I am torn. Really torn. When Tony Robbins, the the world's best known "motivational speaker" and the star of all those late night infomercials (ok yeah, I don't have a tv, but I saw him whenever I visited relatives.......) starts telling you about upcoming doom, you know things are looking bleak. Mr "unleash the power within you" and take charge of your own life is now saying we are facing a catastrophic economic retrenchment and you had better prepare, things are gloomy.
Maybe the fact that more and more people are howling doom and disaster is a sign the worst is past? I don't think so, but it the one item out there that makes me think "maybe we aren't headed over the cliff yet." Not much to cling to, I know. "Everyone is saying it, so it must be wrong."
Not that I have any EVIDENCE things are not going to get a lot lot worse. Everything I read makes me think "you know, I should buy some more non-perishable food" or "I should really enhance the skills I have in plumbing, or learn to fix a car, or learn wiring, or learn to weld" or "maybe I should buy a generator or some more ammo."
On the other hand, the one thing I have learned over the years is that the public is phenomenally stupid and lemming-like. My brother used to amuse me with stories of how Japanese people (he taught English in Japan for years) would resist new sporting events or cultural trends, and then all swarm in like some tsunami type wave. We are only slightly different in America, as we are amazingly homogenized, at least in popular culture.
The "man in the street" like you and me usually does not assess his culture so much as he swims in it like a fish and is unaware of how much it shapes his values, ideas and perspective. Before we were "post Christian" we at least had some sort of objective basis (the Bible, and the internal Holy Spirit) for saying "you know, I really don't CARE what all the people think, they are wrong!" This is cultural courage and the ability to stand alone, if need be, in the face of a culture addicted to lies.... of whatever stripe. This is gone, even in the evangelical world, as Christians remain appallingly ignorant of the book they claim is "truth," and instead select preachers according to their wishes, like an AM radio junkie who selects "Air America" over Rush Limbaugh.
When I die, I had rather be known as a weird, odd, "doesn't fit in" guy who held preposterous ideas but did not compromise, than slosh along in the soup of fools, lies, and outright wickedness that passes for popular wisdom.
Of course, I would like even MORE to be thought a man who displayed courage and was RIGHT in the face of a culture addicted to lies, but that is not my call to make. God both writes and reviews history, and I don't have His perspective. I just want to approximate the truth as best I can.
For the record, I hope Tony Robbins is wrong.