Which Way Is Up?

As investigators sifted through the wreckage — what little was left — colleagues, family, and friends were left to wonder: What caused Young to guide his airplane right into the ocean at more than 600 mph? The answer was both profoundly unsettling and all too familiar. Young experienced spatial disorientation, which caused him to misperceive his attitude, altitude, and airspeed... Young never knew what hit him.1

Spacial disorientation is a condition in which a pilot’s perception of direction does not agree with reality. In other words, he doesn’t know which way is up. It usually occurs when flying into clouds, and if the pilot has not been thoroughly trained to depend on his instruments rather than trusting his physical senses, sudden death soon follows.

Well-trained pilots who have survived spacial disorientation report that all of their senses were screaming at them to defy what their instruments were telling them. It was only by exercising extreme willpower that they were able to resist the overwhelming urge to trust their own feelings rather than the objective truth. In so doing, they were delivered from certain death.

Men and women today are experiencing a social disorientation that is even more deadly. A dense moral fog covers the earth, causing everyone to question what is right and what is wrong, what is good and what is evil. Strong voices say that there are no absolutes, that truth is relative, and that it is evil to condemn or forbid any lifestyle choice, or to restrain any impulse in the pursuit of pleasure. Few are those who have been trained to fix their eyes on the “instruments” — the objective indicators that have kept people from destroying themselves and others in the past.

Isaiah prophesied of these days some 2700 years ago:

Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light
and light for darkness, who put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter! (Isaiah 5:20)

Certainly there have always been individuals and small pockets of society that have shamelessly practiced and applauded perverse and degrading acts, but never before has evil been called good and good been called evil on such a global scale. For example, consider the following proverbs:

Whoever spares the rod hates his son,
but he who loves him is diligent to discipline him. (Proverbs 13:24)

Do not withhold discipline from a child; if you strike him with a rod, he will not die. If you strike him with the rod, you will save his soul from destruction. (Proverbs 23:13-14)

Clearly the God who inspired those words (and many others like them) to be written and preserved in the Bible considers it love for parents to spank their children with a rod2 when they are disobedient or disrespectful, and He considers it hate for parents to withhold such discipline from a child.

All human societies for thousands of years have considered it good and necessary for parents to spank their children, and have considered those parents negligent who did not diligently discipline their children. But now at least 33 countries have passed laws making it illegal for a parent to spank his or her child. They consider it to be child abuse. In other words, they are saying that it is hate to spank your child for his rebellious behavior, and it is love to let him go on in his rebellion.

Love is called hate, and hate is called love.

Good is called evil, and evil is called good.

The inevitable result of this ban on spanking is vividly on display in Sweden, where spanking has been banned since 1979, and literally “all hell has broken loose.” Crimes of every sort have increased dramatically, some even exponentially, over the past 30 years.3 People’s lives are careening out of control as they have been negatively trained by intense societal pressure not to listen to the voice of their conscience, which tells them what is good and what is evil, to ignore the wisdom that is in the Bible, and to pay no attention to the negative consequences of their permissive child-raising practices. As a result, millions of parents and children, and even whole societies, are flying at full throttle toward a sea of fire.

Yes, in these days Isaiah’s prophecy is being fulfilled:

Woe to those who call evil good and good evil!

“Woe” is intense misery, catastrophe, disaster, and certain doom. That is what awaits those who yield to the evil persuasion of those who call evil good and good evil, who call love hate and hate love, who call darkness light and light darkness. Don’t be swept away in the deception!

  • 1. Tom LeCompte, “The Disorient Express,” Air & Space Magazine, September 2008.
  • 2. A rod used for discipline is a thin, flexible reed or switch that delivers a sting but does no damage to the body.
  • 3. See the next article “Cultural Spillover” at http://twelvetribes.org/articles/cultural-spillover for details.

The Twelve Tribes is a confederation of twelve self-governing tribes, composed of self-governing communities. We are disciples of the Son of God whose name in Hebrew is Yahshua. We follow the pattern of the early church in Acts 2:44 and 4:32, truly believing everything that is written in the Old and New Covenants of the Bible, and sharing all things in common.

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