They drive the same roads, walk the same sidewalks, and shop the same stores as the rest of us. Some of them work with us. Many of them communicate with us on the internet. Yet they are not like the rest of us: they are missing something that most of us take for granted.
I am not describing all people who struggle daily with anxiety and depression, for anxiety and depression have many different causes in different people, and they bring about a variety of reactions. Many of the people I am describing would not consider themselves depressed and anxious, and they have not been diagnosed as such. Yet they live their lives without hope, without meaning, without compassion or concern for others, and without healthy relationships with other people.
During the Cold War, the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) of the United States experimented with various forms of mind control, hoping to use the results of their experiments to defeat the communist forces aligned against the United States. These experiments included powerful drugs, food and sleep deprivation, and various forms of verbal, emotional, and physical abuse. Some of these horrific experiments were based on Nazi practices from their concentration camps during World War II. The secret program, code-named MKULTRA, came to light during Congressional investigations of the executive branch of American government in the mid-1970s. CIA leaders promised to discontinue the program immediately.
Some people believe that the program has not been discontinued. They state that the CIA, in conjunction with Illuminati or the Masonic lodge or some other nefarious group, has enslaved a large number of American citizens by these same procedures, using them to accomplish secret goals, which are known only to the central group. Of course any massive conspiracy is going to be clumsy, ineffective, and vulnerable to the human self-interest and incompetence of its members. Strange to say, though, the victims of mind control experiments appear to be real, even if no conspiracy is guiding their training.
Mind control was intended to remove the moral and compassionate restraints that most people possess so they would be willing to do the bidding of their masters. Various forms of abuse were used to achieve this effect. I cannot say whether child abuse of various kinds has increased in the last seventy years or if society is more aware of child abuse than before; the latter may be the case, but I see the former as more likely. Society has changed greatly in seventy years. Gone are the extended families living close to one another, in which grandparents and uncles and aunts could assist in watching and caring for children. Gone are the small towns and the city neighborhoods in which everyone knew everyone else and people watched out for each other. Rapid communication and rapid transportation have created a world in which workers and their families are moved from place to place and in which families choose to relocate regularly for other reasons. Single-parent families and two-income families require paid strangers to care for their children. Children are more vulnerable to various kinds of danger these days, not all of which would be considered abuse, but all of which can disable their moral and compassionate restraints.
In addition, modern families bring into their homes the very kind of sexual and violent materials that were used years ago to desensitize mind-control subjects. Now these things are considered entertainment. Through television, the internet, and video games, children are exposed to sexual behaviors—often inappropriate behaviors—and violence in far larger and more persistent doses than ever before. This is not the result of a conspiracy trying to control people. The entertainment industry only wants to make money. It distributes the products it creates because they sell. Yet the net result of this influence is a larger number of people who are without hope, without a sense of meaning for their lives, without compassion for others, and without healthy relationships with other people.
Not every victim of child abuse remains scarred and miserable for life. Many do find hope and purpose, they do have compassion for others, and they do develop healthy relationships with others. Not every child who plays violent video games or watches violent movies becomes a violent person. Many of them can distinguish between reality and entertainment, and they also have meaningful and hopeful lives and healthy relationships with other people. Not all the broken people around us are victims of abuse or have been swayed by inappropriate entertainment. Some of them are broken for different reasons. Yet it seems that society as a whole has been following the pattern of mind-control techniques, and yet no mastermind is controlling the process. The train is roaring down the tracks, but no one is minding the engine.
Christian truths are the best help for people broken by abuse, by neglect, and by a world that seems out of control. Christian truths teach compassion and help to create healthy relationships. Christian truths offer hope and a meaning for life. Christian truths offer forgiveness to those who have done wrong, and they offer victory to those who have been victims of evil. The victory of Christ’s sacrificial death and triumphant resurrection overpower evil in all its forms and restore human life to dignity and hope.
Yet the broken people, without hope and without compassion, are largely turned against religion in general and Christianity in particular. They reject God and all his teachings. They sneer at commandments to love one another, or they redefine love to remove the meaning of those commandments. They have no desire to repent and be forgiven. They call religion a set of fairy tales, a crutch for weak people, and the source of violence and abuse in the world. It seems as if these broken people have been programmed to turn against the one power in the world that could fix their lives and make them complete human beings.
Is there no hope for the broken people in the world? The Word of God is still powerful and active. Such people can find hope and meaning in the good news of Jesus Christ. Meanwhile, Christians can model hopeful and compassionate lives. They can care for their own children and prevent them from being desensitized to morality and compassion. And Christians can pray for the broken people, asking God to reach into their lives and fix what is broken. Where there is Christ, there is hope. And Christ has already defeated evil at its source. J.