The sights you see will drive you mad. Deuteronomy 28:34
George Bernard Shaw once quipped, “If there is life on other planets, they must be using earth for their insane asylum.” While I often disagree with what Mr. Shaw said, suggesting that the world has gone mad finds me in perfect agreement. In 1963 a flick was released called It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World, featuring Spencer Tracy, Mickey Rooney,Buddy Hackett, and Ethel Merman. People laughed through the film, but no one today is laughing at what’s happening in our world.
Should you check a dictionary, you would find a number of synonyms for the word mad, including insane (more psychological), crazy, and berserk. And they all mean pretty much the same thing.
If you question that our world has gone mad, how else account for the fact that pharmaceuticals keep drug prices so high that the poor cannot afford them, or deal with the reality that there are over 15 million children in the Sub-Sahara in Africa who are orphans today, often children raising children, whose parents might yet be alive had HIV medication been priced low enough for them to acquire it.
If you question that our world has gone mad, please explain how professional athletes who can hit a ball, throw a football, or dribble a soccer ball very, very well, can knock down $100 million over a five year period of time by endorsing a particular brand of clothing or shoes.
Compare the salaries of athletes and movie stars with those of teachers and health care workers and ask yourself if the world hasn’t gone mad. Yes, I know that income disparity exists, but how much is enough?
Ours, of course, is not the first generation whose values have been skewed and that we are sharing the planet with mad individuals whose driveling insanity threatens humankind today. In the twentieth century the capacity of those gone mad to spread the plague of insanity grew in proportion to the way technology enabled them. Adolph Hitler, someway surviving attempts to derail him, sent 6 million Jews and 8 million Gentiles to their deaths in the concentration camps of Germany.
Many would say that another kind of madness, perhaps unavoidable and even beneficent in the end, resulted in a nuclear chain reaction on December 1942 as Enrico Fermi and his colleagues at the University of Chicago unleashed the power of nuclear fission. What took place in a squash court under the football stadium on that day enabled scientists to produce “Little Boy,” the code name for the Bomb that fell from the Enola Gay, a B-29, over the city of Hiroshima on August 6, 1945.
Within minutes 80,000 people died and a final toll of those dead or injured was twice that many. A news reporter standing at Hiroshima began his broadcast at that location after the war with these words, “I am standing at the spot where the end of the world began.”
In his famous position speech at Fulton, Missouri, Winston Churchill, who had led Britain through the war, said, “the Dark Ages may return on the gleaming wings of science—beware, I say, time may be short.”
You may agree it’s a mad, mad world, but the issue is simple, “Can you keep your sanity in a mad, mad, world, and if so, how do you do it?” I’ve introduced the theme here, and on the Guidelines commentaries which follow this, I’ll give you some thoughts as to how you can keep your sanity in a world gone crazy.
With God’s help, you can keep your head when scores of others are losing theirs, figuratively and literally.
Resource reading: Daniel 4:28-37.