It is important to repeat that we are not attacking or attempting to demean any particular individual. The purpose of this report is to show the effects of mankind’s choices (behavior). Some of the effects discussed here are real problems in the lives of real people. We are in no way trying to minimize these concerns, but rather are highlighting the seriousness and repercussions of humanity’s decisions.
In some respects, self-mutilation is only distantly related to the subject of appearance. This growing trend among teenagers is truly sobering. Young people throughout society are literally cutting themselves. To outsiders looking in, this practice is hard to fathom.
But why do teens do this? To release tension and stress—to make themselves feel better.
Teenagers who self-mutilate almost always do so privately—and they desperately try to hide it. They are usually ashamed, but their embarrassment does not cause them to stop. They wear long sleeves, long skirts or pants—even in hot weather—to hide their many scars from the eyes of parents, friends and teachers.
Tragically, this trend is rapidly increasing, and parents and schools are finding it difficult to deal with the problem. It is becoming so prevalent that teens are posting personal self-mutilation videos to the Internet, showing others what it is like. One video shows a person cutting himself with a scalpel. A report from ABC News states, “More and more kids are not just thinking about it, they’re doing it. And they’re showing others what it’s like.”
The same news report also states that “cutting” is the focal point of a growing subculture among kids. One teenager said, “I kind of felt…better afterwards. I liked it a lot…It kind of hurt, but…I guess when you cut…it…doesn’t hurt that much because you’re hurting so much inside…I just felt like…cutting kind of hurt a little, but I felt like I was actually releasing my anger…I would…go into the bathroom, or in gym, I would skip gym, or sometimes, I’d just be sitting there, and no one noticed that I was just cutting.”
A doctor specializing in self-mutilation stated, “It’s becoming an acceptable activity…it’s now becoming more popular among the adolescents, it’s a way of releasing their stress, it’s a way of coping, I guess, and it’s a way of uniting in their own pain…I can say that it is increasing, and that it is more prevalent now…The concern now is that it’s becoming more of a social event, where girls and boys invite each other for cutting parties…”
The doctor went on to say that it is becoming mainstream—the popular crowd is now doing it too. Truly, the abnormal is becoming normal.
Not knowing the true purpose of life—lacking knowledge that gives meaning to one’s existence—humanity turns to various physical pursuits to fill the void. Yet people are ultimately left unsatisfied.
While eating disorders (usually among women) have been a growing problem for several decades, the entertainment industry essentially glamorizes such health problems by putting severely underweight celebrities on a pedestal. Their bony frames are upheld as the “ideal” figure to attain.
Once an individual has a full-blown eating disorder, it is hard to pull her back. Even when painfully thin, literally on the verge of death, it is difficult to convince the person she is not overweight. Family, friends, even respected professionals, sometimes cannot prevent people from starving themselves to death.
There are websites that glorify anorexia and bulimia. The BBC reports, “Experts say so-called ‘pro-ana’ sites claim to offer support, but actually glorify the diseases and discourage people from seeking medical treatment.”
New terms such as “thinspiration” are commonly used. Coded phrases such as “My friend Ana” and “My friend Mia” refer to anorexia and bulimia, respectively.
As mentioned, the fashion industry and elements of Hollywood are also influencing people toward eating disorders. Size zero models are commonplace on the catwalks of fashion shows. A popular model died from kidney failure in November 2006. She ate only apples and tomatoes, and would not admit she had an illness. Another died earlier that year from a heart attack—after consuming only lettuce leaves and Diet Coke for three months.
Despite these needless tragedies, the fashion industry continues to have a demand for thin models. Women who are clinically underweight are told they have “great bodies,” as women of normal weight are told the opposite. Some in the industry are not interested in countering the rise in eating disorders among young women.
Many patients struggling with these types of disorders have been “hospitalized more than once for suicide attempts, dehydration or other conditions brought on by their disorders…All are slender or dangerously thin, and all see themselves as fat or fear that they will become fat. A scale reading over 100 pounds can cause them extreme anxiety” (Daily Bulletin).
One sufferer commented, “I’ve tried to find satisfaction in other accomplishments, but nothing measures up to this goal of being thin, and that’s all I really want. And if it takes dying to get there, so be it.”
In the Media
Mainstream media is also on a path toward the bizarre. Wholesome “family” shows are disappearing; in their place are boundary-pushing programs.
For instance, in the last decade there has been a steadily increasing focus on the supernatural, with television shows such as Medium and Ghost Whisperer becoming widely popular, which follow characters struggling to make sense of their various “powers.”
Then there are the magic and illusion television shows, two of which are quite popular. The atmosphere of these productions is dark and strange, and the programs present unexplainable magic tricks. For example, a man walks through a glass window, yet the window remains intact. Sometimes, performers will exhibit feats of superhuman strength. Viewers are fascinated by such programs, yet they do not comprehend the real source that is oftentimes behind the magicians’ power.
These types of shows have also showcased what is called “suspension.” In fact, there are “suspension parties,” events in which attendees literally suspend themselves from the ceiling through hooks in their skin! Those who have tried this claim it offers a “spiritual experience.”
Effects of an Eating Disorder
Millions of Americans, many of them high school students, suffer from some form of eating disorder. Left untreated, these can lead to serious health problems or even death.
A person with anorexia is hungry, but he or she eats little or no food because of an intense fear of gaining weight.
- Preoccupation with food, weight and body
- Refusal to eat anything other than tiny portions
- Continuing to diet in spite of being extremely thin
- Abnormal weight loss
- Weakness, exhaustion
- Compulsive exercise
- Hair loss
- Growth of fine body hair
- Dry skin
- Slow metabolism, reflexes
- Brittle bones, nails
- Fainting spells
- Shortness of breath
- Cold hands, feet
- Swollen joints
- Diminished thyroid activity
- Irregular heartbeat (which can lead to cardiac arrest)
- Low blood pressure
- Kidney, liver damage
- Loss of menstruation
Bulimics are also preoccupied with their weight, but they eat in binges, then purge the food from their bodies.
- Binge eating, usually in secret
- Vomiting after bingeing
- Frequent trips to bathroom after meals
- Abusing laxatives, diet pills or substances that cause urination or vomiting
- Weakness, exhaustion
- Compulsive exercise
- Bloodshot eyes
- Tooth and gum erosion
- Sore throat
- Swollen neck, face glands
- Skin rashes
- Brittle bones
- Heartburn, indigestion
- Electrolyte imbalance (can cause irregular heartbeat or cardiac arrest)
- Kidney, liver and bowel damage
- Intestinal ulcers
- Irregular menstruation
Eating Disorder’s Psychological Effects:
- Depression; feelings of shame or guilt
- Mood swings
- Low self-esteem
- Negative thoughts
- Social withdrawal; impaired relationships with family, friends
- “All-or-nothing” attitude
Silently Suffering From Bulimia
Bulimia (deliberately vomiting after excessive eating) is believed to be widespread among women between 15 and 30. It is often a well-kept secret for years, during which the victim suffers from physical illness and psychological distress.
SOURCES: Natl. Assn. of Anorexia Nervosa and Associated Disorders, American Anorexia Bulimia Assn., Natl. Center for Health Statistics, CHICAGO TRIBUNE, Psykiatrisk Hospital (Risskov), Lademanns lægeleksikon MCT
Of course, our look at the media would not be complete without addressing horror films, which have become much more hideous and extreme—and are exploding in popularity.
A film review of the movie Saw III stated, “…the splatter flicks of yesteryear were usually too silly to be taken seriously…[but now] killers in the ‘claustrophobic cruelty’ sub-genre are interested in making their victims scream, weep, beg for mercy, watching in pleasure as their victim’s bodies and souls are deformed beyond recognition…genuinely sickening stuff.”
These movies continually portray more and more gore—a demand of the ticket-purchasing public. But, as this film critic goes on to write, the audience is “going to be watching something that would likely have gotten the filmmakers arrested 60 years ago.”
In regard to the film, the BBC reported that “staff at a UK cinema have had to call emergency services three times in one night because of a spate of people passing out…” At the time the BBC article was written, the movie was ranked number one in the UK and North America.
Finally, there is the independent film industry, which is always ready to “push the envelope” of acceptable behavior in society. For example, The Seattle Times reported that the Sundance Film Festival accepted a documentary called “Zoo,” which addresses bestiality and “examines the widely reported case of a…man who died in 2005 after having sex with a horse.” This film was 1 of 16 accepted out of 856 submitted.
Parts of higher education are also marching toward the odd. Here are just some of the bizarre college courses now available, according to Young America’s Foundation:
- “Queer Musicology”
- “The Phallus”
- “Adultery Novel”
- “Sex Change City: Theorizing History in Genderqueer San Francisco”
- “Lesbian Pulp Fiction”
It seems the latest popular perversion now takes place in some of the most elite colleges of the United States: the arrival of “naked parties.” Ironically, students who participate in them claim that such parties are nonsexual. One college student stated, “Naked parties are ‘the #1’ thing to do before graduation” (The Scotsman). Some students even claim they are life-changing experiences.
Regarding naked parties, one Yale student said, “The dynamic is completely different from a clothed party. People are so conscious of how they’re coming across that conversations end up being more sophisticated.” Some parties are even held in college libraries, with the school administrators turning a blind eye!
Many claim this is normal and should not be criticized—it is merely young adults “expressing” themselves. But is this really just harmless fun?
Then there are perverse relationships of all kinds: Some actually believe intimate relations with anyone or anything should be allowed—including animals, children and even corpses. Everything imaginable is now being done openly and is pushed to be accepted by all.
The Bible describes what has happened to mankind: “For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections…working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompense of their error which was meet. And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate [degenerate] mind, to do those things which are not convenient” (Rom. 1:26-28).
It has gone so far that even online dating has evolved. A person can now sign in to online role-playing games, select a character with whatever attributes he chooses, and look for an online “date” with another character, who is a real person somewhere else in the world. The couple can then engage in whatever they desire.
The subject of gender lines and gender confusion continues to be a topic of discussion and controversy in the 21st century. The New York Times article “New York Plans to Make Gender Personal Choice” stated the following: “New York City is moving forward with a plan to let people alter the sex on their birth certificate even if they have not had sex-change surgery.” All an individual must do is provide affidavits from a doctor stating why the person should be considered to change the legal status of his or her sex. This is taking place because many “transgender” people cannot afford surgery or therapy.
This leads to, as the article states, “intriguing” questions: “For example, would a man who becomes a woman be able to marry another man?...Would an adoption agency be able to uncover the original sex of a proposed parent?...Would a woman who becomes a man be able to fight in combat, or play in the National Football League?”
However, these are not intriguing questions, these are ridiculous questions—an effect of mankind living a way of life totally cut off from its Creator!
Consider another bizarre trend, again reported by The New York Times: Homosexuals who are friends with lesbian couples are donating their sperm so the couple can have babies. The “father” usually wants to retain some rights, and hold a sort of “uncle” position in the family—in other words, he wants to be able to see the child on birthdays and holidays, and share in a family.
Since they cannot have children on their own, they are creating a twisted, entirely different extended family.
The Internet is now the place where suicide cliques form. Within seconds one can read of those who have committed suicide, along with entire manuals on the subject!
People are meeting through the Internet, and then killing themselves together. The New Zealand Herald reported, “Young Japanese are joining group-suicide pacts in record numbers despite efforts to crack down on the bizarre internet-led phenomenon.”
“Many opt for carbon monoxide poisoning in sealed vehicles, often in secluded or scenic areas, like four men who died while watching the sun rise at the foot of Mount Fuji. The men met for the first time just hours before.”
“Dozens of young Japanese can be found every day discussing suicide online. A typical message reads: ‘If you are thinking about killing yourself, please reply.’ Another says: ‘I’m in my early 20s and I want to die easily. Can go anywhere in Japan.’”
It is sobering to find questions such as the following online: “What is the best way to kill yourself when you’re under 13?”
But suicide is not the only way people try to harm themselves.
This may be the most nauseating “vile affection” (recall Romans 1) that men have embraced. A new term has been coined: “bug chaser”—a person who does not have HIV or AIDS, but tries to get it! It is claimed that this is the “ultimate experience”! Unbelievable, but true!
Here is how one writer explains this lifestyle: “In gay nightclubs across the U.S. men wear sleeveless shirts in hopes that someone will notice the tattoo ‘HIV-’ blazoned across their deltoid. What is not so obvious is that the intention of such a tattoo is to attract someone who is HIV+. It is an invitation to infect…In other words, the tattooed man is intentionally seeking an HIV+ partner to infect him with the virus. All that is left is a trip back to the tattoo artist to have that tattoo adjusted from negative to positive. Simple” (Alternatives Magazine).
A sound mind cannot imagine why a person would seek out such a disease. But it happens!
The article continues, “In private…clubs across the U.S. men gather for a chance to participate in what is called Russian Roulette. Ten men are invited, nine are HIV-, one is HIV+. The men have agreed to not speak of AIDS, nor HIV. They participate in as many unsafe…encounters with each other as possible, thus increasing their chances to receive ‘the bug.’ These are the men known as ‘Bug Chasers.’”
Some want to “belong”; others “do not want to worry” about acquiring HIV anymore; some see it “as the deepest level of intimacy.” In a sense, this is similar to people who cut themselves. The following quote provides an explanation: “Self Injurious Behavior may have several motivations…Self injurers say that their behavior offers: ‘escape from emptiness, depression...relief from intense feelings...an expression of emotional pain...escaping numbness...a feeling of euphoria...a relief of anger...a sense of control over one’s body...expressing or coping with feelings of alienation’” (ibid.).
As mentioned in Part One, the modern world is sick, rotting to its core.
But it gets worse…
Unheard of Horrors
We live in a world in which there are groups of people who are in love with death. There are websites that display pictures of dead bodies. And this is provided for the people who have “incurable gross-out” desires, as the term is used. There is an entire industry catering to people who want “snuff” films—movies that feature footage of people being killed. In fact, an avid demand exists for these movies. Even worse, sometimes the ones being killed are children. And, we repeat, there is a strong demand for this!
Absolutely disgusting, horrifying and inconceivable!
The last story that will be mentioned is so sickening it can only be briefly described. In 2003, a German man was charged with killing and eating another man. Certainly, in particular cultures cannibalism has existed for millennia. However, what makes this account so exceptionally shocking is that the man who was charged with the crime had actually advertised on the Internet, seeking someone who was healthy and wanted to be eaten! He found such a “volunteer”—the things they did are unspeakable (Eph. 5:12). In the end, he ate the man and claimed afterward that he felt much better and more mentally stable.
How sick can this world get? Apparently much worse. How are human beings capable of committing such actions? What drives them to indulge in such abhorrent activities?