Murder by reason of boredom

Three teenagers in Duncan, Oklahoma, shot and killed a college student from Australia just jogging by.  Why?  Because they were bored.

This happened not in some big city but in a small Oklahoma town of less than 24,000.  Boring, perhaps (speaking as a product of a small Oklahoma town).  But after the jump we see that the teens, aged 15, 16, and 17, were all involved with social media, videos, iPhones, a giant TV, and rap music.  They had lots of stimulation.  So why were they so bored, bored enough to kill?

The fact is, constant stimulation such as our entertainment technology provides INCREASES boredom.  A person gets tired of all this stuff and requires higher and higher levels of stimulation before they can have an effect.  So in this case, they got that thrill of transgression from killing someone.

The ancients considered boredom to be a dangerous spiritual condition–a deadening ungrateful insensitivity to God’s gift of existence–and it has been described as a major spiritual problem of our times.  It doesn’t always lead to murder, of course.  But it can lead to cheating on one’s spouse, abandoning one’s children, substance abuse, and soul-destroying attitudes such as ingratitude, hatred of life, and despair.  If the answer isn’t more stimulation, what’s the solution to this kind of boredom? [Read more...]

Lack of belief as an identity

Brendan O’Neill himself does not believe in God, but he has written a piece entitled How atheists became the most colossally smug and annoying people on the planet – Telegraph Blogs.  After rehearsing the various ways atheists have become obnoxious, he offers a rather penetrating analysis of why that is:

So, what’s gone wrong with atheism? The problem isn’t atheism itself, of course, which is just non-belief, a nothing, a lack of something. Rather it is the transformation of this nothing into an identity, into the basis of one’s outlook on life, which gives rise to today’s monumentally annoying atheism. The problem with today’s campaigning atheists is that they have turned their absence of belief in God into the be-all and end-all of their personality. Which is bizarre. Atheism merely signals what you don’t believe in, not what you do believe in. It’s a negative. And therefore, basing your entire worldview on it is bound to generate immense amounts of negativity. [Read more...]

The Six Types of Atheists

Christians have their different theologies.  Conservatism comprises a number of different ideologies.  Now studies are showing that there are different kinds of atheists.  Sociologist George Yancey discusses recent research that classifies atheists into six different types. [Read more...]

Depression among Christians

Christians struggle with depression–including the bleakest, blackest clinical depression–like everyone else.  On Emily Scrivener’s blog A New  NameEmily has written about her own struggle with anorexia–a guest writer, Glen, posts about evangelicals’ bouts with depression.  He writes about what helps and what hinders in the evangelical tradition.

Just because he cites as problems things Lutherans don’t do and recommends things that Lutherans already have, let’s not us Lutherans discuss this in a triumphalistic or evangelical-bashing way.  Clearly, Lutherans too often battle with depression.  (Certainly, Luther himself did!)

There is a sense in which depression is tied up with psychological and physical factors that ought not be confused with one’s spiritual state.  (Doing so is often part of the problem.)  But what spiritual resources and truths can help a person through this?  (Comments from depression-sufferers are especially welcome.) [Read more...]

Breakthrough in implanting false memories

Scientists have successfully implanted false memories into mice.  The researches are excited at prospect of applying the same processes to human beings, which they say holds promise for treating emotional problems such as post-traumatic stress disorder.  Read about the experiment after the jump, and then I want to pose some questions. [Read more...]

Exodus International is going out of business

Exodus International, the evangelical ministry to gays that sought to help them change their orientation, has announced that it is going out of business.  The group publicly repented of its advocacy of “reparative therapy” (behavioral conditioning techniques) and of being judgmental against homosexuals.  See this.  After the jump, the statement from the organization. [Read more...]


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