Tag Archives: entertainment as self-education

‘When is a Good Book not so Good?’ (2015)

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I’m not going to insult your intelligence by claiming that everything I read for pleasure is theologically right. But I do grapple with the notion that all “entertainment” is a form of self-education, and I do think we have to be careful with stuff like this:


‘Yes, the Culture Really Does Matter’ (2015)

Why is it so hard to convince people that this is so–that the world’s in such a mess because of what’s in people’s heads and hearts?

Somehow waving sin around as glamorous and desirable just doesn’t work out well for people born with Original Sin.


‘We Need a Disney Princess Who’s…’ –Never Mind

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Sometimes it’s just embarrassing and shameful to be living in this benighted age. For instance:

Keystone Planned Parenthood in Pennsylvania the other day tweeted, “we need a disney princess who’s had an abortion” (http://www.foxnews.com/us/2018/03/27/backlash-after-planned-parenthood-branch-tweets-need-disney-princess-whos-had-abortion.html). A few hours later, they removed the tweet because the public reacted in horror and disgust.

But wait, there’s more! Here’s the whole damned thing, verbatim. Have your barf bag ready.

“we need a disney princess who’s had an abortion

“we need a disney princess who’s pro-choice

“we need a disney princess who’s an undocumented alien

“we need a disney princess who’s actually a union worker” [Is there such a thing as a princesses’ union?]

“we need a disney princess who’s trans”

Y’see, explained some moron at Planned Parenthood, the Disney Corporation ought to muster its creative resources for “educating the public” as to the sublime wonderfulness of all these things.

We very much doubt anyone at Disney, Walt Disney being dead, would ever object to cooking up a “princess” who was any of those, and more. Disney Corp is thoroughly depraved. But they might object to spending $200 million to make a movie that no one but a pervert or an idiot wants to see. Unlike Planned Parenthood, Disney doesn’t received a yearly grant of half a billion dollars from the twaddlers up on Capitol Hill; so they can’t insult the public with impunity.

How about this?

“We need a Disney princess who uses her royal power to order her legislature to stop funding Planned Parenthood right now, or else!”



‘Where’s God?’ (2012)


All “entertainment” is a form of self-education. We soak up lessons from the TV screen. We “know” certain things because we saw them in a movie or read them in a spy novel.

One of the things I have tried to do in my Bell Mountain books is depict a world in which “religion” is real and a part of everybody’s life, one way or another. The world inhabited by television characters is about 99% uninhabited by God or by people who believe in Him.

No such world has ever existed in real life; but our secular Culture-Killers are doing their damnedest to create one.

We can call it Hell.

Going Godless All the Way

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[Note: Sorry I’m late today. I decided that if I didn’t do my bike ride early, I’d never overcome the temptation to skip it later in the day.]

Patty and I have been watching Primeval, a hit science fiction series from the BBC. We watch if for Tim Haines’ dinosaur and monster effects, really the best in the business–the closest you can come to really seeing these animals. We also enjoy the sometimes very goofy characters, and the fact that these fictional people are, with only one or two exceptions, extraordinarily chaste.

But what astounds me most about it is its deep and total atheism. Not that they speak a word against God. He has simply been written out of the show. In the whole series, there’s only one brief–and really a little bit touching–scene in a church, and that’s all it has to show for the non-material side of things. I mean, they don’t even take the Lord’s name in vain: which is a good thing, but it’s also like nobody in this show has ever heard of Him.

Ah, science fiction… See, there are these holes in space and time, called “anomalies,” and dinosaurs and other creatures pop out of them to wreak havoc in modern England, and this little crew of amateur scientists has to shoo the monsters and close the anomalies… You get the idea.

There are good-guy scientists and bad-guy scientists butting heads, and what we wind up with is a clash of two 100% atheistic world views. One (the good guys) would be “Let Nature/Evolution take its course.” The other (the bad guys) is, “We must control Evolution.” Both envision the ultimate extinction of the human race. Sorry, no salvation. Well, there can’t be any if there isn’t any God, can there?

As the series builds to its climax, the thing that drives the bad guys is the Quest for the Ultimate Free Stuff (and nobody is to make a profit! isn’t that great?). I kind of like that part of the story–you see where the untrammeled lust for Free Stuff gets you, and it ain’t good.

If your Christian faith is solid, this series will not hurt you. Won’t turn you into a pagan, a New Ager, or an atheist. At the end of my workday I’m tired and want to veg out. Dinosaurs romping across my TV screen helps me relax. I enjoy Primeval–but–but–

But a steady diet of Godless science fiction, beginning in childhood–no, that I wouldn’t recommend. Not for anyone. At best it’s a handicap to be overcome. At worst, it gets lodged in your brain and you can’t get it out, and you wind up worshiping false gods and idols.

Mark me, I don’t say the solution to this is to slap on a lot of “Christian” decals and call it “Christian science fiction.” That won’t fool anyone.

Consumption of “entertainment” is a form of self-education, and we really need to learn to be more careful with it.



Another Sleazy Book I Won’t Review

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All week long I’m peppered by publicists with invitations to review their clients’ latest books. And some of them–oy, have they got a wrong number!

This week’s offer is a novel about polygamy, touted as “Fifty Shades of Grey for men.” In case you missed it, that aforementioned book was a celebration of sadomasochism. I don’t propose to give the title or the name of the author of this current book–no free publicity for you, sunshine. Besides, it’s only one example plucked out of a multitude.

The publicist enthused about “the protagonist’s quest for the holy grail of sexual fulfillment”–translation: fornication with a lot of different women whenever he pleases–and  called it “an enchanting tale of personal development and fulfillment.” They’re big on fulfillment. I think it means gratification of lust.

Does this sound like narcissistic self-worship to you? Sure does to me.

Why do I even mention it?

Because “entertainment” in all its forms, including dirty novels, is self-education, with the popular culture as the classroom. And nothing we can accomplish in politics or economics will be of any use to us as long as we continue to let our culture disintegrate into pure moral imbecility. A degenerate people will not produce decent leaders or decent public policy.

Kill the culture, and the culture will kill you back.

Two More Books I Won’t Review

Our cultural landscape looks like this.

Those addled publicists out there just won’t stop pitching books to me that I wouldn’t read, let alone review, if you paid me extra for it.

As usual, I won’t divulge the authors’ names or the titles because I don’t want to give them any free publicity. I only mention them because it troubles me that there is so much dreck out there.

What we read for entertainment, what we watch on a TV or a movie screen, is more than just a way to pass the time. It’s one of the ways we educate ourselves. And all too often we educate ourselves into folly. Or worse.

One of these books is “a paranormal erotic thriller” which might be described as “James Bond meets 50 Shades of Grey,” only in this one James Bond is a woman super-spy who gets off on being dominated by her mysterious dark putz-head of a boss. If you’ve ever wondered why more and more people seem to be getting stupider and stupider, this may give you a clue.

The other is a lot of lesbian tommyrot intended to portray sinful and dysfunctional activities as praiseworthy, even heroic, and totally mainstream. What made that publicist think I would want to read it? But again, here is our entertainment media educating us into folly.

I do not like to try to imagine the mental landscape of anyone who reads books like these one after another and doesn’t see anything wrong with them.

But then I don’t have to imagine it, do I? Our current social and political landscape, which I can’t avoid seeing if I try, leaves nothing to the imagination.

TV Treat: Dueling Paganisms

Patty and I have been enjoying Primeval, a popular British TV series featuring prehistoric monsters invading our modern world through “anomalies in time,” whatevuh they may be. It was created by Tim Haines, which is what attracted us to it. We love Haines’ trilogy of prehistoric life: Walking With Dinosaurs, Walking With Beasts, and Walking With Monsters. We dismiss the Darwinian fairy tales and groove on the special effects.

No one, not even the makers of the Jurassic Park movies, tops Haines when it comes to re-creating prehistoric critters. These look real! My favorite is the Gorgonopsian (see video clip), a saber-toothed predatory reptile structured more like a mammal and, it would seem, incredibly dangerous.

Okay, Primeval is not King Lear. Don’t go looking for depth of character here, or a lot of logical consistency. Enjoy watching the critters.

But I have also enjoyed the series’ theme of two competing versions of humanistic paganism.

In this corner we have Nick, the good guy, who views Evolution as a sovereign force and is dead-set against trying to tamper with it. To Nick, all good things about the world are the result of blind chance.

Over here, in the black tights, we have Helen (Nick’s estranged wife), who wants to control Evolution and change the outcome of history.

Nick’s god is Chance. Helen worships a pristine Earth Goddess devoid of human beings. Both visions are as far from Christ as it is possible to be. If you are easily influenced by what you watch on TV, it might be a good idea for you to steer clear of Primeval.

But if you’re interested in what makes God-less people tick, if you want to try to understand where they’re coming from, and how they manage to do such a bang-up job of screwing up our civilization–well, then, these shows may prove enlightening. I must admit to a experiencing a kind of sardonic amusement, watching pagans blunder around inside their ideological hall of mirrors, unable to get out.

Anyhow, I don’t think it’s a bad idea to spy out the enemy and try to analyze his plans, his outlook on reality–or, as the case may be, unreality.

We are spying out the Promised Land, to win ground for Christ’s Kingdom; and we can’t do it with our eyes closed.

A Misplaced Faith

In regard to the guy in Pensacola who crashed his car into first one shop and then another, saying he was trying to drive through a “time portal” (see yesterday’s post), reader Marge Hofknecht observed, “I have met individuals who take certain aspects of science fiction as the gospel truth…”

Yes, I know what kind of individuals she means. The kind who tell you, in all seriousness, “Jesus was a hybrid. He was half-extraterrestrial. That’s how he was able to do the things he did.”

Think about it. We have the vastest, most expensive education system ever devised by man, with more schools, colleges, and universities than have ever existed and millions more people in them, sitting in classrooms for many more years than is good for them… and what have we got to show for it?

I don’t even like to guess how many people believe categorically in space aliens, in super-intelligent ET philosopher-kings secretly manipulating history on earth, in planets where the native super-race is just waiting for the right moment to help humanity over the top, and on and on, without a single scrap of evidence.

We may not spend much time in the Bible, or in church, but we sure have time for science fiction movies and TV, comic books, video games, and all the other apparatus of self-instruction.

I’ve grown up loving science fiction. It’s fun. Years ago it was even more fun, when you had all those wonderful magazines like Galaxy, Fantasy & Science Fiction, Amazing Stories, Analog, and others. But we didn’t take it seriously!

Or did we?

I’m beginning to wonder. I really am.

Much Ado About Movies

As part of an assignment for my employer, The Chalcedon Foundation ( http://www.chalcedon.edu/ ), I have to read and review a bunch of books about movies. I’ve just finished the first of the lot, Hollywood Worldviews by Brian Godawa, a professional screenwriter who used to write movie reviews for our website. It’s a book about “how to watch movies with your eyes open”–that is, with understanding and discernment.

Every movie tells a story, and every one of those stories is shaped and informed by a particular worldview. Among the most common worldviews shaping modern movies are existentialism, postmodernism, fate, neopaganism, and a few others–including a very few in which the worldview is explicitly Christian.

Funny, isn’t it? The human race plodded along for thousands of years without a single movie until the 20th century came along. Now we have thousands and thousands of movies, and I can’t even make a guess as to how many I’ve watched.

They say it’s only entertainment, but watching movies is also a form of self-education, and God only knows how many hundreds and hundreds of hours we spend doing it. Movies get poured into our minds, and what’s in our minds comes out as our culture.

Well, that explains a lot about the current state of our culture, doesn’t it?

Most modern, mainstream movies subtly teach lessons that, when expressed in bald and simple terms, are ridiculous. There is no reality, there’s only what each of us thinks is reality. Whatever you sincerely believe is right, is right. “Love” is the only thing that counts. And so on. Maybe that’s why I don’t watch many modern, mainstream movies. I can’t stand the banality.

It really is interesting, to watch a movie alertly enough to see what it’s actually saying to us. Most of what most movies have to say is twaddle.

But, boy, if you’re not aware of that, you wind up teaching yourself a lot of stuff that simply isn’t true.

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