The True Freedom of Religion

A common meme from anti-Christians is that Christianity is a restrictive religion. Many modern churches have also begun to sing this refrain as they attempt to abandon “legalism,” which they mostly define as rigid rules put in place by churches on music and attire (this is not true legalism, but difference in preference as I wrote about here). The Bible is a book of negative liberties – it tells us what NOT to do, therefore, true freedom can only be found by abandoning organized religion.

This line of thinking is dangerously ignorant.

Most people fail to realize that the “fun” they have at social gatherings is not due to drinking or taking other substances, but from the social gathering itself. Sociologist Emile Durkheim called the euphoric feeling at a social event “collective effervescence.” He theorized that it was this very effervescence that formed the basis of religion as a social system. He believed that religion is the worship of the group, therefore, specific doctrine, rites, and rituals are irrelevant. What matters is that people do it together.

This effervescence transcends substances. The only necessary ingredient is having a group of people in the physical presence of others, and essentially performing the same ritual – whether that be prayer and worship at church or doing the wave at a football game.

Religious groups are incredibly fun, in that they enjoy the same effervescence that secular groups feel. It is euphoric to gather and get to know people with similar interests. The only “restrictions” at most Christian events are no drugs or alcohol, no nudity or sex, and not engaging in other taboos. Again, if fun is based on being social, those additional “freedoms” are unnecessary.

Notice I put “freedoms” in quotation marks. This is because I do not believe true freedom comes from the sins of secularism.

Go to any recovery group and ask the members there if drinking or doing drugs brings freedom. At Reformer’s Unanimous, the Faith-based recovery group I attend, we speak of addiction as bondage. You might be fortunate enough to not suffer from a substance addiction, but a huge number of people do. They will tell you that the urge to use supersedes basic life functioning. Addicts often struggle with depression and other mental health issues.

This is not freedom.

If you have fallen for the lies of the “free love” movement of the 1960s in which we should all have the “freedom” to engage in uninhibited sexual conquest and public nudity – would draw your attention to the recent allegations throughout the #metoo movement. This social movement was born the minute that we told men and women that sex outside of the confines of marriage comes without repercussions. We now have exceptionally high single-parent poverty, abuse of power through sexual assault, increases in sexually transmitted diseases, and contentious debates over “toxic masculinity” and our universities being bastions of “rape culture” manifested on campuses.

This is not freedom.

Furthermore, Cultural Marxists infesting the media, universities, and Leftist political parties constantly remind us that we are all oppressed in some way. Racial and ethnic minorities, women, Muslims, LGBT, the poor, the uneducated, children, adults, the mentally ill, etc. living in a Western, capitalist society are oppressed by our economic system. Those not living in a capitalist society are oppressed by economic colonialist nations. Unless you are a member of the white, patriarchal, bourgeoisie, you are oppressed.

Statistics show that many of those elitist bourgeoisie also face greater risk of suicide and stress related deadly diseases. Being a wealthy, white, male business owner is oppressed by health risks.

This is not freedom.

Far too many in society try to convince us that wealth, sexual promiscuity, drugs, alcohol, and constant partying are expressions of freedom. This is simply not true.

Is religion, particularly Christianity, also oppressive?

There are certain periods we can point to in which major atrocities have been committed in the name of religion. The Crusades and Inquisition are blights on “Christian” history, but these events are not based in true Christianity, rather, they are based on the evil acts of wicked people who happened to call themselves Christians.

True Christianity demands that we avoid dangerous behavior. We have plenty of evidence that “the wages of sin are death”, not just spiritually, but they often lead to an early and painful demise in this life. Diseases linked to drinking, drugs, and smoking cigarettes number in the hundreds of thousands (the majority come from smoking). Contracting an STD can be range from perpetually irritating to deadly.

What comes from behaving in a Christ-like fashion? Being ostracized from society from not being like them. Have any diseases been linked to any specifically Christian behavior? Are there any unhealthy Christian addictions? Do true Christians start wars? Starve citizens? Murder children? Rape women? Enslave minorities? Murder the innocent?

The answer is clearly no. Christianity does not oppress Christians or anyone else. True Christianity is freedom; not freedom to be enslaved by behavior, but from being enslaved by it.

If you want true freedom, turn to Jesus Christ.

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Take a Stand on Your Knees

Modern American Christians are emotionally and spiritually soft. We believe that society is persecuting us when stores greet us with “Happy Holidays” instead of “Merry Christmas”. We feel as though society is after us when a baker is fined and put out of business for not baking a cake for a same-sex wedding. Sure, this is a departure from past traditions, but is this religious persecution?

Is the government burning our churches down during a worship service? Are sales of Bibles illegal? Are any of us afraid to tell our co-workers about our Christianity because they might tell the authorities? Are we being stoned to death in the streets because we prayed in a public space?

There are Christians around the world who literally put their lives on the line to share their faith; and they still do it. We are afraid to ask our colleagues to church because they might stop inviting us over to watch the football game next week.

What happens when someone uses a racial slur among our friends and family? The person using the epithet is chastised, punished, probably even fired. Their reputation is devastated as they are labeled a racist for life. They need not even speak the offensive term to a person of color. The effects are the same.

A similar fate awaits those who use an anti-LGBT slur.

But what happens when someone takes the Lord’s name in vain in front of a Christian? Nothing. Society finds no offense. This is to be expected. However, should Christians not do something or say something about being offended? Are we so afraid to be sanctioned by peers BECAUSE of our faith that we, like Peter, deny Christ in public?

Race and sexual orientation, at least as a means of discrimination, has only been a thing for about 170 years. Christianity, as a means of discrimination, has been around for 2,000 years. Our savior was crucified. His closest disciples were tortured, killed, and exiled. Our religion was born from suffering in the name of love and salvation. Our history is filled with being enslaved and slaughtered. Our forefathers were fed to lions in the Colosseum. Our martyrs have been beheaded, burned at the stake, placed into iron maidens, flogged, drawn and quartered, and faced the worst punishments that human beings have ever devised.

We have as much right to be offended when Christ’s name is used as a joke or a swear as any race has when someone uses a slur.

We have as much right to be offended when society bashes our God and our beliefs as any sexual orientation has when someone refuses to bake them a cake.

No. Not as much. More.

We know that Christianity is losing its influence. We know that society respects us less and less. I think a big part of the reason is how we respond. We take offense and whine. We take to Facebook to complain or we might file an anti-discrimination lawsuit. What would happen if we actually took a stand, or a knee, in the moment?

Philippians 2:10 says, That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth;

Imagine the testimony we might have if when someone uses the Lord’s name in vain, we take this verse literally and take a knee and profess our faith. How the LORD would smile upon us at such a powerful display of faith.

Colin Kaepernick lost his job for taking a knee over police brutality. Would you be willing risk your career for God?

How much strength would we show if we were able to muster some fortitude in the face of adversity, rather than slinking away into the shadows? Maybe someone watching us take a stand (or knee) is a Christian who shares our apprehension, but is inspired by our displays of courage. Maybe our colleagues would begin to treat us with as much respect as they do minorities. Maybe someone would see us living our faith and come to salvation.

Christianity is not a joke. Our Savior is not a punchline. Our LORD is not to be mocked. Our God is the creator of the universe. He will punish the unjust and unsaved. He is coming to judge and destroy the world as we know it.

And we allow people we associate with to insult us and our God without mustering one ounce of character. Until we do, we will continue to lose our society. Even if we do not go as far as to literally get on our knees when someone utters the name of our Savior, the least we can do is say “I’m sorry, but I do not appreciate your using the name of my Lord in that way.”

It’s not much, but it’s more than we do now.

Miracles or A Series of (Un)Fortunate Events

Something miraculous happened to me in the last month.

If you do not believe in God, you will see a series of interesting coincidences, but I would ask you to consider the chances of each of these occurring at all then compound the exponential chances of the entire series.

  1. Last May, I got into a pretty bad car accident. I was, for the first time, confronted by my own mortality.
  2. Last September, I applied for life insurance for the first time. All went well.
  3. Last November, I lost my healthcare. I stopped taking my gout medication and have not seen a doctor since.
  4. About a month ago, I was informed that I missed a payment on my life insurance, and my plan was cancelled. When I called to get reinstated, they told me I could get a better deal if I just applied for a new policy. I did, and had to submit new blood lab work.
  5. Two weeks ago, after my 8-hour comprehensive exam, my vision became dangerously bad. I thought it was eye strain from staring at the computer for so long. Over the next week, I found myself needing a nap every morning although I slept 8 hours a night. I also began to drink a gallon of water every day, and my thirst seemed unquenchable. I urinated every hour, even though the night. I knew something nefarious was going on.
  6. Last Monday, I received notice that my life insurance application was rejected. I saw my labs and found that my glucose levels were pretty high. I believe I have developed Type 2 diabetes. High blood sugar, blurred vision, increased thirst, increased frequency of urination, and exhaustion are all signs that I missed.
  7. I immediately cut sugar from my diet. Since then, I have reversed every single symptom. My vision is back. I’ve stopped heading to the bathroom every hour, even though I still drink a gallon of water every day. I’ve stopped wanting to take naps. I’ve also lost 20 pounds in the last three weeks, but now I feel the pounds are coming off for the right reason.

Do you see the miracle, as I do? Or do you see a series of interesting, but otherwise unrelated events?

I never would have applied for life insurance if not for the car accident. I wouldn’t have had to reapply for life insurance if I didn’t accidentally miss that payment. Having no health insurance, I never would have had blood work done. Because it was for a life insurance policy, the blood work was free. If I did not have the blood work done, I never would have realized that I needed to fix my blood sugar. I may have let diabetes continue to develop into a much more serious issue than what I suffered.

I’d still be unable to see. I’d still be on a dangerous road to complications that I would not be able to afford to treat without health insurance. I believe that God intervened in this instance to provide answers and wake me up before things got worse. If not for the series of “coincidences”, I would be on a path to self-destruction through my diet.

Yes, hindsight is 20/20. Yes, I may be Monday morning quarterbacking. Yes, this may be a series of random and unrelated events and I am just reading too much into it.

However, what are the chances? If one link in this chain did not happen, I would not be healthier right now. If the bad things, like the car accident and losing life insurance had not happened, I would be shoving Easter candy in my face and killing myself.

We often take bad things for granted. As Christians, we often think that everything is supposed to go well for us. However, when God tells us “all things work together for good”, He means ALL things; good and bad. The outcome of ALL things is good. I suffered some pretty severe pain last year, but now I am motivated to live a healthy lifestyle for the first time. I took my health for granted, and I will never do so again. It took pain, suffering, and some pretty devastating news for it to happen, but the outcome will be a positive one.

Christians, please do not take God for granted. Do not mistake comfort for His condoning of our lifestyles.

Non-Christians, please consider that some coincidental events can actually be miracles. Do not dismiss miracles in your own lives. It is possible that God may be putting you in a place that may be useful for His purposes, even though you do not believe in Him.

This story is just one of many such miracles that I have experienced in my lifetime. I would be happy to write about some of the more incredible series of events that most people would take for granted, but I’ve realized are miraculous.

It’s all part of my testimony. I think more Christians need to be cognizant of their own miracles and properly attribute them to God. Miracles happen all the time. They happen to all of us as the Holy Spirit works through us to affect change in our lives and use us all for the glory of God.

Social Suicide and Mass Murder

On Valentine’s Day a 19-year-old kid marched into his old high school and opened fire on students who walked out of their classrooms when the killer pulled a fire alarm just before the end of the school day. Reports have come out giving us some insight on his life. The media (both mainstream and social) is focusing on guns and mental illness. Here is why I believe they are looking at the wrong thing.

In Emile Durkheim’s seminal work, Suicide, he looked at death records from several countries in Europe. He found that there are essentially four types of suicide: 1) Egotistic – when someone experiences a lack of social integration or are isolated (widows, hermits, victims of bullying); 2) Anomic – lack of moral regulation or a sudden change in life where the “new normal” feels overwhelming. There is a sense of “normlessness” where all of the social norms we abide by change and the new rules are difficult to grasp (losing a job or loved one; moving to a new country); 3) Fatalistic – overwhelming oppression and hopelessness (prisoners, terminally ill); 4) Altruistic – for the greater good (soldiers, firemen, suicide bombers).
Durkheim found that suicide is not a psychological phenomenon, but a social one. Changes in one’s social integration is a greater indicator of violence against oneself than any psychological condition.

Now, let’s apply this theory to what we know about the Valentine’s Day shooter.

  1. He was social isolated. Most reports are that he was bullied pretty regularly. He had very few friends. He was kicked out of school and other social organizations. This is indicative of Egotistic suicide.
  2. His adopted father died a few years ago, but his adopted mother died just three months ago. This dramatic social event would be a likely catalyst for anomic suicide.
  3. He apparently exhibited numerous histrionic outbursts – I believe these were to draw attention to an otherwise lonely boy – yet still managed to fly under the radar of law enforcement.
  4. Therefore, he was isolated from peers by choice (making numerous threats) or force (expulsion and bullying), as well as dealing with the death of his last remaining parent (and I have to wonder if being adopted started his feelings of social isolation). He also lives in a country where guns are weaved into the fabric of the nation and are constantly depicted in the media in both positive and negative lights.

It seems to me that this is a social recipe for a disaster. Rather than turning the weapon on himself, he turned it on others. Regardless, he follows a similar pattern to other mass murders, serial killers, and the suicidal. Reports are that the Vegas shooter, Steven Paddock, lost a lot of money before his rampage and was socially isolated from almost everyone except his roommate/girlfriend. The Columbine shooters were socially isolated and bullied. The same goes for the Aurora shooter, the Virginia Tech shooter, and almost all other mass murderers over the last 20 years.

I truly believe that we need to stop thinking of these events as psychological anomalies. There is something wrong with the SOCIAL fabric of the nation right now.

We have been in perpetual war since 2001. We just experienced a major economic recession. Social media and online video games are keeping kids from face-to-face interactions. We are the most medicated society in history. Our social and demographic categories are being constantly challenged and redefined. Religion is becoming less and less of an effective institution. Our electorate is becoming more and more divided.

Basically, we are in a national state of anomic normlessness that is leading to increasing social isolation. As our institutions continue to crumble, so does our ability to maintain solidarity. Without social solidarity and stability, we feel hopeless. We feel socially suicidal.

Some of us develop depression. Some of us do kill ourselves. Some are committing mass murder. The signs and symptoms are all there.

Since Suicide was published in 1897, data continues to back up Durkheim’s theory. I truly believe that we are experiencing social suicide that is beginning to manifest in social homicide.

These shooters are not “mentally ill”, they are socially constructed monsters. No laws can stop the inevitable destruction brought about by social unrest. Medicating the problem like we medicate our citizenry will not solve the problem.

Sons of God: Angels or Sethites

Apparently this is quite the interesting argument in Christian circles. When reading Genesis 6, the KJV says in verses 2-4: “That the sons of God saw the daughters of men that they were fair; and they took them wives of all which they chose. And the Lord said, My spirit shall not always strive with man, for that he also is flesh: yet his days shall be an hundred and twenty years. There were giants in the earth in those days; and also after that, when the sons of God came in unto the daughters of men, and they bare children to them, the same became mighty men which were of old, men of renown.”

One side believes that the “sons of God” mentioned here are angels (fallen angels, to be more specific). The other side believes them to be the “sons of Seth”, or a godly line of male descendants from Adam’s “good” son who fell for the secular line of Adam’s “bad” son, Cain.

The “Seth” proponents point to Hebrews 1:5 which says “5For unto which of the angels said he at any time, Thou art my Son, this day have I begotten thee? And again, I will be to him a Father, and he shall be to me a Son?”

Let’s break this down a little. This verse is saying that God has never said the words “thou art my Son” to an angel, therefore, the “sons of God” could not have possibly been angels.

HOWEVER, the next words are “this day have I begotten thee.” This is important because Jesus Christ is the ONLY BEGOTTEN SON (John 3:16). Begotten is an incredible important word here. Christians are “sons of God” through our Faith. We are essentially adopted into the family of God when we get saved. The angels are “sons of God” through creation. ONLY Jesus Christ was born into this world as the Son of God. He is the only one who is begotten.

The NIV and MEV (among others) leave out the word begotten here; a grave error in translation. The NIV, ESV, and others also leave “begotten” out of John 3:16. Whether you believe Genesis 6 is referring to angels or sons of Seth, someone other than Christ can be a “son of God”. Leaving out “begotten” is incredibly dangerous as it removes the deity from Jesus Christ, but I digress.

When the “sons of Seth” side leaves out “begotten” when they argue Hebrews 1:5, they are making a huge error. Their use of the verse to counter Genesis 6 is faulty.

They also claim that the very idea of the “sons of God” being angels comes from the “Book of Enoch” ch. 6 and 7 where the fallen angel leader “Semjaza” devised a plan to mate with human women and his followers made a pact to go through with the plan no matter what.

The Book of Enoch is, of course, not a book of the Bible. Therefore, the very idea that the angels are “sons of God” must be extra-Biblical as well. Right? That’s like arguing that since Jesus in mentioned in the Quran, that we should dismiss his mentions in the Bible.

Well, here is MY POSITION.

The “sons of God” are angels. In Genesis 6, they are fallen angels who came to Earth and did produce hybrid offspring with human females.

Yes, I know that this is a very strange concept, but bear with me through my arguments.

  1. The book of Job (not Enoch) references angels as “sons of God”.

Job 38:4-7 has God asking Job “4Where wast thou when I laid the foundations of the earth? declare, if thou hast understanding. Who hath laid the measures thereof, if thou knowest? or who hath stretched the line upon it? Whereupon are the foundations thereof fastened? or who laid the corner stone thereof; When the morning stars sang together, and all the sons of God shouted for joy?”

Did you catch that? When God was laying the foundations of the earth, the “sons of God” shouted for joy. Were the sons of Seth around when God was creating the earth? No. No human beings were. Clearly the “sons of God” are not human. However, there is more!

Job 1:6 (Job 2:1 says something quite similar) says “6Now there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the Lord, and Satan came also among them.”

So here we are in heaven where God sits on his throne, and the “sons of God” present themselves alongside Satan. To me, this is a picture of the fallen angels walking behind their leader, Satan. Those who believe they are the “sons of Seth” have to reconcile how in the world those human souls made it to heaven and why Satan enters among them.

Here’s the big problem. The “old testament saints” did not go to heaven. They went to “Paradise” or “Abraham’s Bosom”, not the third heaven where God is seated. The sons of Seth could not have presented themselves to God in heaven, because they simply were not there.

Angels, however, were.

Furthermore, Jude 6 says “And the angels which kept not their principality but left their own habitation, He hath reserved in everlasting chains under darkness, unto the judgment of the great day.” This is a clear reference to the fallen angels. They “left their own habitation [heaven]” and came to Earth. I believe that they are “reserved in everlasting chains . . .” because they had sex and produced children with humans.

Finally, 2 Peter 2:4-5 states, “For if God spared not the angels that sinned, but cast them down to hell, and delivered them into chains of darkness, to be reserved unto judgment;

And spared not the old world, but saved Noah the eighth person, a preacher of righteousness, bringing in the flood upon the world of the ungodly;

Thus, the flood came upon the “world of the ungodly” when the “angels that sinned” were cast into hell. How did these angels sin? By mating with humans.

  1. The hybrid offspring of angels and humans are the “giants” and “men of renown” in Genesis 6:4.

This is consistent with the idea that these half-angelic offspring would be supernatural supermen. If an angel and human had a child, I would imagine that child would be a giant (and we are talking GIANT – as in 9 – 12 feet tall, like Goliath). I would also imagine that it might have some supernatural abilities. Could these beings be worshiped as gods? Absolutely! In fact, I can think of no better explanation as to how the concept of the gods could so thoroughly infiltrate every civilization on the planet virtually simultaneously unless there was a common genesis (pun intended) for their existence. Furthermore, there are countless stories of the gods (angels?) creating demigods by having sex with human women.

It also makes sense of how giants could still be around after the Flood, when only Noah and his family were on the ark. I believe that either 1) one of Noah’s daughters-in-law may have carried some of the hybrid genes into the new world (see my Notes on Genesis 8-11); or 2) more fallen angels could have come and mated with humans again to produce entire races of giants like the Anakim of the giants of Gath, where Goliath and his brothers hailed from.

  1. Angels are capable of producing offspring.

This is a point of contention that usually ends with the other side simply saying “I just don’t believe it,” although there is Biblical precedent that is often overlooked.

Opponents of the “sons of God” as angels who can mate with humans often point to Matt. 22:30 which says, “in the resurrection they neither marry, nor are given in marriage, but are as the angels of God in heaven.” We see that the angels in heaven do not marry, but the “sons of God” in Genesis 6 did. Therefore, they cannot be angels. Right?

The key here is “in heaven.” As I mentioned before, the fallen angels “left their habitation” (Jude 6). They were not in heaven.

“Yeah, but angels cannot produce offspring,” you might say. However, this has a simple response.

Genesis 3:15 says, “And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel.”

God is speaking to Satan here, so “thy seed” means the offspring of Satan while “her seed” is referencing Jesus Christ. Satan was an angel. Satan can produce offspring. Therefore, angels can produce offspring.

  1. The “sons of Seth” were not a part of some special, godly line of believers.

There is no evidence that states otherwise. This took place centuries before the Law of God was written for God’s children (Israelites). A believer marrying an unbeliever was not a sin at this time like it would be later, and polygamy was actually quite common even after the flood (Abraham, Joseph, David, Solomon) and was rarely punished by God. It would take a fall of epic proportions to progress from a godly line of Seth to the destruction of all life on Earth save for those in the Ark.

Furthermore, there is absolutely ZERO evidence of the “sons of God” being the line of Seth in any other mention in the Bible. The aforementioned passages in Job are clearly not the sons of Seth, and in no other place are the sons of Seth found. In fact, the “sons of Seth” are not mentioned at all other than by name (Enos, for example) in the listed genealogies.

Just look at the text of Genesis 6. We see “sons of God” not Seth. We see “daughters of men” not Cain. There is no mention of the daughters of men being ungodly or of whose line they belonged. The daughters of Seth and Cain were most likely included, and we have no idea of their religiosity.

This topic will continue to be debated, as both sides seem to be engrained in their positions (which is common in almost all debates these days). However, there is more Biblical evidence to support that the “sons of God” are angels than there is to support that they are sons of Seth, or of any human being for that matter. It seems to me that the true “extra-Biblical” stance is to ascribe the non-Scripture based interpretation of the “sons of God” to anything other than angels.

What do I know, though? I’m not a “Bible scholar” and have never been to seminary. I’m just a regular guy who reads his King James Bible and tries to understand the worlds of the natural and supernatural in the way God intended me to.

Rightly Dividing the Word: The Psalms Multiple-Timeline Effect

Psalms really is an incredible book. There are passages that move seamlessly between references to ancient Israel under the reign of David to the millennial reign of Christ, full of references to the second advent and Antichrist.
 
You can read the book literally as writings of David, his servants, and others that are talking about things happening directly to them, but there are references to events that did not occur at that time or in the time before. Prophecy is intertwined with the present.
 
The only way to understand the complexity of these passages is to literally “Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” (2 Timothy 2:15).
 
Someone who has not studied the Word of God would miss all of the subtle references. They would not be able to rightly divide the word of truth.
 
It’s also a fascinating glimpse at how I believe God perceives time. Human beings are capable of distinguishing four dimensions (The combination of any three from – length, width, height, depth, breadth; and time). God is not confined by these four dimensions as we are.
 
Anyone familiar with super-string theory understands that there are dozens (or more) dimensions operating simultaneously. I believe God is outside of, yet encompasses, all possible known and unknown dimensions. Thus, His concept of time is infinitely more complex than what we could ever understand.
 
The interweaving time periods found in the book of Psalms is but a micro-fraction of a perception of time that sees past, present, and future simultaneously. So when God, as the true author of Psalms, speaks as he does in Psalms 79 of multiple applications to multiple time periods, a person who has not studied may miss the references.
 
For instance: verse 1 says “O God, the heathen are come into thine inheritance; thy holy temple have they defiled; they have laid Jerusalem on heaps.” This had not happened during the time of David. However, this happened in 70 AD, and again during the Crusades, and will again happen during the Tribulation.
 
In fact, nothing written in the verses 1-4 occurred during the period that Asaph wrote Psalms 79, though they are written in present tense. Verses 4-5 describe the Jews during the Church Age (right now), and verses 6-7 are in reverse chronological order (7 is the Tribulation, and 6 is the Second Advent).
 
There are examples of this time period switching all throughout the Psalms. You can cross reference almost all of the prophetic verses to other prophetic passages in both Old and New Testaments. It really is remarkable.

The Satanic Era

In the first episode of Mindhunter, the Netflix show about how the FBI serial killer program began, an interesting proposition was presented. The gist is that prior to the 1970s, crime had motive. In the contemporary era, however, motive was no longer a factor. Serial killers may have a modus operandi, and even a purpose, but they essentially kill indiscriminately. Random people become targets. Of course, this is a fictional story, but does that make the point any less relevant?

We may understand a killer has a motive, such as creating fear or terror, but there is no motive for target selection. Consider the most recent case of the Las Vegas shooting. As of this writing, a full month has passed and no one knows what motivated Stephen Paddock to shoot 500 people. Many terror attacks are on large groups of people, but none involve a personal motive.

Gone are the days of organized crime when gangsters wanted to “send a message” by killing a rival or snitch. No longer must a woman die because she was cheating on her husband. Being in the wrong place at the wrong time is as dangerous as infidelity in today’s world. When did this change?

I will once again point my finger at what I have termed “the Satanic Era” of the 1960s. Prior to the 1960s, the majority of mass killings were familicide. Since the 1960s, mass killings have been in public places against innocent bystanders. The deadliest decade prior to 1960 was the 30s, with 9 mass shootings. The 1960s had 6, the 70s had 13, there were 32 in the 1980s, and over 40 in the 1990s. The number since then as only increased.

Again, low numbers of mass shootings which primarily were targeted at family members prior to the 60s. Much higher frequency of shootings with a major increase in bystander fatalities since the 1960s.

How about serial killers, the focus of Mindhunter? According to one site, there were only a dozen or so serial killers in the United States in the decades leading up to the 1960s. There were 19 in the 1960s, 119 in the 70s, 200 in the 80s, and 141 in the 1990s. The number has since dropped to 60 or less in the twenty-first century, but the line drawn through the Satanic Era is still worth noting.

It does appear that this notion of random killing has increased since the 1960s.

17,000 women were forcibly raped in 1960. By the end of the decade, the number of victims had more than doubled. By 1992, the number peaked at over 109,000.

Recreational drug and alcohol use, though prevalent regardless of drug laws, has exploded since the 1960s.

Increases in violence against strangers, depictions of violence and sex in film and television, sexual assault, drug use, alcoholism, the opioid crisis, teen pregnancies, deviant sexual behaviors, homosexuality, transgenderism, mass murder, and serial killings are directly correlated with the decline in major religion and distrust of major media and government institutions.

In every single one of these categories – religious decline (secularization), increases in crime and deviance, the birth of new religious movements and serial killers – you can draw a line before and after the Satanic Era of the 1960s and see that there has been a seismic social shift in the United States.

One cannot help but notice that many of the same issues of the 1960s are manifest today. Civil unrest, shouts of racism, segregation, unending protest, free love, excessive drug use, sensitivity toward anything deemed “offensive”, attacks on free speech and the Constitution, militarized police, political corruption, calls for revolution, Marxism, and the list goes on and on.

I am a child of the 80s, but I would love to hear from those who were alive during the 60s. Does your lived experience mirror my theory? Has the shift been noticeable? Do you think there has actually been a shift? Please, I want to hear from you.