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What someone has called the pleasure explosion has overtaken us so that in the United States alone the pleasure business has been growing at an average rate of 6 billion dollars a year since 1965. Thrills and chills are available on demand. Popular amusement parks offer themes and thrills of all sorts, including spectacular shows and breathtaking rides. And, there are the video games which rival TV itself, one of the most pervasive sources of amusement. One estimate is that 5 billion or more is spent in a single year on video games and that during a single year people play them for the equivalent of 75 thousand manned years. Over and above that something like an additional one billion dollars is spent annually on games that can be plugged in and played on television sets and computers in our homes.


There can be little doubt that we have become a generation addicted to pleasure, that this is a generation addicted to pleasure more than to the things of God. The United States probably has the greatest percentage of people going to church on a more or less regular basis. The spending habits of the American public make it quite evident that token attendance to religious duties is in no way allowed to interfere with most people’s pleasures.


One survey taken some years ago, that is still relatively valid today, showed that in one year Americans spent 16 billion dollars for amusements, 10.5 billion for alcohol, 5 billion for tobacco, 2 billion for travel, 325 million for cat and dog food, 304 million for chewing gum, and 76 million for lipstick. During the same period, the total given for foreign missions by all Protestant churches of the United States was said to be only 145 million dollars—less than half of what Americans spent on chewing gum. If these figures are only reasonably accurate, isn’t it evident to you and me now that people are lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God?

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