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Something to Think About

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Henry Van Til, a Professor of Bible at Calvin College, Michigan, died in 1961 and is best known for a single thing he once said: “Culture is religion externalized.”

It’s a truism, on a par with “What you say and do reveals your personality.” There’s no way to deny it.

If our Western culture today is our religion externalized, our Christianity is in deep trouble. Look at our culture–rampant lawlessness among our supposed lawmakers, same-sex pseudomarriage, transgenderism, lies heaped upon lies, ultra-violent video games, sex robots: I could make a longer list, but it’s starting to depress me. No wonder radical Muslims think Western culture is like ripe fruit on the tree, ready to fall into their laps if they keep on shaking the tree.

This is why I spend so much time reporting on culture developments–culture rot and culture collapse, if you will. Because if we can’t maintain our culture, nothing we can do politically will make the slightest difference. Kill the culture, and the culture will kill you right back.

For a thoughtful essay on this subject, courtesy of George Grant, see https://christianculture.com/discover/what-is-culture-religion-externalized/

For the time being, and to come, it’s something to think about.

We Can Poison Adults’ Minds, Too

I was going to review a movie called Diary of a Teenage Girl, but instead I think I ought to review a review of this movie–this gem written by one Helen Murdoch ( http://www.flickeringmyth.com/2015/08/movie-review-the-diary-of-a-teenage-girl-2015.html ).

The Synopsis tells us everything we need to know: “A teen artist [huh?] living in 1970s San Francisco enters into an affair with her mother’s boyfriend.”

Gee. My mother’s boyfriend was named Dad.

Helen Murdoch turns cartwheels over this movie.  Of the girl she writes, “Minnie is unapologetic about her sexuality and her drug use which is refreshing to see.” She finds in this movie “an honest portrayal of what it means to be a teenager discovering sex, drugs and love.” Do those three always go together?

Oops. Forgot to mention the boyfriend is 35 years old. Minnie is 15. In most states, this is against the law.

Okay, movies have always had this certain streak of idiocy. I remember The Summer of ’42, about a teenage boy who gets his first sex from a beautiful woman who takes him into her bed because her husband is away at war. This used to be called adultery. Anyhow, the movie’s advertising slogan was, “In everyone’s life, there is a Summer of ’42.” As a young, single man who never got his Summer of ’42, I felt ill-used.

Gone are the days, I guess, when a 35-year-old man who took advantage of a 15-year-old girl could thank his lucky stars if he wasn’t lynched. And the new virtue is to be unapologetic about living like a moral imbecile.

This is the stuff we pour into our heads. This is a big chunk of our popular culture, which, as Henry Van Til said, is “religion externalized.”

God help us.

Self-Education… Through Entertainment

I have been dipping into R.J. Rushdoony’s The Philosophy of the Christian Curriculum (Ross House Books, Vallecito, CA: 1981, 2001 reprint–available from http://www.chalcedon.edu ), and it has set my mind on fire.

Culture, said Henry Van Til, “is religion externalized.” In light of that statement, one good, hard look at our culture of today should send us running madly for the exits. And one of the chief determining factors of a culture is, of course, the education provided to its members.

And here’s the thought that blows my mind:

Our consumption of “entertainment”–novels, movies, stories, television programs, etc.–is a form of self-education.

This entertainment is what we pour into our heads when we are not in a formal “educational” setting. As a society, we have more leisure time than we used to have; and much of that time is spent consuming entertainment.

The horror! The horror!

Take a good look, kimosabe, at what we’re stuffing into our minds. Is it any wonder we’re in such a mess? Given what we educate ourselves into, of course we’re going to redefine marriage, excuse all forms of lawlessness, lie and cheat six ways from Sunday, and in general behave as if there is no God.

Because so much of our entertainment, our self-education, is absolutely, positively Godless.

Think it over–long and hard and carefully. What are we learning from our entertainment?

Our elite “educators” have labored mightily to wean our nation away from Christianity. But their efforts are a drop in the bucket, compared to the weaning-away accomplished by our entertainment.

The point is so subtle as to be well-nigh invisible. We thus defend ourselves: “It’s only a movie, it’s only a novel, it’s only a TV show”–as if our steady diet of it had no effect at all.

I thank Rushdoony for this insight.

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