Tag Archives: Music

Christian band member convicted in murder plot was actually an atheist

From the Christian News Network.

Excerpt:

A so-called Christian heavy metal band whose frontman was convicted of attempting to hire a hitman to murder his estranged wife has admitted that it duped fans into believing that they were Christian in order to sell their music.

“Truthfully, I was an atheist,” Tim Lambesis, the lead singer and founder of As I Lay Dying told theAlternative Press in a recent interview. “I actually wasn’t the first guy in As I Lay Dying to stop being a Christian. In fact, I think I was the third. The two who remained kind of stopped talking about it, and then I’m pretty sure they dropped it, too.”

The publication noted that his wife, Meggan, had likewise divulged in divorce papers that Lambesis had become an atheist. Lambesis, in admitting his atheism, outlined that he turned away from Christianity as he majored in religious studies while attending college through a long distance program.

[…]And one sin led to another, turning his renunciation of Christ into justification for his actions.

“The first time I cheated on my wife, my interpretation of morality was now convenient for me,” Lambesis explained. “I felt less guilty if I decided, “Well, marriage isn’t a real thing, because Christianity isn’t real. God isn’t real. Therefore, marriage is just a stupid piece of paper with the government.”

But he continued to profess to be a Christian, as did others in the band, in order to sell records to Christian music fans.

[…]He said that during his tenure with As I Lay Dying, he realized that a number of bands that professed to be Christians were faking their faith just as he was.

“We toured with more ‘Christian bands’ who actually aren’t Christians than bands that are,” Lambesis stated. “In 12 years of touring with As I Lay Dying, I would say maybe one in 10 Christian bands we toured with were actually Christian bands.”

This is why my heroes in the faith are not athletes and artists. It’s possible for athletes and artists to be as solid in their faith as a J. Warner Wallace or a Tim McGrew, but scoring points on a sports field or singing songs on a stage is no guarantee of that. Biblical faith is about knowledge – justified true belief. Nothing about sports or music helps you to know whether your beliefs are true. Period.

Do Christian music and Christian fiction create a good foundation for faith?

Here’s an interesting account by a young woman who became secular by becoming very involved in Christian music and then jumped to secular music because it was better music.

Excerpt:

“Who’s in the House” is a hip-hop track about the presence of the Lord. Through megaphone distortion, Carman rapped a few lines: “You take him high / you take him low / you take JC wherever you go,” then led into a call and response hook reminiscent of ’80s-era De La Soul. “Tell me who’s in the house? JC!”

If you’re wondering what teenager in her right mind would listen to a forty-year-old Vegas showman with a Jersey accent rap about Jesus, the answer is: me. In junior high, I saw Carman in concert three times. The Standard was the first CD I ever bought. I rocked out to Carman on my Walkman on the way to youth group and dished with my girlfriends about what a hottie he was. At the concerts, I bought his T-shirts and posters, and when he called out “Who’s in the House?” I made my arms into letters, YMCA-style, with the rest of the crowd and shouted “JC!”

I was homeschooled up until tenth grade, and my social life revolved around church. I grew up submersed in evangelical youth culture: reading Brio magazine, doing devotions in my Youth Walk Bible, eagerly awaiting the next installment of the Left Behind series, and developing a taste in music that ran the gamut from Christian rap to Christian pop to Christian rock.

And she ends with this:

Basically, CCM caught on to the number one rule of coolness: don’t let your marketing show. The best bands—the successful ones, at least—learned to gloss over the gospel message the same way TV producers camouflaged corporate sponsorship. Explicitly Christian lyrics prevented DC Talk from crossing over to the secular market in the ’90s; today it’s difficult to imagine their unapologetic faith making it in the Christian circuit.

This trend spreads beyond CCM into many areas of evangelical culture. The church is becoming increasingly consumer-friendly. Jacob Hill, director of “worship arts” at New Walk Church, describes the Sunday service music as “exciting, loud, powerful, and relevant,” and boasts that “a lot of people say they feel like they’ve just been at a rock concert.” Over the past ten years, I’ve visited churches that have Starbucks kiosks in the foyer and youth wings decked out with air hockey tables. I’ve witnessed a preacher stop his sermon to play a five-minute clip from Billy Madison. I’ve walked into a sanctuary that was blasting the Black Eyed Peas’s “Let’s Get it Started” to get the congregation pumped for the morning’s message, which was on joy. I have heard a pastor say, from a pulpit, “Hey, I’m not here to preach at anyone.” And yet, in spite of these efforts, churches are retaining only 4 percent of the young people raised in their congregations.

Despite all the affected teenage rebellion, I continued to call myself a Christian into my early twenties. When I finally stopped, it wasn’t because being a believer made me uncool or outdated or freakish. It was because being a Christian no longer meant anything. It was a label to slap on my Facebook page, next to my music preferences. The gospel became just another product someone was trying to sell me, and a paltry one at that because the church isn’t Viacom: it doesn’t have a Department of Brand Strategy and Planning. Staying relevant in late consumer capitalism requires highly sophisticated resources and the willingness to tailor your values to whatever your audience wants. In trying to compete in this market, the church has forfeited the one advantage it had in the game to attract disillusioned youth: authenticity. When it comes to intransigent values, the profit-driven world has zilch to offer. If Christian leaders weren’t so ashamed of those unvarnished values, they might have something more attractive than anything on today’s bleak moral market. In the meantime, they’ve lost one more kid to the competition.

So, I’d like to look at whether listening to contemporary Christian music is a good way to build a strong faith that lasts.

Should people sing about things that they don’t know are true?

I would not be comfortable singing about a state of affairs that I did not know was true. And yet, that is exactly what happens in churches and youth groups. Young people are brought up to sing about a story without first having any evidence that the story is true. Imagine what that does to a person – what are they thinking about the purpose of the singing? They don’t know these things are true, but they sing anyway! The church services almost never link what the Bible says to anything in the real world. Naturally, as soon as children hit the university, they fall away. Their questions about the problem of evil, the problem of suffering, the problem of world of religious pluralism, the hiddenness of God, justice of Hell, etc. were never answered.

I think this anti-intellectual approach is really damaging. The impression of Christianity that young people will have is that truth doesn’t matter, that you can sing about something just to be part of a group, and for emotional pleasure. Then with the end-of-the-world fiction and other Christian fiction – all for enjoyment, and all not connected to knowledge. How does any of that connect to the real world? When young people are taught that being a Christian has no connection to reason, evidence or the real world, then their Christianity doesn’t survive leaving the safety of their home and church.

Christian music reinforces the idea that Christianity makes you feel good

The problem with Christian music is that a person listening to it can quickly develop the idea that what Christianity is about is having happy feelings, because people feel happy when listening to music. I’ve noticed that a lot of Christians leave the faith because they have this idealized notion that the world should be a happy place, where no one ever feels bad. Then they find verses in the Bible that are exclusive and judgmental, and they leave the faith because Christianity is too “mean”.

Those emotions of compassion and intuitions about happiness are not compatible with hard verses of the Bible and exclusive Christian doctrines. If we teach children that happiness and doing good things are what Christianity is about, then eventually they will dump it when the open profession of their faith causes them to have bad feelings and to lose friends. I think young Christians in particular feel pressure to jettison Christian rules when it comes to dating and marriage – because they want to be happy, and they think that the rules shouldn’t stop them from pursuing happiness. If they don’t know why the rules are there (truth) then they will just reject anything that conflicts with their intuitions, emotions and desire to be happy. If the purpose of life is to have good feelings about yourself, and to have everyone like you, then Christianity is not the answer. If the purpose of life is to know the truth and to live according to it, then Christianity is the answer.

English is not a subject that is very friendly to Christian beliefs

I note that she seems to have studied English at the undergraduate level and is currently studying it at graduate level, which I think is significant. English is well known to be a hotbed of postmodernism, deconstructionism, feminism and socialism on campuses. She would therefore be under enormous pressure there to abandon her faith, especially in order to get good grades. Nothing that she did as a young person would equip her to deal with the pressure from peers and teachers when challenged on her Christian faith. Singing, reading fiction, Bible reading and prayer do not help a young person who is confronted by peer pressure and secular left professors holding the grading pen – especially in English where marking of essays is subjective.

I think that mathematics, computer science and engineering are much safer fields for Christians to study. My background is in computer science, and I have an undergraduate and graduate degree in that area. These areas are safer because it is much harder for the professors to inject politics into the curriculum, so that students don’t have to be forced to accept things on faith, without any critical thinking or debate. Math features answers that are right or wrong regardless of politics, and programming features programs that either run or not, regardless of religion.

It’s not a good idea to stay a student all your life

Our CCM woman seems to have been a student all her life. She doesn’t have the skills or the money to make it on her own. She has to agree with them in order to get tuition, student loans, etc. – in order to live away from her parents. This would be another pressure on her to turn away from her Christian faith. She is trapped by not having any marketable skills that would allow her to earn a living without having to agree with anyone’s views. Students also have the things they read handed to them – it’s much harder for her to find the time to read things that the professors don’t want her to read – and she could never bring those things up in class safely anyway. A lot of people who thrive on being told that they are good prefer to stay in school where it is easy to just do whatever the teacher says in order to get good grades – especially in non-STEM fields like English.

Should Christians mourn the death of the famous singer Whitney Houston?

Probably one of the most alarming things for me about Christians is their tendency towards moral equivalence and moral relativism. Take the death of Whitney Houston for instance. I noticed a lot of Christians posting feverishly about it in a way that they never post about real heroes. Apparently, for these Christians, the amount of fame that a person has should determine their importance to us – and not their moral character.

Here’s why I don’t like Whitney Houston:

The singer’s comments provided a sad coda to Brown and Houston’s tumultuous 15 years of marriage, a union that unfolded like a gonzo soap opera across the pages of so many tabloids and a reality TV show, before crumbling under the weight of its numerous dysfunctions in 2007.

Over their time together, Houston and Brown positioned themselves as a kind of ‘80s R&B edition of Bonnie and Clyde—he, a hard-partying bad-boy pioneer of New Jack Swing, and she, America’s onetime sweetheart, the glowing beauty with a stunning multi-octave range—whose glaring personal disparities combined to create a dangerous codependent relationship. “He was my drug,” Houston told Oprah Winfrey in a widely publicized 2009 interview. “I didn’t do anything without him. I wasn’t getting high by myself. It was me and him together, and we were partners, and that’s what my high was—him. He and I being together, and whatever we did, we did it together. No matter what, we did it together.”

What they did together, according to her testimony, included a nightmarish descent into hard-core drugs, fistfights and bizarro behavior by Brown, such as him spray painting “evil eyes” on the walls and carpets of their home and cutting the heads off all photographs of Houston.

The couple was married in 1992 and the following year they conceived a daughter, Bobbi Kristina. To hear Houston tell it, what doomed their relationship, though, was her movie breakthrough that year in the romantic thriller The Bodyguard, which includes the singer’s epochal contribution to its soundtrack “I Will Always Love You.” “Something happens to a man when a woman has that much fame,” Houston explained on Oprah. “I tried to play it down all the time. I used to say, ‘I’m Mrs. Brown, don’t call me Houston.’”

In 2000, Hawaiian airport authorities found nearly half an ounce of marijuana in the actress-singer’s luggage, but she and Brown boarded a plane and flew off before Houston could be arrested and the charges were later dropped. Although she flat out denied to Diane Sawyer that she and Brown abused drugs—“We don’t do crack. We don’t do that. Crack is wack,” Houston memorably said in the interview—by the mid-2000s, Houston had endured a roundelay of rehab stays. She admitted she made habitual use of marijuana and crack and specified that Brown’s highs of choice were alcohol and marijuana laced with cocaine.

By that point, the couple’s fights had entered a physical realm. In 2003, police responded to a domestic-violence 911 call to their Georgia home and discovered Houston with a bruised cheek and a cut lip. Brown subsequently turned himself in and was charged with misdemeanor battery for striking the superstar and reportedly threatening to “beat her ass.” Inexplicably, the couple left Brown’s court hearing arm in arm and drove away in an SUV with Houston singing along to the Aretha Franklin song “(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman.”

“They were like Mr. and Mrs. Smith,” says a friend who’s known them for roughly two decades. “It was a real, love-hate relationship.” Still, the person never really bought the popular media-storyline about Bobby being the thing that brought down Whitney. “I hate when people blame Bobby for her drug use. He had his drug use and she had hers. They got divorced many years ago, she had all the opportunities in the world to get herself to together and she didn’t. I actually think part of the reason they broke, up was that he was trying to get clean.”

This is why I oppose talking about Whitney Houston – I have moral concerns. I take morality seriously, because I allow my Christian worldview to determine what I like and don’t like in other areas – like my taste in music and art. I object to her moral standards and her choices in courtship and marriage, so I do not celebrate her success nor mourn her death any more than any other non-famous person. Moreover, I do not respect contributions to art that undermine traditional marriage and courting, which her singing clearly did. It is because of singers like her that women today feel justified in allowing emotions to dominate their choice of man and their interactions with men. They think that a roller-coaster of entertaining drama and spontaneity with a handsome man will result in a happy marriage.

These songs and movies teach them that you can marry a tiger (won’t your friends be so envious!) and then after the wedding, it will be a kitten in your lap. It’s stupid, but that’s the view of marriage that people get after decades of indoctrination in non-Christian art. And when they adopt these Whitney Houston methods of living and it doesn’t work out, that’s when they turn to big government programs and pastors who blame men who refusing to “man up” – it’s not their fault their plan failed – because it worked for Whitney Houston. Except it didn’t. We should not be celebrating anyone in the popular culture who discourages the idea that there are objective constraints on the roles that women and men play in marriage – and that spouses should be selected for their ability to perform those roles.

Here is a comment I wrote about it on Facebook to some of the men and women who were celebrating Whitney Houston. I posted my link to the story of Medal of Honor winner Michael Murphy, and a Christian woman replied asserting a moral equivalence between Whitney Houston and Michael Murphy.

I wrote:

If we are serious about putting forward a vision of life that includes morality, then we should talk about self-sacrificial heroes more than drug addicts. There is a moral law, and because it sends a message to young people about who their role models should be. There is a huge redefinition of moral standards going on right now because young people, especially young women, are having their values redefined by culture. Women, more than men, crave the approval of their peers when it comes to things like choosing men and deciding how to be courted by men, for example. For example, it’s possible for a woman to be swayed away from a man who has a record of protecting, providing, and being a moral and spiritual leader, simply because the culture’s standard of what a good man is is being determined by music stars and celebrity. Whereas characteristics like chastity, sobriety, employment and investments USED to be regarded as desirable, women’s views have changed so that they are allowed to have premarital sex with men who fire their emotions – that’s what happens in Whitney Houston’s “The Bodyguard” movie, isn’t it? So why is she good? Patrick McGoohan refused to kiss on camera and turned down the role of James Bond because of too much sex.

See:
https://winteryknight.wordpress.com/tag/patrick-mcgoohan/

Quote:
—-
As both a moral and opinionated man, McGoohan held strong views and was forceful about seeing that they were carried out. He had insisted at the very first meeting on the script for the first episode that the bedroom scene be cut out. In fact, he stipulated that romantic involvements would have to be eliminated if he were to play the role, and consequently none appeared in either this series or the ‘Secret Agent’ series that followed.

…It should come as no surprise that when McGoohan was offered the role as the first James Bond, he turned it down – several times – as being incompatible with the type of role he wanted to play. He says it was a decision he has never regretted.

[H]e was offered the roles of James Bond and Simon Templar (The Saint). He turned both down.

He once recalled: “When we started Danger Man the producer wanted me to carry a gun and to have an affair with a different girl each week. I refused. I am not against romance on television, but sex is the antithesis of romance. Television is a gargantuan master that all sorts of people watch at all sorts of time, and it has a moral obligation towards its audience.”
—-

Do you know more about Whitney Houston and her ilk than you know about Patrick McGoohan? Does it matter to you how popular art is going to influence young people away from traditional boundaries and requirements of relationships and marriage?

As Ravi Zacharias says – be careful what you celebrate. I celebrate the bravery of Medal of Honor winners who give their lives protecting their country. I don’t celebrate promiscuous, abusive drug addicts who makes millions of dollars singing about sentimental irrational immoral notions of love divorced from chastity, chivalry, commitment and traditional gender roles. There are many single mothers who derived their views on men and marriage from popular music, and think of the harm that caused. The values of Whitney Houston have been embraced by a younger generation, and now none of them will ever enjoy lasting married love – they don’t know how to do it. They think you can act like a fool and somehow, lifelong marriage will obtain independent of our efforts.

That is why one of my courting questions for women is: “Who do you admire most, and what is your plan for making your children become like him or her?” It’s not a good thing when women cannot distinguish between the Hollywood celebrities and Medal of Honor winners. This view that ballet dancers are the same as William Lane Craig when it comes to effectiveness for the Kingdom is also an alarming view, which many women share.

Is life about having happy feelings, or is there something else that we should be doing? What does God expect from us?

I just want to emphasize that I saw just as many air-headed Christian men as women posting about Whitney Houston.

One more thing that I didn’t say in the comment thread is this. Do Christians have an obligation to think about life? I mean, anyone can see that there is a culture war going on right now, where young people are having their values undermined by new values being pushed in the mainstream media, by Hollywood, in the secular public schools, and so on. I think that Christians should be obligated to stand apart from the culture and be different. Most of the Christians I know are thoroughly compromised by postmodernism, feminism, socialism and a host of other doctrines incompatible with a robust Christian worldview and a Kingdom-centered life plan. They are so steeped in it that they don’t even realize that they are identical to non-Christians in every respect, except for singing in groups on Sunday and reading the Bible for comforting feelings.

Related posts

Why would God want us to praise him?

From Amy K. Hall, staff apologist at Stand to Reason. (H/T The Poached Egg)

Excerpt:

I was recently asked why God would want us to praise and worship Him. This is a question I hear every so often since we immediately assume that a person who demands praise is a pompous big-head. I think there are many Christians out there who secretly wonder about this—afraid to ask the question (lest they be thought unspiritual), but bothered all the same.

God is completely self-sufficient and doesn’t need our praise and worship. However, He does deserve it. Would you agree that it is right and good to praise someone who is worthy of praise? We instinctively know this and praise people for all sorts of achievements. We praise the people we love and admire, and it’s not right or good for us to withhold praise from them.

We all understand the concept of praise being due certain people. Imagine that you crafted an incredibly beautiful sculpture and won a prestigious award for your creation; but when the time came for the award ceremony, they gave the prize for your sculpture to the wrong artist! That would not be just, right, or good. In the same way, God—as the only being perfect in goodness, justice, love, etc.—is worthy of our praise. We do, in fact, owe Him that praise. He wants us to praise Him because it is right and good for us to do so. Since God wants us to do right and good things, of course he wants us to praise and worship Him.

Beyond the praise being right and good (and because of its being right and good), worshiping God also brings us joy and enhances our relationship with Him. We see this in human relationships as well—think of a man with his wife. Doesn’t it bring him great joy to praise her?

I think it it’s interesting to note that very often, non-theists try to explain things like the creation of the universe and the fine-tuning of the universe and the origin of life as being the result of blind forces. That is the opposite of praise – that is speculating about nature to avoid giving credit to nature’s Creator and Designer. They are trying to escape the obligation to worship by attributing the great miracles of God to no one, so they can be accountable to no one. This is not the kind of thought life that God looks kindly on.

One important result of studying the world, including science, is to be able to understand what God has done in the world and to give him appropriate recognition for it. It is part of being in a relationship with him that we know him and respond appropriately to his real character. The refusal to acknowledge God is one of the symptoms of rebellion against him.

Matthew 10:32-33:

 32 “Whoever acknowledges me before others, I will also acknowledge before my Father in heaven.

33 But whoever disowns me before others, I will disown before my Father in heaven.

And this also appears in Luke 12:8-10:

8 “And I tell you, everyone who acknowledges me before men, the Son of Man also will acknowledge before the angels of God,

9 but the one who denies me before men will be denied before the angels of God.

10 And everyone who speaks a word against the Son of Man will be forgiven, but the one who blasphemes against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven.

This passage is an early passage from Q, because it’s shared by Matthew and Luke, and Q is a source for those two early gospels. To get on the right side of this verse, it’s important to study what God has done, so you can give him the praise that he has earned. He wants to be acknowledged, and we want to hold up our end of the relationship and give him that acknowledgement. He did the deeds, and that means he should get the recognition for it.

One more thing I want to say about this. I see a lot of people singing songs about God in church, expressing praise for things they have no reason to believe that God has done. I think a good way to have authentic praise for God is to tone down the singing in groups and the emotional highs and the pretty buildings for a while, and focus on apologetics. Focus on learning the real stuff that God has actually done that we can know about – by studying science and history. In fact, it really scares me when I see young people singing and raising their hands and closing their eyes at church when I know good and well they have no intellectual grounding for these activities – it makes me feel like I am in some cult or something, surrounded by self-serving, fun-seeking weirdos.

You know that brings up an interesting question. What do you suppose would happen if I gathered together all the pastors and singing church people into a room and told them that we were going to do a scientific study of what God has done in nature, and a historical study of what God has done in history? My guess is that they would attack me, drive me out of the church, and go back to singing songs in groups with big musical bands and colorful lights in the ceiling. I think we need to guard against making Christianity about feelings and experiences and group gatherings, and make it more about knowledge. What has God really done that we can know about?

Let’s lay down a base of knowledge about God from nature and history, and then once we know he is real and he is good, we can talk about theology, and praising him for all of that. We don’t want what we do in church to be in anyway comparable to what non-Christians do in night clubs and concerts – gathering in groups and dancing around ecstatically. Blech! Christianity is about truth, not feelings.

Does contemporary Christian music build up a lasting Christian faith?

Here’s an interesting account by a young woman who became secular by becoming very involved in Christian music and then jumped to secular music because it was better music.

Excerpt:

“Who’s in the House” is a hip-hop track about the presence of the Lord. Through megaphone distortion, Carman rapped a few lines: “You take him high / you take him low / you take JC wherever you go,” then led into a call and response hook reminiscent of ’80s-era De La Soul. “Tell me who’s in the house? JC!”

If you’re wondering what teenager in her right mind would listen to a forty-year-old Vegas showman with a Jersey accent rap about Jesus, the answer is: me. In junior high, I saw Carman in concert three times. The Standard was the first CD I ever bought. I rocked out to Carman on my Walkman on the way to youth group and dished with my girlfriends about what a hottie he was. At the concerts, I bought his T-shirts and posters, and when he called out “Who’s in the House?” I made my arms into letters, YMCA-style, with the rest of the crowd and shouted “JC!”

I was homeschooled up until tenth grade, and my social life revolved around church. I grew up submersed in evangelical youth culture: reading Brio magazine, doing devotions in my Youth Walk Bible, eagerly awaiting the next installment of the Left Behind series, and developing a taste in music that ran the gamut from Christian rap to Christian pop to Christian rock.

And she ends with this:

Basically, CCM caught on to the number one rule of coolness: don’t let your marketing show. The best bands—the successful ones, at least—learned to gloss over the gospel message the same way TV producers camouflaged corporate sponsorship. Explicitly Christian lyrics prevented DC Talk from crossing over to the secular market in the ’90s; today it’s difficult to imagine their unapologetic faith making it in the Christian circuit.

This trend spreads beyond CCM into many areas of evangelical culture. The church is becoming increasingly consumer-friendly. Jacob Hill, director of “worship arts” at New Walk Church, describes the Sunday service music as “exciting, loud, powerful, and relevant,” and boasts that “a lot of people say they feel like they’ve just been at a rock concert.” Over the past ten years, I’ve visited churches that have Starbucks kiosks in the foyer and youth wings decked out with air hockey tables. I’ve witnessed a preacher stop his sermon to play a five-minute clip from Billy Madison. I’ve walked into a sanctuary that was blasting the Black Eyed Peas’s “Let’s Get it Started” to get the congregation pumped for the morning’s message, which was on joy. I have heard a pastor say, from a pulpit, “Hey, I’m not here to preach at anyone.” And yet, in spite of these efforts, churches are retaining only 4 percent of the young people raised in their congregations.

Despite all the affected teenage rebellion, I continued to call myself a Christian into my early twenties. When I finally stopped, it wasn’t because being a believer made me uncool or outdated or freakish. It was because being a Christian no longer meant anything. It was a label to slap on my Facebook page, next to my music preferences. The gospel became just another product someone was trying to sell me, and a paltry one at that because the church isn’t Viacom: it doesn’t have a Department of Brand Strategy and Planning. Staying relevant in late consumer capitalism requires highly sophisticated resources and the willingness to tailor your values to whatever your audience wants. In trying to compete in this market, the church has forfeited the one advantage it had in the game to attract disillusioned youth: authenticity. When it comes to intransigent values, the profit-driven world has zilch to offer. If Christian leaders weren’t so ashamed of those unvarnished values, they might have something more attractive than anything on today’s bleak moral market. In the meantime, they’ve lost one more kid to the competition.

So, I’d like to look at whether listening to contemporary Christian music is a good way to build a strong faith that lasts.

Should people sing about things that they don’t know are true?

I would not be comfortable singing about a state of affairs that I did not know was true. And yet, that is exactly what happens in churches and youth groups. Young people are brought up to sing about a story without any evidence that the story is true. Imagine what that does to a person – what are they thinking about the purpose of the singing? They don’t know these things are true, but they sing anyway! And as they grow up, the church makes it a badge of honor to speak only about what the Bible says, and never links what the Bible says to anything in the real world. Naturally, as soon as children hit the university, they fall away. Their questions about the problem of evil, the problem of suffering, the problem of world of religious pluralism, the hiddenness of God, justice of Hell, etc. were never answered.

I think this anti-intellectual approach is really damaging. The impression of Christianity that young people will have is that truth doesn’t matter, that you can sing about something just to be part of a group, and for emotional pleasure. Then with the end-of-the-world fiction and other Christian fiction – all for enjoyment, and all not connected to knowledge. How does any of that connect to the real world? When young people are taught that being a Christian has no connection to reason, evidence or the real world, then their Christianity doesn’t survive leaving the safety of their home and church. If Christian parents wanted their children to be able to integrate their faith with what is taught at the university, then they would have to do better than singing, end-of-the-world fiction, praying about romantic relationships, and so on.

Christian music reinforces the idea that Christianity makes you feel good

The problem with Christian music is that a person listening to it can quickly develop the idea that what Christianity is about is having happy feelings, because people feel happy when listening to music. I’ve noticed that a lot of Christians leave the faith because they have this idealized notion that the world should be a happy place, where no one ever feels bad. Then they find verses in the Bible that are exclusive and judgmental, and they leave the faith because Christianity is too “mean”. This is especially the case with young women who are inclined to doubt God’s existence because of the problem of evil and the doctrine of Hell. If young women are not aware of the reasons why Christianity is true, then the experience of being perceived by others as “mean” can cause them to abandon their faith. Social pressure is an enormous factor in the behavior of women – they want to be accepted and liked by everyone.

Those emotions of compassion and intuitions about happiness are not compatible with hard verses of the Bible and exclusive Christian doctrines. Many people If we teach children that happiness and doing good things are what Christianity is about, then eventually they will dump it when the open profession of their faith causes them to have bad feelings and to lose friends. I think Christian women especially feel pressure to jettison Christian rules when it comes to dating and marriage – because they want to be happy, and they think that the rules shouldn’t stop them from pursuing happiness. If they don’t know why the rules are there (truth) then they will just reject anything that conflicts with their intuitions, emotions and desire to be happy. If the purpose of life is to have good feelings about yourself, and to have everyone like you, then Christianity is not the answer. If the purpose of life is to know the truth and to live according to it, then Christianity is the answer.

English is not a subject that is very friendly to Christian beliefs

I note that she seems to have studied English at the undergraduate level and is currently studying it at graduate level, which I think is significant. English is well known to be a hotbed of postmodernism, deconstructionism, feminism and socialism on campuses. She would therefore be under enormous pressure there to abandon her faith, especially in order to get good grades. Nothing that she did as a young person would equip her to deal with the pressure from peers and teachers when challenged on her Christian faith. Singing, reading fiction, Bible reading and prayer do not help a young person who is confronted by peer pressure and secular left professors holding the grading pen – especially in English where marking of essays is subjective.

My first career choice was to be an English teacher – I won simultaneous awards for English and Computer Programming in high school (public school, not homeschool). But then I took an early university course in English, while still a high school student, and realized that it had been compromised by feminism and postmodernism and other untestable ideologies. Personally, I think that mathematics, computer science and engineering are much safer fields for Christians to study. My background is in computer science, and I have an undergraduate and graduate degree in that area. These areas are safer because it is much harder for the professors to inject politics into the curriculum, so that students don’t have to be forced to accept things on faith, without any critical thinking or debate. Math features answers that are right or wrong regardless of politics, and programming features programs that either run or not, regardless of religion.

It’s not a good idea to stay a student all your life

To be a Christian, it helps to be able to have your own source of income so that you can buy books and debates to learn with. I have been working in the field of computer science for 15 years, starting in middle school, and have saved pretty much everything I’ve earned. I saved about half of what I make. I never take money from the government, although I accepted scholarships from the university because I just considered it a reduction in tuition. The problem with getting things for free is that you get what other people give you – in this case, the government and the university. If you want to rebel against the secular leftist zeitgeist, you have to have arms to rebel with – and arms cost money. William Lane Craig debates and F.A. Hayek books cost money. And you can’t depend on the government or the university to provide you with those.

Our CCM woman seems to have been a student all her life. She doesn’t have the skills or the money to make it on her own. She has to agree with them in order to get tuition, student loans, etc. – in order to live away from her parents. This would be another pressure on her to turn away from her Christian faith. She is trapped by not having any marketable skills that would allow her to earn a living without having to agree with anyone’s views. Students also have the things they read handed to them – it’s much harder for her to find the time to read things that the professors don’t want her to read – and she could never bring those things up in class safely anyway. A lot of people who thrive on being told that they are good prefer to stay in school where it is easy to just do whatever the (secular left) teacher says in order to get good grades.

Avoid women who do not know why they believe what they say they believe

I just want to reiterate to Christian men that they should be asking questions of Christian women before falling in love with them, to make sure they know why they believe what they say they believe. Here are some questions to ask to find out if a woman is a solid Christian that should help men to detect women like the one who wrote the essay. This post may also be useful. Christian men: be careful with women like this who look good, but who fall away. Don’t get hurt.

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