When Children Go Berserk

The media today is abuzz with the shocking case of yet more child-on-child violence in the UK. Reminiscent of the James Bulger case, two schoolboys aged 9 and 11 were viciously assaulted and tortured by another pair of boys the same age.

Here is how the story is described: “An 11-year-old boy is fighting for his life after he and a nine-year-old friend were slashed with a knife, burnt with cigarettes and thrown 10 metres down a ditch by children their own age. The boy and his friend were out riding their bikes in England’s spring sunshine when they were confronted by two other youngsters aged just 10 and 11. They demanded the pair hand over their mobile phones, money and trainers and when they refused they were tortured with burning cigarettes, cut with a knife ‘from head to toe’ and then beaten with bricks, according to witnesses.”

With every new case of such inexplicable child violence, the same question arises: ‘How could anyone do such a thing, let alone a child?’ It is natural to ask ‘Why?’ But perhaps a more sensible question to ask, given the state of the West, is ‘Why not?’

That is, given the state of most Western nations, such activities would seem to make some sense. Let’s look at where the West is at:

-It increasingly denies a transcendent personal, moral God and embraces instead secular and humanistic worldviews;

-It continues to insist that objective universal morality is a myth, and that everyone should decide for himself what is right and wrong;

-It insists that individual autonomy and personal freedom are the highest goods;

-It looks down on talk of personal responsibility, self-discipline and self-restraint.

-It mocks those who say we should curb our appetites and be willing to sacrifice for the common good;

-It is awash with pornographic violence. Every aspect of modern culture, including all forms of entertainment, even for children, is filled with violence, bloodshed and mayhem. Its computer games, video games, TV programs, movies and popular entertainment are soaked in blood and violence.

-It mocks those who insist that marriage and family are vital to the well-being of children, and that kids growing up without a father are statistically much more likely to resort to violence, enter gangs, be involved in crime, and end up in prison.

-It heaps ridicule on anyone who dares to point out that the West is in crisis, and that things will only get worse, unless major changes are undertaken.

-It delights in all things fleshly, carnal, sensual, and aimed at self-gratification, while sneering at all things spiritual, other-worldly and Christ-like.

In such an environment, is it really so surprising to see such horrific acts of violence? Indeed, one would expect to see more and more such cases given the world we are bringing our children up in. So ‘Why not?’ seems to be the appropriate question here.

Back in 1993 the world was shocked by the brutal attack and murder by two 10-year olds of another English boy, 2-year-old James Bulger. The media asked me the same questions, ‘Why?’, ‘How could they?’ I remember after doing one television interview, the journalist looked at me and asked me this very thing.

My reply was something like this: ‘Some years ago an American psychologist wrote a book called Whatever Became of Sin? That might be part of the answer here. We have abandoned the notion of sin, and the fact that we are all fallen and capable of great evil, and that there is a God who has acted to do something about the sin problem.’

The journalist may not have made much of my reply, but it is the same reply that I would give today. We have abandoned God, and his moral standards, and we have made ourselves gods, and thought that we can pull it all off by ourselves.

Well, sorry, but every new case of violence, selfishness, greed, oppression and injustice is just a further indication that man without God has made a mess of things, and that we desperately need to get back to acknowledging that He, not I, is God, and that without the grace of God, things will only further deteriorate.

Of course the secularists will dismiss all this out of hand, and will instead offer the usual solutions: more education, more government involvement, more whatever. But because they misdiagnose the condition, they offer the wrong remedies.

Until we acknowledge reality and renounce our deluded and skewed perceptions, we will continue to live in a world of make believe. The only thing is, it will be only too real for those who suffer, are tortured, are killed. Alexander Solzhenitsyn once said, “It is because we have forgotten God. That is why all this is happening to us.”

It is time that we remember.


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16 Replies to “When Children Go Berserk”

  1. Bill, I am desperately racing against time to finish letters (though their length makes them more like epistles) to peers in the UK before they sit to debate the Clause 58 of the Coroners and Justice Bill, sometime towards the end of this month. This clause attempts to do away with freedom to criticise homosexuality. It is just one more piece of legislation that censors the Christian from speaking up against evil.

    What I have written is an attempt to warn not just the members of parliament but my family, friends, neighbours, and all those who are still capable of hearing, of a threat, not only to our own nation but to the whole of western civilisation….of a threat against our freedoms to live lives, free of fear, violence, barbarism, ignorance and tyranny. These freedoms that have taken centuries to win and the bloodshed of countless numbers of our ancestors will, unless we act, almost overnight, be swept away. The imminent threat to the physical, mental, emotional and spiritual well-being of our families and children, to our education and justice systems, to the economy and our entire way of life is as great if not greater than that posed by Hitler during the Second World War.

    Whereas that threat was visible, tangible and exterior, this is invisible, working away relentlessly, methodically and ceaselessly, destroying the inner fabric of every institution and organisation of every western European nation. People go about their daily business, go on holiday, go shopping or sit quietly watching the television, seemingly oblivious to the catastrophe that is about to engulf them. If they are aware of it they prefer to shut their minds, in the hope that the menace will go away. We never dare speak of this but instead have imposed on ourselves a form of censorship that paralyses all thought.

    I often think I am dreaming all this and that I need to get a grip of reality; I wish this were the case, but then I read the news and hear others from around the globe saying exactly the same thing and the picture grows stronger as each day passes.

    The vast majority of the British population are asleep to the fact that, even as I write, the government is forcing through a small, seemingly innocuous amendment to the Public Order Act 1986, clause 58. This tiny clause that has been inserted amongst at least ten others, will inevitably set in motion a chain of events which gathering momentum will become irreversible. The manner in which it has been hidden, the way in which it is being speedily debated and voted on, demonstrate a terrifying contempt of the parliamentary system. If the palpable censorship that has been demonstrated during the disgracefully short debate of this clause is operating on this scale in the Houses Parliament what hope can there be for those of us living outside its walls?

    David Skinner, UK

  2. How true what you say Bill, as usual. And the good Alexander should know a thing or two about stupid government and suffering under them. I went over to 3 boys about 10 years of age the other day in Church – they were enthusiastically involved in playing a hand-held video game(of the shooting variety). I asked, “is anybody killed in this game?”. They replied “yes”. I asked, “does anybody get their head ripped off?”. The answer, “yes, if you nominate that”. Those boys didn’t realise, I’m sure, that they were being conditioned. We used to play shooting games when we were kids, climbing through the laurel tree with our “carbines” slung over our shoulders. You can’t keep guns away from boys, or mud, or anything with wheels under it. Boys must be boys, but surely this is more than that. Surely we can have games where you glide down a snow-slope on a skate-board, or fly a plane, or ride a jet-ski – these are fun to do as well. I wonder how many Christians have ever done anything about fighting against these evils. Or maybe I’m just getting old.
    Ian Brearley

  3. Adapting what has oft been pointed out elsewhere (it may even have been CS Lewis)

    When we were kids we did the wrong thing sometimes, but we knew it was wrong.

    These days people do the wrong thing and either don’t know that it is wrong or try to argue that it is right.

    I suspect the Christian foundation of the west will keep our society together for a little while longer, but how much longer I would not like to guess. How far can an edifice lean away from its foundations before it topples to destruction?

    Michael Hutton, Ariah Park

  4. Thanks Bill,
    It highlights to me how our personal “World View” drives our behaviour.
    You have set out logical, rational, reasonable observations. But they will be dismissed by secularists because it does not fit the way they need to the world to be “in their minds”.
    We can never fix a problem until we, as you have said, properly diagnose it. This is true in life and business etc. You need to properly identify, quantify and clarify issues and requirements before implementing any actions.
    To do otherwise in the business world wastes enormous resources. And in life it is much more serious!
    You have shown us what is wrong, we as a society need to take the appropriate actions! For a start, not do the total opposite, as some are!!
    Peter Baldry

  5. Shocking to hear about this Bill, and we are more concerned with global warming?! The world is a mess and it started with society becoming spiritually bankrupt. Truly you are correct in saying we have forgotten God.
    David Visser

  6. “Yes, I am coming soon.” Amen. Come Lord Jesus.
    Stephen White

  7. Dear Bil, I remember many years ago listening to your wonderful talk at my very first AFA conference, “Our children under siege”. I also remember (as a mother) feeling worried; then shortly after, ready to act, to do whatever was possible to help our beautiful young people. God Bless you Bill and the beautiful gifts that God has given you. You are a treasure and God will reward you for your hard work. This is not coming from me but solely from the Holy Spirit! Our primary responsibility is to protect our children, those who are most vulnerable. We must pray for their protection.
    God Bless you and your family!
    Jane Byrne

  8. Hi Bill,

    Here is Gordon Brown “heap[ing] ridicule on anyone who dares to point out that the West is in crisis, and that things will only get worse, unless major changes are undertaken.”

    “Downing Street said that Gordon Brown regarded it as a ‘shocking’ incident, but cautioned against drawing any wider conclusions about the state of society. In his view, the overwhelming majority are well-behaved and have good upbringings, and therefore he would be cautious about reaching any general conclusion about what is a disturbing but singular event, the Prime Minister’s spokesman said.”


    Mansel Rogerson

  9. Intuition inclines me to agree with this post, but that isn’t enough; the secular left will naturally say that horrendous violence has been committed in earlier times when religion was very much at the centre of life. So how do you reconcile that?
    Kilroy Montgomery

  10. My daughter is 11.

    She does not own a knife or cigarettes and would not have the time unsupervised to acquire them.

    As I reflect I think parental responibility is a big factor in this case.

    But that’s not something our society values either. A godo career is more important than good kids.

    Michael Hutton, Ariah Park

  11. Thanks Kilroy

    I would first distinguish religion from Christianity. Some religions I would argue are inherently violent. Islam for example was born and bred in bloodshed, and one can find plenty of justification for violence in the life and teaching of Muhammad, in the Koran, and in the hadith. I have argued this case elsewhere.

    But Christianity repudiates the use of force in the proclamation of its message. Thus if anyone kills or does violence in the name of Christ as they spread the gospel, they are acting against the very core teachings of Jesus. This I have also documented elsewhere on this site.

    Bill Muehlenberg, CultureWatch

  12. Hi Bill,

    I am not sure we can we can make any useful conclusions given the information at hand about the story. For all we know the parents of the accused could have been a good Christian family?? We just do not know. Having said that though I agree with you that there is an apparent increase in the level and frequency of violence amongst the young. I am continually amazed at the lack of responsibility some parents take in regards their children.

    I am also worried about technology being abused by the young eg youtube, myspace, facebook, SMS, video phones etc. These types of technologies facilitate wrong doings. As an example, 60 Minutes ran an episode last Sunday about a 17?? yr old boy who had killed himself. His life as with many teenagers revolved around their mobile phones and the internet. He had a computer in his room and as we are told spent considerable time in there talking with friends via phone, SMS and internet. There seemed to be a great deal of one up man ship in regards to sending each other threating messages. All of this in the isolation of their own room. Many messages sent in a quite reactive manner. When the boy at the center of this was asked if he saw this as bulling he said no, everyone does it. His body language told a different story when he looked down as he said it. A sure sign of knowing right from wrong. One has to ask that if this boy that killed himself did not have a mobile and did not have a computer in his room would he have done what he did?

    To be honest I am not sure what the answer is??

    Ben Green

  13. It got me thinking about two other children, Cain and Abel although they would have been adults when Cain killed his brother. Cain did not have all the modern trappings of this life. Did Adam and Eve not bring him up right or did he respond to Satan’s lies and cunning deception? Children of god fearing parents go off the rails too.
    Keith Lewis

  14. Absolutely spot on Bill, in every respect – and (if I dare say) these are just the points I made in an article on my website a year of two ago (“The Cause of Crime”, http://www.affirmingthefaith.com/cause-crime.htm), but it seems that it’ll be a while, if ever, before those who direct our society, and create its “values” (ie. lack of them) catch up.

    John Thomas, UK

  15. Mansel, I believe you have hit the target. Gordon Brown is forever absolving himself from any responsibility for the state of Britain, either blaming it on global circumstance out of his control, or, he just simply denies that there is a problem: Britain has never been so successful.

    As you and all of us know, the symptom, or as some say, the canary in the coalmine, that something is seriously wrong with western society is the deconstruction of the very building block of society, the family with a father and mother at its centre.

    Gordon Brown is actively destroying marriage by overturning Lord Waddinton’s democratically voted inclusion of a free speech clause to the homophobic hatred amendment that was inserted into the Criminal Justice and Immigration Act, May 2008 and that now forms section 29JA in the Public Order Act 1986 which read as follows:

    “In this Part, for the avoidance of doubt, the discussion or criticism of sexual conduct or practices or the urging of persons to refrain from or modify such conduct or practices shall not be taken of itself to be threatening or intended to stir up hatred.”

    The zeal with which he wants the public to be prosecuted for inciting hatred for simply asking homosexuals (or anyone for that matter) to refrain from certain sexual conduct or practices is not to be wondered at when we see him personally championing the work of the Terrance Higgins Trust:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mC_NK72YfVw (Gordon Brown’s encouragement of Terrence Hiiggins Trust)

    Again, this is hardly surprising when, according to the Christian Institute, the Prime Minister’s wife, Sarah Brown, reportedly hosted a private lunch at 10 Downing Street in honour of a prominent American ‘gay rights’ activist, David Mixner, who has been described as the most powerful gay man in America and who is a vocal opponent of an ongoing campaign in California to protect the legal definition of marriage:

    Folks really need to listen to what this man is saying which is that heterosexuals have a lot to learn from homosexuals whom he regards are at the very cutting edge, avant garde, of exploring all manner of sexual life-styles that are unhindered by constraints or self-control. Naturally Mixner’s philosophy has huge implications with regard to the stability, cohesion and the very existence of the family.
    http://www.pinknews.co.uk/news/articles/2005-11468.html ( Gordon Brown’s support for the overturning of Proposition 8 )

    The Lesbian Gay Bisexual and Transexuals are indeed making massive inroads into our schools with the No 10 Downing Street, yet again hosting a party in celebration of the LGBT History Month.

    The one time secretary of state for Education and then Home Secretary in the UK was a blind man, name David Blunkett. Our Prime minister has only one good eye and that is made of glass.

    David Skinner, UK

  16. Hi Bill, I read this in my RSS reader and found myself reflecting on my own children and the violence that I am trying to prevent them seeing. My son is 6 years old and yes, a boy is a boy and will always make a stick a gun or for that matter anything into a weapon!
    However hard I have tried to avoid my kids seeing violence they seem to get it from the ads on TV or the games that they play at school, or the media in the street etc. It is hard to keep them away from the violence that seems to pervade our lives, even here in Australia. Schools have a bully-prevention program, including the school my kids go to, but that has not stopped violence happening. Yes, it is up to parents, but many of these parents are products of their media saturation and lives where violence and associated characteristics are taken as being the norm.
    One young family I pastor/counsel have had dad send mum and the eldest daughter violent text messages – to the extent that they are scared to take this to the police – even with an EVO in place. Mum has tried to keep the violence from the youngest daughter but she has picked it up from supervised visits with Dad and her eldest sister. The reason I mention this family, is that besides being the result of hereditary violence, they have encountered violence in their peers – including the 14 yr old being raped by a “friend” from the neighbourhood.
    It is hard to keep violence away from our lives – it seems we are one step closer to it each day. The best I am trying to do is educate my kids that Jesus taught the way of non-violence and that they need to be smarter than the need for violence. I pray daily for my kids to be safe and for them to remember what I am teaching them about non-violence.
    As far as the incident in the UK – I have heard reports regularly about the decline of youth behaviour and wonder of that is just a reported incident amoungst more.
    I pray Australia never goes down the same road.
    Neal Taylor

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