The False Premise

Time for an SFL lesson in logic!

Of all the logical fallacies that plague fundamentalist reasoning, perhaps none is so common as the syllogistic fallacy of the false premise. For those who are unfamiliar with the concept, consider this common argument against “worldly music”:

Major Premise: God hates worldliness
Minor Premise: All music with a beat is worldly
Conclusion: God hates music with a beat.

This seems like an airtight case until you realize that the middle statement in this construction is demonstrably impossible to prove from Scripture. I mean it’s not even one of those things that’s rationally debatable like Calvinism or Infant Baptism or whether those chicks in Genesis got freaky with the angelic host. Moral judgments on music beats is just not there. At all.

And don’t get hung up on the fact that this example uses music; almost every standard of behavior that is deemed “worldly” or “sensuous” or “immodest” or “Communist” uses the same basic false minor premise. But whatever it is, fundamentalists basically just assume that the middle statement is bound to be true because they’ve heard it repeated loudly and often enough that they’ve lost the capability to be truly critical of it. The sun rises in the east. Gravity makes stuff heavy. And music with a beat is of the devil. It’s as certain as death and tithing.

Given that you’ll never be able to convince a fundamentalist that their minor premise is anything less than gospel truth, arguing about it is almost pointless. If (as in the original example) you ask a fundy to prove that music with a beat is worldly, they’ll triumphantly produce reams of verses that contain the word “worldly” (but never actually demonstrate that they relate to a specific style of music) and claim the authority of Scripture. They may also produce secondary proof such as sermon notes from a popular fundy music pastor, quotes from some ancient rock star, and a few pseudo-scientific audio studies performed by unnamed Uzbekistan scientists in 1958. Or perhaps that a garage band band named “Unnamed Uzbekistan Scientists” in 1993? Either way, it doesn’t end there…

If random verses and other supporting “evidence” is not enough to prove their point the fundamentalist will then simply resort ad hominem, saying that if you don’t agree with them it shows a hardened neck, a stiff and uncircumcised heart, and an understanding that is darkened by rebellion and blinded by your participation in the Harry Cullen Role Playing Internet Blog Chat Forums. They may also decide to suddenly insult your sister. Even if you don’t have one.

It is a frightening thing to watch a person create a god in their own image who embodies their own personal opinions and preferences and then defend that god with a passion that only the One True God deserves.

335 thoughts on “The False Premise”

  1. Is’nt it rediculous how when you question a fundy about one of their absurd false practices or teachings, they always fall back on the fact that you just dont want to see the truth because your heart is harded by sin and rebellion. They can never defend their beliefs with the Bible. And honestly when I read my Bible, Jesus did not seem like the type of guy that would go around pissing people off and preaching against men having long hair and rock music.

    1. It’s funny that the people Jesus angered most were the religious people.

      1. It was also the religious people who angered Jesus most. He was always harder on hypocrites than on other sinners.

        1. both legalists and liberals

          …amazing how similiar they are really—you can get a fundy beet red mat at you for daring to insunuate that any music not written after 1899 is good, and a liberal for saying that lady Gaga is evil.

        2. What? How is saying that “Lady Gaga is evil” like saying that “any music not written after 1899 is good”?

          I don’t happen to agree with either of the above statments, but that doesn’t make them equivalent in any way I can think of.

        3. group “A” gets mad when you say the first statement

          just as

          group “B” gets mad when you say the other

          They both hold their opinions as spiritual doctrines

        1. I think she’s saying that when fundies accuse YOU of having a heart full of sin when you disagree with them, the truth may be that it is THEIR heart that is hard, hardened against the truth that sets you free, hardened against mercy and love and gentleness and compassion.

        2. thank you PW, I’m a little slow on the uptake today
          …that’s what I thought, but with people like Jonathan on here, it sometimes is disheartening when people do not say helpful things and clearly do not understand the importance of this blog as a sounding board…
          well, sometimes I’m just not sure their intent…

    2. I began to see the Scriptures in a new light when I really thought about the fact that Jesus’ first disciples were commercial fishermen. Men with beat-up hands and piles of damp, smelly fishing equipment lying around. Men who smelled perpetually of brine, fish guts, and possibly tar. Men who were used to yelling over the noise of the wind and the waves. Plus, they were men with hick accents (“I can tell you are a Galilean”). I wonder if their language was as salty as the average sailor’s today.

      So when I think of Jesus teaching the Disciples, I think of a bunch of hairy, scruffy guys sitting on overturned bait buckets down at the city dock, mending nets and bullshitting. Beer is probably involved and raucous music is pounding away on a battered old boom box nearby. Then this guy Josh, the nailpounder’s oldest son–big family over in Homer, they built the new school–takes a sip of Oly and leans forward over the net he is checking for holes. Somebody turns down the radio. People look up from their work. Josh says, “Well, I’ll tell ya,” and the world begins to change.

      Worldly? Doy. He was walking around in the world. Not in select congregations of good right-thinking Individual Fundamental Baptists.

      1. “So when I think of Jesus teaching the Disciples, I think of a bunch of hairy, scruffy guys sitting on overturned bait buckets down at the city dock, mending nets and bullshitting. Beer is probably involved and raucous music is pounding away on a battered old boom box nearby. Then this guy Josh, the nailpounderโ€™s oldest sonโ€“big family over in Homer, they built the new schoolโ€“takes a sip of Oly and leans forward over the net he is checking for holes. Somebody turns down the radio. People look up from their work. Josh says, โ€œWell, Iโ€™ll tell ya,โ€ and the world begins to change.”

        I am loving this description! Have you considered novelizing 1st century Galileans? ๐Ÿ˜›

      2. Maybe the disciples were the first rednecks. Go ye into all the world and git-r-done! :mrgreen:

  2. Then there’s the generic version:
    Major Premise: God hates worldliness
    Minor Premise: X is worldly
    Conclusion: God hates X.

    I’ve seen it applied to everything from denim to wire rim glasses.

    1. DENIM?!! But. . .but. . .lots of Fundy ladies would be running around NAKED if it wasn’t for jean skirts. We can’t be having that!

      1. Oh, but denim skirts are ok, because skirts in and of themselves are holy, thus their inherent holiness cancels out the demonic powers of the demin. Demin jeans however….it’s of the devil for a woman to even own a pair. At least, that’s what I was told as a youngin’

        1. Just as Eve brought sin into the world, nothing related to womankind can be holy, not even jean skirts. In this area, we are talking about evil and less evil, or about covering up our shame.

      2. My motorcycle I rode to fundy high school was banned with this logic back in 1990!!javascript:grin(‘:twisted:’)javascript:grin(‘:twisted:’)javascript:grin(‘:twisted:’)
        I really think they were jealous! ๐Ÿ™‚

  3. or whether those chicks in Genesis got freaky with the angelic host.

    LOL! Thanks for starting my day off with a smile. ๐Ÿ˜€

    1. I’ve actually heard that debated in an IFB church! The weird thing was that a little old lady started that, not the pastor.

  4. Amazing Grace has a beat. It’s 1โ€“2โ€“3, 1โ€“2โ€“3, etc. Unless you’re a Gregorian monk, whatever you listen to has a beat.

    1. Their inability to correctly define words is another frustrating aspect of trying to reason with them. But then of course fundamentalists have deemed 1-2-3 as NOT worldly (despite of course it being the beat of the waltz and when waltzing was introduced to English society, it was considered risque). No, the worldly beat is one-TWO-three-FOUR. And, no, it doesn’t clearly say that in Scripture, but if you were spiritual, God’s Spirit would convict you to acknowledge that! (Yes, I have heard music standards preached at me so much that I think I will need years soaking in the glorious Gospel of grace and freedom before my soul has healed.)

      1. Nah, just a few hours of ear-splitting Led Zepplin will do just fine. (Or fill in your current band of choice.)

      2. @ PW, you also forgot that phrases that start on the ‘and’ beat is also of the Devil.

      3. Our music professor (BJU grad) shared that there was a theory that disco music actually affected/changed the physiology of men, and caused (I don’t remember if he actually said “caused”, but that was the gist) them to be homosexuals.

        1. I know this is merely anecdotal, but I was in a band that played disco (among other things) during that era and my heterosexuality remained intact. But maybe that’s just me…. ๐Ÿ™„

        2. “Our music professor (BJU grad) shared that there was a theory that disco music … caused them to be homosexuals.”

          Once again, people confuse cause and effect. Gay men created the disco culture, not the other way around.

  5. Now you know, if those Genesis girls hadn’t been listening to some worldy (or maybe other worldly) music with a thumpin’ bass line they would never have gotten their freak on and started dancing with those angels cause we know what dancing is all about! ๐Ÿ˜ฏ

        1. @ Apathetic, or because most of the fundies I know are grossly over-weight and couldn’t do it anyway. hehe

      1. But if Baptists are so against sex, why are their families so big? You’ll have to forgive me, I’m a fundy troll and I was homeschooled. ๐Ÿ˜›

        1. They’re not against sex, but they’re against ENJOYING it! Or at least never, ever admitting you enjoy it or that it’s a gift from God and not just a duty one must perform in order to have children.

        2. if Baptists are so against sex, why are their families so big?

          Well… they have to do something in order to keep from dancing. ๐Ÿ˜ฏ

          Wife: I’m tempted to start dancing…
          Husband: No, we’d better go have sex until your sinful urge passes.

        3. IFB’s aren’t against sex. They’re just against other people having sex. Especially if those other people are having fun while they are doing it and it is not leading to procreation and the wife is not just fulfilling her duties and if the couple aren’t married and if the couple participate in anything other than “man-on-top-get-it-over-with-real-quick type of sex. That they are against.

          Sorry for the run on rambling :mrgreen:

        4. @Don, if that’s how it’s supposed to be, I’m going to be playing the soundtrack to Saturday Night Fever nonstop from now on.

      2. “Don’t you say that word!” “What, seeexxx? What’s wrong with hearing your elderly father talk about seexxx? I had ssseeeeexxx.” “(shudder)”.

        1. The way I heard it was, why don’t Baptists make love standing up? Their neighbors might think they are dancing!

        2. No, having sex standing up with your clothes on is different. Here, let me show you …

          (Sorry, I just had to get that retort out of my system …)

        1. My fundy ex-MIL always told my ex when he was growing up to never hold hands with girls, because hand holding leads to sex. I think she might have been slightly confused. She thought EVERYTHING leads to sex. Unfortunately, her over-emphasis on NOT having sex led to my ex being a certified pervert. Thanks a lot.

  6. I think its more a case of the preacher not liking something and finding a way of spiritualizing his own personal preferances.
    If you don’t care for CCM fine but don’t pretend it came down from Mt. Sinai with Moses.

    1. What I’ve found is that it’s not necessarily that its stuff the preacher doesn’t like, but usually stuff the preacher has a personal problem with.

      Case in point…I remember as young teen sitting in a Sword of The Lord conference where one of the speakers was Rodney Bell of the FBF. He preached one of those “anti-worldy-christians” sermons that touched on everything from movies and long hair to music and drinking. Fast forward a couple of decades and good ol’ Rod has to resign from his church after being arrested for DUI. ๐Ÿ˜ฏ

      If you look closely, this is usually the case. The preacher who rails against porn and sexual immorality, usually has his own stash or is getting freaky with the secretary. The guy who is always going on about women’s “immodest” dress, has those creepy eyes that seem to look right through women’s clothing. Growing in a household that was “in the ministry”, I know of case after case of menogawd who were known for their fiery preaching about “standards” and walked around like they were God’s gift to the church, only to fall flat on their face.

      What did our Saviour call them?…oh yeah…whitewashed tombs…and then there was thing about the beam in your own eye….and that other one about pride and falling down…

      1. You can add to that that most of the preachers (and other loudmouths) who are most virulently anti-gay end up being outed as gay themselves.

      2. Freud called that “Reaction Formation.” It’s a defense mechanism against undesirable or socially unacceptable urges. The urges never actually go away; the ranting and raving is merely a mask hiding the person’s true nature, and the underlying causes are never dealt with. A person can only fight against himself for so long before the mental strain gets to be too much and they break down and give in to their urges.

        The problem is that there are so many things fundies consider sinful that pretty much all of them are “struggling” with something, which leads to anxiety, stress, and depression. Unfortunately for fundies anxiety, stress, and depression are sinful mindsets, which leads to more anxiety, stress, and depression. The traditional fundie mandate of “pray more & read the Bible more” doesn’t deal with the cause of the problem and often proves useless in situations like this, kind of like putting waterproof paint on a sinking ship.

        In fact, much of Freud’s theory was a reaction against the predominant fundamentalism of the day, and the incredible amount of psychological repression that went on in the Victorian era (pianos often had curtains covering their legs so men didn’t see the curves and have sexual thoughts). Even his Oedipus & Elektra Complexes stemmed from the stories of women after women who would tell him about sexual encounters they had as children with male relatives. They were so common that Freud could not believe they were all true, that they must be fantasies and desires that everyone has during childhood. We now know that child abuse was actually rampant in the Victorian era, with about 60% of women and 30% of men having been sexually abused as children at that time. The key to dealing with sin is to teach people how to have a healthy understanding about it, not to suppress any mention of it and bury it deep down where it’s hard to see.

      3. So, by this theory, my adamant opposition to your anti-fundy sentiments actually means I’m an anti-fundy myself? Any does this mean that the overwhelming amount of vitriol that is spewed toward fundamentalists actually means that Darrell and company are actually closet fundamentalists?

        1. I think this behavioral disorder is referring to people who have never taken part in what they are condemning. We have already been fundamentalists. There’s nothing “closet” about that.

    1. direct from the KJV quote. If you don’t know it, that is a good indication that you have one, you utterly abominable heathen. ๐Ÿ˜€

    2. I saw that too. I thought it was “a hard heart and a stiff and uncircuncised neck…”

      1. I always think “I may have a double chin, but maybe we could find a better solution than that…”

      2. Actually, it’s hard heart, stiff neck, and uncircumcised…um…yeah…;) I believe Jesus also used “uncircumcised in heart”.

  7. “… quotes from some ancient rock star….”

    Maybe a little off topic but has anyone ever heard a version of the story of the rock-n-roll star who was famous because he sold his soul to the devil? I’ve heard that a few times from the pulpit. Is it even possible to sell your soul to the devil? How does one go about it? How does the transaction take place? Do you get a receipt?
    Or am I thinking too much about it and it is more of an example of someone saying “I’ll do anything that it takes to be famous”?

    1. This predates Rock ‘n Roll. Bluesman Robert Johnson supposedly sold his soul to the Devil.

      I think this eventually led to various Heavy Metal groups to adopt alleged devotion to Satanism as their schtick.

      1. Ironic story:

        Bluesmen sold themselves to the public as mad, bad, and dangerous to know, so that people would buy their music for a vicarious thrill; Robert Johnson may not have said that he sold his soul to the Devil at the crossroads, but he didn’t protest when other people said it. HOWEVER, they did not aspire to play the stripped-down, lean and hungry blues for which Robert Johnson is famous. They all wanted to go to the big city and have horn sections backing them up. Johnson’s album is something like a demo tape: “If I can do this with this, imagine what I could do with more.”

        They are known now for playing roots music–but they wanted to be their generation’s version of hair bands.


        1. The Devil went down to Georgia, he was looking for a soul to steal.
        2. The devil lost to a boy named Johnny who was a better fiddle player.
        3. Dane Cook played in colleges in Georgia early in his career.
        4. After the devil lost to Johnny, he found Dane.
        5. Dane Cook sold his soul to become unjustifiably popular.

    2. Great movie: Crossroads, with Ralph Maccio. Original score by Ry cooder and Steve Vai.

      It doesn’t get any better than that.

    3. Is it even possible to sell your soul to the devil? How does one go about it? How does the transaction take place? Do you get a receipt?

      According to Jack Chick, you get approached by an african-american dressed in a stereotypical pimp outfit…and you get 13 years to live it up before he comes to collect.

      1. @ FormerFundy, the pimp looks like one of Jeff Dunham’s dolls – Sweet Daddy Dee, Playa In a Management Profession – PIMP!

        1. I always thought that the moment you would consider selling your soul to the devil, you had rejected god and your soul was lost, end of negotiations.

  8. “blinded by your participation in the Harry Cullen Role Playing Internet Blog Chat Forums. They may also decide to suddenly insult your sister. Even if you donโ€™t have one.”

    Um… Darrell? This seems rather familiar, brings back some memories that aren’t too old. Or are we not supposed to notice? ๐Ÿ˜‰

    Please forgive my inability to quote properly.

    1. I wanna play the Harry Cullen Role Playing game. Can someone direct me to the Internet Blog Chat Forums where this is being played? If you don’t, I will insult your sister.

  9. Unfortunately, I’ve also recently seen this firsthand applied to a Biblical principle: love.

    Major Premise: God hates worldliness
    Minor Premise: Teaching “love” is New-Evangelical, and therefore worldly
    Conclusion: God hates everyone.

    The conclusion wasn’t quite like that, but the minor premise was – and I almost wanted to award the person bonus points for actually using the term “New-Evangelical.”

    1. Yes, Mag. You’re right that they wouldn’t QUITE go as far as the last point, but I’ve literally heard pastors preach against the dangers of love. I was uncomfortable with that at the time, but now I wish I could go back and shout, “No! Preach against compromise, but NEVER preach against LOVE!”

      This really tears me up inside – people who proclaim to be following Christ more devotedly and accurately than anyone else and yet who are so blind that they think it is ungodly to love! I’m running out of words to express my utter frustration.

      1. I’m right there along with you. So completely frustrating, and even more so when I struggle with loving others because of the way I was raised.

      2. I’ve heard 2 preachers say that God hates people/everyone. One of them I only heard as a recording, but the other one came to our church once. He also said something about Martians in that sermon.

    2. Conclusion revised:
      Conclusion: God loves only us

      …(me in particularly, you because you are within the sound of my voice) ๐Ÿ™„

        1. [b]Landmark[/b] Calvinism–God loves them the most because they’re the most separated of all the Calvinists…. ๐Ÿ™„

  10. “It is a frightening thing to watch a person create a god in their own image who embodies their own personal opinions and preferences and then defend that god with a passion that only the One True God deserves.”


  11. So, here is my question for our posters. Is this primarily a religious (heart) problem, or is this primarily a logical problem that has caused a misunderstanding of their religion?

    I realize that there is probably a mix, but which problem is more prominent?

    1. I think it has to start with the heart. There has to be some internal motivation that allows a person to make the logical leaps necessary to embrace a fallacy.

      1. Agreed that it is a heart matter.

        ….ignorance also plays a part, albeit secondary.

        1. I would say that it’s not so much ignorance (everyone can be taught) but their desire to stay ignorant.

    2. I think it is a matter of the heart. However, for some of us raised from babyhood in the IFB, it originally probably was the inaccurate thinking that helped shape us, but also I believe the sin in our own hearts – our desire to elevate ourselves and see ourselves as holy over other people – turned the error we were taught into a sin of our hearts too.

    3. Where people are involved it will always be a problem of their heart. So it is with all of us. You question points to two things that apply to the IFB specifically. One is an almost universal attitude of anti-intellectualism found throughout Fundieland and secondly the sectarianism found in the IFB religion.
      Even in the Fundie white castles of “Higher” learning there is the attitude of teaching what to think, rather than how to think. Group think is preferred over pursuit of the truth. Pusuing the truth is messy and not easy to keep inside the pre-packaged, one-size fits all, box with the IFB image of God.
      Then there is the sectarianism found in Americanized Churchianity. God is sub divided into denominations, these re-subdivide into camps, that are further divided into local area motherships that are divided into individual bunkers, and all truly believe that they are the only ones who are doing church the way God intended, and since they are so pure. Futhermore, they believe they will be contaminated if they have anyting to do with liberal church goers.

      I seem to have wandered far afield from the original question. still recovering from my Wedursday I guess.

    4. I tend to think it is a theological problem that creates the heart problem. Bottom line of fundy theology is that I have to keep doing good and weeding out bad in order for God to still like me. If I don’t, God may not like me, or worse, may send some bad thing into my life. So deep in my heart, my theology creates and environment where I have to do whatever it takes to get as close to God as possible. If someone’s exterior looks more holy than mine, I gotta figure out what they are doing (or not doing) that is preventing me from being as holy.

      It is a perpetual spiral of comparison, self recrimination, and self flagellation in an effort to become more holy and spiritual. The only rest is if I find someone who isn’t doing things differently than me in what I perceive as an unspiritual way because then I can condemn them (even if it is passive agressive) in a way that makes me feel better.

      The truth that God might actually love and care for you regardless of what you do escapes them, as does the fact that God claimed it was His job to make me better, and He is the one who does it, not me. Fundies can’t believe otherwise because their bad theology has been screamed into them just as loudly as the “minor premise” above.

      This, too, is why they hate those of us who have truly found God’s freedom. We cannot be convinced by them to think less of ourselves because we are not doing what they claim is spiritual. We laugh at their petty attempts to make us feel less spiritual, which means they cannot feel more spiritual. This frustrates them more than anything.

      (Wow, sorry, didn’t mean to preach, but this psychosis I was in is so clear. So much more could be said about the idea of submitting to the “holiness” of the “holier” Christian and how it effects this dynamic, but I’ll shut up.)

        1. If you have the time, look up the podcasts of a series of sermons on grace from Rick Sayger of Colonial Hills Church in Southaven, MS. It’s from a few years ago; I hope they’re still available. Hands down one of the best series I’ve ever listened to – when he got to the conclusion of the whole thing in the last sermon, it took my breath away.

  12. I had a fundy preacher tell us from the pulpit that wearing jeans to church, even Wednesday evening church was wrong. He said that it was a sign of disrespect to God. I saw it as him being more concerned with the appearance than the heart.

    In a separate discussion, he stated that he didn’t have a problem with what someone watched or listened to in their home. He said that was a decision between them and the Lord.

    In my opinion, he was inconsistent with fundy logic.

    1. Yeah, totally inconsistent.

      It could be pride. The church building was his domain; he didn’t want anyone to disrespect HIM by wearing jeans to church. What would the other pastors think? If church members at other chuches have to dress up for THEIR services, wouldn’t it mean that he wasn’t as good of a pastor if his congregation didn’t dress up for HIS?

      I’m glad he at least realized that Christian liberty allows believers to decide things for themselves between them and the Lord. Too bad he didn’t extend that to apply to church dress as well.

  13. The other side of this is the positive side:
    God wants you to do good,
    Running a bus route is good,
    God wants you to have a bus route.

    SFL: a general statement+extra-Biblical preference+non-sequitur conclusion=Doctrine.

    1. Excuse me. You’re using Latin. Before I separate from you for being worldly, could you explain it to me? Currently I’m under the assumption you said that you love and support Satanist screamo/metal bands, and we all know that’s not appropriate. :mrgreen:

      1. non sequitur – “it does not follow”

        Best subject I ever taught was HS Logic! ๐Ÿ˜€

        1. Ooh ooh, me too. Actually, the Latin I learned was all from a IFB church/school…odd.

        2. I to have a piece of paper from a Fundy U that is not worth the money I paid for it!

          I didn’t learn Latin, I “learned” Greek. It was always amazing to me how so many people’s translation work sounded like the KJV…. โ“

  14. First I’d like to restate that I don’t have a sister! ๐Ÿ™‚ JK It still makes me laugh!

    Itโ€™s as certain as death and tithing

    Do people really say that? Tithing is now more certain (and dreaded) in fundy circles than taxes?

        1. Oh the tithing thing was just a joke. I thought it had to be at first, but then I saw several people quote it and I wasn’t sure if that was some cool fundy thing going on nowadays to make people more guilty about tithing. Thanks for the clarification.

    1. Well, we all know there are fundy groups who don’t believe in paying taxes… Short story… After my dad, who was the bookkeeper, left our old fundy church, they stopped paying taxes. He later found out it was over 5 years before anyone caught on that no one had been doing the taxes…and this was a church that ran, on average, 1,500 any given Sunday…

  15. I grew up during the 50s when Elvis was introduced to the music scene. Church people call it the devils music and likened it to something out of Africa which being black automatically meant it had to be bad. Only later, when then heard that he sang hymns, they started to compromise a little.

  16. “They may also decide to suddenly insult your sister. Even if you donโ€™t have one.”

    It’s good to see the anti-fundy sense of humor is as strong as ever.

    1. Am I correct to remember that you were the one insulting someone’s sister? If so, it was a pretty bad personal attack there, and I think Darrell is right to point it out. It’s typical fundy to attack something off-topic, but the way you did it was not even remotely Christian.

      1. It’s amazing how quickly some folks will jump to a conclusion without knowing the whole story. Kind of reminds me of this…I digress. Anyway, Mark Thomas was consistently (obsessively?) trying to get me to use some picture as my gravatar. I jokingly replied that it was a picture of his sister. Since he never responded, I knew that he didn’t have a sister. There was no attack on a sister. It was good-natured ribbing. Gracious, and to think that this is supposed to be the bastion of anti-fundy sentiment. You all aren’t going to topple the movement if you keep emulating the enemy.

        1. Jonathan, I’d be careful about what I chose to infer from silence. Maybe I do have sister, but maybe she died when we were both young children. Maybe she has spina bifida and is paralyzed from the waist down. Now, neither of these things is true, but you can’t infer that from silence. What if it was a sore personal subject?
          While you’re right that it is ribbing (and mostly good-natured), you seem to be missing the point. I follow you around repeatedly suggesting you make Trollface your gravatar not to say something about your face, but to suggest something about the way you come across around here. The fact that you don’t seem to get the joke means you probably just don’t know your memes, but it might also suggest that you take yourself a little too seriously sometimes (which can be funny). And the fact that you respond with a more personal jab (say what you want, dragging family into the mix makes it personal) seems to indicate you think my suggestion is serious too, which of course adds another layer of humor entirely. I don’t make fun of you, Jonathan, I just make fun of your apparent attitude and (occasionally) some poorly-founded statements you make.
          All that to say I’m not offended and would never make an issue out of the sister thing, but as I said on a few of your comments to Rose earlier this week, you might want to think about some of your responses before you submit them. There’s farce, and then there’s sarcasm and snark, but personal jabs are another thing entirely.

        2. Jonathan, this is the posting they are referencing:
          (apologies in advance for messing up the format)

          It is always some woman on the other end of the line (probably RobM or Mark Thomasโ€™s sister) who propositions them for sex and keeps calling until the evangelist gets down on his knees and prays for God to save him from the temptation.

          Parsing your statement, you are calling this good-natured ribbing. Two problems: you claim to know that Mark Thomas doesn’t have a sister based on a previous exchange – but what about RobM? And no matter what, calling someone’s sister a prostitute isn’t good-natured ribbing, especially aimed at someone you don’t really know. If you called it an outburst of your irritation at how you’ve been treated, I could understand taht, although I would still regard it as ridiculous and inappropriate. The “I’m just kidding! Really!” defense seems to be whipped out every time someone’s attempt to be subtly nasty goes awry. Sigh.

    2. Well it’s not funny, my sister died when she was very young so maybe we shouldn’t make jokes about my sister or the sister I don’t have.

      1. Actually I am an only child but that last entry should make people think before they start in on family jokes. Call me whatever you want to but don’t even start joking about my family members. That used to be an unwritten rule, but I guess everything is fair game these days.

        1. That reminds me of the street game of “Doing the Dozens.” If you’re losing at “The Dozens,” you can always start talking about the other person’s Mama or Granny. Then a fistfight will usually break out, so the game’s over.

  17. Growing up in fundyism, I more often heard “worldly” music defined as music performed and liked by worldly people. “Worldly people like THAT music, so you should NOT like it.” I’m not sure why I never had the courage to ask what we should do about the other things worldly people like to do–like eat and take showers and wear clothes. I should have been braver!

      1. That is because the classical composers aren’t around to argue and defend their theology…or lack of it. You would never want to endorse the artistry of any musician who did not hold to every little belief that you embrace. I experienced the veiled “suspicion” of classical music, except of course Handel and Bach.

      2. Don’t get me started on that… The same people who wioll go on and on about the “worldly lifestyles” of the CCM artists will go home to listen to Mozart, Beethoven, Tchaikovsky, Britton… the list goes on. They don’t know what to do when you tell them that most famous musicians in the 17 and 1800’s died from STD’s…

        1. Oh exactly… which is why I mentioned Tchaikovsky and Britton. In fact Britton was known to frequently molest the boys in his choir and his male partner used to have to take him away out into the country to get him away from certain boys who he became infatuated with. Gross, but those are the facts. And I guarantee you that most FundyU music departments worth their salt sing his stuff. I know we did when I was in choir at the U I attended…

    1. @Stacy – Yep. Same logic with church dress. Worldly people dress casually, fashionably. Therefore, you must wear a suit. What about all the worldly people on Wall Street, or the news media?? They wear suits.

      How many times have you heard in fundy circles that you shoule be able to tell the differance b/w the church and the world by the way they dress?

      1. “How many times have you heard in fundy circles that you shoule be able to tell the differance b/w the church and the world by the way they dress?”

        Practically every day of my life growing up. My mom was on a mission to prove that Christians are classier than everyone else. So she’d wear dresses and heels whenever leaving the house. Even if we were camping.

      2. I’ve heard that one, coupled with that whole “peculiar people” thing. And, why yes! It does produce some rather peculiar outfits. Like a dress shirt, tie, and khakis while mowing the lawn. Or the coulotte swimsuit.

  18. Fantastic post, Darrell. I’m looking forward to great discussion from this post. However, my contribution comes in a “Shoes”- like fashion.

    1. Jonathan is a regular poster here.
    2. Jonathan is also the name of the UConn Huskies mascot.
    3. He is named for Jonathan Trumbull, a governor during the American Revolution.
    4. Jonathan Trumbull attended Harvard University.
    5. J. Robert Oppenheimer also attended Harvard University.
    6. J. Robert Oppenheimer worked on the Manhattan Project with Niels Bohr, who was from Denmark.
    7. Also from Denmark is Thomas Dam, the original maker of troll toys.
    8. Therefore, Jonathan is a troll.
    8a. Who probably makes WMDs…

    1. Inescapable. However, Jonathan seems to be a partly-reformed troll and his WMDs are entirely damp squibs, so maybe we should grant him a dispensation. No, wait. . .

    2. This is a good day for me. First, I get to Darrell to reference me in one of his God-ordained, handed down from Sinai, it’s my mission to uncover every failure of America’s greatest enemy since Osama bin Laden and Michael Moore…the IFB posts (that was rather rambling and disjointed, just like a fundy preacher’s rant about Pastor’s Wife’s pants or flowy skirts). Then I get some logic-based “Shoes” style post. Darrell, I hope you get royalties from all of the ad impressions that my presence brings to your site.

        1. I could almost hear the anger and disgust as you said a “shoes” stly post. you obviouslly eye roll don’t realize the hours i spend chanelling to get this info. it’s much more difficult that designing this weeks … oh never mind, you

      1. you can’t fool us anymore Jonathan-
        you wan’t to jump the fence so badly
        and come over to the dark side…
        Come on, Jonathan, you can do it !!!

        1. Thank you for the invitation, but I rather like being an enigma…being a quasi-fundy. One foot on this side and the other on that side.

        2. @ Jonathan: โ€œThe hottest places in hell are reserved for those who in times of great moral crises maintain their neutralityโ€ ๐Ÿ˜‰

          Dante Alighieri

        3. “Thank you for the invitation, but I rather like being an enigmaโ€ฆbeing a quasi-fundy. One foot on this side and the other on that side.”

          Doesn’t that mean lukewarm? You know, neither hot nor cold? I hate to remind you what Jesus said He would do with lukewarm Christians.

          *freely misapplying Scripture here, tongue in cheek*

        1. I appreciate your expert diagnosis. Would you mind pointing out the areas that appear to demonstrate a preoccupation with myself? I am always looking to improve.

      2. C’mon, Jonathan, after all the excitement you’ve caused this week, are you really surprised you got a nod like this?

        1. I just found out the only gal younger than me in chemo died Wednesday morning, leaving 2 middle school boys…
          I finished chemo/radiation on April 22-Good Friday and cancer has brought me to a place where I don’t have the time or energy to suffer fools…
          and you, my friend Jonathan…have shown your true colors, so if you have no interest in “jumping the fence”, your talents and expertise can be put to better use elsewhere… PLEASE !!

        2. My heart goes out to you, blacksheep. I pray the Lord will give you special comfort at this time.

        3. thank you…
          I’m just surprised how much anger I have-
          not toward God, but well-meaning people.
          My mother’s response was
          “since God is a God to the fatherless,
          you can’t get better than that”. ?? !!
          I’m sure the boys would find that bit of
          gospelese such a comfort at this time…

        4. @Mark Thomas, not at all. However, the last time Darrell wrote a post that I indirectly influenced, he got all pissy and said I was arrogant and self-important. Maybe not in those words, but the sentiment was there. And now for the obligatory emoticon: ๐Ÿ˜Ž

        5. @blacksheep, please know that my prayers will be with you. I have had more than my share of experiences with cancer, including my mother (who may be going through it again) and a very dear friend. Not going to try to offer any comforting words (because most of the time they only ring hollow). From one fool to another, please take care of yourself. Don’t stress about stupid things like a ridiculous blog.

        6. Jonathan-
          I am very sorry to hear about your mother and can only hope you have a better relationship with her than my mother has with me.
          and as to the last line of your comment…
          -it rings true (darnit) and I was not expecting such wise words from such a smart apple such as yourself.

  19. This post is so relevant…

    I had this one friend, an older woman, the mother of a few of my college-age buddies. She was one of the smartest, most logical people I had ever met when it came to applying scripture. However, that stuff ended when you pulled up “music with a beat.” I never, ever, ever could get a good explanation of why a beat was inherently worldly. Never, ever. I lost a lot of respect for her after I heard her try to explain her position to my mom one afternoon.

    Fundamentalism does some weird stuff to even the best of ’em! ๐Ÿ˜

  20. “It is a frightening thing to watch a person create a god in their own image who embodies their own personal opinions and preferences and then defend that god with a passion that only the One True God deserves.”

    Darrell that is right on, I am going to make your quote my Facebook status today!

  21. “They may also decide to suddenly insult your sister. Even if you donโ€™t have one.”

    HAHAHAHAHA!! Where’s the rolling on the floor laughing icon?? Well-played, Darrell. I think that’s going to be my quote of the day, even though SFL is in there waaaaaay too much as it is ๐Ÿ˜€

  22. Ok..this is soooo true. I have been reading a lot and not commenting, but I grew up fundy and went to fundy school. The teachers could not stand me because I used to always question the premise(s) of their arguments. I recall one of the teachers turning beet red because I wouldn’t just accept his argument!! LOL!! They were not too happy when I announced I was going to be a lawyer..LOL!! :mrgreen:

  23. It’s like this was lifted straight from the recent comments on my blog…a little scary, actually! ๐Ÿ˜ฏ

  24. “It is a frightening thing to watch a person create a god in their own image who embodies their own personal opinions and preferences and then defend that god with a passion that only the One True God deserves.”

    Boom, right on. That is exactly what is happening. Music is the most obvious one, but it is also the most controversial. One of the reasons I went to BJU, originally, was because of musical standards that I had at the time. The more I studied and the more I learned the less my standards became. That happened even at BJU. But it was when I left BJU that my eyes were truly opened and it was from reading music cognition books and musicology books regarding music of other cultures. You see what Fundamentalist schools will never teach is music from other cultures. They’ll mention it in passing, and of course there is the one lesson and 4 pages from the history book regarding 20th century pop/jazz/rock music which mention other cultures. They’ll talk about European folk songs through the 20th century chapter, but outside of that no talk whatsoever. But if you start to learn about it yourself you’ll begin to realize that Garlock and Patch were completely ignorant of music outside of their own finite cultural experience and yet they argue that their finite “acceptable” music is somehow universal, as if they have studied all cultures and found that ours is somehow superior and or more natural. They talk as if the triad is universal to all music or that the beat of 4/4 time is some how universal. IOW they argue that God encoded proper music into his creation. That somehow we bear this within our DNA and western style music is more natural. The reality couldn’t be further from the truth especially when you study music cognition.

    Saying that your style of music is godly or somehow God ordained would be like saying God approves of English with an American accent and if you speak anything else you are in sin and worldly. God truly made us diverse. There are very few universals in music and none in the sense that Garlock, Aniol, BJU and co would use the term. In order to argue that one culture’s music is right and another’s is wrong you might as well tell them their language is evil too.

    1. You see what Fundamentalist schools will never teach is music from other cultures.

      Bingo…right on the money. It’s always been my personal opinion that all the “worldly music” horse manure is rooted in a deep seated racism. Garlock, et al, have always been pushers of the “music with beats that have african roots and are used in voodoo rituals” idea. I don’t know how many sermons I sat through as a kid hearing the same old re-treaded stories about naked africans dancing to drumbeats invoking evil spirits, and therefore we cannot have those types of rhythms in “our” (read White Anglo Saxon Protestant) music. What makes it more ridiculous is that this was in churches in a caribbean island with a strong african cultural heritage…once again the gringo missionaries preaching culture instead of the Gospel

      1. Oh, absolutely. And the missionaries here in Alaska insisted that people had to give up their heraldry–totem poles in one cultural group, button blankets in another–because such things weren’t “biblical,” which was code for “middle-American white Protestant.” They weren’t supposed to dance their own dances because, well, DANCING, and also SATAN. (The dancers kept time with A DRUM THE HORRORS). Some people even made the people put under their authority* dress like right-thinking white Americans, that is, in clothes completely unsuited to the climate, but good and right-thinking and buttoned up and polished. And drafty and ill-fitting and hard to keep in repair, but they had been saved from being so unenlightened as to wear clothes not invented by whites!

        *The missionaries worked hand in glove with the school authorities, which were arms of the government in ways that ought to make teabaggers scream, except that of course the people being abused weren’t white. I have read a letter by the head of the territorial education department in which he authorized forcing the destruction of the 15 languages spoken in Alaska because he didn’t like hearing people talk in words he couldn’t understand.

        1. One of the most culturally imperialist books ever written was “Alaska,” by Sheldon Jackson (published about 1880). Jackson was a Presbyterian minister in the “lower 48” and was also the man the federal government chose to establish Alaska’s school system. He explicitly said that the goal of Alaska’s schools should be to extinguish native culture and language and to replace it with “civilized” “Christian” (by which he meant white, American, Protestant) values and habits. To justify this, Jackson depicted native life (pre-missionary) as incredibly depraved, violent, and hopeless. The book has long been out of print, but I managed to get a copy of it from a bookstore in Anchorage. It gives a good insight into how at least some Americans viewed the people in the then-new Alaska Territory.

          There was a famous court case in which a group of Native families sued for the right to take their (desperately unhappy) children out of one of Jackson’s boarding schools. At this school, the pupils’ native dress, languages, and foods were completely banned, and they were compelled to spend most of the day doing “chores” (more or less at hard labor). The federal court eventually ruled in favor of the parents, and all of the students– 100% of them– immediately chose to withdraw from the school.

        2. @Big Gary: Yep. That’s the guy.

          Was the legal decision the Molly Hooch case?

        3. Jenny: No, the Molly Hooch case was in the 1970s, and dealt the final death blow to the boarding-school system for Alaska Natives.

          The case involving Sheldon Jackson’s boarding school was almost 100 years earlier. I can’t find the book that discusses it, or I would tell you the name of the case and the year.

    2. “…saying God approves of English with an American accent and if you speak anything else you are in sin and worldly.”

      Why is it that so many things I read on here I have heard from an IFB pulpit? And I qoute:

      “God is depending on Americans to spread the gospel”.

      And why do I remember all the nonsensical things I heard?

    3. It seems we have a lot in common. I was a music major at the Bob, and while I always had sneaking suspicions that something about their music arguments was off, I didn’t realize it till I took music history. There has been talk in recent days of doing a jazz course for music ed majors, and I know that the music history professor (who will be unnamed, albeit my favorite teacher there) has been trying to integrate some Beatles and Elvis listening into the repretoire, with great resistance I might add.

      1. When I was in Grad school, right after student teaching, the faculty at BJU decided to hold a special meeting with all music majors asking for insight. Of course many wrote letters commending them for their music stance my letter was much different. Having just completed student teaching and realizing how inadequate my teaching was I petitioned them to integrate jazz and jazz theory into the music program. I told them that all the students should learn it, but I specifically said that music ed majors *had* to learn it. My compromise, if all students couldn’t study jazz, was to have a special class only ed majors could enroll in and/or integrate jazz theory into already established music ed classes.

        That was 2005, if it has taken them over 6 years and they still can’t do it then that is extremely sad. Unfortunately by the time they get around to recognizing jazz as a valid piece of music history the next major time period will be coming around and BJU will just continue to be out of touch and look crazy. Folks whether you like it or not, whether you think it is a sin or not the music has been written. Whether it is jazz or the beatles the cold hard fact is that it is written and well received and will forever remain in our history books and will forever change our music understanding and theory. Denying only makes you look ignorant…and on that front BJU is.

    4. The first choral music I was exposed to since early elementary school was in my church choir in high school, and we sang mostly hymns and Garlock / Hamilton music. Now that I’ve been in college choirs for two years, I return to singing that music again, and realize how little variety there is in Garlock and Hamilton’s music. I haven’t taken music theory yet, but while some of the accompaniment is beautiful, some are just plain boring and repetitive! (Yet another argument against CCM– repetitiveness… but anyway).

      Music is very cultural. Churches have their own cultures, too. Some have a more “traditional” calm style of music, some have very active praise-choir styles, while some have rock bands. The IFB just has a very narrow idea of what is “acceptable” and not.

  25. Brilliant last line! “It is a frightening thing to watch a person create a god in their own image who embodies their own personal opinions and preferences and then defend that god with a passion that only the One True God deserves.”

    Every recovering fundy should be required to read The Prodigal God by Tim Keller. And you should also listen to the song “Free” by Caedmon’s Call.

    Lyrics to Free
    Around my neck is a beautiful stone
    I made it from the good that Iโ€™ve done
    It is close to my heart with a meter of its own
    But the weight it bears on me from the good I want to be
    It cuts me in half, a blade, a sword, a golden calf

    [Verse 2]
    Now I am sinking under the load
    I see it was only foolโ€™s gold
    And it falls on me, brings me low
    Around his neck he carries the stone
    He takes my burden, makes it his own
    And it takes him down, the bread, the wine, the golden crown


    [Verse 3]
    A rose shoots up from the ground
    The sky cracks open, sun through the clouds
    The old has changed, the earth, the bride, the family name

    Broken down and shot through, all the good I mean to do
    The prison shakes, the man goes free, I am him and he is me


  26. As a teenager, I was required to read the book, “Why I left the Contemporary Christian Movement” by Dan Lucarini. I never was shown scripture on this subject, so I guess Mr. Lucarini could explain it better than God could…

    1. Did you ever see those movies “Hell’s Bells 2: The Power and Spirit of Popular Music”? Really great stuff on how destructive rock music is. Of course, all it did was make me want to listen to all my old CDs again.

      1. HAHA!!

        I don’t think I’ve seen that particular one, but I’ve seen Garlock’s series and some other random dude: SO not convinced…..

  27. I’m surprised that someone didn’t mention the missionary story. The one where the missionary kids were playing contemporary Christian music and the locals got all upset because it had the same beat that they had used to summon spirits/demons etc. before converting to Christianity.

    1. Wow. My friend Paul told me his son, a missionary to Africa, experienced/witnessed that firsthand. I’d heard the story for decades but never got that close to the source! ๐Ÿ˜‰

  28. It was convincing…(” Why I left the Contemporary Christian Movementโ€) It had a lot of music theory and not a ton of scripture that was specific to music. It was as Darrell said… Worldy doesn’t necessarily mean music or refer to it.

    1. BTW, his “music theory” is crap. Never mind he forgot to integrate another aspect of music – it’s history.

  29. The Harry Cullen Role Playing Internet Blog Chat Forums? Hey, I’m a member there!

  30. I went to some great concerts as a kid, and I was into photography. I had a nice collection of pics of rock legends (The Who, AC/DC, Led Zeppelin,Grateful Dead, just to name a few) Then mommy got saved, and we all had to go to a fundy church. Well thanks to some convincing preaching, my 17 year old self believed I had to get rid of my precious photos or God would surely punish me. But last year, thanks to facebook (!) an old friend told me he had copies of the Led Zep pics(the ones I missed the most), and he sent them to me. There is a God, haha.

  31. A. Parents must raise their children to love God
    B. Christian schools raise kids who love God
    All parents must send their children to Christian schools

    1. Then there’s the inverse of that:

      A – There are drugs in public schools
      B – There is sex in public schools

      A+B – If you send your kids to a public school, they will get hooked on drugs and come home pregnant (or make someone pregnant)

      1. Especially if Tracy Morgan happens to be hanging around that particular school. (It’s an obscure 30 Rock reference).

  32. Well, it sure is fun & easy to mock others.

    How would you brilliant people define worldliness? It is clear from the Bible that Christians are to “deny worldliness and ungodly lusts”.

    Is there any music that is worldly?

    Can something be worldly for me and not for you?

    1. I’m not brilliant so I need help. How about you answer the questions first so I have a standard to measure up to.

    2. YES! While I do listen to CCM, and it is a spiritual blessing to me, I do strongly believe that it CAN be s distraction away from worship for others, and can also violate one’s conscious. That’s where “preference” and Biblical deference comes in. To violate a friend’s conscious simply because I don’t think it’s wrong would make it a sin… I know I’m not being very clear or eloquent (trying to keep my toddler from eating the computer keys) but am I making sense?

      The problem that Darrell (I believe) is pointing out is that some people are preaching their preference as gospel truth, which is wrong.

    3. I John 2:16 says, “For the world offers only a craving for physical pleasure, a craving for everything we see, and pride in our achievements and possessions. These are not from the Father, but are from this world.”

      I consider worldliness to include selfishness, self-righteousness, arrogance, impatience, and cold-heartedness, not just fornication, drunkenness or
      having two piercings in one ear lobe.

      Like Kaje, I believe that if someone is tempted to sin by listening to CCM, then they shouldn’t, and if I know they don’t like it, I will limit my freedom and refrain from listening to it when in that person’s presence. Our very intense disgust is when we are told that all CCM is evil and no godly Christian can worship using it. That sort of statement cannot be supported biblically.

    4. How would you brilliant people define worldliness? It is clear from the Bible that Christians are to โ€œdeny worldliness and ungodly lustsโ€.

      I’ll take the troll-bait and try to answer.

      Worldliness has to do with the inward perspective, not the outward appearance. Outward expressions may reflect that notion, but true worldliness is a matter of the heart. We are told not to love the world, there is no verse in the bible (that I know of) that says “don’t look like the world” or “don’t play music like the world”. Tim Challies defines worldliness as “the organized system of human civilization that is actively hostile to God and alienated from God.” In other words, seeking to please the self instead of pleasing God. I don’t know where someone could find a specific music style in there…its about where your heart is…not what’s on your ipod.

    5. if the world loves it–thats a good warning sign, whether music or anything else. Not necessarily a litmus test, but something to take note of for sure.

      Also its influence on the spirit, if any.

      1. “If the world loves it” is not a good “warning sign”. The Lord Himself prayed that we not be removed from the world, just be protected from EVIL. And that is the key concept here. You cannot prove that Music style “A” is “GOOD” while music style “B” is “EVIL”. Here’s an example of your “if the world loves it” logic

        A. Johnny plays in a rock band.
        B. Johnny likes to get drunk and smoke drugs.
        C. Therefore, this proves rock music is evil.

        I could use the same logic this way.

        A. Johnny has a hammer (he’s a carpenter).
        B. Johnny beat Jimmy over the head with his hammer and murdered him
        C. Therefore, this proves that hammers are evil.

        1. Obviously Counter-strike is evil cause all the school murderers played it.

        2. What’s wrong with that second one? They use that with guns all the time…

        3. It’s a stretch to say it proves hammers are evil, but it’s a good argument for keeping hammers away from Johnny.

    6. This sounds like the question from someone who still either wants to or thinks it’s possible to live life by defining everything in terms of black and white.

    7. I am just a little tired of seeing all of this bashing of everything and anything; I get the idea that there is not a single good thing about fundie churches.

      I’m just trying to explore the truth. Is there nothing that is worldly in and of itself? Or is it all relative to how it affects us?

      I still have quite a few friends that are in fundie churches; they are good and decent people. I don’t agree with them about everything, but I get tired of hearing such people mis-characterized as ignorant jerks.

      1. The problem with trying to categorize things as “worldly” or “not worldly” is that it’s just a way of saying, “How do we define Us as opposed to Them?”

        Instead, ask, “Is this charitable, courageous, faithful, hopeful? Is it wasteful? Is it selfish, prideful, gluttonous, envious, lustful, slothful? Is it innocuous, but not what I should be doing with this time? Do I, personally, like it, and would I like it if somebody hadn’t told me it was forbidden? Do I personally know of a real, not hypothetical, person who might stumble if I did this? And what might I be doing instead with the time I am using worrying about whether I am Us enough not to end up as one of Them?”

        1. Is it innocuous, but not what I should be doing with this time?

          I’m not sure that’s all that useful. I’m a nonbeliever, but I’ve heard a fair number of scary beady-eyed fundamentalists saying stuff that makes me think they regard all art that doesn’t mention Jesus at least 5 times a minute as a complete waste of time AT BEST, but more likely a trap of Satan.

      2. The best explanation of worldliness relates to its base word, “the world.” This can easily confuse us, bec

      3. The best explanation of worldliness relates to its base word, “the world.” This can easily confuse us, because the term has lost its connotation. The world is the entire system of human civilization which exists in open defiance of God and His will: it leads us to live as if we ourselves are the Gods which should be heeded. This is the fallen world which God forbids us to love, and is the direct result of the rebellious hearts of fallen Man. To be worldly is to be at home in the system, living by its standards, embracing its values, and promoting ourselves within it.
        What does this mean for music, art, technology, literature, employment, recreation, and the numerous other outputs of human effort? Can they be classed as worldly based on their content alone? With this, I like to think of what C.S. Lewis had a character say in the Great Divorce:

        –It was all a snare. Ink and catgut and paint were –necessary down there, but they are also dangerous –stimulants. Every poet and musician and artist, but for –Grace, is drawn away from the love of the thing he –tells, to love of the telling till, down in Deep Hell, –they cannot be interested in God at all but only in what –they say about Him.

        Backbeats, blues scales, drum patterns, electric guitars: all these things are tools used for the musician’s purposes. Properly speaking, they can only be worldly in context. It all depends on the wielder of the tool and the audience. Are there lyrics that are worldly? Surely that is so, assuming that the lyrics glorify the open defiance of God that is the natrual attitude of mankind. Is there a matter of musical composition which is inherently worldly? I say no, because the information transmission of music is not detailed enough. One man’s drinking song (to use an overpopular example) is another man’s hymn, and yet another’s annoying noise. To declare entire genres worldly, sinful, or even unholy is a popular pastime (tarantellas? sarabandes? operas? :cool:), but fallacious without the hearer’s context.
        It’s all about our mind, heart, soul and strength. All of it.

    8. Good questions! Read the verse carefully, and the surrounding passage. You will quickly see that worldliness and lust are synonyms. You see, some kinds of religion (including some fundamentalists, but many, many others as well) have decided that evil is from without; that is to say, that worldliness can be found in a form or a method or a product. The Pharisees also thought this, and Jesus quickly corrected them. The stuff outside the body just is…but evil comes from the heart of man.

      Or do you think that a person has eschewed worldliness by listening only to 4/4 piano music? On the contrary, for many this action is the fruit of deep seated pride!

      The key to understanding Jesus’ teaching, however, is that changing the music won’t change the heart.

    1. Briceman – didn’t I tell you to stop posting these sermons over in the forum?? You can’t make me listen to it. You can’t. :mrgreen:

    2. Accepting teaching on music by the likes of Jack Hyles is like getting marriage advice from an adulterer.

      …oh wait… ๐Ÿ˜•

  33. When I was in high school, I went to a fundy private school in Indianapolis. They used science to prove that contemporary music was bad :mrgreen:! They used to cite a study from none other the Bob Jones University where they put plants in different rooms, one playing classical music and the other playing more popular music (I believe they said it was heavy metal [I’m not sure, and they never told us what bands music was used], I still wonder who went out and bought it). Anyway, they said that the popular music plants died and the classical music plants thrived, thus proving that popular music was bad.
    I’m not entirely sure this study even really took place, it might have been something that someone made up and it was passed around as gospel truth at the school where I attended.

    1. Yet another fundy urban legend. I’m sure the janitor never got around to watering the heavy metal plants because he was afraid he would get possessed by Lucifer himself if he listened to it.

    2. They did something like this on Mythbusters too. Results were pretty inconclusive.

  34. If fundamentalists were logically consistent with this, they would only eat bland food and water. After all, how can we call ourselves Christians if we eat ungodly food. What is ungodly food, well if you can’t find it in the scriptures, then you better go look at what the ungodly eat. That means no more cake and no more steak. No more of the good stuff that those worldly sinners eat at the buffet on Sunday before you get out of service.

    1. Yet another example of how the fundy definition of worldiness is just plain wrong.

  35. The hidden premise is this: Classical European music is God’s acceptable style found in nature. Even though it was used for Catholic worship music, the Catholic church wasn’t that bad back then.


  36. I must admit I’m confused by this whole argument over music.

    First, I’m not aware of any music criticism in the Bible (unless you count Paul in I Corinthians 13: “If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal.”). The Bible tells us to make a joyful noise unto the Lord, but does not specify what pitch or rhythm to use, or with what instruments.

    Second, what’s this business about music “with a beat” being worldly? Isn’t having a beat a big part of the definition of music? How can there be music without a beat?

    Third, the argument that rock or some other type of music is bad because it’s African bewilders me. Africa is the mother land of the whole human race. It’s where music was invented. And if you haven’t listened to African music, you don’t know what you’re missing. I have a whole shelf of it in my music collection. And if being African is evil in itself, does that make African Christians evil? Even though there are now more Christians in Africa than in North America or Europe?

    1. Everything you pointed out are, indeed, major flaws or even holes in the IFB thought process concerning music. Yes, all music has a beat. They are just too ignorant to properly state that they believe music with a different emphasis on the beat than they are comfortable with is worldly (notice, it has to do with their comfort level.) Another thing you pointed out that they can’t grasp is that all world music is different and some of the holiest people in the world worship with music that would get them “sent to hell” by IFB’s… their world view is so warped by their limited cultural experiences. And as I’ve said before, it’s not their ignorance that’s the issue – it’s their desire to STAY ignorant.

  37. I for one can’t wait for the โ€œUnnamed Uzbekistan Scientistsโ€ reunion tour!

    Rock on UUS!


    1. ….hmmmm….wonder If I can get some T-shirts made….

      โžก SFL productions proudly presents

      “Unnamed Uzbekistan Scientists”

      Cognitive Dissonance World Reunion Tour

      featuring hits such as:

      “Your Sister is a Troll”
      “White piano”
      “Ode To George”
      “Flash in a Fedora”
      “King Eglon is fat”
      “Slap your granny”

      & many, many more!

      limited engagements at:

      Greenville, SC Pensacola, FL
      Hammond , Indiana Pontiac, MI

      Opening act:
      Ron Hamilton & Stryper


      1. Pardon my terrible ignorance (only amplified by the fact that I lived there…) but what’s in Pontiac?

      2. Opening act:
        Ron Hamilton & Stryper

        Loved it!…but now I need a new keyboard…there’s diet coke all over it.

        1. sorry!

          (*not responsible for ruined monitors or keyboards. Some readers may experience dizziness and flashbacks. If you have the giggles for four hours or more please consult your physician.)

        2. What’s their opening song? “To Hell With The Mean Ol’ Mr. Devil?”

      3. Oh, and major props for the “your sister is a troll” and “white piano”…

        1. I imagine the first to be sort of a teen agnst anthem with a Clash “Should I Stay or should I Go Now ” vibe

          …and the latter to be a slow building ballad with a big rock ending

          “WHITE PIANO”
          โ€œUnnamed Uzbekistan Scientistsโ€

          “And don’t cha know
          you can’t see
          what is before you
          in reality

          just on the stage
          by the plant
          a box of kleenex
          is near at hand

          it’s really there
          oh dontcha know
          a higher standard
          white piano

          it’s really white
          whiter than snow
          holier than thou
          white piano

          (piano solo-with distortion)

          if you still can’t see
          it’s visibility
          then leave the altar
          go back to your seat

          maybe next time
          if your repent
          your eyes will open
          and you’ll see it

          (repeat chorus &
          slow fade with more cowbell)

        2. โžก
          โ€œSLAP YOUR GRANNYโ€
          โ€œUnnamed Uzbekistan Scientistsโ€


          Thrash /speed metal vibe

          Slap your granny ,slap your granny
          knock her flat
          on her fanny

          call her fat
          call her a tranny
          Slap your granny ,slap your granny

          beat her down
          grab a tract
          kill the dog
          it must be whacked

          defend your filth
          let it go
          then take down
          your video

          Slap your granny ,slap your granny
          your ego
          is uncanny

          (Yngwie Maelsteem guest solo)

          *last part sung in Benith Peter Jones / Rob Halford falsetto*

          hit her hard
          make it hurt
          win that soul
          hit pay dirt

          work your way
          to the top
          let no morals
          make you stop

          hurry up
          gotta go
          it’s okay
          Hyles said so

          Slap your granny ,slap your granny
          knock her flat
          on her fanny



        3. The subtitle of “Your Sister is a Troll” is A Love Song to Mark Thomas’s Sister…who may or may not exist).

        4. Theo – I want some of whatever you drank, ate, smoked or chewed today. You are on a roll my friend.

        1. LOL ๐Ÿ˜†

          …not yet anyway!

          (Gotta admit–the melodies that go along with them DO make them funnier–think “Spinal Tap”–but I am not computer savvy enought to record them and upload them too )

        2. …very funny you should say that….back in my long haired days I was constanlty compared to him looks wise (similiar hair length and color –that and the fact that I almost always wore a Megadeth t-shirt)!

          Maybe there is more than meets the eye LOL

          (…or maybe I AM Dave–he says he is a Christian nowadays…Dave Mustane hangs out at SFL…)

        3. …very funny you should say that….back in my long haired days I was constantly compared to him looks wise (similiar hair length and color –that and the fact that I almost always wore a Megadeth t-shirt)!

          Maybe there is more than meets the eye LOL

          (…or maybe I AM Dave–he says he is a Christian nowadays…Dave Mustane hangs out at SFL…)

        1. ROFLOL

          …..of course!!!

          “The Yellow and Black Cap’n Patch Attack” wouldn’t work without it!

        2. Ron Hamilton in Yellow & Black striped Spandex…. ๐Ÿ˜ฏ

          BRAIN BLEACH!

      4. I’m getting out my beach ball, sleeping bag, and filling up my Zippo and camping out at the ticket office for this concert, boyo!

        1. *ANNOUNCEMENT*

          UUS just added a new tour date location!

          February 30th
          Honolulu, Hawaii

          (I wanna go there)

          Opening Acts:
          The Capital B Gees
          The Gibbs Brothers (David Gibbs replacing the deceased Andy Gibbs)


          Tony & the Hutson (hot) airs

  38. Here’s the argument that my IFB college’s ‘Philosophy of Music’ class had.

    1. Anything that appeals to ‘the flesh’ is wrong
    2. Music with a beat appeals to ‘the flesh’
    3. Music with a beat is wrong

    Of course, a nicely cooked filet mignon appeals to my ‘flesh’ but that ain’t wrong….

    1. Yup. The absolute illogic of it all finally sent some of us OUT of fundydom.

      A comfortable recliner appeals to the flesh. A bed with pillows. A nice sound system. Straight, white teeth. A warm coat on a cold day. Hmmm. My flesh likes a LOT of stuff. I guess I have to go be monastic. Oh, wait – that’s CATHOLIC!!! What do I do????? Oh, yeah, maybe the fundies are just wrong. Oh, OK. All better now.

    2. By this logic, only really bad music, sung off-key with lots of mistakes, is OK, because you don’t get any pleasure out of listening to it.

  39. Back in the 60’s my Granddad had a booklet “Communism, Hypnotism and the Beatles” by Billy James Hargis. It had lots of foot notes, so you know it had to be really real, and rigorously academic. It even quoted from HUAC hearings on communism and if you can’t trust congress, who can you trust? Anyhow, the communists taught the rock and rollers to use these beats because after Pavlov got his dogs to salivate, he played loud music for them with syncopated rhythms,and the dogs died! Not only that, wild Africans used such beats to whip themselves into orgiastic frenzies. (What does orgiastic mean? I don’t know and I’m afraid to look it up.)So CCM is an obvious attempt to delude our christian youth, and destroy western culture as we know it!

    1. Years ago a friend came back to our church after his first semester at BJU, loaded for contemporary-music bear.

      He said to me (the music pastor), “Studies have shown that rock music reduces muscle strength!”
      Me: “So? Assuming that’s true, so what?”
      Friend: *blink*…*blink*…

      1. Why is that funnier if I imagine your friend is STILL standing there trying to think of an answer.

        Try telling that to the guy at the gym with Metallica blasting in his iPod as he bench presses 325 lbs. for 20 reps. ๐Ÿ˜†

        1. Exactly what I was thinking.

          The ‘rock music reduces muscle strength’ argument is disproven at every single Gold’s Gym every single day.

        2. To Tom’s credit he began to question the assumptions behind what he was being taught. He eventually regained the freedom to enjoy playing his drums again!

        3. Naw, just imagine how much stronger they’d all be if they listened to Hamilton and Garlock instead! ๐Ÿ˜ฏ

      2. Wow, in what class did he learn THAT at BJ? I never heard that in my years there… perhaps by then, they ha realized it was nonsense. (I realize that this is giving the U a lot of credit…)

        1. Two thoughts, Kaje: First, this was in the early ’80s (I’m an old guy). The other is that Mythbusters tested the influence of different kinds of music on plant growth and found that plants thrived best “listening” to heavy metal! (Of course, the hosts of Mythbusters are both atheists, so anything they say is suspect!) ๐Ÿ™„

        2. Yeah, I did ask one very conservative (music0wise) professor there about those scientific studies, and even he said those were totally unfounded claims. So if even uber-fundies can see this….? Sorry if this feels like I’m beating a dead horse, it’s just something that’d bothered me for years – people’s blatant attempts to remain ignorant about the subject of music, just so they can continue feeling holier-than-me about it…

        3. Well, in 1961 Billy James Hargis got his honarary doctorate of law from BJU so you know he had to be rilly rilly smart and rilly rilly a gud christian!

        4. I haven’t heard those yarns about music affecting plant growth since I was a kid. There were also a lot of tales about how plants would grow better if you say nice things to them, or even think nice thoughts. All of this (except the thinking nice thoughts one, which is even sillier) seems to skirt around the fact that plants don’t have any ears, nor any other means of detecting sound that we know of. So how are plants supposed to hear music, or motivational slogans, or whatever?

      3. Rock music reduces muscle strength, thus making men weaker.
        Rock music increases aggression, thus making men stronger.
        Resolve this apparent discrepancy, class.

        1. Not a discrepancy.
          Guys with their brains on rock music start lots of fights, but they lose ’em.

  40. This post is so solid Darrell.

    I think this world would be a much better place if fundamentalists would take their stand on the gospel of Jesus Christ, not on their “pet” extra-biblical issue. If they were just a little nutty, but gospel centered, I could forgive their idiocy.

    Unfortunately, the Pharisaic legalism that they (perhaps out of ignorance) champion is completely contrary to the gospel. Their message is not the message of the New Testament. It is not the good news.

    They preach behavior modification, not gospel.

    Behavior modification could temporarily change someone externally, but for a real change to take place the sinner must be born again, and that is God’s business. To him alone be the gory.

    1. The mind-boggling thing is that they claim to belive this – “for a real change to take place the sinner must be born again, and that is Godโ€™s business.” I’ve nearly always heard this, but then they turn around and teach outward standards.

      1. That’s what gets me every time too…They preached salvation through grace alone till their veins popped, but they would hold people to such high standards, and when someone understandably couldn’t live up to them, they were back-slidden. And then we’d all sing “man sees the outside, but God sees the heart”… and the confusion continued.

    2. cue the story of the new convert, who, upon returning home and opening the fridge to enjoy a cold beer, suddenly felt an overwhelming sense that what he was about to do was sin.

  41. The real problem here is that the premise discussed in ths post cannot be, at best, inferred without the fundamentalist eyeglasses. I thought those who seemingly had more insight into the Bible than others (thus, adding to the Bible) were deemed false prophets.

    Oh lord, we’ve discovered a whole new problem!

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