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Drinking the Kool-Aid?

Kool-Aid glassPop Quiz: Is this a cult?

  • Claims to be the ultimate moral authority
  • Rejects all other religions as outdated revelations that have been trumped by their authority
  • Intentionally and purposefully seeks out the most gullible and impressionable members of society to teach this new doctrine

A few months ago I was reprimanded for using the phrase “drinking the Kool-Aid.” The person kindly pointed out that many of the Jonestown victims in 1977 did not know they were committing suicide and, therefore, should not be criticized for their decision. This point was expressed very clearly in a Washington Post article by James D. Richardson. Now with better knowledge of the details, I more strongly believe that the phrase very accurately (perhaps with less sensitivity toward lost lives than should be afforded) depicts the exact mindset that it is intended to portray. Of course many of the Jonestown victims didn’t realize they were harming themselves. Some were force-fed the poison and the others wouldn’t have done it if they knew it was unsafe. And that’s the point. They were convinced that what they were doing was beneficial while placing their trust in a madman. Following the direction of a strong leader who will cause harm without your knowledge is exactly what we mean when we say someone is “drinking the Kool-Aid.”

Unfortunately, many unknowing victims are being force-fed what I believe to be an even more dangerous cocktail of ideas and ideology that will condemn their souls individually and American society collectively.

In his second letter to Timothy, the Apostle Paul warned about the types of wickedness that we will experience in the last days:

But understand this, that in the last days there will come times of difficulty. For people will be lovers of self, lovers of money, proud, arrogant, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, heartless, unappeasable, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not loving good, treacherous, reckless, swollen with conceit, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having the appearance of godliness, but denying its power. Avoid such people.

2 Timothy 3:1-5 (ESV)

The beginning of the list is almost entirely comprised of personal character problems that negatively affect other people. The last quality mentioned is “having the appearance of godliness, but denying its power.” This simply means that they claim to live morally but this morality is not based upon any supernatural authority.

Paul continues to describe the wickedness of the last days by discussing the attempt to recruit the vulnerable and impressionable:

For among them are those who creep into households and capture weak women, burdened with sins and led astray by various passions, always learning and never able to arrive at a knowledge of the truth.

2 Timothy 3:6-7 (ESV)

Although I do not believe Paul was specifically speaking about modern America; our government, media, and education system definitely fit the description:

  • Greedy, self-centered, discontent, abusive, ungrateful, dishonest, pleasure-seeking people abound.
  • All three branches of the federal government have repeatedly denied the moral authority of any supernatural power for many decades.
  • Our entertainment and news sources have claimed to be the authority of what is right and proper behavior, but have completely rejected any supernatural or innate reasoning for these beliefs.
  • Our government-sponsored education system has taught this foundationless morality to two generations of impressionable children and is continually becoming bolder.

When I say American society has been “drinking the Kool-Aid” I do not mean it as an insult or as an insensitive remark recalling the horrible death of 918 people, I am simply pointing out that the general population of the United States is a victim. I am not blaming the victim, but I will call attention to the perpetrators. I will speak out against the popular immoral ideas perpetrated by American media. I will denounce our public education system for its unapologetic promotion of the Godless religion of humanism.

I won’t be drinking the Kool-Aid and I will be warning those around me that it’s poisoned.

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Abstinence without Morality?

My sister and I both enjoy bad movies. Not immoral bad movies—low budget, poorly written, badly acted movies with awful plot lines and cheesy special effects bad movies. When she is home for the summer, we often host our own version of Mystery Science Theater 3000 although no one else finds our witty comments nearly as funny as we do.

Recently, she brought Wait Your Turn over to my apartment with the promise of “This may be the worst movie you will ever see” so it was in the DVD player 1.2 seconds later. She was correct. The actors all had annoying nervous habits like swinging their arms incessantly or touching their faces, the dialogue was forced at best, and I’ve seen better camera skills on America’s Funniest Home Videos. To top it all off, it appeared the producers had some problems isolating the actor’s voices so many of the scenes had been dubbed over. From what I could tell the actors had recorded the entire conversation on video, then gone back and tried to say the same things for the audio recording causing many of the scenes to look like an old Godzilla film.

Unfortunately, after I had time to really think about it, I was much more disappointed with the content of the movie than I was the poor way it was constructed. Wait Your Turn, which was made in association with the Fellowship of Christian Filmmakers, was intended to promote abstinence until marriage. It gave the usual arguments—get to know each other for who they are, it’s safer, your relationship will be stronger—but completely left out any mention of a moral reason to abstain from premarital sex. They never said it was wrong, just not the best option logically.

I understand that the makers of Wait Your Turn probably had a desire to see it played in public schools and wanted to make sure it didn’t have any religious overtones as God and church were not mentioned in the entire movie, but simply saying “your relationship will be better without sex” seems like a really bad strategy. The arguments are completely contrary to natural desire while offering no real reason to abstain other that the risks of disease and relationships based on nothing deeper than physical attraction.

I tried to think of a non-religious way to present the moral superiority of a sexually pure lifestyle and all I came up with was tracing the monogamous practices of humans throughout history in order to prove that it is part of our built-in moral code. In doing so you might be able to provide evidence that mankind knows premarital sex to be forbidden in much the same way we naturally understand murder and theft to be wrong. This would probably be a poor strategy as all evidence is anecdotal and I’m pretty sure there are just as many counter-examples, but at least it attempts to give an explanation for an otherwise unreasonable request to go against your body’s natural desires.

My conclusion is that the problem is much deeper than just finding an acceptable strategy to promote sexual purity. The problem is that modern society has largely rejected the idea of moral absolutes and, therefore, will not accept morality-based teaching. Convincing people that Biblical beliefs are the safest or the easiest is unbelievably difficult and laughable at times, but convincing them that there is an absolute moral code is a necessity.