By: Jonathan Harris
Call it “youth culture,” “Hollywood,” “the media,” and/or “pop-culture,” it all amounts to the same thing: an alternative identification based on instant gratification an inauthentic pleasure. Am I wrong? It is a lifestyle worshiping that the alter of lust when it’s the most strong, most attractive, most fresh, and with the greatest appeal. It flourishes on college campuses across the world making those too young to participate jealous, and those too old, reminiscent of their “wilder” days. It is the obsession of the middle-aged woman chasing every anti-aging ointment the market has to offer, and scourge of the married man who buys a sports car and divorces his wife wishing he could go back to it. It carries its unattainable image with it wherever it goes—on billboards, on television, on the internet, on cell phones with it’s gestapo-like pressure. “Become like me! Look like me! Do what I do! See, I’m smiling, I’m having fun!” And so the plastic consumers become the marionettes enslaved to a never ending pursuit. Alcohol is the coach and music the cheerleader. More pleasure will come if only I looked like that! If only I had those clothes, if only that hairstyle, then a man might be interested in me? If I worked out more, I’ll have more sex, and I’ll finally be happy! If, if, if, . . .
What I’m referring to is a worldliness that has no respect for ethnic, geographic, or religious tradition. It is, if you will, an “alternative” culture encompassed in shallow pursuits. A world in which someone stealing your phone is more important than losing your virginity awaits just one summer after high school graduation (realistically, in many places it may be after your junior high graduation). The media has become the dispenser of this”culture-eating-acid.” It is poured onto every child as soon as they’re out from their parents authority, teaching them to devalue their old traditions (which taught such things as self-restraint, delayed gratification, and other Christian values). Identification is no longer found in family affiliation, allegiance to one’s country, or pride in one’s ethnic background. It is now found in pleasure—the maximum amount in the least amount of time. The direction of life is the pursuit of this false satisfaction. And what is the measure of pleasure? Hormones. Base hormones become the ever unsatisfied god. It is an unhinging of all intellect, will, and emotion from the conscience to the flesh; doing what gratifies an animal-like hunger instead of what’s right.
You can hear it in the music, and not just the lyrics. The sensual sounds that are made, the heart-racing beats, and the simple melodies (not wrong things in and of themselves) together evoke a dumbing down of one’s mental faculties as they give way to hormonal desires. The desire for food, alcohol, and sex become driving forces. Pretty soon, as more people are involved with these similar pursuits, they become the defining marks of a culture. The commonly-shared experiences are no longer a common history, traditions, or even language for that matter. There is no respect for elderly wisdom or “quaint” older American values. There is only foolishness, pride, and envy. The experiences held in common concern “pop” songs (usually with evil themes), the types of liquor one indulges in, and the girls/guys one has slept with.
My contention is that we have inappropriately labeled this lifestyle as a “culture,” when in reality it is a “culture eroder.” It takes a young man or woman and teaches them to turn their back on everything they use to be. Everything they cherished and took pride in are given up. Those things that are deeply held and sentimental give way to things that are loosely held and shallow. The beauty of the mind is left unexplored, while the beauty of the flesh is corrupted and worshiped. It is no wonder our culture is become dumber, it is no wonder there is little to no respect, and it is no wonder their is more substance abuse and suicide than at any other point in national history. The very thing our culture eroding rebellion promised to give us it couldn’t even deliver.
The philosophical bases for such a phenomena finds its support in Darwinian evolution. If we are really just animals we may as well behave like them. The way a dog can find pleasure at the expense of a person’s leg is no different than the kind of gallivanting we humans find in each other. It’s a totally selfish instinct-based way to look at things (remember there is no original sin in evolution). The moral legitimacy for such a system comes from “political correctness”. The idea that you can “do whatever you want as long as it doesn’t hurt anyone” is a direct guiding principle coming from this way of thinking. (Although if we were to take evolution to its logical conclusion, why should we care what happens to others?) Evolution is the moral support, and political correctness the guiding principle. Multiculturalism (an aspect of political correctness) finds its centrifuge here. Think about it. The idea that all cultures are equal to one another assumes a higher “umbrella” by which all cultures can be judged and thereby declared to be legitimate. Pop culture (though it be culture eroding) accepts anyone willing to gratify their sensory organs and the organs of others, no matter who you are. Therefore multiculturalism ought be framed this way. “All cultures are equal, as long as they try to physically gratify themselves and others.” This is how you can have a night club with people of different languages, cultural backgrounds, regional homelands, and religious experiences all partying with one another. They aren’t considering their respective diverse backgrounds because they aren’t there for the purpose of celebrating those things that make each other different (In the case of St. Patrick’s Day, Cinco De Mayo, etc. we don’t typically have a real “cultural” celebration. People don’t know or care about the history behind such events. They just view it as a convenient excuse to get wasted and indulge. So the more cultures, the more holidays, the more excuses), but rather those things that make each other the same (sleeping around, etc.).
Christians should realize that the music, the lifestyle, and everything about “pop culture” is built off of evolution, gains its moral framework from an anti-Christian political correctness, and has as its goal anti-Christ-like things. We worship a Savior who set an example of delayed gratification. “For the joy set before Him He endured the cross, despising the shame. . . (Heb. 12:2)” In order to “pick up (our) cross and follow (Him) (Luke 9:23)” we must reject the whole package and pursue a higher joy which satisfies forever and involves our “hearts, souls, mind, and strength. (Mark 12:30)”