The Perverseness of Man

By Luther Blackmon

Any reputable doctor will tell you that the only safe way to lose weight and control it is through diet. Control your appetite. But people like to eat. Especially fat people. So they take reducing pills, ride bicycles, go to health clubs that provide strenuous exercises, and they stuff themselves with fattening foods. If a man wants to waddle along through his short life looking like a bunch of bulldogs fighting in a cotton sack, that’s his business. But he should not kid himself that he really wants to lose weight until he is willing to control his eating. So much for the health lecture.

The head of the FBI, Mr. J. Edgar Hoover has told us over and over for years and years that the greatest deterrent to juvenile delinquency and crime is the influence of religion and religious life. Statistics show that the percentage of people in our penal institutions that have attended church regularly is very low. If my memory serves me right, less than five per cent. But the parents are not impressed it seems. Only fifty-one per cent of the people in the United States are even “church related” as they say. And, of course, only a small percent of that fifty-one per cent attend regularly. Take the churches of Christ for example. You can find about as many people who claim church membership who do not attend, as you can find that do. And our people would likely run a little higher than the general average. It is pretty safe to say that less than twenty-five per cent of young people in this country attend church with anything like regularity. The one thing that nearly everyone knows would exert the greatest influence for good in the lives of the young people and be most likely to keep them from crime, the parents refuse to give them.

They give them money to spend, provide country clubs, parks, dance halls, gymnasiums and just nearly everything that appeals to the flesh. And this to keep them out of trouble. But they will not do the one thing that has proven most effective. They will not take them to church, every Sunday.

There are likely many reasons for this. One is the utter spiritual bankruptcy of these parents. They don’t care about God. To worship him is bore some. So they have conjured up a vision of God as a sort of benign, over-indulgent, heavenly Grandfather who will let them do as they please. And it doesn’t please them to go to church and worship. Or maybe they think they will hear something at church that will make them uncomfortable, and they don’t want to be tormented before their time.

So, they play their poker and canasta, for a little money to make it interesting; they drink their cocktails or their beer; they lounge around all day on the Lord’s day in a bathing suit, or they cut the grass and wash the car, or they catch up on the sleep they lost at the party on Saturday night, while their children roam the neighborhood with the rest of the neglected children whose parents don’t care about their souls. And then they have the unmitigated egotism to assume that their children will never get into trouble because they have “raised them right.”

But more and more of their children are showing them year after year that they are wrong. Juvenile delinquency and crime are constantly on the increase. But let us not be too hard on the young people. They didn’t ask for the kind of parents they have.

Truth Magazine VI: 7, pp. 16
April 1962