Spiritual Warfare In
21st Century America
By Michael Goodspeed
"We're the middle children of history, man. No purpose or place. We have no Great War. No Great Depression. Our Great War's a spiritual war... our Great Depression is our lives. We've all been raised on television to believe that one day we'd be millionaires, and movie gods, and rock stars. But we won't. And we're slowly learning that fact. And we're very, very pissed off..."
-Tyler Durden, in Chuck Pahlaniuk's "Fight Club"
Upon hearing the term "serial killer," the mind's eye tends to conjure gruesome images from Hollywood films. It envisions Norman Bates stabbing furiously while donning female garb, Hannibal Lecter eating human flesh while quoting Carlyle, and Michael Meyers and other masked monsters slaughtering indiscriminately while simply refusing to die. If we are to believe the majority of Hollywood films, serial killers are near-supernatural beasts who have tapped into a malevolent cosmic force, bestowing them with intellectual genius and inhuman physical strength.
The truth about serial killers is far more mundane. A century of observation has enabled experts to create a fairly reliable serial killer "profile": a large majority are white (84%), heterosexual (86%), male (90%), and typically between the age of 20-30 when beginning their crimes (70%, with another 26% beginning in their teens.)
Perhaps the most disturbing statistical fact is this: 76% of the world's serial killers were born and raised in the United States of America. Our nearest rival is England, with 17%. Bear in mind that the US, while sporting three quarters of all serial killers, has but 6% of the world's population.
The same nation that spawned fast-food restaurants, Britney Spears, and monster-truck competitions has also birthed history's most infamous serial murderers: Bundy, Gacy, Dahmer, Ramirez, Gein, and Berkowitz. The names of these fiends have been canonized in TV-movies, true-crime books, and even macabre board games and trading cards.
Many have posited explanations for America's strange "title" as the world's leading producer of serial killers. Some have blamed the popular culture and increased availability of pornography (Ted Bundy, hours before his execution, claimed that soft-core porn drove him to kill). Others point to everything from violence in media to the destruction of the nuclear family. Like any pathology, the contributing factors to serial murder are thought to be numerous and complex. However, our extraordinary propensity for breeding these strange monsters may well have a fairly fundamental cause. After all, what is it that makes America unique from every other country on Earth?
The United States is the wealthiest and most powerful nation in the world. 21st century Americans are untouched by Third World pandemics of genocide, famine, disease, and tyranny. For this, we should all be grateful. However, contrary to the belief of many, America is anything but Shangri-La. All things considered, our country may be "the best," but it is far from perfect, and a denial of this fact does not benefit anyone (other than a few elected officials, and the Fox News Channel).
The last several decades have witnessed the manifestation of an increasingly pervasive sickness in US citizens. It comes in many forms, and it is not easily detected or treated. However, it is every bit as real as the most malignant tumor or infectious virus. It has already killed many people whose only "sin" was being born in the wrong country at the wrong time, and it is certain to kill many more. It is a sickness of mind and spirit which enslaves its victim and harms many in the victim's life. This sickness is without precedent in the entire history of civilization. It may not kill as many as the worst plague or greatest war, but neither a vaccine nor a treaty has the power to stop it. This sickness has a name. It is called the "disease of affluence," and if you are an American in the year 2004, there is virtually no escaping its touch.
A disease of affluence can take many forms. The eating disorders anorexia nervosa and bulimia fall under this title, as nearly all of their victims are middle to upper class, overachieving caucasians in the Western world. According to the Psychiatric Times (www.psychiatrictimes.com), between 1950-1992, there was a "significant increase" in incidence of anorexia in young women. However, the actual increase of incidence, while probably enormous, is impossible to verify, as the illness was not widely recognized by psychiatry until the 1970's. Ironically, in that same span of time, another possible disease of affluence - OBESITY - exploded in the United States, with 31 percent of all adults and 17 percent of children qualifying as obese, and another 34 percent of adults and 31.5 percent of children qualifying as overweight. (Source: http://msnbc.msn.com/id/5216980/) In other words, Americans are now simultaneously more likely to starve themselves AND/OR die from overeating than at any time in our country's history.
On the surface, the problems listed above - serial murder, anorexia, bulimia, obesity - seem unrelated, but in reality, at the core of each illness may be the same root cause. It cannot be an accident that these pathologies exist most abundantly, in fact almost EXCLUSIVELY, in affluent Western countries.
What delineates Americans from the citizens of every other country in the world? Let's begin by examining our wealth. Although America is demarcated into several socio-economic "classes," the fact is that virtually no one in this country, not even the homeless and destitute, will experience the kid of hunger and hardship that is commonplace for billions of others on planet Earth. Resources exist for the most downtrodden of Americans that are simply not available in other nations. While I recognize the undeniable benefits of our relative collective affluence, we must also acknowledge that our tremendous comfort and privilege entails many negative social consequences.
Our current generation - the so-called Y generation - have generally not spent their youth struggling to help their families keep food on the table and coals in the fire. Their mental focus in life has never been, "How can I help? What can I contribute? What MUST I do to keep myself and my loved ones alive?", but rather, "What do I want? What will make me happy? When will I receive the things that I think I'm entitled to?"
Kids in America today are programmed to feel entitled to things that are unattainable. Sitting catatonic in front of the TV, American children engage in the most satanic form of idolatry imaginable, worshipping pop singers, professional athletes and movie stars, believing that they must achieve fame and fortune in order for their lives to have meaning. A child who has never had to work, never performed service, and is fed continuous and rancid lies about the nature of "happiness" is the perfect incubator for a disease of affluence.
I think that the greatest tragedy of our collective affluence has been the inevitable loss of human connectedness, or COMMUNITY, which can only exist when individuals recognize their intrinsic dependence on one another. While most Americans are able to physically survive without assistance from neighbors and friends, our spiritual NEED for community and support is just as real. Increasingly in America, we see the phenomena of individuals withdrawing inward into dark and isolated fantasy worlds - or what can be called "living inside your head." This is a neurotic, narcissistic, spiritually contracted state that exists almost exclusively in the minds of Westerners, particularly Americans. It is the mental state of anorexics, bulimics, addicts of every sort, and even serial murderers.
A person who is focused only on physical survival does not have the "luxury" of living inside his head. He does not think to ask himself, "What do I want? What would feel good and exciting? What will make me happy?" Up until very recently in our history, humans did not go through life worrying over careers and lofty ambitions. This is a new phenomena, and the resulting neuroses are not yet fully understood. Psychologists are having a hard-time keeping up with the new and continuously proliferating mental illnesses that virtually DID NOT EXIST until the late-20th century in America. Therapists are now even treating grown men whose entire lives are centered on the outcome of professional sporting events. Again, these are diseases of affluence, the victims trapped in mental prisons of their own making.
A child born in 21st century America may never know the pain of famine or slavery. But in the place of physical suffering is a spiritual anemia that cannot be remedied by material wealth. Make no mistake, we are in a war for our very souls. Our children must be taught to remain diligent and alert when traversing the battlefield they will find themselves stumbling through.
When I look at America, I see many beautiful things, and I do not think I have ever wished that I was born in a different country. I have learned to take the good with the bad, the sweet with the sour. I can accept the inevitable depravity and degradation that comes with a FREE society, because I believe that freedom is preferable. But rest assured, when I wake up in the morning, I am aware of the pitfalls and landmines that await around every corner. I make it through my days joyous and unscathed only because I am ready for WAR.
Comment to Spiritual Warfare In
21st Century America
From Zeph Daniel
First of all, I agree with many of Mr. Goodspeed's comments, but he does not describe or tell us what the spiritual battle actually is. It is not simply a struggle against immoral behavior, though this is certainly a part of it. A spiritual battle connotes a soul... i.e. we battle for our souls. This term 'soul' is not a euphemism--the soul is a literal thing. Remember those 21 grams that disappear upon the death of the human body? The soul is won or lost through free will.
Watching out for moral pitfalls, while this is a worthy pursuit, cannot deliver us from evil, as Evil is a gamesman. Being "moral" or outwardly upright can and often does lead to the sin of pride, which is just as wicked as any other form of depravity. From the sin of pride we become judgmental or elitist, legalistic and dogmatic.
I believe that all men, regardless of the country of origin, are born in captivity. All men will experience pain, sickness and death--along with unrelenting challenges that will occupy much of their time while they are dying. This is not freedom, in America or anywhere else. Worshiping the almighty dollar while trying to remain moral is not possible without the mental trick called DENIAL.
The deception in America is that she is a free country. Freedom, by what standard? Private property ownership? Free-markets? Free-speech? Free from governmental tyranny? True, humans in America can worship whatever god they choose... so long as they conform to the 501c3 regulations, so long as they comply with tax-law and other laws applicable.
American isn't free, she's prosperous! The most prosperous and the most deadly nation upon the earth. I did like Mr. Goodspeed's talk of serial killers born and bred in America... check also the global porn industry, headquartered in California's San Fernando Valley. Also the Federal Reserve, headquartered in New York, one of the greatest scams against freedom. Check out the IRS, the AMA, the Patriot Act 1 and 2 and 3 and who knows how far it's going to go. Check out the lack of truth in reporting re 911, Waco, Ruby Ridge, OK City, Flight 800, etc. etc. etc. I mention these, but you could also mention Viet Nam, Korea, WW2, the upcoming planned WW3, all hatched in America. And when we say prosperous, we mean both spouses working more than 40 hours a week each, and working far past any retirement age... we mean a people so far in debt that if anything were to suddenly go wrong with the economy, projects and work-camps would be the only solution available, especially as they are repealing the current bankruptcy laws for individuals (and not for corporations, I might add).
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No one upon the earth is born free. True freedom is overcoming the limitation of death. One can be free in a prison or a communist country, and one can be a slave in a nation as wealthy as America.
Wealth does not equal freedom. Wealth without true spiritual teaching leads to decadence and the destruction of the nation.
For me though, 'freedom' is a spiritual term, as we can only be set free by our Creator who made us. Man is weak, and without the grace of the Almighty, a Person Who Is Strong, we will die ignorant, never having lived.
Freedom means the freedom to die. How many are ready to die today? Many? A few?
Death is not an end, but a beginning, a doorway, and only through the Spirit of God can we see and draw comfort from this reality.
Now, all humans are inherently depraved, and the flesh is basically wicked... we must control our lusts and cravings or become the next monster.
No one escapes the lust of the flesh and the pride of life.
In our Holy Scriptures, the Bible, God tells us that we have inherited this condition through His honoring of human free-will. Thus, the free-will choices humans make will either lead to liberation of the generations, or enslavement. You can choose to enslave yourself, for example, in the pursuit of wealth...then live in denial that it does not become the controller. God is clear in His Word, that He will not tolerate idolatry...the Royal Law states that He will not tolerate other gods. I believe that his Royal Law (the 10 Commandments) are a key as to how he thinks. It matters little what we think of His Word... I believe this is a kind of instruction manual. People I know who have pursued life-long dreams and fulfilled them are pretty much all miserable. What we fancy, God takes away. Once a dream is fulfilled, there is emptiness. It cannot hold us, it cannot overcome our sad reality as humans in limitation. Or slavery.
America is enslaved to the ideal of working for prosperity, and remaining ignorant of what the true spiritual battle is... over souls.
Can a man lose his soul and gain the whole world, as stated in the Book of Matthew 16:26? Indeed, is there a temptation to sell one's soul for prosperity, social acceptance, a happy life?
I contend that nothing is worth selling out for. And this is because, after observing so many humans who have achieved success through this method, none of them ever felt they deserved it--deep down, they feel as if they cheated. At any rate, this is the main battle. It's all a game to get your soul--and America is no different than Haiti or Bombay, or Chili or Russia when it comes to this battle. It is a universal reality, and few churches or religious systems teach children how to stay on that road to freedom.
I contend that a person cannot be free until he submits to God and surrenders his free will, then follows Him.
I thank you Jeff Rense for putting up Michael Goodspeed's article, as we can never talk about this subject enough. We have many blessings in America, the biggest one being the opportunity to change course.
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