More on Modern Curses

by Glenn Conjurske

A reader questions the validity of my position on “the curses of modern society,” asking whether the curse does not lie in the use of those things, rather than in the things themselves, affirming that the real wickedness is in the heart of man, not in the modern inventions. As others may have the same sort of questions, I respond here.

To be sure, the primary evil lies in the use of those things, and not in the things themselves. If I thought those things were entirely evil in themselves, I would not use them. But I use electrical power, modern means of rapid travel, the printing press, and other modern inventions. I do not regard them as wholly evil, and I explicitly said so in my former article. I grant it is the evil use of them which makes them such a great curse to modern Society.

But it must be understood that the evil uses to which these modern inventions are applied are precisely the uses which are to be expected from sinful man, so that the existence of these modern inventions cannot help but be a curse to him. We may argue that guns are not evil, that they may be put to innocent uses. By many men they are put to innocent uses. Nevertheless the world itself has laws which forbid them to convicted felons. Why so? Because there can be very little doubt as to what sort of use the felons will make of them.

Neither can there be any doubt concerning what sort of use the world will make of the camera, the radio, the television, the printing press, etc. This is no longer a matter for experimentation. The result of the experiment is before our eyes. The existence of those inventions, in the hands of man as he is, can be nothing other than a curse. I do not mean that they cannot be used for good. I refer only to the net result. If ten thousand convicted felons were to be released from prison, and we knew certainly that fifteen of them had been converted while incarcerated, no one would give them all guns, because the fifteen would use them for innocent purposes—-and the others might. He who would give guns to such a crew must be a very devil. And this is exactly my contention. It is the devil who has put all of these curses into the hands of man. The devil is the god of this world, and I surely suppose it was he who has engineered the production of those modern inventions which I have referred to as “the curses of modern society.” The devil knew very well to what sort of use these things would be put. He knew very well that the net result would be a very great increase of man’s temptation to evil, and of his capacity for evil. His opportunity for sin is increased a thousand fold by modern inventions. Sin is now made easy.

No doubt the real evil is in the heart of man. But the heart of man has always been evil, yet Society has not always been so corrupt as it is today. The existence of modern inventions has not increased the native depravity of man, but it has greatly increased his temptation to sin, as well as his capacity to sin. Were there no modern inventions, my correspondent tells me, an artist could draw pornographic pictures. This is true. Nevertheless, the modern inventions greatly increase man’s capacity for this kind of evil, as well as the intensity of the temptation. By means of the camera, the printing press, electrical power, and modern rapid travel, millions of copies may be produced, and scattered broadcast over the land, while an artist produces only one—-or perhaps a dozen. Nor do I suppose this to be the whole extent of the evil, for it would seem to me that the reality inherent in a photograph of an actual person must be a greater temptation and snare than any artist’s drawing could be.

And thus it is that man’s inclination to sin has also been increased by these modern curses. Modern inventions and capabilities have refined sin, so as to make it more delectable and tempting. The rustic home-town barbershop quartet of yesterday could hardly be so attractive as the professional recordings of the present, in which the best of native musical talent and the highest of musical attainment are blended together in a thousand pleasing forms, and made readily available to everyone at all times. No sane man could contend that the very limited supplies of small musical talent which were once available to every man in his own locale could be so attractive or ensnaring as a grand array of the best musical talent in the nation—-and all of it readily available in unlimited quantity, at all hours of the day and night, and in every location, from the bottom of the sea to the top of the moon. And so it is also with theatrical entertainments, pornographic depictions, sports, and material goods of every imaginable kind. This profusion of the highest, best, and most refined of everything cannot help but increase man’s inclination to sin.

And mark, it is not only the refinement of temptation which increases man’s inclination to sin, but also the profusion of it. The lusts of the flesh are strengthened by indulgence, and the profusion of temptations which modern inventions have put in every man’s way can have no other effect than to increase his inclinations to sin, as well as his opportunities and capacities for it. That some good comes of these modern means I have never pretended to deny, but their overall effect is a very great increase of evil, while the good which accrues is comparatively small. In their overall effect they are a great curse, and can hardly be otherwise.

It ought to be kept in mind in this connection that the Scriptures inform us, “In the last days perilous times shall come.” (II Tim. 3:1). Certainly the heart of man has not changed. Neither has the character nor the purpose of the devil. Why then are these perilous times reserved for the last days? Several factors may contribute to this, such as the amount of time which the devil has had to perfect his schemes, and the amount of divine restraint which is placed upon him. Of the latter we know nothing, except by inference or conjecture. The former in all likelihood contributes directly to the curses which I have described. So far as we can observe, the main difference between the “last days” and all other times consists of the profusion of inventions, technology, and goods, and the existence of the rapid travel and communication which characterize the present time. At “the time of the end,” Daniel tells us, “many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall be increased.” These are the things which distinguish “the time of the end” from all other times, and these are evidently the main factors in the production of the “perilous times.” If we consider the particular elements which make up those perilous times—-“Men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, … heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God”—-we see nothing which has not more or less characterized man from the beginning. But it is all augmented in the last days. And by what, if not by those things which exist in such profusion now, but did not exist at all through most of man’s history?

Glenn Conjurske