Are the "Last Days" an Absurdity? (8/15 WT)

by metatron 40 Replies latest watchtower beliefs

  • What-A-Coincidence

    awesome frekin' post dude.

    - Jedi Knight

  • Shining One
    Shining One

    >Personally, I thought this a rather delightful time to be alive!

    Do you think the poor and forgotten people of the world would agree? That's an easy statement that any of us could make. We live in the lap of luxury due to being born into nations that are advanced beyond any in history. Man is wretched and full of every evil that we can imagine. Man will not and has never been noble or righteous of himself, merely self-righteous. The 'age of enlightenment' resulted in a number of variations of human government based on the idea that man is inherently good and all you need to do is find the right system for his (good) nature to be revealed. Odd isn't it, that countries with laws built upon Biblcal morals are the ones where the greatest freedoms and wealth exist?

  • outoftheorg

    HA this reminds me of an incident a couple of months ago.

    My wife was in the final stages of cancer when her deceased husband's brother came to visit.

    He is a pentacostal preacher. As they were about to leave he actually raised his voice and started

    to preach about how terrible things are in these last days. It was sorta like "since you won't come to my church, I will preach at you in your own house"

    After he got done I said, "well if I had to choose for life now or a couple of hundred years ago, I would say NOW."

    "Because now we have almost twice the expected life span, Governments now give the aged social security, todays medical efforts save many more people than back then. and killings and thefts are much less and lives lost in wars are fewer in percentage of population than in ancient times."

    At the funeral the dick head wouldn't even acknowledge my presence let alone speak to me.


  • SusanHere

    Good job, Metatron. You're right on the money with this one. Yes, things are not perfect, and with current situations (middle East, etc.) things might get worse someday soon, but it's foolish to refuse to recognize significant progress where it has been made.

    I'm cutting and pasting this one for future reference when writing my sister, the JW.

    Take care and God bless!


  • AlanF

    A fine and timely post, metatron.

    There are many websites that give good information along the lines of your theme. One is:

    The Good Old Days Weren’t So Good

    While it's true that times have been bad for many people, one has to keep a certain perspective and not think that the "good old days" were really so good. As Ecclesiastes 7:10 says:

    Do not say: "Why has it happened that the former days proved to be better than these?" for it is not due to wisdom that you have asked about this.

    I've been reading a half serious/half humorous book called The Good Old Days -- They Were Terrible by Otto L. Bettmann (Random House, New York, 1974). Bettmann is a German who came to the US in 1935 and eventually established the Bettmann Archive in New York, famous in the media industry for its archive of photographs and prints of daily life in American history. In the Foreword, Bettmann writes (pp. xi-xiii):

    The good old days -- were they really good? On the surface they appear to be so -- especially the period to which this term is most often applied, the years from the end of the Civil War to the early 1900's. This period of history has receded into a benevolent haze, leaving us with the image of an ebullient, carefree America, the fun and charm of the Gilded Age, the Gay Nineties.

    But this gaiety was only a brittle veneer that covered widespread turmoil and suffering. The good old days were good for but the privileged few. For the farmer, the laborer, the average breadwinner, life was an unremitting hardship. This segment of the populace was exploited or lived in the shadow of total neglect. And youth had no voice. These are the people, the mass of Americans, whose adversities this book attempts to chronicle.

    Such an endeavor may come as a surprise to those who are familiar with my work. The files of the Bettmann Archive bulge with graphics of what we call the golden past. Many do, indeed, exude an aura of charm and well-being. But there are so many others, less in demand, which give us a totally different picture.

    I have always felt that our times have overrated and unduly overplayed the fun aspects of the past. What we have forgotten are the hunger of the unemployed, crime, corruption, the despair of the aged, the insane and the crippled. The world now gone was in no way spared the problems we consider horrendously our own, such as pollution, addiction, urban plight or educational turmoil. In most of our nostalgia books, such crises are ignored, and the period's dirty business is swept under the carpet of oblivion. What emerges is a glowing picture of the past, of blue-skied meadows where children play and millionaires sip tea.

    If we compare this purported Arcadia with our own days we cannot but feel a jarring discontent, a sense of despair that fate has dropped us into the worst of all possible worlds. And the future, once the resort of hopeful dreams, is envisioned as an abyss filled with apocalyptic nightmares.

    My post at "the picture window of history" has given me a more optimistic if less fashionable vista. I have concluded that we have to revise the idealized picture of the past and turn the spotlight on its grimmer aspects. This more realistic approach will show us Gay Nineties man (man in the street, not in the boardroom), as one to be pitied rather than envied. He could but dream of the Utopian miracles that have become part of our everyday life. Compared with him we are lucky -- even if dire premonitions darken our days and we find much to bemoan in our society.Proceeding from such convictions, this may be called a missionary book, a modest personal attempt to redeem our times from the apsersions cast upon them by nostalgic comparisons. It is a supplemental, revisionary view I offer, necessarily sketchy because of the boundlessness of the subject and the tyranny of book pages that refuse to stretch.Even if we cast but a cursory glance at the not so good old days and bring them into alignment with our own, we will find much to be grateful for. We are going forward, if but slowly. This fact should move us to view the future in less cataclysmic terms -- the future that will see man, in Faulkner's words, "not only endure but prevail."

    Of course, such is the case world-wide and going far back into history. Historian Barbara Tuchman, in A Distant Mirror, described the 14th century as "a violent, tormented, bewildered, suffering and disintegrating age, a time, as many thought, of Satan triumphant," and added:

    If our last decade or two of collapsing assumptions has been a period of unusual discomfort, it is reassuring to know that the human species has lived through worse before.

    Here are a few choice tidbits from Bettman's book to make the heart of modern man glad:

    On food:

    It was common knowledge to New Yorkers that their milk was diluted. And the dealers were neither subtle nor timid about it; all they required was a water pump to boost two quarts of milk to a gallon. Nor was that the end of the mischief: to improve the color of milk from diseased cattle they frequently added molasses, chalk or plaster of Paris. ...

    Bacteria-infested milk held lethal possibilities of which people were unaware. The root of this problem was in the dairy farms, invariably dirty, where the milch cows were improperly fed and housed.

    It was not unusual for a city administration to sell its garbage to a farmer, who promptly fed it to his cows. Or for a distillery to keep cows and feed them distillery wastes, producing what was called "swill milk." This particular liquid, which purportedly made babies tipsy, caused a scandal in the New York of 1870 when it was revealed that some of the cows cooped up for years in filthy stables were so enfeebled from tuberculosis that they had to be raised on cranes to remain "milkable" until they died. (pp. 114-116)

    On urban epidemics:

    To Americans before the turn of the century the origin of yellow fever was unknown, but the effects were only too visible; its victims literally turned yellow and died in agony. The Memphis epidemic of 1878 took 5150 lives. Many of the sick had crawled into holes "twisted out of shape," their bodies discovered later "only by the stench of decaying flesh." _Leslie's Weekly_ described the suffering of an entire family caught in one room, the mother dead "with her body sprawled across the bed ... black vomit like coffee grounds spattered all over ... the children rolling on the floor, groaning." Out of a population of 38,500, 20,000 deserted the city.

    New Orleans was struck in the same year, a predictable circumstance to many who believed it to be the most unhealthy city on earth "... a dungheap ... Its streets ... saturated with the oozings of foul privy vaults." At the height of the epidemic in September the death rate reached a hundred a day; funeral processions were about the only traffic to be seen; and an "indescribable doom" pervaded the city. But the total dead, estimated at 3977, was only half that of the 1853 epidemic, which had taken 7848 lives.

    Known also as the American Plague, since it had struck the Bay Colony in 1647, yellow fever decimated Philadelphia in 1793, thus ending its supremacy in the young Union. In the Spanish-American War, soldiers were more fearful of this disease than of bullets (p. 135).


  • Gill

    Spot on Metatron. Nowadays, we CARE about the poverty stricken and poor all over the world and we try, though don't always suceed, in helping them. We have the media to thank for showing us all what suffering is, and we have a raised consciousness and care for others when we can and even reach out when we can't. We argue with out governments over wars and DEMAND that they DO SOMETHING about bad things that happen. We ban dog fighting, fox hunting, in Spain they're trying to stop bull fighting. We have organizations that work to protect everyone, women, children, men, animals etc. It's not perfect but its millions of times better than it ever was in the past. There always will be pain, suffering and misery but now we don't accept it as punishment from God, but fight it. This is the best time, so far to have been alive. Hopefully, things will only get better.

  • Norm

    Anyone who claims that life was better in past ages only reveal his/hers incredible and total ignorance.
    Most of us living today are probably incapable of grasping how horrible life were in past ages.

    Some unbelievable ignorant people, like the WTS, bent on spreading doom and gloom actually believes and even claim that, war, pestilence, hunger, natural disasters and crime, has killed more people in the last century than in any other centuries before. These people at the same time is actually even using the so-called ”Population explosion” as yet another doom and gloom sign!

    Investigating demographical data quickly reveal that the reason for almost zero growth in population for centuries in the past was due to the enormous loss of life in; yes you guessed it, war, pestilence, hunger, natural disasters and crime. Many times in the past the death rate was exceeding the birth rate and there was an actual decrease in population. When mankind’s ability to deal with these age-old problems became better and better we have seen an enormous progress made in the last 50 years.

    Some of the reasons for the unprecedented growth in population.
    A quick look at some of the UN reports show us that Infant mortality rate in the whole world in 1960 was 123 dead per 1000 population. In 1996 it was 60 per 1000. An astonishing progress. In 1970 the average life expectancy in the world was 56, in 1996 it was 63, with India particularly making a significant progress from 49 in 1970 to 62 in 1996. And, China from 61 to 69. In those two countries which today have almost half of the worlds population, was through earlier century’s experiencing horrible periods with war, famine and pestilence which many times killed millions of people They experienced their last hunger disaster in 1928-1929, where around 3 million people died. Josue de Castro, the author of “The Geography of Hunger”, estimated that during the 1800s, 100 million Chinese died from hunger alone. The development in both China and India in this century has been amazing compared to earlier times. The infant mortality rate in China has decreased from 140 to 38 in 36 years, which is an excellent indication of the positive development in the country. In India the rate is respectively 144 to 73.

    Its amazing that anyone who claim to possess something which could be passing for a brain doesn’t understand the simple fact that you cannot at the same time claim that there is an unprecedented number of people killed by, war, pestilence, hunger, natural disasters and crime. And have an unprecedented increase in the world’s population! Even severely mentally handicapped people should be able to understand that the large increase in population is simply because, war, pestilence, hunger, natural disasters and crime, doesn’t play the same role in keeping the population down as it did in earlier century’s.

    It isn't more then 50-60 years since people died of diseases that is considered a mere trifle these days. Never before in the history of mankind has so many people enjoyed a good and decent life and that's a fact. Of course there are still a lot of problems that needs solving but nothing remotely as bad as it was in the "old days".


  • done4good

    Excellent post, Met. This is one I will save.


  • Hondo

    Flash have you lived in a cave since the sixties? What are you trying to say? Take your assertion that severe weather is more prevelant now than ever before for instance...wrong! What are you basing this on? If you read reports (you can go on the web and search for weather patterns over last few hundred years) you will find that severe weather patterns, earthquakes, etc during the 20th century, and up till present day, were less than at any other time since weather phenomena had been recorded. Will there continue to be severe weather... yes, it happens. The earth and space goes through cycles. We are in the middle of a 15 year earth cycle when more severe weather patterns might, but not always, be expected. We are in the quiet period of the 11 years sun spot cycle. There will be hurricanes, typhoons, tital waves and storms...they happen!. With the advancement of satellites, and other modern reporting systems, prior notice of an advancing storm or hurricane saves lives. Just think if the folks at Pompei, and that entire area, had some advance notice that Vesuvius was going to explode. Thousands of lives would have been saved. We had this notice prior to Pinatubo in the Philippines erupting, saving hundreds of thousands of live, etc., etc., The worldwide media has a lot to do with the reporting of "normal" and "not so normal" things that happen around the world. The fact that we can be innundated with news 7X24 leads many, and perhaps yourself, to believe that events are happening at an unprecedented pace. Not so. Try to imagine FOX or CNN being around during the plague in the middle ages, or during the Roman times reporting some of the "ways of life" (discussed on this thread) that were widespread back in those days. The "end of time" folks back then would have had a fieldday just watching the news repeating to themselves, "the sky is falling, the sky is falling." What if there wa TV back in Roman times. What would you think if you were watching "Monday Night Gladiators" and just witnessed the decapitation/death of the "loser" in the main event of the evening, to the glee and cheering of the 50,000 spectators in the Collisium? The commentators (an ex-gladiator and announcer), between commercials, were doing their play-by-play on how the winner used a certain stroke with his sword to expertly win his event...Meanwhile the field reporter did his/her interview of the winner while the losers head and body was dragged away in the background...

    Life if pretty good these days Flash. Look around and try looking for the good things in life (smell the roses) rather than the bad. I think you will see. Have a wonderful day. GB

  • Flash

    metatron, Seeker4, Hondo,

    Guys...I disagree, but I'm not surprised at your conclusions.

    Its curious, years ago a non-witness and definately non-religious friend of mine from HS who I hadn't seen since HS, stated (without any prompting from me) one example of how times had changed. He said, "If in school we had a problem with someone we would slug it out after school. Now they shoot each other."

    Jesus said that during the Last Days people would take "no note" of the times...Its sad to see its fulfillment.

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