”What Were They Thinking?”
By Pastor Ron Buxton
G.K. Chesterton wrote: “Meaninglessness does not come from being weary of pain. Meaninglessness comes from being weary of pleasure.” That thought has everything to do with this article today. When troubling things happen, we tend to ask that question: What were they thinking? And, usually, it’s the first question that forms in our mind following some avoidable tragedy. Sadly, however, we all tend to avoid thinking about evil–until its aftermath.
I call that “stinking thinking”, and there are many subcategories to it. However, only one category of that will be dealt with today—the actual thinking process itself. You see, a mental laziness has swept across the modern society. This is not a recent phenomenon, but it has been gaining momentum. We really don’t want to think. And I blame that largely upon entertainment choices, and the so-called “digital revolution”.
Returning to this country after being a missionary for many years, I felt like I had stepped onto another planet. Personal computers, laptops, and cell phones were everywhere! And I felt like a technological Neanderthal until I was able to take some computer courses. No kidding—I felt like a Neanderthal!
Today’s culture–about thirty years later—now reflects the impact of that digital revolution. People tend to not think—deeply—very much at all anymore. In fact, a friend of mine often says this truism: “Most people now listen with their eyes, and think with their feelings!” And this has led to that meaninglessness that Chesterton wrote about.
Our Creator did not just give us a brain. He also gave us a mind. And when that mind is bypassed by a controlling digital “group think” entity, then bad stuff can happen without proper thinking to stop it. We’ve all seen the uploaded videos of foolish behavior to document that. And yet, the videos keep coming, and the tragedies keep happening. Folks—how can we stop this madness? Allow me to address that.
Christ identified the evil presence behind this madness–and it is a person. Not only that–but Christ defines that person as “the father of lies” (John 8:44). I ask this question: Where do lies most affect humanity? No doubt–in our thinking. And therein is found the remedy: the truth! Folks—Christ self-identified as “the Truth” (John 14:6), and more than that, He proclaimed to humanity that we can “know the truth, and that truth shall set us free”! (John 8:32)
You see, when we witness senseless–and avoidable—human tragedies, the question: “What were they thinking?” has at least some explanation. Certainly, this brief commentary is not exhaustive–but it should cause us to step outside of normal reactive reasoning. Modern society, in my opinion, must be confronted with its unbridled fascination with amusement. Amusement literally means “without thinking”. Are you getting my point? This “truth decay” is really killing us! And so, fighting off mental laziness by engaging our minds with Biblical truth is our only hope!