Category Archives: Articles on Culture

Good Taste and Christian Taste

Good Taste and Christian Taste

This entry is part 53 of 53 in the series Ten Mangled Words You can read more posts from the series by using the Contents in the right sidebar.

Even atheists used to believe in good taste. The infamous David Hume wrote in his Enquiry Concerning the Principles of Morals “In many orders of beauty, particularly those of the finer arts, it is requisite to employ much reasoning in order to feel the proper sentiment; and a false relish may frequently be corrected by… Continue Reading

A parable of moral change on alcohol

A parable of moral change on alcohol

Increasingly, evangelical Christians are abandoning abstentionist and prohibitionist positions on alcohol. This is true among many conservative Baptist churches. It is increasingly common for pastors to lead their churches to take a more moderationist position with respect alcohol. Back in 1981, John Piper led Bethlehem Baptist Church to change its church covenant with respect to… Continue Reading

Christian at the Movies (3) – Magic and Fantasy

Christian at the Movies (3) – Magic and Fantasy

This entry is part 3 of 3 in the series Christian at the Movies You can read more posts from the series by using the Contents in the right sidebar.

Many Christians are alarmed at books or movies that involve magic or fantasy. They feel that the one is dabbling in the occult, and the other is immersing oneself in what is unreal and possibly even false. They wonder that any Christians could read or watch something containing magic, wizards or any reference to the… Continue Reading

Christian at the Movies (2)

Christian at the Movies (2)

This entry is part 2 of 3 in the series Christian at the Movies You can read more posts from the series by using the Contents in the right sidebar.

The laziest form of “discernment” about movies or television looks for the easy targets of occultism, sex, nudity, bad language and gratuitous violence. Certainly, Christians are right to avoid these things. But as we have seen in our last post, discernment is not as simple as using VidAngel or Clearplay to eliminate the objectionable. Nor… Continue Reading

Preference and Amorality

Preference and Amorality

This entry is part 52 of 53 in the series Ten Mangled Words You can read more posts from the series by using the Contents in the right sidebar.

Adiaphora (indifferent matters) are misunderstood on two grounds. First, evangelicals misunderstand the term indifferent to mean unimportant. Second, evangelicals conflate the moral neutrality of adiaphora themselves into morally neutral actions once they are used. First of all, “indifferent” things has nothing to do with feeling indifferent about a matter. Adiaphora does not mean “matters of… Continue Reading

Preferences and Adiaphora

Preferences and Adiaphora

This entry is part 51 of 53 in the series Ten Mangled Words You can read more posts from the series by using the Contents in the right sidebar.

God reveals His will in Scripture in three ways. The first is by explicit command or prohibition. God simply mandates certain behaviours and forbids others. The second is by principles. Principles give truths, usually in timeless, axiomatic, or generalised form, which must then be properly connected to the specific circumstances that a believer is in.… Continue Reading

Secular Culture

Secular Culture

In blog posts over the last several weeks, I have been trying to help us understand what kinds of influences and values have converged to produce the culture in which we Christians in the West now find ourselves. I’ve explored some of the worldview values that have shifted; today, I’d like to begin exploring how… Continue Reading

Secular Worldview

Secular Worldview

As we Christians seek to live Christianly in the culture in which we find ourselves, it is important that we recognize how values contrary to God have infiltrated our culture so that we can respond appropriately. The naturalist and empiricist philosophies that emerged in western civilization as a result of the Enlightenment began quickly to spread,… Continue Reading

Reason and Faith

Reason and Faith

Last week I highlighted the fact that the Enlightenment essentially created a Worldview without God, elevating reason over faith. The elevation of reason over faith in the eighteenth century took two general forms. First, pure naturalists relied upon reason as the ultimate authority by which all notions must be judged; in other words, naturalists will not… Continue Reading

Ten Mangled Words:”Taste”

Ten Mangled Words:”Taste”

This entry is part 1 of 53 in the series Ten Mangled Words You can read more posts from the series by using the Contents in the right sidebar.

De gustibus non est disputandum, said the ancient Romans. There is no disputing over taste, meaning that in matters of personal taste and preference, there can be no profitable dispute, and therefore there ought to be none. There’s much truth to that. If you’re a fan of murder mysteries, and have no time for fantasy,… Continue Reading

Worldview without God

Worldview without God

Many factors gradually led to the end of the close church/state union of Christendom in the West. Several of these, ironically, actually came as a result of the dominance of Christianity. The fifteenth-century Renaissance, which emphasized classical learning rooted in original sources, flourished among Christian theologians, but also began to dismantle unilateral control of the… Continue Reading

Votes From the Democracy of the Dead

Votes From the Democracy of the Dead

This entry is part 50 of 53 in the series Ten Mangled Words You can read more posts from the series by using the Contents in the right sidebar.

The idea of ordinate affection is not welcome today. Narcissism has become a celebrated virtue, and is now even given the monikers transparent, authentic, and real. The two ditches of sentimentalism and brutality now take up most of the road and a slender middle path of appropriate love is known by few and trod by fewer.… Continue Reading

Everything is Uh-Sim

Everything is Uh-Sim

This entry is part 48 of 53 in the series Ten Mangled Words You can read more posts from the series by using the Contents in the right sidebar.

“How’re you guys doin’ today?” “Fine, thanks.” “Uh-sim. Will you be using a rewards card today?” “Uh, no.” “Uh-sim. Cash back?” “No, not today.” Swipes card, takes receipt.  “No prob. You guys have an uh-sim day!” *** I’m probably not being fair to the cashiers at Target, but that was certainly how their pronunciation of… Continue Reading

Emotional or Affected?

Emotional or Affected?

This entry is part 47 of 53 in the series Ten Mangled Words You can read more posts from the series by using the Contents in the right sidebar.

While C. S. Lewis encourages us to not place too much stock in our feelings, he was adamant that the whole point of education was to create right affections. Affections are not a matter of bodily sensations, but a matter of judging value and responding appropriately: “Until quite modern times all teachers and even all… Continue Reading

Stop Feeling Your Feelings

Stop Feeling Your Feelings

This entry is part 45 of 53 in the series Ten Mangled Words You can read more posts from the series by using the Contents in the right sidebar.

Since emotion is a mangled and confusing word, we need to separate the different experiences it is used to refer to. As we have seen, older generations used the terms affections and passions to at least attempt to point out the differences. Some of these emotional experiences are moral desires and should be treated with the same caution… Continue Reading

Does God Have “Emotions”?

Does God Have “Emotions”?

This entry is part 46 of 53 in the series Ten Mangled Words You can read more posts from the series by using the Contents in the right sidebar.

Trying to answer a badly-worded question often leads to an inferior answer. Loaded questions implicate those who even attempt to answer them. “By what authority doest thou these things?” Whether Jesus had answered “By My own” or “By My Father’s”, he would have been accused of pride or blasphemy. Best rule of thumb: ask the… Continue Reading

A Short History of “Emotion”

A Short History of “Emotion”

This entry is part 43 of 53 in the series Ten Mangled Words You can read more posts from the series by using the Contents in the right sidebar.

Some might be surprised to learn that the word emotion is perhaps only 200 years old. Thomas Dixon has documented the history of the term “emotion” in his book From Passions to Emotions. He shows that what was originally a moral category in Christian thought named affections or passions became a psychological category termed emotions. What used… Continue Reading

Emotion

Emotion

This entry is part 44 of 53 in the series Ten Mangled Words You can read more posts from the series by using the Contents in the right sidebar.

Perhaps few words are as mangled as the word emotion. In this word is a cacophony of confusion. For some, emotion is nothing more than the superficial states of the body: neither moral, nor important. For others, emotion is the gold standard of sincerity: if you feel it, then you mean it, and lack of… Continue Reading

Equality and Necessary Hierarchy

Equality and Necessary Hierarchy

This entry is part 41 of 53 in the series Ten Mangled Words You can read more posts from the series by using the Contents in the right sidebar.

The current proponents of social justice have little idea of what they may be creating in pursuit of their goal. Their goal is a just society, but the pursuit of radical egalitarianism won’t provide them with that. Richard Weaver, writing in 1948, describes how radical egalitarianism provides nothing new that traditional societies didn’t already produce,… Continue Reading

The Liturgical Nature of Culture

The Liturgical Nature of Culture

This entry is part 5 of 7 in the series Worldview-Forming Worship You can read more posts from the series by using the Contents in the right sidebar.

I am arguing that liturgy forms our religion, and religion forms our liturgy. When I left off last time, I defined religion as worldview + theology. Now it’s time to define liturgy. Liturgy is a word that I am using to describe the way we “live and move and have our being.” Our English word… Continue Reading