The Upside-Down World
Back in April, a street-corner preacher in Britain mentioned to a passing shopper that the Bible calls homosexuality a sin.
The comment got him thrown in jail.
An atheist homosexual policeman contended that since Dale McAlpine’s remark was loud enough to be overheard, he had broken the Public Order Act—a law passed in 1986 to control violent rioters and football hoodlums. Police carted McAlpine off, and he spent seven hours in a cell for causing “harassment, alarm or distress.”
It was quite the crackdown, considering what happened elsewhere on Britain’s streets at about the same time. After an Israeli official gave a lecture at the University of Manchester, she was attacked by pro-Palestinian protesters. Police responded to this provocation by escorting the official from the premises in a police car. The protesters climbed onto the hood of the vehicle and tried to break the windshield. They were not prosecuted. Apparently in Britain, this is “protected speech.”
Welcome to the Upside-Down World.
It’s a world where truth is trashed and lies are lauded. Where the honorable are despised and the depraved are empowered. Where sound morals and strong character are relentlessly mocked—while immorality is praised, paraded and protected.
“Self-evident common sense appears to have been turned on its head,” writes Melanie Phillips in her book The World Turned Upside Down. “[S]elf-designated ‘victim groups’ have turned right and wrong, victim and aggressor inside out. Their ‘right’ not to be insulted or discriminated against in any way has become the basis for discrimination and injustice against the representatives of majority values. …
“Nothing is really as it is said to be,” she writes. “Society seems to be in the grip of a mass derangement.”
Has the world gone mad?
There is a hidden cause for this bewildering trend that very few are willing to acknowledge. It is a remarkable reality that explains a whole array of seemingly paradoxical problems that bedevil our world.
Protect Muhammad, Mock Jesus
In this world, everything is twisted in knots. The solution to debt problems is increased spending. The antidote to government waste is more government. “Freedom of speech” is used as a shield for vulgarity and filth—and a bludgeon against godliness and virtue.
Comedy Central cartoons mock everything. They delight in committing sacrilege. Back in April, one poked fun at the furor over depictions of Muhammad, founder of Islam, by showing him dressed in a bear suit. A radical New York-based Islamic group didn’t like that one bit. On its website, RevolutionMuslim.com, it posted a warning along with a graphic photo of Theo van Gogh, the Dutch filmmaker brutally murdered in 2004 by a Muslim; it warned that the show’s creators might suffer the same fate.
Comedy Central’s executives got the message. They censored the cartoon and removed all record of it online.
Then they turned around and proceeded with plans to create JC, a cartoon aimed squarely at garnering laughs at Christians’ expense. The show will depict God and Jesus Christ as regular guys who move to modern-day New York City, where Jesus adjusts to big city life while a deadbeat God sits home and plays video games.
These two seemingly incongruous decisions are hardly unusual. In fact, both follow a pattern increasingly playing out in America and Britain. In societies that value free speech, many decision-makers are shutting down even mild criticism of Islam. And though these same societies also value freedom of religion, public and even private expression of Bible-based Christianity is coming under fierce attack.
Leaders and officials kowtow to bullies and thugs on one hand, then become bullies and thugs on the other. They accommodate evil and vilify good.
A New Orthodoxy
The first words uttered when a baby is born are either “It’s a boy!” or “It’s a girl!” That is because sex is biological reality—and none too difficult to detect.
None too difficult, that is, except for intellectuals. In their Upside-Down thinking, nothing is either/or, black-or-white—not even male or female! Gender is a choice, a state of mind, a construct, and always open for reinterpretation. Using this warped logic, they exalt homosexuality, bisexuality and varying degrees of transsexuality including surgical “sex change.”
How brazen are intellectuals at rewriting reality? British law now mandates that transsexuals be allowed to receive a new birth certificate saying they were born the opposite sex. If this person believes he was born female, then he was born female! And anyone who says differently is a bigot! is the message.
Proponents of such policies think they are creating a world free from oppression and hate, a world of tolerance and understanding, where everyone is accepted, where no one is condemned and no one’s feelings are ever hurt. In truth they are intolerantly imposing their Upside-Down reality, creating a nightmare world where discomfort with moral deviancy is punishable by law.
In this world, morality has been flipped on its head. Freedom of religion is being beaten to death by the “freedom” to practice aggressive homosexual activism. State and local laws criminalizing behavior deemed discriminatory against cross-dressers, bisexuals and homosexuals are forcing businesses, schools and publicly funded organizations to embrace perversion. Last December, a British registrar was forced to resign for refusing to conduct same-sex “weddings.” A pediatrician had to leave an adoption panel because he wouldn’t approve homosexual couples for adoption. In February 2009, a Scottish couple were denied their request to adopt their two grandchildren—so that the children, ages 4 and 5, could be adopted by a gay male couple; when the grandparents objected, the judge told them to hush up if they ever wanted to see the children again.
Such bullying is perpetrated in the name of “tolerance”—when in actuality it bears the hallmarks of history’s despotic regimes. Phillips argues that the religious tyrannies of the Middle Ages and the political tyrannies of the 20th century have been replaced by something just as pernicious: cultural totalitarianism. “Medieval Christianity—like contemporary Islamism—stamped out dissent by killing or conversion; Western liberals do it by social and professional ostracism and legal discrimination,” she writes.
“It is a kind of secular Inquisition. And the grand inquisitors are to be found within the intelligentsia—in the universities, the media, the law, the political and professional classes—who not only have systematically undermined the foundations of Western society but are heavily engaged in attempting to suppress any challenge or protest.”
In this world, “reason” supposedly reigns. The reality, however, is that false and empty values have become the new dogma—at the expense of reason. The most intellectual—those who purportedly believe in the unassailable omnipotence of rationality—have become shockingly irrational. Facts that don’t fit the party line, they discard or ridicule. Biblical orthodoxy has simply been replaced by a rabidly secularist orthodoxy.
Power to the Little People
Mountains of evidence show the benefits of traditional marriage to both husband and wife, as well as society at large—and the high costs associated with its dissolution. It proves the enormous advantages to children—in personal safety, academic performance, financial well-being, emotional stability, self-respect, and assimilation into law-abiding adult life, among other things—of growing up under the same roof with both biological parents, a living arrangement built upon a strong, stable relationship between a sperm-producing adult male and an egg-producing adult female.
But because this evidence contradicts the secularist agenda, it is routinely overlooked, ignored, dismissed and scorned. The Upside-Down World keeps cranking up the pressure to popularize deviant sexuality—while removing pressure on singles to marry, pressure on married people to remain together, pressure on parents to make sacrifices for their children, and pressure on children to view their parents as authorities. All history proves that strong societies begin with strong marriages and families, yet intellectuals continue heedlessly striking blows at the pillars of family life.
In the Upside-Down World, families are bottom-up: Children rule, and parents take orders. Legitimate efforts to safeguard children from abuses have been overwhelmed by hostile efforts to undermine parental authority and dismantle the family structure. All physical discipline—an indispensable tool that the Bible commands parents to use to correct bad behavior—is considered cruel and abusive.
The United Nations Convention on the Rights of a Child requires signatory countries to enact legislation to stamp out “all forms of physical or mental violence”—including spanking. But even beyond that, the convention emasculates parents by guaranteeing children the right of privacy, even within their own home, as well as “freedom of thought, conscience and religion.” Yes, Upside-Down leaders in the world’s foremost international body are convinced that children thrive best when parents abdicate their duty to educate their children spiritually.
Like-minded authorities have stripped authority from professional educators as well. With teachers unable to discipline students, classrooms increasingly become hatcheries of churlishness and rebellion. Apparently the students’ right to misbehave in school is more important than their right to actually learn.
The ominous vision of the Prophet Isaiah is now reality: “I will give children to be their princes, and babes shall rule over them. … [T]he child shall behave himself proudly against the ancient, and the base against the honourable” (Isaiah 3:4-5).
Yet, consider the irony. While Upside-Down legal minds work to empower children at their parents’ expense in many areas, there is one issue on which they stand firmly, even belligerently, with parents over their children: They passionately defend parents’ right to kill their own children before they are born.
Wage War to Help the Enemy
The routine murder of innocents may be protected in the clinic—but in the Upside-Down World, it is to be avoided at all costs on the battlefield. Even if it costs victory.
In the Afghanistan war—where the government and people are demonstrating sympathy for the Taliban—the top nato commander, Stanley McChrystal (before he resigned in June), was looking for ways to protect Afghan civilians. He considered a new military honor that recognizes soldiers who refrain from fighting: an award for “courageous restraint.”
Radical Muslim groups love it. They are far less concerned about civilian deaths; in fact, they invite them. They use a hodgepodge of vile, despicable tactics—purposefully embedding themselves among locals, even using schools and hospitals as staging grounds for rocket attacks—aimed specifically at provoking retribution that kills civilians (who, in many cases, actually sympathize with their cause), which they then broadly publicize for propaganda purposes. And the media and political classes eagerly trumpet that propaganda—even in cases where it is demonstrably false.
Clearly, Muslims aren’t the only ones who sympathize with terrorists; liberal intellectuals do as well.
Common sense says that someone trying to kill you and your family, someone trying to destroy your country, is an enemy. But such reasoning is far too barbaric for Western thinkers. Black-and-white morality has been replaced by a world of grays, of relativism, where even the most depraved behavior can be explained and excused. The Western mind has become deeply ambivalent about evil. Even words like evil and enemy are considered simplistic and backward.
A pillar liberal doctrine is that the perpetrators of evil acts are not responsible because they are actually victims of a far greater evil: Western ideals. Thus, “victim” groups are considered incapable of wrongdoing, while “privileged” classes are incapable of good. Muslims cannot be held responsible for terrorism—their Western targets must be the real cause.
As a result of such ridiculous moral reasoning, the very nature and purpose of warfare has been flipped topsy-turvy. War is now something a nation must do for its enemy. Humanitarian goals trump self-defense. All efforts to seek the nation’s own interests are branded immoral and shameful. An oxymoronic “humanitarian war” approach has embroiled America and its allies in absolutely impossible efforts to rebuild and rehabilitate those nations it defeats.
Success in warfare used to benefit the victorious nation; in the Upside-Down World, “victory” comes with inexhaustible, unachievable moral obligations. War can never be won.
Heroes and Villains
Hamas runs Gaza as a theocratic police state; it silences dissent; it allows no religious expression outside radical Islam; it uses terrorism to advance its foreign policy, which is to annihilate Jews. Israel, by contrast, is a liberal democracy; it has an independent judiciary and an independent press; it protects religious freedom, even for the 16 percent of its citizens who are Muslim.
Which of these two do you suppose Western elites increasingly view as a political partner—and which as a villain?
It is positively bizarre. What possesses apparently intelligent, reasonable people who value political freedoms and respect for human life to defend the terrorist cause? Why are they so willing to overlook the barbaric acts of misogyny and murder—so seemingly contrary to liberal ideals—that plague radical Islamist culture? And why, then, are they so unforgiving as Jews try to defend themselves against it?
There is no reasoned public debate over these questions. Throughout academia, the media and political circles, the supposed rightness of the Palestinian cause over that of Israel is considered irrefutable.
In Upside-Down downtown Manhattan, a retail store damaged by shrapnel from the 9/11 terrorist attacks was razed—in order to make room for a new 13-story mosque. “In the ruins of a building reduced to rubble in the name of Islam, a temple to Islam will arise,” commented author Mark Steyn.
The increasingly universal immunity to reason vividly showed this past May when authorities foiled a bombing attempt in New York City’s Times Square. As always happens when a Muslim commits or tries to commit a terrorist act, politicians and press in America and Britain disregarded facts, threw out the religion connection and searched for a cause within trivialities like the would-be bomber’s struggle to pay his mortgage. New York’s mayor speculated that he was probably a right-winger, “somebody with a political agenda that doesn’t like the health care bill.” Wrong. Turns out the perp was on orders from the Pakistani Taliban. The mayor responded to the news by praising his city’s Pakistanis and gravely stating, “We will not tolerate any bias or backlash against Pakistani or Muslim New Yorkers.”
The rush to exhibit such multicultural sanctimony has become so predictable after such incidents. The more that Muslims attack, the louder we praise them. The same Upside-Down reaction was on parade five years ago, after Islamic suicide bombers killed 52 Londoners on their morning commute. British officials didn’t blame Islam—but Islamophobia. London’s mayor asserted that the true fault lay in “80 years of Western intervention into predominantly Arab lands because of the Western need for oil.”
Reality is screaming in their faces, and they are closing their eyes, plugging their ears, and saying “La la la la la.”
Why are efforts to merely enforce existing immigration law in order to curb rising kidnapping and murder branded as racist? Why are illegal immigrants in Britain guaranteed welfare benefits by law? Why is it against the law to deport dodgy foreign terrorist suspects back to their home countries out of concern that their human rights might be violated there?
These are senseless, dangerous policies—yet intellectuals will rise up in full-throated indignation against any who dare question them.
Political correctness—a bramble bush of self-contradicting doctrines—has so ensnared the self-declared scholarly that even when facts are presented that expose the error in their thinking they will not budge.
“Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!” Isaiah lamented. “Woe unto them that are wise in their own eyes, and prudent in their own sight!” (Isaiah 5:20-21).
He couldn’t possibly have described the Upside-Down World with more penetrating precision.
Science Meets Paganism
A few more examples get us closer to understanding the hidden cause that has flipped our world Upside-Down.
Remarkably, in our modern world supposedly dominated by reason, primitive religions and paganism are enjoying a renaissance. The fastest growing religious category in America is witchcraft and paganism. In Britain, where the Church of England is fading from significance, the 1990s saw a 20-fold increase in the number of practicing pagans. “Whereas paganism would once have been seen as inimical to religion, it is now viewed in Britain’s multicultural nirvana as just another faith,” writes Melanie Phillips in her book; she cites examples of hospitals, prisons and even the police making special provisions for the polytheists and nature worshipers in their ranks, such as getting leave for holidays like Halloween and the summer solstice.
One contributing factor to this trend is the rise in another cause célèbre of the intelligentsia: environmentalism. Run-of-the-mill proponents of “saving the Earth” have found their goals meshing nicely with those of pagan Earth worshipers. For example, one man said he was drawn into environmental campaigning during his studies at the University of Essex, which led him to paganism and later to witchcraft; he went on to found the Dragon organization, which practices “ecomagic”—which is “rituals and spells to oppose road-building programs and other projects with negative environmental impact.”
“God was dead, apparently; and yet secular progressives were seeking spiritual expression by going backwards in time to the paganism that had preceded the Hebrew Bible and Christianity—texts which they called reactionary,” Phillips writes. They rejected and attacked the “male God” revealed in Scripture in favor of “Mother Earth” and varying versions of female-dominated spiritualism.
“The pantheism or nature-worship that had characterized the most regressive movements of thought since the Enlightenment now resurfaced in an eruption of primitivism, which purported to be at the cutting edge of radical thought,” Phillips writes. Thus, in typical Upside-Down fashion, the archaic is considered avant-garde.
The nature-worship that feeds and informs the environmental movement goes far beyond the God-given command for mankind to exercise responsible stewardship of creation, “to dress it and to keep it.” At the root of such thinking, in fact, is the heretical notion that the greatest enemies of the planet are human beings.
Environmentalism’s most extreme proponents are not content with antipollution efforts, for example; they advocate a revolutionary return to hunter-gatherer primitivism. Some have compared humans to an infectious disease, a cancer on the planet. Valuing humans over other animals is branded as “speciesism,” a sin as unforgivable as racism or sexism, if not more so. Paul Watson, who founded Greenpeace and directs the Sierra Club, said that “earthworms are far more valuable than people,” and the “world will be a much nicer place without us.” Unsurprisingly, many of them are big believers in population-control methods like compulsory sterilization and abortion. Even John Holdren, adviser to President Barack Obama and director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, wrote a book in 1977 approving of these despotic policies.
As Phillips says, where Judaism and Christianity show man to be the center of creation, “the religion of ecology … aims to knock him off that perch by undoing civilization.”
Such self-sabotaging perversity begins to unmask the dark reality of Upside-Downness. At its heart is an assault on truth as defined in Scripture. If the Bible calls something evil, this world calls it good. If God explains something a certain way, this world is certain anything other than that is possible.
Little Green Men
The Apostle Paul recorded a scathing rebuke that has shown itself to be remarkably prophetic: He described scholars and academics “Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed for ever” (Romans 1:25).
These are hallmarks of the Upside-Down World: truths changed to lies; material things exalted above the God who made them; plain, clear, scriptural understanding scorned and irrational human reasoning worshiped.
These traits represent a fundamental hostility to reason. Yet they are manifestly present in the supposedly irreproachable, objective realm of science: Consider the evidence-defying, data-manipulating commitment to the man-made global warming doctrine and the impassioned vilification of skeptics; or the blacklisting and excommunication of scientists who so much as acknowledge the possibility that the elegance and predictability of the material world suggests intelligent design. The scientific establishment brusquely closes the curtain on anything that challenges the ridiculous notion that there are no answers whatsoever beyond matter itself—what Democritus called “atoms and the void.”
As a result, the establishment must turn its back on a great many facts—and simultaneously embrace some ludicrous fictions. Befuddled by the majesty of life, and the impossible perfection of the Earth to support it, scientists have entered the realm of fantasy in order to sustain their belief in a godless universe. They have suggested, with nothing to offer as proof but their own ideologically driven imaginations, that perhaps there are an infinite number of universes—magically making statistical impossibilities possible. Famous atheist zoologist Richard Dawkins—who delights in ridiculing religious believers and calling faith “a virus of the mind”—says he believes life may have been deposited on Earth by beings from outer space.
That’s right. In the Upside-Down World, superintelligent little green men from some great beyond (whose origin also must require an explanation, we might add) are easier to believe in than God. “[F]or scientific triumphalists mere facts apparently cannot compete with the doctrines laid down by the scientific priesthood,” Phillips explains.
The Apostle Paul put it this way: “Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools” (verse 22).
Harvard geneticist Richard Lewontin made this self-condemning admission in 1997: “We take the side of science [as opposed to the supernatural] in spite of the patent absurdity of some of its constructs, in spite of its failure to fulfill many of its extravagant promises of health and life, in spite of the tolerance of the scientific community for unsubstantiated just-so stories, because we have a prior commitment, a commitment to materialism. … Moreover, that materialism is absolute, for we cannot allow a Divine Foot in the door” (emphasis mine).
That is the crux of it: God must be kept out. Why?
These trends all contravene or undermine the truth as defined in Scripture. Yet it is this widely dismissed and disparaged Book that exposes and explains the cause for society’s violent departure from logic and sense.
It reveals the very real existence of a spirit realm, invisible to us. “[W]e wrestle not against flesh and blood,” wrote Paul, “but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places” (Ephesians 6:12).
Yes, the Bible speaks of a benevolent and omnipotent God. But it also tells of a malevolent spiritual force that we must be on guard against.
As Paul worked to spread the truth of the gospel throughout hostile, Gentile cultures, he encountered resistance that he explained this way: “[I]f our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost, in whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not …” (2 Corinthians 4:3-4).
The “god of this world” to which he referred was not the Creator. It was the same “god” the Apostle John described as “the great dragon … that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world” (Revelation 12:9).
Is it possible? The fact is, the volatile and deteriorating state of the world today—and the descent into ever more mad and crazy reasoning—cannot be fully comprehended without this understanding.
Read “Who Is the God of This World?” on page 28 for a scriptural explanation of how this “great dragon” came to have such a stranglehold on society. Herbert W. Armstrong described this biblically revealed reality as “the colossal kidnapping of all time”—in which the captives have been brainwashed into preferring and embracing the life and evil philosophy of the archkidnapper. “The willing victim … is the world that inhabits this planet Earth!” he wrote. “Yet this world has been so completely deceived that it cannot realize what actually has happened to it” (A World Held Captive).
The devil’s Upside-Down thinking is everywhere on display. He is a master at cloaking his motives, dressing up his destructive ambitions, making them appear noble and upright. “Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light,” Paul wrote in 2 Corinthians 11:14. But when his lies are compared against the right-side-up revelation in Scripture, the truth becomes clear.
The Upside-Down Mind
“How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning!” God wrote through Isaiah of this once-great angelic being who became the devil. “For thou hast said in thine heart, I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God … I will be like the most High” (Isaiah 14:12-14).
Satan believes he knows better than God. He has his own ideas about what is good, what is evil, how the universe should operate.
God created human beings in His own image and likeness, and placed them in dominion over the rest of the material creation on Earth (Genesis 1:26-30). He created them male and female and instituted marriage and family as a wonderful means of preparing them for life in His eternal Family. (These profound truths are thoroughly explained in Herbert W. Armstrong’s book The Incredible Human Potential, which we will send you for free upon request.)
Satan hates human beings and is trying to destroy us. “He was a murderer from the beginning”; he is father of lies, Jesus explained (John 8:44). Satan inspired the notion that human beings are just like animals, less valuable than earthworms. He loves terrorism, violence and bloodshed. He promotes sterilization and abortion.
The Upside-Down attack on marriage and family is authored by this miserable being. He hates marriage and family because they are so central to God’s master plan for man! Angels were never offered that potential (e.g. Matthew 22:30; Hebrews 1:4-5). Satan has trampled on God’s laws about sex—laws against fornication and adultery, pornography, homosexuality, gender confusion and so on, all intended to safeguard the family—because angels cannot have sex, and sex produces more human beings.
This great dragon has flipped government within families Upside-Down because he hates authority and loves anarchy. God tells children to obey their parents and to honor old people—so Satan encourages them to rebel against their parents and mock the aged. The devil wants emotion-driven, unbalanced young people to dominate society so we lose our perspective, our heritage and our memory.
Satan pushes the impression that the whole of the mind-bogglingly impressive material creation exists by mere happenstance—that there is no order or purpose for any of it. He has befogged people’s understanding of evil because he is the epitome of evil and yet doesn’t believe it! He disagrees with God’s assessment of him.
In fact, that old serpent disagrees with everything God thinks, because he has allowed his thinking to become so twisted up with hate. Of all the Upside-Down reasoning he has fobbed off on this world, at the root of it all is that satanic idea: God is wrong—I am right.
As Paul expressed it, “For they [the self-professed scholarly, under the influence of satanic thinking] being ignorant of God’s righteousness, and going about to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted themselves unto the righteousness of God” (Romans 10:3). As Lucifer said in his heart, I will exalt my throne—I will be like the most High.
This world is hoodwinked. So many of the people feverishly turning the world on its head are going about to establish what they think is right! “All are united by the common desire to bring about through human agency the perfection of the world,” Phillips writes, “an agenda which history teaches us leads invariably—and paradoxically—to tyranny, terror and crimes against humanity. Remarkably, all happen to be united also by a common and fundamental hostility to the central precepts of [biblical] religious belief …” (op. cit.).
The longer that people fail to submit themselves to the righteousness of God—who is the one and only true Lawgiver, who alone determines right from wrong—and the harder they work to establish their own righteousness, the more haywire this Upside-Down world will grow.
Thankfully, the sure Word of God promises that Jesus Christ will return and set this world right-side up. The Apostle Peter called this “the times of refreshing” and “the times of restitution of all things” (Acts 3:19-21). Christ Himself called it “the regeneration” (Matthew 19:28). You can read more about that wonderful Upside-Up World in the article on page 8.
Jesus instructed His disciples to pray, “Thy Kingdom come.” As far as I’m concerned, it can’t get here fast enough.