The visual generation — the death of discernment

 

The Visual Generation – The Death of Discernment

 

When Chairman Mao of China wanted to reach an entire generation, many who were illiterate, he produced his communist message in “comic book” style. It resulted in an entire generation of youth jumping onboard Mao’s red wagon and subsequently tearing down the culture and traditions and the very structures of one of the oldest societies in the world.

 

In America it is mindless, Godless and feckless TV programming, You Tube and Hollywood’s latest offering of films that pour images on an entire generation. The result is exactly the same as it was in China but on a much larger scale and with so much more to lose.

 

If you asked anyone who is considering voting for Barack Obama or any liberal why they chose that candidate, the answer you will most likely hear is, “I like him.” or “he looks good to me.”

 

If he, she or it looks good that’s good enough for the “media generation.” No discernment needed, wisdom is too hard to acquire and who has more than a few seconds of time in this world of screen shots, blips and spot messages to look any deeper. A new language and a new media has developed that thrives on abbreviated communications; OMG could I be talking about texting?

 

People who read entire books and articles to learn something or to see an authors point are becoming rare. Just getting to this sentence means you probably are one of those people. You may have read some Hemingway, Joyce, even Shakespeare or at the very least the morning paper. You may be one of the rare breed of people that actually forms opinions and conclusions based on a careful weighing of all the facts.

 

In the Bible (1 Cor 12:10) there is mention of a “spiritual gift” known as “discerning of spirits.” Unfortunately that gift is often placed in a list of charismatic type gifts that end up being thought of as something only practiced by a few Pentecostal people. In fact the language of 1:Cor 12:10 connotes the idea of a “judging through” of any and all matters not a fleeting spiritual thought dropping out of the ether.

 

Discerning of spirits is a God given enterprise that does not work unless God is brought into the equation. He unveils, reveals or shows the deepest meaning of things to the deepest people. They are a peculiar people who weigh everything and refuse to make prejudiced and extraneous judgments based only on what they see or have heard from the grape vine, the media or God knows where!

It is the rarity of such people that serves as only one of a few reasons that can be found for the wholesale blindness that seems to be accompanying the decisions made by the American public about their presidential candidates.

 

The biblically based reason is far more obvious and it reads like this, “In whom the god of this world (Satan) hath blinded the minds of them which believe not” (2 Cor 4:4a) It is what allows people to assent to what late night talk show hosts say about candidates instead of listening to the candidates themselves and comparing that to all that has gone before. It is almost perverse, because it is a “spirit” that drives the average person to use no “spiritual” discernment at all.

 

It is what causes thousands to think Rick Warren is actually helping the American public to choose a better candidate by bringing John McCain and Barack Obama to “Saddleback” so they can smooth out their differences.  The program or show (side show) is partly sponsored by Meg Riley who formerly headed up her denomination’s homosexual advocacy office.  It raises the serious question of whose purpose is the author of “The Purpose Driven Life” fulfilling? It’s a show, a visual, and a media attraction with or without knowing exactly what is really driving Rick Warren’s purpose. What Evangelist Bill Keller told his over two million subscribers on his daily devotional July 26, 2008, was that Warrens sideshow is a “load of garbage.”

 

Has Keller crossed the sacred PC line and sinned against society? No, what he has really done is used God given discernment based on sound scriptural teachings and mustered the guts to say it out loud to a You Tube generation that would rather watch hours of delightful nonsense and tripe  rather than discern anything that matters. Kudos to Bill Keller, shame on Rick Warren!

 

Sadly, what is really happening is what the Apostle James and other biblical authors predicted would become commonplace as we approach the second coming of Christ. James said,”Are ye not then partial in yourselves, and are become judges of evil thoughts?” (James 2:4) King James Version or not this is exactly the meaning of “choosing between the lesser of two evils.” Not much discernment needed to know what that means. This is America today.

 

The greatest loss from the abandoning of discernment is that America has lost the connection. We are no longer able to discern the “connection” between our morality and all the other issues. The truth is that the economy, our security, and all the other matters of our national life depend on and are inextricably linked to our morality. We have mistakenly allocated morality to an aspect of our religious life and have thereby disconnected it from our own larger national welfare and security.

 

Political candidates, the news media and pundits rant about the economy, the war, taxes, crime and all the so called “critical issues” while ignoring the gross immorality of homosexuality, abortion, media filth, evolutionary dogma that passes itself of as academic freedom and general sensory driven visual tripe from Hollywood and similar sources. Morality is relegated to the churches and a few PC deficient fundamentalist Bible thumping diehards who just won’t seem to go away.

 

The result of all this distraction derived from the lack of discernment is in a word: judgment. But is it inevitable? Does the sun Rise? Does the sun set? It is God’s judgment that follows the refusal to use our own better judgment.

 

Using judgment is not a luxury that is reserved for a few and can be ignored by all others. In fact it is a biblical imperative that if ignored will have an immediate and devastating effect on everyone in our nation “The way of peace they know not; and there is no judgment in their goings: they have made them crooked paths: whosoever goeth therein shall not know peace.”(Isa 59:8)

 

The simplest rule for using good judgment turns out to be just the opposite of what is being done in America’s visual generation. Here it is; “Judge not according to the appearance, but judge righteous judgment.” Jesus, John 7:24.

 

If you have any discernment left and you must if you’ve gotten this far into this article then let me suggest that you pray for America to once again make decisions based on sound wisdom and spiritual discernment.

 

Rev Bresciani is an author and columnist for several online and print publications. With over two million readers worldwide and growing you will enjoy the articles, movie reviews, commentary and much more visit www.americanprophet.org

 

 

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Christian Apologetics and Politics: Reflections on Whether Christian Ministries Should Comment on Political Campaigns

What does Christian Apologetics have to do with politics? That’s the question that was recently put to me regarding some posts concerning the 2008 Presidential campaign. This questioner was sympathetic. In previous years, the questioners were not quite so sympathetic. To speak of political issues while engaged in the intellectual defense of Christianity seemed to be a contradiction of terms for, after all, what does the spirit have to do with the flesh?

This is really a Gnostic way of thinking. God is spirit, but he became flesh in Jesus. The creation was created good. Matter is good, though humans fell and subjected creation to the effects of our disobedience. This compartmentalization of Christianity to the ‘spiritual’ is contrary to orthodox Christianity.

Of course, my critics didn’t wholly disagree. Their whole point was that Christian values should be extended in government and by government to care for the poor, the working class, etc, in the manner that liberals proposed. I have reasons for disagreeing, though not because I don’t care for the poor. To discuss that in full is not the purpose of this article. Simply note how when the principles were ones they didn’t agree with the request was that I compartmentalize and when they were principles they did agree with they warmly welcomed their Christian values into the political arena.

Ideas have consequences. Words have meanings. The calamities of the 20th century were all foreshadowed by the ideas that had been kicked around in the 19th century. Today, there is an observed stubbornness to deny the connection between the ideologies of one century and the atrocities of the next. This stubbornness itself is an ideology, and it will have a consequence. Very likely, that consequence will be that the rehashed ideologies of the 19th century will emerge again and- because ideas have consequences- result in another wave of atrocities that must inevitably follow if those ideas are allowed to bear fruit. The corn seed cannot help but produce the corn plant. An apple tree will not produce a pear.

In the Christian worldview you have within it a doctrine which serves as a staunch check on free-wheeling ideology. That doctrine is ‘original sin.’ From a practical point of view, one consequence is that if you believe that people will, by nature, try to get away with whatever they can, you will be careful in centering power and authority and always be sure to enact corresponding checks and balances as you go. One result of this thinking is a constitutional system like our own in the United States. Another result would be seeing the value in national sovereignty, for nations serve as checks and balances against other nations.

Christian apologetics could serve a vital role in persuading people about the true nature of man. As a consequence, future atrocities can be staved off. We should never want to convert people to Christianity simply because we want our political agenda pursued, but we cannot deny the political characteristics that would emerge if Christians with such views were the majority.

Similarly, the Christian worldview logically entails something like the pro-life position. So, we could try to end legalized abortion by passing legislation, or we can try to create more people with the Christian worldview. Even if Roe vs Wade is overturned, the matter is returned to the states. Even if every state made it illegal, people would still get abortions. The more Christians there are the less abortions there will be.

Christian apologetics, in persuading people to give their life to the Lord, can cultivate a population that would not allow such things as gulags and concentration camps to emerge, or millions of unborn children to be murdered- not in some distant European or Asian calamity, but right here under our noses in the “Land of the Free.”

Thus, I submit that there is nothing more dangerous to humanity than to say that we should be keeping our religious views separate from our political inclinations. The stakes are incredibly high: we are probably never more than one generation away from horror on a grand scale.

I want to hasten to add that I am not saying that those with the Christian worldview will manage to do everything right all of the time. The previously stated doctrine of ‘original sin’ would prevent such a silly assertion.

I almost wonder if perhaps it is a mistake for our churches and religious organizations even to take advantage of tax exemption status. This status requires religious organizations to keep their nose out of explicitly political issues to a large degree or risk being fined, or worse, taxed. Christians have found other ways to become involved, but the very nature of this structure carries the message that the Church should mind its own business. Not only that, the message is that Church and Government agree that the Church has nothing to say to the Government.

I am pondering such things because I myself am considering incorporating my ministry as a non-profit. I cannot deny that it is tempting to take the tax-exempt status. If someone plunked down two grand to pay for it (about what it would cost) I would be hard pressed to reject it. So, I am not blaming churches or organizations for going that route. When you are faced with the fact that some people simply won’t donate unless they get the write-off, you do what you’ve got to do. I still haven’t made up my mind on this, but to my view, it is worth thinking about.

What do Christian apologetics have to do with politics? What we believe has consequences on how we behave. We know from history that some beliefs have had horrid consequences. Christian apologetics should never be construed as a ‘means’ to justify an end, and always focused on the salvation of individual souls. Yet, some of those individuals may just very well find themselves persuaded when they see how other ideas have played out. It cannot be denied that the salvation of souls today might save the actual lives of millions a generation hence.

Anthony Horvath is the chief apologist at www.sntjohnny.com and the author of Fidelis of the Birth Pangs series.