Yes. I am Celebrating Halloween

Why do I celebrate today? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

Every Halloween some people always get on Facebook and talk about how Halloween is the day of the devil. Color me skeptical that the devil is really honored when kids put on funny costumes and pretend they’re superheroes and princesses and go door to door asking for candy. One would think the grand master of darkness would want more. Also, I have no indication that this is a sort of gateway drug to full-fledged satanism.

So tonight, I will likely be out on the seminary with several students. One of them is going to let me borrow a lawn chair and I have bags of candy to give to trick-or-treaters. Yes. I am calling it that. You can go and say “Our church doesn’t celebrate Halloween. We have a harvest festival instead.” Bull. You’re not celebrating a harvest and everyone knows it.

Now this doesn’t mean that anything goes on Halloween. Are there some things I would not dress up as and would not want my kids if I had them to dress up as? Sure. For me, I’m simply wearing my Smallville T-Shirt as my usual outfit is to go out as Clark Kent from Smallville, my favorite series. To quote Romans, let each be fully convinced in his own mind.

Is the day usually associated with death? Yes. It’s a reminder to me that when the day is seen as a pathway to getting candy, that death is not really treated as a threat and really, it isn’t, not if you’re a Christian. Death is a defeated foe. Christ conquered. Christ is the Lord of every day. The devil is not the Lord of Halloween. Jesus Christ is the Lord of Halloween and every other day.

That also in turn reminds me that Jesus is Lord over all the days that I consider sucky days. Was Jesus Lord the day that the divorce papers from my ex-wife came in the mail and I signed them? Yep. Was He Lord the day that I learned I was officially divorced? Yep. You have your own days that are sucky days. When you look back, Jesus is Lord even of those days.

So I plan then on making this day not be a sucky day for the children, and just in case, I also made sure to get candy I liked so that if no one got any, I would be able to enjoy it myself. (And that’s Reeses because any candy with peanut butter is good.) If you’re one being a sort of Halloween Scrooge, if anything, children are likely learning from you what they don’t want to be like, and you might want to consider if you’re really not acknowledging fully that Jesus is the Lord of this day.

Also, please don’t be the one who gives out gospel tracts. Kids won’t care about those. If you give out candy, you give out the best candy that you can on the block. Halloween is for children. Let them be children.

In Christ,
Nick Peters
(And I affirm the virgin birth)

Book Plunge: Grand Theft Childhood

What do I think of Lawrence Kutner and Cheryl Olson’s book published by Simon and Schuster? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

I heard about this book while going through The Gaming Mind on Audible. Making a mental note, I went to my library website and ordered it. I’m thankful that I did. This has been an amazing read on the alleged link between video games and violence in children.

This is not a book written from a Christian perspective, at least explicitly. The authors do not state their worldview. However, the authors have interacted with the material they critique and have also included snippets of interviews they have done with children and their parents.

To which, a lot of that information should be encouraging to parents. Older children, for instance, happen to think there are some games that their younger brothers and sisters shouldn’t be playing and they won’t play when those people are around. Surprisingly, something they were often concerned about was swearing. After all, there are a lot of things in a game hard to copy, but swearing isn’t. All you have to do is speak.

Also, something that needs to be said is that many times, children actually do imbibe their parents’ worldviews more than parents realize and learn what to play and not play. Of course, this isn’t across the board, but children are watching and are learning. Quick pro tip here on how parents can better understand what’s going on in the games of their children. Play the games with them and/or talk to them about them. (Yeah. Actual interaction with your children works. Who would have thought?)

The authors also don’t just look at the fact that children play violent games, but often ask why they do. Many times, children say that this actually helps them deal with their anger. In an odd way, that could be saying that rather than cause aggressive behavior in children, video games actually help to alleviate it. Frankly, if there was a strong connection between violent video games and violent children, we would see a lot more violent children.

Also interesting is that if anything, NOT playing video games, especially for boys, could be more of a problematic sign. Remember the Virginia Tech shooter? Something odd his classmates said after about him was, “He never wanted to play video games with us.” Video games are often a tool of social integration and bonding. Kids today get together to talk about games like Pokemon. I started getting more friends in Elementary School and beyond because I had a reputation as being quite good at video games.

The authors also point out that the hysteria over video games has happened over most every new form of media that has come out. Violence and sex in these has never been new. Go back to ancient history? It’s there. Medieval times? Still there. Renaissance and Enlightenment? Yep. What would be an anomaly is a time where such stories did NOT exist.

What about sex in video game? Yep. This is covered. (Odd way of describing it.) Most of us know about Lara Croft and the hope of so many teenage guys to find a nude code to use for her. Now, many games can be even more explicit. Again, this is something that parents need to talk with their children about, but it is not a shock that females are made to be attractive in video games. The Final Fantasy series in X, XII, XIII, and relevant spin-offs from those games all had a protagonist with a very similar look based on what was attractive in Japan at the time.

So when is there a problem? It’s not in the gaming itself. It’s everything around that. If your child is becoming more withdrawn, has a dramatic change in moods, has no or very few friends, and is dropping grades, don’t blame it on the games. The games are often a way of dealing with whatever the real problem is. Find that.

For parents also, the last chapter is all about practical advice for you and it does enforce what I recommend. Play the games with your children, or at least talk about them. Show an interest in them. If the world of the Legend of Zelda means something to your child, find out why. You could get to understand your child better and your child will think they matter when you show interest in what interests them.

If you enjoy gaming and want to deal with criticism, read this book. If you are a parent and you are concerned about your children and video games, read this book. The same applies if you are a teacher or someone in ministry, especially youth ministry.

In Christ,
Nick Peters
(And I affirm the virgin birth)

Is Abortion Evangelism?

Why not kill the child and send them straight to Heaven? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

In my systematic theology class this morning, we had a discussion on original sin and at one point, the question came up of why not go ahead and kill babies if they will go straight to Heaven? Now I have thought about this over the years and have a response. I don’t want to risk anyone just thinking that I only thought about this briefly for the first time this morning and now I’m shooting out a response.

The first thought I have on this is that we do evangelism wrong. We have made evangelism all about getting to Heaven. It’s a quite wrong-headed goal. It’s as if our whole emphasis on marriage was just getting people to the altar. That’s important, but it’s only the first part. If we don’t focus on the purpose of marriage for the new couple, they could wind up worst off than before.

In the same way, Heaven is what happens when a Christian dies, but that does not mean that that’s our sole goal. After all, many of us become Christians at a young age and then live a few decades. What are we doing? Just putting in time until we die?

“Well we’re doing evangelism and spreading the good news.”

Which is the real point of our lives. We are there to bring about the Kingdom of God and look forward to that final fruition of it when we see the marriage of Heaven and Earth. When we emphasize Heaven far too much, we make it that that is the only purpose of life and then everything else in between is just like filler episodes on a TV series that are there to have something to do until you continue the story.

This means that we need to really improve our doctrine of Heaven as well. Most of us don’t have it worked out and honestly, we treat God like He’s an afterthought. It’s as if you get to go and live in a mansion and have streets of gold and see loved ones again and by the way, God’s there too if you’re into that kind of thing. For the record also, I’m not saying I described a view of Heaven that I hold, but I recognize it is common in the church.

The other point I made is that Paul said in Romans 3 that we should not do evil that good may result. There is never a good reason for a purpose to do that which is an evil act. A Christian can hold that God can bring good out of it, but it is still something that is harmful at least for the person who is doing it.

Abortion is an evil act and whoever does it does destroy the life of an innocent baby and likely harms several other lives, but they also do great damage to their own soul. Because of that, there is no justification for doing it. Abortion is not evangelism, but simply murder.

We as Christians are to celebrate children and new lives coming into the world. Abortion is anti-thetical to the gospel entirely.

In Christ,
Nick Peters
(And I affirm the virgin birth)

Book Plunge for Fun: Casino Royale

What do I think of Ian Fleming’s classic work? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

My first major experience I remember with James Bond was Goldeneye. I had seen bits and pieces of movies at home, but my Dad and I went to see this one together in the theaters. It’s one reason that for me that Pierce Brosnan will always be James Bond. Naturally as a gamer, I played Goldeneye regularly on the 64 and even my youth group would come over and we’ve have gaming sessions. My older brother-in-law even got me together with two of his other friends for us to play all day long once. I was easily the youngest there, but thoroughly enjoyed myself.

My boss at the campus post office is a big James Bond fan and I don’t remember how it got started, but we were talking about Bond and I didn’t know he was such a fan. He let me borrow a copy of Casino Royale, the book that started it all. I had decided I would read a chapter a day or so. That would work fine.

Except it didn’t.

This was a book it was easy to read 100 pages a day. Bond is a fascinating figure to read about. As I think about it now also, you don’t have to have a lot of specialty knowledge in weaponry to understand it. The gun is a gun. Sure, he tells you what kind it is, but all I know is that it is a gun.

What is most fascinating is not really the action actually, but the way Bond works. It’s not the exterior of Bond that is the real draw. It’s the interior of Bond. It’s trying to get into his personality and see how he thinks. This is a man who wants to do what is good, but if he has to kill someone, well he has to kill them and oh well. He does it. It’s his job.

We can wonder about his attitude with that and my first inclination is to wonder if he is a sociopath, but he isn’t. It’s interesting to think of the contrast of James Bond as a playboy figure having alcoholic beverages, smoking cigarettes, gambling, sleeping with every woman he can, and yet being thoroughly dedicated to his craft as a spy and to the cause of his country.

The most intriguing one in this one, and I can’t say too much without spoiling it, is Bond’s relationship with women as he tends to keep them at a distance. As Bond is shown to think early in the book, women are just there for pleasure. He has the whole pattern set of how his relationships with women work and yet in the book, that pattern doesn’t seem to hold.

I really wish I could say more on that, but I can’t. I think I would spoil something if I say more and right now, I already wonder if I have spoiled something. I can say that this book is hard to put down when you get into it, and it does deliver. I’m still thinking regularly about what I read. If you are a Bond fan, you really do owe it to yourself to give the book a try.

In Christ,
Nick Peters
(And I affirm the virgin birth)

Book Plunge: On The Incarnation

What do I think of Athanasius’s classic work? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

I had been doing some thinking on the incarnation and was looking for a book to read and I thought “Why not Athanasius?” After all, since it’s an older work I can get it immediately on Kindle and it will be cheaper as well. Thus, each night I read a chapter of On The Incarnation before I went to bed. This is also one way you can recognize theological nerds. Our devotional reading is something like Athanasius. (I am also reading the complete church fathers on Kindle.)

As I got further into this work, I did begin to realize not what I was seeing, but what I was not seeing so much. I was not seeing a response to Arius. Arius isn’t even mentioned. I even did a check to see if the book was written after the Council of Nicea and lo and behold, it was.

Keep in mind as I say that that none of that is said to attack the book or say one shouldn’t read it. I don’t want to attack it and I think people should read it. It’s just to express an honest surprise to me. I came expecting to find such replies to questions like “Why didn’t Jesus know the time of His return?” (For the record, I don’t think He’s talking about His return there, but the question still stands) or “Don’t you know God can’t die?”

What is found instead is indeed much more devotional literature. There are claims in there that I am sure the skeptics of Christianity in the day wouldn’t accept just like those same claims would not be accepted by ours today. However, I am sure that there are some claims even skeptics would accept and it would lead to greater appreciation. Athanasius’s work is not so much about the how of the incarnation as it is about the why of the incarnation and then about the facts of the results.

When the results are talked about, it’s not so much the incarnation as it is along the lines of the books we have today talking about how the world has been changed for the better since the coming of Jesus. Many of these we may not be as able to verify being far away from the times, but the people back then could probably look at the world around them that had really just gone from being largely pagan influenced to now more and more if not largely Christian influenced.

So if you come to this book and you’re expecting a defense of the incarnation, you’re going to be let down on that front, but you should not be let down overall. After all, a book should not be faulted for not doing what it was never meant to do. Athanasius is wanting to use a likely new position he has to draw those under him into the worship of God and after just winning a major battle on the nature of the incarnation is wanting to show what a difference that makes. On this, He succeeds and how cannot really be shown best in this blog, but just by picking it up yourself and reading. If you want to, you can do what I did and read a chapter a night. There are 57 of them and they’re all short.

In Christ,
Nick Peters
(And I affirm the virgin birth)



Helping Children Make Wise Decisions

How can children best make decisions? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.
I have been reading a book called Grand Theft Childhood which is about claims that violent video games produce violent kids. (Review coming.) I read a section recently based on the interviews as parents and their kids were interviewed separately and they were talking about the ESRB rating system. For those who don’t know, that’s a video game system that rates video games in a similar way to how TV shows and movies are rated.
The mother was sure her 13 year-old son wasn’t playing any games she didn’t approve of. He gave a different story. He and his seventeen year-old brother knew how to trick her. When they went to a video store to rent a game, they sought out the worst one they knew she wouldn’t approve of. After she said no, they found the one that they really wanted which looked good by comparison then and she approved.
Most of us likely grew up with such tricks. Children I suppose have always been trying to manipulate their parents. For instance, do you want to do something that could be dangerous? Ask Dad first.
Now I don’t know the religious status of this family, but I did see a problem here with how we raise our children. These boys are teenagers and their mother is still having to approve their decisions? If they lived in biblical times, the youngest would likely at least be preparing to have his own children and the oldest likely already would.
How long can this last? When the kids go to college, does anyone really think that they will ask for Mom’s approval? Not a bit. They will immediately be doing the things Mom forbade them from doing.
What do you do then? Won’t they leave home and mess up immediately? Won’t they be the ones the parents tried to prevent them from being? There is a solution.
Don’t make the decisions as they get older. Begin early on teaching them how to make good decisions. Give them a worldview whereby they can make informed choices and they will be their choices as well. If they make mistakes, they own them and suffer the consequences. If they make good ones, they also own them and reap the benefits.
For many parents, it can be tempting to be helicopter parents and hover over their children to protect them from all harm. You can’t. If anything, in the long run, this will likely lead to more harm for your kids. If you teach them instead how to be wise in decision-making instead of just going by what feels good at the moment, you will set them up for a lifetime of success.
Remember, your job as a parent is to be the one to actually work yourself out of a job. When your kids reach the stage where they are making wise decisions independent of you, then you have succeeded. The old saying is that if you give a man a fish you feed him for a day but if you teach him how to fish you feed him for a lifetime. If you make your child’s decision you protect them for a day, but if you teach them how to make wise decisions, you protect them for a lifetime.
Also, if you want a resource for younger children, I definitely recommend Elizabeth Urbanowicz’s Foundation Worldview resource.
In Christ,
Nick Peters
(And I affirm the virgin birth)

Book Plunge For Fun: The Dot Meyerhoff Mysteries

What do I think of Ellen Kirschman’s series? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

Generally, if I’m reading for fun, it’s normally going to be a mystery. It started with the Hardy Boys in elementary and middle school and then after finishing all my library had I went on to Nancy Drew. After that, I started reading Mary Higgins Clark since my mother was fascinated with her. Now with a kindle, I tend to get any free series I can.

This time, I came across this series and read the first four books. Dot Meyerhoff is not a detective, at least formally. She is a psychologist that works with the police department and in the course of doing her job, she will often come across situations, some of which she would say she causes, and gets caught up in a mystery trying to figure out what is going on.

One unique aspect of this is that the stories are told from the first-person perspective. The last time I remember a first-person account in a mystery was when I read the Monk mystery novels, but those were told from the perspective of his assistant Natalie so you never really got inside of Monk’s head. Here, you are inside the head of the investigator and hearing all of her own problems and concerns.

In the midst of all that she does, she also is often busy trying to juggle a love life and wrestling with the fact that her ex-husband who she used to work with left her for another woman. One might be surprised to see some wrong thinking going on in the head of a psychologist, but it is quite real. Most therapists from what I understand actually see therapists of their own. After all, everyone has blind spots.

Often, Dot gets herself in situations where she is in over her head. Thankfully, there is a police department right there to help her out, but many times the police department also sees thoroughly frustrated with her No matter how many times she comes out as even better investigators than the people assigned to investigate, she still sees herself as a therapist and the police still keep wanting her to stay out of their business.

Religiously, she is a Jewish atheist. There is not too much talk of religion in the books aside from more of a sociological position, such as her living as a Jew and the way her parents raised her. Still, Dot usually does go out of her way to help anyone that she comes across. That can also be another problem of hers as usually she bites off more than she can chew.

Many times, these mysteries aren’t your typical whodunnit more than a what happened mystery. There are cases of wondering who the culprit is, but it’s not like wrestling with a list of suspects often. It is a difficult concept to explain, but the mysteries are often very engrossing and while I normally read a chapter a day, there were times I got close to the end and just went ahead and finished reading all of them.

So if you do enjoy mysteries, this is a good one to try. If you have a kindle, you can get a good deal on this and other mysteries. Perhaps when I see them on sale I might get books 5-6.

In Christ,
Nick Peters
(And I affirm the virgin birth)

What Really Hurts Children

What is the real danger to children? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

Recently, I wrote about the hysteria that comes whenever any new piece of technology comes out. It’s always argued that this will lead to the children being corrupted. The reality comes and goes and there’s no major change. Most of us look at what happened with comic books in the past as silly today. Odds are years from now today’s fear will seem silly.

But yet, no one can deny that children are being hurt. Yes. We do have problems with children committing violence and we do have problems with sexual promiscuity in children. Children often do drugs and children struggle with suicide, depression, anxiety, self-harm, and suicide.

It’s really easy to blame this on the surrounding culture. It’s comic books! It’s TV! It’s movies! It’s music! It’s smartphones! It’s video games! It’s the internet! I am not denying that some of these can play a part, but there is something far more influential that comes beforehand that if this gets wrong, the others are far more likely to be hazardous to children. If this gets right, they are far less likely to be hazardous.

What children most need right is a stable family.

By this also, I mean that children living with a mother and a father both, and preferably their own biological parents. I realize that sometimes this can’t happen. I have a wonderful friend who’s a widower raising children on her own which is wonderful. A cause like being widowed suddenly due to a tragedy often cannot be helped.

Technically on my end, my sister is my step-sister as we have the same mother, but my mother left an abusive marriage and remarried my father and I come from that one, but my Dad has never treated my sister like any less of his own flesh and blood. I never got preferential treatment growing up that way. You could ask my sister and she would say the same thing.

Today, divorce is often prevalent because if the parents aren’t happy, well surely the children aren’t. Often, with a bad divorce, it doesn’t change the happiness of the children. Sometimes what they want most is their parents to work matters out and it can set the path for them to do the same.

If anyone thinks that’s what happened on my end, no. You can ask most anyone and I fought tooth and nail for my marriage and this was even when wise people told me I should seek divorce. I always said no. If it ended, it would be on her end, but I also told her when she was telling me she was going to divorce that I didn’t want her to do that, but if she sent me papers I would sign them. I wasn’t going to hold her hostage or anything.

Children can wrestle with abandonment over divorce and issues of trust. One reason I am sure of this personally besides my own reading on the topic is I am 42 and divorced and I still wrestle with this as a result of my divorce. It’s far harder when you’re a child who doesn’t have a fully developed cognitive faculty to know how to handle this or a whole worldview behind it. I remember the story of a man in his senior years who at the age of five had his Dad kill himself and he still wondered why his Dad didn’t want him.

Don’t think that just having the right parents is all that matters either. No. Invest in your children. If your children are engaging in media you think is harmful, talk to them about it. Find out why they like it. What are they really gaining out of it?

Don’t think also that if you’re in ministry, you can bypass this. You can’t. Some people can be so committed to ministry that they fail to be committed to their own families. I hate saying it, but Billy Graham was even like this. There’s an account of how he left his wife behind sick once because he had to preach somewhere. If children think your ministry matters more to you than they do, they are more prone to resent your ministry and the God that ministry is about.

Children need to be invested in. We can often think that if we take them to church every Sunday, which we should, then we’re okay, but it needs to be more. Christianity needs to be lived in the home. It needs to be shown. Christians need to do actions that will speak love to their children.

If this is actively going on, you have far less to be concerned about with the media around them. I have been in the world of video games since I was in kindergarten, and yet I have never had a violent streak or anything like that. I was a virgin until I married and will be one, God willing, until I marry again. I never use profanity and I have never had a drug problem. I have struggled with anxiety and depression, but overall, my upbringing has been very helpful for me.

Also, if you are someone alone raising a child, get them involved with someone who can be a role model of their own sex. If you are a man raising daughters, find a woman who is a role model for them and vice-versa for a woman raising sons. Let them know how they are to be.

Your children are yours and they are to be a great investment. You will be the greatest influence on their life. Use it well.

In Christ,
Nick Peters
(And I affirm the virgin birth)


Thoughts and Feelings

Why do we confuse these two? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

I remember I was in Bible College about two decades ago when I started noticing this trend. It was definitely going on before that. The first time it happened, I remember being in the student center and I don’t know if I was going to stay down there or just passing through and there was a sports talk program on and one commentator on a panel said to another, “How do you feel about that?” The other proceeded to talk about his opinions on the matter.

What has happened is we have taken the realm of feeling and made it be part of the realm of thinking. Nowadays, we often think that our feelings tell us something true about the world outside of us. This also affects how we do evangelism.

I used to have Jehovah’s Witnesses come to see me when my ex-wife and I lived in Knoxville together. The first few times, they would read a passage of Scripture and ask “How do you feel about that?” I would give some answer like “Happy.” Before too long, they came to realize they needed to ask me “What do you think about that?”

When I describe how I feel, I am talking about the emotional state I am in at the time. I can have thoughts about that emotional state, but the state itself is a feeling. When I am asked what I think, I am meant to give an idea. The idea could generate some feelings, but it is itself an idea. Confusing of these two leads to unclear language and consequences for how our society works today.

Consider evangelism. Often, we seem to rely on getting people to feel guilty about something. This is a Western approach that’s foreign to much of the world. Not only that, but many of us don’t feel guilty about things that are wrong and many of us do feel guilty about things that are not wrong.

The Bible does talk about guilt, but look at what it is really saying. It’s not describing an internal feeling. It’s describing an objective reality in that someone is guilty of wrongdoing or not. They could be fully guilty and have no “guilt” feeling whatsoever. How the person feels in this situation doesn’t matter.

Today, we are instructed to not do anything that will hurt someone’s feelings, which is an odd thing to do. How can I be responsible like that for someone’s emotions? We also have people who are convinced that they are of the opposite gender based on their feelings. If we live in a Christian culture where we point to feelings like guilt being “true” then we are put in a dangerous position when all of a sudden people have feelings that we know are not true, but on what grounds can we deny it? Feelings are true indicators of something when they point to what we want to be true?

Also, along these lines, no one can make you feel anything. You can’t make anyone feel anything. Asking how something makes you feel or telling someone they make you feel X or having them say it to you is nonsense. I can’t even make myself feel something all the time. How could I possibly do that to someone else? Now I can be a contributing factor, but no one is responsible for a feeling except the person who has that.

The first action here is find out if you agree with me on the opening point by just watching people in conversation. How many use think and feel like synonyms? Once you see it, you can’t unsee it. Then to start being clear with your words and realizing thoughts aren’t feelings and vice-versa. This is not saying one is superior to the other. Both have their purpose, but they are different.

Our second action though will be that while we do agree that someone feels something, and that they feel it cannot be disputed, what we can disagree with is if their feelings correspond to reality. We can strongly feel something that is false. We can not at all feel something that is true.

Ultimately, it all comes back to reality. Reality doesn’t care about how we feel. It should be our goal to try to live as real as possible and not to resist reality.

In Christ,
Nick Peters
(And I affirm the virgin birth)


Avoiding Hysteria Over Children

What is really putting our children in danger? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

When I was doing through Alexander Kriss’s book, he referred to another book I am going through now called Grand Theft Childhood and the authors are arguing, and I agree, that there is no link between violent video games and violence. I finished a chapter yesterday taking a look through history. There is a trend and the first three people mentioned are people cited in the book, but the rest are not.

First, there was the introduction of books like dime novels and others and of course, this led to a fear over some of the material therein. Anthony Comstock was the main one behind this fear and Comstock laws are named for him. After all, look at the sex and violence. Something odd about this was the Horatio Alger books were written to teach better morals, despite Alger being a Unitarian minister who sexually abused boys. At the end of the day, Comstock insisted that this would lead to rampant poor behavior among the young.

Then it came time for the film industry and even silent films and Henry James Foreman was the main voice here. He wrote Our Movie Made Children which had the exact same fear. Children would see movies about gangsters and people like this and then go out and do what they saw.

After this came comic books and once again, here was someone raising the alarm. This time, it was Fredric Wethram with his book Seduction of the Innocent. (I am planning on getting any book by these people for further research purposes.) Comic books were seen as what would lead to degeneracy and figures like Batman and Robin were obviously in a homosexual relationship. One wonders what Wethram would think about comics today. (And interestingly, apparently, when comics try to make an established superhero gay, it doesn’t sell well at all. The first issue could do well, but no one follows the story as it goes on to other issues.)

A few years later, you had Dungeons and Dragons and The Devil’s Web from Pat Pulling who saw herself as an expert on the occult after the tragic suicide of her son. Fortunately, there was someone like Michael Stackpole who wrote The Pulling Report, which you can read here. Again, the danger is always towards the children.

Then you have writers like Phil Phillips come later who wrote Turmoil in the Toy Box and Saturday Morning Mind Control. You have writers like Phil Arms, who I have reviewed, and you have so much fear and obsession over the Harry Potter books. No matter what, when something new comes out, it’s dangerous and will destroy our children. Not a shock that gaming also has had several people do the same for it.

And then years later people look back and think, “Well, that was awfully silly”, and in reality, we are doing more a disservice to our children. Treat something as forbidden fruit and they are more prone to want to explore it and eventually, they will. They will either do it secretly in the house of their parents or they will do it on their own when they get out.

In all of this, what is missing? Are we spending time teaching a biblical worldview such that if our children encounter anything that is harmful to them, they will know to avoid it? No. Are we teaching them about a biblical view of sexuality so they can resist temptation? No. Are we teaching them about war and peace and when it is proper to use violence and when it isn’t? No.

We are living in reaction mode. This can’t be done constantly. What needs to be done first is to teach our children how to think and fend for themselves such that when new situations arise, they will know what to do. If we think that a book or a game or a movie or a TV show can destroy the faith of our children, instead of going after that thing, maybe we should be looking at building up the children instead.

This is not to say that everything in the media is well and good. I have no problem with parents evaluating what comes into their house and what their children are watching and doing and playing. I have a problem with them listening to alarmist works only and not studying themselves.

We also miss out the bigger problems. There can be contributing factors, but really the reason people sin, including you and I, is ultimately that we want to. Think of the old joke about saying “Lead me not into temptation. I’ll find it myself.” That is how we are often. We don’t need anything to influence us that way.

And speaking of gaming, if this were the case, we would expect matters to be a whole lot worse today than ever. In my Greek class this morning, my professor said he’s played video games all his life and really likes the ones about killing the enemy, but getting into a fight is repugnant to him. I prefer RPGs and I do believe in self-defense strongly, but I am definitely not a violent person. For people who do this kind of violence, usually they have issues long before they ever play a game, and many mass shooters never did games anyway.

Hysteria also leaves us looking ridiculous to the world and them less likely to hear us. It also increases our gullibility factor, much the same way as every end of the world scenario that pops up where this time, the rapture is definitely going to take place. Our focus is to be on Jesus and His message and not just reacting to what the world does. We are to be proactive instead.

No doubt, sometime in the near future, there will be another hysteria going around. I recommend you don’t get into it. Just teach your children well. Share your opinion, but listen to others around you who are Christians who disagree and find out why. Hysteria though is just living in fear, something we are to avoid.

In Christ,
Nick Peters
(And I affirm the virgin birth)