Addicted to Arousal

A thought-provoking article I wanted to share with all of you. Very good read by Byron Paulus.

By the time today’s young men reach the age of 21, they will have immersed themselves into approximately 10,000 hours of video games-equivalent to the amount of time it takes to earn two Bachelor’s degrees. This research was cited in a book released last week entitled The Demise of Guys. Written by Philip Zimbardo and Nikita Duncan, it carries a subtitle of Why Boys Are Struggling and What We Can Do About It.

Two-Horned Enemy

It is not just video games, but a myriad of other sensual activities. I don’t mean sensual strictly in terms of sexual, though the study clearly cited a two-horned enemy that is destroying manhood in America . . . video games and porn. I found Zimbardo’s and Duncan’s correlation and explanation, both from the psychological and physiological standpoint, convincing:
The digital era is literally rewiring how the male brain functions and creating a generation with an unprecedented addiction-to arousal. Unlike drug or alcohol addicts, an arousal addict doesn’t merely crave arousal each time. Instead, he craves novelty: something new, something better, something different. This mindset can be highly damaging to an individual’s interactions and relationships. If you watch “excessive” amounts of porn, you’re going to find it hard to have real life relationships, because you’re developing your sexuality independently of real people.

The insatiable appetite for arousal appeals to and captivates our five senses to the point that rationale no longer controls our behavior. (Think about growth industries related to taste, sight, sound, touch, and smell.) Which explains how a key cause for Rome’s fall did not come from without, but from irrationality within: the mad craze for pleasure, sports becoming every year more exciting and brutal.

It’s baseball season. Doesn’t it seem irrational that someone would spend $2 billion to purchase a single baseball team, or $1.6 billion for a stadium, or that the average player’s salary for one baseball team is $6.1 million annually?

And when football season emerges, are you bothered that the average major college football coach gets paid $1.47 million each year while the average college president gets paid $427,000? What values does that impart to our children?

And neither baseball nor football are considered the fastest growing sport. A few years ago, a rapidly growing sport had to change its name and add rules because they compared it to human cockfighting. The second most violent is Ice Hockey, and Rugby is third. Lacrosse is the fastest growing sport. Excitement and brutality bring spectators.

There is only one force driving these kinds of astronomically disproportionate figures and irresponsible activities . . . the mad craze for pleasure that generates profits! We are more concerned about making money than making a nation.

Over a quarter century ago, Martyn Lloyd-Jones was already predicting the cause of our imminent downfall:

Pleasure Mania, Sports Mania, Drink & Drug Mania
If the West goes down and is defeated, it will be for one reason only: internal rot . . . If we continue to spend our lives in jollification, doing less and less work, demanding more and more money, more and more pleasure and so-called happiness, more and more indulgence of the lusts of the flesh, with a refusal to accept our responsibilities, there is but one inevitable result-complete and abject failure.

Why did the Goths and Vandals and other barbarians conquer the ancient Roman Empire? Was it by superior military power? Of course not! Historians know that there is only one answer: the fall of Rome came because of the spirit of indulgence that had invaded the Roman world-the games, the pleasures, the baths. The moral rot that had entered into the heart of the Roman Empire was the cause of Rome’s “decline and fall.” It was not superior power from the outside, but internal rot that was Rome’s ruination. And the really alarming fact today is that we are witnessing a similar declension in this and most other Western countries. This slackness, this indiscipline, the whole outlook and spirit is characteristic of a period of decadence. The pleasure mania, the sports mania, the drink and drug mania have gripped the masses. — Martyn Lloyd Jones

If Martyn Lloyd Jones felt this was true in his day, what would he be thinking today?

Is it possible the arousal addiction is not just in the culture but in the church? Is it possible that we build church activity around what will most appeal, arouse, and stimulate the senses and then constantly be on the search for something new, something better, something different?

What About Life Action?

Don’t get me wrong, the supernatural work of God in revival is exciting! This past Sunday we celebrated the birthday of the Church. Can you think of anything that would arouse the average Christian more than the events surrounding the early church and the amazing work of the Spirit of God? Yet it was all for redemptive versus degradative purposes.

Right now, here at Life Action, we are in a season of amazing blessing and activity. Last week (on Monday), I was in Albany, GA, exploring the idea of a documentary on revival with the Sherwood Pictures producers. On Tuesday, I facilitated the Revival Forum ’12 event at Moody Pastors’ Conference and discussed a book project with their Publishing group. Then on Thursday, met with pastors at The Lodge, did a radio show, and then back to Chicago for the OneCry broadcast that evening. While that was happening, our teams were finishing summits in Ft. Worth and Gainesville, FL, and the Red Team was traveling to Ohio for a unique coming together of various denominations for a Summit. On top of that, ROH continues to pour forth content every hour of every day across the nation and . . . who knows what else.

All that to say, we can be aroused by activity alone or by the sheer pleasure of making every activity a holy act of worship.

Addiction to activity that arouses, even good activity that arouses, will not only destroy nations, but ministries like Life Action.

With OneCry,
Byron

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

3 thoughts on “Addicted to Arousal

  1. The only real truths to be found in this were small. Arousal addiction is real. Video games, internet porn and even fast food are to blame for this problem being as large in scope as it is. Here is what I found particularly shocking about this ignorant and arrogant interpretation of the psychological problem of arousal addiction, it is not the source evil. People who suffer from arousal addiction can still tell the difference between right and wrong.

    Maybe the average football coach gets paid 1.4 million because if his team wins then it just means more money for the school, which obviously leads to better facilities and learning for students. Average was a very important word there, average of what? Universities? There are more colleges than universities. There are more underfunded colleges than there are colleges. There are more college presidents than there are football coaches and it just makes sense that there would be a much lower salary for college presidents on average. That was where I first started to realize how false this whole website really was.

    Science cannot be skewed by opinion. God has nothing to do with the choices we make. When people are kind it is not just so they can get into heaven it is simply because it was the right thing to do. Arousal addiction cannot be blamed for loss of faith, loss of faith is because most people realize that they don’t need its guidance. They can make a decision based on what they feel. Good people go to heaven and bad people don’t. Arousal addiction is a problem that needs to be addressed in an honorable and logical manner and not made out to be the pinnacle of sin.

    I have arousal addiction. I am treating myself successfully on my own. I have made my own decision to free myself from the hold of video games, internet porn and eating. It was a choice I made because I saw that my responsibilities were being put aside to feed my addiction, I knew what the right thing to do was and made that decision on my own. People will come to realize what their decisions are and will choose the path of the righteous or of evil.

    Religion is only an interpretation. Just like this “article” is an interpretation of science. I would happily shun GOD. The God I have been shown by you, the writers of this article, is nothing more than selfish, power hungry and greedy. The disgusting side of humanity forever stricken over our lord. One question I have asked over and over has brought me to see this: a god who would shun an unbeliever who was also a hero, is not a god but a barbaric king. The god you believe in is evil. You choose to blindly follow god but really you blindly follow an interpretation, a misguided and evil interpretation.

    If you are actually reading this then you have probably already started making excuses, for example maybe you blame everything I’ve written to be the product of arousal addiction. You ignore the evidence of your evil simply because it is easy, you never question simply because you don’t want to be faced with the choice. Nobody needs the bible for moral guidance anymore. Truth is truth. Opinion is opinion. God is truth too, but your views of him are opinion. Let people decide for themselves, stop being afraid, choose kindness of faith. Love over force. Fact over fiction, and the fact is, love. Anything that feels wrong is wrong, there is no opinion of love, it is kindness until death.

    I follow my own interpretation of god. I follow the path of the righteous, the path of the heroic and the path of kindness, I urge you all to think about that with open minds and don’t let your faith or fear interfere with your choice.

    Thank you if you read all of this.

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