Millions indulge in entertainment as a way of escape. Here is a better pursuit!
NEARLY everyone enjoys being entertained. Yet few realize why entertainment and pleasure do not provide the hoped — for escape from personal burdens or international problems. To be sure, there's plenty to escape from! World leaders tiptoe for fear of making the waves that could climax in nuclear disaster. Mounting environmental and social problems threaten life. Financial worries prove awfully frustrating. So people turn to pleasure, excitement, illicit and licit drugs — including alcohol — illicit sex and new religions all for temporary relief. None, however, can offer true, lasting solutions. But there is hope! A way that leads to peace of mind here and now, as well as into the future.
Era of Bliss?
We have reached an unparalleled point in technological advancement. Some insist that technology will usher in a scientific world, providing everyone with happiness, ease and security. A prediction by U.S. News & World Report forecasts that in 50 years "people will live to a healthy old age of 100 or more, as super-drugs cure diseases such as cancer and senility. Genetic techniques will expand food production and curb pollution. Space colonies will orbit the earth, and the moon will be mined for its wealth...." The outlook endeavors to calm fears of famine and disease and focuses on "enormous amounts of data and entertainment." In a book titled The Coming Boom, the founder of a major U.S. think tank — the late Herman Kahn — has written how within the next two decades technology will make "more and more aspects of our private lives a breeze." He envisions the Free World as able to solve any anticipated problems concerning pollution or resources. But, we ask what of the millions of earth's inhabitants now sunk in abject deprivation? Have politicians and economists reached that point where they can prevent joblessness and the collapse of the debt market? What of the institutions of marriage and family? Will our neighborhoods be made safe from crime and violence by some means that has escaped our thinking till now? And do we think nations proliferating nuclear stockpiles to protect themselves from other nations — just in case — will suddenly change their policies? Does it sound like a man-made utopia is around the corner? The fact is this society governed by humans cannot survive another 50 years! Yet millions pretend these appalling evils are not real and that somehow they will just go away.
A New Society Coming
Even more than world-scale problems, people seek to escape their daily pressures. What with tense employer-employee relations, corporate competitiveness, berating relatives, congested traffic, mounting bills — you name it — little wonder nearly every country is plagued with drug abuse and alcoholism as forms of escapism. "Reality is for people who can't handle drugs," goes the poignant and twisted reasoning that seems to express a prevalent attitude of despair. Perhaps many of you who pick your copy of this magazine off the newsstands are disenchanted with reality, in despair about the future, confused about values, bereft of a sense of purpose, or searching for further meaning in life. We hope by reading this article you will discover there is genuine hope of lasting contentment and fulfillment both now and in years to come. Other people will spend a lifetime in search of something to alleviate the despondency and depression in their lives. They don't realize that within the physical realm alone true fulfillment will always remain elusive. They will always find that pleasures only lift their burdens temporarily. It's wrong medicine for the sickness. Rather, the only permanent pursuit, in place of the get way of pleasure seeking, is the give way of life. When will people finally learn "it is more blessed to give than to receive"?
Mad Craze to Escape
Twenty years ago The Plain Truth reported that Americans alone were spending $41 billion annually on fun or leisure-time activities. Today that figure is about six times as large and three times as much as the United States spends for national defense! At least one entertainment magazine has a special category titled "Escape" in its classified directory. Many see this as an innocent escape valve. Twenty years ago we also reported: "Mere escapism, drifting away from reality, is bad enough, but human nature is never satisfied with time-killing fantasy... desires that constantly demand newer and more exciting thrills." Some seek new limits in life risking activities. High risk "sure beats the boredom of a desk job," said one such seeker. Of course, there's nothing wrong with living a balanced, activity-packed, goal-oriented life. Entertainment, recreation, athletics, in themselves, are not wrong! Far from it! Wholesome family entertainment and outings, whether picnics, softball games or a host of other activities, are necessary parts of a well-balanced life. Balance is a necessary ingredient. Many take part in recreation to fill empty, boring lives, instead of doing something that could be used to directly improve their capacity to contribute to the well being of themselves and others. To participate in sports and other diversions exclusively to test extremes and limits is to miss the point.
Filling Empty Lives
Several years ago a metropolitan newspaper carried an advertisement by a man disenchanted with pleasure seeking. The advertisement read: "I've tried a dozen ways of being happy — some of the finest pleasure I know: hunting, sailing, travel, marvelous restaurants, theater, ball games, races — the works. But they're nothing. I feel like a free loader. I'll never get a kick out of those pleasures...." Travel, of itself, can be educational and beneficial too, but too many feel a nagging urge to travel just for the sake of escaping. Others seek a way out in gambling casinos, or hedonistic living rife with rich food, plenteous drink and sexual skylarking. Afterward, these same indulgent persons are as unhappy as before, none of their revelries having produced any genuine gratification or satisfaction. But isn't there anything tangible that can bring lasting fulfillment and peace of mind, a true escape from daily pressures and world problems? The answer lies not in solely accumulating material possessions. A former governor of California correctly said: "Our values are out of kilter if we think that just producing two or three cars apiece, an economy of obsolescence and increasing mobility and material accumulations is the good life.... Every civilization that has gone to a sensate, sensual culture has fallen."
Finding "the Way Out"
The Creator of mankind knows it is innately human to be dissatisfied with a material existence. The Creator also knew that mankind would live in fear's grip because humans refuse to acknowledge the only way to a rewarding peace of mind revealed by the Creator. "So will I choose their delusions, and bring their fears on them; because, when I called, no one answered, when I spoke they did not hear; but they did evil before My eyes, and chose that in which I do not delight" (Isa. 66:4, RAV throughout). "But God is unreal," millions insist. "He is an elusive, ambiguous figure lost in a mythological labyrinth." Of course God is unreal to those who look only to the physical realm for answers to their problems. Humans have forgotten God and put pleasures of this world in place of God. It was prophesied! "But know this, that in the last days perilous times will come: for men will be... lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God" (II Tim. 3:15). Don't you think it's time you claimed the promise in Isaiah 59:1: "Behold, the Lord's hand is not shortened, that it cannot save; nor His ear heavy, that it cannot hear"? God is conscious of and fully able to fill the human need for security, peace and fulfillment. But God has conditions that must be met before he makes that fulfillment available. The first step is admitting you have been wrong. No one can have peace of mind until he or she admits to contention, resentment, jealousy, anger, greed and a host of other causes (Gal. 5:19-21) that have led to the general misery and unhappiness in the individual. The world's inhabitants have gone directly opposite to God's way of give, outgoing concern, joy and peace that are only truly possible through God's Holy Spirit (Gal. 5:22-23). Because humans have not sought their Creator, "I have taken away My peace from this people," God says (Jer. 16:5). Thankfully, with God it is possible to bring oneself to a whole new attitude toward life. Only by living honestly with fellowman and humbly before God (Mic. 6:8) can you attain contentment and take comfort in knowing absolutely that God has the supernatural power to grant you safety and guarantee you peace of mind in an age where genocide is all too possible. Jesus Christ has promised to save mankind from extinction and set aright values and morals. At that time escape won't be necessary. That great master plan is outlined in Revelation, the book so often considered enigmatic. But our attractively printed booklet The Book of Revelation Unveiled at Last unmasks this plan and is yours for the asking. No longer do you have to live with a bleak future, wondering whether you will survive nuclear devastation, keep your job or keep from suffering. You won't grope futilely at entertainment, pleasures, alcohol, drugs or a host of other secular activities, hoping that they, of themselves, will provide lasting relief or happiness. Make no mistake: Peace of mind can only come from contact with God's Spirit, living the "give" way of life portrayed by Jesus Christ, who suffered the penalty of our sins in our stead. "For to be carnally minded is death, but to be spiritually minded is life and peace" (Rom. 8:6). David knew this source of everything good in this life and for all eternity: "Great peace [and fulfillment] have those who love Your law" (Ps. 119:165). Read our free reprint of the article "This is the Life - Real Abundant Living!" for more on how to find that fulfillment. Living God's way brings understanding of the true purpose for life and a means of attaining the ultimate satisfaction: eternal life.