Monday, May 09, 2011

The Orwellian Nature of the End Times

"If liberty means anything at all, it means the right to tell people what they do not want to hear." (George Orwell, from an unpublished preface written for Animal Farm)

This has profound meaning today in societies that are trying to limit the spread of the gospel, through persecution of Christians, or the political correctness of collectivist and atheist elites which seeks to make the gospel irrelevant. George Orwell understood the evil that lurks in the collective will of people who attempt to stamp out truth. This is most famously expressed in his novels Animal Farm and Nineteen Eighty-Four.

Peter Lewis, in The Road to 1984, a biography of George Orwell, writes (pp. 16-17):

"Orwell is read today because he asked questions to which he did not pretend there were answers. He saw why revolutions always go wrong, why plans for equality end in proving that some are more equal than others, and how, in the name of a new order, the collective will abuses its power over the individual.

"One of the things Orwell bequeathed us was the adjective 'Orwellian' - commonly employed, hard to define. It is a frightening word, generally applied to a society organized to crush and dehumanize the individual, sometimes signifying the alienation of that individual if he dares to rebel, like Winston Smith of Nineteen Eighty-Four. Virtually all Orwell's novels have the same plot: the rebel or outsider seeking to escape from a hostile, monolithic society, attempting to make a more natural life for himself, and then being forced back into the slot assigned to him in the system. It reaches its highest development, or deepest despair, in Nineteen Eighty-Four. It is impossible to read it now without comparing it with the Gulag Archipelago, its camps and its psychiatric hospitals. Today there are now prisons in many countries like the old Soviet Lubianka, everywhere they resemble almost uncannily Orwell's Ministry of Love.

"It was with the lonely outsider, the rebel, that Orwell naturally identified himself. Had he lived in a totalitarian society, he knew he would have been eliminated with all possible speed. He was a Solzhenitsyn without a Gulag. No one, he said, would write books unless driven by 'some demon whom one can neither resist nor understand'. The knowledge that he spoke for such victims and the danger that there would be many more, in many more lands, even perhaps in his beloved England, was surely Orwell's demon."
The Christian can compare Orwell's prophecies with what the Bible tells us about the end times. We live in days where persecution of the gospel is closing in around us, our avenues of liberty are being cut off. We need to teach our children to cling to Christ through all the trials that are coming to this world!

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