21 May 5 Antichristian Lies You Probably Believe
Have you ever wondered why people believe what they believe? One part of the answer is that we are, in many ways, a product of our environment. We may like to think that we are making rational decisions that inform our perspectives of the world. However, the truth is that we are more likely to be shaped by our culture’s values and the frequency of messages than by our own ability to recognize, reason, and resolve our worldview based on critical analysis.
As Hitler is often claimed to have said, “If you tell a big enough lie and tell it frequently enough, it will be believed.” There is truth in this statement, concerning as it may be. We are told what to believe: in schools, in commercials, in documentaries, in movies, by our friends and families, by movie producers and musicians (For more on this, read: The Antichrist Commission: Why the Church is Losing Generations). Ideas usually begin from a philosopher’s armchair, make their way into universities, and then find their way into pop culture – often in a distorted, simplified, and harmful form.
So what are these voices telling us? What lies may have crept in? What lies have we believed? Here are five formal philosophies that have trickled down into pop culture. Unfortunately, while some of the original philosophies are flawed in their own right, the pop culture versions are usually far worse. *Note: these are brief descriptions and not exhaustive explanations.
Formal Name: Utilitarianism
What It Really Means In Layman Terms: The best action is the one that does the most “good.”
How It Is Represented In Pop Culture: Ever heard anyone say, “it’s just a little white lie?” The concept of the white lie is based on the idea that it is okay to lie (something generally regarded as unethical) if it produces good results.
Why It’s UnChristian: Utilitarianism fails on several levels. Even if we assume that we have a reasonable definition of good, which I wager we often don’t, there are many problems. One of the more pertinent issues is that it assumes that we can predict outcomes. For example, we may lie to spare someone’s feelings through a white lie. However, by misleading someone, who knows what the actual outcome may be. Of course, this extends well beyond issues of honesty. Technically, if five of us need the organs in your body to survive, then you’ll have to give them up (even if it means your death) for the sake of the “greater good” whether you want to or not.
How To Spot It: Listen to people who start validating wrong actions based on potentially good results. “If we just compromise on this… that will be better.”
How To Fight It: Don’t try to assume you know how things will play out. Trust in God to fight for the righteous. “Rest in the Lord, and wait patiently for Him; do not fret because of those who prosper in their way, because of those who make wicked schemes (Psalm 37:7).”
Formal Name: Hedonism
What It Really Means In Layman Terms: Pleasure = good. Pain = bad.
How It Is Represented In Pop Culture: Sex and indulgence – generally regardless of consequences.
Why It’s UnChristian: Do you know what the greatest good in the Bible is? Jesus on the cross. Was that pleasurable? Certainly not in the context that it is used in our culture. In the Kingdom of God, pain is not inherently evil. It serves many purposes beyond being simply “evil.” (Note: I am working on two pieces: “The Non-Problem of Evil” & “Why God Allows Suffering”).
How To Spot It: Is there fear of pain? Do you think pain is evil? Are you afraid to suffer or watch those around you suffer?
How To Fight It: In the words of Jesus, “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me (Lk 9:23).” I have not arrived at this fully, but I understand the value intellectually. When we truly are dead to self, we are no longer controlled by fear and we are truly free from our selfish, pleasure seeking nature.
Formal Name: Materialism
What It Really Means In Layman Terms: Nothing exists outside of the material. There is no spiritual or eternal realm. All that exists is material.
How It Is Represented In Pop Culture: YOLO! Consumerism. Likely due to the idea that there is no afterlife, materialism, as most of us know it, focuses on “material things.” We strive for earthly assets and experiences, because if there is no existence beyond the material (Read: Why I Trashed My Bucket List & You Should Too). We might as well squeeze every ounce out of the material that we can get!
Why It’s UnChristian: The basic premise is wrong. There is life beyond the material and therefore the values are quite different. Jesus instructs, “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroy and where thieves do not break in nor steal, for where your treasure is, there will your heart be also (Mt 6:19-21).”
How to Spot it: Look for motives – of your own heart and others. What is driving decisions? Where there is fear, there is a focus on the material. Where there is control, there is focus on the material. Watch in movies, music, and even conversation with brothers and sisters in Christ. Learn to recognize these material motivations. “We brought nothing into this world, and it is certain that we can carry nothing out… the love of money is the root of all evil (1 Tim 6:7-10) .”
How To Fight It: Meditate on the great truth expressed by the Apostle Paul: “ For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed to us (Rm 8:18).” Focus on the eternal fruit of your present calling.
Formal Name: Evolutionism
What It Really Means In Layman Terms: Contrary to popular education, evolution is a complex series of theories that are generally used to show how life has developed.
How It Is Represented In Pop Culture: Everything is progressing naturally. We are all getting smarter as individuals (science suggests that we’re not, even if our information base and therefore technology are growing). We are progressing ethically. Etc. Everything is progressing forward as time goes on.
Why It’s UnChristian: The Bible suggests that growth and goodness come in ebbs and flows. Things don’t go one direction. Some things are moving forward in a positive direction. Others are going backwards. In fact, both science and the Bible point to several significant points of regression.
How To Spot It: The concept of evolving (not biologically, but socially, historically, etc.) has become so prevalent that it drips from everything we say and do. Listen for assumptions that things are moving in a direction of growth. Watch people assume that humans are getting smarter, that we are developing better ethics, and that the more “evolved” something is, the better it is.
How To Fight It: This one is best fought by studying history. When you realize that even though our knowledge base and technology are improving, much of our world is still moving backwards ethically and cognitively, you will begin to see that growth is not as black and white as things are assumed to be.
Formal Name: Relativism
What It Really Means In Layman Terms: Knowledge, truth, and morality exist in relation to culture, society, or historical context, and are not absolute.
How It Is Represented In Pop Culture: “Your truth is your truth and my truth is my truth.” “Your good is your good and my good is my good.”
Why It’s UnChristian: The Bible and basic logic tell us that truth (and morality) are not subjective (even if our understanding of truth is subjective).
How To Spot It: Listen for phrases like your truth, my truth, my morals, etc. It’s one thing to remark about opinions. It’s entirely different to suggest that those opinions are what actually determines truth.
How To Fight It:
Study these things in further detail. While we, as Christians, like to believe that our belief systems are based in God’s truth, the fact is that much of what we believe is influenced by contrary philosophies. Learn about them, look for them, and lean on God to guide you through these lies and into His truth.
WHAT DO YOU THINK? What other philosophies have twisted God’s truth? Leave a comment below and share to get your friends in on the conversation… We will pick a handful of your recommendations to cover in later issues of The Daily Rebuke!
Subscribe to this blog (on the right) to get updates on other words that have become victims of verbicide and to receive exclusive content from Redeemed Royalty Ministries, Chris, and The Daily Rebuke!
For more like this, check out The Plot To Make Us Idiots Is Working: Lean How To Recognize And Beat It