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.
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.