February 3, 2017 Brethren Letter
A crowd protesting a right-wing commentator’s appearance at the University of California at Berkeley hurled smoke bombs, broke windows and sparked a massive bonfire, prompting officials to call off the event.
“This was a group of agitators who were masked up, throwing rocks, commercial grade fireworks and Molotov cocktails at officers,” said UC Berkeley Police Chief Margo Bennet. (Associated Press)
Today, I was listening to a news commentator discuss the recent violent protests at the University of California, Berkeley, and other protests at New York University. Here is part of another article describing the protests in New York:
Fights broke out Thursday night at a protest at New York University amid an appearance by a conservative speaker, who school officials said was hit by pepper spray. (Associated Press)
The commentator described both campus protests as being examples of decadence, chaos and anarchy. In one of the videos I even saw a PROFESSOR screaming at the NYPD, evidently using substantial profanity, since most of her words were being “bleeped” out so you could not hear them. When I saw the video of this shameful professor, I began to think, “College professors sure didn’t act like this when I went to school.” Society is in severe moral decline, and getting progressively worse with each passing year!
(28) And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a debased mind, to do those things which are not fitting;
(29) being filled with all unrighteousness, sexual immorality, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, evil-mindedness; they are whisperers,
(30) backbiters, haters of God, violent, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents, (31) undiscerning, untrustworthy, unloving, unforgiving, unmerciful;
(32) who, knowing the righteous judgment of God, that those who practice such things are deserving of death, not only do the same but also approve of those who practice them. (Romans 1:28-32)
For the rest of tonight’s letter, I’ll add some paragraphs from Mr. Armstrong’s Plain Truth, Personal, December, 1970.
Please have a good Sabbath, Brethren!
Your Brother in Christ,
RECENTLY I RECEIVED from a well-known magazine dealing with mechanical interests a two-page reprint from their magazine. It contained the words of a graduation address delivered at a very large university by the retired President Emeritus of that university.
The editor of the magazine said, in a box printed below the text of the address, “We’re printing (these words) because they make sense and needed to be said.”
“These words” were designed to reassure a generation of college graduates who have lost faith in “The Establishment” and see no hope for the future. The Establishment, of course, is the world as it has been set in order by the generations before them.
The speaker said he was not going to tell those of the older generation, present at the ceremony, how bright these young graduates are. Nor was he going to say the older generation had made a mess of things, and now had to look to this younger generation as the hope of mankind. He proposed to reverse the process.
He asked the graduating class to look to those seated to their right and their left. He wanted to reintroduce the graduates to some of the most remarkable people who ever lived. He wanted to share with the graduates some facts about the two generations — their parents and their grandparents.
By their hard work, he said, they have increased the life expectancy of the younger generation by approximately 50%. They have shortened the working day by a third and more than doubled per capita output. They have given the younger generation a more healthy world than they found. No longer need people fear epidemics of typhus, flu, diphtheria, smallpox, measles, mumps, or scarlet fever — and T.B. is almost non-existent. They have given the younger generation better schools, greater opportunities for
And, he pursued, “BECAUSE they were materialistic,” these graduates would work fewer hours, travel more, have more leisure time. They have made higher education available to millions, where it was only available to the wealthy few when they were young.
That is a brief summary of what he said.
He pointed out several of the ACHIEVEMENTS OF MATERIALISM.
And, as the editor of the magazine added, they harnessed the atom and sent men to the moon and back.
Material progress? Yes, assuredly. And the youth of our Western world need to realize it. Material PROGRESS, in itself, may be very beneficial provided it is put to right uses.
But material progress, alone and by itself, is not the source of peace, or happiness, or abundant well-being. Too many are too prone to overlook the other side of the coin.
The retired PRESIDENT EMERITUS of this university was speaking especially to those students who were unappreciative of the accomplishments of their elders — who were lacking in gratitude — who perhaps regarded the contributions of the two older generations to human society with disdain — who probably had been swayed with the trend of revolt against “The Establishment.”
He was showing them that the older generations had striven to provide something better for today’s youth than they themselves had. Perhaps there is no other sin so common and widespread as ingratitude.
About 150 years ago modern science decided that humans had now “progressed” to a point where we might safely discard our swaddling clothes, throw away the crutch of religion and belief in God. Modern science stepped forth as the modern messiah that would deliver mankind from all his woes and evils.
Given sufficient knowledge, they postulated, and we shall solve all problems and usher in utopia. The production of knowledge was stepped up. Simultaneously, belief in and reliance on God relaxed. Revelation was rejected as a source of knowledge.
The instruments of knowledge production were observation, exploration, experimentation and human reason. The Bible was thrown out the window. The Western world plunged into an era of MATERIAL PROGRESS.
But as materialism progressed, moral, spiritual and ethical values relaxed. And as these values began to disappear, problems, troubles and evils increased.
Knowledge production and material progress gradually accelerated, and the pace of acceleration increased with World War I and then still faster with, and after, World War II.
We entered the Machine Age. We were whisked into the Atomic Age and immediately in its wake the Space Age.
And as materialistic progress speeded up and knowledge increased, human problems and evils accelerated apace. Could there be a connection between the two?
Women wanted emancipation from drudgery, the home, and Victorian prudery. More and more they entered employment, became economically independent of their husbands. Family life began to deteriorate. Juvenile delinquency put in its appearance, and escalated. Crime increased, accelerated. The divorce rate started an upward spiral, home life began to fall apart.
Despite medical progress, the building of hospitals was gaining momentum along with most other things. The new profession of psychiatry entered our world, and gained momentum — but the increase of mental illness mounted until about half of the hospital beds are occupied with mental patients. NOW it would seem we are coming to need another new psychological profession to treat the psychiatrists.
In the decade of the 60’s, the world’s total fund of knowledge DOUBLED — largely in the fields of science, technology and medicine. But in that same ten years, the world’s troubles and evils DOUBLED ALSO. On the knowledge production front — the universities — student revolt appeared and accelerated into campus riots and violence. The revolt of youth spread rapidly and the cry “down with the establishment” gained alarming momentum.
Campus morality degenerated into the “NEW Morality” which is only as “NEW” as the human race, and as the days of Noah and of Sodom.
The 70’s started off with an acceleration of sky-jacking, bombing of commercial jet planes, public buildings, university libraries, banks. Privately organized guerrillas can kidnap government officials, take airline passengers as hostages, and dictate to such governments as the United States, Canada, Britain, West Germany, Switzerland. Now we are getting a taste of anarchy. An organized conspiracy is being carried out to kill policemen in the U.S., and thus destroy law and order.
PROGRESS? I ask, WHAT PRICE PROGRESS?
We are told now that we must adjust to living in a world of problems and evils with NO SOLUTIONS. We are told by world-famous scientists and heads of state that human survival is now our number one problem, and that the only solution is a world government with absolute power over all nations and individuals — and in the same breath they admit this is impossible.
But there IS a solution. It lies in a return to the TRUE values which humanity has forsaken. Here is the crux of the whole question: The fatal mistake was not in modern science developing materialistic progress. It was in devoting the best minds of science SOLELY to materialism — making materialistic GROWTH their god — setting their hearts SOLELY on material things, neglecting moral, spiritual and ethical values.
The colossal mistake was made by humanity, beginning with our first parents, and the incident of the
“forbidden fruit” — rejecting inspiration as the first source and beginning point of knowledge acquisition — rejection of the Instruction Book man’s Maker bequeathed him.
The solution lies in a right balance in material production and progress with moral and spiritual development.
But we put FIRST EMPHASIS on character development in students — on recapturing the true values.
The world still faces its BIG question — that of human survival. As a leading news magazine once pointed out, it would seem that the only hope now lies in the intervention of an unseen Strong Hand from someplace.
And, like it or not, YOU are betting your very life on the existence and soon-coming intervention of that unseen, Strong Hand from Someplace.