Media, Commercialism, Technology, and Manipulation (Schaeffer)

In 1979 Francis Schaeffer teamed up with U.S. Surgeon General C. Everett Koop to write a book that reflected on humanity and the inhumane aspects of our American culture: Whatever Happened to the Human Race? This book is over forty years old. Yes, it is dated in a few ways. But much of it is still incredibly relevant. For example, Schaeffer/Koop’s discussion of abortion in the opening chapters made me weep once again at its horrific brutality. Whenever I read about abortion in detail, I still can’t believe that our culture accepts and welcomes this anti-human and inhumane practice.

Later in the book Schaeffer/Koop talk about various worldviews and their understanding of humanity. At one point the authors talk about how people are focused on “experience” over facts and reality. If, as modern people think, there are no objective truths and morality, we may as well focus on our own personal experience: if it feels good, do it! Here’s how Schaeffer and Koop bring together experience, the lack of morality, and the danger of manipulation in our culture:

Thus, modern man is bombarded from all sides by devotees of this or that experience. The media only compound the problem. So does the commercialism of our highly technological societies. The danger of manipulation from these alone is overwhelming. In the absence of a clear standard, they are a force for the control of peoples minds and behavior that is beyond anything in history. In fact, there are no clear standards in Western society now; and where there is an appearance of standards, very often there is insufficient motivation to lean against the enormous pressures. And why? In part, at least, because there is an in adequate basis for knowledge and for morality.

Again, this is still relevant today in our culture of commercialism, technology, and media. Thankfully Christians can do their best to avoid being manipulated because we have truth to believe, stand on, live by, and speak.

Francis Schaeffer and C. Everett Koop, Whatever Happened to the Human Race, p. 147.

Shane Lems
Hammond, WI, 54015