Ruining a Generation


God brought to Pastor Eric various pieces of research and information on a particular line, because He wanted him to preach about it. And preach about it he did. We felt, however, that God also wanted us to publicize the content through our website because of its importance. The following is a transcript of the message preached; and, as you can see, the MP3 audio file is available for download.

Whatever you may think about the content, we are simply the messenger. If it provokes further and urgent debate on this subject, we will have done well.


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Ruining a Generation

There are increasing reports in the news media of children of tender years attacking other children violently, even sexually, including rape. They are simply emulating what they are seeing on the internet or in video games. In a recent case, where a 12 year old boy raped a 9 year old girl, the court was told that the boy had unrestricted access to the internet and hardcore pornography.

School shootings! These shocked the world when they first began making the headlines. In February 1996, a 14 year old boy opened fire on his algebra class in Moses Lake, Washington, killing two students and a teacher. One month later, 16 children and an adult were killed at a school in Dunblane, Scotland. Their killer was a 43 year old male. Since 1996, there have been 68 more school or campus shootings, an average of a little over 4 a year. Almost three-quarters of these shootings were carried out by a teenager or student. During the first five months of this year of 2012, there have been 5 school shootings, 4 in America and 1 in France.

Violence by young people is increasingly being reported…. mindless violence. There has been an increase in violence by teenage girls, not just against other girls but against boys and adult males. The American Mental Health Foundation published an article in September 2011 which stated: “Recent months have seen outbreaks of mindless violence by youth in Canada, Europe, and the United States. These acts have included homicide, rape, robbery, assault, arson, and rioting, among other crimes.” The article continued by posing the following questions: “How has it come to this? Why are children today so angry, when they are growing up in a period that has seen the most money, education, material goods, and other resources in human history? Were there no warning signs? Can anything be done to correct this?”

A little over a week ago, CNN published an article on their website with the title: “How Video Games and Porn are Ruining a Generation.” Research is increasingly showing that a generation is becoming ruined by what the experts are calling “arousal addiction” but I will call “excitement addiction.” As young people become hooked on excitement, they sacrifice their work, and their relationships, in the pursuit of getting a “tech-based” buzz. In the case of traditional addictions, the addict simply wants more of the same, whether it is cocaine or heroin or alcohol. The addiction to video games is non-traditional because the attraction to the addict is in the novelty, the variety, or the surprise factor of the content. Newness and surprise heighten the addict’s excitement.

Addictive excitement, whether through video games or pornography, traps the user in an expanded present-time pleasure-zone. That zone is totally dynamic, with images changing constantly. It’s also all-consuming and insatiable, locking the user in for hours on end without him realizing the passage of time. The user’s present and future realities and responsibilities are totally shut out as the pleasure and excitement of the moment expands to dominate his mind. He is shut inside another world. In 2005, a South Korean man went into cardiac arrest after playing “StarCraft” for nearly 50 hours continuously.

Research is showing that the excessive use of video games and online porn is creating a generation of young people who are unwilling and unable to navigate the responsibilities, risks and complexities of school, college, employment, and real-life relationships. Young people are being desensitized to reality; and they’re being handicapped for real-life interactions with others. Children with more of an aggressive trait in their personality are more attracted to violent media which can serve to make them even more aggressive. Most video games even reward players for violence, often requiring a violent act to permit them to move to the game’s next level. Violence is often equated with success. Research reported in the Annual Review of Public Health links violent video games with real-life aggression. The report states that, given the opportunity, both children and adults are more aggressive after playing violent games. And, aggressive ones who choose to select the most violent characters in video games simply reinforce their aggressive behavior, through the actions they take while playing the role. The Norwegian, Anders Behring Breivik, aged 33, the self-confessed mass killer, reported during his trial that he prepared his mind and body for his deadly shooting of 77 people by playing “World of Warcraft” for a whole year ….and then “Call of Duty” for 16 hours a day.

Another destructive consequence for the young is boredom. Boredom is a problem of epidemic proportions among young people today because they are being reprocessed in their brains to require and expect constant excitement and stimulation. Their brains are being rewired by the constantly changing images and dynamics that the media continually flashes at them. Television and popular music videos are just as bad with suspect moral values, sexual imagery, and rapid image changes. Real life with its routines, disciplines, relationships and responsibilities is boring and unacceptable to them. Total peace and quiet is almost intolerable for them. They must have something going on around them, and they must have noise. Their demand is for almost constant stimulation; and they are aggressive towards parents and teachers who cannot or will not provide it, or who try to interrupt it, or restrict it, for their good. Prolonged or enforced boredom can lead to anger and being driven to provoke excitement – That’s addiction that leads to violence.

Some cases of excitement addiction are going unnoticed or are being diagnosed as attention or mood disorders. Children are prescribed mind or mood altering drugs to sedate them and help them cope with minds that have been media-altered. How devilish is that? The cause should be removed, not the symptoms treated. Drugs invariably make things worse. So many side-effects!

Children are not learning to slow down, or to think or to enjoy the fruits of peace. They are not being equipped for life with such basics as applying past lessons to future problems, planning ahead, delaying gratifications, work before play, long-term goal-setting, and so on. Far from being equipped for life, they are being handicapped for life.

While it may be possible to try to turn things around in the long term through legislation and regulation, is there an answer right here and now? Why, yes! For sure! Jesus Christ is mighty to save to the uttermost. (Hebrews 7:25) He is the God of miracles and He is able to rewire us and give us sound mind in an instant. Even psychologists and psychiatrists point to religion as a way back to mental health.

What does the Bible say?

Psalm 119:37 – Turn away my eyes from looking at worthless things, and revive me in Your way. The Good News Bible says: Keep me from paying attention to what is worthless.

1 Corinthians 15:33 (KJV) – Be not deceived: evil communications corrupt good manners. The Amplified Bible says not just good manners, but good character is corrupted.

Proverbs 15:14 (NLT) – A wise person is hungry for knowledge, while the fool feeds on trash.

Ephesians 5:16 (JBP) – Make the best use of your time, despite the evils of these days.

Psalm 101:3 – I will set before my eyes no vile thing.

Now who dare say that the Bible has no message for the issues of 21st century life?

The fact is that playing violent or vile video games, watching trashy television programs and viewing pornography will reduce your resistance to sin, twist your values out of shape, give you unrealistic expectations, make you passive, numb your sensitivity to violence and suffering, make you aggressive or increase your aggression, pervert your mind, hinder your development, handicap you in life and in real-life relationships, and totally waste your time.

Your time would be far better spent in worship and prayer and in reading the Word of God…. and even in re-acclimatizing yourself to the joys of peace and quiet, and sensory rest. Resurrect the game we used to play as kids––who can go the longest without moving or saying anything? Try it and just spend the time listening for the voice of God. Don’t even put on a worship tape or disk. Instead, invite the Holy Spirit to begin to minister to you and wait silently for Him. As you sense His ministry, don’t break out in prayer or tongues or praise….just stay totally quiet. Just receive and let Him work. Meditate on the things of Philippians 4:8 – Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy–meditate on these things.

The following is passage from another CNN website article that is entitled ‘10 Ways To Enjoy Doing Nothing.’ Now, remember, this is a secular website: “Bring back Sundays. Many religions still observe a Sabbath, whether it’s Friday, Saturday, or Sunday….and for a long time secular society embraced Sundays as a day of rest too. But now Sundays are as busy and stress-filled as any other day. Having a day of rest was a very practical idea: We were excused from all labor and devoted ourselves to pleasure and family. Take that ancient wisdom to heart and declare at least one day of the week as a do-nothing day. Be kind to yourself.”

If you absolutely must do something, at least do something creative like draw or paint or read the Word. Spend the time reading a Christian book or in writing or in worship and reading the Bible. Get alone with Holy Spirit. Get out of the house. Take walks. Go on prayer walks round the neighborhood.

Dr. Samuel Johnson, the 18th-century author, and the compiler of the first comprehensive English dictionary, who was a devout Anglican, wrote a weekly column called “The Idler.” This great man of letters aspired to idleness. In 1758 he wrote, “Every man is, or hopes to be, an idler.” Idleness, to him, was not bad. Rather it was noble. He was far from idle himself, but he was against excessive busyness. You can’t be an idler and write the first authoritative English dictionary. The Oxford Dictionary did not appear till 150 years later.

Today, life is so fast paced that no one can laze around without feeling guilty or being accused by a Martha. If you don’t have that problem, it seems you’re blessed….you’re in good shape! Guilt for any inactivite moments is imposed by a competitive culture that extols hard work and success and outdoing the Joneses.

You can be a workaholic or you can be an excitement addict….or both. Neither are good for you––Jesus never advocated working yourself into an early grave. He did that, so that you wouldn’t have to!

Again, what does the Bible say?

Do not overwork to be rich; because of your own understanding, cease! (Proverbs 23:4)

A faithful man will abound with blessings, but he who hastens to be rich will not go unpunished. (Proverbs 28:20)

But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and harmful lusts which drown men in destruction and perdition. (1 Timothy 6:9)

Another piece from CNN on the art of doing nothing: “Lie in a field. Doing nothing is profoundly healing — to yourself and to the planet. It is precisely our restless activity that has caused the environmental crisis. So do some good by taking a break from “doing” …and go and lie on your back in a field. Listen to the birds and smell the grass. Sketch a flower. If you are new to idling and feel compelled to be purposefully occupied, sketching a flower can be an excellent way to bring some divine contemplation i nto your life. The act of drawing makes you observe the bloom in a way you never have before. All anxieties fly away as you lose yourself in close study. And, at the end of it, you have a pretty little sketch.”

Why not take up photography as a serious hobby? Why not try to be helpful to somebody? Try to bless others. Don’t be locked into a false world of your own. Befriend someone and invite them to church. Seek the Lord for the one He would have you befriend.

1 Corinthians 10:23 says, “Everything is permissible but not everything is beneficial or constructive.” God has given you a free choice in how you spend your time.  He’s given you freedom of choice.  But the point is just because you are free to do something doesn’t mean that you should. The issue is not always a matter between right and wrong but sometimes between good, better, and best.  The Word says here that all things are permissible, but not everything is beneficial or constructive.

Need more hours in your day? The easiest way to find more time is turn off the X-Box, PC or TV. What could you do with an extra two or three hours a day? What’s the hobby you’ve always wanted to do? What’s that book you’ve always been meaning to read?  What’s that skill that you’ve always wanted to develop? Why not learn to play an instrument?

This brain-deadening daily diet of video-game playing, television viewing, and  perhaps pornography, is totally destructive to the soul. A. W. Tozer said “America has lost its ability to blush.”  Does anything shock you anymore? I wonder – When I spoke of the 12 year old boy raping the 9 year old girl, did it shock you? It should have!

When you see stuff you shouldn’t, do you think to yourself, “I can handle it!”? …Who do you think you are kidding? Psychologists say that absolutely nothing is lost in our mind.  Everything goes into our subconscious.

Focusing again on excitement addiction. It’s a serious problem; and it’s very real. It’s an international emergency, and it’s time to take radical steps to reverse the curse; or, as we have been warned, a generation will be lost; and what bad habits will they then be passing to the next generation? If you attempt the exercises I have suggested but are driven to the games-console or computer screen, or total silence drives you nuts…. If you are the personification of restlessness…. you definitely need help. You may need deliverance, and you need urgently to talk to your pastor. If you’re a parent or grandparent and your children or grandchildren are caught in this trap, you must act now.

Studies on TV viewing and computer use have found that most children between 8 and 18 are in front of a screen for an average of 8 hours per day! The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends no more than 2 hours a day. And a study by Iowa State University found that children who exceeded the recommended 2 hours were one and a half to 2 times more likely to have attention problems in the classroom. The AAP has specific recommendations on how to limit screen time for children that include avoiding all TV for children under the age of 2, as well as keeping the TV off during meals, keeping TVs out of bedrooms and sleeping areas, setting “media-free” days and planning other things to do, and turning off the TV when a chosen program is over.

I realize those of you who like to play video and computer games are not going to give them up altogether; but I am going to ask you to be smart about them. I am asking you to give up games that involve violence and criminal activity and sexual stuff. Forget those games. You should not be using them. Period. You know it. I don’t have to talk to you about pornography. You know that’s a no-go area. Ration your intake of other stuff. Prune it back hard. Avoid prolonged and passive exposure to mindless games. I am asking you to evaluate everything you allow through your eyes and into your mind in terms of what it shows, its underlying message, and its impact on your mind. That goes for everything – television as well as games and the PC. God doesn’t want you in neutral, passively accepting everything. That’s like being hypnotized and allowing the enemy to set up camp in your mind. Don’t fill your mind with trash. Put trash in – you get trash out.

Don’t give the devil an inch! That’s Ephesians 4:27. The Bible says: Those that the Son sets free shall be free indeed. Amen? Amen!

June 3, 2012