The Devil’s… Music?

music

Christ Cathedral Church in Oxford, England. Circa 1200.

Ascribing music with morality, either good or bad, has followed us from the ancient world. Ever since war drums, pipes, and other instruments were played to signal war, man has struggled with music forms he considered “evil.” To the realist, music is nothing more than notes played in a specific rhythm. To the idealist, music is beauty and grace that envelopes us.

First, what does scripture say about music?

“Oh come, let us sing to the Lord; let us make a joyful noise to the rock of our salvation!” -Psalm 95:1

“Sing praises to the Lord with the lyre, with the lyre and the sound of melody!” -Psalm 98:5

“And whenever the harmful spirit from God was upon Saul, David took the lyre and played it with his hand. So Saul was refreshed and was well, and the harmful spirit departed from him.” -1 Samuel 16:23

“I will sing to the Lord, because he has dealt bountifully with me.” -Psalm 13:6

“They sing to the tambourine and the lyre and rejoice to the sound of the pipe.” -Job 21:12

Nowhere does is say what the music should sound like, but one thing is certain. Music is associated with happiness, jubilation, and even exorcism in 1 Samuel. So, how does music become “evil” in the modern world?

First, it should be reiterated that “evil” music is not a modern invention at all. For centuries, the violin was considered the devil’s instrument. In history, Nero was said to play the fiddle while Rome burned. He didn’t, but the emotion violin music incited was met with fear and terror, much like electric guitars in the Twentieth Century.

Music only becomes dark when humans manipulate it in such a way. Most people who declare a music form “evil” only do so to forms they don’t like anyway. It’s much easier to declare freeform jazz to be evil, when you aren’t a fan. Perhaps the better statement is that what we see as “dark” is only in our mind in the majority of music. Of course, this is not to say there are no Satanic or evil songs, for there are artists today who openly and vocally declare their music is deliberately created to be “evil.” Those are excluded from this conversation.

Someone else may not have that perception of a song at all. What you may see as chaotic and oppressive, another person may see as liberating or empowering. We likewise can’t go by lyrics because the lyrics are virtually inaudible in much of the music out there.

Rock and heavy metal received the brunt of this lambast during the 1980s, to the delight of record companies. They truly went above and beyond to promote and perpetuate the public fear. Many Christians believed they were performing a public service by highlighting the lyrics that glorified drugs and promiscuity. What they didn’t do, since most didn’t listen to rock anyway, is point out the equal (or worse) negative connotations found in the music they actually listened to, easily found in pop or country. Songs here are used for reference, not necessarily to condemn the artists. For example, here’s a look at country music:

“Heaven’s just a sin away oh oh just a sin away. Heaven help me when I say I think I’m giving in.” -Kendalls

“On a mission to make something happen. Feel like Delilah lookin’ for Samson. Do a little mattress dancin’. That’s right I said mattress dancin’.” -Dixie Chicks

“Cowboys are frequently secretly fond of each other. What did you think those saddles and boots was about? There’s many a cowboy who don’t understand the way that he feels towards his brother. Inside every cowboy there’s a lady who’d love to slip out.” –Willie Nelson

“Give me weed instead of roses. Bring me whiskey instead of wine.” -Ashley Monroe

The lyrics just in the songs referenced above cover everything from sex to drugs. Again, these examples are used, not to condemn the artists, but to point out that no musical genre outside of inspirational can say it does not condone or celebrate what is against scripture.

Even bluegrass, as genteel and harmless as it’s regarded, can’t shrug off moral reproach with songs that glorify a number of evils, from murder to alcohol abuse.

Christians would have been better served to consider the situation, as opposed to shoveling out judgment. While the “Satanic Panic,” was a boon to the recording industry, it did great harm to Christianity as a whole. It is tangible proof that good intentions are meaningless without substance. The practice of Christian websites today of rehashing those old scare tactics are likewise detrimental to the faith.

Conclusion

God does not give us a spirit of fear and we have to question the source of anyone promoting fear. We can’t judge someone’s salvation because he or she is a musician, or any other artist, and it’s not our place to do so. We do not know where God has placed them or for what purpose, and that is none of our business. We don’t have that authority.

We can point out what’s offensive, cite the reasons why, and allow others to come to their own opinion. Above all, we should thoroughly research what we believe to be offensive before taking any action. It’s currently unknown how many people have been eternally lost because a well-meaning Christian rushed to judgment and pushed them farther from Christ. We should sum up the majority of the music controversies by saying, if you don’t like it, don’t listen to it. If you don’t want your kids to hear it, don’t let them listen.

 

 

Modern Science Fails in the Creation Argument: Stereotypes

stereotypes

The Basilica del Pilar Zaragoza, Aragon, Spain. Built in 1754.

The polarizing argument of creation vs. evolution has divided society for over a century. A discussion with such an extended history deserves more than a single article. It deserves a thorough investigation through a series of relevant works.

One of the most astounding aspects of the creation vs. evolution argument is the extent with which science will go to force its beliefs on the individual, while claiming to have confidence in its beliefs. It’s usually after accusing those with a faith of being the same way. This is truly a time when all religions should unite in supporting creation as a viable theory in the education system, but human differences usually make that a moot point. Instead, more churches, temples, and synagogues embrace the ideology behind what is really an incredibly dubious theory.

Regardless, it is imperative to keep this argument in its place. Science is more to blame to creating the modern-day fervor than religion. Science would have us believe that our opinion on origins defines everything about us. For the majority of individuals, this kind of belief has no influence on any part of life. You will not get a better job by accepting evolution. You will not lose your job, education, status, or financial stability for accepting a creation theory, unless perhaps you are a scientist. Accepting the evolution theory will not magically transform a high school dropout into a neurosurgeon.

Science’s primary weakness is the reliance on ignorant stereotypes. Stereotypes should be beneath any intellectual field, not saturate it. Science likes to pretend that Christianity is synonymous with ignorance, even when they are aware Copernicus, Kepler, Isaac Newton, Galileo, Max Planck, George Washington Carver, Louis Pasteur, Emanuel Swedenborg, René Descartes, Francis Bacon, Boyle, and Nikola Tesla were all Christian. Those are just a few of the greatest minds in history, who also had faith.

The narrow-mindedness of modern science is likely the only reason why we haven’t had a life-changing invention in decades. There has been no equivalent discovery of a miracle drug like penicillin since its inception. The advent of internet and cellular telephones were nothing more than improved technologies developed during World War II. Those concepts were developed by such minds as Tesla and Edison long before that.

Science has reduced itself from a field that focused on developing knowledge of our natural and biological world, to a field of intolerance and bigotry. It is a world of “flat-earthers” who seek more to accuse others of the same, than to improve itself. Apparently, whether you believe in creation or evolution takes precedence over curing cancer, finding new water sources, improving the world’s food stores, or any other positive contribution.

There was never previously a competition between science and religion, because science was not a religion. The two usually complemented one another. A seemingly “magic” transformation occurred during the Twentieth Century that destroyed this previous harmony. Suddenly, there’s a competition between two subjects, which should be nothing alike.

Science once said, “Question everything.” Perhaps the better question for today would be, “Question only what we question.”

The Human Animal… Without the Animal

animal

St. Mary’s Abbey, York, England. Circa 1055 AD.

One of the most common realms of misinformation today deals with human relationships. Primarily, society’s willful and hilarious idea that humans are naturally promiscuous. It would be amusing were it centuries ago, but this is something currently in popular culture. What’s even worse, this has even permeated the ranks of our academia. What does it say about our modern, sophisticated society? Not what we would like, and certainly nothing modern or sophisticated.

 

Natural Truths

We know tobacco is hazardous to our health. It has been blamed with respiratory and cardiovascular afflictions for over a century. Even chewing tobacco has been linked with a variety of oral cancers and gum diseases. As a result, we discourage and often prohibit tobacco use.

We are aware that obesity is a direct result of overeating or a poor diet. Obesity leads to high blood pressure, diabetes, and even some forms of cancer. We encourage one another to eat wholesome foods and consume fatty or rich foods in moderation. We know exercise is also necessary to maintain health. As a result, we have an entire subculture focused on healthy lifestyles.

We have no problem discussing the health risks associated with alcohol. It impairs judgment and is commonly fatal when combined with driving or heavy machinery. Alcohol usage leads to liver disease, cancer, and cardiovascular disease.

Nature has also equipped the human body with immediate, natural deterrents against excess in these areas. Overeating results in lethargy, nausea, or even vomiting. Excessive tobacco use results in persistent coughing and dry throat. Alcohol abuse results in a “hangover” or the feelings of extreme sickness the morning after the indulgence. Our culture has no problem in agreeing with nature on these issues, and scripture does as well.

Our issue is that the society willfully and ignorantly ignores logic and reason when it comes to sex. We want the human body to be promiscuous even when nature repeatedly proves no such capacity exists. We have ignored social data, statistics, crime rates, health rates, and all manner of scientific evidence to the contrary. Of course, popular culture blames “religious constructs” or “social tradition” for what is just natural: monogamy.

 

Truth of Modern Myth

We can’t consume foods like animals without severe illness or death. Dogs can devour decomposing carcasses without harm. Pigs can live in their own fecal material and never become ill, whereas humans can contract a variety of horrific diseases like cholera and typhoid with even microscopic contact. Humans are not able to walk around without some kind of covering, as we don’t have fur, hide, or an exoskeleton. Yet, we are supposed to have sexual relationships like animals, which is completely unsupported outside the human mind.

It should be no more controversial or provocative than the health statements listed above, yet it is. It is uncertain if the ignorance is deliberate or genuine. Nature throws terminal, incurable STDs at us every time we find a cure for the last. For example, syphilis struck fear into the hearts of humanity for centuries, and with good reason. Just a couple of decades after we found a cure for syphilis, humanity suffered with the emergence of HIV/AIDS. Animals do not have that worry.

Humans require eighteen years to raise their offspring. In the animal world, that’s several lifetimes over for the majority of animals. Animal offspring seldom need two parents, yet our science has proven children flourish best with two parents. Likewise, animal offspring aren’t permanently damaged from a traumatic childhood. Millions of adults across the world are currently dealing with damage inflicted upon them in childhood. This doesn’t even take into consideration the psychological damage bad relationships have on fellow adults or the struggle men and women experience in the course of one marriage, involving only two adults.

It begs the question as to why our society is so enslaved to one of the human body’s basic functions. That is the extent of the act. Alone, sex is no more educational or meaningful than any other basic body function. A meaningful experience must involve love, and to be morally acceptable, it must be within the bonds of marriage.

The fact is our society is hypersexed to the point of dysfunction. No amount of flesh is enough. Television and movies need to reveal more and more of the actors’ bodies than plot. We’ve convinced ourselves that humans need to sexually experiment to “grow,” despite overwhelming evidence of how careless sexual activity causes irreparable damage in many ways. We fabricate countless myths, misconceptions, and outright lies to justify the insatiable hunger. Promiscuity is “natural” because some man did it 1,000 years ago, yet we omit the fact that many women of those times were forced via arranged marriages and slavery. Sadly, many adults today look to those purveyors of perversity to support their current lifestyle.

When doctors are recommending parents vaccinate their children against an STD (Human papillomavirus), there is something amiss. Promiscuity is linked to a variety of cancers in men and women, HIV/AIDS, unwanted pregnancy, psychological problems, sexual dysfunction, and non-fatal STDs (although some remain incurable). In extreme situations, people have sexually abused their bodies to the point that they no longer have a normal libido and require external sources just to become excited.

 

In Scripture

So, didn’t the men referenced in the Old Testament have many wives? Yes, they did. This crutch is often utilized by many in an attempt to morally justify their own appetites. We also see the horrible lives and horrific events suffered by those in Old Testament days because of disobedience. This is what scripture states:

“And Pharisees came up to him and tested him by asking, ‘Is it lawful to divorce one’s wife for any cause?’ He answered, ‘Have you not read that he who created them from the beginning made them male and female, and said, ‘Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’? So they are no longer two but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let not man separate.”-Matthew 19:3–6

It is important to note the numeric terms used: one husband and one wife. Not one husband and four or five wives, or vice versa.

“However, let each one of you love his wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband.” -Ephesians 5:33

“You shall not covet your neighbor’s wife. You shall not set your desire on your neighbor’s house or land, his male or female servant, his ox or donkey, or anything that belongs to your neighbor.” -Deuteronomy 5:21

A man can’t love two women, or a woman two men, without compromising what scripture supports. It does not say four or five shall become one flesh, just two.

Women were property across the globe during Old Testament days. They were things to accumulate, like cars or houses. They were status symbols to validate a man’s wealth. It is astounding that we call ourselves “sophisticated” or even “intelligent” and attempt to promote the same dehumanizing beliefs used millennia ago.