Pop Culture and the Bible
The popular culture in America is becoming increasingly humanistic. The formal definition of humanism is, “An outlook or system of thought attaching prime importance to human rather than divine or supernatural matters.”
Humanism, then, has its own set of philosophical doctrines, most of which are in direct opposition to the teachings and doctrines of the Holy Bible. Listed below are a few philosophies of humanism that are increasingly being readily accepted as fact in our culture, but that one cannot embrace if you are a Bible-believing Christian. It is important to make these distinctions since many people who profess to be Christians are also embracing these philosophies. If we are to be the “peculiar people” who are “not of the world,” which is the Bible’s description of Christ followers, then we need to know what the Bible has to say about these philosophies.
1. There are many paths to God
I will not elaborate at length on this philosophy here since I have addressed it in other posts. Go here to see a more detailed discussion on this point. I will briefly mention, however, that it doesn’t even make sense that philosophical/religious belief systems that are diametrically opposed to one another can all be right. Universalists would have us believe that Islam, for example, is one of the many paths which God has chosen, even though the Quran instructs its followers to kill “infidels” (those who do not follow Allah and who do not practice Islam). The Bible, on the other hand, teaches Christ followers to love our enemies and pray for those who persecute us. Can Islam and Christianity both be right, even though their philosophies at the most fundamental level are in opposition to one another? The fact is, Jesus made radical claims of exclusivity, saying that He is the only way to the Father (see John 14:6).
This is perhaps the most heinous of all the humanistic philosophies. The argument here is that a woman should be free to choose what to do with her own body. But none of us are free to do anything that would endanger the life of someone else. If we were to use that misguided philosophy and apply to it other areas of life, then I should be free to use my hands however I want, even if I should choose to use them to choke or punch someone and cause them bodily injury or death. Common sense, human respect, and even our societal laws demand that none of us are free to use our bodies however we want. We must maintain respect for other humans and show regard for their right to live. It is perhaps the most fundamental human law that humans must not kill other humans. Yet humanism has circumvented this law by suggesting that as long as a human is inside another human — that is, as long as a baby is still inside the womb of its mother — it is fair game. That child can be disposed of like a piece of garbage because the mother should maintain the right to mutilate and kill her own child, according to humanistic philosophy. Yet, the Bible clearly says something else. The LORD says,“Before I formed you in the womb, I knew you” (Jeremiah 1:5). So there are two very important points to consider in this verse: 1) God said that it is HE who forms children in the wombs of their mothers; thus, it is only He Who has the right to terminate life. And 2) the LORD says that He knew each of us even before we were formed in the womb, showing very clearly that human life begins at the moment of conception, and even before conception in the mind of God. Abortion is a grisly and horrific act of murder that surely will not go unpunished by the great Judge of the Universe.
Reincarnation has formerly been associated with only Eastern mysticism. But it has crept into our culture as well in modern times. While reincarnation suggests that humans can live multiple lives as other people or even animals, the Bible says that humans have one life to live, and when they die, that’s it! “…It is appointed for man to die once, and then face judgment” (Hebrews 9:27).
4. Fortune Tellers/Psychics/Astrology/Ouija Boards/Spiritualists/Witchcraft
All of the above fall into the category of something the Bible calls, divination, or witchcraft. Divination is anything that consults powers and/or spiritual forces outside that of God’s divine power. The LORD GOD addressed this in Deuteronomy 18:
Let no one be found among you who…practices divination or sorcery, interprets omens, engages in witchcraft or casts spells, or who is a medium or spiritist or who consults the dead. Anyone who does these things is detestable to the Lord. (v. 10-12)
This is another topic that I have addressed at length in other posts, so I will not take much space to address it here except to say that the book of Genesis clearly says that God created the universe, earth, and all life in six literal days. God did not use a protracted evolutionary process to build the human race. He created one man and one woman and breathed the breath of life into them, and they populated the planet. The theory of Darwinian evolution, by the way, is beginning to show signs of losing support among a progressive segment of the scientific community because of the numerous holes in the theory and because of new discoveries in molecular biology and other branches of science. It is also interesting to note that many of these honest scientists who are simply going where the evidence leads are being persecuted for questioning the theory of evolution (see Ben Stein’s documentary, Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed). If the theory of evolution is that air-tight, why would the scientific/humanistic community feel so threatened by other possibilities that they would persecute anyone who offers up evidence contradicting that theory?
For more on evolution vs. creation, see my more detailed post on that topic here.
6. Idol Worship
The term, idol worship, may be mostly associated with bowing down before a golden statue of some sort and worshipping it. But the term, idol, is used in our culture to describe someone who is idolized by millions. We even now have a television show called, American Idol. While most people probably don’t bow down and worship their favorite music artist or actor or athlete, it could be nevertheless be said that these “idols” occupy positions in the hearts and minds of millions of people that displace God. That’s called idolatry. Many people even set up shrines of sorts in their homes to their favorite idol. They have posters of their favorite idols on their walls, wear T-shirts devoted to their favorite idols, and their conversation often revolves around facts and trivia about their favorite idols.
Here’s what the Bible says about idolatry.
I am the LORD; that is my name! I will not give my glory to anyone else, nor share my praise with carved idols. -Isaiah 42:8
I, the LORD your God, am a jealous God Who will not tolerate your affection for any other gods. -Deuteronomy 5:9
Once again, while many would say that our idolization of Hollywood stars and musical artists and sports teams is not worshipping them, the case could be made that they at least displace or compete with the LORD God in the hearts and minds of millions. And anything that displaces God is an idol.
7. Hate Crimes
The last and final humanistic philosophy that I will address here is something I will place under the category of hate crimes, since hate crimes laws now threaten anyone who speaks or writes on what the Bible says on a particular issue that you and I are being gagged on. I can’t even say the word here out of concern that I will be faced with lawsuits and possibly even jail time simply for providing a dissertation on what the scriptures say about certain sexual practices. But you can read it for yourself in Romans 1:24-27. That gag order epitomizes humanism: shove humanistic philosophies down the throats of everyone and persecute anyone who believes anything different. And that’s why humanists don’t like the Bible, Jesus, or Christians, because the teachings of Holy Scripture are in direct contradiction to humanism and pop culture.
Don’t Be Assimilated
In the Star Trek series, there was a race of creatures known as the Borg. The Borg would attack other life forms and assimilate them into their culture and united consciousness. The Borg is a great parallel to our culture now. Our culture wants to swallow you and me, to strip us of our own freedom of thought and assimilate us into their united consciousness. But by knowing and practicing the principles of the Bible, we can recognize godless, humanistic philosophies and escape the vacuum of the black hole.