto others, our gentleness will stand out like a floodlight on a stormy night. Here are some good words from Titus 3:1-2,

"Remind them to be submissive to rulers and authorities, to be obedient, to be ready for every good work, to speak evil of no one, to avoid quarreling, to be gentle, and to show perfect courtesy toward all people."

As the world continues overtly and shockingly toward total indulgence of the depraved flesh, the one who is submissive, gentle and courteous will be the exception, and people will wonder what force, or what ability, we have to maintain it. It is the forgiveness of Jesus and His Holy Spirit in us! The verses in Titus continue,

"For we ourselves were once foolish, disobedient, led astray, slaves to various passions and pleasures, passing our days in malice and envy, hated by others and hating one another. But when the goodness and loving kindness of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that being justified by his grace we might become heirs according to the hope of eternal life." (Titus 3:3-7).

God is still sovereign and His ways are unknowable to us. He is in control, despite these unsettlingly rapid evil changes in hearts of men. However "Little children, you are from God and have overcome them, for he who is in you is greater than he who is in the world." (1 John 4:4).

And never forget, He is still saving souls. Though the world is dark, The Light has come into the world!

photo credit: thisisbossi via photopin cc

11 comments:

  1. [sorry I keep hogging your commentary!] Elizabeth, if the sinners will not listen -- then perhaps it's best to shake the dust off your feet & move on? No use casting pearls before swine! The N.T. tells us to not keep debating if after you tell them a couple times...

    Personally, I find their attitude at the top of the list for how close we are to the rapture! They think they can merely claim the name of Jesus and do not have to follow Him as Savior & Lord! Jesus clearly says IF we LOVE HIM -- we WILL keep His commandments!! Source: New Testament

    IN TODAY'S WORLD, PEOPLE THINK THEY CAN LIVE LIKE THE DEVIL & THEN DIE AND GO TO LIVE WITH THE LORD!! How foolish!! That train of thought will cost them their very souls in a very dark place of torment for all eternity.

    No wonder the Lord says MANY.... will follow the broad path...

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    1. You are absolutely right about not casting pearls before swine. We must have been on the same wavelength, LOL, I used the broad way and narrow way in my last comment. I just made one last appeal there. I won't comment again unless someone asks show to be saved.

      Sometimes it fells like a curse to see the vividness of false doctrine where wolves drag off the unwary and the weak. It is hard to watch the numerous souls who are headed for hell. How did Jesus stand it?! It is like I'm on the playground, and outside the chain link fence of where children are playing is a ring of child molesters, leering, drooling, fingers entwined in the chain link, waiting their moment to snatch a careless child. And I know that because the bible says so, some will be carried off. Satan is a roaring lion seeking whom he will devour. One reason I'm longing for redemption of the body is so that I'll finally be in the place where sin will destroy no one anymore.. oh what a day that will be!

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  2. Hi Elizabeth, I'm glad those secular moms linked to your blog. It may have opened their eyes to the fact that Jesus is alive and active in the world today. Despite their predictable cries of intolerance and judgementalism, perhaps one of them might now be leafing through the bible to check out what you said. John F.

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  3. Hi John F,

    You're right! I hope so too. Thanks for cheering me up with a great thought.

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  4. Your quote: "One reason I'm longing for redemption of the body is so that I'll finally be in the place where sin will destroy no one anymore.. oh what a day that will be!" /end quote

    And a huge amen to that, Elizabeth! BTW, that was me, "Reva" in the opening comment above - -heheh -- get goofy when I'm tired, forgot to sign my name...

    You have such a compassionate heart towards children!! (I know it was merely an example, but considering your line of work, too...) You surely found your calling. God placed you right where He wanted you!

    SICKENING, isn't it? All the atrocities committed against humanity. When I really started beefing up prayers for the Lord to rapture-rescue us was a few years ago when I read how common child trafficking is... the same men who piously sit in church on Sunday morning with their families are some of the exact ones who exploit (RAPE) innocent children through trafficking!! Folks, I'm not talking third world country!! But right here in the good ol' U.S. of A.!!!! *sigh*!!! This is an especially big and huge money-making "sport" over Super Bowl weekend....
    google for more info.

    Beyond sickening!!
    Lord Jesus?! May we be ready when You are! Prayerfully soon! The Spirit and the Bride say, "COME!"

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  5. I hate to put some harshness on your "interesting invests occurring", but you have some factual errors there. Armenia has NOT reconciled with Turkey; they're in talks. Turkey has not left the west and the secular factions there are scheduled to win the next elections. Egypt did NOT abandon their peace treaty with Israel; it was reaffirmed under Morsi and has been guaranteed by the Egyptian military in the current transition. Incredible oil and natural gas resources have NOT been discovered by Israel and it still imports 90% of its oil from the Caspian.

    Before you make your predictions for the future, you might want to re-examine your assumptions of the previous 5 years.

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    1. RE Turkey: "Turkey’s Chief European Union Negotiator Acknowledges Turkey May Never Join Bloc"

      Turkey and the West...the twain shall never meet. The bible shows us that in the end they fully ally with the East and attack the west. The slide away from democracy, moderation and rationality is happening now.

      RE Armenia: In 2009 they normalized ties, after 100 years of split. http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/8299712.stm

      I dont' know how you can deny that incredible oil and gas pockets have been discovered by Israel, those have been all over the news the last five years.
      --Israel's newly discovered gas field contains significant crude oil find
      --Israel: the coming energy superpower - The Commentator
      --Natural Gas May Have Profound Impact on Israel's Geopolitics
      Sep 7, 2013 - PBS-Israel's recent discovery of huge offshore natural gas reserves could ...

      The predictions of the future are the ones God made. He never fails, you can trust those predictions.

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  6. Hi Elizabeth.

    Tonight I came across a website whose sole existence, it seems, is to mock Christians and their beliefs. They devoted a segment to this blog entry. Their vitriol is sickening. It appears one of these idiots is the one who challenged you on your assertion that Turkey is leaving the West and heading towards the East.

    If you wish, you can read the comments here. The only good thing about them is that they confirm Jesus' words that in the end time, scoffers will abound.

    http://www.fstdt.com/QuoteComment.aspx?QID=96700

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    1. Hi Anonymous,

      Thanks for the heads up. I am very popular at that site, they have done a good bit of mocking before. The site is "Fundies say the darndest things". They don't kow it but every time they post from my blog and drag my name thru the mud in account of Christ, they are blessing me.

      “Blessed are you when people hate you and when they exclude you and revile you and spurn your name as evil, on account of the Son of Man!" Luke 6:22

      What can I say back to them that will be worse than what they will hear on His Day, when He casts them into the Lake of Fire after wrathfully railing against the for their sins against Him? Nothing.

      "The heart of him who has understanding seeks knowledge, but the mouths of fools feed on folly." Proverbs 15:14

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    2. Amen to that!

      However I must admit being very troubled when I was browsing their site. I wouldn't be surprised if some of those fools ended up ratting out Christians hiding from persecution during the Great Tribulation.

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    3. Absolutely! They are the ones who will take a maniacal glee in hunting Christians, for sure.

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