Just what is the "beat" way of life the younger generation is embracing? Why do today's teen-agers lack any real sense of purpose? Here are the surprising answers!
London I HELD IT! I HELD IT!" screamed the girl in a state of ecstasy. "She touched George! She touched George!" exclaimed her excited mother after her daughter had grasped the hand of one of the Beatles on their recent American tour. "Please send me one of your hairs," pleaded a young British girl in a letter to a member of the Beatles.
The New Idolatry
"Our Beatles, which art in Liverpool, hallowed be..." began a composition written by a British youngster. In London, 30 girls "attacked" a 15-year-old boy who looked like one of the Beatles. Police had to rescue him from the romantic onslaught of the eager Beatle worshipers. Similar incidents occur throughout Great Britain. Common is the sight of teen-age girls frantically gasping and sighing in uncontrollable fashion, while watching their favorite beat group. One sees 13 and 14-year-old girls tearing their dresses apart, pulling their hair out, gaping with their mouths, screaming in senseless gibberish. Others leap onto the stage to touch their idols, often lapsing into unconsciousness. But the various beat groups find their admirers not only among the young and innocent. Many adults age 21 and above find this new "Beatle" culture fascinating. Says a vicar of the Church of England, in referring to his shoulder-length hair, "The youngsters like my hairstyle. I like the Beatles. I think playing their records in church will make a change from organ music." "Our boys have never looked lovelier," sighed a mother from London, "especially those who have had the sense to grow hair shoulder-length!" A reputable London minting firm is minting gold coins of the Beatles. This same firm had minted coins in commemoration of Churchill, Kennedy, and the Battle of Britain. And just recently, Archbishop Andrew Beck of Liverpool hinted that the Beatles may play at the opening of Liverpool's £2,500,000 Roman Catholic cathedral in 1967. The bishop went on: "It could be said that the Beatles DO MORE to bring the younger generation together than the international conferences of statesmen."
Why the Impact on Society
The Beatles merely one of many beat groups have had a phenomenal impact on today's society. They have actually met every member of the British Royal Family. Last year the Queen awarded them the OBE (Order of the British Empire) medal. It is supposed to represent outstanding service. I remember, in first coming to England five years ago, what an extraordinary sight it was for me to see one or two long-haired boys vegetating in Leicester Square, London. People would stop and stare for a moment then pass on. Today it is no longer necessary to visit that part of London. You can see long-haired juveniles everywhere from the larger cities to the small hamlets. It's no more a novelty. It's an altogether common sight. You see them at work, on the beach, at sport sessions, in stores in fact, almost everywhere. You watch them walking down the streets, not knowing what gender or sex they are. They wear long, effeminate-looking, often filth-infested hair. They may conceal themselves in animal skins and behave like monkeys. Their music consists of screams, tramplings, shoutings and constant beats. They are the beat generation, noted for their anti-everything campaign. Britain is not the only land affected by this charmless, tasteless spectacle. This "new culture" is spreading its tentacles to other lands, infesting their societies. In South Africa, a beat group called "The Zombies" is exploiting the teen-agers' lustful desires for this animal-type behavior. In West Germany it's "The Lords" that's typically German who are "sending" their frantic admirers into states of ecstasy. In communist East Germany it's the "River Squalors." A recent poll in East Germany showed that the Beatles, the Rolling Stones, and a local Magdeburg beat group rate higher on the teen-agers' list than do famous astronauts, civic leaders and even their own parents. It used to be film stars, sport heroes, inventors, writers or civil leaders who were idolized. Now it's the "Beatles," the "Animals," the "Zombies" and other beat groups who are worshipped. A concert program autographed by the Beatles was recently valued in New York at more than a four-page letter by the world-renown musician Brahms. Close to one hundred fans a week, according to a recent report, go to see the Benedict Canyon home where the Beatles stayed during their recent visit to Hollywood. And this in the "enlightened" 20th century!
Why It's a Way of Life
What type of people comprise this "beat" generation? Is it merely a clever gimmick to attract attention to themselves? Or is it a way of life? The fact is, it is a way of life with them by their own admission an ugly, senseless one. The philosophy of this way of life depicts life as meaningless and purposeless. Listen to the beat generation's own claim: "Sometimes I wish I could do something more worthwhile than just drifting," laments one youth. "I like to surround myself with the old world. All this stuff takes me back and helps my mind to wander!" says another, a well-known, long-haired pop singer, in a book entitled Generation X. "Your mind is geared to fantasy rather than fact," explained another who had absorbed this "beat" way of life. "I usually get up at about 11 o'clock and I get so bored with nothing to do that I feel desperate." "I like to be alone sometimes. I get the feeling I just want to get away from everything." "I like to feel free, to go anywhere and not have to worry," is the desired outlook on life of a 20-year-old. These examples typify the outlook this beat generation has. The youngsters don't become beatniks automatically by just allowing their hair to grow long and wearing untidy clothes. It's an ideology a way of life, with them. The dirty clothes and long hair merely serve as a uniform for the soldiers of this degenerate philosophy.
Why Against Society
If there is one prime characteristic that brands this group of people, it is their anti-society outlook. Followers of this "beat" generation make no effort to hide this fact. On the contrary! Their ill-kempt appearance, their outlandish clothes, their immoral codes, their childish philosophy serve the purpose of marking them as rebels against society. The last thing they would want is to be associated in any way with organized society as it is. Their philosophy is to be totally different, to be completely disorganized and the closer they can get to existing in a state of chaos the better they like it. "I hate civilization," spouts one youth from Kent. "I can't stand anything modern. The more primitive things are the more I like them." And a London lad adds, "The thing I hate most is people in authority." A fitting example of this abhorrence and rebellion towards constituted authority is evidenced periodically by a large segment of today's youth. Britain's annual holidays are used by them in turning sea resorts into veritable jungles. Instead of serving as places for vacationing, these resort towns become targets for widespread devastation. It's not uncommon to see this spectacle. On their motorcycles they come, like locusts hundreds of them. Long-haired, anti-social, anti-government, anti-religious, anti-everything. Like a foreboding plague, they come to throw into confusion everything that is orderly. Their destructive purpose is carried out ruthlessly. Like a devastating hurricane, they bring chaos to a peaceful community. Dr. George Simpson, British magistrate, aptly describes this anti-social segment of today's youth: "These longhaired, mentally unstable petty little Sawdust Caesars seem to find courage, like rats, by hunting only in packs..." Along with this anti-social outlook is their abhorrence of religion and morals. They want to live, or better yet, exist, like animals. States one disappointed youth, "I don't believe in religion because it does nothing for you." "Religion is for old people who have given up living," asserts one teen-ager boldly. And a London girl adds, "Religion to most teen-agers is an old person's fairy tale. Most teen-agers think about God, but the Bible and the church seem so completely remote and irrelevant to their lives." In a recent interview, teen-agers had this to say about religion: "The Church of England is a society that exists for the middle class. A giant Tory party at prayer. A hobby for old ladies. The Church service is boredom in a strange language that might as well be Chinese. A priest is someone out of touch with life." (Daily Mirror, March 16, 1964). But WHY are adherents of this new perverted culture anti-social and anti-religious? Why does a great segment of the younger generation accept this "beat" philosophy? What's the underlying cause of it all? And what's the real solution?
Causes for Grievances
The cause is simple human nature! Human nature is characterized by outright REBELLION towards all constituted authority. "Authority stifles us!" is the way one of them puts it. They fight to be rid of any authority to which they have to be obedient. It's an attitude of resentment, of contempt towards anyone in a place of authority. An unlawful yearning for no restraints, no discipline, no moral codes. "I shall remain an individual!" says one youth, by which he means he is not going to abide by any moral code nor obey any lawful injunction. "I shall like what I like and go where I like," this teen-ager continues. The demand to be free from the sway and control parents have over them is merely another manifestation of their hatred for authority. "I'd marry anyone just to spite my parents," says one beat-girl contemptuously. "Why should you be bossed around by people in authority?" asks one youngster. This attitude of rebellion in human nature is the new beat culture it's a hatred for any established order, a contempt for all authority, and a rejection of all moral codes. But there is another important reason why this "beat" movement has sprung up. It's the society around us the man-made society that has molded the minds and morals of our statesmen, our teachers and parents! Today's leaders failed their duty they did not teach the younger generation the real purpose of life. Why? Because they themselves did not know the purpose of life. Society never taught them. Their teachers never taught it in school because they in turn had never learned it. People simply don't know why they were born! And yet there is a wonderful and great purpose for which every child, every teen-ager, and every adult has been born. If they knew what it was, the "beat" generation would never have started! Of course, society has taught certain human values of life. But the real purpose of why we were put here on the earth what life is all about that society has failed to give. Notice how some of the younger generation feel about the failure of education, of religion, of philosophy, of government. One office worker asks, "Why on earth do I go into this office every day and get so heated about it, just for a miserly wage packet? Where is it all leading? Is this life? Who am I and what's it all for, anyway?" These are questions society cannot answer. It's incapable of doing so because it doesn't know the answer itself. "My life will probably be quite futile," says another. "Most lives are." "The general prospects for the future are not too bright," confesses one youth who looks at world conditions and realizes the state of hopelessness the world finds itself in. Another youngster says half-heartedly, "I suppose there's a purpose to life, but I'm still very mixed up. I'm scared of the future." "There is a feeling in the air that something is going to happen," says another apprehensively. "What is there to expect from our so-called rulers?" demands one person angrily. Adherents to this beat attitude look at the world situation the confusion, the mistrust, the bickering, the insecurity and hopelessness of this world and realize that all is not well! They consequently develop a feeling of antipathy toward everything associated with modern society. "Our elders and betters do not inspire us, do not give us the slightest incentive to be as they are," admits one teen-ager bitterly. Their elders are blamed for failing to make this a safer, more peaceable world to live in. The statesmen and politicians are blamed for bringing this world to the brink of hydrogen-bomb annihilation. "If they had set a better example, things might be different for us," they claim. A few public officials realize society has failed to convey anything really worthwhile for youth to live for. One member of parliament told a gathering of interested listeners recently, "We've got to beat the Beatles!" Mr. Henry Price, Tory M.P. for West Lewisham, warned. "It is useless decrying it [the beat attitude], or being rude about it and about those who like it. We must OFFER TEEN-AGERS SOMETHING THEY WILL LIKE BETTER." But society, delinquent and divided itself, cannot furnish the younger generation with a better answer. Society has nothing concrete, and nothing permanent to offer, merely more gadgets, more entertainment. But doesn't religion provide a worthwhile goal to the youngsters? some may ask. Don't the churches and the other religions teach the younger generation a goal in life?
Today's Religion the Answer?
The tragic answer is NO! The religious leaders are themselves confused. They themselves don't know what our purpose in life is. They argue among one another, each defending his own idea about what he thinks the meaning of life is. Today's religions are considered by most teen-agers as dull, antiquated and meaningless. This fact is admitted by a former youth chaplain, Ronald Green. "We must face the fact that the church has a very unhappy image with most young people. And we must do something about it. The world is growing faster, noisier, more selfish and restless. The church will have to find something to appeal to the young astronauts of the future," he continues, and finally warns: "We must have something to say to our children as they soar out to space." But WHAT? Certainly not what one vicar from London suggested, "If unmarried people want to have sex, who is the church to say they are right or wrong?" A great many ministers of religion are divided in their opinions as to God's existence, Christ's Divinity, the Bible's authority and whether or not to keep any of God's Laws. Practically everyone seems to have a different opinion. Thus some ministers in Britain assume and teach youngsters that God no longer exists, that there is no need to keep any Divine Laws, since the Bible carries no authority anyway. It's as Dr. George Macleod of the Church of Scotland said recently, "Every discipline in the church has gone and religious culture has had it... There used to be a discipline of the Bible but that has lost its authority. One cannot even assume knowledge of it. Any layman or any person can believe precisely what he likes." Can we therefore be surprised if the younger generation disbelieves in God and in keeping any moral codes? Is it any wonder then that teen-agers in our countries are responsible for an ever-increasing number of crimes? If the churches teach disobedience and ignorance, can we expect the adolescent child to develop a healthy respect for law? If society fails to teach the younger generation the true purpose of life, should we be surprised if a great segment of our teen-agers allow themselves to drift closer and closer to this purposeless "beat" way of life? The answers should be obvious!
Teen-age Problems Prophesied!
People today want to deny God's existence, or at least dispute His authority. It will therefore come as a great surprise to them that the very Book they reject actually foretold this very situation civilization finds itself in today. Read it in your Bible! God foretold the very time we are living in: "... the child shall behave himself proudly against the ancient, and the base against the honorable" (Isa. 3:5). At that time todaychildren shall be our oppressors (v. 12). Has there ever been a time when the adolescent child and teen-ager have given us more headaches and been in more mischief than is true today? Just look at the increase in teen-age crime! The disrespect for their elders and parents! The contempt for law and order! The apostle Paul warned: "In the LAST DAYS perilous times shall come. For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, DISOBEDIENT TO PARENTS, unthankful, unholy" (II Tim. 3:1-2). It describes our society perfectly. What is wrong? Why the turmoil, agitation, violence, purposelessness? It is because humanity has rejected God's way of life and lost sight of the marvelous purpose God has for mankind. "My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge!" God says in describing our time (Hosea 4:6). Our society has "rejected knowledge" the true knowledge about the real purpose in life. Consequently, God foretold through the prophet Isaiah: "The wisdom of their wise men shall perish, and the understanding of their prudent men shall be hid" (Isa. 29:14). Blinded to God's purpose! Wandering in darkness, thoroughly perplexed, unable to find the solution to today's problems! That's the world you live in!
What Is the Solution?
What youth needs is a goal! The right goal! If you understand what it is, you know why God put us on the earth and what life is all about. It's summarized in our free booklet Why Were You Born? You yourself may not have any "blue blood" in you. But did you know that you were actually born to become a king? Man's ultimate destiny is to rule the universe. Some may realize. that Jesus Christ is called the "King of kings" (I Tim. 6:15), that He is capable of intervening in the affairs of this world, that Christ rules over the entire universe, including the earth (Matt. 28:18; Heb. 2:7-8). But very few realize that you were put on earth to become like Jesus Christ. Read it in I John 3:2, "... we know that, when he [Christ] shall appear, we shall be like Him, for we shall see him as he is." We are to share Christ's glory, His throne (Rev. 3:21), from which He will rule the nations! Notice Christ's promise, "And he that overcometh and keepeth my works unto the end, to him will I give power over the nations. And he SHALL RULE them with a rod of iron" (Rev. 2:26-27). Yes, if we qualify, then we shall actually be born kings, ruling over the earth and eventually the entire universe. Notice: "And [He] hast made us unto our God kings and priests: and we shall reign on the earth" (Rev. 5:10). But there are prior conditions. God will not allow rebellious beatniks to rule the world. Only those who submit to God's government can qualify. We must first live "by every word of God" (Matt. 4:4), develop God's character, overcome ourselves with God's help (Matt. 5:48). God Almighty does not automatically grant everyone eternal life and rulership over the nations. Every person must be qualified and must have proved himself to be trustworthy to accept such a great and splendorous responsibility. That is why God in His Word lays such stress on character development. If we are to rule with Christ, we must begin to think and act like He does. That is why it is so very important and vitally necessary for us to use time wisely in this life, building character (Matt. 5:48). That is why we must study God's inspired Word constantly so that we may acquire the traits and characteristics God Himself possesses. That is why total OBEDIENCE to God is mandatory if we are to share in the rulership of the earth under Christ. This is what our teen-agers should be taught. This vital knowledge of God's plan for mankind is what the younger generation desperately needs, but has totally lacked. Our educators haven't known it. Our parents were not taught it. God tells us in His Word, "Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it" (Prov. 22:6). The trouble is society has taught its "children" directly or indirectly that there is no real purpose to life. Consequently, when the child reaches maturity, being an offspring of this corrupt society, he or she will believe that there is no purpose in life, and will be attracted to a purposeless way of life to fill the empty void in every human's mind. But where society has failed, God will not. He is soon going to intervene in world affairs to stop world suicide. He will set up His Kingdom. Then He will reveal His great purpose to all mankind. The whole world will be taught God's true way of life and the purpose for our existence (Micah 4: 1-2). There won't be any more wars. Think of it! But now God calls only a few the "firstfruits" (Jas. 1:18) and gives us this wonderful opportunity, so that we might now develop our talents and grow in wisdom and character. Then we can later help the teeming millions including the beat generation now living in ignorance of God's plan. All whom God will use to teach the rest of the world His way of life are described in Daniel12:3, "And they that be wise shall shine as the brightness of the firmament; and they that turn many to righteousness as the stars forever and ever." What glorious splendor! What marvelous purpose God has in store for us. Will YOU be there?